The Mormons and Polygamy.
The practice of polygamy amongst the Mormons is exciting serious attention in the States. Ex-President Hayes expresses his opinion as follows: — It is the recognised duty and purposes of the people of the United States to suppress polygamy where it now exists in our territories, and prevent its extension. Faithful and zealous efforts have been made by the United States authorities in Utah to enforce the law against it. Experience has shown that the legislation on this subject, to be effective, requires executive modification, and amendments. The longer action is delayed the more difficult it will be to accomplish what is desired. Prompt and decided measures are necessary. The Mormon sectarian organisation which upholds polygamy has the whole power of making and executing the local legislation of the territory. By its control of the grand and petit juries it possesses large influence over the administration of justice. Exercising, as the heads of this sect do, the local political power of the territory, they are able to make effective their hostility to the law of Congress on the subject of and, in fact, to prevent its enforcement. Polygamy will not be abolished if the enforcement of the law depends on those who practice it and uphold the crime. It can only be suppressed by taking away the political power of the sect which encourages and sustains it. The power of Congress to enact suitable laws to protect the territories is ample. It is not safe for half-way measures. The political power of the Mormon power is increasing. It is spreading to other territories. Wherever it goes it establishes polygamy and sectarian political power. The sanctity of marriage and the family relations are the corner-stone of our American society and civilisation. Religious liberty and the separation of Church and State are among the elementary ideas of free institutions. To re-establish the interests and principles which polygamy and Mormonism have imperilled, and to fully re-open to intelligent and virtuous immigrants of all creeds that part of our domain which has been in a great degree closed to general immigration by intolerant and immoral institutions, it is recommended that the Government of the territory of Utah be re-organised. I recommend to Congress to provide for the Government of Utah by a Governor and Judges, or Commissioners, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, or a government analogous to the Provisional Government established for the territory north-west of Ohio by the Ordinance of 1787. If, however, it is deemed best to continue the existing form of local government, I recommend that the right to vote, hold office, and sit on juries in the Territory of Utah be confined to those who neither practise nor uphold polygamy. If thorough measures are adopted, it is believed that within a few years the evils which now afflict Utah will be eradicated, and this territory will in good time become one of the most prosperous and attractive of the new States of the Union.
Permanent link to this item
The Mormons and Polygamy., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 272, 18 February 1881
The Mormons and Polygamy. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 272, 18 February 1881
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.