THE LAND QUESTION—-EXPULSION OF GENTILE SET-TLERS--THEIR MEMORIAL TO CONGRESS—SPIRIT OF POLYGAMY—MISCELLANEOUS.
Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.
SALT LAKE CITY, U. T., Sept. 26, 1866.
The land question is fast becoming one of paramount importance here. The Indian titles have been extin-guished by treaties with the various tribes that formerly possessed this Territory, and now the question of rights thereto, as between the present occupants, must be ad-justed by the usual legal processes, and recent demonstra-tions indicate that this is to be a matter of no easy accom-plishment. This Territory is included in that portion of the national domain once, and that quite recently considered a perfect desert. This is the idea still entertained by very many, judging from the unfavorable allusions frequently made thereto in the public prints. It is the fashion for the Mormon special-pleaders to claim a great deal of credit for themselves in having settled up this uninviting region-—as, in their discourses, they would have it appear—-as-suming to think that this fact, if it were a fact, should off-set any little derelictions on their part in the way of po-lygamy and other grave crimes, wherewith they are popularly charged, and of which there is ample proof that certain of them are guilty. The fact is that, stretching along the western base of the Wasatch Mountains, be-tween them and the desert proper, and often penetrating far into their deep recesses, extend a series of fertile val-leys, than which there are perhaps no lands in the United States more productive. It is in these valleys, extending some five hundred miles north and south, that the Saints are located, having, as a matter of course, appropriated the more desirable portions for settlement. As an evidence of their agricultural capabilities, it may be stated that at the present time the land is groaning with abundance, and the only difficulty of which farmers can complain is the danger of not finding a market for their supplies.
Now, it is, by this time, pretty well understood every-where, at least it ought to be, that the Mormon Head Center is a man of superior abilities, astute and far-seeing to an extraordinary degree. Bold and original in his de-signs, when the purpose of taking possession of the Pacific coast proved a failure by the timely discovery of gold in California, he, with his band of faithful followers, at once appropriated this locality, which they were tempo-rarily occupying as the next most eligible situation to carry out their, or, more properly, his, peculiar idea of social organization. Everything proves that thenceforward up to the present moment it has been his settled policy to exclude from their immediate vicinity, by every device in his power, and not seldom by the most arbitrary and ag-gressive means, all persons not professedly of the Mormon faith. This is a truth, denied however strenuously it may be, of which a residence of several years in this Territory has afforded one ample evidence. True, a number of per-sons of this class have continued to live in Utah, and still remain, but it has always been under a species of ban, and the terms of toleration have been that they should be careful never to interfere in any manner with the pro-gramme of Brigham Young, in Saintly parlance to "mind their own business." What this phrase means is well un-derstood here, and the penalty of violating it, or of being suspected of evasion, has generally been systematic per-secution of such a nature that many have been compelled to abandon their property and leave the Territory, while there is every reason to believe that many others were not permitted to do so, but were overtaken by a more sum-mary and terrible vengeance. It is the policy alluded to which has induced the individual named to have more eligible locations in the vicinity of this city unoccupied, and push settlements north and south into remote valleys where the inhabitants were subjected to increased hard-ships in procuring supplies of a nature not of home pro-duction.
The result of this trusting to each settlement to carry out the well-understood policy, and protect desirable lands in their immediate vicinity from Gentile intrusion, has been to leave large tracts in such localities entirely unoc-cupied, for, with all their powers of increase, including polygamy, the Mormons have still found it impossible to multiply themselves sufficiently to appropriate all the fertile public lands in the territory, even by a decent show of occupancy, though they have made wonderful efforts to accomplish that result. To obviate the difficulty, how-ever, so far as it lay in their power, subservient Territorial Assemblies have, from time to time, passed acts of a most unjust character, giving away to favored persons, Brigham invariably coming in for the lion's share, vast tracts of valuable timber and arable lands, thus creating, for the time being, and attempting to create permanent monopo-lies of the choicest privileges in Utah. With the same end in view, doubtless, an act has been passed creating the office of Territorial Surveyor, or rather Surveyor-General of the State of Deseret, whose certificate of survey, or that of his deputy, should constitute a title to lands thus sur-veyed in favor of persons procuring such survey. Under this act numerous surveys have been made years ago which are now set up as giving title against pre-emptors on the public lands who happen to be of the Gentile per-suasion. Lying along the west bank of the Jordan, con-tinguous to this city is a vast tract of such unoccupied land upon which a number of pre-emptions have recently been made by discharged soldiers and others, with what result your readers will perceive by the following case in point:
The Sulphur Springs, lying near the city on the north, were taken possession of more than a year ago by a com-pany of Gentiles who proposed erecting thereon a bathing house and hospital, and commenced building for that pur-pose. Their building was, however, demolished by the City Marshal and posse, under an order from the Council to that effect, though the locality is outside the jurisdic-tion, and notwithstanding the parties ejected had complied with a recent act of Congress in relation to the laying out of cities on the public domain. A suit is now pending be-fore the District Court here, with a fair prospect of a de-cision adverse to the city. On the 21st of the present month two ex-officers, who have given nearly five years honorable service to their country, preempted certain land near the city which has never been improved and has been totally unoccupied for the last four years at least, to my personal knowledge. The fact is that it has been claimed by the Mormon Church as a military reserve, or parade ground, and has never been used for any other purpose except as a convenient camping ground. A rival claim was immediately set up, however, by a good Saint on the strength of a survey said to have been made several years since. In a conversation had between the parties on the 24th inst., at which a certain bishop acted as adviser, it was agreed that if the Mormon could show any proper title or claim to the land, it should be abandoned in his favor. At the same time threats were made of summary proceedings in case of non-compliance. Without waiting, however, for any examination of records in the case, on the same night about 11 o'clock a party of some forty men, disguised and armed to the teeth, made a raid on the premises, seized the occupants and bound them, and, after having thoroughly demolished the building they had nearly com-pleted, dragged them to the river near at hand with the avowed purpose of drowning them. When asked by the men, thus summarily to be “sent to hell across lots," in the language of Brigham, by whose authority they acted, they replied that they "were obeying orders," and told them to ask no further questions. On proceeding to exe-cute their orders, however, by tying their victims up in a tent, intending to toss them, thus bound, into the Jordan, one of the latter asked, as a favor, to be "shot like a dog, not drowned like a damned cat," which brought about a consultation among the Da-nites, the result of which, after some dispute, was that they might save their lives on a promise to leave the Territory within forty-eight hours never to return, in violation of which they "would put them out of the way." This arrangement concluded, they took their prisoners across the river, and, leaving a guard over them, proceeded to finish the work they had under-taken by demolishing another house occupied by Gentile preemptors, three in number, throwing the lumber, to-gether with the owners, into the river. Two attempted to escape by swimming across, in which one succeeded barely, some twenty or thirty shots having been fired at the two, wounding one in the ankle and compelling the others to return. The one who escaped made his way into the city; the others were released under a promise to quit the Ter-ritory fortwith. These mild terms have not been complied with as yet, and it is understood are not to be. Several of the city police have been identified as among the ruffians, and Sheriff Burton, Assistant United States Revenue Collector, and Major-General of the Mormon militia, led them, firing the first shot. No prosecution will be made, as it would amount to a farce before Mormon juries.
When the full facts became known in the city there was much subdued excitement among Gentile residents. An impromptu meeting was held in the evening at Indepen-dence Hall, at which over two hundred determined men were present, the feeling running very strongly in favor of organizing for self-defense, and an adjournment was had till last night to draw up articles of association and prepare a memorial to Congress, setting forth the situation of affairs in Utah, as between Mormon and Gentile residents. Ostensibly the idea of actual organization was abandoned, but I suspect it will be carried out secretly, and may show its truth on some future occasion in a manner which may astonish some of the Saintly cut-throats. I hear of ugly threats having been made of what might be done in cer-tain contingencies, and it will be well perhaps for our Mormon friends, who have set the example of destruction, to remember in time the adage which declares that "peo-ple who live in glass houses should not throw stones." The Hall was crowded last night, and the feeling evidently ripe for retaliation. A strong memorial was read, setting forth the situation, was adopted unanimously, and when signed will be transmitted to the Hon. Ben Wade, who has undertaken the task of bringing Utah affairs before Congress. The full proceedings are to be published in The Union Ve-dette. The toleration of an aggression from him, which tramples at will on the rights of those inimical to its in-terests, and inattention to the condition of affairs, are fast producing their natural fruit, and sooner or later it will result in serious conflict. It has been suggested that the Government be petitioned to send a Consul to Utah for purposes similar to those for which they are appointed to other foreign countries—an original idea, certainly, but not without some force. Affidavits to the foregoing facts will be forwarded through military channels to Gen. Sher-man, and asking him to give the local commander here such instructions as will enable him to offer a show of pro-tection when necessary, the small force at his command being inadequate for any serious demonstration, if that were desirable.
Judge Lawrence, Special Mail Agent for the Territories, has been beheaded, his successor having already arrived from the East.
Mormon immigrant trains are rolling into the city rap-idly, laden with their miserable-looking human freight, who, as fast as they arrive, are hustled into Brigham's in-closure, where they pay, or are bound for future settlement of, their fare, and for distribution throughout the Territo-ry—thus in a manner becoming vassals at the outset to the Arch Polygamist of Utah, being held by their endowment oaths, at the same time administered, to perpetual obedi-ence.
Large numbers of people from the Northern Territories are pouring in to spend the Winter, and some with the purpose of permanent location here.
A number of families from the vicinity of Fort Bridger are about to establish a settlement in the beautiful Wind River Valley, on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and in the midst of the hostile Indian country—a hazard-ous undertaking at present, it is to be feared. They will go, however, well prepared to defend themselves in case of necessity.
It is said that an effort is being made by parties acting in the influence of the Mormons to procure the removal from the Bench in this Territory of Judges Titus and Drake, as well as the decapitation of the United States Marshal and District-Attorney, for the purpose of securing appointees more favorably inclined to Mormon interests, as opposed to the interests of the Government. It is to be hoped that this effort may not succeed, as it would leave Gentiles entirely at the mercy of Saintly malice, and to depend solely upon their own resources for pro-tection.
Mr. Phelps, well-known on the California boards, has just concluded an engagement at Brigham's theater, where he drew crowded houses. He is succeeded by Mr. Irwin, who, with his body, both of some theatrical talent, will delight the Saints for an indefinite time to come. They are great favorites here.
TERRIBLE POWDER EXPLOSION.
The following letter is published in The Salt Lake City Vidette:
To the Editors of The Vidette
SMITHS FORK, GREEN RIVER, UTAH, Sept. 24, 1866.
SIR: A terrible explosion occurred in the train of Mr. Joseph Favors, Doolittle master, nine miles from the junction of the Bridger and Hams Fork road, on Rock Creek, between the two summits. The train was loaded with powder, and one wagon containing 5,000 pounds blew up at 11 o'clock on the 12th of September.
A hub was the largest piece of wood found, and every piece of iron, and, in fact, every part of the wagon was broken into fragments and thrown hundreds of yards. The wagon was drawn by five yoke of oxen, three of which were torn into bits; also one yoke of the teams in the rear, and two other yoke were badly burned. All that could be found of the driver was a piece of one of his feet, joint of a finger, and a small piece of his skull. The estimated loss of property is $9,000.
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