By Governor Alfred Cumming, Tabernacle, Sunday morning, April 25th, 1858.(Reported by J. V. Long)
I feel rejoiced, my friends, at this opportunity, which has been presented of meeting you face to face. I have but a few words to state to you. I have been sent by the President of the United States, with the consent of the Senate to be the Governor of this Territory. It is a source of pleasure to me that I have the pleasure of the friendship of this gentleman that has introduced me to this stand.
I am not ignorant of the gross misrepresentation that has been made by the enemies of this people with regard to you.
It is true that upon your frontiers there are a large number of armed men. I will say to you in the presence of these gentlemen, that this force is not sent for any aggression upon the Mormon people, but for their protection; remember what I say, protection against the lawless savage that has been committing depredations upon you from time to time.
I come here ladies & gentlemen, but I am not an orator I am not an educated man, and therefore cannot address you as such a man. I expect to long remain with you,therefore misrepresentation would be a foolish course, I came here with the instructions to enforce obedience to the laws and powers of our common country, and this duty I will endeavor to perform temperately, and I intend to perform it strictly and to regard the law as supreme. I feel assured that I shall have the aid & cooperation of the men and women that now surround me, and that they will be willing to maintain the constitution of our common count
You are a Territory of the United States, and there appears to have been something that has been very obnoxious to the Government, as well as some things that have been obnoxious to you; but it is common usage that the officers of Territories are sent by the President of the United States, with the consent of the Senate. I hope that you will soon be formed in the grand galaxy <as> an entirely independant state
The enforcement of the law is my first duty in this Territory, and the other is, that I am to prevent the perversion of the law. It has been said that those who have been in this country, have perverted the law when they should have been the fulfillers of it. This I trust, will not take place under my administration. I shall in all matters connected with my future course which I deem it necessary to pursue, consult with such gentlemen as have enjoyed, hitherto your confidence.
It is not necessary, I presume, believing, that there is not one person in this society, that need me to say, that I or the government officers who have come here or those who may be sent have nothing to do with your social habits; nothing whatever to do with your religious opinions, or the manner in which you try to serve God. God is above all. He will try your hearts as well as others' But let not vain man throw an obstacle in the way of that great power.
I desire then having said these few words, to leave the matter for your consideration, I shall be cheered by the acquaintance of the strangers with whom I expect to associate and I hope that we shall be friendly together. I do not expect a path of roses, and I do not expect to attain a victory without a trial. I expect some office seeking demagogue will try to influence men's minds to thwart me in my holy work. I say fear God, & think of him when you try to thwart a good man.
I may not know you all personally, but if I ever err in my administration do not say, `that old man has come with views different to ours, & we will treat him as he deserves'.
I desire, friends, that you will come and counsel me. I shall not be obstinate, and it will be with the utmost pleasure that I shall receive you.
I shall endeavor to enforce the laws of the constitution of the United States. I will now close that subject.
I will now say a few words upon another subject. It has been represented to me that certain persons in the Territory of Utah have been restrained of their liberty, & would go away but cannot. To all such persons I would say it is my official duty to see that they shall not be restrained. If such persons will make an application to me properly I will enquire into the nature of their cases. I am satisfied that no good man would desire to detain any such persons in their society, & especially among so very intellectual & highly eminantly religious people.
I have come to this beautiful valley where God seems to smile upon your works, & where everything is made to prosper by your touch. I have it in contemplation to visit the southern parts of the Territory, and to present myself to the people. It is with the people that I have to act, & whatever cavilling may be made with the loud mouthed demagogue, or any man who has false views of his duty to the community, those I shall treat with that silence they so justly merit. To the women of this Territory I would say that I desire to be assisted with the women, My youth has passed & I cannot be expected to have the same intentions as younger men, but I trust that I shall find & meet none but friend in the common circles of life.
There is a communication which I desire to have read, & then for the present I will close my remarks. (Leo Hawkins then read a notice signed Alfred Cumming &c)
My friends I am unwillingly placed in the stand before you for the purpose of asking, if there are any persons present who have wishes to present that I may wish to know. A cool dispassionate way is the only way we can get at an expression of public feeling, this is what I desire.
I desire this people to understand that I am not here to represent that miserable set of office seekers who are constantly prowling round the administration, neither am I here to have an office which I declined through diffidence & an idea of my incapacity to fill it, but I would desire and should be pleased that this congregation should by some kind of expression express their feeling of approval of my coming here in the way I have. I have come here on my own responsibility, as a self constituted commissioner believing that I should be protected. If there is anything in my language which is unintelligible, I should be glad to have some allusion made to it.