Washington, D. C., Tues., April 20, 1857.
THE MODERN SODOM.
The publication of the recent order from the Department of War putting in motion a large body of troops on our western border,
under the command of General Harney, has created a general impression that their ultimate destination is the Utah Territory,
and that it indicates an intention on the part of the Government to put down, by a strong hand, the criminal and disgraceful
outrages which have so long been committed by Brigham Young and his band in the Utah Valley, and establish in that sink of
iniquity (by force, if need be) the authority of the Government and laws of the United States. Among those whose attention has
been arrested by the Army order, is a respectable citizen, who lately spent twelve months in the Salt Lake Valley, engaged in
business connected with the transit of the mails through the Territory to and from the Pacific. While thus residing in the
Mormon community, he studied attentively the character and government of Brigham Young, the supreme head, as well as the customs,
habits, morals and laws of the community, if laws they may be called, which consist principally in the will of a despot. This
gentleman, corroborating fully all that Judge Drummond has lately stated on the subject, has deemed it his duty to make known
to the country the result of his own observations on the condition of things in the Territory. In executing this task, however,
he has not touched upon the domestic enormities and depraved social system of the community, but has confined himself to the
political aspect of Mormonism -- to ail exposition of the polity, power, evil purposes, operations, and character of Young and
his coadjutors or tools. His statements are startling, and we concur entirely in
the remark of a Richmond contemporary that it
is high time that the Government of the United States was directing its serious attention to the condition of things in Utah.
And, if the revelations of our correspondent be true, as we do not doubt they are, it is apparent that the day is rapidly
approaching, if it be not already come, when the Government will find it no easy task to subdue the rebellious legions of Brigham
and quell the power of the modern Mahomet in his stronghold. The communication of our correspondent is appended.
Editors of the National Intelligencer.
GENTLEMEN: From a military order recently published in your paper, I infer that a division of the United States
army is to move into Utah. This news will be hailed with joy by thousands of American citizens, in every State and Territory of
the Confederacy who have suffered directly or indirectly by the merciless outrages of the Mormons, committed while quietly pursuing
their toilsome journey overland to Oregon and California.
Every indignity has been offered to emigrants, every
species of property stolen, and every species of crime has been committed. The Federal laws have been trampled in the dust,
Government officials set at defiance, menaced, threatened and insulted; juries have been influenced, and the ends of justice
thwarted; the prison doors have been opened, und the criminals set free. All this did not satisfy them, but they must enter the
hall of records, and publicly burn the archives of the Territory.
Now, as evidence of their inveterate hatred to American, and every thing pertaining to America, (and these sentiments are constantly
taught and preached) I will cite as follows:
"A Gentile shall not board in my family, and if one of my houses are rented to a Gentile, after the time had
expired I would burn it down! That's the doctrine." -- Jedediah M. Grant.
"If a Gentile were boarding in my family, and I should bow down to pray, and the Gentile or heathen should
hesitate, I would say to him, bow down you devil! This is the doctrine, and I know it; and any man who shall oppose
it shall be destroyed." -- Heber C. Kimball.
Their religious tenets may be inferred from the following:
"I believe in marrying brothers and sisters; I believe in the pre-existence of man; that Adam and Eve are the parents of
all men, spiritually and physically; that all the saints of this dispensation will be resurrected by Joseph Smith, Jr. If
ever I am saved, I expect to be saved by and through they atonement of Joseph Smith." -- Brigham Young.
"Were my daughter to marry a Gentile, I would save her in this kingdom, namely, cut her throat from ear to ear." --
Their advocacy of internal improvements may be inferred from the following:
"Mr. Lee, who piloted the Government troops through on that route (south side of Great Salt Lake) last Spring, (1854,)
wished to publish a book -- a guide of the route -- but was prevailed on not to do it, as the Presidency there (Carson Valley)
did not wish the emigration to pass that way." -- Elder Johnson.
Object of missionaries: "Most of the foreign missionaries will be called home. They will be sent among all the Indian tribes,
to teach them agriculture, the mechanic arts, and military tactics!" -- Brigham Young.
Means of defense: "We have the self-loading twenty-four repeating rifle, the Minie rifle, Browning's revolving five-shooting
rifle, Colt's rifle and pistol, and a revolving cannon, or field-piece." -- Elder Ivins.
All of the above named firearms, powder, ball, etc., are in process of secret manufacture.
What the Indians are expected to do: "It (the United States mail) may come this way awhile yet, as they (the Indians)
wish to cut off the mail going from here!" -- Elder Hawkins.
"The Sioux, Cheyennes and ?????hoes have banded together against the Gentiles to the number of 8,000 warriors." --
Walker, Chief of the Utah Indians.
"The Lamanites (Indians) are the battle-axe of the Lord in the hand» of the Mormons." -- Mormon Bible.
"There is more union in the Masonic Order than any other except the Mormon." -- Heber C. Kimball.
"The right of private search by 'rogues' keys' is a peculiar characteristic order of the Mormone." -- Memoranda.
The law and the prophets: "A kingdom can exist mithin a republic." -- Brigham Young.
"No one was ever known to dissent from the will of Brigham Young." -- Orson Pratt.
What may be expected: "If Government officers ever interfere with onr women again, I will cut their throats from ear to ear."
-- Brigham Young.
"A division of the United States army shall never winter in this valley again." -- Brigham Young.
The above, quotations are taken from a mass of information collected in 1854-'55, during nearly a year's stay in Utah, all
of which came under my personal observation, and was noted at the time it was spoken. I have been thus particular in noticing
these quotations that the public may know upon what is based the conclusions that follow.
The Mormon priesthood is a consolidated system of police, compounded from the old Aaronic, Levitical, and Melahisideck
priesthoods, and is known by the name of "The Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ." Brigham Young is the Prophet,
Priest, and King of the Saints. His will is law; he is the vicegerent of God, deriving authority directly from Him, which is
absolute whenever he says "thus saith the Lord." Brigham stände upon the shoulders of his two councillors; they
stand upon the shoulders of the other ten apostles; they stand upon the shoulders of the high priests; they stand upon the shoulders
of the bishops; they stand upon the shoulders of the captains of fifties and seventies; they stand upon the shoulders of the elders;
they stand upon the shoulders of lay-members of the church; they stand upon the shoulders of the laboring masses who till the
soil which supports the pile. From his towering height Brigham issues forth his edicts to the people, and with the scorpion lash
of his serpent tongue he lashes every one beneath him into silence. "No one was ever known to dissent from his will." The
entire fraternity is bound together by oaths the most solemn to support the church and nothing but the church, and every man, woman
and child is constituted a police officer, always on duty, and required to report to the head whenever any thing of
sufficient interest occurs to justify it. From this you will not fail to perceive that the church form is but a closely
compacted system of police, having a head from which it derives all power, and a body forming a nucleus around which are
gathering the ignorant, the superstitious, the bigot, the outlaw, and the disaffected of all countries in the world, who are taking
refuge, as they suppose, under the wings of the angel of the last dispensation. However deluded the great mass of their
followers may be, the leaders are not deluded, but are knaves from choice, willfully misleading the masses for the purpose of
obtaining and wielding power, boldly predicting the overthrow of the Republic, when they will resume the reins of government and
proclaim Mormonism to the benighted nations of the world.
Every species of information is studiously kept from the people except their own doctrines, which are so ingenious and fascinating
that they bewilder rather than enlighten, till the feeble mind becomes lost in the mazes of metaphysical theories, and, looking
around for some sure anchor of safety, despairing falls prostrate at the feet of the monster, imploring him, in the language
of scripture, "I believe; help thou my unbelief."
The endearing appellation of "brother and sister" is applied to all classes indiscriminately, which, with the plurality wife
system and the marriage of blood sisters, breaks up and obliterates every vestige of the family relation.
One-tenth of all property and one-tenth of all products are demanded as "tithing;" and then not only the man, but his wives and
children, and his property entire are consecrated to the church. All are at the disposal of Brigham.
The entire male population of the State are enrolled in the militia, who are under weekly (some daily) military drill, every one
of whom, from the boy of twelve to the man of eighty years, is required to keep on hand one hundred rounds of cartridges, one gun
or rifle, one or more pistols, swords, sabres, knives, &c., all he can obtain; and then, in the event of war, the women and
children are to fight with whatever weapon they can command. Now, when we consider their location, a thousand miles inland on
every side, in the mountain fastnesses of the continent; their numbers, which, according to Chief Justice Drummond, are one
hundred thousand in the Territory and two hundred thousand in surrounding States and Territories; their appliances of war; their
secret agents in every nook and corner of the Republic; their emissaries among every Indian tribe on the continent, teaching them
"the mechanic arts and military tactics," they amount to something more than we have been accustomed to regard them. They have
settlements on Salmon river, Oregon Territory, and on Lewis river, near Puget Sound, in Washington Territory, and in Carson Valley
and at San Bernardino, California. They instigated the Indians to revolt in Oregon and Washington Territories in the late war,
and were, in my judgment, the cause that created the necessity for the proclamation of martial law by Gov. Stevens; and when the
Governor forwarded a supply train of goods up to and for the Nez Perces in payment of debts contracted with them when returning
from treating with the Blackfeet or Crows, in the Winter of 1855-'6, on the arrival of the train at Colonel Craig's, the Indian
agency for the Nez Perces they had been induced to favor Kom-in-kun, the Yakima war chief, refused to receive the goods either in
payment of debts or as presents, and ordered all the whites to leave their country. Col. Craig, the Indian agent, was retained in
case of need; the train returned hastily to the Dalles; but other whites among the Nez Perces, instead of coming to the Dalles
and claiming the protection of the United States army, went through the country of the war Indians to the Mormon settlement
on Salmon river for protection! In Colonel Shaw's last battle with the Indians in the Grand Ronde among the camp equipage of
the enemy he captured ammunition witíi Mormon labels on them!
Now, permit me to conduct you to San Francisco, California, on the ever memorable 18th day of August, 1856, and behold the streets
of that ill-fated city thronged with men and arms. The Federal Constitution has been upheaved, the laws overthrown, and the
"Committee Vigilantes" have instituted a reign of terror. The committee lays down its power and calls out its adherents to celebrate
its retirement to law and order. The streets are decorated and hung with flags; but, alas, the star-spangled flag of the free was
set aside! "The all-seeing wyw over the crescent," on which was inscribed "Vigilantes," occupied the foreground, with a United
States flag on either side. Immediately in the rear of these, also in the centre, hung the Mormon emblem (worn by them as military
badges) of the "bee-hive and bees;" in the rear of these, between other United States flags, was the "Lone Star" on blue ground,
surrounded by a constellation. These are all the prominent ensigns of Mormonism, except the secret signs of the priesthood, which
are worn on under-garments, and are of course invisible. No one knew the object of the secret order "Vigilantes" but those
who recognize Brigham as their prophet, priest and king. The vigilance committee of 1851 was an experiment of Mormon strength,
headed by Samuel Brannan, Parley P. Pratt, and others, and the vigilance committee of 1856 may be regarded in the same light. If
nit Mormon, let some one assign reasons for the setting aside of the United States flag and the display if ensigns of Mormonism.
Throughout the States and Territories, at varions and convenient localities, the Mormons have what are termed "Stakes in Zion,"
and each stake is governed by a presidency. It may not be known to many that tbere is a stake in the city of Now York, whose
president is editor of a paper called "The Mormon;" at Council Bluffs is another stake and another paper; at Independence, another
stake; at St. Louis, &c. Their ageuts and spies are in every city in the Union, adapting themselves to surrounding circumstances,
luring the ignorant and unsuspecting into their meshes; secretly denouncing individuals whom they suspect capable of informing
against them; pursuing their victims with a pertinacity that overcomes all obstacles; and their agent in Congress keeps them
constantly advised of the policy and aims of the General Government. They are in the frontier post offices, either by appointment
as postmasters or as clerks, and have the opportunity of supervising the transit and distribution of all mail matter; and it may
not be improbable that to this cause may be traced the loss of so many letters going to and coming from the Pacific Territories.
Now, in view of the facts herein set forth, and the assumption by Chief Justice Drummond that they are a hundred thousand strong
in Utah and [have] two hundred thousand spies and emissaries in adjoining States and Territories, with every facility for obtaining
and transmitting information; allied to a savage Indian horde of three hundred thousand more, who are, in their hands, the "battle-axe
of the Lord," to be wielded against the Gentiles; added to a thousand miles of land travel, prairie and mountain, with natural means
at hand to throw every obstacle in the way of an army, by running off their animals, cutting off small parties, poisoning the springs
of water, and blockading the canyons and mountain passes; I repeat, in view of all theese facts staring us boldly in the face, they
form an obstacle to the peaceful settlement of the interior of the country of no mean character, and which should be promptly met
by the General Government. In my judgment the only way to meet the necessity of the case is to appoint a military governor for the
Territory, with discretionary power to place the whole Territory under martial law, backed by a military force of at least five
thousand men, amply equipped with munitions of war and a year's supply of provisions; then station the army at three several points
in the Territory, not to fight the people, but to defend them. By proclamation, now, call on all true citizens of the United States
to come out and enroll themselves under the flag of the Republic; warning all hostile thereto to leave the Territory under penalty
of capture, trial, and execution by martial law. This, in my judgment, will be the easiest, cheapest and safest mode of reaching
and remedying the evil. The idea that if left to themselves they will break up and disband by internal dissensions is futile and
They have a solid nucleus of one hundred thousand strong, with two hundred thousand spies and emissaries scattered over
the whole country, and a savage ally of three hundred thousand to do their bidding. And what want they more? A State government?
No; they already have that which to them is far better, namely, a willful perversion of the democratic principle of
self-government, declared in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, "to regulate their own institutions, in their own way." This leaves them in
a far better condition to propagate their treasonable designs than if they were existing under the form of State government.
As there is no power in the Constitution to force them into the Union, (God forbid they should ever come in !) they may always
remain a Territory of the United States, recognizing the federal laws merely as a form, while the power de facto
remains absolute, and the head of the Church becomes the head of the State.
Something ought, something should be done. Let the Government look well to it that its army be sufficient, amply supplied with
munitions of war and provisions for at least one year, as the task it is about to assume is no child's play. More anon.
Very respectfully, VERASTUS.
Note: "Verastus" was possibly U.S. Judge William Drummond. Another of his letters was published in the New York Times
of May 26, 1857. The National Intelligencer article was reprinted in the United States Magazine of June of 1857,
pages 613-616. For the LDS response, see the Western Standard of
June 12, 1857.