THE MORMON IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO.
THE Territory of Utah is one of the terri-tories of the United States, having been ceded to the United States by a treaty with the Mexican Government. The land in this territory belongs to the United States, except as it may have been sold or granted to individuals or private corpora-tions. The Government of the United States, in its legislative branch, is, by the Constitution, clothed with the abso-lute power of enacting all laws which may be necessary for the government of this territory. The local government there existing is not the creation of the people of that territory, but solely the creation of Congress; and Congress may at any time abolish it, or change it in any manner that it shall judge expedient, or it may legislate for the territory, and provide for the exe-cution of its own laws. In a word, the authority of the United States in Utah, and in all the other territories of the United States, is, within the limits of the Consti-tution, alike supreme and exclusive, and no authority can be there exercised by the people except such as may be delegated to them by acts of Congress. These princi-ples, as a matter of fact, are as well settled as anything can be.
Congress, by the law of 1862, and more recently by that of 1882, known as the Edmunds' law, because Senator Edmunds drafted the bill and introduced it into the Senate, has, in the exercise of its unquestionable power to do so, forbidden polygamy in all the territories of the United States, and provided a penalty for the violation of this prohibition. How have the Mormons— the priesthood and the people alike— treated this legislation? It is wellknown that they treated the law of 1883 as a dead letter, and that they practically made it such, and that, too, notwithstanding the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States declaring the law to be constitutional, They have also evinced the same temper of mind in respect to the law of 1882, which differs from that of 1862, only in providing addi-tional means to put an end to polygamy. The ground upon which they have pro-ceeded, in this open and undisguised defi-ance of the authority of the United States, is that polygamy is a part of their religious system, as given to them by God, and hence that the "Thus saith the Lord," in this case, repeals, sets aside, and completely nullifies all the statutes of the United States against this crime. Indeed, polygamy, as they practice it, is no crime at all, but rather a saintly virtue; and the prohibition and punishment thereof are a war against God, and at the same time an outrageous and cruel invasion of their religious rights. Every Mormon convicted of and punished for polygamy hence suffers as a martyr.
The practical meaning of all this is the establishment of an imperium in imperio in the United States, or, in other words, an authority vested in the Mormon priesthood and the leaders and managers of the Mor-mon system, superior to that of the United States. This authority sanctions what the law of the land condemns; and, whether it proceeds to deeds of open violence, or con-tents itself with evasions, it is hostile to the Government of the United States. Such is to-day, and such has been, the attitude assumed by those who manipulate and manage the Mormon system. The common people follow the priesthood; and we sup- pose that the great mass of them are sin-cere and honest. The Mormon priests are to them the vicegerents of God, and they are educated to the doctrine of absolute submission. The history of the world does not furnish a fanaticism in which priestly domination is more absolute and abomin-able than in that of Mormonism.
The question, then, is whether the United States shall yield to this domination, or make a compromise with it, or absolutely break it down by the power of law. On this point we have never had but one idea, which we thus state: Polygamy is not only a gross immorality in itself, utterly incon-sistent with the institutions of this country, but also a penal offense; and, as such, it is to be punished according to law; and the law itself should be made so severe, and be administered with such persistent and un-flinching fidelity, that the crime will be suppressed. We thoroughly believe in stopping the crime, and in the enactment and execution of all laws that may be necessary to this end. If the Edmunds law will answer the purpose, then so be it; but, if, after fair trial, it shall prove a failure, then let it be supplemented with still stronger legislation. The thing to be done is to put an end to polygamy, at all hazards.
President Cleveland, in his recent mes-sage, spoke emphatically and wisely on this subject. If the Mormons, who are generally Democrats, expected leniency, relaxation, and especially toleration of their polygamous system, from a Demo-cratic administration of the Government, the President has thoroughly corrected their misapprehension on this point. It will not be his fault, if they do not under-stand that all such expectations are with-out any just foundation.
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