Friday, April 27, 2012

Make Them Tell

The following item, printed here as part of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "Make Them Tell", Salt Lake Herald 21/99 (27 September 1890): 4.
Make Them Tell
If the Utah commission has reported to the secretary of the interior that it has evidence that forty, or any other number of men in this territory, have violated the anti-polygamy laws of the country within a year, we hold it to be the duty of the grand jury to summon the members of the commission before the inquisitorial body and compel them to disclose that evidence.  The marshal and his deputies are working early and late, and employing more or less shrewdness to discover just a little of the testimony with which the commission claims to be so well supplied.  Just one case of a polygamous marriage within a year would be a God-send to the marshal's office.  The deputy who will dig up or discover a probable case may be certain of a reward, and a conviction would make him a hero in and out of federal court circles.  We believe that the marshal would so highly value a genuine, live case of modern polygamy that he would pay handsomely for one, and for forty cases he would be willing to surrender a quarter's salary and fees.

Anybody who knows the commissioners and is at all familiar with their insane desire to do something that will operate injuriously to the Mormons, will smile at this suggestion that the evidence exists of the polygamous marriage of forty Mormons.  If there were any such evidence the gentlemen would not content themselves with intimations regarding it.  Rather would they endanger their necks in their mad case to reach a court and set officers on the trail of the violators of the law.  Even withered and shrunken WILLIAMS, with so little life in him that he exists in perpetual doubt as to his ability to pump enough of breath to last him a week, would find strength to reach the marshal's office and spread before that official evidence of a man committing polygamy.  Imagine such pronounced and confessed anti-Mormons as GODFREY, ROBERTSON and SAUNDERS nursing information which would send forty Mormons to the penitentiary for five years!  Can anyone conceive the probability of such a thing?  If so, he can think of a cat turning from milk and ducks cutting the webs of their feet and going inland to pick with the chickens.

The fact is, the commission has no evidence of a single polygamous marriage having been celebrated within a year, or within three years, for that matter.  Some of its disreputable tools and agents may have said that in their opinion certain men had violated the anti-polygamy laws, and that is the extent of the commission's evidence that the law has been violated.  To say that such expressions of belief are evidence is to make light of the law and to trifle with the credulity of men.  Especially is this so when the character of some of the fellows employed by the commission for election work is taken into account; that for instance of the late judge of election in the Fourth precinct who threw up his employment as barkeeper and took the first train out of town after the federal judge had called in the grand jury and given it special instructions to investigate his manipulation of ballots.  Perhaps ALLEN told the commission that he believed the Mormons whose ballots he changed for Liberal ones were guilty of polygamy.

We say the inquisitors should call the gentlemen of the commission in and force them to tell what they know, or admit that they have been guilty of maliciously circulating falsehoods.

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