REPORT OF THE UTAH COMMISSION
The Results of their Labor in the Territory—A
Marriage Law Recommended—Liberal Meetings
Attended by Mormons—Incumbents of Munici-
pal Offices Refuse to Turn Them Over to the
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5.—The Utah Commis-sion in their report to the Secretary of the Interior, detailing the results of their labor in the Territory say, the anamolous con-dition of this country and its peo-ple, present inherent difficulties in adjusting local laws to the act of Congress, are such that they imposed on us great care and deliberation, lest on the one hand we should go beyond the limits of the law, or on the other fall short of the vigor-ous and effective discharge of our duties, we were obliged to construe for ourselves. The Commission did not construe the spirit of the act forbidding polygamists and biga-mists from voting, only to affect those ac-tually living in polygamy at that time, for such construction would render the section a perfect nullity, and they added such regula-tions as seemed desirable to carry out the ob-jects of the act
The Commission recommends a marriage law be enacted by Congress, which would form an auxiliary in the suppression of po-lygamy. This law should declare all future marriages in Utah null and void unless con- tracted and evidenced in the manner provided by the act. Certain places should be desig-nated for all marriages, which should be re-gistered in specific public offices, so as to make the proof of marriage morally certain. Parties and witnesses should be required to make affidavits against polyg-amy. Another suggestion is, marriages be solemnized in private, with like guarantees of registration, witnesses, etc. Another case, appropriate penalties should be provided for a violation of the act The Commission say, owing to the peculiar state of affairs in Utah, the territorial law allowing women the right of suffrage, is an obstruction to the speedy solution of the vexed question and should be repealed or annulled by Congress. To obviate the difficulty of proving the first legal marriage, the Commission recommends Congress declare the first or legal wife a com-petent witness in such cases. The Commis-sion have not had time fully to test the operation of the law, but so far it has been a decided success in excluding polygamists from the exercise of suffrage, and they believe the steady increase and enforcement of the law, will place polygamy in a condition of gradual extinction.
The Commission notices as an encourag-ing sign that many "liberal" meetings have been largely attended by Mormons and that these meetings have been characterized by exceptionable good order. No inclination is shown in the report to advise Congressional legislation of a radical character, unless upon further observation and experience its neces-sity is demonstrated. In conclusion the re-port says, after counselling moderation, if, however, the next session of the legislative assembly elected under the act of Congress shall fail to respond to the will of the nation, Congress should have no hesitation in using extraordinary measures to compel the people of this Territory to obey the laws.
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