Thomas B. H. Stenhouse
Rocky Mountain Saints
(NYC : D. Appleton & Co., 1873)
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS:
A FULL AND COMPLETE
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS,
FROM THE FIRST VISION OF JOSEPH SMITH TO THE LAST
COURTSHIP OF BRIGHAM YOUNG;
THE STORY OF THE HAND-CART EMIGRATION -- THE MORMON WAR -- THE
MOUNTAIN-MEADOWS MASSACRE -- THE REIGN OF TERROR IN UATH
THE DOCTRINE OF HUMAN SACRIFICE -- THE POLITICAL
DOMESTIC, DOCIAL, AND THEOLOGICAL INFLUENCES
OF THE SAINTS -- THE FACTS OF POLYGAMY
THE COLONIZATION OF THE
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GREAT MINERAL WEALTH
OF THE TERRITORY OF UTAH.
T. B. H. STENHOUSE,
TWENTY-ONE YEARS A MORMON ELDER AND MISSIONARY, AND EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR OF THE
SALT LAKE DAILY TELEGRAPH.
ILLUSTRATED WITH TWENTY-FOUR FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS, A STEEL PLATE FRONTISPIECE,
AN AUTOGRAPHIC LETTER OF BRIGHAM YOUNG, AND NUMEROUS WOODCUTS.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
549 & 551 BROADWAY.
[ 40 ]
During the absence of the young Prophet in Missouri, the believers had not been doing as well as he expected. He was, therefore, immediately armed with a revelation reproving them for seeking "signs." In that revelation (August, 1831) occurs this singularly explicit statement: -- "with whom God is angry, he is not well pleased." * Uninspired persons would probably consider such a declaration somewhat unnecessary; it almost requires a second revelation to explain its meaning.
Even at that early day a few of the new converts appear to have exhibited loose notions of morality. Of these, some, charged with being "adulterers and adulteresses," were statsd to have "turned away," and the others were warned to "beware and repent speedily." All through the history of the Church during the life-time of Joseph may be noticed a disposition to free-loveism. The new spirit was very affectionate, and required to be strictly guarded. It is, however, due to Joseph to add that his revelations were severe in condemnation of the lack of chastity.
Some idea may be formed of the zeal with which Joseph was building up the kingdom and preparing for the future, when it is stated that, during the year 1831, he received no less than thirty-seven revelations. In addition to the cares of the Church, preaching, testifying, and administering, he had collected the New York and Pennsylvania Saints in Ohio, had
* "Covenants and Commandments," p. 149.
THE PROPHET TARRED AND FEATHERED. 41
commanded them to go to Missouri, went there himself, and dedicated to "the Lord" the land "promised to believers for an everlasting inheritance," gave some portion of his time to furnishing the world with an inspired translation of the New Testament, and successfully defended himself in two lawsuits, which were instigated by "the wicked," who "sought to persecute him."
In 1832 the work extended over the States, and many converts were added to the new Church. The missionaries had no compensation, but whenever one was required, Joseph could with the greatest facility call an elder to labour in "the Lord's" vineyard. It was nothing to him at what sacrifice this might be done. It was "a day of sacrifice," and the greater that was the nobler the reward in the world to come. The labour that is hired is limited, but the labour of the Mormon elders was never over. This was the secret of their successful preaching. There was no boundary to their harvest field, they were commanded to "thrust in the sickle and reap," wheruvcr there was a call for help or wherever the Spirit might direct. Thus influenced and undeterred by any difficulty the elders travelled everywhere. They braved every danger, faced a frowning world, rejoiced in tribulation, blessed the Saints, cursed their enemies, and sang and shouted: "The kingdom is come, glory, "glory, hallelujah!"
Meanwhile Joseph was not idle. On the 16th of February, while he and Sidney were engaged in the translation of the Bible, they claim to have beheld a great vision. They saw "many things unspeakable and unlawful to be uttered," and at the same time "many great and marvellous things that they were commanded to write while they were yet in the Spirit."
About the end of March, Joseph and Sidney were very ronghly treated by a mob who tarred and feathered them both. The mobbers were very cruel, and tried to force some poisonous liquid down Joseph's throat, but the phial was broken against his teeth, and the contents spilt. They then leaped on his chest and trampled him with their feet till they thought he was dead. The Mormon historian says that Joseph's spirit left his body during the outrage, but afterwards returned and re-took possession. Sidney was not served quite so badly,
42 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
but he bore it worse than Joseph, and never forgot it. The Prophet had some difficulty in getting altogether free from the tar, and the stamping severely injured his chest, but "the Lord "healed him up again," and next day (March 26th) it is reported that he was "acknowledged to be the President of the "High Priesthood," at a General Council of the Church.
A few days later he set out the second time for Missouri, and arrived at Independence on the 24th of April.
During his two weeks' stay in Missouri, it was resolved to publish the revelations in book form, and to establish at Independence a journal called The Evening and Morning Star, under the editorial direction of Elder W. W. Phelps, a brother who performed a very important part in the history of Mormonism. The career of "W. W.," as he is familiarly styled, has been somewhat chequered, but he still lives, and is "not to taste of death." He is about eighty years of age, and has the promise of living till Jesus comes again. * He is a singular genius, greatly gifted in interpreting disentombed inscriptions, especially upon old coins. He is usually credited with having furnished the political papers of Joseph with their "highfalutin," and distorting several languages to make the word "Mormon" mean "more good," although profane
* Since the foregoing was written, the Salt Lake papers have published the following notice: "Phelps -- William Wines Phelps, born in the State of New Jersey, February, 1792, died March 7th, 1872, in Salt Lake City." -- Alas, poor Phelps! Often did the old man, in public and in private, regale the Saints with the assurance that he had the promise by revelation that he should not taste of death till Jesus came. The last time that the Author spoke with "Brother" Phelps, the latter was fully satisfied that the revelation of Joseph Smith could not fail in its fulfilment.
ROUGHLY HANDLED IN MISSOURI. 43
opponents insist that the word is derived from the Greek, and signifies something neither pleasant nor beautiful. * At that time, however, he was well-fitted to be publisher of the journal, as he had been a practical printer but his writings do not seem to have suited the Missourians, and doubtless contributed muck to the commencement of troubles among them.
Joseph returned to Kirtland in June, and devoted his labours to the Saints of that place, but at the same time he maintained a correspondence with "Zion in Missouri," directing and controlling affairs in both places.
* Joseph Smith, when questioned on the subject, gave the following as the proper derivation of the word: -- "I may safely say that the word Mormon stands independent of the learning and wisdom of this generation. Before I give a definition, however, to the word, let me say that the Bible, in its widest sense, means good; for the Saviour says, according to the Gospel of St. John, 'I am the good shepherd;' and it will not be beyond the use of terms to say that good is amongst the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kotos; the Hebrew, tab; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence with the addition of more, or the contraction mor, we have the word Mormon, which means literally, more good." -- Notwithstanding all this pedantic parade of learning on the part of the Prophet, uninspired scholars have expressed an opinion that the word was derived from the Greek, mormos, a spectre or hideous shape.
[ 176 ]
THE subject of this chapter may suitably be divided into two parts - one pertaining to the announcement of the revelation to Joseph Smith, and the other tracing its introduction among the Saints.
Without a copy of the Revelation which has played such an important part in the development of the Church, any history of Mormonism would be incomplete; that document is therefore here given unabridged and intact, and it will doubtless prove of special interest to the historical student:
* "Seer," p. 7.
THE REVELATION ON POLYGAMY. 177
into my glory; for all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof; as was instituted from before the foundation of the world: and as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof; must, and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.
II. And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment, through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force, in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have an end when men are dead.
III. Behold! mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name! Or, will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed! And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was! I am the Lord thy God, and I give unto you this commandment, that no man shall come unto the Father but by me, or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord; and everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me, or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God; for whatsoever things remaineth, are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me, shall be shaken and destroyed.
IV. Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me, nor by my word; and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage is not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world; therefore, when they are out of the world, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory; for these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity, and from henceforth are not Gods, but are angels of God, for ever and ever.
V. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by
178 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
me, or by my word, which is my law, and is not scaled by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power -- then it is not valid, neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world, it cannot be received there, because the angels and the Gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory, for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.
VI. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power, and the keys of this Priesthood; and it shall be said unto them, ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, of dominions, all heights, and depths - then shall it be written in the Lambs Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever.
VII. Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.
VIII. Verily, verily I say unto you, except ye abide my law, ye cannot attain to this glory; for straight is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world, neither do ye know me: But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation, that where I am ye shall be also. This is eternal lives, to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. I am He. Receive ye, therefore, my law. Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the death; and many there are that go in thereat; because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.
IX. Verily, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder, wherein they shed innocent blood -- yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into
THE REVELATION ON POLYGAMY. 179
their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.
X. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world, nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder, wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law, can in no wise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.
XI. I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me, and my Father, before the world was. Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation, and sitteth upon his throne.
XII. Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins - from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph - which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the sea-shore, ye could not number them. This promise is yours, also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law are the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein He glorifieth Himself Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law, and ye shall be saved. But if ye enter not into my law, ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which He made unto Abraham.
XIII. God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law, and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily, I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it. Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written, thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
XIV. Abraham received concubines, and they bare him children, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law, as Isaac also, and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels, but are Gods. David also received many wives and concubines, as also Solomon and Moses my servants; as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin, save in those things which they received not of me.
XV. Davids wives and concubines were given unto him, of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the Prophets who had the
180 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me, save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore, he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world; for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.
XVI. I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things; ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word: and as ye have asked concerning adultery - verily, verily I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery, and shall be destroyed. If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery; and if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow, and hath committed adultery, and if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent, and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her, and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery, but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many; for I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the Priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.
XVII. And verily, verily I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name, and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth, shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth, shall be retained in heaven.
XVIII. And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless, I will bless, and whomsoever you curse, I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God.
XIX. And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word, and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings, and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth, and in heaven; for I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily, I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father. Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you; go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham, of his son Isaac.
XX. Verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself, and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham; and
THE REVELATION ON POLYGAMY. 181
that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice: and let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God; for I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph, that he shall be made ruler over many things, for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
XXI. And I command mine handmaid Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her, if she abide not in my law; but if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him, and give unto him an hundred-fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds. And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she hath trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.]
XXII. And again, I say, let not my servant Joseph put his property out of his hands, lest an enemy come and destroy him; for Satan seeketh to destroy; for I am the Lord thy God, and he is my servant; and behold! and lo, I am with him, as I was with Abraham, thy father, even unto his exaltation and glory.
XXIII. Now, as touching the law of the Priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto. Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me: and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this Priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law, and by my word he will not commit sin, and I will justify him. Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands, for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.
XXIV. And again, as pertaining to the law of the Priesthood: If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else; and if he have ten virgin given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him, therefore is he justified. But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before
182 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
the foundation of the world; and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that He may be glorified.
XXV. And again, verily, verily I say unto you, if any man have a wife who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my Priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe, and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law. Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things, whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law, when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife. And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. AMEN.
On a matter of such grave importance as the engrafting of polygamy upon the faith of the Saints, it has always been a cause of sincere regret on the part of the intelligent Mormon elders, that nothing has ever been stated about the previous teachings which Joseph Smith received on this subject - if he ever had any.* On the introduction of the other doctrines of the Church, its principles of faith and commandments, there is a freedom of statement that carries the impression of honest sincerity, fearing no criticism; but on this there is an unpleasant silence.
In defence of this concealment it is argued that polygamy was offensive to the traditions of the people; that it had to be stealthily introduced, as bigamy was punishable by law, and the less that was published about it the better. There is
* Elder W. W. Phelps said in Salt Lake Tabernacle, in 1862, that while Joseph was translating the Book of Abraham, in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1835, from the papyrus found with the Egyptian mummies, the Prophet became impressed with the idea that polygamy would yet become an institution of the Mormon Church. Brigham Young was present, and was much annoyed at the statement made by Phelps, but it is highly probable that it was the real secret which the latter then divulged. The Conscientious Mormon who calmly considers what is here written on the introduction of polygamy into the Mormon Church will readily see that its origin is probably much more correctly traceable to those Egyptian mummies, than to a revelation from heaven. The first paragraph of the Revelation has all the musty odour of the catacombs about it, and that Joseph went into polygamy at a venture there cannot be the slightest doubt.
DOUBTFUL ORIGINS OF POLYGAMY. 183
weight in this statement as an argument; for no one can fail to appreciate the difficulty of introducing a practice which the civilization of a thousand years had condemned as a relic of barbarism; it was indeed necessary to be secret. But when once that silence was broken, and a lengthy revelation was given to the world, commanding all people to whom it might come to obey it, or be damned, reticence as to its origin could be no longer needful. On a matter of such tremendous consequence as that which polygamy claims to be, the Prophet could not have been too explicit.
This revelation is dated Nauvoo, Illinois, July 12, 1843, and was given to the Church and to the public nine years late; at a conference in Salt Lake City. Since that time, tens of thousands of sermons have been preached on its divine origin, voluminous treatises have been published in its exposition, and the Mormon press has teemed with articles in its defence; but in all of them the beginning of polygamy with the Mormons is left out.
Some of the elders who were early acquainted with the Prophet state that he was instructed by some one of his angel visitors on the marital relations of the patriarchs while he resided in Ohio, and was then informed that the time would arrive when polygamy would become the faith of all the Saints; but of this there is no evidence.
The first traceable indication of any such purpose on the part of the Prophet was in the year preceding the date of the revelation, and then so furtively was it introduced that many thousands, who at that time believed, and still believe, in the mission of Joseph Smith, as set forth by himself deny that he ever taught such a doctrine. It was brought before the public in a quarrel between the Prophet and that shimming light, Dr. John Cooke Bennett, the major-general of the Nauvoo Legion, and the mayor of the city.
With a people who subordinate their own judgment and sense of right and wrong to authoritative teaching, it was an easy matter for any doctrine to be introduced, however false and vicious it might be; and when to that disposition in the people is added their constant expectation of mysterious revelations, there is no extreme of folly or crime which may not be
184 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
easily imposed upon their credulity. Bennett's relations with the Prophet being of the most intimate character, it was easy for him to succeed in imposing upon silly women the spiritual-wife doctrine as an emanation from Heaven; and this he is charged with doing with a success that is humiliating to confess.
Those who have not lived under the influence of an inspired prophet can form no idea of the facility with which a religious people can be taught any doctrine, and be led on to lay aside their education, or their sense of morality, and thus be cast in the mould of a teachers mind. It was this, and not natural depravity, that enabled such men as Bennett to succeed in contaminating and debauching very respectable ladies in Nauvoo.
Bennett, it is said, taught the Mormon sisters with whom he had acquaintance that he had been instructed by the Prophet in this Mormon phase of affinity; but before the city council he affirmed that Joseph, as far as he knew, had ever been highly moral in his conduct; and before Alderman Wells he made affidavit that he never knew him to teach anything contrary to the strictest principles of virtue. When Bennett got away from Nauvoo he denied these statements, and claimed that they were made by him when his life was in danger.* Many even of the good Mormons have always believed that Joseph taught Bennett of the proposed introduction of polygamy, but that Bennett ran ahead of his teacher, and introduced free-loveism in its broadest sense.
* Bennett says that Joseph threatened him with half-a-dozen different kinds of death. His narrative of duress is too theatrical.
There is, no doubt, much truth in Bennett's book, "Mormonism Exposed," but no statement that he makes can be received with confidence. As a justification of his separation from Joseph, and his exposure of the "mysteries" of Mormonism, he states that he never was a believer, but only assumed the faith in order to become thoroughly initiated, and qualify himself for its exposure. It is not unlikely that his faith in the Prophet was very limited, but his association with "the Lord's servant" sprang from no such consideration as that which he states. Governor Ford gives him the following friendly notice:
"This Bennett was probably the greatest scamp in the Western country. I have made particular enquiries concerning him, and have traced him in several places in which he had lived, before he joined the Mormons, in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and he was everywhere accounted the same debauched, unprincipled, and profligate character." - History of Illinois, p. 263.Notwithstanding Bennett disclaimed that he ever had any faith in Mormonism,
THE PROPHET'S SONS DENY HIS POLYGAMY. 185
Many interesting affidavits were given to the public in denunciation of Bennett and in defence of the Prophet. Everything that could be thought of was done to mislead the public as to the veritable teachings promulgated concerning marriage, and from the time of this outbreak with Bennett in 1842, until the announcement of the revelation by Brigham Young, in Salt Lake City, in 1852, it was the duty of the Mormon missionaries to prevaricate, and even positively deny, when necessary, that the Mormon Church was other than monogamic, and the extent of demoralization growing out of these denials would be incredible were the facts not incontrovertible.
The sons of the Prophet have been very restive under the imputation of polygamous practices being attributed to their father. They have laboured indefatigably in decrying polygamy, and have devoted a large share of their time, talent, ink, and paper in hostility to it, as they evidently believe it is both a great error and a great sin. But as the facts of Joseph's marital relations with "sisters" who claim to be his "wives," in the Mormon sense, are overwhelming, the sons, in denying their sire's polygamy, are driven to the alternative of silently allowing the inevitable charge of practical "free-love," "adultery," or whatever others may choose to call it. At the present time there are probably about a dozen "sisters" in Utah who proudly acknowledge themselves to be the "wives of Joseph," and how many others there may have been who held that relationship -- "no man knoweth."
The defenders of the Prophet have called for the posterity of that polygamy as evidence of the claim, and the Mormons, seeing the force of the challenge, would have been glad to have accommodated the sons by presenting "the righteous seed" of the father for their recognition; but the only semblance there ever was of success was a case which once made some stir for a short time, but ended in total failure. A daughter of one of these "wives," living north of Salt Lake City, was claimed to be Joseph's; but it is said to have required more faith than
he figured extensively as a devoted believer at a conference of Mormons, under the leadership of James Strang, at Voree, Wisconsin Territory, in October, 1846, four years after his public and scandalous denial. Governor Ford's judgment of him is too well founded.
186 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
even Brigham Young could muster to reach that conclusion, and so that frail link failed to serve the desired end -- much to the credit of Brigham's honesty.
While the argument of the young Smiths and the friends of the Prophet has a semblance of force, it is really very weak, The greater portion of the Prophets patriarchal experience was within a few years preceding his death; and with arrests threatening him daily, and the sleepless eye of Mrs. Emma Smith for ever on his track, the frequent visits to the domiciles of his unrecognized wives might find an easy physiological explanation; while the fact that the divorce did not always precede the second matrimony would account for much in a very natural way.
Josephs love was neither Platonic nor
arithmetically circumscribed. He was strong in impulse, with a thorough
disregard to the conventionalities of the Gentile world - he was a law
THE PROPHET'S SONS DENY HIS POLYGAMY. 187
and told him that his domestic relations in that quarter were at an end: that he must not again be a husband to his wife! She whom he idolized, who had been to him the partner of his joys and cares, who had borne to him his children, and who had filled his soul with the hope of a happy future, was to be accounted his no more Joseph had concealed the fact of his marital relations with his wife from him, and the wife, faithful to the Prophet, had for these years been reticent until silence could no longer be maintained. The Prophets widow had chosen the Prophets successor for her proxy husband,* and he [Brigham] could maintain no doubtful relationship towards her. The elder was cavalierly informed that he could take another wife, and soon after that he was sent on a preaching mission to England, where he could assuage his grief by a second experience of connubial bliss!
There is a temptation to add more, but where people have honestly accepted a principle of faith, as the Mormons have polygamy, and paid for it as dearly as they have, there would be no justification for adding to personal misery by the public relation of that which the parties affected would feel hurt to read. The curiosity of the reader is, however, entitled to be gratified by the statement that the sadly wronged husband is still a Mormon and that that thrice-wedded wife is practically husbandless, being kindly provided for by the excellent husband of her daughter -- the offspring of Brigham in this world, but, according to the Mormon faith, the child of Joseph in the world to come. What a page of life!
It is only a few years ago that Brigham in a moment of confidence communicated to one of the leading apostles, that the wife whom he [the apostle] had cherished as the companion of his youth -- a wife to him, as he supposed, for about two-score years -- had actually been "sealed" to Joseph during the life-time of the latter. How many other apostles and elders
*In this confused marital relationship there is a principle of faith discernible. To have continued to live with Mr. J. and to have borne more children to him would not have added glory to Joseph; besides, it was very proper that Mr. J., having lost his wife, should have the opportunity of securing another wife who should he altogether his own. The general idea, therefore, that the lady was actuated solely by ambition in her choice of Brigham as a "proxy" for Joseph may perhaps be without foundation.
188 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
will "wake up in the morning of the resurrection" and find heir wives the glory of a Prophet's crown, it is hard to conjecture!
Mrs. Emma Smith may feel justified in denying that her husband was a polygamist; for she may neither assent to the use of the term, nor acknowledge the principle. But there is, to the Author's mind, the most satisfactory evidence that Joseph Smith had "sealed" to him a large number of women some time before his death, many of whom have stated to the Author that they were "the wives of Joseph Smith;" that "Mrs. Emma Smith was aware of the fact," and that it was the trouble growing out of the discovery of such relationship that called forth the "Revelation." Of this the "Revelation" itself bears much internal evidence.
Joseph's elder brother, Hyrum, believed at first (and well he might), that his Prophet-brother had taken counsel of his own passions, and he opposed him publicly as well as in private.
* The above is from a recent photograph. The author regrets that he could not obtain a portrait of an earlier date. The Prophet's widow, some years after his assassination, became the wife of Major Bidamon, and continued to reside at Nauvoo, where she is the object of much attention and respect.
WHY THE REVELATION WAS GIVEN. 189
Mrs. Smith was indignant, and rendered his life unhappy.* In those moments of gloom and deep solicitude the Prophet realized the necessity of something to turn away wrath and hostility from his door. There are Mormons still living who affirm that they know from Joseph's own lips that "a revelation was necessary, and would be had, to satisfy Hyrum, and to allay the storm that was brewing among the married women, and also to satisfy the young women" whom it was desirable to convert. The Prophet went into his office one morning, closed the door, was inspired, and his amanuensis -- elder William Clayton, now in Salt Lake City -- wrote that "Revelation" as Joseph dictated to him.
In a measure, his point was now accomplished. His brother Hyrum was converted, and took other wives himself. Peace reigned thereafter in that branch of the Smith family. But Mrs. Emma Smith was never truly converted to the "Revelation," though it is claimed that she "softened down' and went so far as to acknowledge several, if she could not "receive all that have been given unto my servant Joseph." Such were the circumstances attending the birth of this famous "Revelation."
* "The wife of the Prophet Joseph rebelled against it, and declared if he persisted she would desert for another." -- Gunnison, p. 72.
Mrs. Smith evidently thought something of separation, and Joseph made preparations for such an event. But "the Lord" came to his aid, and that famous revelation on polygamy contains the following very significant menace:
"And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law." -- Revelation on Polygamy, par. 21.
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It was very natural that "the Saints" should recall to mind the sayings of their martyred Prophet when, even in the remotest manner, he had expressed an apprehension of early death - such as "I am going like a lamb to the slaughters etc.," or when he had done anything that could be interpreted as preparatory to "shuffling off this mortal coil." These were now sacred reminiscences and confirmed his prophetic character in the estimation and love of the people. Unfortunately, however, for the peace and unity of the Church, in all the multitude of his sayings and doings he made no direct and open preparation for the presidency of the Church in case of his death,* and thus his martyrdom wrought confusion among the disciples. They were left "like sheep without a shepherd."
The apostles Taylor and Richards were with Joseph in Carthage jail, and all the other apostles were preaching in the States. On hearing the news of the tragedy, most of them hastened to Nauvoo, to counsel together upon the necessities of the situation.
Joseph and Hyrum Smith, with Sidney Rigdon, had constituted "the first Presidency of the Church:" they were the ruling powers of the Kingdom. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had, in a conventional way, been recognized as
* It is claimed that "young Joseph" -- eldest son of the Prophet -- "was appointed through his father according to the law of lineage, by prophecy, and blessing, in Liberty jail, Missouri; by revelation in 1841, and by a formal anointing in a Council in Nauvoo, in 1844," to be the successor of his father.
THE SCRAMBLE FOR JOSEPH'S PLACE. 205
"equal in authority to the First Presidency:" but up to this time the acknowledgment was merely nominal. At the death of the Smiths, Rigdon alone, of the First Presidency, remained, while the Quorum of the Apostles was entire.
For several years preceding this period, Rigdon had been somewhat lukewarm and unreliable. Still, he clung to the faith, loved the Saints, and was certain to be present on the great occasions of Mormon demonstration. Sidney had never fairly got over the sufferings he endured in Missouri. His enthusiasm was chilled; and, besides this, Joseph, in seeking the hand of his daughter, Nancy, greatly offended him. At the time of the Prophet's death, Rigdon was residing with his family in Pittsburg, Ohio, trying to take life easily, while Brigham Young, the Pratts, Hyde, and other apostles were out on missions. When the news of the assassination arrived, he set out in haste and arrived first in Nauvoo. Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, Heber C. Kimball, and other apostles arrived soon after.
Who should rule the Church was now an open question.
Rigdon -- aware of the logical fact that one is the smaller part of three, and realizing that his active fellowship with the living Joseph had been questionable for some years back -- proposed to the Saints the appointment of a "guardian" over the church, a sort of regency, until further development should manifest "the will of the Lord." He had no hopes that he would then be accepted as a "prophet, seer, and revelator," though he had been ordained to all those high offices. Like a brevetted general, he had only worn his titles of glory. He was, therefore, contented to become the "guardian" -- if only he could attain to that position.
Marsh had apostatized; Patten had been killed; and, by the accident of seniority, Brigham Young was at the head of the Quorum of the Twelve. No one questioned his fidelity to the Prophet up to this time; but, personally, he was remarkable for nothing - except being "hard-working Brigham Young." He was infinitely inferior in education and mental development to the Pratts and Hyde, but the apostasy of Marsh and the death of Patten, his predecessors in the ranks of the apostles, had brought him uppermost in that Quorum.
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The Church was now splitting into fragments. Many were uncertain of the future, and many more began to be doubtful of the past. In the language of Brigham, the people began to be "much every way." "Some were for Joseph and Hyrum, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, the Temple and Joseph's measures; some were for Lyman Wight; some for James Emmett; some for Sidney Rigdon, and, I suppose, some for the Twelve."
Rigdon had been the Boanerges of the new faith, and had given it the first important aid which it received; but he was now waning in everything. He had seen Joseph revel in visions, dreams, and revelations, and had witnessed their wonderful effect upon the bewildered minds of the Saints. To step securely into Joseph's shoes, he had to do something like him, or to be for ever overthrown -- like Lucifer, for his ambition in seeking the headship of the Church. He essayed the role of Joseph and entered upon the shadowy regions of revelation. He had nightly visions about Gog and Magog, and saw wonderful things which were soon to take place. The great battle of Armageddon was at hand, and Rigdon was to lead on the hosts
RIGDON DELIVERED OVER TO SATAN. 207
of the Lord to the slaughter till the blood flowed up to the horses' bridles. When that was all done and got through with, he, as a conqueror, was to be privileged with the honour of "pulling the nose of little Vic.!"
This mad raving before public audiences, and the familiarity of language in using the name of her most gracious majesty, the sovereign of Great Britain, render comment on such fanaticism unnecessary. In private assemblages of the brethren he announced that he held "the keys of David," and he ordained some special friends to be "prophets, priests, and kings," and made general preparation for the maintenance of his claims, by force if necessary, to the guardianship of the Church.
Rigdon was brought up for public trial before the High Council in Nauvoo, on the 8th of September, with eight of the apostles as "witnesses" -- who in reality acted as principal accusers. Brigham led off with a speech about Rigdon's history, and was followed by the other apostles and all who had anything to say about the matter. He was charged with the determination to "rule or ruin the Church." Brigham was as determined that he should do neither. Rigdon was said to be sick, and failed to appear at trial; but that was no hindrance. The accusations were listened to, and the family quarrel was anything but edifying to the Saints. Finally, it was moved "that he be cut off from the Church and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until he repent." To this the reporter adds:
"Elder Young arose, and delivered Sidney Rigdon over to the buffetings of Satan in the name of the Lord; and all the people said, Amen."
Some ten persons voted in favour of Rigdon, and these were immediately "suspended" from fellowship.
Brigham's notions of freedom of voting are singularly amusing. He works up his audience to the affirmative of what he has to propose, and as he calls for an expression of the people's mind by a show of uplifted hands, he stands up in the congregation to watch the operation. He then asks for a negative vote, and should any unfortunates differ from him they are captured. He has more recently added to this amusement of free voting the instruction beforehand to the congregation: "Now, brethren,
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look around you, and see who are voting; we want every one to vote one way or another." Should the voting be the "one way," all is serene; should it be "the other way," he then forces a collision which terminates with something analogous to King Richard's ejaculation -- "Off with his head! So much for Buckingham!" Brigham's free voting assemblies closely resemble those of the ancient parliaments of France, which were only convened to ratify the arbitrary edicts of the absolute monarchs of that kingdom.
For some time after the trial, Sidney showed considerable disposition to fight the position assumed by Brigham and the Twelve, and for that purpose he revived the Latter-Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, in Pittsburg, Pa.; but it had only a short-lived existence. He is now very feeble with age and infirmity, and living in Friendship, New York. It has been generally expected that some day he would confess to having aided Joseph Smith in fabricating, from "Solomon Spaulding's Manuscript," the Book of Mormon; but there seems to be no ground for such a hope. All through his trial those who knew him before he was a Mormon spoke of him in such a manner as leaves no room to doubt Rigdon's own sincerity in the Mormon faith, and his total ignorance of the existence of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon till after that work had been published.
As soon as Sidney was disposed of, the change in the government of the Church was almost magical. Joseph was always gushing over with inspiration and abounding in revelations. He had one or two men around him who aided him with counsel; but, after all, Joseph was the dominant figure throughout. Over the Church there were now twelve men, most of whom were ambitious to work. They were in new spheres of action, and set out, in the language of the conventicle, to "magnify their calling."
In entering upon a new page of history, they thought it prudent to revise the past. Joseph had trusted more to miraculous interpositions, "the Lord," and outside politicians, then had been profitable. Brigham had been a hard-working man, and he knew the superiority of practical labour over visions, dreams, and revelations. He knew, too, the uncertainty of
WHO SHALL RULE THE CHURCH? 209
politics. He had studied Joseph's troubles, had witnessed the terrible effect of Sidney's flighty attempts at continuing revelation, and had resolved to change the thoughts of the people.
Joseph was "a natural born seer," and had a pedestal of his own. There Brigham intended that he should remain -- alone and undisturbed. With Joseph among them, the Saints had "walked by sight." With Brigham, they were now to "walk by faith." That was the safer position. Instead of vaulting to the prominence of the "Revelator," Brigham brought down the revelations to the grasp of the people, and distributed them broadcast among them. "Every member," said he, "has the right of receiving revelation for himself." This was a flattering privilege, and a great consolation; it had to satisfy the Saints, and it saved Brigham the unpleasantness of comparison. "Let no man presume for a moment that his (Joseph's) place will be filled by another," was the language of the hour; "you are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you; but you are not without apostles who hold the keys of power to seal on earth that which shall be sealed in heaven... I am not a prophet, seer, or revelator, as Joseph was," continues Brigham; "neither do I give revelations with 'Thus saith the Lord,' as he did, and so much the better for the Saints, for if I did so, and they did not live up to those revelations, they would be condemned."
This was certainly a very kind consideration. What a deal of condemnation the Saints would have been saved if Joseph had only thought of it in his time! They now, however, had only "Hobson's choice," and were obliged to accept the situation. It is a sensible axiom that "half a loaf is better than no bread:" the Saints could not make a Joseph, they had of necessity to accept a Brigham. The soul and inspiration of Mormonism were gone. There was no successor to Joseph -- there could be none. Brigham at once announced that Joseph had left enough of revelation to guide them for twenty years. To build up "the kingdom" to Joseph, and to carry out Joseph's measures, were henceforth to be ambition and glory enough. Brigham might occupy Joseph's seat on the platform, but he could never fill his place in the Church, and no one knew this better than Brigham himself. He saw before him a multitude
210 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
of people who had been gathered by revelation, and who had fed upon it daily. There was but one thing that could be done - make them work out an idea. "Build up the kingdom to Joseph: build it to Joseph!" -- "He is looking down upon us, and is with us as much as before." The people laboured for Joseph, and Brigham controlled and garnered the results for himself. The past style of doing business was to be changed; the loose ends were to be tied up, and everything was to be put upon a strictly commercial basis. The Saints were to gather to Nauvoo as before, but every member of the Church was to "proceed immediately to tithe himself or herself a tenth of all their property or money, and pay it into the hands of the Twelve," and "the members can then employ the remainder of their capital in every branch of enterprise, industry, and charity, as seemeth them good; only holding themselves in readiness to be advised in such manner as shall be for the good of themselves and the whole society."
Brigham meant to control everybody and everything; and from the time when he signed the first epistle -- "Brigham Young, President of the Twelve, Nauvoo, August 15th, 1844," to the present hour, he has never lost sight of that part of his programme.
In politics he was equally emphatic. None of the candidates for the presidential chair had "manifested any disposition or intention to redress wrong or restore right, liberty, or law," and the Saints were counselled to "stand aloof from all men and measures till some one could be found who would carry out the enlarged principles of our beloved prophet and martyr, General Joseph Smith." In the mean time "the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will, both in time and eternity, to minister, preside, and regulate the affairs of the whole Church."
The coup d'etat that overthrew Rigdon and placed Brigham on the throne was then complete. All that remained to be done, was to officially decapitate Rigdon and hand him over to Satan, which, as before stated, Brigham duly attended to on the 8th of September.
There is something strikingly characteristic of the man in the foundation then laid of his present position. He has been
THE THIN EDGE OF THE WEDGE. 211
charged with inconsistency in asserting at the time of Joseph's death that "no man should stand in his place," while subsequently he filled that place himself. But to this he has a ready answer: "No one can take the place of Joseph; he is still in his place at the head of the Church, and will always be there throughout time and eternity." This language is somewhat diplomatic, but it is consistent with the whole tenor of his life -- "the end justifies the means."
That the people should not understand Brigham's ulterior purposes is not a matter of surprise. He understood them himself, and seized the earliest opportunity of preparing for the contemplated change as soon as the people should be ready for the experiment. On the 2nd of September an editorial appeared in the Times and Seasons, in which occurs the following shrewd, half-expressed anticipation of the change:
"Great excitement prevails throughout the world to know who 'shall be the successor of Joseph Smith.' In reply, we say be patient, be patient a little, and we will tell you all. 'Great wheels move slowly.' At present we can say that a special conference of the Church was held at Nauvoo on the 8th ultimo, and it was carried without a dissenting voice that the 'Twelve' should preside over the whole Church, and when any alteration in the presidency shall be required, reasonable notice will be given; and the elders abroad will best exhibit their wisdom to all men by remaining silent on those things they are ignorant of."
That the Twelve should preside over the whole Church, is placed in the fore-ground to be seen of all men, and to be spoken of openly, but, "when any alteration in the Presidency shall be required," a silent reserve was to be maintained, which only the wise could understand. Discussion was imprudent -- silence was wisdom. Shrewd Brigham!
From a neutral standpoint, and taking the two men and their antecedents into account, the Church, however little it may have gained, lost nothing by preferring Brigham before Rigdon; but to a people like the Mormons, accustomed to so much revelation as Joseph had given them, and the guidance of "the Lord" in everything -- even to the building of a "boarding-house" - this period of their history is singularly suggestive. -- The "Revelator" was truly gone.
The distinctive feature of Mormonism was henceforth to be
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implicit, unquestioning "obedience" -- an utter subjugation of will and personality to the dictates of the Priesthood. "Religion was made up of obedience, let life or death come." "Satan was hurled from heaven for resisting authority." * The past troubles of Mormonism were all then traceable to freedom of thought. The murderers of the Smiths were "a hundredth part less guilty than the apostates." "A little difference of feeling; a little difference of opinion; a little difference of spirit; and this difference has finally ended in bloodshed and murder." From this time the Mormon leaders have intensely hated "apostates," and to this day they have not discovered the possibility of any person leaving the Mormon faith, without at the same time "thirsting for the blood of the Prophet."
While the Rigdon-Young difficulty about the succession was going on, Lyman Wight, one of the twelve apostles, and William Smith, another apostle and brother of the murdered Prophet, were objects of some anxiety; but the former was "let alone severely," and the latter, for a time, was spoken of with patronizing kindness as "the remaining brother of the Prophet and the Patriarch." Wight went to Texas with a small company to form a settlement. There they suffered a good deal together, and finally broke up and scattered where they could. The Prophet's brother was soon after accused of sowing his "wild oats," without proper regard to the order of the new revelation; and he was easily got rid of. He has since managed to maintain a happy obscurity. John E. Page, another apostle, became discontented, apostatized, and was cut off, while Gladden Bishop, Strang, Brewster, Hendrick, Cutler, Emmett, and a host of other elders were in the enjoyment
* "Epistle of the Twelve." Times and Seasons, Vol. V., page 618.
From the beginning of Mormonism the ruling authorities have accepted defamation of character as the best weapon with which to assail the discontented. Without challenging the Mormon charges against the Prophet's brother, it is due to the latter to append the following from the Clayton County (Iowa) Journal:
"During the war with the South he served nearly two years as a soldier, in helping to put down the rebellion. In 1841 and 42 he served in the legislature as representative from Hancock county, in the State of Illinois. He has followed the occupation of a farmer in the vicinity of Elkader, and upon Sundays occasionally preaching. As a man, he is candid, honest, and upright -- a citizen of whom rumour speaks no evil, and he is a faithful expounder of true Mormonism, while he deprecates polygamy."
GREAT EXCITEMENT IN HANCOCK COUNTY. 213
of a fearful amount of new and bewildering revelation about who should succeed Joseph Smith, and all of them opposed to Brigham Young's leadership of the Church.
Unborn, yet blessed and prophetically announced, was David Hyrum Smith, to be at some future time the ruler of the Mormon Church. * David Hyrum saw the light of this vain and wicked world on the 17th of November, 1844, about five months after the death of his father, and from his birth he became an object of the deepest interest to all professors of the Mormon faith.
While the dissensions which have just been noticed stamped the history of the Church with the confusion of Babel, the Gentiles were preparing anew for hostilities. The assassination of Joseph Smith was soon discovered to be a great blunder. There was nothing about the Prophet personally, and still less, if possible, about his brother Hyrum, to justify, even in the remotest manner, the Carthage tragedy. The assassins had mistaken men for principles. Joseph was a liberal, big-hearted man, and the last person whom the world would have taken for a prophet. In Carthage jail the Prophet and Patriarch were but men: in Nauvoo they were representatives of a system. The mobbers, murderers, and assassins at Carthage could extinguish the one: the other was left intact. Brigham Young with a tragedy for his text was a more difficult man to deal with than Joseph Smith with a revelation to announce.
The excitement in Hancock county was soon renewed, and the extremists on either side felt the desperation of their situation. The one sought to justify the assassination of the Prophet, the other to revenge his death. The resolutions passed at any meeting at Nauvoo or Carthage amounted to nothing: with such an account unsettled there could be no honesty on either side. There were hostility and conflict of interests which no preambles, resolutions, or public speaking could affect. The Mormons hated the Gentiles, and the Gentiles hated the Mormons. This was the only point upon which they were agreed. They were each of them ready to believe and act upon the most exaggerated and groundless reports,
* This prediction rests upon the remembrance of the Hon. John M. Bernhisel, formerly delegate from Utah to Congress.
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and there was nothing too bad for either of them to credit concerning the other. Of this time Governor Ford gives the following interesting picture:
"The Mormons invoked the assistance of Government to take vengeance upon the murderers of the Smiths. The anti-Mormons asked the Governor to violate the constitution which he was sworn to support, by erecting himself into a military despot and exiling the Mormons. The Mormons on their part, in their newspapers, invited the Government to assume absolute power by taking a summary vengeance upon their enemies, by shooting fifty or a hundred of them, without judge or jury. Both parties were thoroughly disgusted with constitutional provisions restraining them from summary vengeance; each was ready to submit to arbitrary power, to the fiat of a dictator, to make me a king for the time being, or at least that I might exercise the power of a king to abolish both the forms and spirit of a free government, if the despotism erected upon its ruins could only be wielded for their benefit, and to take vengeance on their enemies....
BURNING A MORMON SETTLEMENT. 215
raising about five hundred volunteers; and thus did these Whigs, that which my own political friends, with two or three exceptions, were slow to do, from a sense of gratitude....
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others to the neighbouring counties in Illinois. The sheriff was unable or unwilling to bring any portion of the rioters to battle or to arrest any of them for their crimes. The posse came near surprising one small squad, but they made their escape, all but one, before they could be attacked. This one, named McBratney, was shot down by some of the posse in advance, by whom he was hacked and mutilated as though he had been murdered by the Indians.
THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL. 217
"When informed of these proceedings, I hastened to Jacksonville, where, in a conference with General Hardin, Major Warren, Judge Douglas, and the Attorney-General, Mr. McDougall, it was agreed that these had been raised, few or many, and put an end to these disorders. It was gentlemen should proceed to Hancock in all haste, with whatever forces now apparent that neither party in Hancock could be trusted with the power to keep the peace. It was also agreed that all these gentlemen should unite their influence with mine to induce the Mormons to leave the State.
During the renewed contention the Mormons exerted every energy to complete the Temple. The faithful had been taught that they and all that was theirs should be consecrated to this great work, and themselves greatly blessed by aiding in it. They had learned that therein a great endowment would be bestowed upon the living, and peculiar privileges accorded to their dead. The faith and labours of the people were in an extraordinary degree stimulated by the announcement that if the Temple were not completed within a specified time "the Lord would reject them and their dead."
The Mormons estimated this building at about six hundred thousand dollars, and in its construction and design it exhibited "more wealth, more art, more science, more revelation, more splendour, and more God, than all the rest of the world."
Their pride in this particular instance was pardonable, for the Temple was reared in the midst of great poverty, and, before they could complete it, the masons, carpenters, and artisans had their fire-arms lying beside their tools, while watchmen were continually on the alert to sound the alarm on the approach of any foe. Thus, in the New Zion, the Scripture story of the pains and perils of the Jewish builders of the walls of Jerusalem, under the guidance of Nehemiah, was repeated, which the Mormons failed not to remember, and from it made a pointed application.
Indictments had been found in the Circuit Court of the
*"History of Illinois," pp. 361-410.
In a subsequent chapter the ordinances for the dead are treated of.
218 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
United States, for the District of Illinois, against a number of the leading Mormons, for counterfeiting the coin of the Republic, and the marshal was eager for their arrest. The Governor declined to call out the militia to support the sheriff believing that it was better, after the calamities that had already befallen the Saints, and the promise they had given of expatriating themselves in the spring, to allow them to escape without further molestation; a conclusion which he readily reached, as he believed that none of them could be convicted.
This bogus money-making in Nauvoo has been strenuously denied by Brigham and some of the apostles, and very probably those who denied all knowledge of that business were perfectly truthful in their statements, as far as they themselves were concerned. But that bogus money was made and in circulation, in and around Nauvoo, and also was sent to a distance for circulation, can certainly not be denied. That some of "the brethren" were engaged in its manufacture seems to be well supported by facts which subsequently transpired.
No one unacquainted with the history of the Saints at this time could possibly imagine the recrimination and bitterness of feeling that existed between the Mormons and anti-Mormons of Nauvoo and the surrounding districts. It was worse than civil war, worse than a war of races; it was religious hate! It was fed by fanaticism on both sides -- a fanaticism that was truly despicable. It demonstrated beyond controversy that Mormonism, and what is termed by the Saints "the world," are incompatible with each other. With the faith of the Saints that they were building up "a kingdom," it was very natural that they should act differently from the citizens of a Republic, and that they should seek to control, and not submit to be controlled. With no faith in that religion, it was as natural for "the Gentiles" to view with alarm every influence and power in the county passing into Mormon hands. The idea of subjugation was at the bottom of their thoughts, and they were determined not to submit. It was evident to every one that there could be no peace so long as the Mormons remained in the county, and for their expulsion the anti-Mormons of the neighbouring counties pledged "their lives and their sacred honour."
[ 424 ]
A few weeks in advance of the United States Expedition to Utah in 1857, there were two trains of emigrants crossing the plains with the purpose of going to southern California. The one was from Missouri, the other from Arkansas. The former was composed chiefly of men who named themselves "Missouri Wild-cats;" the other train was a company of highly-respectable persons, sober and orderly, and in their associations seemed like a large gathering of kindred, or very near friends. The first were probably venturous spirits seeking fortune; the others, citizens seeking new homes.
The latter company was wealthy, and there were around them every indication of comfort, and everything in abundance for pleasant travelling. In addition to the ordinary transportation wagons of emigrants, they had several riding carriages, which betokened the social class of life in which some of the emigrants had moved before setting out on the adventure of western colonization.
THE JOURNEY TOWARDS SALT LAKE. 427
They were in no hurry, but travelled leisurely, with the view of nursing the strength of their cattle, horses, and mules, in order to accomplish successfully the long and tedious journey which they had undertaken. In that company there were men, women, and children, of every age, from the venerable patriarch to the baby in arms. It was a bevy of families related to each other by the ties of consanguinity and marriage, with here and there in the train a neighbour who desired to share with them the chances of fortune in the proposed new homes on the golden shores of the Pacific.
One of their number had been a Methodist preacher, and probably most of the adults were members of that denomination. They were moral in language and conduct, and united regularly in morning and evening prayers.
On Sundays they did not travel, but observed it as a day of sacred rest for man and beast. At the appointed hour of service, this brother-preacher assembled his fellow-travellers in a large tent, which served as a meeting-house, within their wagon-circled camp, for the usual religious exercises, and there, on the low, boundless prairies, or in higher altitudes at the base of snow-capped mountains, he addressed them as fervently, and with as much soul-inspiring faith, as if his auditory had been seated comfortably within the old church-walls at home, and they too sang their hymns of praise with grateful, feeling souls, and with hearts impressed with the realization that man was but a speck in the presence of that grand and limitless nature that surrounded them, and of which they were but a microscopic part.
Those who passed the company en route, or travelled with them a part of the way, were favourably impressed with their society, and spoke of them in the kindest terms as an exceedingly fine company of emigrants, such as was seldom seen on the plains.
Though utterly unlike themselves in character and disposition, the "Wild-cats" contracted for them much respect, and came as near to them in travelling as was convenient for the grazing of the cattle and the purposes of the camp at night. Within sight of each other they would form their corrals, but, while the one resounded with vulgar song, boisterous roaring,
428 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
and "tall swearing," in the other there was the peace of domestic bliss and conscious rectitude.
A gentleman, a friend of the Author, travelled with this Arkansas company from Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City, and speaks of them in the highest terms: he never travelled with more pleasant companions. Hearing the nightly yells of the "Wild-cats," he advised the Arkansas company to separate from them as much as possible while passing through the settlements, and in going through the Indian country. At that time it was easy to provoke a difficulty; the whole country was excited over the news of the "invading army;" and so much was this gentleman impressed with the necessity of great prudence on the part of the emigrants that, after he had left them on his arrival at Salt Lake City, he afterwards returned and impressed upon the leading men the urgency of refusing to travel further with the Missouri company so near to them. The kindly suggestions were appreciated, and they expressed their desire to act upon them. Up to tin's time the journey of the emigrants had been prosperous, and everything bade fair for a pleasant termination of their travels. Like all other pilgrims, they had counted upon replenishing their stock of provisions at Salt Lake City, and to do tins, and to rest their cattle, they concluded to camp awhile by the Jordan.
In early times of overland travel, the arrival of a Gentile emigrant train was usually a pleasant season for trade and barter, and those who thought proper to visit the camp could readily exchange the fruits of the garden and the produce of the dairy or the field for tea, coffee, sugar, and similar useful articles, which the emigrants had in greater abundance. Many a sister in Salt Lake City has bedecked herself with apparel advantageously purchased from the passers-by with the eggs and butter she had accumulated for just such an opportunity. But a change had come over the spirit of the people in 1857. The Federal troops were advancing upon Zion, and the Saints were preparing for the defence of their homes. The Indian is not the only human being who fails to discriminate between the innocent and the guilty.
DEATH OF PARLEY P. PRATT. 429
preachers that some of the Missouri company had boasted on the way that they had taken part in driving the Mormons from that State, and they are also said to have expressed their joy at the approach of the United States army to "wipe out the Mormons," and adding to that folly that they themselves would willingly assist in such a pleasant work. The alleged animus against the other company can be briefly told. About twelve months preceding that time one of the Apostles, Parley P. Pratt, had been arraigned at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on a charge of abducting the children of one Hector McLean, of New Orleans, and trying to run them off" to Utah. The mother of the children had years before become converted to the Mormon faith in California, and subsequently became one of the Mrs. P. P. Pratt in Utah. This apostle had not, at this time, been to New Orleans, and he personally did not abduct the children: of the act direct he was guiltless, bnt he was to meet with Mrs. McLean Pratt in Arkansas while she was en route from New Orleans to Utah. Of that Hector McLean became assured, and he started "upon their trail."
At the examination before a magistrate, Mrs. McLean Pratt assumed all the responsibility for the abduction of the children, and the apostle was honourably discharged. His friends, however, apprehended danger, and advised him to escape, if he could, for McLean was a violent man. Those who proffered this advice also offered him a brace of revolvers for his defence, but the apostle refused the carnal weapons, and preferred, on this occasion, to leave "his life in the protection of the Lord." In such a sparsely-settled country the escape of the apostle was impossible. In a few hours McLean was certain to overtake him wherever he went. At length he came within sight of his enemy, as he regarded the apostle, and hotly pursued him with a thirst for blood. Hoping for some possible shelter, Mr. Pratt made some detour from the public road, but it served him nothing, for McLean reached him before he could arrive at the house where he thought to take refuge. Following him closely, he emptied his revolver at the apostle, bnt failed to touch him. He became much enraged, urged forward his horse, and, as he rode past him, made a lunge with a bowie-knife, and gave him a fatal thrust in the side. The wounded
430 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
man instantly fell from his horse, and McLean, with a Derringer that he obtained from one who accompanied him, fired again at his victim ns he lay bleeding on the ground. That ball penetrated his breast, and in a few hours later the apostle Parley P. Pratt was dead. *
McLean returned to Fort Smith, walked through the town with his friends, and in the evening took the passing steamer for the South. No one seemed to think that he should be arrested; Mormonism and apostles were unpopular. Whether with justice in this case or not, there is always a feeling of sympathy for the injured when domestic intrusions are before the public.
A contributor to the Corinne Reporter, a Gentile paper published about sixty miles north of Salt Lake City, recently published a series of "open letters" addressed to Brigham Young, in which there is much light thrown upon the terrible fate of the two emigrant companies from Missouri and Arkansas. The writer of the letters signed himself "Argus," and, for prudential reasons, has withheld his name from the public.
As this gentleman relates with minuteness of detail the circumstances preceding the massacre, and also gives a thrilling picture of that dreadful deed, the Author avails himself of the courtesy by which he has been permitted to make such extracts as were necessary to tell the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre: only prefacing these extracts with the statement that the charges as to the author of the order for
* It has often been charged to Parley that he seduced Mrs. McLean from her husband. Mrs. McLean asserts to the contrary.
As no statements of such importance as those made by this writer could possibly be cited in a work of this kind without knowing who he was, and whether he was likely to be in possession of the information that he claimed to know, for some months the Author sought anxiously, but ineffectually, to discover the writer's name; the publisher very properly concealed it. At an unlooked-for moment the thread was accidentally found, and "Argus" frankly avowed that he wrote the "open letters," and assured the Author that before a Federal court of justice, where he could be protected, he was prepared to give the evidence of all that he had asserted. It need only be added that "Argus" has probably been for thirty years a Mormon, has resided many years in Utah, has been a high-priest in the Church, and has held responsible civil positions in the Territory.
THE COMPANY FORBIDDEN TO REST. 431
the massacre, and the deductions of the writer against Brigham Young, have been nearly all left out: first, and principally, for brevity's sake, and secondly, from the consideration that, on so serious a charge as wholesale murder, the unconvicted should have, as before expressed, the benefit of whatever uncertainty there is about the matter. There is, however, sufficient extracted to make it very desirable for Brigham Young to encourage the investigation of these charges before a competent tribunal, to clear his name of the imputation -- if he is innocent.
EXTRACTS FROM "OPEN LETTERS FROM 'ARGUS' TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.""SIR: The company of emigrants slaughtered on the 15th of September, 1857, at the Mountain Meadows, and within your jurisdiction, was one of the wealthiest, most respectable and peaceable that ever crossed the continent by the way of Salt Lake City. They were American citizens -- were within the territory of the United States, and when they encamped by the Jordan river, upon the free, unenclosed and unappropriated public domain, and by the laws of Utah, their stock were 'free commoners' on that domain. The most of those emigrants had unquestionably been farmers, all of them rural in their habits of life; and from the fact that you did not charge them with being thieves, or robbers, or of trespassing upon the rights of others, or disturbing the public peace, or with behaving themselves unseemly, it is fair to infer that they were as upright and virtuous in their habits of thought, and as honest and honourable in their intercourse with others as people from country parts generally are. They came from Arkansas.* "
When they encamped by the Jordan they were weary and foot-sore, their supply of food was well-nigh exhausted, and their work-cattle nearly 'used up' by the labours of the long and toilsome journey. The necessity rested upon them of tarrying in Utah sufficiently long to rest and recruit their teams and replenish their store of provisions. The harvest in Utah that year, then gathering, was abundant, and mountain and valley were covered with rich and nutritious grasses. What was there to hinder this company from staying as long as they pleased, recruiting their stock, and pursuing their journey when they got ready? And, besides, what had they done that the protection of the law, represented in your person, should be worse than withdrawn from them? that they should be ordered to break up camp and move on? and, worse than all, that a courier should be sent ahead of them bearing your written instructions to the Mormons on said company's line of travel to have no dealing or intercourse with
* Mrs. McLean Pratt is said to have recognized one or more of the emigrants as being present at the murder of the apostle.
432 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
them; thus compelling them to almost certain death by starvation on the deserts? You were at that time the Governor of Utah, Commander-in-Chief of the militia, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, a sworn officer of the United States and of the Territory, upon whom devolved, and with whom were intrusted grave and important responsibilities, affecting the liberties of the people, the rights of persons and property, and the welfare and happiness of all within the pale of your authority without regard to sect, creed, name, or nativity, or differences between individual opinions. In addition to your magistrature, you were the chief high-priest of almost the entire body of the people, assuming to yourself extraordinary heavenly powers and an unusual amount of spiritual excellence. Without any modification of the term, you were professedly the earthly Vicar of the heavenly Saviour -- of Him who divinely discoursed on earth of mercy and of love, and whose last words were, Father, forgive them!'..."
Not being allowed to remain, this weary, unrested company 'broke camp' and took up their line of travel for Los Angeles. Their progress was necessarily slow. Arriving at American Fork settlement they essayed to trade off some of their worn-out stock for the fresh and reliable cattle of the Mormons, offering fine bargains; and also sought to buy provisions.
What must have been their surprise when they found they could do neither? Notwithstanding that flour, bacon, vegetables in variety, poultry, butter, cheese, eggs, ete., were in unusual abundance, and plenty of surplus stock, not the first thing could be bought or sold! They passed on through Battle Creek, Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Payson, Salt Creek and Fillmore, attempting at each settlement to purchase food and to trade for stock, but without success. It is true that occasionally some Mormon more daring than his fellows would sack up a few pounds of provisions, and under cover of night smuggle the same into the emigrant camp, taking his chances of a severed windpipe in satisfaction for zzzsneh unreasonable contempt of orders; but otherwise there was no food bought by this company thus far. And here it is worthy to remark that up to this time no complaint had been made against these travellers. They had been accused of no crime known to the laws, and, undeniably, it had been a point with them to quietly and peaceably pass through Utah, in the hope of reaching some Gentile settlement where their gold and cattle could buy them something to eat." The query arises here, What caused so strange and unprecedented a proceeding towards this particular company? The custom of the overland emigration at that time was well known; which was, to provision their trains for Salt Lake City, and refit at that place for California. If other trains could rest and recruit, could buy, sell and refit in Utah, why not this?... These people were from Arkansas, a State in which Parley P. Pratt, one of your fellow-apostles, had been killed... But to return. This ill-fated company were now at Fillmore. They had left their camp at the Jordan with almost empty wagons, they had been unable to purchase provisions, as before stated, they had but three or four settlements
THE EMIGRANTS REFUSED ALL SUPPLIES. 433
yet to pass through; and then their way would pass over the most to be dreaded of all the American deserts, where there would be no possibility of obtaining a pound of food. What their prospects, feelings and forebodings were at that time, I leave for your consideration; but, sir, I beg to call your attention to the fact that, at the capture of their train at the Mountain Meadows, their stores were found to be inadequate for the journey in contemplation. They were, indeed, well-nigh exhausted, with the exception of two purchases which I shall describe presently, which purchases were made after they had left Fillmore. There cannot be a reasonable doubt that they were already on short allowance when they reached that settlement.... There have been times, as in late occurrences in Paris, when men's passions have been aroused and excited, especially upon religious differences, and still more especially when associated with the idea of caste or race; outrages and wholesale butcheries have occurred; but here we have in free America a peaceable company of emigrants who were forced untimely into a journey, then half-starved, and finally slaughtered in cold blood! And this was the result of the apparent action of an entire people. Do you expect the world to believe that action to have been spontaneous with them? That the whole people from the Jordan to Fillmore should, of their own free will, uninfluenced, uninstructed, uncoerced, should all as one unite in denying these strangers the right even of buying food? Impossible! This company of Arkansas farmers, travelling with their wives and little ones, had now travelled through and by fifteen different settlements, large and small, peopled by Mormons under your absolute control in all things, and had not been able to buy food. Oh! what a falling off was there from the words of Him who said, 'If thine enemy hunger, feed him!'...
"At Fillmore their store of provisions was too scanty to allow of delay; and so soon as they found they could do no trading there they moved on, and in due course reached Corn Creek. Here they saw the first kindly look and heard the first friendly word since they left the Jordan. And, strange to say, those friends were Indians! They sold the emigrants 30 bushels of corn -- all they had to spare -- and sent them away in peace.
"The company passed on from Corn Creek, and, reaching Beaver, they found the same order of non-intercourse, the same prohibition as to trading as before; and, passing on, they came to Parowan, but were not permitted to enter the town. Now be it known, and the books will show, that the General Government had paid twenty-five thousand dollars in gold coin for the surveying and opening of this road which passed directly through the town of Parowan, and upon which this company was travelling and had travelled all the way from Salt Lake City, passing through American Fork, and all the principal settlements on the route. They had passed through those settlements without let or hindrance; but here they were forced to leave the public highway and pass around the west side of the fort wall. When they reached the stream abreast of the town
434 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
they encamped, and tried, as before, to trade for food and fresh cattle, but failed. There was a little Englishman who was determined to sell them some provisions; but Bishop Lewis's son and Counsellor advanced before him, and, pressing the edge of a bowie-knife against his throat, compelled him to retreat without realizing his humane intentions. There was a grist-mill at Parowan, the first the company had 'struck' since they left Corn Creek. They made application to have the corn ground which they had bought of the Indians, but were flatly refused.
"Now, sir, why were these emigrants refused permission to enter and pass through Parowan? However unpleasant it may be to you, this question will probably yet be asked in such form and by such authority that you will feel constrained to answer. You are quite competent to give the answer, so is your aide-de-camp and Brigadier-General, George A. So is Wm. H. Dame, the colonel of the regiment forming a part of the militia under your supreme command -- that same regiment that afterwards fell upon that same unoffending company at Mountain Meadows and destroyed them. But you will not answer until compelled. Then let me suggest that Parowan was the legitimate headquarters of that particular regiment; that it was the place of residence of Colonel Dame; that there was a certain military appearance inside the walls that it would not "be prudent for the emigrants to see or suspect, for their destruction had been decreed, and they must be taken at a disadvantage. And, further, the emigrants hitherto had encountered only a passive hostility, now it was to be active; and they must not be permitted to enter the town where their unoffending manners and quiet deportment might win upon the sympathies of the people.
"The emigrants made their way to Cedar City, at that time the most populous of all the towns in Southern Utah. Here they were allowed to purchase fifty bushels of tithing wheat, and to get the same, and also the corn, ground at John D. Lee's mill. No thanks, however, for this seeming favour; for the authorities that pretended to sell that wheat knew that they would have the most of it back in less than a week; at least they knew that it would never leave the Territory. But, waiving that, still this company of one hundred and twenty souls, or thereabouts, had not to exceed forty-nine hundred pounds of provisions, less than forty days' rations, all told, to take them to San Bernardino, in California.
"Now, sir, I have consulted with one of the old pioneers of the road from Cedar City to the Mojave river, one whose judgment and experience are worthy of respect; one who saw that company in Utah as they were passing along on the Territorial road, and knew the condition of their teams. I asked him how long it would have taken them to go from Cedar to the Mojave? He reflected, then answered, 'Sixty days.' From there to San Bernardino would have taken six to ten days. Here was a company made up of men, women and children, with at least one child to be born on the road, whose mother would require a little rest and at least some comfort, forced to undertake this journey under circumstances beyond
THE MILITIA IN PURSUIT. 435
their control, but altogether under yours, who were obliged to put themselves on short allowance on the start....
"The Arkansas company remained at Cedar City but one day, and then started on that fatal trip which was but too soon to come to a tragic and sanguinary end. And here I will state a fact well known at Cedar City and Pinto Creek, to prove that I have not overdrawn the picture when speaking of the jaded and worn-out condition of their teams. It took them three days to go to Iron Creek, a distance of only twenty miles. The distance from Iron Creek to the Meadows, about fifteen miles, was made in two days. The morning they left Iron Creek, the fourth after leaving Cedar, your militia took up their line of march in pursuit of them, intending to make the assault at the 'Clara Crossing' -- your militia! you, Brigham Young, were at that very time Governor of Utah, and Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the Territory, and were drawing your salary as such from the treasury of the United States.
"These soldiers did not come together by chance. Indeed, sir, it is on oath, and witnessed by the seal of the court, that the calling out of those troops 'was a regular military call from the superior officers to the subordinate officers and privates of the regiment.' And said sworn testimony further states that 'said regiment was duly ordered to muster, armed and equipped as the law directs, and prepared for field operations.' I am fully aware, sir, of the fearful import of these quotations The call to arms was the result reached by a regular military council, held in the town of Parowan, at which were present, President Isaac C. Haight (the Mormon High-Priest of Southern Utah), Colonel Dame, Major John D. Lee, and your fat Aide-de-Camp.
"The regiment camped at Cedar City -- was commanded by its major, John D. Lee (who was also your Indian Agent for Southern Utah), and marched from that place in pursuit of the emigrants. It was accompanied by baggage-wagons, and, with the exception of artillery, the other necessary ' make-up' of a military force in the field. Lee had extended an invitation to the Piede Indians to accompany him; and with these auxiliaries he had a force which the poor, hungry emigrants could not hope to resist.
"The emigrants were overtaken at the Mountain Meadows. Being entirely ignorant of the danger so near them, they 'rolled out' from camp in a careless matter-of-course way, on the morning of the 12th of September, and, as soon as the rear wagon had got a safe distance from the spring, the Indians, unexpectedly to Lee, commenced firing. The emigrants were taken completely by surprise. It is conclusive beyond a doubt, from the loose and unguarded manner of their travelling, that they had no idea of the military expedition sent against them until they saw and felt it. Yet, unguarded as they were at the moment of the attack, they had travelled too far over roads infested with Indians to become confused. They immediately corralled their wagons and prepared for defence, fortifying as best they could; but, alas, they were too far from water!
436 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
"They fought your troops all that day and all the nest. Major Lee, beginning to think that he had waked up the wrong passengers, sent to Cedar City and Washington for reinforcements, which were at once raised and forwarded, forming a junction with the main body on the morning of the fourth day's tight. This call for reinforcements took every able-bodied man from Washington, and all but two from Cedar City.
"During the third day's battle it became a necessity with the emigrants to get water. They were choking with thirst, and without water they could hold out but little longer. There it was in abundance, in plain sight, but covered by the rifles of your troops. They made several desperate but fatal and unsuccessful efforts, and finally, hoping there might be some little of humanity remaining with the Mormons, they dressed,' two little girls in white, and started them with a bucket toward the spring. Your soldiers shot theem down!
"On the next morning, the reenforcements having arrived, Major Lee massed his troops at a point about half a mile from the emigrants' fort, and there made them a speech, during which he informed them that (I quote from a sworn statement) his orders from headquarters were, 'To kill the entire company except the children.' Now, sir, as to whether those 'headquarters' were located in your office at Salt Lake City, or at Parowan, is a matter to be settled between you and Colonel Dame; and, if I am not mistaken, you will yet have to settle it. If Colonel Dame shall ever confess before a proper tribunal that he issued that extraordinary order on his own responsibility, and independently of you, I shall be very much mistaken. But, of the fact that such an order was actually made, there can be no doubt. There had been two military councils held in
THE FLAG OF TRUCE. -- TREACHERY! 437
Parowan -- one before or about the time the emigrants passed that place and one on the day they left Cedar. Haight and Lee were at both these councils, and from the last returned together to Cedar -- the latter to take command of the troops, and the former to stand prepared to render him any service which might be needed.
"It is on oath, sir, that it was at Cedar City, two days after the emigrants had left, that President Haight said to certain parties (who shall be nameless here), 'that he had orders from headquarters to kill all of said company of emigrants except the little children!' This fixes the fact beyond dispute that Lee and Haight were professedly acting under orders from headquarters; and to suppose that such profession was false -- that two subordinates should take upon themselves the responsibility of such a bloody affair, professedly in your name, and yet without your authority -- is out of the question. It is equally absurd to suppose that said order originated with Colonel Dame. All the reasons are against such a supposition. Besides, no colonel of a regiment would have the right or the authority to do anything in such premises, except to promulgate and enforce the order of his superior officer. To do otherwise would be to subject himself to the eventualities of a military court; and it is certain that neither Colonel Dame nor Major Lee was ever court-martialled for his action in the military operations at the Mountain Meadows.
"After Major Lee had announced that fatal order to his troops, and instructed them as to how he intended to carry it out, 'he sent a flag of truce into the emigrants' fort, offering to them that if they would lay down their arms he would protect them.' This was on the 15th day of September, and the fourth since the battle, or, rather, siege had begun. You will not forget that the little band of Arkansans were not 'whipped.' Though well-nigh exhausted with fatigue and loss of sleep, and burning up with thirst, they were not conquered, they were fighting for their wives and little ones more than for themselves, else, at any time, under cover of the darkness, they could have formed in solid column, broke through your lines and escaped. But to their honour, be it said, they refused life when associated with the condition of deserting their families.
"But the flag of truce came into their little fort -- that white flag held by all civilized nations and peoples, from time immemorial, as an emblem at once of peace, of truth, of honour. By the message accompanying this flair, they were promised protection. Alas, that it should prove to be 'such protection as vultures give to lambs!' But the message was not from Indians, it was from Major Lee, a regularly constituted officer of the military forces of the Territory of Utah, one of the Territories of the United States. What should they do but believe its promise? They marched out of their little fort, laid down their arms, marched up to the spring where Lee stood, and placed themselves under his protection; and his promises of protection were yours.
"But now was to be enacted one of those scenes which the pen is inadequate to describe, and the horrors of which it is impossible for one not
438 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
"Another scene was now to be enacted so utterly revolting to our sense of modesty, so grossly at variance with all our ideas of propriety, so altogether repulsive to the better qualities of human nature, that it vies even with the massacre itself in damnable wickedness. This remark is not intended to apply to all of the troops, for it is just and fair to understand that many a man was mustered in that regiment sorely against his will. But apparently a majority of them took to the whole work of the campaign with willing earnestness, and finally returned home seemingly without remorse. And, as good Utah Mormons, why should they not? Why should they not slay upon the right hand and upon the left, until they could wade in the gore of apostates and Gentiles, and then return home singing hosannas to God and the Lamb? They had been taught from your pulpits to expect and to do just such things. The carnage around them was simply a matter of course. It was but an episode in what was yet to be the gory history of the Kingdom of God. It was but a faint realization of those glorious campaigns when they should go through the United States 'like a lion among the flocks of sheep, treading down, breaking in pieces, with none to deliver, leaving the land desolate and without an inhabitant.' It was for these (your) soldiers, these
FIEND-LIKE TREATMENT OF THE DEAD. 439
demons to commit the last outrage upon their victims. Among the slain there was the nursing babe which the mother could not forsake, even in death; there were females of all ages, from budding girlhood to the prime of life; there was also the youth and the strong man. Those females were not abandoned characters; they had not unsexed themselves by whoredom; they were the chaste, the modest, virtuous and pure-hearted daughters, sisters and wives of the emigrants. Well, sir, your soldiers, with many a coarse, ribald, vulgar jest, with many an obscene, beastly remark, stripped them entirely of their clothing, and the whole company were left nude and stark, and without burial! Even the young maiden, who had implored Lee for her life, was found among the sage-brush with her throat cut, and stripped naked!
"The order had been given to spare the little children; but in the excitement of the massacre some were killed. Seventeen, however, were saved. They were taken care of by Bishop Smith, who had been detailed by Major Lee before the massacre for that purpose. In this labour of mercy he was voluntarily assisted by John Willis and Samuel Mardy. The hapless orphans were put into two regimental baggage-wagons and taken to Jake Hamlin's ranche, and the next day to Cedar City, where they were distributed among the Mormon families. Two of these children afterward made some remarks which were thought dangerous, and they were privately taken out and -- buried! After the administration in Utah had changed hands, they were gathered up by the Government and sent to St. Louis. The troops at the Meadows, having stripped the bodies of the dead, gathered the stock, and Lee took possession of the wagons and their contents, and also the stock."
While these sickening details of this terrible chapter were being sent to the press, unlooked-for confirmation comes from Salt Lake City in the following affidavit from Bishop Philip Klingon Smith. It is proper to remark that "Argus" could have no possible knowledge of the Bishop's affidavit, nor could the Bishop know of "Argus's" letters. The affidavit was made in April, 1871, and was secretly preserved in the hands of a Federal officer: the "Argus Letters" were written in July and August. It is singularly strange that both writers should give so harmonious and clear a statement.
"State of Nevada, County of Lincoln, ss.: -- Personally appeared before me, Peter B. Miller, Clerk of Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Nevada, Philip Klingon Smith, who being duly sworn, on his oath, says: My name is Philip Klingon Smith; I reside in the County of Lincoln, in the State of Nevada; I resided at Cedar City, in the County of Iron, in the Territory of Utah, from A. D. 1852 to A. D. 1859; I was residing at said Cedar City at the time of the massacre at Mountain Meadows,
440 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
in said Territory of Utah; I had heard that a company of emigrants was on its way from Salt Lake City, bound for California; said company arrived at said Cedar City, tarried there one day, and passed on for California; after said company had left Cedar City, the militia was called out for the purpose of committing acts of hostility against them; said call was a regular military call from the superior officers to the subordinate officers and privates of the regiment at Cedar City and vicinity, composing a part of the militia of the Territory of Utah; 1 do not recollect the number of the regiment; I was at that time the Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Cedar City; Isaac C. Haight was President over said church at Cedar City and the southern settlements in said Territory; my position as Bishop was subordinate to that of said President; W. H. Dame was President of said Church at Parowan in said Iron County; said W. II. Dame was also colonel of said regiment; said Isaac C. Haight was lieutenant-colonel of said regiment, and said John D. Lee, of Harmony, in said Iron County, was major of said regiment; said regiment was duly ordered to muster, armed and equipped as the law directs, and prepared for field operations; I had no command nor office in said regiment at the time, neither did I march with said regiment on the expedition which resulted in said company's being massacred in the Mountain Meadows, in said County of Iron; about four days after said company of emigrants had left Cedar City, that portion of said regiment then mustered at Cedar City took up its line of march in pursuit of them; about two days after said company had left said Cedar City, Lieutenant-Colonel I. C. Haight expressed, in my presence, a desire that said company might be permitted to pass on their way in peace; but afterward he told me that he had orders from headquarters to kill all of said company of emigrants except the little children; I do not know whether said headquarters meant the Regimental Headquarters at Parowan, or the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief at Salt Lake City; when the said company had got to Iron Creek, about twenty (20) miles from Cedar City, Captain Joel White started for Pinto Creek settlement, through which said company would pass, for the purpose of influencing the people to permit said company to pass on their way in peace; I asked and obtained permission of said White to go with him and aid him in his endeavours to save life; when said White and myself got about three miles from Cedar City we met Major John D. Lee, who asked us where we were going; I replied that we were going to try to prevent the killing of the emigrants; Lee replied, 'I have something to any about that;' Lee was at that time on his way to Parowan, the Headquarters of Colonel Dame; said White and I went to Pinto Creek; remained there one night, and the next day returned to Cedar City, meeting said company of emigrants at Iron Creek; before reaching Cedar City we met one Ira Allen, who told us ' that the decree had passed, devoting said company to destruction;' after the fight had been going on for three or four days, a messenger from Major Lee reached Cedar City, who stated that the fight had
BISHOP SMITH'S AFFIDAVIT. 441
not been altogether successful, upon which Lieutenant-Colonel Height ordered out a reinforcement; at this time I was ordered out by Captain John M. Higbee, who ordered me to muster, ' armed and equipped as the law directs;' it was a matter of life or death to me to muster or not, and I mustered with the reenforeing troops; it was at this time that Lieutenant-Colonel Haight said to me that it was the orders from headquarters that all but the little children of said company were to be killed; said Haight had at that time just returned from headquarters at Parowan, where a military council had been held; there had been a like council held at Parowan previous to that, at which were present Colonel Dame, Lieutenant- Colonel I. C. Haight, and Major John D. Lee; the result of this first council was the calling out of said regiment for the purpose already stated; the reinforcement aforesaid was marched to the Mountain Meadows, and there formed a junction with the main body; Major Lee massed all the troops at a spring, and made a speech to them, saying that his orders from headquarters were to kill the entire company except the small children; I was not in the ranks at that time, but on the side talking to a man named Slade, and could not have seen a paper in Major Lee's hands; said Lee then sent a flag of truce into the emigrant camp, offering said emigrants that 'if they lay down their arms, he would protect them;' they accordingly laid down their arms, came out from their camp, and delivered themselves up to said Lee; the women and children were then, by the order of said Lee, separated from the men, and were marched ahead of the men; after said emigrants had marched about a half mile toward Cedar City, the order was given to shoot them down; at that time said Lee was at the head of the column; I was in the rear; I did not hear Lee give the order to fire, but heard it from the under officers as it was passed down the column; the emigrants were then and there shot down, except seventeen little children, which I immediately took into my charge; I do not know the total number of said company, as I did not stop to count the dead; I immediately put the little children in baggage-wagons belonging to the regiment, and took them to Hamlin's ranche, and from there to Cedar City, and procured them homes among the people; John Willis and Samuel Murdy assisted me in taking charge of said children; on the evening of the massacre, Colonel W. H. Dame and Lieutenant I. C. Haight came to Hamlin's, where I had the said children, and fell into a dispute, in the course of which said Haight told Colonel Dame that, if he was going to report of the killing of said emigrants, he should not have ordered it done; I do not know when or where said troops were disbanded; about two weeks after said massacre occurred, said Major Lee (who was also an Indian Agent), went to Salt Lake City, and as I believe, reported said fight and its results to the commander-in-chief; I was not present at either of the before-mentioned councils, nor at any council connected with the aforesaid military operations, or with said company; I gave no orders except those connected with the saving of the children, and those, after the massacre had occurred, and said orders were given as bishop and not in a
442 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
military sense; at the time of the firing of the first volley I discharged my piece; I did not fire afterward, though several subsequent volleys were fired; after the first fire was delivered I at once set about saving the children; I commenced to gather up the children before the firing had ceased. I have made the foregoing statement before the above-entitled court for the reason that I believe that I would be assassinated should I attempt to make the same before any court in the Territory of Utah.* After said Lee returned from Salt Lake City, as aforesaid, said Lee told me that he had reported fully to the President, meaning the commander-in-chief, the fight at Mountain Meadows, and the killing of said emigrants. Brigham Young f was at that time the commander-in-chief of the militia of the Territory of Utah; and further deponent saith not. (Signed) PHILIP KLINGON SMITH."
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 10th day of April, A. D. 1871.
(Signed) P. B. zzzMrLLEB, County Clerk."
District Court, Seventh Judicial District, Lincoln County, Nevada. (Copy of seal.)"
"Utah Territory, County of Salt Lake, ss.: -- I, 0. F. Strickland, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Utah Territory, hereby certify that I have carefully compared the foregoing copy of affidavit with the original of the same, and that the foregoing copy is a true literal copy of said original, and that such comparison was made this 4th day of September, 1872. (Signed) O. F. STEICKLAND."
"Territory of Utah, Salt Lake County, ss.: -- I, James B. McKean, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of said Territory, do certify that I have carefully compared the above copy of an affidavit with the original of the same, and know the same to be in all particulars a true copy thereof.
(Signed) JAMES B. McKEAN, Chief Justiee, etc." Dated September 5, 1872."
The following map throws much additional light upon the statements of both "Argus "and Bishop Smith. The latter states that while he and Captain Joel White were travelling
* Since this affidavit was made, great changes have taken place through the influx of Gentiles, and Bishop Smith now expresses his readiness to "return to Utah and give testimony in person."
** The Mormons, who seek to exonerate Brigham Young from all complicity with the murderers of the emigrants, relate that, when Lee offered to pay him a tithing of the ill gotten gear, he refused it, and threw it from him. Be the hitter part of the statement true or false, the acknowledgment of the former shows that Brigham Young had the opportunity of knowing who were the guilty parties, even if he him self did rot direct them, and could have brought them to justice. Hut there is no necessity to zzznrgue from any disciple's admissions, for it is a fact, of which there is evidence, that John D. Lee did make a report of the Mountain Meadows Massacre to Governor Brigham Young, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, etc, and that report
THE PLAN OF THE MASSACRE. 443
southward from Cedar City to Pinto Creek, they met Lee three miles south of Cedar, who had something to say about "trying to prevent the killing of the emigrants." The subject of attacking them had evidently been spoken of among the Mormons; but as yet, not by authority, at least so far as White and Smith knew, or they would not have undertaken the journey to Pinto Creek to dissuade the people from killing the zzz"emigrants." Lee was then en route to headquarters at Parowan. On the return of the Bishop and Captain White from Pinto Creek, the next evening, before they reached Cedar City, he says, "We met Ira Allen, who told us that 'the decree had zzz" ' passed devoting said company to destruction.'" In a letter dated August 10, 1871, "Argus," without any knowledge of Bishop Smith's affidavit, incidentally accounts for the information in the possession of Allen, and says:
"Had the original order to assault the emigrants in Santa Clara Canon been carried out, not one of them would have been living in fifteen minutes after the head teams had been shot down. They would have been
was written in the house of the apostle Ezra T. Benson, in Sail Lake City, within zzztvu hundred yard» of the official residence of the Governor and Prophet of the Lord!
444 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
covered by the rifles of your troops from every possible direction. But ample provision was made to cut off any that might escape. For this purpose a party, headed by one Allan, was sent to watch the road between the train and the Muddy, and Ira Hatch and a fellow-missionary (!) were sent to the crossing of the Muddy. These good brethren were instructed to shoot down any who should chance to escape the attack of Lee. On the night of the second day of the battle, two men, on horseback, left the emigrants' camp, and started cautiously toward California. They had, probably, been sent. As they were passing Allen's ambush, one of them was shot -- the other got away. Word was dispatched to Parowan, and armed parties were immediately sent out to hunt down and kill him. They did not find him -- he had returned to camp, and was recognized after the massacre."
It is further stated by this writer, that
"...a man named Boyle was sent on a mission to the Mojave Crossing well armed and with a key [mail-sack key], to prevent any suspicious mail-matter from reaching San Bernardino, and to kill off any one who by any possibility might have escaped and pot along that far. These particulars are given to show how thoroughly planned and cold-blooded was everything connected with the war of extermination made upon the Arkansas emigrants,"...
and to further show that some other mind than that of John D. Lee had concocted the plan of the massacre. It was with the knowledge of these facts that Judge Cradlebaugh delivered that extraordinary charge to the Grand Jury at Provo.* The Judge had with a Federal escort visited the scene of the massacre within eighteen months of the perpetration of the deed, and had seen the bones of that Arkansas company bleaching on the Meadows. ** With the actors all
Ante, p. 404.
** While Judge Cradlebaugh was in Cedar City, on his return from the Meadows, a number of persona made affidavit against the leading Mormons there who had taken prominent part in the massacre, and several of the actors in it came to him by night and expressed their readiness to testify to the facts whenever they had the assurance of protection. On the information obtained from those parties the Judge issued warrants for the arrest of the following persons:
"Isaac C. Haight, President of the Cedar City Stake; Bishop John M. Higbee and Bishop John D. Lee, Columbus Freeman, William SlaJe, John Willis, William Riggs, Ingram, Daniel McFarhn, William Stewart, Ira Allen and son, Thomas Cartwright, E. Welcan, William Halley, Jabez Nornlen, John Mangum, James Price, John W. Adair, Tyler, Joseph Smith, Samuel Pollock, John McKurlan, Nephi Johnson, Thornton, Jod White, Harrison, Charles Hopkins, Joseph Elanp, Samuel Lewis, Sims Mathcney, James Mangum, Harrison Pierce, Samuel Adair, F. C. MeDulange, Wm. Bateman, Ezra Curtis, and Alexander Loveridge." The mimes in italics are specially mentioned in the reports both by Bishop Smith and "Argus."
While the Judge was BO occupied, the captain commanding the Federal troops
GOVERNOR CUMMING REPROACHES BRIGHAM. 445
around him, and the people horrified at the enormity of the crime, he would have held his court at Cedar City, and could have brought to light the truly guilty authors of that atrocious deed, hut for the interference of Governor Cumming, whose confiding .nature trusted in the promises of his predecessor to make a. full investigation of the matter "without the presence "of the troops." On that promise Governor Cumming relied, and on his representation to the Government at Washington that the United States troops were unnecessary to sustain the Federal Judges, the Government immediately ordered General Johnston to furnish no troops except on the requisition of the Governor alone.
"Argus," from personal conversation with the Governor, affirms that he felt keenly his failure to investigate those murders, and relates that before he left the Territory he visited Brigham Young and uphraided him with "having purposely"zzz lied to and deceived him." Such was no doubt the feeling of the Governor expressed to. "Argus" -- whether he ever said so to Brigham or not -- for he used about the same language to other persons. The opportunity and duty of bringing the guilty to justice were those peculiarly belonging to the governorship of Alfred Cumming: the crime had been committed after he was appointed to Utah, and he was the fitting person to have made the investigation. But the diplomacy that brought him into collision with the military commander at Fort Bridger tied him hand and foot, and he afterwards could only move as Brigham moved him.* The strength of his right arm was gone when he broke with General Johnston, and his left leaned on a bruised reed that was destined to fail him; and no man saw this more clearly than Cumming did himself.
that had escorted his Honour to the Mountain Meadows informed him that he "had received orders for his entire command to return to Camp Floyd; the General having received orders from Washington that the military should not be used in protecting the courts, or in acting as a zzzpotw to aid the marshal in making arrests."
* A day or two before the Governor left the Territory, the Author, in familiar conversation with him about the then near future, asked: "How will zzzWoottou [the "Secretary in his absence became Acting Governor] get along?" "Get along?" replied he; "well enough, if he will do nothing. There is nothing to do. Alfred Cumming is Governor of the Territory, but Brigham Young is Governor of the people. By zzz, I am not fool enough to think otherwise. Let Wootton learn that, and he will get along, and the sooner he knows that the better. This is a curious place!"
446 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
There was no "public opinion" in Utah at that time, nor for years after could any expression of condemnation be heard; but -among those who could utter free words within their own circle of friends, the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been branded with a condemnation as burning as was ever expressed by the Gentiles. The dominant theory among the intelligent Mormons was that Brigham Young had not himself ordered the massacre, but that he feared its investigation, as the men who did the deed were his brethren in the faith, and were in official relations with him, and that the massacre being brought before a court it would doubtless lead to the execution of men who might plead that it was the teachings of the Tabernacle that had rendered them capable of the perpetration of such a terrible crime. Further, an investigation would have revealed the despotism of a system that constrained men to imbrue their hands in the blood of unoffending, innocent men, women, and helpless children, in order only to save themselves from the charge of disobedience and the fatal consequences of rebellion at such a moment.
Believing, with many others in Utah, that it was possible that Lee and his confederates had been tempted by the wealth of the passing emigrants, and had availed themselves of the excitement of the people to attack the train, the Author addressed the following communication to the Prophet, in hopes that he would avail himself of this opportunity, however insignificant it might be in his estimation, of putting himself right with at least a portion of the public:
ASTOR HOUSE, NEW YORK, July 10, 1871."President Brigham Young --
"SIR: Being engaged in preparing a work for publication that will notice prominent incidents in Utah history, and desirous of doing no injustice by misstatement, I think it proper to ask information such as, in the quality of Governor of Utah and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, you probably possessed at the date referred to, and may not think it improper to impart now.
"What Indians committed what is generally termed the Mountain Meadows Massacre? What number of Indians were engaged in it? Were any of them ever punished; if so, how, and by whose order? Did any person by the Governor's order take charge of the property of the emigrants? What became of it?"
It is generally understood that you sent an express to the leading
REMORSE OF THE GUILTY. 447
white men in that neighbourhood to allow the emigrants to pass along unmolested. I should be pleased to publish such an order if you would furnish a copy. I have heard of the recent excommunication from the Church of John D. Lee, Isaac C. Haight, and others, for being participators in that horrible crime. If this is correct, I should be gratified with this and such other information on this point as you might feel disposed to furnish me. I shall of course make use of the intelligence which I may receive in the book in a manner to place your statements fairly before the public, recommending at the same time that the guilty be brought to justice. Very respectfully, etc. T. B. H. STENHOUSE."
To this letter no reply was vouchsafed.
Whatever differences of opinion may exist between former members of the Church and the Prophet, no proper-minded person among them desires to see any wrong imputed to Brigham Young of which he is innocent; and of the responsibility of this massacre, above all other things, his bitterest enemy should be pleased to see him exonerated.
The apostles who have spoken and written upon this painful subject, have endeavoured to fasten the guilt solely upon the Indians, but this was a grave error, as well as being directly and palpably false.
There is implanted in the human breast an instinctive horror of the act of murder, and a large number of the Mormons who took part in the massacre were too good men to rest in peace after the commission of a dreadful deed that was forced upon them. It has unmistakably withered and blasted their happiness, and some of them have suffered agonizing tortures of conscience, equal to those of Shakespeare's Thane of Cawdor. Two of them are said to have lost their reason entirely, and others have gone to early graves with a full realization of the terrible crime upon their souls. To expect silence among the living while such a deed was consuming them was a great folly, and the exposure in detail now coming to light is what every sensible man might have expected some time or other.
In his speech to Congress, already referred to, Judge Cradle- baugh thus relates what he had personally and officially ascertained of the massacre:
"During our stay there [Santa Clara] I was visited by the Indian
448 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
chiefs of that section, who gave me their version of the massacre. They admitted that a portion of their men were engaged in the massacre, but were not there when the attack commenced. One of them told me, in the presence of the others, that after the attack had been made a white man came to their camp with a piece of paper, which he said Brigham Young had tent, that directed them to go and help to whip the emigrants.
A portion of the band went but did not assist in the fight. He gave as a reason that the emigrants had long guns, and were good shots. He said that his brother [this chief's name was Jackson] was shot while running across the Meadow, at a distance of two hundred yards from the corral where the emigrants were. He said the Mormons were all painted. He said the Indians got a part of the clothing; and gave the names of John D. Lee, President Haight, and Bishop Higbee, as the big captains. It might be proper here to remark, that the Indians in the southern part of the Territory of Utah are not numerous, and are a very low, cowardly, beastly set, very few of them being armed with guns. They are not formidable.
I believe all in the southern part of the Territory would, under no circumstances, carry on a fight against ten white men.
"From our camp on the Santa Clara we again went back to the Mountain Meadows, camping near where the massacre had occurred. The Meadow is about live miles in length and one in width, running to quite a narrow point at the southwest end. It is the divide between the waters that flow into the Great Basin and those emptying into the Colorado river. A very large spring rises in the south end of the narrow part. It was on the north side of this spring that the emigrants camped. The bank rises from the spring eight or ten feet, then extends off to the north about two hundred yards, on a level. A range of hills is there reached, rising perhaps fifty or sixty feet. Back of this range is quite a valley, which extends down until it has an outlet, three or four hundred yards below the spring, into the main meadow.
"The first attack was made by going down this ravine, then following up the bed of the spring to near it, then at daylight firing upon the men who were about the camp-fires -- in which attack ten or twelve of the emigrants were killed or wounded; the stock of the emigrants having been previously driven behind the hill and up the ravine.
"The emigrants soon got in condition to repel the attack, shoved their wagons together, sunk the wheels in the earth, and threw up quite an intrenchment. The fighting after continued as a siege; the assailants occupying the hill, and firing at any of the emigrants that exposed themselves, having a barricade of stones along the crest of the hill as a protection.
The siege was continued for five days, the, besiegers appearing in the garb of Indians. The Mormons, seeing that they could not capture the train without making some sacrifice of life on their part, and getting weary of the fight, resolved to accomplish by strategy what they were not able to do by force. The fight had been going on for live days, and no aid was received from any quarter, although the family of Jacob Hamlin,
JUDGE CRADLEBAUGH'S SPEECH. 449
the Indian Agent, were living in tbe upper end of the Meadow, and within hearing of the reports of the guns.
"Who can imagine the feelings of these men, women, and children, surrounded, as they supposed themselves to be, by savages? Fathers and mothers only can judge what they must have been. Far off in the Rocky Mountains, without transportation -- for their cattle, horses, and mules, had been run off -- not knowing what their fate was to be -- we can but poorly realize the gloom that pervaded the camp.
"A wagon is descried far up the Meadows. Upon its nearer approach it is observed to contain armed men. See! now they raise a white flag I All is joy in the corral. A general shout is raised; and in an instant, a little girl, dressed in white, is placed at an opening between two of the wagons, as a response to the signal. The wagon approaches; the occupants are welcomed into the corral -- the emigrants little suspecting that they were entertaining the fiends that had been besieging them.
"This wagon contained President Haight and Bishop John D. Lee, among others of the Mormon Church. They professed to be on good terms with the Indians, and represented the Indians as being very mad. Thty also proposed to intercede and settle the matter with the Indians. After several hours of parley, they, having apparently visited the Indians, gave the ultimatum of the Indiana; which was, that the emigrants should march out of their camp, leaving everything behind them, even their guns.* It was promised by the Mormon bishops that they would bring a force, and guard the emigrants back to the settlements.
"The terms were agreed to -- the emigrants being desirous of saving the lives of their families. The Mormons retired, and subsequently appeared at the corral with thirty or forty armed men. The emigrants were marched out, the women and children in front, and the men behind, the Mormon guard being in the rear. When they had marched in this way about a mile, at a given signal, the slaughter commenced. The men were most all shot down at the first fire from the guard. Two only escaped, who lied to the desert, and were followed one hundred and fifty miles before they were overtaken and slaughtered.
"The women and children ran on, two or three hundred yards farther, when they were overtaken, and, with the aid of the Indians, they were
* At first, it baffled every one in Utah to account for the emigrants giving up their arms, and to this fact there is but one feasible solution. The Arkansas company was composed of persons of high moral character, and devotedly religious. They were worshippers of the Christian Deity, and when they saw the faces of white men they believed themselves secure. They confided in the fidelity of those who professed to believe in the teachings of "the greatest name given among men," and as those who came to their succour claimed the direction of a still later revelation of the will of God to man, what else could the honest, truthful, simple-hearted emigrants do but confide in men of their own race, who assumed to be nearer than themselves to the guidance of the Supreme Being? What a terrible lesson awaited them!
450 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
slaughtered. Seventeen only of the small children were saved, the eldest being only seven years. Thus, on the 10th day of September, 1857, was consummated one of the most cruel, cowardly, and bloody murders known in our history. Upon the way from the Meadows, a young Indian pointed out to me the place where the Mormons painted and disguised themselves."
Mr. Jacob Forney, the first Superintendent of Indian Affairs after Brigham Young, gathered up sixteen of the children, made orphans by that foul, treacherous deed, and gives the names and ages, eighteen months after the occurrence, as follows:
"John Calvin, now seven or eight years old; does not remember his name; says his family lived at Horse Head, Johnston Co., Arkansas. Ambrose Moroni, about seven years, and William Taggit, lour and a half years, brothers; these also lived in Johnston Co. Prudence Angeline, six years, and Annie, about three years; these two are said to be sisters. Rebecca, nine years; Louisa, five years; and Sarah, three and a half years; from Dunlap. Betsy, six years, and Anna, three years, said to be sisters; these know nothing of their family or residence. Charles Francher, seven or eight years, and his sister Annie, three and a half years. Sophronia or Mary Huff, six years, and Elisha W. Huff, four years. A boy; no account of him; those among whom he lived call him William. Francis Hawn or Korn, four and a half years old.
"I have come to the conclusion, after different conversations with these children, that most of them come from Johnston Co., Arkansas. Most of them have told me that they have grandfathers and grandmothers in the States. Mr. Hamlin has good reasons for believing that a boy about eight years, and belonging to the party in question, is among the Navajos Indians, at or near the Colorado river."
No human soul can read the list of those helpless, destitute children of such tender years without experiencing a harrowing fooling of grief for the sad beginning of their lives, and a burning indignation against the "Saints" who committed the atrocious crime which bereft them of their natural protectors. Superintendent Forney reports in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated from Provo City, March, 1859, that --
"Facts in my possession warrant me in estimating that there was distributed a few days after the massacre, among the leading Church dignitaries, $30,000 worth of property."
In August of the same year, to the same Commissioner, he writes:
SUPERINTENDENT FORNEY'S REPORT. 451
"I am justified in the declaration that this massacre was concocted by white men, and consummated by whites and Indians The children were sold out to different persons in Cedar City, Harmony, and Painter [Pinto] Creek, and bills are now in my possession from different individuals, asking payment from the Government, but I cannot condescend to become the medium of even transmitting such claims to the Department." In his Annual Report, September, 1859, he continues:
"Mormons have been accused of aiding the Indians in the commission of the crime. I commenced my inquiries without prejudice or selfish motive, and with the hope that, in the progress of my inquiries, facts would enable me to exculpate all white men from any participation in this tragedy, and saddle the guilt exclusively on the Indians; but, unfortunately, every step in my inquiries satisfied me that the Indians acted only a secondary part.... White men were present and directed the Indians. John D. Lee, of Harmony, told me in his own house, last April, in presence of two persons, that he was present three successive days during the fight, and was present during the fatal day. ...I gave several months ago to the Attorney-General, and several of the United States Judges, the names of those who I believed were not only implicated, but the hell- deserving scoundrels who concocted and brought to a successful termination the whole affair.
"The following are the names of the persons most guilty: Isaac C. Haight, Cedar City, president of several settlements south; Bishop Smith, Cedar City; John D. Lee, Harmony; John M. Higbee, Cedar City; Bishop Davis, David Tullis, Santa Clara; Ira Hatch, Santa Clara. These were the cause of the massacre, aided by others. It is to be regretted that nothing has yet been accomplished towards bringing these murderers to justice.
"I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"J. zzzFORNEY, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Utah Territory.
"Hon. A. B. GREENWOOD, Comr. Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C."
Whatever sympathy one would naturally feel for the men who were forced into the massacre, much of that kindly sentiment is greatly modified, when the statement is made that after the fathers and mothers of those little children had been cruelly butchered and all their worldly wealth had been appropriated by their murderers, a portion of that same people, calling themselves "Saints" did so debase themselves as to claim of the Government a remuneration for sheltering the helpless innocents! To this should be added that wives and daughters of some of those murderers wore the apparel of the massacred women and maidens, while their polygamic husbands and fathers wore the masculine garments of their victims, ploughed
452 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
the fields with their cattle, and drove to their religions assemblies with the horses that they had stolen from the Arkansas train, and no one called them to account!
It has been repeatedly asserted that the best carriage was taken to Salt Lake City and was there seen rolling through the streets of that place for years after, and the jewelry of the murdered victims is said to have adorned the persons of some distinguished women; bnt all this seems too incredible. Lee and his marauders could steal and murder -- that has been demonstrated; but surely no one in fellowship with the Prophet at the chief city of Zion, could either afford the luxury of such a carriage nor yet the glitter of such gold at so fearful a price.
Of the actual property of the emigrants no definite statement can be made, for those who knew would not tell; but it is as near the truth as will ever be reached, till a court of justice shall compel a full divulgence of the facts, that "the train" consisted of 40 wagons, 800 head of cattle, and about 60 "horses and mules." * "The property," says Mr. Beadle, "was divided, the Indians getting most of the flour and ammunition; but they claim that the Mormons kept more than their share. Much of it was sold in Cedar City at public auction; it was there facetiously styled, 'Property taken at the siege of Sevastopol;' and there is legal proof that the "clothing stripped from the corpses, spotted with blood and flesh and shredded by bullets, was placed in the cellar of the tithing-office and privately sold. As late as 1862, jewelry taken at Mountain Meadows, was worn in Salt Lake City, and the source it came from not denied." **
Major [now General] Carlton, in 1859, with a company of United States cavalry, escorted from California to the southern settlements of Utah the United States paymaster of the troops at Camp Floyd. On his return the Major passed through the Mountain Meadows and gathered the whitened bones of the emigrants and erected over them a large cairn of stones.
"It was constructed by raising a large pile of rock, in the centre of which was erected a beam, some twelve or fifteen feet in height. Upon one of the stones he caused to be engraved, 'Here lie the bones of one hundred and twenty men, women, and children, from Arkansas, murdered
* The Mormon Prophet, p. 65.
** Life in Utah, p. 184.
THE MONUMENT OVER THE SLAIN. 453
on the 10th day of September, 1857.' Upon a cross-tree, on the beam, he caused to be painted: 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay it.' This monument is said to have been destroyed the first time that Brigham visited the Territory." *
It is reported by one who stood at Brigham's side as he read aloud the inscription, that the Prophet with unfaltering voice changed the purport of its language and said to those who were around him that it should read thus: "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I have repaid!"
"Argus" closes his series of letters with the following discussion of Brigham's supposed justification:
"That an entire company of peaceful families, as at the Mountain Meadows, should be butchered in cold blood, anywhere in the United States, upon the public highway, and within the easy reach of the arm of the civil power created expressly for the protection of life and property, is a mystery which the purely American mind finds very hard to understand.
And the marvel is only increased by the fact that no inquest was held over the remains of those slaughtered ones -- that no arrests were made of the murderers, although they were well and notoriously known, and that no official notice was taken of the matter (except as I have heretofore stated) during the remainder of your term as Governor, and no apparent authoritative notice since, except to gather up, by soldiers of the United States, what bones the wolves had left, and giving them respectable sepulture. Based upon American ideas, and, indeed, upon the more general notions of civilization, the whole story becomes incomprehensible.
In order to understand this matter, it will be necessary for the reader, first, to mentally segregate Utah geographically from the United States -- to consider it as absolutely a foreign State and nation, with a civilization such as existed thirty-live hundred years ago, and a religion as antagonistic to Christianity as zzzMoslemism itself, including within its creed a tenet 'more cruel and bloody than the Thuggism of India. Second, to consider this Dcscrct nation as incensed to the last degree against the Government and people of the United States, for a series of wrongs committed against them, including exile and the loss of life and property. Third, to take into the aceount, that the American Government at that time had actually proposed to extend its jurisdiction over said Deseret (otherwise called Utah), and an army was then on its way to occupy said Utah for the purpose of maintaining the sovereignty of said Government there, and that a state of war was apparently existing between said two nations. Fourth, that you were, at the very time of the massacre at the Mountain Meadows, mustering and putting into the field an army of one thousand two hundred men, which was known in Utah as 'The Standing Army,' and that said army was designed for active operations against the forces
* Waite, p. 71.
454 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
of the United States, under Colonel Johnston, then en route for Salt Lake. Fifth, that you were the 'Sovereign' lord of Deseret -- that your rule was an absolute and unmitigated despotism -- that your word was the only recognized law -- that it was within your imperious nature to rule with a high hand and a stretched-out arm over all your subjects, and with fury poured out against your enemies. If the reader can grasp the ideas contained in the above items, and arrange them into one compound proposition, he will be able to form some idea of the causes which made the aforesaid massacre possible.
"But the misfortune is, that said proposition being based upon falsehood and not upon the truth, affords you no justification whatever; for, first, Utah was a part of the United States, and not a foreign State; second, your intense hatred of Americans and their Government was without adequate cause; third, the occupation of Utah as a Military Department was altogether a friendly act, and in strict accordance with the known military policy of the Government; fourth, that all your acts in relation to the State of Deseret were and are treasonable in their intent, and therefore illegal and of no binding force. For these reasons, the American people will refuse to look upon that massacre from your stand-point. They will and do hold you to your responsibility as a citizen of the Republic. And as you were at that time the Chief Magistrate of Utah, they have the right to demand why you took no official steps to inquire into that sanguinary affair which is the shame and damning disgrace of your administration. They have the right to demand why you took no official action in the case of Dame, Haight, and Lee; and how it is that you have so far persistently and successfully screened those murderers from the officers and the action of the law. It is a foul blot upon the workings of the system of American jurisprudence that the Mountain Meadow Massacre should having been committed nearly sixteen years ago, and to this present writing you, and Lee, and Dame, and Haight, are at large, and come and go unquestioned by the proper authority. The blush of shame should mantle the cheeks of the Governor of our Territory so long as that bloody affair remains uninvestigated, now that such investigation is possible. The judges of our courts should not have the courage to look a law-abiding man in the face so long as anything remains undone which they can legally do to bring those murderers to justice.
"It appears to have all along been the opinion that the investigation of the Mountain Meadow Massacre must originate in the criminal courts. With that view, and the Grand Jury subject to your dictation, and under your complete control, what could be done? Nothing, absolutely nothing, but to wait. Murder is shielded by no statute of limitations. But I will here suggest, that such investigation should be made by a military court, for the reason that the operations of Lee were purely and undeniably of a military character. Such a court would officially determine the military character of those operations, would collect all necessary facts in the case, and those facts would fix the responsibility where it justly belongs.
"THE MOUNTAIN MEADOW DOGS." 455
Then such ulterior proceedings could be had as the case would seem to demand. If there are not Gentile officers enough in the Utah militia to constitute such a court, enough can soon be commissioned. But no Mormon should be allowed to constitute a part of that court, nor any Gentile who could be allured from duty by your sirens or be purchased by your ill-gotten gold.
"And now, in conclusion, as a Mormon, I demand of the proper authorities that this long-neglected affair be investigated, in order that the innocent may no longer suffer that reproach which belongs to Brigham Young and others only. In this connection it is proper to state that there is a strong and growing feeling in Southern Utah against Lee and his co-labourers on that bloody mission, and against their confederates, apologists, and protectors. Even in Cedar City those characters are now known as 'Mountain Meadow Dogs.' As a citizen of the United States, I demand that the veil of mystery so long covering that butchery be rent asunder, and the foul deed exposed in all its repulsive hideousness, bringing to the light those latent agencies which superinduced its commission, in order that justice may be meted out to the guilty parties, thus wiping out a foul blot upon the American name. In the name of Justice I demand it, that it may no longer be said that in Utah the direst of felonies may be committed with impunity. In the name of Truth, I demand that the facts concerning the Mountain Meadow Massacre be ascertained and stated in official form by competent authority, in order that the people of the United States may know that said massacre, even to its most sickening details, was only too true."
"There are many incidental circumstances in the story of this massacre, and events which have occurred since its perpetration, that keenly touch the souls of those who are capable of appreciating the facts of that horrible tragedy.
Judge Cradlebaugh speaks of the joy which he witnessed among the children when they found themselves together again, and under the protection of American citizens:
"I recollect," he says, "one of them, John Calvin Sorrow, after he found he was safe, and before he was brought away from Salt Lake City, although not yet nine years of age, sitting in a contemplative mood, no doubt thinking of the extermination of his family, saying: 'Oh, I wish I was a man; I know what I would do; I would shoot John D. Lee; I saw him shoot my mother.' I shall never forget how he looked." Poor boy! What terrible anguish must have been in the reflections that found such expressions in a child of his years! There is represented in the engraving preceding this chapter a maiden of sixteen summers, cruelly murdered while pleading for life. The Author's friend, who travelled with
456 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
the company from Fort Bridger, speaks of her as a lovely sweet creature, with dark flowing curls, who had been the life and joy of the camp, and the companion of the venerable patriarch of the company. When the first volley of rifles had strewn the ground with the dead, she flew into the arms of young Lee, and begged protection of her life. The manly instinct of the youth was instantly aroused by the supplicating look of that pure and innocent being, in her defence, and he sheltered her by his person. In an instant his father seized him by the collar, and by greater force bending his son's head, fired his revolver, and shot the maiden in the forehead. She fell lifeless at his feet. This incident, and the forced part which he played in the massacre, has blighted for ever the life of the young man, and to his confidants he has sorrowfully related his poignant grief.
Three of the men who escaped from the massacre were pursued for a long distance. One of them is said to have perished in the desert, after a flight of one hundred and fifty miles; and of the disposition of the other two, the band under the captaincy of Ira Hatch could probably tell a thrilling story.
There is, too, a legend that the written order for the massacre of the emigrants has been preserved, and is to-day in safekeeping. If such a document docs exist, it can only be in the hands of some one who means to use it at a proper time, but to acknowledge now the personal possession of such property would be dangerous folly. There are, however, persons in Utah who are fully confident that the document is a reality. Wherever the story of this treacherous massacre has gone forth, a curse has been muttered by the lips of honest men and women, and a demand for retribution has lingered on their tongues, while, humiliating as it is to confess, in the Forty-second Congress there were gentlemen to be found in the Committees of the House, and in the Senate, who were bold enough to declare their opposition to all investigation of these murders. One who had a national reputation during the war, from Bunker's Hill to New Orleans, was not ashamed to say to those who sought the legislation that was necessary to make investigation possible, that it was "too late." To the petitioner he said:
THE HONOUR OF THE REPUBLIC AT STAKE. 457
"Have any murders been committed in Utah during twenty years?"
"Have any been committed during the last fifteen years?"
"Have any been committed within ten years?"
"Have any been committed within five years?"
"Well, then," was the reply, "if there have been none within five years, I am opposed to meddling with the past. There are murders in New York nearly every day."
To that representative from the proudest State in the Union, the answer of the fatherless should be, that one single murder resulting from religious hatred, systematically shown, is more damning than ten thousand murders, the casual offspring of the vile passions of the most debased of men.
Moreover, that a sedate, honourable Senator, also one who has not deemed the Presidency of the United States beneath his ambition, should make a similar announcement, and ask that the past might be buried in oblivion, is passing strange. *
To this lengthy statement, and circumstantial detail of facts, the Mormon apostles may continue, as they have done before, to allege that the emigrants put poison on the body of a dead ox, that some Indian chiefs partook of the poisoned meat and died, and that the rest of the Indians became enraged, and "wiped them out." They may, perhaps, also add
* In addition to the labours of the regular delegate from Utah to Congress during the winter of 1871-2, there was another delegation from Utah, composed of two Gentiles and an apostle who enjoyed the freedom of the House, and whose business it was to secure the admission of Utah into the Union and thereby end all interference of Congress with the bloody record of that Territory. The apostle was but doing his duty to "the Lord;" the two Gentile gentlemen were to be rewarded, the one with senatorial honours and the other with the position of Representative of the "State of Deseret."
On one occasion the Author visited that assembled body of honoured gentlemen, and was chatting with some of them on the proposed legislation for Utah which was to bring up and investigate the Utah murders, and expressing surprise at the evident intention of some parties to prevent all legislation, the answer was made unreservedly by a number of gentlemen, with ill-disguised contempt: "It is very evident, Mr. Stenhouse, that Brigham Young has a financial agent in Washington."
458 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
that the emigrants poisoned a spring, and that for doing so the Indians attacked them. To those who can accept such statements, in the light of the facts stated in this chapter, as a solution of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, they are perfectly welcome; but upon the Government of this great Republic, that massacre will ever be a stain until the fullest investigation has been made, and the guilty ones brought to justice.
Fifteen long years have passed away since that dark tragedy was enacted, and yet the nation slumbers, and the representatives of the Government are deaf to the cries of the slaughtered! How well did Britain, a few years ago, earn the admiration of the world for the proud march of her army into the heart of Abyssinia, to demand from the infatuated Theodorus the release of British subjects! Other nations, too, have disregarded distance, time, and money, when the cries of injured citizens have been heard calling for protection. But here, in the very heart of "the Great Republic," on the highway between the seas, the darkest deed of the nineteenth century is passed by in silence! The cries and prayers of the orphans have been heard in vain in free America!