SENATOR SMITH ON POLYGAMY.
In the course of the debate on the Nebraska bill, Senator Smith said :
“This bill provided for the appointment of a Governor and Judges by the President of the United States. He would undertake now to demonstrate that the New Mexico and Utah acts did not give the people of those Territo-ries full power and control over the regulation of their domestic institutions. If those acts did not, the Senator would not ask it for this one. The Utah and New Mexico acts gave to the Governor a veto of the legislation of the Ter-ritory. It gave Congress a veto on the acts of the Governor and Legislature. Who were the Governor and Judges ? They were the crea-tures of the administration for the time being. But, to examine the question more particularly; the Senator has declared that, by the acts of 1850, the people of Utah had been given full power to regulate ail their domestic institu-tions and relations in their own way, uncon-trolled except by the Constitution of the United States. He could not say that polygamy was prohibited by the Constitution in express terms. [Laughter] Would the Senator from Illinois venture to tell the people of the United States that Congress had given, by the Compromise of 1850, the full power to establish polygamy ?—Or that it had given Brigham Young a power of attorney to have forty wives for himself, and a proportionate number for the rest of his crew ? [Laughter.] If the Senator was cor-rect that the people of Utah had full power to regulate their domestic institutions, then was not this the establishment of polygamy under the kind auspices of the Chairman of the Com-mittee on Territories? The Senator was not alone in his ideas ; it appeared that in a Coun-cil of War, held on this bill by its friends, it had been solemnly decided upon due considera-tion, that the acts of 1850 gave the Utah peo-ple full power to regulate their domestic insti-tutions, and that Brigham Young and all his crew shall practice polygamy and have as many wives as they pleased. It was to be hoped that the President of the Senate was not in that Council. [Loud laughter.] He intended to expose this business of polygamy and explain its modus operandi. [Loud and long-continued laughter.] What he meant was, that Brigham Young and his crew practiced polygamy. [Re-newed laughter.] If any one supposed evil from any suggestions of his, he desired it to be done on that person's responsibility and not on his. [Loud and boisterous laughing, continuing for several moments. The Chair appealed to all present to preserve order, and avoid demon-strations unbecoming the Senate.
"Suppose the Legislature of Utah should a-mong their legislative acts, send to Congress a bill formally establishing polygamy, and giving Brigham Young forty, and all the others fifteen wives, would the Senator from Illinois suffer it to be approved in silence ? Would he not rather pick it up with a pair of tongs and thrust it out of the window ? If he did this—and it would be nothing more than could be expected by the christian and moral sense of the union—would not the Senator be violating the princi-ple of self-government and non-intervention in the domestic institutions of the territories ?—Well, supposing that polygamy is thus estab-lished, and they go on increasing—yes, increas-ing, multiplying and replenishing the earth, most rapidly, as they can and will do with po-lygamy, [laughter] and they apply for admis-sion into the Union, are they to be admitted ? If they do not provide for polygamy in their Constitution, it may form part of their Com-mon Law, and are they to be admitted with this domestic institution regulated by them-selves, as the Senator says they have the power to do ? The Senator cannot deny them without denying his own position; and now the people of the United States are to be told that the es-tablishment of polygamy, and the exclusive right over the subject, has been put into the hands of Brigham Young and his crew ; and they are to be admitted with it into the Union withont objection, because of some hidden, un-known principle contained in the compromise of 1850, and never heard of till discovered by the Senator from Illinois. If admitted, and the senators and representatives came here, were they to be allowed to bring their forty wives each with them ? The Senator would not pre-vent a man from having his wives with him, certainly. [Laughter.] If they brought them here, he would, above all other things, like to see the Senator from Illinois in one corner of an omnibus and Brigham Young and his forty wives in the other. [Loud Laughter.] When Brigham comes here as Senator with Snooks his colleague, each with his forty wives, would the Senator from Texas, who was so gallantly disposed towards ladies, move to admit them to the floor of the Senate to hear Senators' speech-es. [Laughter.] Would not this lead to a change in the system of compensation and mi-leage ? He had long experienced that the pre-sent pay and mileage of Senators who had but limited families, was altogether inadequate; and that some just and equitable discrimination should be made between them and those who experienced a profound solitude. But if this were the case, under the present circumstances, what ought to be done in behalf of those who had establishments numbering forty or fifty wives ? Their pay would be altogether insuf-ficient. The least the Senator from Illinois could do would be to propose to give each wife two dollars a day. [Laughter.] Was it not manifest that the idea that these people were intrusted with the sole and exclusive power of regulating all their domestic institutions an ab-
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