ASSEMBLING OF THE TERRITORIAL LEGISLATURE.
Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean,]
SALT LAKE, Utah, Jan. 11.—The Utah Legislature met and organized yesterday. It is composed of a Council and House, consisting of thirty-nine members, thirty-eight of whom are Mormons, and one a Gentile. Of the Mormons thirty-five are practical polygamists. The one Gentile was not admitted yesterday, though he occupied his seat to-day, and will no doubt have to contest it with a Mormon, who ran against him. Gov-ernor George W. Emery delivered his message this afternoon at 2 o'clock, the Legislative hall being filled to its utmost capacity. Great attention and interest were manifested throughout its delivery, and while his strictures on polygamy were a little difficult for the Mormons to swallow, it was received as a candid, fair, and impartial document under the existing cir-cumstances.
Following are some of the more important and in-teresting portions of the document.
By an act of Congress our probate courts have jurisdic-tion over suits for divorce, but Congress intended, no doubt, such jurisdiction should be exercised with caution, and carerully guarded by Territorial statute. The law is defective, and should be modified. Section 2, chapter 20, Laws of Utah, allows divorce to parties not residing in the Territory, by showing to the satisfaction of the court the complainant wishes to become a resident. To prevent any abuse of law, I recommend the statutes be; so amended as to require of the complainant, in any suit for divorce, an actual, bona-fide residence of one year prior to commence-ment of suit in the county or district in which legal pro-ceedings are instituted.
There is no one authorized by the laws of Utah to per-form the marriage ceremony, neither has there been any legislation on the subject. I am not aware of any other people, civilized or Christianized, similarly situated. This is a matter of great importance, and worthy of your con-sideration. We should have a law that designates what officers may perform the ceremony, and a law that shall throw around marriage all the safeguards necessary to establish and perpetuate the fact of its legality, by means of certificates, publications, and records usual elsewhere. This involves the welfare of the present generation and those who are to follow. Posterity should have the means of knowing they are the legitimate offspring of their ancestors. On this depends the right of inheritance, and other legacies as highly prized. This is a subject too sacred to be overlooked, and too important to be neglected; other-wise we may bring reproach upon ourselves, and, possibly, disgrace upon the innocent.
The following is the law governing elections, a portion of which I desire to call to your attention, and ask that it may be revised and its objectionable features omitted: Section 5 of an act entitled, "An act regulating elections, approved Jan. 3, 1853," provides that "each elector shall provide himself with a vote containing the names of the persons he wishes elected and the offices he would have them fill, and present it, neatly folded, to the judge of the election, who shall number and deposit it in the ballot box; the clerk shall then write the name of the elector, and opposite it the number of his vote."
The registration of votes is not objectionable, but the marking of each vote, so as to show for whom each person voted, is objectionable and offensive, and the subject of much unfriendly criticism within and without the Terri-tory, and should be repealed. The law is regarded as in-imical to republican government, and in the interest of the Mormon church, so potent in Utah, and leaves its members no choice but to vote the ticket prepared for them. I recommend the law be so amended as to secure a secret ballot. Persons wishing to make known for whom they voted, have under all circumstances an opportunity of doing so; other parties wishing to vote secretly should have that privilege. I further suggest that some time be fixed by law within which votes shall be canvassed and certificates of election issued, also the propriety of allow-ing any candidate voted for, or his chosen representative, the privilege of being present at the counting of the vote.
Our statutes contain no law against the unnatural rela-tion of incest. This is probably an unintentional omission on the part of former legislatures. I call your attention to the fact, and ask you to define by statute, what shall con-stitute incest, make it a crime, and attach to it severe penalties. Consanguineous marriages should be declared void in law, and the parties thereto subjected to punish-ment.
A peculiar characteristic of the social condition of the Territory, and one that is affecting the interests of the people, is polygamy. In treating this question openly and fairly, I cannot but regard it a crime, prohibited by the laws of our country, and that it does violence to the accepted principles of Christianity. The country at large recognizes it as a blot upon our civilization. The national Congress has enacted laws for its punishment, and to pre-vent its continuance. To the present, this law has not been practically enforced, and I am led to believe, that polygamic or plural marriages are of as frequent occurrence as at any time in the history of the Territory. How-ever this may be, I have not the means of knowing, as these marriage ceremonies are performed by the church, and are only known to its members. I am sensible how delicate my duty becomes, under the existing circum-stances, when the gentlemen I have the honor of address-ing, with a single exception, believe in it, and many prac-tice it, from a sense of professed religious right. It ap-pears to me, and it must be apparent to all, that the law should be expunged from the United States statutes, or be made operative. It will be gratifying if this body shall enact such legislation as will prevent its extension, and adopt measures looking to a fair and impartial settlement of the subject as it affects the past.
The Governor recommends free public schools. A re-vision of the laws regarding descents and distributions of property, and that illegitimate children, who now have a right discretionary with the probate judge equal with the legitimate, shall not be so considered in law. He recom-mends an appropriation for Centennial expenses, to en-able Utah to make a good display of her mineral and other products at Philadelphia. Urges legislation to foster and encourage mining and manufacturing enterprises, and to make these investments safe. The criminal laws are very defective, and he recommends the adoption of the California code. He desires the redistricting of the judical districts, to conform to population, instead of town and of territory. As there is no status of frauds, he asks for legislation in this direction. As public officers are not paid salaries, but are compensated for services by a legislative bill similar to a bill of relief, he recommends that they be paid fixed salaries. He asks that the public roads be im-proved, and that certain highways be macadamized. He asks that the insane be provided for; that the laws shall be compiled, and that irrigation shall be regulated by law.
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