The Mormon Constitutional Convention.
What It Has Done, and What It Has Failed to Do,
Gentile Opposition to the Admission of the Territory as a State,
Why the Mormonsf Cannot be Trusted- How the Action of the Convention Will Affect the Church.
Correspondence of The Chicago Trihnno.
SALT LAKE CITY, March 9.
THE MORMON CONSTITUTIONAL CONVETION.
The Mormons have held their informal Constitutional Convention, and provided for the completion of their scheme of hust- ling Utah into the Union, in every respect. Among other things, they have practically A greed to surrender Polygamy; they have pX ovided that mines shall not he taxed, on> } y their proceeds; for woman- suffrage an4 cumulative voting; for equality of tax- ation freedom of religion, etc. But they refusv ad to provide for the secret ballot in all pi ^ P^ lar elections, although the Jack- Mormo 118 the Convention brought it up, in diffe. rent shapes, three times. Of these latter, n » 0 doubt, some are honest in their action ; \ > ut> new to Utah, they know little of the na, ture of Mormonism. There is as little doubi 11 that others are working for a fee, and stil ^ others are subordinating a great public quest. ' on to what they regard as busi- ness interest* They were all selected by the Mormon p riesthood, and two or three of them did reallj ' represent Gentile feeling in the matter. B. ut> of these, all but one staid at home. He— j Tudge Haydon, late of Ne- vada—- moved tha, t the Convention adjourn sine die, Without pi " ooeeding to business. On the motion, Fitch & ot the floor first, and. de- livered an elabori ^ tely- prepared phillippc against Judge McK& an- It is enough to say of this, that, in eoura oof it, he acknowledg- ed that Judge McKean ' a action is applauded by forty millions of At lericans. I will add that, for it, McKean 3i as the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States; and that, within one month, thi tribunal has neg- atively affirmed his positio. 11 on the jury ques- tion.— showing, at least, tx \ at there is room for honest difference of opin. lon- Judge Hay- don replied, but with no grei 4t strength, and, when his motion was put, only himself voted aye.
GENTILE OPPOSITION TO THE - ADMISSION OF UTAH.
It is almost needless to say 1 bat the Gen- tiles are utterly opposed to the i idmission of Utah at present, under any ^ instances whatever. For, l6t them agree to what they may, we have, or can have, no security. They may accept an ordinance, in evocable without the consent of the Unitec 1 States, inhibiting polygamy and making th. e ballot secret. Suppose they should revoke i t, ho w- ever, themselves, as soon as possible after gettin g into the Union ? What would, what could, the Union do about it ? There is K'O au- thority for expelling a State from the Utuon, and there is none but the Constitution of the United States for circumscribing . the doings of a State in the Union. Suppose, again, the Constitution to be amended, so ai- s to inhibit polygamy, and the maintenance of any system of espionage whatever over the ballot, a* » d Congress given power to enforce such amendment, what better off would the United States Court in Utah be in these re- spects than it is now ? It would be worse off, inasmuch as it would have to enforce a prin- ciple after having surrendered it. WHY THE MORMONS CANNOT BE TRUSTED. But, some one asks, why not trust these people; believe that, when they profess, as in the present instance, to take new and ad- vanced ground, they mean to do it ? The answer is, they have never given the first scintilla of evidence that they wore acting in good faith, although they have had ample opportunity. Scarce a session of their Legislature has convened for ten years that their attention has not been directed by the Governor to the necessity of these re- forms. But, up even to the close of the last session, just before the meeting of this Convention, they have never, as a Territory, advanced one peg. If they had made up their minds to exchange Polygamy for State- hood, as they now profess, why didn't they as a Territory, having ample power, and urged to do it ? Instead, they received the Governor's message recommending such ac- tion, with every species of insult. They re- pealed none of their barbarous Church laws, which I showed in my last letter had oeen adopted by the Territory. They didn't move by the breadth of a hair out of their old rut. The Legisla- ture adjourns; the same men meet as a Con- stitutional Convention; and, presto! all is changed. They are the foremost reform- ers in the land, ready even to forego all their hopes of salvation in time and eternity, and to accept damnation for the privilege of abolishing Judge McKean's Court. Is not all this just a little suspicious? Would it not be well to hold Utah as a Territory until, as a Territory, she gives us a taste of these gi- gantic reforms she promises on certain con- ditions, as an earnest of her good faith ?
Why, two years ago, come March 31, these same men met in Convention to protest against the passage of the Cullom bill; proclaimed most solemnly to the world that they regarded polygamy, not simply as an elevating social relationship, and a preventive of many terrible evils which afflict our race, but as a principle revealed by God, underlying their every hope of salvation and happiness in time and eternity; that they had been com- manded by God, through Joseph Smith, to prac- tice it, upon vain of being damned if they should not; that they had for it warrant of the Holy Scriptures, and the example of prophets and righteous men whom God loved, honored, and blessed of old; and that said biii left them but the cruel alternatives of rejecting God's commands and abjuring their religion, or disregarding the authority of a Govern- ment they desired to honor and respect.
Has God withdrawn his commands since that ? Cannon drew up the manifesto quot- ed from, and now Cannon has agreed to " ab- jure his religion," " reject God's commands," forego all hopes of salvation here or here- after, and accent of plain damnation,— this is all his own language,— to get rid of Judge McKean ; to remove the halter from his own and Brigham's necks. Does anyone suppose this action can be taken in good faith; that it is meant for more than a trick to recover lost ground ? Why, it amounts to giving up everything for which these men have sacri- ficed, toiled, and suffered for forty years,— their Kingdom of God. And who that knows men does not know that they do not mean it? They know as well as we do that, with a State Government, every- thing would be in their own hands, and no- body could call them to account for religious concubinage or assassination, for controlling the ballot- box, or abolishing it altogether. And their history shows them to be capable of doing anything to accomplish their ends. Witness their secret practice of polygamy for ten years, while publicly denying it, and swearing to the denial on every occasion.
Why not let them give evidence of the sincerity of their action by adopting it in their Territorial capacity before making tbcm a State ?• Who would suffer by it ? No one. , ,,
Whatever is done or may happen, the ac- tion of this Convention in agreeing to give up polygamy on demand must have
A BAD EFFECT UPON MORMONISM. It will open the eyes of many Mormons, doubtless, to the hollowness of the imposi- tion so long practised upon them. For it is an admission of exp ediency, which is alto- gether human, into the guiding counsels of the Church, where nothing has before found entrance, in the view of the good Mormon, but the voice of God. It is aa admission that t. hev have been led astray, by God, which is preposterous, or that, being led by God, they dare no longer follow Him,— fear or worldly advantage having shown themselves as lions in their pathway. It weakens the Mormon position immensely, and reduces the difficulties of the so- called problem infinitely. There was some opposition to it in the Convention, on the part of the more honest polygamists, who seem not to have been taken into Brigham's confidence, which may grow into a great schism at least, and would if Bng- ham hadn't found a way to impose on men and women beyond anything ever known or heard of before.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.