SATURDAY, MAY 9, 1857.
THE MORMON QUESTION.
Our leading politicians are severely exercis-ed in their minds, concerning the Mormons in Utah, and whether they shall admit that in-teresting colony of fanatics into the Union as a state, with their polygamy and all kindred abominations. The Squatter Sovereignty doc-trine, invented by pro-slavery politicians to take the place of the constitution and the dec-laration of our National and Human Rights, says that the Mormons must be admitted, just as they are, wives, theocracy, Danite band, and all. Because, says the doctrine, the people of a territory, the squatters who manage first to scramble into a territory, have a sovereign right to decide upon and definitely fix the in-stitutions thereof, not only for themselves, but for all posterity. They may do just as they choose. They may vote away human rights if they see fit, declare the Declaration of Indepen-dence a humbug and Jefferson a fool for writ-ing it, set up just such institutions, adopt such laws and regulations, as they prefer, and all this is nobody's business. This doctrine was invented for the benefit of Slavery, which be-ing unable to get into the new territories un-der sanction of the Constitution, must be for-ced in in spite of it; and it is now very natural-ly seized upon by the Mormons to strengthen their claim to admission into the Union.
The Mormons being as shrewd as those who have a worldly sort of religion always are have happily combined the slavery question with their own in a common interest. The Mormons believe in Slavery, and hold a few slaves, and will be happy to make an arrange-ment with our Southern brethren to perpetu-ate Slavery in Utah as a consideration for ad-mittance into the Union with their spiritual harems. This will be a fair trade, and as both parties will profit by it, it will be all right. And the doctrine of Squatter Sover-eignty will justify and sanctify the whole pro-ceeding. Nor do we see why the slave holding states should object to this nice little arrange-ment. The South has polygamy already in its midst, as a necessary incident of Slavery.—Virginia, which raises slaves for the market, practices polygamy, not upon religious princi-ple, as the Mormons pretend to do, but for the mere vulgar purpose of pecuniary gain. Sla-very, being as the great Wesley said, "the sum of all villainies," includes the villainy of poly-gamy in its own aggregated enormity.
Our countrymen, or rather our pro-slavery master's, have abandoned the ancient principles of their Fathers at an unfortunate time. They have denied the enlightened and liberal princi-ples of the great Declaration, just in season to favor the purposes of the Mormons. God al-ways entraps the wicked in their own snares in just this way. The Mormons can be kept out of the Union only by adherence to the orig-inal principles of the founders of the govern-ment, unmodified by such absurdities as "squat-ter sovereignty."
The Fathers of the country based their ex-periment of republican institutions upon the enlightened sense of civilized mankind. They did not appeal to the examples of the past, but confided in the growth of the future. They de-clared human rights to be inalienable. They did not condescend to argue them, but simply asserted them. The Mormons and their apol-ogists claim that the right of religious freedom is involved in polygamy. They have made polygamy a matter of conscience and put it forward as a form of their religion. It is true that the constitution prohibits laws against "a free exercise of religion." It is true also that it does not recognize or adopt the Chris-tian religion, or any other religion, and that therefore all have equal privileges before it. But yet there is a limitation to the meaning of the word “religion" as used in tile Constitution. It was not intended to cover every form of su-perstition and fanaticism. It means the spir-itual worship of the true God, not the foul and corrupt practices of a profligate sect. Our in-stitutions were based upon the general sense of the civilized and enlightened portion of mankind, up-on those general convictions of the foremost nations which are equivalent to "self-evident truths." The Fathers of the Republic had ideas of religion as far in advance of the an-cient superstitions and corruptions which had passed under that name, as their ideas of lib-erty and equality were in advance of ancient notions of freedom. They desired to establish, not the liberty of ancient Rome, or even En-glish liberty, but human liberty, absolute free-dom for "all men." So too, their ideas of reli-gion were not those of the corrupt Romans or the barbarous Hebrews, but of the modern en-lightened conscience of mankind. By "reli-gion" in the constitution is not meant fetish-ism, cannibalism, thuggism, widow-burning, child-drowning, or polygamy. It means the enlightened and spiritual worship of God, what-ever may be its form of faith; but which in-volves no practices inimical to the general interests and welfare of the community.
Rights grow out, of Duties. Were no Duties imposed upon us by our Creator, we could claim no divinely-sanctioned Rights. Where Duties are imposed, the Right to the conditions essential to their performance is necessarily involved. As freedom is the only condition under which a man can discharge his obliga-tions to himself as a moral and intellectual being, to his fellow-men, and to his God, there-fore freedom is the rightful claim of every man. Now the Mormons cannot claim that the practice of polygamy is a Duty, and therefore they have no right therein. On the contrary the best wisdom of mankind has long since decided that polygamy is adverse to the high-est interests of society and should be opposed as evil by every civilized and Christianized man.
The Mormons have no claim to admission to the Union with polygamy. The Constitution was ordained for Civilized and not for Barbar-ous communities. The religious freedom which it guaranties is for a civilized and en-lightened religion, lining its foundation in the illumined conscience and in a sober and ra-tional judgment.
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