1862 January 6 Speech at Citizens' Mass Meeting


1862 January 6 Speech at Citizens' Mass Meeting



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George D. Watt

extracted text

by Pres. Brigham Young made before the Mass meeting in <G. S. L. City>
the tabernacle in G. S. L. City Jan. 6 /1862.
Reported by G. D. Watt.

By the request of the Chairman of this meeting I arise to make a few remarks. I will try to confine <my remarks> them strictly to the buisness before us <of this meeting>. And I would be pleased, Well, I will be pleased any how (applause.) I was going to say I would be pleased if you would give me your undivided attention. I do not know that there is one single thing of an earthly nature that can be presented to you that could give you greater joy than the buisness of this day. Every true heart throughout this territory throbs with unuterable joy. <this day> In
my remarks I do not wish to encourage one feeling or shade of faultfinding. If I can pass over every rememberance of insult without causing a complaint to rise unbidden to my lips I shall <feel> feel happy to do so. I now veiw the faces of twenty five hundered free men, I veiw what we understand to be a republican Government.
This certianly is a very novel declaration. I am now addressing the highest tribunal of what is called a republican Government. Our legeslators are here framing laws, and issueing them to the people of this territory But when the people appear in the Capacity we see them to day, they have power to treat all their legislative enactments as they would an old Almanic. What are laws to the people when they rise en mass? Nothing more than blank paper. <to them> I now veiw the very root and foundation of all republicanism <government>.
You have a right to come here in the capacity of a mass meeting, to frame, fashion, and shape just such a government you want for yourselves asking no odds of any man, set of men, people, nation, king or potentatate upon the face of the whole earth (Applause) It is not <the> our disign <of any man or set of men in this territory> however to frame an independant government; but we have the right to orgonize ourselves into a state Government, and live in this capacity if we live here a thousand years if we chose. If the General Government is not disposed to
receive us into the family of States we still have a right to be governed by the Constitution of our own choice, and this is according to the constitution of the United States and the declaration of independance. Every thing goes to support this veiw of the matter, there is nothing against it. This we expect to do. Our situation and sercumstances as a people are very peculiar. Elder John Taylor remarked to me the other day, that if our federal officers would treat us as they do other people we should never have any difficulty. I replied that he labored under a slight mistake, for they wanted to treat us precisely as they had other communities but we would not <allow> let them. I have sworn not to let them treat me as they do other men in other places. If the General Government would treat us in the capacity of a Territory as they have other Territories, we would consent to it cheerfully. To Oregon the General Government has paid out millions of dollars for making mad and then quelling the Indians when it was nursed by the parent government as a Territory. The same may be said of Callifornia. They gave to each male settler over such an age 640 acres of land, to females over eighteen 320, and to minors 160 acres; allowing the settlers generally the advantages of the premtion law. All this has not been done for us. <When> To Oregon,
Callifornia and New Mexico and every state of the American republic the general government has given the land upon which their Cities stood to the City corporations for the benifit of the City or town. We could endure all this; we would be willing to receive such treatment as this at their hands, and raise no objections whatever. We have pititioned congress from time to time for preemtion rights. We have plead with them not to sell our farmes from us after we have put good buildings upon them, and got them into a high state of cultivation, but let us have the time and priviledge of paying for them, <do> not to let the black leg, and the speculator bid off our homesteads to strangers. Our pleadings have availed nothing. In these respects we could be treated like other territories have been. Every legislative assembly that has sat in this Territory has pititioned the general government for this City plot. Would they give it to us? No. We have been here fifteen years, and no rights yet. I am not complaing, but merely relating a few facts that all the people are cognisant with. They have sent their officers here to rule over the people, and they have universally come holding in front of them the federal <authority> power. Saying <they>, "We present ourselves as representatives of the federal power of the Government of the United States, and we want to make you feel our power." There has been honerable exceptions a number of them. Those pompous officers however have not done much harm, but they have made the less the poor miserable curses we had here that we wanted to get rid off and there is more yet to go. To represent federal power is one thing, and to represent the federal government is another. <What is the nature of federal power>, It is federal power when the judges upon the bench can be bought and sold, as we sell mules and by them. They will under that power dicide cases according to the pay they get, and not according to the evidences, or the justice of the case. I need not bring many facts with which you are aquainted to instance this in the Terrytory of Utah. I will however mention one <circumstance>. When William Drummond was here as a judge sent <here> by the government of the United States; he would fine men for not <taking> mounting their horses, <and go and> to hunt up wittnesses, <and ride> all over this territory when he requested them, and threaten them with imprisonment; and then issue his Papers orders to sell to the stores to get their pay for services they rendered him; and at the same time he was writing to the general government not to pay one dollar
of his paper. They knew this at Washington, they knew he was putting this people to scores of thousands of dollars expence. Federal stee, I mean to say federal power said let them go and serve William Drumsond we <wont> will not pay them one dollar. And they have not to this day. We could bear a little of their money and we could do without it. We could bear to have our land garranteed to us. On my right and on my left I see men who enlisted <and went> into the war with Mexico, and there was not a harder trip taken by any of the soldiers in that army than was taken by what is called the Mormon batalion. We planted our feet in this valley when the country belonged to Mexico; we made farmes here when it belonged to to Mexico. When the treaty between Mexico and the United States was ratified this country was ceded to our Government. One of the terms of that ratification was to protect and make honerable the legal rights of the Citizens of Mexico residing on the ceded territory; This was observed in every place excep in Utah. We have pititioned Government to have it done, but No, you are damned Mormons and we will not throw one farthing in your way, or do you <go> any good in the least. Pardon me, I speak it as it is. If there is an honest man there, one that loves the truth in our Government they dare not say their souls are their own, relative to raising a voice publicly in defence of this people. They may do it in their chimny corners, and private rooms. We are very uncomfortably situated as a nationally. If the parent Government would do by us as they have by other Territories they would receive us into the Union. They ought to have done that years ago. Yet there is not one half of the inhabitants in the little state called Oregon as there is in Utah, and the Government can pay the expenses of their indian difficulties by hundereds of thousands, and millions of dollars. The same may be said of Callifornia and New Mexico. You are dirrectly taxed to carry on their war. Almost twenty seven thousand dollars is exacted of the inhabitants of Utah. When we do not own one foot of land here; the Indians own it. There is not a rod square of land in the Territory upon which the Indian Title has been extinguished. The white settlers have actual possession, and possession it is said is nine points of law, in another place and under another sercum-
stance it may be ten points, and under some sercumstances eleven points in law. We find ourselves under a great difficulty here. We feel much for our Government, their situation is lamentable; they are poor and needy, and destitute, and soon will be in a starving naked condition, and <will> will find themselves in a great peril they now think not of, <and> they want us to help them, but unfortunately for them they have tied our hands, for we do not own a partical of real estate in here and cannot lawfully pay one dollar of this income tax (great applause) If we pay all we have to aid the Government in this war we shall pay it illegaly; And the men of Utah would not do an illegal act on any account. This we will leave for after days. We can releive them however. We are now taking measures to releive them. They allow yearly twenty thousand dollars for legeslative purposes in Utah Territory. We are going to releive them of that. The wages of three judges apportioned to Utah at twenty five hundered dollars each makes seven thousand five hundered dollars. This added to the legeslature apportionment will make twenty seven thousand five hundered dollars. This will more than pay the tax, and this we will releive them of (applause). The Territorial Marshal has a salary of three hundered dollars, the States attorney has a salary I think of two hundered dollars, this would amount to twenty eight thousand dollars, and there is many other incidental expenses could be added to this sum. The governors salary is thirty five hundered dollars, and a thousand for contingent expenses. <Then the sum> That makes four thousand five hundered dollars. This added <to the sum I have mentioned> makes thirty <one> three thousand <five hundered dollars>.
This they may use to pay our income tax<es> with. When I was governor here, I bought three Yangoes at fifteen dollars each, and reported them to the general government to see if they would allow me for them but they would not. They never allowed me a sheet of paper, a pen, or a wafer. I allowed myself a little sport once in a while when we made <up> out our quarterly bill of expenses. I would throw out the box saying, here is three pens. half a sheet of paper, and a few wafers on hand, but mind you they did not pay for even them, and have not to this day, the incidental expenses of the office I paid out of my private purse. But not matter about this; if we know how to organize the elements we are not dependant upon any power but <of> God. We are here in the capacity of a soverign
people and government. Vox popoli. This popoli are ready to send forth there voice, we will not bear their abuses any longer. You may send the news upon the wire to Washington if you please, that I am dictating all this. But likely they will have it first through me. If they are disposed to let us into the family of states we have no objections; if they are not disposed to let us in, we <ha> still have no objections (applause) Would just as leif stay out as in. Some may contend that it is a <favor> benefit to this people to have their officers sent among us, it scatters mony in the country. This is a mistate, on the conterary it is ruinous in its nature to this community, it throwes them back in their industreil prosperity, whether they know it or not. The quicker we are thrown upon our own resourses the better for us, whether as an independant republican people or otherwise if we wish to govern ourselves it is our priviledge to do so, and we shall do it (applause) And if there is a trial for it we shall then try the strength of the <and> arm of Jehovah, and the few faithful children he has <got> on the earth. (loud cries of Amen) If they undertake to enstall their officers here at the point of the baynot as they did in /57. they will not fare as well as they did then. (Loud applause and clapping of hands) Here are assembled a soverign people and in this capacity we treat the laws of congress as we do the laws of our own law makers in this Territory. What say you soverign people of Utah, shall we govern ourselves? (Cries of Yes, Yes.) So say I. If they knew their freinds, and the day of their visitation instead of casting us off they would hail us with joy and gladness. We shall select our two <officers> Senators, and probably our representative <that> who is now there, <probably>, our senators we shall send to Washington; if they admitt us into the Union well, if not just as well. We shall not permitt their officers to officiate here any further. lf they will send a judge, and make this a district for one United States judge we will hail him as a gentleman if he is one, and treat him as a freind; but send no more territorial officers to cut the throat of this people. I will mention one thing, not by way of complaint. The general government has expended over fifty millions of dollars to make a few mormon boys theives and highway robbers, and now Brigham is called upon to quell them. The federal officers dare not pass through the territory for fear of beinb robbed. They want to make theives robbers, liars gamblers, whore masters, and whores of this whole community, and then they will say you are as we are. They would defile every bed in this territory if they had the power. When Steptoe came here, it was for that purpose. A speech was made in the senate of the United States urging the Government to select fine young officers and send here no matter what it cost, <and>to make the mormons drunkards, whore masters, theives; <and> currupt the women was the disign of Government, and the men will fall into the track. I told one
young gentleman a leutenant who was infringing where I did not want him. Said I you stop your present course, or I will kill you so help me God; I will cut your damned throat. You may tell it to your brother officers that if they infringe upon us we will kill every devil of them, In /49 Zacariah Taylor sent his emisaries on our track to watch the mormons. One of the soldiers seized a woman in the fort, and was going to take her in the street. <The> A police officer took him into their camp, and they came well nigh killing <him> policeman Gen. Willson the commander of the Company was then in counsil with us. I told <General Willson> him to write a note to Morrison the Captian of the Company, that if they go one inch further in that dirrection, I will promice that not a soul of them <should> shall ever see the Serenavada Mountians; we will kill every devil of you. The old General said, "and I dont blame you." They removed the Camp forthwith. They have sought continually to waste Gods heritage. We have never had one priviledge garanteed us, not a single favor only that which we have had power to wrench from their hands in spite of them. We do not expect <it> any favors. We are going to become a state; the State of deseret I expect, though we do not know what the convention will do.
We framed a Constitution five years ago, and sought for admission but they would not admitt us, and they do not mean to admitt us. We would a little rather you would not (laughter). If they will admitt us we will be true and faithful to them as the sun is to the earth; if they will not it will make no difference as to our faithfulness to our religion, to our God, <to the> and to our country; but they will apostatize every one of them, they are now going as fast as time can role them on; they are forsaking the declaration of independance and the constitution, of our lovely, pure, holy government. When they send their officers here to represent Federal steel we ask no odds of them, and have not all the time. In a great many instances a good, cunning, sound headed shrude general will whip his enemies without blood shed. So we wish to obtain wisdom to know how to overcome and mantain the kingdom of God without bloodshed. If I had my way, and I call heaven and earth to wittness I would introduce <eternal peace> universal peace on the face of the whele earth without delay; I would make everybody live according to the law that is righteous, holy, and peaceful. This I cannot do. Then let the wicked slay the wicked; <and> let our governmet take care of themselves, and we will take care of ourselves. It is said Vox Popoli Vox Dei. But I say give us the voice of God, and let that be the voice of the people; then we will say "Vox Dei, Vox Popoli." <And> Let the Lord rule, and have dominion over us, and he will do it. (Applause.)