Mistreatment of US Officials - 1851
Saint Joseph Gazette – November 12, 1851
On Monday last, several of our citizens waited on Judge Brocchus, and invited him to address the people of this place, upon the subject of the Mormon difficulties at the Salt Lake. As the Judge was on his way to Washington, he did not deem it expedient to address the citizens, and accordingly declined the invitation.
LATE AND IMPORTANT FROM
EXCITEMENT AMONG THE MORMONS.
An arrival from Salt Lake across the plains,
reached this City on Sunday evening last, consisting of Chief Justice Brandebury,
Judge Brocchus, Secretary Harris of the Territory of Utah, and Captain Day,
Indian Agent, accompanied by David and Jessee Holladay, Esqrs. of this City, and
O. H. Cogswell, of Indpendence, S. Woods of Weston, John Williams, Mr. Young and
Mr. Gillan. They left Salt Lake on the 28th of September.
By this arrival we have received a letter from an intelligent and reliable gentleman in that territory, giving a full and detailed history of the treatment of the Government officiers while at the Salt Lake, which we copy below.
GREAT SALT LAKE CITY.
Utah Territory, Sept. 28th, 1851.
Troubles in the Territory of Utah, between the Governor and Mormon people on one side, and the GENTILE Officers of the U. States Government upon the other -- The Government and people of the U. States denounced in the presence of 3,000 people -- Two of the Judges and the Secretary of State and Indian Agent about to leave the Territory with indignation and disgust -- Great excitement among the community, &c., &c.
To the Editor of the St. Joseph Gazette:
I offer to the public, through the columns of your paper, a brief account of events which have transpired in this Territory within the last few days, and which, being of such a novel and extraordinary character cannot fail of exciting a feeling of interest in the public mind.
On Monday the 8th inst., the semi-annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, assembled. The number present was from three to four thousand persons. A notice had been publicly given, in the Bowery, the day previous, by his Excellency Brigham Young, Governor of the Territory, that the Hon. Perry E. Brocchus, one of the United States Judges, would address the people the next day, when assembled in convention. Accordingly, at 11 o'clock on the appointed day, Judge Brocchus appeared upon the stand, so much enfeebled and emaciated by sickness that he could scarcely keep from falling -- having only arrived in this city a few weeks before, with a spell of illness upon him, and having just emerged from a sick chamber.
After a respectful introduction to the immense audience, by Gov. Young, Judge Brocchus proceeded to address the assemblage in a speech of two hours in length. He commenced by alluding in terms of gratitude to the kindness which had been extended to him since his arrival in this city, by certain individuals of the community; to their hospitable care of him, while lying prostrate upon the bed of illness, from which he had just arisen. His language upon this subject was so touching as to bring tears to the eyes of many of his audience. He next referred to the organization of the Government of Utah Territory, and more especially, the judicial branch thereof, of which he said he was an humble member. He alluded to the amicable manner in which the individual disputes and the rights of the community had hitherto uniformly, as he was informed, been adjudicated and settled by a tribunal possessing their supreme confidence, and declared that it was not his purpose or desire to make an innovation upon their favorite mode of settling their difficulties. That it was no part of his ambition to see litigation rife in the community. That he would be content and gratified to see his court, from year to year, without a single case upon its docket. -- That he hoped the custom of amicable adjudication might still exist, and that the law of moral susation might so extensively prevail as to suppress those feelings of discontent and bitterness which too often flow from litigious contests before tribunals of law, to the disruption of the ties of private friendship, and, not unfrequently to the disturbance of the public peace. -- He appealed to his brethren of the bench, the Hon. Lemuel G. Brandebury, Chief Justice, and the Hon. L. Snow, associate Justice, who sat near him upon the stand, for the correctness of his sentiments and for their concurrance in his opinions and feelings; in answer to which he received their cordial assent. He then invoked for the Judiciary, the confidence, the respect and the cordial support, of the community. -- This invocation was prompted by a conviction that the popular sentiment was inimical to the establishment of a Territorial Government, and the consequent extension of the jurisdiction of the U. S. Government over this people, and, more especially, by the apprehension that the general feeling of the inhabitants was particularly adverse to the Judicial branch of the Government, which was principally composed of citizens of the U. S., and members of the Mormon Church, -- the Governor of the Territory, who is the head of the Mormon Church, having, on several occasions, declared that hestill govern them, without judges, and avowed that the Judges of the U. States courts might reside in the Territory, and draw their salaries, but they should never try a cause if he could prevent it -- that none but Mormons ought to have been appointed to any office in the Territory, and that none others, but damned rascals would come here. The remarks made by Judge Brocchus on this branch of his speech were calm, dignified and impressive, and well calculated to arouse the minds of an intelligent auditory to the great importance of the Judicial arm of the Government, and to command, on its behalf, the entire respect and confidence of the whole community; and, if the observation that came from the lips of the speaker produced upon their minds any other than that legtimate object, it resulted from the disloyal and seditious feelings of their hearts.
Judge Brocchus then asked the indulgeance of his audience while he should refer briefly to a matter entirely personal to himself. He said it had been rumored that he came here for the sole purpose of being returned to Congress as delegate from this Territory. The rumor he should not regard as by any means calumnious but for the spirit in which it was uttered -- being that of unfriendliness and malignity. Taking the rumor in connexion with that spirit, he regarded it as an aspersion and therefore repelled the charge as false and slanderous. He knew who was the author of the report and hoped the individual was present. He did not deny that he had aspired to the delegacy in Congress -- such was the right of any citizen of the U. S. -- but he did denounce the charge that he had come to the Territory solely for that purpose, as false, base and slanderous! The person alluded to by the speaker was a member of the Mormon Church.
Here Judge Brocchus reached the main object of his appearance before so large an assemblage of the inhabitants of the Territory. He had been authorized by the board of managers of the Washington National Monument Society to say to the people of the Territory of Utah, that they would be pleased to receive from them a block of marble, or other stone to be deposited in the magnificent structure now being erected in honor of the Father of this country, together with such contributions in money as they might be pleased to make, "as an offering at the shrine of patriotism." This subject was presented in a full, ample and faithful manner, in remarks of more than an hour's duration, during the whole of which time, the speaker held the most respectful, earnest and unremitting attention of his auditors. So profound was that attention, and so deep seemed to be the sympathy that pervaded the audience, that a disinterested spectator would have supposed the vast assemblage to have been composwed entirely of patriots, American patriots ready to make almost any "offering at the shrine of patriotism."
The speaker took occasion to express his deep regret that since his arrival in this valley, some things had come under his observation indicative of a defection of the feelings of the Mormon people from the Government of the United States. He then commented upon an oration delivered by a distinguished member of the community, on the recent festive occasion, the 24th of July, being the anniversary of the arrival of the Mormons in this valley, in the course of which the orator bitterly denounced the federal Government for "requiring a battalion of five hundred men" of them, for the mexican war, while they were in a destitute, or suffering condition at their winter quarters, on the Missouri River, during their flight from Illinois. He was pained to see that the orator on the occasion alluded to, had denounced the act as one of "Barbarity," [and] had declared that the "American Republic" had devised the most wanton, cruel and dastardly means for the accomplishment of the ruin, [overthrow] and utter extermination of the [Mormons]. -- He had learned with still more profound regret, that those sentiments had been hailed and echoed by the loud applause of the assemblage whom the orator addressed. -- He denied that the Government had ever felt a desire, or shown a disposition, to do injury or injustice to this people; much less, to ruin and exterminate them. He maintained that the Government of the United States was a humane Government, and would not have made an oppressive demand upon a people already immersed in deep tribulation. He knew the lamented statesman, now sleeping in his grave, who presided over the nation, at that time, and, from his knowledge of his character as a man, he could boldly assert that he was totally incapable of doing a wilfully inhumane act. Having here paid a just and handsome tribute to the memory of Ex-President Polk, he expressed his conviction that the Mormon battalion was not demanded by the authorities at Washington, and that, if the officer or person who applied for the five hundred men did more than ask them as volunteers, he either misunderstood, or wilfully transcended his authority, in so doing.
Judge Brocchus then adverted, in a mild and dignified manner, to an unpatriotic and offensive expression, which had fallen from the lips of one of the Mormon preachers on the preceeding Sunday, during the hour set apart for public worship, and in the presence of a large congregation, to the effect that the Government of the United States was a stink in the nostrils of Jehovah and that they (the Mormons) wished it down; and farther, that before they would use any other means to save it from destruction, than the means of theocracy, they "would see it damned first." -- He said the sentiment was the more offensive because uttered in the presence of his honor Judge Brandeberry and himself, who had visited the Bowery on that occasion with respectful feelings, and who, having been invited to take a seat on the stand, instead of hearing a religious sermon, as they expected, [had] been insulted by a tirade of abuse against the country which they loved, and the government of which they were, in part, the official representatives. Expressing surprise and indignation at those unpatriotic and seditious declarations, he dwelt in glowing terms upon the greatness, the virtue, the influence, the beauty and splendor of the political and domestic institutions of our country, and then, appealing to his auditors, asked if that country could be a stink in the nostrils of Jehovah. In answer to that appeal, looks of the audience were returned to the speaker, clearly showing a strong sympathy of patriotic feeling, to be swept away, alas! too soon, by the voice of their omnipotent head and master, Brigham Young, before whose sirrocco breath every sentiment of patriotism, in the bosom of a mormon, is doomed to perish.
Judge B. next commented upon an expression used by an elder in the mormon church with whom he had travelled from Iowa to this City, in the following words: "The Government of the United States is going to hell as fast as it can; and the sooner the better." To the recital of this declaration there came up into the face of the speaker an enthusiastic burst of applause, clapping of hands and of laughter, from many of the audience, together with a loud amen! from a man in the immediate vicinity of the stand. This rude manifestation of applause, to such an infamous expression from a man born on American soil, and owing his best affections to the Government of the United States, received the manly rebuke of Judge Brocchus: having administered which, he proceeded to notice a sacrilegious declaration made to Brigham Young, Governor of the Territory, in the presence, and within the attentive hearing of a vast concourse of persons, on the festive occasion alluded to in a former paragraph of this letter. He had head with feelings of mortification and amazement that a person standing high in the confidence and respect of the people of the community generally, had, upon the late anniversary of the arrival of the mormons in the valley, in the presence of a large public assembly, used the following language, "Zachary Taylor is dead and in Hell, and I am glad of it; and I prophecy, in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the priesthood that is upon me, that any President of the United States who shall lift his finger against this people, shall die an untimly death and go to Hell." And his mortification and surprise had been greatly aggravated, on learning, farther, that this unchristian and unpatriotic declaration had been rolled back from the vast audience in a tremendous volume of applause, mingled with loud shouts of amen! amen! good! good! Here the speaker said, that the subject of these sacrilegious remarks -- the illustrious Taylor -- had just gone down lamented to the grave, and that his honored tomb was still wet with a nation's tears; that he had served his country faithfully and gloriously in the field of battle; that his name was hollowed in the gratitude and sacred in the memory of the American people; that such an unfeeling and inhuman declaration in regard to the departed patriot, lamented and beloved, would commend the indignation and abhorrence of his surviving countrymen, and that, if the author of that insult and that outrage upon christian charity, did not earlier repent of that insult and that outrage, it would be his painful task to perform such a duty, with feelings of deep and keen remorse, upon a dying pillow.
Having spoken for almost two hours, and having become almost exhausted, Judge Brocchus fervently concluded his speech, amidst the most profound stillness of his audience, in the following language: "I cannot [forget] that I am an American citizen; that I was born of an American mother, that I have been reared beneath the genial influence of American institutions; that I have enjoyed the protection of an American constitution and American laws. To my Country I owe my allegiance and my love, and when the time shall come in which I shall be ready to remain silent, and hear her traduced by unjust and seditious aspersions, I hope that my tongue, now employed in her advocacy and her praise, may cling to the roof of my mouth; and that my arm, ever-ready to be lifted in her defence, may fall palsied at my side!
"I have performed my duty. It remains for you to discharge yours. If, in full communion and fraternity with your fellow citizens of the United States, you can appear at the base of that stupendous and beautiful structure which is towering to the skied, and there, in memory, in admiration, and in love, of the life, and virtues, and glory of the immortal Washington, tender your block of marble "as an offering at the shrine of patriotism," then come! and your tribute will be hailed with welcome, from every part of this vast confederacy. But if otherwise; if you cannot approach that sacred column with hearts warmed by emotions of the purest patriotism, then let your marble remain unsculptured! Yes, let it forever sleep, unquarried, in the bosom of its native mountain."
The speech, throughout, was marked by a degree of calmness, deliberation and discretion which did credit alike to the mind and the heart of the speaker, as a man, as a citizen of the United States, and as a member of a branch of a new government bearing so important and delicate a trust as that resting upon the Judiciary. It is due to the officers of the General Government for this Territory -- to all of such who were present at the time excepting those who were attached to the Mormon church -- to state that they fully concurred in everything that Judge Brocchus said upon this occasion, as far as his remarks had a public bearing. With his views of being a candidate for Congress, of course they had nothing to do, excepting a concurrence in the opinion that it was an ambition in which any American citizen had a right to indulge. It may be proper, also to state that, all the points presented in the speech, in reference to the defection of the feelings of the people here from the general Government, and the violent and unpatriotic denunciations upon the subject, from the lips of the Mormons, were discussed, and fully agreed upon, by the Gentile officers present at the time, including Judge Brandebury, Mr. Secretary Harris, and R. H. Day, Indian Agent, and that those gentlemen, without exception, have regarded, and still regard, the unfriendly sentiments of the Mormon people, and their wholesale and unscrupulous insults to the Government of the United States, with feelings of regret, indignation and disgust, as the sequel will prove.
At the close of the speech, the audience, astonished at the boldness of the speaker in daring to allude to the denunciations of the general Government by their leaders, remained silent, apparently awaiting their cue from His Excellency, [Brigham] Young, President of the Church. After a deep and ominous silence of a moment, he arose, and in substance spoke as follows: had governed this people for years, and could
He would have but little to say. He did not expect that Judge Brocchus would come there to teach them their duty. He would be instructed by no such boys. He could buy a thousand of them, and bring them there in [banboxes] and place them upon the stand. He could prove that Judge Brocchus came there to run for Congress, or to be elected Delegate to Congress for their Territory. He could have the papers in proof of this charge produced, but he would not. Judge Brocchus was ignorant of the facts in relation to the action or conduct of the United States Government, concerning the Mormon Battalion, or else he was willfully wicked -- "as corrupt as the Government officers at Washington, who sat and saw the Mormons murdered, plundered and driven into the desert and never opened their mouths; the damned scoundrels." General Taylor was dead and in hell, and who could help it. He knew as much about General Washington as Judge Brocchus did. He had more talent and wisdom than Washington ever had. He would protect this people from imposition. He was there. He was the boy that could use the sword.
The proceedings in the church during this outrageous harangue was singular and alarming. The utterances and jesticulations of Brigham Young became violent in the extreme. He strode madly upon the platform on which the U. S. Judges and the officials of the Church were seated. He gave notice that there should be no farther discussion upon the subject; that there was to be no reply to his speech; and that, if anything more were said, there would be a pulling of hair and a cutting of throats. Here the scene beggared description. The audience was thrilled with the power of Governor Young's vehement and invective oratory, and convulsed with feelings of indignation towards the officers of the Government, and especially the one who had just dared to comment upon, and censure the denunciations of the United States by their leaders. Of course, under the circumstances, Judge Brocchus made no reply. Such was the temper of the people before him -- such the rage that Governor Young had aroused in their bosoms that his appearance again, as a speaker upon the stand, would have been the signal for a personal assault and battery upon him, and perhaps for his assassination. The other officers of the Territory who were not Mormons, and who were present on the occasion, would probably, in that event, have shared his fate. The dense mass of people which crammed the building to suffocation, filled the doors and windows and hung in crowds around the vast church, were to all appearances, filled with the fierceness of demons, and seemed only to await the command of Brigham Young, in order to commence a general onslaught upon the Gentiles who were present. -- Fears were entertained that Judge Brocchus, in pursuance of the bold spirit which had characterized his speech, would arise to reply to Young's invectives. In that event personal violence -- "the pulling of hair and cutting of throats" -- would have been inevitable; and in that violence, any Gentile within the walls of the building at the time, would have been a sharer. But prudence prevailed and he held his peace; preferring to leave his speech unexplained rather than rush madly upon the fearful torrent of indignation which had been lashed into a tempestuous convulsion by the Governor's furious reply. After the congregation had been dismissed, and while the people were moving toward the doors of the Bowery, Brigham Young vociferated: "Yes, Zachary Taylor is in hell, and who can help it?" At this moment Heber C. Kimball, an elder in the Church, and second in standing and authority, touched Judge Brocchus on the shoulder, and said "and you will see him when you get there." -- Such impertinence is a very common thing amongst this people.
The excitement resulting from the Judge's speech has been deep and intense, and fears have been entertained of his personal safety, -- and so much reason has there been for such apprehension, that he has been waited upon by a number of persons and apprised of threats that had been made toward him, and advised to keep within doors at night, and to avoid being alone in retired places as much as possible. The people of the U. States can form nothing like an adequate conception of the bitterness of the feelings of this people against the general government. Their almost constant theme, in and out of church, is denunciation of the U. States and of all sects of christians whose faith and practice are different from theirs.
On Sunday last, an individual called Elder Snow, lately appointed Missionary of the Mormon Church, to England, arose in the Bowery to make his valedictory address to the congregation. After having adverted to his mission and its interests, and to the success which had attended the labors of the "Perpetual Emigration Society" -- to which he had the honor of belonging, he remarked that when he saw the report of the donations to the funds of the society, his surprise was unbounded; "for," said he, "what sum do you think the United States -- the whole United States -- the great United States donated to the relief of the poor Saints? Why, the enormous, the egregious sum of one hundred dollars." "damn them!" he shouted, in a great rage, "we don't want it, we won't have it." "But now they come to us, and want a million for their great Washington Monument." "Damn their nasty stinking souls. Brethren, if this be swearing I can't help it." Then in a low voice, and with a look of great cunning, he added, "But I won't talk this way when I get into the United States. Oh, no!" "What," said Governor Young, (laughing and by the tone of his voice evidently approving the contemplated deceit) "you will act hypocritically, will you!" "Well," answered Elder Snow, "I will not be so much of a hypocrite as you may suppose, unless (turning reverentially to that gentleman) brother Brigham tells me to." And this ci-devant disciple of the Saviour continued, "Brethren, I have two wives; and whose business is it?" And this man is now on his way to England as a messenger from the Church of Latter Day Saints. In his way to the place of his destination, he must pass through the United States, and, in as much as these missionaries travel "without purse or scrip," he must necessarily be the subject of the hospitalities of the people whom he so indecently abuses. His remarks were received with smiles by the women and loud applause from the men who composed the congregation. At the close of Elder Snow's remarks, Brigham Young arose, and said, "brethren, I will say but little, and that little is for the world. Now there is a rumor that the Judges and other U. S. officers are going to leave. I hope they won't go. I am not angry with any one but Judge Brocchus; and with him I will always be angry, for he came here upon this stand and degraded this people to the nethermost hell. But some of my people have said to me, Oh! we shall be ruined. Now, my friends, don't be scared. I am not scared. Let 'em come." This strain of remarks was continued for some time, when the congregation was dismissed to meet again on the coming Sabbath, for [their] usual purpose of hearing the United States, and the officers of the General Government abused in the most seditious and indecent manner.
I cannot commit to paper, nor would you publish if I were to write, the obscene and vulgar expressions that have been used and are commonly used, by the Mormon Preachers here -- especially Brigham Young -- in their denunciations of the United States. We never hear a syllable of pure evangelical preaching within the walls of their Bowery which is their place of worship. They never preach the cardinal christian virtues; never inculcate pious duties; never urge their congregations to repentance and humility, or to the practice of true christian principles. Their favorite theme is denunciation of the U. S., and, in the elegant language of Governor Young, of "the corrupt set of scoundrels at the head of the United States Government."
The plurality wife system is in full vogue here. Governor Young is said to have as many as ninety wives. He drove along the streets, a few days since, with sixteen of them in a long carriage -- fourteen of them having each an infant at their bosom's. It is said that Heber C. Kimball, one of the Triune Council, and the second person in the Trinity, has almost an equal number; amongst them, a mother and her two daughters. Each man can have as many wives as he can maintain, that is after the women have been picked and culled by the head men. The Judges and Secretary of State have had the honor of being introduced by His Excellency, the Governor, to several of his wives; and also by Heber C. Kimball to several of his. Will the American people, can they, tolerate such a blot upon the fair fame of their beloved country?
All the United States officers, who do not belong to the Mormon Church, have resolved to leave the Territory, being unable to reconcile it to their sense of patriotism and self respect to remain in the midst of the sedition and lawless vice that pervades this community. In view of their departure the people have become greatly alarmed -- fearing the adoption of some severe measures by the General Government. Governor Young, accompanied by a number of the elders of the Church, a few days since formally called on Judge Brandebury, Mr. Secretary Harris, and H. R. Day, Ind. Agent, and entreated them to remain. -- Finding entreaty in vain, a resort was had to threats and attempts at intimidation. -- The Legislature was accordingly convened in a hasty and informal manner, and a joint resolution adopted declaring that the Secretary of State was about to abscond with the money and other property belonging to the Government, and authorizing and requiring the Deputy Marshal to seize the said money and other property, and to take into his custody the person of Mr. Harris, unless he surrendered the funds in his possession as Secretary of State. The Deputy Marshal waited upon Mr. Harris and served him a copy of the joint resolution. Mr. H. thereupon applied to the Supreme Court, then in session, for a writ of injunction, which was promptly granted, forbidding the removal of the public money from the possession of the Secretary of State, by the Deputy Marshal, or any other person. Seeing the difficulties into which they would plunge themselves, by persisting in violent measures in spite of the judiciary, they paused in their mad career, and Brigham Young then, in writing asked the opinion of the Supreme Court as to the right of the Legislature to take the money from the possession of the Secretary. -- This was intended as a mere show of a law-abiding spirit: for the question had before been fully answered by the injunction which the Supreme Court had granted.
The entire pages of your paper might be filled with the surprising and disgusting details of the state of affairs here, but as the officers of the Government intend to make a full report upon the subject to the President of the United States, I will conclude by saying that these people have no idea of ever yielding a loyal obedience to the laws or jurisdiction of the general government, and that they must either be sternly forced into submission to the laws of decency and justice, or else abandoned to their vile and seditious practices and feelings. Which of the two things shall be done, is a question the answer to which in no small degree, involves the dignity and honor of the people and the government of the United States.
Very respectfully, UTAH.
GOVERNOR BRIGHAM YOUNG. -- The Republican contains a dispatch from Independence, by which it appears that the Secretary of Utah Territory, the Chief and Associate Justices, the Indian Agent and other citizens, have felt themselves compelled to leave for the States in consequence of the seditious sentiment of Gov. Young. Charges are also reported against him of squandering the twenty thousand dollars appropriated by Congress for public buildings, and of making an attempt to take twenty-four thousand more from the Secretary, who was only empowered to withhold the sum by the interference of an injunction from the U. S. Court.
Our readers will remember that two or three months ago we published a letter from Major Singer, of the U. S. Army, who charged Gov. Young with habitually using expressions of a seditious or treasonable character, with reference to the U. S. Government. The publication of this letter drew down upon us the anathemas of sundry leaders in the Mormon Church, and even the sympathies of one or two editors who profess a different creed, were so aroused that we had to ward off a cudgel or so from them. We cannot say we are gratified that the information first published by us, and sought to be stigmatized by others, has received the confirmation alluded to. Although the character of the gentlemen who wrote the letter placed him above suspicion of willful misrepresentation, we nevertheless indulged a hope that some palliating circumstances might thereafter appear which would place the conduct, or., at least the motives of Gov. Young in a less reprehensible light than that in which the writer held them. In this, it seems, we were mistaken. The decided step, which according to the Republican's dispatch, the other territorial officers have taken, must have been induced by conduct on the part of the Governor at least equally flagrant with that which Major Singer charged upon him.
Should these events prove to be, as some may apprehend, the precursors of serious difficulties between the Federal Government and the Utah Territory, much will doubtless be said about the wisdom or propriety of the appointment of the Mormon leader to the office which he holds. With regard to this question, we can only say in advance, that should the worst come, it would prove nothing more than that disaster had been postponed -- not occasioned -- by the appointment. The legitimate causes of any difficulty must be found in an impatience of restraint among the Mormon people, by any one save their spiritual leaders, to which may be added an ambitious grasping at civil as well as ecclesiastical supremacy, on the part of those same leaders. Brigham Young has unbounded influence over his people. Had a different appointment been made, the tendency of the elements above alluded to would have been to incite an early resistance against the gubernatorial authority, and perhaps, other consequences of a more fatal character than would now be agreeable to speculate upon.
Of the real motives or purposes of the Mormon people -- their collective virtue or depravity as a sect -- we know nothing derived from personal familiarity with their habits and sentiments. We have never formed any estimate of them except from facts connected with their outward deportment, as they have come to us through various sources. Whenever any of these have been publicly used to their prejudice, Their defenders have invariably stepped forth with the cry of "misrepresentation! persecution!" &c. Thus, there appeared two sides of the subject matter. But if they were really a misrepresented and calumniated people, a better opportunity never could have been invented by human sagacity, for them to prove this to the world's satisfaction, than was afforded them in the elevation of the recognized head of the Church to the highest local authority under the United States. By accepting the appointment, Brigham Young acknowledged the supremacy of the Federal Government, and became bound by the most solemn obligations to maintain that supremacy among his followers. If there was any sincerity or good faith in him, his immense influence was thus secured for the preservation of a strict adherence to our laws throughout the territory. Under such circumstances it would seem that he, together with all Mormondom should have been zealous to vindicate their professed loyalty to our government, by furnishing an example of civil order and regularity.
We have no doubt that the whole matter will be speedily and thoroughly investigated and that such steps will be taken by the Executive -- if any should appear necessary -- as will completely maintain the dignity and authority of the Federal Government. -- Intelligencer.
Note 1: The above "Excitement Among the Mormons" text was reportedly reprinted in one or more New York City papers, as well as in the St. Louis Weekly Union, at the end of November or beginning of December, 1851. It was also reprinted in the Liberty Tribune on Nov. 21st. None of these prints include exact quotes of Associate Justice Brocchus' alleged remarks in regard to Mormon polygamy. It appears likely that Brocchus either avoided this subject altogether in his speech before the Salt Lake Saints, or, that his allusions to the extraordinary practice were brief ones that did not provoke a specific response from Brigham Young at the time. Later Mormon recollections of the speech and Brigham's indignant reply focus upon the topic of Brocchus' alleged insults to plural wives in the audience, almost to the total exclusion of his remarks on the state of American patriotism among the Latter Day Saints.
Note 2: T. B. H. Stenhouse relates the scene on the Conference platform in chapter 34 of his 1873 Rocky Mountain Saints thusly: "The Gentile Federal officers arrived in July of 1851, and very soon after their arrival concluded that Utah was not the most pleasant place in the world for unbelievers. They attended a special conference of the Church held in September, and were honoured with an invitation to sit on the platform with the prophets. On that occasion the proposition was made to send a block of Utah marble or granite as the Territorial contribution to the Washington monument at the seat of Government. Associate Justice Brocchus made a speech, and before closing it drifted on to polygamy. He spoke irreverently of that institution, going so far as to assure the ladies of its immorality, reproved the leaders for their disrespectful language concerning the Government and their consignment of President Zachary Taylor to the nether regions. This was something new in the Rocky Mountain Zion, and the 'Lion of the Lord' was in a moment aroused. The audience was indignant at Brocchus, and when Brigham let himself loose on to the unfortunate Judge, the people would have torn that Federal functionary into shreds if the Prophet had not restrained them. When Brigham reiterated the situation and locality of the then recently deceased President Taylor, the Judge put in a demurrer, on which 'brother Heber' kindly touched his Honour on the shoulder and assured him that he need not doubt the statement, for he would see him when he got there. Heber's witty endorsement of Brigham was anything but reassuring to the Judge."
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