THE RELIGION OF POLYGAMY.
AFFAIRS IN UTAH—BRIGHAM YOUNG—THE DE-CLINE OF MORMONDOM.
[FROM AN OCCASIONAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE TRIBUNE.]
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 13.—Once more Brigham Young's star is in the ascendant. The Court had directed his counsel to have him at hand and ready for trial on the charge of cohabitation with 16 wives, on Monday, the 4th inst. It was impossible for him to be here had he earnestly desired to come, because the journery from Southern Utah could not be made in the period allotted. But when to this was added the fact that Brigham was not inclined to come, and that the $5,000 bail was urgently needed by the officers of the law, against whom a large number of very troublesome bills have been accumu-lating of late—the forfeiture of bail was looked upon as a fixed fact, which nothing short of a miracle could prevent. But the miracle occurred, and Brigham's bondsmen escape scot free, for this time at least. The arrival of the new District-Attorney, the Hon. George C. Bates of Chicago, turned the scale temporarily in Brigham's favor, as it became necessary for this gentleman to ask an adjournment of the Court for one month, to enable him to prepare for the pending trials. The desired time was granted, and the announcement was then made by the District-Attorney that, on the 9th day of January, 1872, he should call up the case of The People agt. Brigham Young, indicted for murder, and should expect counsel to have the accused in Court. Major Hempstead, the wheel-horse of the defense, stoutly contended for three months' time, urging the horrible roads, the distance, the rigor of a Northern Winter, the feeble state of his venerable client's health &c.; but his eloquence availed not. The great trial was fixed for the 9th prox., and there will be no further post-ponement, provided Brigham puts in an appearance.
Concerning his probable action in the premises, there is no little speculation. His counsel declare that he will be in Court on the day fixed; while leading Mormons as-sert that the lawyers have no authority to thus pledge their client. The fact is, simply, that as he left for the South, to escape imprisonment, he will remain South just as long as he deems his personal liberty in danger of restraint. If he knew he would be admitted to bail on any charge which might be brought against him, he would return at once; wanting this assurance, he will not voluntarily come back. The readers of THE TRIBUNE, who have followed this correspondence, are aware that he went away hurriedly, by advice of counsel, and will credit the assertion that he will not return of his own free will until assurances reach him from the same source that he can do so with safety to his person. His lawyers admit that they were alarmed at the attitude of the prosecution, and believed that the life of their client was the objective point of attack. They knew that the Court earnestly desired to convict Brigham of murder, or of any other crime which it might seem desirable to fasten upon him, and they did not be-lieve it would unduly exert itself to discover flaws in the evidence, or that, in the minds of the prosecution, the benefit of any particular doubt would be awarded him. With the attorneys for the defense, it was and still is a question whether the course of the prosecution would not be such as to irritate rather than conciliate. With abundant precedent for accepting bail in the ac-tion of the Court in the case of Wells, it has been be-lieved that no such liberality would be extended to the more distinguished as well as more severely denounced prisoner, Brigham.
FEDERAL OFFICIALS IN UTAH.
With a multitude of rumors calculated to inflame the public mind it is not surprising that Brigham should keep at a safe distance from this scene of fierce, embit-tered, and often injudicious strife, and conclude that the post of safety, if not of honor, is a private station, re-mote from the scene of excitement and danger. One other circumstance of recent occurrence has given the Mormons cause for infinite rejoicing—the removal of Maxwell from the position of Register of the Land Office in this city. This man has made himself especially ob-noxious to the people by his vindictive course, and their criticisms upon his conduct appear to have the support of evidence. Why he received the place originally, would seem to be a problem difficult of solution, save upon the ground that he earned support at the hands of the nation by wounds received during the war. That he was destined to his course as an offi-cer and a citizen should be fairly reported, few presumed to doubt. The hope of the rapidly growing element here, which regrets the fanaticism of the Mormons, while admitting and rejoicing in their indus-try, frugality, temperance, and honesty, has been that the parent government would take unusual pains to pro-vide Utah with sterling, intelligent, honest, and moral men as its representatives during the transition period of the Territory. Fortunately, President Grant seems imbued with this thought, as recent changes indicate. The advent of an old-fashioned lawyer of high reputa-tion, in the person of George C. Bates, who takes the place of two men appointed by the Court, is quoted in support of this position, to which additional force is given by the removal of Maxwell.
UTAH AND THE MESSAGE.
The allusion to Utah affairs in the Annual Message was not looked upon as unfriendly, considering the known determination of the Administration to destroy polyga-my. To the unreasoning hater of all things Mormon, the language employed seemed tame and unprofitable; to the conservative thinkers—among whom may be classed the leading Republicans outside the narrow circle of the office-holders—the words seemed fitly spoken and appro-priately selected. They carried out the sentiment so often uttered in this correspondence, that the practice of po-lygamy is the evil to be remedied, not the religious sen-timent of the offenders. Not without reason, however, do the Mormons argue that the President has been im-perfectly informed concerning the legal attitude of the United States Courts toward the Mormons. In the Pres-ident's view, the paramount infraction of existing stat-utes is polygamy—a crime as yet untouched by the Courts in Utah, although the law enacted by Congress for its punishment is now nearly 10 years old. If the Christian world does not demand that the practice of polygamy in Utah shall be suppressed, then it de-mands nothing at the hands of the General Government. If the President honestly believes that his representa-tives here are fairly fighting this great error, he is labor-ing under a mortifying delusion, and good men must regret that he was not earlier informed of the fact. No Utah polygamist has thus far been indicted for the crime of polygamy. Other offenses have been charged upon members of the Mor-mon sect, but this real, admitted evil, flaunts itself untouched and unchallenged by the law. The practice is confessedly lessening, but not through the promise of the Government, which, if wisely adminis-tered to attain this end rather than to harass and irri-tate, could give a death-blow to the enfeebled system in a few brief months. By fair and legal means, this delu-sion, now completely circumscribed by a growing and antagonistic intelligence, can be met and vanquished. By a system of trickery and evasion, the warfare may be greatly prolonged and the real offense may never meet its appropriate punishment. But if the President has been left in ignorance of the facts in the case, Con-gress can scarcely be thus deceived.
The most implacable enemy of Polygamy, because the most intelligent—so far as the miseries which the practice engendered is concerned—is its most secret one. In nearly every thrifty polygamous household this enemy lies in wait. The enmity may be fully concealed, but its aggre-gate power is sufficient for the overthrow of a hundred such delusions. It takes time to discover this enemy, and confidence begotten of long acquaintance to comprehend its extent and power. I allude to the intense hatred of the system which exists deep down in the heart of every son and daughter born of polygamous union. The system has no more inveterate, no more powerful enemy than that born of the system itself. The husband of many wives may manifest indifference to any one of them; but to the support and protection of the mother there comes the strong and willing hand of the son, and in sympathy with her sorrows such consolation as a daughter may give is not withheld. A bond of union and of suffering, to which the paternal head is not a party, may be said to exist in every polygamous family. Mother and children talk matters over and settle them among themselves. The decision may not be announced, but it is reached, nevertheless. It is unfavorable to polygamy every time. Here is the leaven which shall leaven this whole lump of Mormon mortality.
THE MORMON CHILDREN.
The human fruits which this misshapen tree of poly-gamy has borne, though considerable in numbers, are yet too immature to wield extended influence in business or social life. A few have attained to the ago of 25 years; hundreds are 20 and more, while those ranging from 10 to 20 years of age may be numbered by thou-sands. These young men and women will compare favorably in intelligence with the young people of any land under the sun. In that kind of worldly wisdom which the pioneer and frontiersman require, they are vastly the superiors of the young folk of Massachusetts—the native home of your correspondent. In mountain lore, woodcraft, hunting and horses, the boys "beat the world." In the economics of the households, the girls are the equals of any in the laud. They are beautiful, too, in large proportionate numbers, and if not highly cultured, are at least gentle and pure. They like to dress finely, for this state of polygamous grace, even if as purely spiritual as its fol-lowers claim, does not seem to work any remarkable change in the natural man or woman either. Here are wives for thousands of young men, the daughters of polygamous connection, yet perfectly chaste. They are self- sacrificing, as woman ever is, but their unselfishness rarely goes to the extent of embracing polygamy lot themselves. In the face of facts like these, for the truth-fulness of which I can vouch, and in support of which I could adduce abundant testimony if it were prudent, it is folly to tell me that polygamy has not yet begun to die out.
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