By Elder John Taylor, Tabernacle, Sunday Morning, April 25th 1858.
(Reported by J. V. Long)
These are strange occurrences to be taking place in our midst, here on the sabbath day, when we have met to worship God; they are rather new in our history. However, there is very frequently something new  associated with Mormonism and which we must receive as among the current scenes that are transpiring, as we pass along through this stage of existence. Although strange, it is practical; there is something that is matter of fact about it; and something in which we as individuals and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, as well as members of the great body politic of the great confederation of the United States, and as men and women, are all interested. It is customary on such occasions as this, when any political topic is discussed in which the interest & happiness of the masses are concerned, that there should be a great deal of excitement; & it is natural that the feelings of the human mind should be raised from their foundation, particularly under the circumstances in which we are at present placed; & if it were not so now we should be something more than human. I am glad, however, to see the order which generally prevails, & I hope that it will continue to be so; & however other men may feel in other cities, I hope to see this community act & feel as saints of the living God not to act according to the civilization of the world, but according to that which exists among us.
In relation to Governor Cumming, I will say, that some time ago I addressed a letter to Captain Marcy, and I expressed my feelings relative to officers coming here under the feelings & influences that he & others have come. I presume yours are the same, if we can judge by what we have heard this morning. Governor Cumming could have trusted himself so much better, & it would have been so much better for him to have been comfortably housed in this City than to have been out yonder.
Governor Cumming, if you and the gentlemen who came with you, had come as representatives should have come you would have been received as gentlemen, & you have been treated as courteously as you or any other gentleman could be any where in the United States; but you & the officers have been obliged to stay in those inhospitable climes which have protected us from their presence; <and it is because of your own acts and not of> it is because there is something within our bosoms that will not allow itself to be trampled upon. There is a time when forbearance will be borne no longer. As a man, Governor Cumming has found that he can pass about perfectly safe, he can travel in our mountains, valleys & kanyons, if the Indians do not molest him, without even a pen=knife. We are a frank people here.
Remarks have been made that there might be interested demagogues who might be seeking after office. I trust we are not as they are in the cabals of the east, but we do speak the feelings that burn in our bosoms; we are not hypocrites, we do not act on that principle.
In relation to Governor Cumming; I know nothing about the gentleman, but I should be glad to see him courteously treated as I would every other gentleman, while he remains here. In relation to the difference of sentiment between us and him, I would say that notwithstanding that we wish to treat all men as gentlemen while they are with us, & we wish to entertain no other feeling, if we can be met on honourable terms by religious or political gentlemen. When we can do this we are ready, & we never should be found taking up arms, except our most sacred rights were infringed upon.
Governor Young last fall, & during the most exciting time sent letters & giving the officers an invitation to come in here and spend the winter. Then, I ask, why did you not come here? (Govr. Cumming, Snow prevented it) There was a way open all the time that the correspondence was carried on between Govr. Young & Col. Alexander, & I do know that Govr Young sent the most friendly invitations for the officers to come in here; & I do know that Govr. Young has pursued the most pacific measures that it was possible to pursue. When I speak of these things, they are things that we positively know.
If we had been disposed for war & bloodshed, could we not have easily cut off all supplies? Why they came straggling along in the most miserable condition. some have said that we have been disposed to plunder & that we have taken their cattle. What have we done it for? To weaken their forces & spare their lives! For as sure as God lives if they had come a little farther they would have been dead men; & if it had not been for Govr. Young, as it was they would have been dead men, & your entire army, sir, would now have been sleeping the sleep of death! He felt as a Governor should feel, & he felt that the man who had been elected to the highest office in the United States had led a few ignorant men to intrude upon our rights! If they had been our enemies, who have from time to time abused us, there would not have been one left to tell the tale! No, sir, not one! Who was it that came? A number of honorable men of the U. S. Army, many of whom it may said, braver could not be found, & as such Govr. Young looked upon them. They have battled for the rights of this country & they have battled with Mexico & Govr. Young looked upon this & felt it, and said shall we take their lives because they are placed in this position by a miserable man the representative of this nation? No, says he, we will save them! What was the difficulty he had to cope with? It was the feelings of the people whose rights have been so often trampled upon. Hold on said he! Hold on said Genl. Wells, spare their lives! That is the crime that he has been guilty of. (Govr. Young; and for that they would hang me.) We had men playing around them & laughing at their imbecility & I have seen the officers come up to Genl. Wells, & say in the name of God, why wont you let us loose on those men, we will cut them off! But the time had not come, but when it does come it will spread fire & desolation wherever it goes! We are free, & we will be free! (Voices: hear hear.) Talk about an Army coming for peace; It is nonsense to think of such a thing. Govr. Cumming, we speak frankly here, & we believe there is something under that white heap, something that is perfectly understood by us, & it is sung from Maine to Missouri and from Louisianna to Wisconsin, "destroy them from the earth". Dont we read the journals, when your mail comes in, and when the scamps on the road have not robbed us of our letters? We are not asleep here, and we know all that has been done in your camp & in the United States, and we know what is going on in the world. We are not asleep; we are alive! we are active, we are energetic; we understand ourselves & our friends; we understand the policy of the general government of the U. States; and we understand the policy of that Army, and of the Editors of the organs of the Government; and we understand the whole catalogue of their proceedings. We are not in the dark, we know what we are doing. Talk about distinction between us & others sir; (Govr. Young; Do not be so personal in your remarks.) I do not wish for any discussion, but permit me to say with all defference to Govr. Cunning. for I have been a stranger in strange places, & I do not wish to be personal I do not wish to inflict a wound upon any person's feelings who is a stranger. I do not want any circumlocution neither do I want to evade anything, and but Govr. Cumming has asked a straightforward question, relative to whether there is any difference between this and other Territories in the appointment of officers. Nominally and theoretically there is no distinction between the President of the United States with and by the consent of the senate appointing officers for this & other Territories.
In relation to this and all other things we wish to be fair. I very much question one thing, viz. if the representatives of any other Territory of the United States with the consent of the whole people had petitioned Prest. Buchanan, and given him four or five different names for every office, I very much question but what the President would have given them their choice. Do not you think so? (Govr. Cumming: I think that predjudices have arisen against you, & I have come to disband them.) In relation to this matter I have no doubt you are right, respecting the prejudice. But if the President of the United States had not granted a petition of that kind to any other Territory, he would have been hooted & condemned through every part of these United States, and I mean to say he would have been looked upon as antirepublican, and as antiAmerican, and I am at the defiance <of the world> to prove to the contrary. We do not wish to come out with any thing technical, but we wish to come at facts. Now let us come at some. Did the Government of the United States, when some Thirty thousand of our people were driven from the states of Missouri & Illinois houseless, did did they know that many of them laid down their lives, and that many were chased by their enemies till they could be tracked by their blood? Did not Pres't Buchanan's petitioners represent this thing? And did not he and the administration know that many of our women were ravished in the state of Missouri by what is called civilization? And did they not know that many of our Elders were imprisoned in that state contrary to law? And did they not know that some of our brethren were killed, and that their flesh was taken to those prisoners to feed them on? And now with all this knowledge they have appointed as a Governor from the state from whence we were driven, & most inhumanly treated (Govr. Cumming I am a Georgian Sir, I am Georgian; I was only there holding a civil office.) The gentleman says he is a Georgian, & I am glad of it. (voices hear hear.) but still these things took place in the state of Missouri, and were not these things known to the United States government? Did we have any redress? Answer you, who were deiven from there. (Hundreds of voices answered No.) Did you purchase lands there? (The same parties answered, Yes.) Did you pay for them? (Yes.) Did you get anything for those lands? (No.)
The catechism is very straight gentlemen, but Govr. Young is desirous that I should not go into these matters & they are truly very painful to reflect upon.
We will come to things of a more recent date. We do not wish to act impolitely or through passion, but is it not a well known fact that in every other state and Territory they have given grants of preemption? (Govr Cumming: The Indian title has not been extinguished here.) Why has not the Indian title been extinguished here? Because, we are Mormons. Gentlemen, I am only judging from the feeling that was manifested by the members of Congress when I was in New York and by the Editors of public journals. I have had the honor of associating with gentlemen there and I know their feelings, and when I speak of these things they are things that I know. I ask again why is not the Indian title extinguished? Perhaps it might be if any other people were to come here, so that a difficulty might be created and Government get rid of the knotty question. But I will not go into these things, for I could enumerate a whole string [line missing] for what they are worth.
(Govr. Cumming: I am desirous that the people should know that preliminary to all Indian treaties it is customary to have the surveys of all Territories. There have been reports circulated against you, but I have not come predjudiced, neither have I come Mormon, but I come here to enquire into your condition, and what do I find? I find the records of the Courts in a perfect condition, I find them all. As a self constituted commissioner by virtue of my office I have come to enquire into all these matters. Then let us get rid of all feeling of excitement.
There is a great difference between such highly educated and talented gentlemen as those who have addressed you, and myself, for I do not know how to express myself or to use my language as my friend Taylor or the other gentleman. but I have come for the purpose of doing good, and when the darkness comes, or if I find that I am not wanted, I shall not be found loafing about. I have come with the expectation of making my home here; my wife has come with me, my children are dead. I come not as a traveller, but I come to stay among you, & to have an interest with you, and I am pleased to hear from you and to learn that I am the Governor, of an honorable constituency who know their rights and who are willing and ready to maintain them.
Elder Taylor resumed, As it is about time to dismiss our meeting, I will not detain you with many more remarks, but there is one thing I will say, those troops must be withdrawn before we can have any officers palmed upon us! (Thousands of voices responded , hear hear.)
Govr. Cumming wished to hear from the ladies whereupon one arose in the congregation and said: I wish to bear my testimony to the liberty I have enjoyed in this Territory. I gathered with this people to Nauvoo, and then I moved with the Church to this city, and since then I have been twice back to visit my family in the states; I have gone there and returned at my pleasure and I have enjoyed all the liberty that I could desire or wish for, and I know that all other ladies enjoy as much liberty as I do, and in fact I have known nothing but liberty since I have been here.
Govr. Cumming said: I am rejoiced to have the opportunity of hearing from the lady who has just spoken, and I am glad to know that she and the ladies here are satisfied with the liberty the enjoy in this Territory; and I will repeat again that the remarks I have made are not to make contention,but only for the purpose of guaranteeing a fair privilege to the people & to show that they have the opportunity of going away and if any persons feel disposed to address themselves to me, or to Govr. Young they can do so. I do not wish to control the matter. I hope that after the somewhat unaccustomed excitement we shall prepared to retire to our homes, there to await till our new duties call us away again.
I presume my place of residence is known to most of you, if it is not can learn it from the gentlemen who are here, and you can come not under any excitement, nor under the influence of passion. I do not wish this from any personal considerations, but it is one that I am bound to respect, and I desire to have this matter understood, that I do not wish to hear the minds of the people for my own gratification, but I wish not to deprive the congregation of the privilege of saying anything they may have to say,