THE DOOM OF POLYGAMY.
Sketch of the Trial of Thomas Hawkins at Salt Lake—Scenes in the Court-room—Some Notable Characters—A Specimen Bit of Evidence.
[Correspondence Cincinnati Commercial.]
SALT LAKE, October 24,—To-day Thomas Haw-kins, English, from Birmingham, better known around Salt Lake as “Tummis Awkeens," is to be sentenced in the best elocution of which Judge Mc-Kean is capable, to the Territorial Penitentiary for a term of years.
GIST OF THE OFFENCE.
The offence of Thomas was somewhat uncommon—committing adultery with his wife, Elizabeth Meare, on complaint of his wife, Harriet Haw-kins, better known as "Arriet Awkeens." He was also arraigned on the indictment for the same offence with his third and last wife, Sarah Davis, but no witnesses were adduced as to the criminal act, owing to the fact that Sarah quartered in the upper part of the house, and there was no way to observe what happened there, except by looking down the chimney. Voices, it is true, had been heard in that quarter, as of people sitting up or otherwise, toward morning; but it was somewhat singular that, although the first wife, complainant, had lived under the polygamous roof for several years, she swore that she had never beheld the di-rect offence charged but once even with Mears, and and then peeked in at a window on purpose. As you are all anxious to realize this scene I relate it below with all its atmospheric and personal sur-roundings.
"HEAR YE! HEAR YE!
“The United States Court for the Third Judicial District of Utah is now in session. Hats off! Spec-tators will get off the jury bench!" These were the remarks of the deputy marshal, Furman, who is intermarried with Mormons, but a persecutor of the Saints, and brother-in-law of Billy Appleby, United States Commissioner in Bankruptcy. The Marshal, M. T. Patrick, had gone to Southern Utah to shoot snipe, prospect a mine, and arrest a Mormon bishop. The judge on the bench, J. B. McKean, at once cleared his throat and looked over the bar and the audience. The judge wore a blue coat and was trim as a bank president. He sat upon a wooden chair behind a deal table, raised half a foot above the floor; the marshal stood be-hind a remant of dry-goods box in one corner, and the jury sat upon two broken settees under a hot stove pipe and behind the stove. The entire furni-ture of the place might have cost $11 at an auction where the bidding was high. The room itself was the second story of a livery stable, and a polygamous jackass and several unregenerate Lamanite mules in the stalls beneath occasionally interrupted the judge with a bray of delight. The audience was composed entirely of men, perfectly orderly and tol-erably ragged, and spitting surprisingly little tobacco juice; almost all of them Mormons, with astray miner here and there mingled in, wearing a revolver on his hip and a paper collar under his long beard.
THE UTAH BAR.
At the bar-table, on one side sat Baskins and Max-well, the prosecutors, the former frowsy, cool, and red-headed, the latter looking as if he had overslept himself for a week, and got up mad. On the oppo-side sat Tom Fitch, late member of Congress from Nevada, a rotund, cosmopolitan young man, with a bright, black eye, a piece of red flannel around his bad cold of a throat, and great quantities of fo-rensic eloquence wrapped away under his mustache. Behind him was A. Miner, the leading Mor-mon lawyer, turned a trifle gray, and thinned down in flesh very much since Judge McKean got on the bench, for the judge uses Miner as the scapegoat for the sins of the bar, and threatens him with Camp Douglas and a fine every time he has the toothache. Whenever Miner gets up to apologize, the judge makes him sit down, and when he sits down the judge looks at him with his resinous black eyes as if he had committed solely and alone the Mountain Meadow massacre. Miner is the “Smallbones" of the court, and is fed on judicial herrings. The other lawyers are all Gentiles, except Hosea Stout and one Snow, of the firm of Snow & Hayne, a Vermonter. As Miner is the victim of the court the court in turn is the victim of Baskins, the prose-cuting attorney pro tem. Baskins comes from Ohio, and gets his red hot temper from his hair. He is related to have shot somebody in Ohio. It is Baskins, therefore, who insists, as prosecuting attorney, that the laws of the United States and the courts thereof must be respected in Utah. As for McKean's two associate judges, they are off hold-ing District Court at Provo and Beaver, Hawley har-assing some rural justice of the peace with his last printed opinion, and Strickland playing billiards for drinks, between sessions, with Bill Nye. But Judge McKean himself does not use tobacco nor a billiard cue in any form; his sole recreation is to practice elocution and parlor suavity in anticipation of his appearance in the United States Senate from the State of New York. A trim apprehensive, not un-sagacious man, with a great, burning mission to exalt the horn of his favorite denomination upon the ruins of the Mormon bishoprick, McKean is re-solved in advance that everybody is guilty who can keep awake under Orson Pratt's sermons.
There stand the guilty fold, without the bar of the court—most of them look as if they wanted a new razor and a square meal—the Mormon rank and file. Grave and listening, and so respectful as to irritate the prosecuting attorneys very much (so that they would like to make premeditated good be-havior a conspiracy punishable at law), these Mor-mons, could they speak aloud, would swell a chorus profuse and unintelligible as on the eve of the miraculous Pentecost—Dane and Welshman, Nor-wegian and Finn, Westphalian and Belgian, hard, nasal Yankee, and wide-mouth Northumbrian—lads from the collieries of Newcastle, the purlieus of London, and the mills of Bradford, they look upon the United States in a blue coat with a lead pencil in its hand as if it were the Man of Sin, and combined under the same baldish sconce the peculiarities of Guy Fawkes and Judge Jeffries. Simple people in the mam, who, with all their regard to the command to increase and multiply, feared the United States census takers as partners in their per-secution, and cut down the returns of their popu-lation by sheer shyness from 130,000 to 86,000 odd. Docile people, as well, though not without the courage of the poor, so that when on the late occa-sion of the great Methodist camp meeting Brigham said to them in the Tabernacle, “I want you all to go to this camp meeting and listen to what is said," they filled it to overflowing every day; but the mourners' bench remained empty as a lion's platter. But whoever looked closely could see the end of all this near at hand, unless fanned by irritation to fa-naticism again. The weary faces, long and hollow, told of responsibilities too burdensome and of bodies overtaxed.
THE POLYGAMOUS PAIR.
In a chair sat Mrs. Hawkins, a dark-haired black-eyed woman from Birmingham, where she was converted to Mormonism about thirty years ago, and married to Hawkins, also a Mormon at the time, in an English parish church. Mrs. Hawkins wears a plain bonnet, a delaine dress, and drops her H's all over the floor. She refers to Hawkins as "my ‘usband," and seems thoroughly aroused to the necessity of correcting him for the recrea-tions of his maturer age. In short, Mrs. Hawkins has two suits against Thomas, This one is for adultery, and the next will be for divorce. Mrs. Hawkins is accompanied by her daughter, Lizzie Hawkins, a timid, embarrassed girl of about 16 years, and while the mother is a prompt and rather bright witness, the daughter is measurably dumb. The daughter never saw anything wrong, she knew Elizabeth Mears's children were her father's, be-cause they called him father, but she never saw anything in the Mears and Davis end of the house, because she never went there except on a visit in daytime. Thomas Hawkins looks like one who might enjoy married life and yet be a rather mean husband. A square English head, bulging in the big, high, dwarf's forehead, plastered straight across from ear to ear with thin, long, yellow hair which permits half his pale head to stand naked in front and still be no baldhead; a light blue animal eye, which would pick out a woman quickest in a landscape; not an athletic body, and that clad in light, worn clothes; silent, attentive, and at times uneasy, during the trial—such is the meagre hero of three marriages, brought up seven years after date to answer the charge of adultery. I have un-derstood that Hawkins stands in doubtful odor among his church people for not equalizing himself more among his families, both so-cially and financially. The common expression among the Mormons is: "There's wrong on both sides in that family;" but the inevitable addenda is: “Just as in plenty of monogamous families." Here is Mrs. Hawkins's testimony, in part, showing that all is not tranquil in those households, and that dissolution is proceeding of itself more rapidly than interference can promote it:
A BIT OF TESTIMONY.
Q. Did you ever have any conversation with Thomas Hawkins on the subject of his living with these women in the house? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did he say about it? A. He said they were his wives.
Q. Did you ever have more than one conversa-tion? A. I have had many a thousand.
Q. State their substance. A. Well, in the first place, he allowed he was doing religious duties, and he allowed that he had got to live with some one else.
Q. Did he give you any reason why he had to live with some person else? A. Well, no reason; only he allowed that he had got to live with some one else; that I had had my day, and he had got to have some one else.
Q. Did you say you could consent to that? A. No, sir, I did not.
Q. What did you say to him? A. I have told him that it was a damned bad trick, and that I did not be-ieve in any such damned doctrine.
Q. Well, what did he say? What did he do? A. Well, it didn't matter; if I didn't like it I could do the other thing; he appeared to feel very indifferent about it, and I suppose if I had sanctioned what he wanted me to, and would have cleared out, that would have suited him, I suppose.
Miner (Smallbones), the Mormon lawyer—You need not state what you suppose. State the facts.
Witness—I am speaking the facts. I am not to be insulted by you, Mr. Miner.
At this point, when it appeared to be coming out exactly how the inside of a heavenly mansion was conducted, and how objecting damsels were chas-tised, the lawyers made objections, and we returned to the matter of the adultery. One other witness was called, the brother-in-law of Hawkins, who flew off in high dudgeon at the idea that a man's wife was “anythink else" but his wife. He couldn't see any difference in the order of wives; ‘e didn't know whether Mears was the second or sixtieth wife; it was none of is business, &c. The audience laughed, and applauded only once when Mrs. Haw-kins testified that her husband's lawyer came to her to solicit a compromise, and said that unless she set-tled the lawyers would get all the property. To this she replied that the lawyers might as well have it as “’is woman." There seemed to be no feeling in the town except regret at the wife's suit for divorce, but a notion that the prosecution for adultery was mal-icious, and set on by the court and its favorite lawyers.
The oratory was mixed in the case. Maxwell, who was admitted at his own solicitation to assist Baskins in the prosecution, making the point against the Mormons that in twenty-two years their Legisla-ture had never made a statute validating poligamy even by inference. To this Muller, the Mormon lawyer, replied that marriage was not a civil but an ecclesiastical rite in Utah, that polygamy was established prior the formation of any American government here, and relied upon a clause of the treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, whereby the newly annexed inhabitants were guaranteed against inter-ference with their religion. The speeches of Max-well and Baskins were bold and acrid, but the large Mormon audience listened without a murmur. The reliance of the prisoner and his friends was upon Hon. Thomas Fitch, who came into the case late, and made an address which ex-torted admiration on every side, as well for its frankness as its legal incision. Mr. Fitch's argument was that, as the Legislature had not defined adultery, the jury had a right to in-terpret the meaning of this statute according to the intent of the Legislature—the intent constituting the gist of the offense. The prisoner was clearly un-aware that his offence was adultery according to any law enacted in Utah. The command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery," was delivered to a polyga-mous people and engraved upon stone by the hus-band of three wives. When Mr. Fitch had con-cluded there seemed a possibility. despite the clearness of Mrs. Hawkins’ evidence as to the co-habitation between Hawkins and Mrs. H. No. 2, that the jury might hang. To make this impossible Judge McKean delivered a harangue to the jury answering every point made by the defence. It was a speech of three-quarters of an hour, and amounted to an exhortation to convict. As to the intent of the Territorial Legislature, he said that was no more to be conjectured than that magna charta could be interpreted away because King John, its grantor, was a tyrant; a statute against gambling might be similarly disproved because the enactors were proven to play at chance. The Mormon paper, the Herald, rendered Judge McKean's charge and conduct of the trial as follows, on the following morning:
You have your duties, gentlemen, and I have mine. My duty is to pick you out and pack you in; to fix the trial at such a time as will be least convenient to the defendant; to exclude all evidence that may help him and to admit all evidence that may hurt him; to rule all points of law against him; to pick out from acts of Congress and acts of the Utah Assembly those laws which combined may con-vict him; to be first a United States Justice's Court and then a Territorial Justice's Court, and vice versa. as the exigencies of the case may demand; to dramatize the case and elocutionize my opinions; to follow my instructions from Rev. Dr. Newman, and avenge his defeat at the Tabernacle; in short, gentlemen, my duty is to secure a conviction.
Directed by this peremptory charge, the jury found a verdict of guilty in one hour, and it was heard by the large audience, standing, with breath-less eagerness and silence. As this case came up on complaint of a wife, and the testimony as to the second cohabitation was clear, it was thought to be the easiest case to obtain a conviction, and made comparatively little excitement. The streets of Salt Lake were quiet as usual, and no knots of people discussed the affair unless in privacy. The cases of Brigham Young, Wells, and Cannon are accompanied by no complaint from any wife, and are regarded by the Mormons as deliberate attempts to invite resistance and inaugurate persecution.
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