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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Brigham Young
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Peace Commission








Governor Cumming's report of May 2 did not reach Washington until
June 9, but the President's volte-face had begun before that
date, and when the situation in Utah was precisely as it was when
he had assured Colonel Kane that he would send no agent to the
Mormons while they continued their defiant attitude. Under date
of April 6 he issued a proclamation, in which he recited the
outrages on the federal officers in Utah, the warlike attitude
and acts of the Mormon force, which, he pointed out, constituted
rebellion and treason; declared that it was a grave mistake to
suppose that the government would fail to bring them into
submission; stated that the land occupied by the Mormons belonged
to the United States; and disavowed any intention to interfere
with their religion; and then, to save bloodshed and avoid
indiscriminate punishment where all were not equally guilty, he
offered "a free and full pardon to all who will submit themselves
to the just authority of the federal government."

This proclamation was intrusted to two peace commissioners, L. W.
Powell of Kentucky and Major Ben. McCullough of Texas. Powell had
been governor of his state, and was then United States senator-
elect. McCullough had seen service in Texas before the war with
Mexico, and been a daring scout under Scott in the latter war. He
was killed at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in 1862, in
command of a Confederate corps.

These commissioners were instructed by the Secretary of War to
give the President's proclamation extensive circulation in Utah.
Without entering into any treaty or engagements with the Mormons,
they were to "bring those misguided people to their senses" by
convincing them of the uselessness of resistance, and how much
submission was to their interest. They might, in so doing, place
themselves in communication with the Mormon leaders, and assure
them that the movement of the army had no reference to their
religious tenets. The determination was expressed to see that the
federal officers appointed for the territory were received and
installed, and that the laws were obeyed, and Colonel Kane was
commended to them as likely to be of essential service.

The commissioners set out from Fort Leavenworth on April 25,
travelling in ambulances, their party consisting of themselves,
five soldiers, five armed teamsters, and a wagon master. They
arrived at Camp Scott on May 29, the reenforcements for the
troops following them. The publication of the President's
proclamation was a great surprise to the military. "There was
none of the bloodthirsty excitement in the camp which was
reported in the States to have prevailed there," says Colonel
Brown, "but there was a feeling of infinite chagrin, a
consciousness that the expedition was only a pawn on Mr.
Buchanan's political chessboard; and reproaches against his folly
were as frequent as they were vehement."*

* Atlantic Monthly, April, 1859.


The commissioners were not long in discovering the untrustworthy
character of any advices they might receive from Governor
Cumming. In their report of June 1 to the Secretary of War, they
mentioned his opinion that almost all the military organizations
of the territory had been disbanded, adding, "We fear that the
leaders of the Mormon people have not given the governor correct
information of affairs in the valley." They also declared it to
be of the first importance that the army should advance into the
valley before the Mormons could burn the grass or crops, and they
gave General Johnston the warmest praise.

The commissioners set out for Salt Lake City on June 2, Governor
Cumming who had returned to Camp Scott with Colonel Kane
following them. On reaching the city they found that Young and
the other leaders were with the refugees at Provo. A committee of
three Mormons expressed to the commissioners the wish of the
people that they would have a conference with Young, and on the
l0th Young, Kimball, Wells, and several of the Twelve arrived,
and a meeting was arranged for the following day.

There are two accounts of the ensuing conferences, the official
reports of the commissioners,* which are largely statements of
results, and a Mormon report in the journal kept by Wilford
Woodruff.** At the first conference, the commissioners made a
statement in line with the President's proclamation and with
their instructions, offering pardon on submission, and declaring
the purpose of the government to enforce submission by the
employment of the whole military force of the nation, if
necessary. Woodruff's "reflection" on this proposition was that
the President found that Congress would not sustain him, and so
was seeking a way of retreat. While the conference was in
session, O.P. Rockwell entered and whispered to Young. The
latter, addressing Governor Cumming, asked, "Are you aware that
those troops are on the move toward the city?" The compliant
governor replied, "It cannot be."*** What followed Woodruff thus
relates:--

* Sen. Doc., 2d Session, 35th Congress, Vol. II, p. 167.

** Quoted in Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 214.

*** Governor Cumming on June 15 despatched a letter to General
Johnston saying that he had denied the report of the advance of
the army, and that the general was pledged not to advance until
he had received communications from the peace commissioners and
the governor. The general replied on the 19th that he did say he
would not advance until he heard from the governor, but that this
was not a pledge; that his orders from the President were to
occupy the territory; that his supplies had arrived earlier than
anticipated, and that circumstances required an advance at once.


"'Is Brother Dunbar present?' enquired Brigham.

"'Yes, sir,' responded someone. What was coming now?

"'Brother Dunbar, sing Zion.' The Scotch songster came forward
and sang the soul-stirring lines by C. W. Penrose."*

* See p. 498, ante.


Interpreted, this meant, "Stop that army or our peace conference
is ended." Woodruff adds:--

"After the meeting, McCullough and Gov. Cumming took a stroll
together. 'What will you do with such a people?' asked the
governor, with a mixture of admiration and concern. 'D--n them, I
would fight them if I had my way,' answered McCullough. "'Fight
them, would you? You might fight them, but you would never whip
them. They would never know when they were whipped.'"

At the second day's conference Brigham Young uttered his final
defiance and then surrendered. Declaring that he had done nothing
for which he desired the President's forgiveness, he satisfied
the pride of his followers with such declarations as these:--

"I can take a few of the boys here, and, with the help of the
Lord, can whip the whole of the United States. Boys, how do you
feel? Are you afraid of the United States? (Great demonstration
among the brethren.) No. No. We are not afraid of man, nor of
what he can do."

"The United States are going to destruction as fast as they can
go. If you do not believe it, gentlemen, you will soon see it to
your sorrow."

But here was the really important part of his remarks: "Now, let
me say to you peace commissioners, we are willing those troops
should come into our country, but not to stay in our city. They
may pass through it, if needs be, but must not quarter less than
forty miles from us."

Impudent as was this declaration to the representatives of the
government, it marked the end of the "war". The commissioners at
once notified General Johnston that the Mormon leaders had agreed
not to resist the execution of the laws in the territory, and to
consent that the military and civil officers should discharge
their duties. They suggested that the general issue a
proclamation, assuring the people that the army would not
trespass on the rights or property of peaceable citizens, and
this the general did at once.

The Mormon leaders, being relieved of the danger of a trial for
treason, now stood in dread of two things, the quartering of the
army among them, and a vigorous assault on the practice of
polygamy. Judge Eckles's District Court had begun its spring term
at Fort Bridger on April 5, and the judge had charged the grand
jury very plainly in regard to plural marriages. On this subject
he said:--

"It cannot be concealed, gentlemen, that certain domestic
arrangements exist in this territory destructive of the peace,
good order, and morals of society--arrangements at variance with
those of all enlightened and Christian communities in the world;
and, sapping as they do the very foundation of all virtue,
honesty, and morality, it is an imperative duty falling upon you
as grand jurors diligently to inquire into this evil and make
every effort to check its growth.

There is no law in this territory punishing polygamy, but there
is one, however, for the punishment of adultery; and all illegal
intercourse between the sexes, if either party have a husband or
wife living at the time, is adulterous and punishable by
indictment. The law was made to punish the lawless and
disobedient, and society is entitled to the salutary effects of
its execution."

No indictments were found that spring for this offence, but the
Mormons stood in great dread of continued efforts by the judge to
enforce the law as he interpreted it. Of the nature of the real
terms made with the Mormons, Colonel Brown says:--

"No assurances were given by the commissioners upon either of
these subjects. They limited their action to tendering the
President's pardon, and exhorting the Mormons to accept it.
Outside the conferences, however, without the knowledge of the
commissioners, assurances were given on both these subjects by
the Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which proved
satisfactory to Brigham Young. The exact nature of their pledges
will, perhaps, never be disclosed; but from subsequent
confessions volunteered by the superintendent, who appears to
have acted as the tool of the governor through the whole affair,
it seems probable that they promised explicitly to exert their
influence to quarter the army in Cache Valley, nearly one hundred
miles north of Salt Lake City, and also to procure the removal of
Judge Eckles."*

* Atlantic Monthly, April, 1859. Young told the Mormons at Provo
on June 27, 1858: "We have reason to believe that Colonel Kane,
on his arrival at the frontier, telegraphed to Washington, and
that orders were immediately sent to stop the march of the army
for ten days."--Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 57.


Captain Marcy had reached Camp Scott on June 8, with his herd of
horses and mules, and Colonel Hoffman with the first division of
the supply train which left Fort Laramie on March 18; on the 10th
Captain Hendrickspn arrived with the remainder of the trains; and
on the 13th the long-expected movement from Camp Scott to the
Mormon city began. To the soldiers who had spent the winter
inactive, except as regards their efforts to keep themselves from
freezing, the order to advance was a welcome one. Late as was the
date, there had been a snowfall at Fort Bridger only three days
before, and the streams were full of water. The column was
prepared therefore for bridge-making when necessary. When the
little army was well under way the scene in the valley through
which ran Black's Fork was an interesting one. The white walls of
Bridger's Fort formed a background, with the remnants of the camp
in the shape of sod chimneys, tent poles, and so forth next in
front, and, slowly leaving all this, the moving soldiers, the
long wagon trains, the artillery carriages and caissons, and on
either flank mounted Indians riding here and there, satisfying
their curiosity with this first sight of a white man's army. The
news that the Mormons had abandoned their idea of resistance
reached the troops the second day after they had started, and
they had nothing more exciting to interest them on the way than
the scenery and the Mormon fortifications. Salt Lake City was
reached on the 26th, and the march through it took place that
day. To the soldiers, nothing was visible to indicate any
abandonment of the hostile attitude of the Mormons, much less any
welcome.

Their leaders had returned to the camp at Provo, and the only
civilians in the city were a few hundred who had, for special
reasons, been granted permission to return. The only woman in the
whole city was Mrs. Cumming. The Mormons had been ordered indoors
early that morning by the guard; every flag on a public building
had been taken down; every window was closed. The regimental
bands and the creaking wagons alone disturbed the utter silence.
The peace commissioners rode with General Johnston, and the whole
force encamped on the river Jordan, just within the city limits.
Two days later, owing to a lack of wood and pasturage there, they
were moved about fifteen miles westward, near the foot of the
mountains. Disregarding Young's expressed wishes, and any
understanding he might have had with Governor Cumming, General
Johnston selected Cedar Valley on Lake Utah for one of the three
posts he was ordered to establish in the territory, and there his
camp was pitched on July 6.

Governor Cumming prepared a proclamation to the inhabitants of
the territory, announcing that all persons were pardoned who
submitted to the law, and that peace was restored, and inviting
the refugees to return to their homes. The governor and the peace
commissioners made a trip to the Mormon camps, and addressed
gatherings at Provo and Lehi. The governor bustled about
everywhere, assuring every one that all the federal officers
would "hold sacred the amnesty and pardon by the President of the
United States, by G-d, sir, yes," and receiving from Young the
sneering reply, "We know all about it, Governor." On July 4., no
northward movement of the people having begun, Cumming told Young
that he intended to publish his proclamation. "Do as YOU please,"
was the contemptuous reply; "to-morrow I shall get upon the
tongue of my wagon, and tell the people that I am going home, and
they can do as THEY please."*

* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 226.


Young did so, and that day the backward march of the people
began. The real governor was the head of the church.





Next: The Mountain Meadows Massacre

Previous: Colonel Kane's Mission



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