POLYGAMISTS AND PURITANS.
The Cincinnati Gazette has unearthed a bill by JAMES M. ASHLEY, of OHIO, chairman of the House Committee on Territories, which proposes to extend the boundaries of the States and Territories which surround Utah so as to absorb Utah and wipe out the 100,000 Mormons as a distinctive community. Against this proceeding the Gazette protests. It is shown that for twenty-three years the Mormons have made their own laws; have created their own civilization; have made a wilderness generally unattractive to Ameri-can emigrants to blossom as the rose; have built up and bound to-gether a people numbering to-day more than the population of any of the surrounding Territories, and larger than that of most of the adjacent States; while by all accounts the moral state of the Mormon community is in all respects, excepting one, far above that of any of the States or Territories which, if Mr. ASHLEY has his way, are each to take a bite out of Utah, swallowing both Territory and peo-ple.
This one exception is the prevalence of polygamy, the morality or immorality of which is clearly constructive, since its exist-ence in Utah is shown to be no violation o human law, and its existence anywhere is not in opposition to divine law. Indeed, with the Mormons polygamy is religion; they found their social relations upon the divine law which at least permitted it, as no reader of the Scriptures pretends to deny; and they claim that their withdrawal to the far West to found a community of their own was precisely from the same motive which induced the Pilgrims to land upon Plymouth Rock, to wit: that they might enjoy their own religious convictions in their own way, and with-out persecution or molestation. History will certainly draw a parallel be-tween the Polygamists and the Puri-tans, and credit the Polygamists with minding their own business. The persecuted have not become the persecutors. What the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims did to ROGER WILLIAMS, the Utah Polygamists have not done to any of their own community or to their neighbors. That they have made themselves a strong, respectable, and pros-perous people is evidence in their favor that their peculiar views respecting domestic re-lations are not necessarily opposed to social success and to the highest degree of in-dividual and general morality. When a new class of Communists with peculiar notions with regard to sexual intercourse settled at Oneida in this State, there was the same de-sire to persecute on the part of the neighbors that Radicalism proposes now against the Mormons; but when these neighbors saw that the Communists were people of integ-rity, of thrift, and, above all, that they were prosperous, they did not hesitate to permit their own sons and daughters to work for and associate with these people. If the new raid against Mormonism is purely upon moral grounds and if the Mormons are to be obliterated because they are "wicked," they may well retort by offsetting their polygamy against the foeticism so alarmingly prevalent in New England, and show that their efforts to increase population are possibly quite as moral as the general endeavor in some States to limit it. A com-parison between the plurality of wives in one section and the prevalence of prostitutes in other sections, the readiness with which people may marry there and the forced celi-bacy here, might present contrasts calling for no more legislation in the one case than in the other.
Which brings us to the main point of the whole matter, which is clearly this: that gov-ernment, especially what constitutes or calls itself government now-a-days, is not called upon to run the moral machine of the coun-try. Mere morals are matters beyond legis-lation. We have seen to what pass the par-ty which claimed pre-eminently to be found-ed upon "moral ideas " has brought the country. We see the kind of men whom this party persists in forcing into prominence. Corruption is no longer a crime, but is the very means by which the leaders in the moral party are advanced in position. Robbery is the rule and integrity the exception. Nearly all the rascalities of Radicalism in the past eight years have been effected under the cover of these "moral ideas." The country is sick of this cant. As for the morality or immorality of Mormonism, it is pretty certain that any Radical raid against polygamy is only a cover for some fresh Radical rascality in another direction. Radicalism would do well to let the morals of the country—and even of the Mormons—alone.
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