The John Taylor Papers, by Samuel W. & Raymond W. Taylor Volume I, The Apostle



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Caucasian race."

It is fair to say, then, that the liberty they professed was only for

themselvesfor the European community who might come here, the Caucasian

racenot the Negro, not the Indians, perhaps not the Asiatic or Chinese, but

for the white. Everything else professed is a falsehood, a sham . . . .

It may be asked why the framers of the Constitution did not carry out the

views enunciated by the declarers of independence, in regard to the

inalienable rights of man?... Simply because they had not the moral courage,

or power, to enforce principles that to their understanding were "selfevident

truths." Were I their apologist, I might say that, just emerging from

despotism, composed of different nationalities and a diversity of interests,

finding it impossible to agree on every principle, they thought it better, as

a compromise, to sacrifice this one and retain so many that were good, than to

lose the whole, break up in confusion and lose their national unity. But this

sacrifice has cost the nation dearly, for . . . slavery for nearly a century

has been a subject of bitterness, acrimony, heartburning and hatred, . . .

until it culminated in one of the most bloody, revengeful, fratricidal wars

recorded in history, thus exhibiting a terrible retribution for the violation

of natural law and inalienable rights.

It may be asked, if this instrument was imperfect, why do you sustain it?

Simply that, with this one fault, it was the best instrument in existence, and

it was all and more than the nation has ever lived up to. . . .




[283] Laboring under accumulated acts of tyranny, groaning under oppression

and wrong, smarting under the taunts of imported minions, the American people

presented the sublime spectacle of a whole continent determined to be free!

They issued the Declaration of Independence, wrenched the manacles from their

limbs and threw them as a guage at the feet of the forgers, entered into

articles of confederation, framed a Constitution, erected their liberty poles,

flung to the breeze the Stars and Stripes.... That king of birds, the eagle, .

. . was selected as their emblem. They resurrected the twin goddesses of

justice and liberty, and chimed a bell that . . . "Proclaimed liberty

throughout the land." The fire of freedom burned in every patriotic heart; and

in that instrument they were determined to perpetuate to their posterity and

succeeding generations that freedom and liberty they had wrenched from the

hand of tyranny. . . .

Here we may pause and inquire, if indeed the above is a correct

exposition of our rights and privileges as American citizens, how is it that

such infamies can transpire as have lately been exhibited in our courts? I may

here be met with the statement that we are only a Territory. True, we are only

a Territory, but we are American citizens, and have never abjured our

citizenship nor relinquished our Constitutional guarantees. . . . If the above

be trite, and the axiom of the Declarers of Independence be correct, that the

governments "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," what

then becomes of Our Federal officers? for not one of our citizens invited

them here, or had any vote in their coming, nor was consent asked . . . .

Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?" Who are the

instigators of our present difficulties? Every schoolboy knows. Who have been

seeking to introduce anarchy, sedition and strife? Let our federal officers

answer. Are they not here simply as plotters of mischief, as conspirators

against the peace of [284] the people? Professing to administer law, have they

not been the first to break it? . . .

In fact, the Territorial government finds in the persons of Federal

officers "another government," not of the people and in violation of

Constitutional guarantees and authority, . . and asks by what authority it

presumes to set itself against the legitimate constituted authority of the

people of the Territory or State; by what authority it ignores its laws; by

what authority it overrides and tears down the safeguards of society, and

fosters in our midst drunkenness, gambling and whoredomsthose infamous

adjuncts and institutions of professed civilization; by what authority it

repudiates its officers; by what authority it interferes with the . . .

social, religious, political and moral rights .

In his fourth letter, Taylor advised that it was "very important


that we look well to our political landmarks."

. . . As we are legislating on first principles and forming precedents

for unborn millions that may tread our footsteps, it is well for us to "ponder

well the path of our feet," and be careful that we introduce no principles,

advocate no system, establish no precedent or antecedent that is questionable,

unequal, unjust or oppressive; . . . and that we guard, jealously and safely,

our political rights and immunities.

It has been the opinion of many statesmen, and is a favorite dogma of

monarchists, that democracy or republicanism is only adapted for small

communities . . . . It is further urged that peoples are not capable of

selfgovernment. I might ask who, then, are? Are kings, emperors, autocrats,

presidents, judges and others more competent? History does not so instruct us.

Who are these magnates? Are they not people? Is their intelligence more

profound? Are their principles more correct, their lives more virtuous, their

blood more pure than other peoples? Let history answer.

[285] We are told, however, that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty;"

and as we possess the best Constitution and the best government in the world,

let us preserve it, and transmit it intact, pure and unadulterated to our

children.

"A Territorial government is a very peculiar organization," Taylor

pointed out. "It presents the anomalous position of monarchial rule in a

republican government."

It is with very great delicacy that I would question the acts of our

legislators and statesmen. I look upon them as leading, representative men of

the greatest nation on earth. Yet, withal, they are but men, and in the heat

of debate, under partisan influences. . . . policy, political necessities,

conflicting interests and a desire to promote the public weal, they sometimes

make grave mistakes. I think that the organization of territories is one of

these, which I now proceed to examine; and will state that as there is no

Constitutional authority for such an organization, it is simply an

unauthorized jurisdiction; for the constitution is as binding upon Congress as

upon the people, and anything not authorized in that instrument is assumed.

Congress has indeed the power to admit new states into the Union . . .

but nowhere does it possess the Constitutional power to organize Territorial

governments. It possesses . . . power to dispose of and make all needful rules

and regulations respecting the "territory and other property of the United

States," but not to legislate for the inhabitants of territories, who are not

property . . . .




Senator Cass said, "There are two points I always have maintained with

reference to this subject: first, that Congress, under the Constitution, has

no right to establish governments for the Territories; secondly, that under no

circumstances have they the right to pass any law to regulate the internal

affairs of the people inhabiting them." (American Statesman)

[286] . . . Governor Walker of Kansas, in a State paper, declares that popular

sovereignty is a power that cannot be delegated, but rests exclusively with

the people. Mr. Calhoun is also very definite on this point. . . . From the

above it is evident that the Constitution nowhere authorizes the formation of

Territorial governments, . . . and that this also is the opinion of some of

our most prominent statesmen. . . .

The Territorial question is a subject that has caused Congress

considerable trouble ever since its first organization. It is true that . . .

into the Union without Territorial tutelage.

But as party lines began to be more clearly defined, and the slavery question

pushed itself into a greater prominence before the nation, a jealousy sprang

up between the North and the South in regard to the acquisition of new States,

. . . neither party being willing to admit a Southern or Northern State

without a corresponding equivalent, so as to preserve the balance of power . .

. .


Texas had been admitted to the Union as a slave state, and with its

great size had the potential of being divided into several states, all

proslavery. "There was in prospect a terrible struggle between the

proslavery and antislavery parties," Roberts states in his Life of John

Taylor. "It was thought that if a large state extending from the Pacific

Ocean eastward to Salt Lake, with slavery prohibited by its constitution,

was admitted into the Union, it would offset the late accession of Texas,

and calm the rising storm over that question."

This situation resulted in what probably was the most remarkable

irony of LDS historythat by reason of a snowstorm, Utah was to be

denied statehood for a period of 45 years. Taylor explained the

circumstances:

[287] General Wilson, as the delegate to Utah, came here in 1849 with a

request for us to unite with California and form a state, that the Territorial

question then agitating the nation might be removed from Congress. I was one

of a committee who communicated with him on that subject, being interested in

this question. (10) He informed us that if we felt unwilling to form this

union, he was requested to appeal to our patriotism to aid him in avoiding

apprehended difficulties. We acceeded to his request, . . . on the condition

that we were each, within two years, to form a separate state. . . . (11)




The other delegate, , was sent by

water to California for the same purpose. General Wilson left late in

the fall, with a part of his family and an escort. He was detained for a

length of time by a severe snowstorm, which prevented his arrival in

California at the time specified. The other delegate, not being able to wait

for him, made other arrangements with the people of California, and his

mission was thus frustrated.

Had it not been for a snowstorm, we should have been a free people. As it

is, we have been living under the worst species of despotisma satrapyfrom

that time to the present. Does freedom depend upon such adventitious

circumstances? Are the liberties of men depending upon such contingencies?

"I propose now to show," Taylor declared, "that the Territorial

governments are in violation of the people's rights, subversive of

liberty, and pernicious in their results."

A Territorial government is a relic of a monarchy, and is simply a

satrapy. In a republican state government, which Congress is authorized to

establish, the people elect their own governors, state officers, and

judiciary, and control all their internal affairs. In the government of a

[288] Territory it is quite the reverse: neither the government, secretary,

marshal, attorney or judge is appointed by the people; they have no more to do

with their selection or appointment than the inhabitants of Timbuctoo.

They have, it is true, a local legislature; but in Utah this is simply a

farce. The governor, with or without cause, can veto all they do, and thus the

will or vote of one hundred thousand inhabitants, represented by a

legislature, amounts to nothing, while one man, a stranger, having no

sympathies with the people, can annul all that one hundred thousand have done.

But should he not veto a bill, Congress can do so . . . . Further, should it

escape both of these tests, it is still liable to be disturbed by the

judiciary, who, with some kind of authoritycertainly not that of the

peoplereject laws at pleasure. . . .

The people are entirely ignored in the whole operation, just as much as

the serfs of Russia, or the slaves of the South previous to their freedom . .

. . It is true we have an Organic Act, and a form of government which ought to

be held sacred; but that makes no difference. are simply

playthings for children, to be given and taken at pleasure, just as mamma

says, like little boys who don't play marbles "for keeps." Our laws are

ignored, our Territorial officers are ignored, our courts are ignored, and

then our juries are worse than a farce. . . . That, however, may be accounted

for on the assertion of his honor, the Chief Justice, who, it is evident, did




not come here to administer justice according to law, but, as he very gravely

informed us, to make war on a "system in the person of Brigham Young." Such is

our Territorial government.

It only remains to ask, is this what we have bargained for? Is this the

freedom that the declarers of independence and the framers of the constitution

contemplated? Is this a democratic government, republican in form?

[289] His honor, Chief Justice McKean, in his naturalization programme,

informed an applicant a short time ago that he was now admitted to all the

rights of an American citizen. He could now hold any office under the

government except that of President of the United States.

What are these inestimable rights with which his honor favors his

neophyte? The right to be tried by a packed juryhis sworn enemies. The right

to have his wife judicially declared a strumpet, and his children judicially

bastardized. The right to the sympathy of the judge while passing sentence of

three years hard labor in the penitentiary for living with his own wife. The

right to have his religion assailed. The right to be driven from his home

without redress. The right to vote for a legislature to make laws which any

political despot can annul at pleasure. The right to pay taxes without

representation. The right to be maligned, slandered and abused. The right to

have pimps, whorehouses, gambling saloons and debauchery forced upon him by

judicial exertion. The right to live in a satrapy. The right to die and be

buried.


These are some of the "rights" of the citizens of this Territory in this

vaunted republic today. Certainly the citizens of Great Britain,

France, Germany and Scandinavia ought to be glad to repudiate such infamous

tyrannies as they came from, and shout hosannah for the glorious privileges

that American citizenship gives. O, ye benighted foreigners, how you must long

for naturalization, in order that you may share with us these inestimable

privileges and blessings. (12)

In the fifth and concluding letter of the series, the Champion of

Rights recapitulated his catalogue of carpetbag oppression, then added,

"Having said so much on this subject, let me now address a few words to

the Saints."

You made the roads, killed the snakes, built the bridges, redeemed the

sterile desert country and made it [290] "blossom as the rose." And where poor

Digger Indians shivered and the wolf prowled, now exist productive farms,

pleasant orchards, beautiful gardens; and you exhibit an example of thrift,

industry, virtue, honesty and integrity that others would do well to imitate.

Your factories, your railroads, your cities and villages, erected and redeemed


by your industry from a howling wilderness, are now oases on the desert; while

your social enjoyments, your theaters, your ballrooms, your social parties,

your excellent music, your jubilant songs, and your shouts of hosannah make it

an Eden to the pure and virtuous.

But these very beauties and excellencies are your danger. Corrupt men

look upon your possessions with greedy eyes, and, like vultures, are ready to

pounce upon their prey. They want your houses and lands, your orchards,

gardens and farms, your mills, factories and mines; and these parties profess

to be shocked at your lasciviousness and would rob you by the grace of God.

Faced with this threat, Taylor counseled the people to follow a

policy of endurance and nonresistance, to refuse to be provoked to

retaliation which would constitute an excuse for conquest and pillage.

The lamb is drinking below; the wolf is fouling the water above. The big

boy is strutting about with a chip on his shoulder, daring you to knock it

off. Some pretext is needed. Don't give it to them. They want a pretext to

plunder you; their programme is to pillage, rob, ravage, lay waste and

destroy. They want your farms, and, although very virtuous, would like to

ravish your wives and daughters. Don't give them an opportunity. Let the same

wisdom that has governed your acts hitherto still be continued. They want a

cause to quarrel, that they may rob and pillage according to law. Don't give

it to them. They would like to provoke riot, bloodshed, sedition and revolt,

that they may have a pretext to destroy you. Don't work into their hands.

[291] Let them pack their juries from houses of ill fame to try you on virtue.

Never mind; it is their virtue that suffers, not yours. Let them try you for

living with and protecting your wives and providing for your children.

Fidelity and virtue are not crimes in the eyes of the Almighty, only in

theirs. Rotten and corrupt themselves, this clique would like to reduce you to

their level. Their aim is to strangle virtue, purity and sobriety, introduce

gambling halls, drunkenness and dens of prostitution, infamy and vice. No

matter; still be quiet.

"But they are accusing some of our best and most honorable men of

murder!" What of that? Who have they suborned as their accusers? They

themselves call them by the mild name of assassins. These are their fellow

pirates, with whom they hobnob and associate. (13) Be quiet! "But other

aggressions are contemplated. They are bent on provoking a quarrel and

mischief." No matter; it takes two to make a quarrel. Don't you be one of

them. "They offer themselves to be kicked." Don't do it; have some respect for

your boots. "But they insult us on every hand." What? They insult you? . . .

Now, who could consider himself insulted by the hissing of a snake, the attack

of a wasp, or the odor of a skunk? You would simply avoid them; it is not in




their power to insult you.

The mules in the stable below may bray in response to the clamor above;

let them manage the exhibition in the menagerie in their own way in that

delectable stable; still let them alone. (14)

But don't let us be dull and dumpish and careless. Watch every point,

note every action, keep a record of every event, exhibit every falsehood,

expose every wrong, watch and avoid them as you would the leprosy. Be vigilant

in everything and everywhere. Watch their morality and their manipulation of

mines. Follow them to their secret dens. Keep a true record of all their acts,

and the time is coming when their stench will sicken the nations.

[292] They and their paramours may be protected for awhile, but the covering

will fall, their pretentious purity be exposed, and their acts be bruited

through the land. Keep quiet and don't be caught napping. "Fear God and keep

your powder dry. . . ."

If they take you to the stable, close your nostrils to the stench. If

they can stand it always, you can for a short time. If your ears are offended

at their ribald exordiums, put cotton in them. If they send you to prison,

rejoice. Let them have their full swing, and they will hang themselves. Keep

quiet; but let every man in Israel make a common cause. . . . of right and

justice, against wrong and oppression. It is our cause, the cause of liberty,

the cause of humanity, the cause of God . . . .

Our Heavenly Father has committed to our trust everlasting, eternal

truths. Maintain them inviolate. Let the living fire burn in your bosom and

guard vigilantly the sacred truths that the great Elohim has committed to your

trust. Utter not their shibboleth, nor bow to their rotten, contemptible

shrine.


Be men among men; but don't play into their hands. Let them alone! "But

they may put more of our friends in prison." Let them do it. . . . It will

take a big prison to hold them all. We shall have lots of company. Keep quiet!

"But they may place us under military rule." All the better. The military

are much more honorable than the judiciary. There is no law which they can

place us under that we cannot obey. We must live above all law, and nothing

can harm us "if we be followers of that which is good." So keep quiet! "But it

interferes with our material prosperity, our trade and commerce, our mines and

industries." No matter. If others can stand it, we can. Keep quiet!

There is something heroic in being able to view with firm nerves and

unblanched cheek the acts of your petty [293] tormentors. In former ages a


body of philosophical Stoics prided themselves very much on their stoicism.

Even our Indians boast of this quality, and when a captive brave is tied to a

tree, and they are plucking off his nails, breaking his bones, and tearing his

flesh by piecemeal, he laughs at his tormentors, and tells them they don't

know how to do it. But you stand in another position. Filled with the light of

eternal truth, rejoicing in the possession of the favor of God, "having the

promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," standing on a

more exalted platform, you can smile with complacency on their feeble attacks,

and

"Like Moses' bush ascend the higher,



And flourish unconsumed in fire."

But independent of all this, it is our very best policy to keep quiet.

The court can proceed, yet the sun will rise and set, the earth will roll on

its axis, potatoes and corn will grow irrespective of the decrees of courts.

Hitherto you have been subject to the misrepresentations and manufactured lies

from the small fry of this coterie, little whelps who lick the hands of their

master, and vomit their lies by wholesale to pervert public opinion. But they

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