THE WIVES OF THE PROPHET. - BROTHER BRIGHAM'S
The Wives of the Prophet. - Lucy Decker. - A Mysterious Disappearance. - Lucy's Boys. - Brigham's Wife, Clara. - Her Busy Household Work. - About the Girls. - Harriet Cook. - She Expresses Unpleasant Opinions. - Brigham is frightened of Her. - He Keeps out of the Way. - Amelia and the Sweetmeats. - How one of Brigham's Daughters Scandalized the Saints. - How Mrs. Twiss Manages the Prophet's House. - The Work a Woman can Do. - Martha Bowker and her silent Work. - Sweet and saintly Doings of the Prophet. - Concerning Harriet Barney. - The Wife who "Served Seven Years" for a husband. - Another English Wife of the Prophet. - The "Young Widow of
Lucy Decker was the wife of Isaac Seeley, and had two children before she became a convert to Mormonism, and removed to Nauvoo. The husband had been esteemed a fine young man, and to all appearances they were living quite harmoniously. when Brigham saw her, and fell in love with her. He soon persuaded her that Seeley could never give her an "exaltation" in the eternal world; but that, if she would permit him, he would secure her salvation, and make a queen in the "first resurrection." She was bewildered by the promises, and consented to become "sealed" to him secretly.
In some war or other, Seeley found out the true state of affairs, and was exceedingly indignant, and made some very unpleasant threats of vengeance against Brigham Young for breaking up his family. Brigham at once commenced endeavoring to turn the tide of public opinion against him, by resorting to his always ready weapon, his tongue, and insinuating things against him; among others, he took care that the impression should get abroad that he had threatened to kill his wife. These reports gained little credence among those who knew him well; yet Brigham, with Joseph to help him, was sure to succeed in his efforts to ruin the man, or to drive him away, so that he should no longer stand in his light, and Seeley suddenly disappeared.
All sorts of rumors were afloat respecting his disappearance; some said he was driven from Nauvoo at the point of the knife; others said he was dead; others, that he left voluntarily, disgusted with the entire proceedings; at all events, he has never appeared to interfere with his wife's later domestic arrangements.
Lucy lives in the "Bee Hive," which is supposed to be Brigham's own particular residence, at least his private office and own sleeping-room are there, and he takes his meals there except his dinner. She has always had the charge of this house, and has always been quite highly valued by her husband on account of her numerous domestic virtues, for she is a superior housekeeper, and even Brigham finds great difficulty in getting a good opportunity to find fault with her. It has been Brigham's custom always to keep the "Bee Hive" for his exclusive use, and none of his wives were allowed there, except Lucy Decker, who had the charge. But after he married Amelia, before her house was finished, he brought her to board there with him, contrary to all precedent; and Lucy Decker was not only obliged to cook for them, but to wait upon them at the table, in the capacity of a servant, and Amelia never recognized her in any other way, never speaking to her as an equal, but ordering her about at her caprice, and the husband allowed it. But then it is no uncommon thing in Utah for a man to marry a woman for a servant; it is more economical than to hire them. It saves the wages.
When Lucy Decker's sons, Brigham's children, grew up, they accepted mercantile situations, as he expects all to work, which is certainly all right; but they were not allowed to stay with their mother without paying him the same amount for board that they would have to pay elsewhere. A married daughter is also allowed to remain with her mother under the same conditions.
She is a short, fleshy woman, with a pleasant, small-featured face, dark eyes and hair, and as practical and matter-of-fact in manner as you please.
She has seven children - Brigham-Heber, Fanny, Ernest, Arthur, Mira, Feramorz, and Clara. Fanny is the plural wife of George Thatcher, who also numbers her half sister, Luna, among his wives. Heber and Ernest are both married, but have, as yet, but one wife each. They do not seem in a hurry to add to their kingdom.
Clara Decker is the younger sister of Lucy, and was "sealed to Brigham at the same time. She is a very- intelligent, prepossessing woman, and for some time was quite a favorite with her husband. Like her sister, she is short and stout; but she has a very sweet, benevolent face which truly mirrors her character. She is an indefatigable, but a quiet worker, and the good she does, not only in the Prophet's household, but out of it, cannot be estimated. In spite of her multitudinous home cares, she finds time to visit the sick and comfort the afflicted, and there is no woman more universally beloved than she.
She has been of great service to her husband in assisting him in the management of his large family, and in addition to her own family of children, she has the care of Margaret Alley's. She has been as tender and kind to them as to her own, and since their own mother's sad death they have received an untiring and affectionate maternal care from her. When her husband has taken a new wife, she has often been applied to to assist him in preparing the housekeeping outfit, which she always does willingly and cheerfully, never manifesting the least jealousy, nor making herself disagreeable in any way. Her griefs she keeps to herself, and gives kindly, cheery countenance to her family and the world.
She has long since lost all love for her husband, and although she retains her faith in the underlying principles of her religion, is by no means so blinded by bigotry as not to see its faults. She expresses her opinions rarely, but when she does, they are given decisively, and her husband is not at a loss to understand her meaning. He has a high regard for her services, and I really believe accords her more respect than he does most women. She never appears in public with him, being always too much "engaged" at home.
No one can know Clara Decker without loving her; she has a nature that wins affection spontaneously, and that holds it after it is won. She has three children, all girls - Nettie, Nabbie, and Lulu. Nettie is married to Henry Snell, and is the only wife. Clara and her children are inmates of the Lion House. She has more room than the others, as her family numbers so many members.
The third "wife in plurality" was Harriet Cook, to whom the Prophet was sealed at Nauvoo before the church left that place for the west. She was at that time rather a good-looking girl, tall and fair, with blue eyes, but with a sharp nose, that so plainly bespoke her disposition that no one was surprised to hear, not very long after her marriage, that her husband had found he had "caught a Tartar." She was in my mother's employ at Nauvoo, and I think there is where the Prophet became enamored of her. She does not hesitate to say that "Mormonism, polygamy. and the whole of it, is a humbug, and may go to the devil for all her." Her husband never attempts to argue any theological question with her, but gets out of the way as speedily as possible, letting her
abuse religion and him as much as she pleases behind his back.
Brigham, finding her so ungovernable, and being quite unable to exact submission or obedience from her, refused to live with her; and, although she still lives at the "Lion House" with the other wives, avoids her as studiously as possible, and will not even notice her, unless positively compelled to do so.
She has one son, Oscar, whom his father calls a reprobate, and has entirely disowned; a wild, headstrong, unruly fellow, now nearly thirty years of age. He speaks of his father as "dad," and "the old man," and openly expresses his disgust at his hyprocrisy and meanness, which he sees through very clearly. He is no more afraid to speak his mind than his mother, of whose tongue not only Brigham, but the other wives, stand in dread; and when she commences battle they act on the principle that "discretion is the better part of valor," and leave the field to her.
The son has been married, but his wife has left him.
A few years ago Brigham bought a house at St. George, quite an important Mormon settlement, four hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, intending to settle some one of his wives there. He asked me if I would go, but I declined. He then proposed to one or two others, but they had no more of a mind to go than I had. Lucy Bigelow at last decided to try St. George as a residence, and she has remained there ever since. Lucy was married to him when she was very young, and she has been one of the "Society" wives in the past. She was exceedingly pretty, quite entertaining, and a very graceful dancer. She is not very tall, but has quite a pretty figure, brown hair, blue eves, and an exceedingly pretty mouth.
Her position as housekeeper at St. George has been no sinecure, for Brigham and Amelia have been in the habit of passing a portion, at least, of the winter there, and Lucy Bigelow's position there has been very much what Lucy Decker's was at the Bee Hive, - that of servitor, entirely. When Brigham comes she receives no more attention than a housekeeper would; and no one, ignorant of the fact, would ever imagine she had held towards him the position of wife. She does not sit at the table with them, but cooks for them, and looks after their comfort generally.
She is quite a prudent housekeeper, and every year puts up a large quantity of preserves, which Amelia and her party being very fond of, would speedily put out of the way; and when the presidential visits were ended, poor Lucy would have no sweetmeats left for her own use, or to give to her friends when they came to see her. On the occasion of a late visit, she was so annoyed at her treatment, both by Brigham and Amelia, - the former being particularly captious and insolent, - that she spoke her mind with such sudden and startling plainness, that they left the house in a hurry. The Southern wife is to be commended for her spirit. She does not show it often; and probably, had the insults come alone from her husband, she would have borne them quietly, as she has done for nearly thirty years; but she could not endure the same treatment from Amelia, and she very justly rebelled.
She has three daughters, Dora, Susan, and Toolie. Dora is the only wife of Morley Dunford. She scandalized the Saints, and aroused the ire of her father, by going quietly off with her lover to the Episcopal clergyman to be married. According to Gentile laws she is legally married, but according to Mormon laws she is not securely tied. Still, she seems satisfied. Susie is married to Almy Dunford, and is also an only wife.
One of the most important wives, although by no means the recipient of any of her husband's attentions, is the housekeeper at the Lion House, Mrs. Twiss. She was a young widow living in Nauvoo when Brigham discovered her, and recognizing her useful qualities, had her sealed to him as soon as he could arrange for it. She is not very attractive in personal appearance, having a round face, light blue eyes, low forehead, and sandy hair, which is inclined to curl. In figure she is short and stout. But she is an energetic worker, and as a servant Brigham values her.
She never complains of her position, but she is no better content with it than any other neglected wife in polygamy. She is kind to the other wives, and has an amiable, quiet disposition, although she is exceedingly firm and resolute. She has no children of her own, a circumstance which grieves her very much, but she has adopted a son, of whom she is very fond, and who is a very great comfort to this childless, unbeloved wife.
Martha Bowker is another of the Prophet's "sickly wives," of whom he is so fond of sneering; and the fact that she is an invalid is sufficient to preclude her from receiving care or sympathy from her husband. He married her when she was very young, and never has treated her with much consideration. Why he married her, unless it was because he was anxious to "build up his kingdom" as quickly as possible, and so took every available woman he could find, will always remain a mystery. She is plain, but very quiet and sensible. She never interferes with anyone, and worships her husband at a distance. I think it must be true. in his case at least, that "familiarity breeds contempt," for the wives who have been the favorites stand less in awe of him, have less faith in him, and are less easily deceived by his pretensions than those whom he has neglected, and who do not understand him thoroughly. The less attention a wife has paid her, the greater is her veneration for her husband. Her respect for him seems to increase in proportion to the snubs she receives. Mrs. Bowker Young is by no means accomplished, moderately well educated, and is by no means intellectually brilliant. She says but little, but displays considerable hard common sense when she does speak. She is somewhat of a nonentity in the "Lion House," where she lives, keeping very much to
herself, and not making her presence felt. She has an adopted daughter, but no children of her own.
Among all the wives that Brigham claims, there is none the superior of Harriet Barney Young, who, in spite of all her personal charms and graces of mind, has never been a favorite with the Prophet. She is too good and noble-minded for him to appreciate. There is too little of the flatterer about her. She is tall and Stout, but very graceful in every movement. Her eyes are a clear hazel, with a soft, sad expression in them that is almost pathetic. Her hair is light-brown, and her face wears a peculiarly mild, sweet look. She is a person that anyone in trouble would be drawn towards, and would involuntarily rely on and confide in. She is always ready, with the tenderest sympathy, to comfort sorrow and distress; and her acts of kindness, which are very numerous,
are always unostentatiously performed. She was married before she met Brigham, and was the mother of three children; hut becoming convinced that Mormonism was right, and receiving it, polygamy and all, as a divine religion, given direct from God, she considered it her duty to leave her husband, and cast her lot with this people. She brought her children with her, determined to bring them up in the true faith, and she was, in every regard, an earnest, conscientious, devout Christian, who would never shirk a duty, no matter how painful it might be, and would never do anything which she considered wrong, no matter how much she might suffer for her persistence in the right.
She loves her husband with all the strength of an earnest devotion, and his careless treatment of her seems to make little difference in the depth of her affection. She knows her love is hopeless, but she cherishes it, nevertheless, and is content to worship with no hope of return. She is a devout Mormon, and all she has seen, heard, and suffered, has not shaken her faith one whit. She believes that "this people" is destined to come up "out of great tribulation," and she accepts her own share without a murmur.
She formerly lived at the Lion House with her children, but latterly she has occupied a cottage near the Tabernacle. She likes this new arrangement infinitely better, as her situation in the large family was particularly trying. Brigham's own children have always been extremely haughty and arrogant to those not of the "royal blood;" and although Harriet's children were good and amiable, they, as well as their mother, were rendered very unhappy. She supports herself and family now by sewing; but is happier in this than in living in dependence, and receiving favors which are grudgingly bestowed. Her
husband is by no means a frequent visitor at her cottage, but she never reproaches him with neglect.
Eliza Burgess, the wife who is said to have "served seven years" for her husband, is an English woman, a native of Manchester, and came to Nauvoo with her parents among the very earliest of the Mormon emigrants. They had not been long in this country before her parents died, and she was left alone. Mrs. Angell Young took her into the family as a servant, and she came to the Valley with her. She was very attentive and faithful to the Prophet, whom she regarded with the greatest veneration; and when he, noticing her devotion, offered to become her "savior," and secure for her "everlasting salvation," the poor girl was completely overcome, and entered her new relation with the most sacred reverence and joy. It is almost painful to see the dumb worship
which she accords to her master, and the cavalier manner in which it is received. For a long time she was an inmate of the Lion House, and assisted Mrs. Twiss in the household labors. She has lately been promoted to the position of housekeeper at Provo, where the Prophet has an establishment for the convenience of himself and his party when he is making a tour of the settlements. This wife is faithful to all his interests, and unflagging in her zeal to serve him. The moment she finds that she is in any way necessary to his comfort, she works with a new earnestness. She is honest and upright, and is in every way worthy of the love of a good man. Yet she lives on, starving for the love that is denied her, and wearying for a husband who absents himself from her
for a year at a time.
She has one son, Alphilus, a bright young fellow, who is at present a student in the law-school of the Michigan University.
Besides Eliza Burgess, the English wife, Brigham has but one other who is not American. This is Susan Snively, who is a German, and who has been one of his useful wives. She is a woman now considerably past middle age, and carries her nationality very decidedly in her face. She is of medium size, has dark hair, bright eyes, dark complexion, and a stolid, expressionless face. She is decidedly the plainest of the wives, and one of the most capable. Her nature is kindly, and she is a genuinely good woman, quiet and unassuming. She is not the slightest bit assertive, and would remain in a corner unnoticed all her life, unless some one discovered her and brought her out. In her busy days, she was a good housewife, - could spin, dye, weave, and knit, and make
excellent butter and cheese.
She was married to Brigham in the early days of polygamy, when she was a young girl; indeed, most of his wives were taken between 1842 and 1847, and she has proved herself a good wife in every sense of the word. She has lived at the farm a great deal; for eight ears she was sole mistress there, and a harder worker never lived. She paid special attention to the dairy, making all the butter and cheese for the entire family. She has done a great deal for all the wives and children, and they have not hesitated to call on her for services, so cordially and freely has she given them. The farm was very large, and required many laborers, and these all boarded at the farm-house, and Susan had them to look after, which she did faithfully. Everything that she did was done to promote, as far as possible, the interests of the Prophet and his family.
At last, under such a constant strain of incessant labor, she broke down completely, unable any longer to endure the strain. Her strength failed; her health was destroyed; her once strong constitution undermined, and she was forced to seek refuge in the Lion House, and take her chances with the numerous family. After she had given all her strength, and the best part of her life, to the service of her "master," she was of no more use to him, and she might live or die, as she saw fit. It mattered nothing to him. She said once to me, "How I should like a drive! and how much good it would do me!" We have plenty of carriages, to be sure, yet I am never allowed to ride. Tears trembled in her eyes, and her voice shook as she made her complaint; and I wished it were in my power to gratify her. I did pity her lonely and neglected condition with all my heart.
Her only earthly comfort is an adopted daughter, whom she dearly loves. She never had any children of her own, and she lavishes all her maternal affection on this attractive young girl, who returns her love, and calls her "mother."
She still clings to her religious faith with a sort of hopeless despair. If that should fail her, she would be desolate indeed. She suffers in the present, hoping for a recompense in the future.
Young widow's seemed to have abounded in Nauvoo, judging from the number that have been "sealed" to the Prophet and his followers. So many men died in defence of the church, that the wives must, of necessity fall to someone's care, and the protectors were easily found. Margaret Peirce was another of Brigham's fancies, and was sealed to him soon after the death of her husband. Her health has been very delicate for some years; consequently she is not in favor with her husband. She has one son, Morris, whom she absolutely worships. He is now about twenty years old, but he is still her baby.
THE PROPHET'S FAVORITE WIFE. - HOW HE CONDUCTED
HIS LOVE AFFAIRS.
The Prophet's Favorite Wife. Amelia. - How Brigham made Love in the Name of the Lord. - How he won an Unwilling Bride. - A Lady with a Sweet Temper. - How she
Kicked a Sewing-Machine down the Prophet's Stairs. - She has a new House built for Her. - Rather Expensive Habits. - Her Pleasant Chances for the Future. - Mary Van
Cott Cobb - A Former Love of the Prophet's. - Miss Eliza-Roxy Snow. - The Mormon Poetess. -Joseph Smith's Poetic Widow. - Versification of the Saints. - Mrs. Augusta
Cobb. - Emily Partridge.
The favorite wife of the Prophet, Amelia Folsom, is a woman about forty years of age, and was a New England girl.
She was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and with her parents, who were converts to Mormonism, came to Utah. She is tall, of a good figure, has rather regular features, brown hair, bluish-gray eves, and a querulous, discontented expression, with a very great deal of decision indicated by the mouth. And, indeed, in spite of all that is
lavished upon her, she is not happy. She did not wish to marry Brigham, as she had a lover to whom she was fondly attached; but he wished to marry her, and that settled her fate. Her parents favored his suit, and urged it strongly; but she was bitterly opposed to it, and it was months before she would yield to their united desires.
He was a most arduous and enthusiastic lover, and during all the time that his suit was in progress, his carnage might be seen standing before the door of her parents' house several hours at a time every day. He evidently did not intend that absence should render her forgetful of him. He promised her anything that she might desire, and also agreed to do everything to advance the family interests. Promises had no weight with her. He then had recourse to "Revelation;" he had been specially told from heaven that
she was created especially for him, and if she married anyone else she would be for ever damned. The poor girl begged, pleaded, protested, and shed most bitter tears, but all to no purpose. His mind was made up. and he would not allow his will to be crossed. She had been converted to believe in special revelation, and to look upon Brigham as the savior of all the Mormon people, and to think that disobedience to him was disobedience to God, since God's commands came through him. In answer to her pleading, he said, "Amelia, you must be my wife; God has revealed it to me. You cannot be saved by anyone else. If you marry me, I will save you, and exalt you to be a queen in the celestial world; but if you refuse, you will be destroyed, both soul and body."
This is the same argument he used to win me, and the one he has always in reserve, as the last resort, when everything else fails to secure his victim.
Of course she yielded; what else was she to do? It was a foregone conclusion when the courtship commenced. She was married to him the 23rd of January, 1863, more than six months after the anti-polygamy law had been passed by Congress, and the marriage was celebrated openly, and in defiance of the law.
Since the marriage, Amelia has ruled with a hand of iron, and she has her lord in pretty good subjection. She has a terrible temper, and he has the benefit of it. On one occasion he sent her a sewing-machine, thinking to please her; it did not happen to be the kind of a one which she wanted; so she kicked it down stairs, saving, "What did you get this old thing for? You knew I wanted a `Singer.'"
She had a Singer at once.
I was once present when she wanted her husband to do something for her; he objected, and she repeated her demand, threatening to "thrash him," if he did not comply. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to say that she was not obliged to ask him again. I know he is afraid of her, and that she holds him flow through fear, rather than love. She accompanies him to the theatre, and occupies the box, while the rest of the wives sit in the parquet. She goes with him on his visits to the settlements, and drives out with him constantly.
She has a beautiful new house, elegantly furnished, and Brigham has very nearly deserted the "Bee-Hive," except during business hours, and spends most of his time at Amelia's residence. She dresses elegantly, has jewels and laces, and has saved ten thousand dollars out of her "pin-money," which she placed in bank. I am delighted at her success in getting so much; the other wives have succeeded in getting nothing but their living from him, some scarcely that; and I, for my part, congratulate Amelia on her good management. It was a hard struggle for her to marry him, and all she gets will never half repay her for the suffering she has endured in the past, even if she has grown contented now.
She is rather careless in her treatment of the other wives, but gets along the best with the "proxies." When she lived at the "Bee Hive," she dined at the "Lion House," with her husband and the other wives. She and Brigham sat at a table by themselves - a small table, standing at the head of the dining-room. The other wives, with their children, sat at a long table, running nearly the entire length of the room. The fare at this table was very plain, while the other was loaded with every delicacy that the season would afford. When strangers dined with Brigham, the difference in the fare was less noticeable, and the long table would be amply provided for, so as to make a good Impression upon the visitor. Amelia is not well; indeed, she is at times quite an invalid. She has no children.
About six months before my marriage to the Prophet, he took a pretty young widow. Mary Van Cott, for a wife, much to Amelia's distress, who had considered herself the last for so long, that she was quite unprepared for the introduction of a rival. She was very bitter in her denunciations both of Brigham and Mary, and commenced at once to make friends with some of the other wives. She said to Aunt Zina. I believe, that she knew now how Emmeline felt when Brigham took her. Emmeline had been the favorite wife for years, and was really fond of her husband, and it was a terrible blow to
her when he deserted her for another.
For some time Brigham's fickle affections hovered about Mary, but Amelia, with a determination which but few Mormon women possess, fought against her rival until she compelled her lord to withdraw his attentions from the new wife, or to bestow them on the sly. Mary felt very much hurt and aggrieved, but she has managed to hold her own sufficiently to get a very pretty cottage house, which is very daintily furnished, and which she makes very attractive.
She has two children, one by a former husband; the other, a pretty little girl, three or four years old, the youngest of Brigham's children, and who is always called "Baby." After I left it was said she very nearly decided to take the same step. She was very discontented, and the treatment she received from the Prophet and his family was not such as to encourage her to stay with him. Her own people, who are devout Mormons. became aware of her intention, and finally succeeded, by a great amount of persuasion, in inducing her to try a little longer. Brigham, too, found out what step she was contemplating, and knowing that opinion would set strongly against him if two of his wives should leave him so nearly at the same time, added his arguments to theirs, and also agreed to fix her house and give her more things, among which was a grand piano, if she would not bring another scandal upon him. For the sake of her child she decided to remain, but she is in a state at mental rebellion, which may break out at any time. She is, since my defection, the last added member of the family.
Miss Eliza R. Snow is the first of Brigham's "proxy" wives, and is the most noted of all Mormon women. She was one of Joseph Smith's wives, and, after his death, was sealed to Brigham for time, but is to return to Joseph in eternity. She was the founder of the "Female Relief Society," is the motive power of the "Woman's Exponent," although Miss Green acts as editor, personates "Eve" in the "Endowments," and is a poetess of no inconsiderable merit. She writes hymns for all occasions, and most of her poems
are full of a strong religious fervor. She is a thorough Mormon, and believes absolutely every portion of the doctrine, and might contend with Orson Pratt for the title of Defender of Polygamy.
Brigham regards her very highly, because she is of such inestimable service in the church. She lives at the "Lion House," where she has quite a pleasant room. in which she receives most of her company. She is the most intellectual of all the wives.
Zina D. Huntington was formerly the wife of a man named Henry Jacobs, who was at one time a Mormon. Brigham was attracted towards the wife, sent the husband off on a mission, and had Zina sealed to him. Dr. Jacobs apostatized, not at all fancying this appropriation of his family. She is a very noble woman. and has spent her life in the service of her ungrateful husband and the church. She is firm and unyielding in her religious faith, and as devout a believer in Mormonism to-day as she was at her first conversion. She has been very useful in the family, acting as physician, nurse, and governess, as her services have been required. She is perfectly unselfish, and her whole life is devoted to others.
She is a large, fine-looking woman, with a somewhat weary and sad expression, but her face still shows signs of mental strength and superiority.
She has one daughter, Zina, who was formerly an actress in the theatre, and has since married an Englishman of the name of Thomas Williams. She was his second wife, and her introduction to the family was strongly resented by the first wife, who would never notice her in any way. They lived apart, and the husband divided his time equally between the two. A few months ago he died very suddenly at Zina's, while sitting at the table. When the news was conveyed to the first wife, she had the remains brought to her, arranged for the funeral without consulting Zina, and refused to allow her to ride in burial. Poor Zina was almost heart-broken, for she dearly loved the man whom her father's religion taught her to call husband, and she was ready to do anything
to conciliate the first wife. She is a noble girl, and as conscientious as her mother. Not very long before I left her father, we were talking about the practice
of polygamy. I expressed myself strongly and bitterly against it. She, in turn, defended it. She knew, she said, that it brought great unhappiness, but that was because it was not rightly lived. The theory was correct, but people did not enter it in the
right spirit. She has certainly suffered from it since then, although I believe she tried, to the best of her ability, to "live it right." But she, no more than any one else, could make right out of wrong.
When Mr. Williams asked her in marriage, Brigham said he might have her if he'd "take the mother too." So Zina, the mother, went to live with Zina, the daughter. But Brigham grew ashamed of his meanness toward her, and finally gave her a house and lot.
Brigham was on a mission to New England, he met a very charming lady in Boston, Mrs. Augusta Cobb, and at once his elastic fancy was charmed for a while. She was a woman of fine social position, cultured and elegant, the head of a lovely establishment, with a kind husband, and a family of interesting children; but she became enamored of the Prophet, accepted the Mormon religion, and came to Nauvoo with him, where she was sealed as his wife. She is still a very stylish, elegant woman for her age, but for several years past she has been grossly neglected by the Prophet. Her religious enthusiasm has increased until it is almost mania, and, finding that her husband was wearying of her, and seeking new faces, she begged to be released from him for eternity, and be sealed to Jesus Christ, who, her church told her, was a polygamist.
Brigham, with all his blasphemous audacity, dared not do that; so he quieted her by telling her that he was not at liberty to do that - his authority did not extend so far; but he would do the next best thing, and seal her to Joseph Smith. She consented, and now belongs to Brigham only for time, "having been transferred to Joseph for eternity."
Her family still remember her fondly, and grieve over her delusion. One of her relatives - a granddaughter, I think - sent word to me, a short time since, that she wished to see me, to ask about Mrs. Cobb, for it had been a long time since they had heard from her directly, and it would be such a comfort to meet one who had seen her so recently. I have not yet met the lady, but shall take the first opportunity to see her, though I can, I fear, tell her little that will satisfy her.
Another proxy wife, Emily Partridge, was a young, childless widow, very patient and gentle, and very pretty, too. She belonged to Joseph Smith, and was among those whom Brigham took. For some time she lived at the farm, but not understanding dairy work, she did not suit her husband. She is willing to work, and do whatever she can do, but is no more able than the rest of the world to accomplish impossibilities. He was so angry at her want of success at the farm, that he said, in speaking of her, "When I take another man's wife and children to support, I think the least they could do would be to try and help a little. To be sure, he is the earthly father of those children, but he makes a decided distinction between them and those he calls his own. There are five children, - Emily, Carlie, Don Carlos, Mary, and Josephine. Emily is plural wife of Hiram B. Clawson, her half-sister Alice's husband; Carlie and Mary were both married to Mark Croxall, the Western Union telegraph operator. He was very fond of Mary, who has since died. Carlie he treats with the utmost indifference, and neglects her openly. A while ago he became very much enamored of a Danish girl, and would allow Carlie to go home alone from the theatre or other place of amusement, while he went of with this girl, who was Carlie's inferior in every way. The poor girl is heart-broken at this
careless treatment, but what can she do? There is nothing for any Mormon woman to do but to submit, and let her heart break in the mean while. The sooner it is over, and she is out of her misery, the better. Very few care how soon they die. Life is not pleasant enough to be clung to very tenaciously.
Emily Partridge lived at the "Lion House" for several years, enduring every indignity at the hands of the family. Now she has a cottage outside, which Brigham gave her, telling her when she moved into it, that he should in future expect her to support herself and children.
This woman ends the list of Brigham's living wives, but some that have died have had such a career, and been so well known, that I cannot refrain from mentioning them.
THE DEAD WIVES OF THE PROPHET. - HE NEVER WAS
KNOWN TO SHED A TEAR.
The Discarded Favorite. - The Story of Emmeline Free. - A Stupendous Humbug. - A "Free" Opinion of Mormonism. - Amelia comes upon the Scene. - How Brigham
Insulted Emmeline Free. - Brigham is Ashamed of his Cowardice. - I tell him a little of my Mind. -Joseph A. Expresses his Opinion. - Apologizes for his Father. - Death of
Emmeline Free. -The Story of Clara Chase. -The Prophet's Maniac Wife. - Ellen Rockwood, and the Cause of her Neglect. - A Wife who was visited once in Six Months. - Margaret Alley. - How the Prophet treated his Dead Wife. - He steals her Children's Property. - How he Scandalized another Wife, and sent her Home. - He "Never shed a tear at a Wife's Death."
For many years the favored wife, the one who ruled over her husband, and reigned in the faintly, was Emmeline Free. The Prophet married her when she was quite young, having first to overrule the objections of her parents. who, although Mormons, were ,much opposed to polygamy. She was a willing convert, for she had been taught that
Brigham Young was a near approach to divinity, and she had unbound reverence for him; and the child, - for she was little more than that, - was flattered and delighted at the Prophet's wish to have her for a wife.
Those who knew her at the time of her marriage say that she was an extremely lovely girl, and I can well believe it, for she was a very prepossessing woman. She was tail and graceful, with brown eyes, and fair hair that waved naturally. Her face was pleasant in expression and very bright, until it became saddened by her husband's desertion
of her for Amelia.
I used to see a great deal of her. I visited at her house when I was a girl, was intimate with her children, and saw more of her while I was a member of the family than of any other. In virtue, I suppose, of her former position, Brigham never neglected her as he did some of his other wives, and she always retained a certain influence over
him. She was not afraid of him, and had long since ceased to regard him with awe. I once entered the Prophet's office when she was there: she was talking quite earnestly, and did not stop on my entrance; she concluded her conversation by saying. -
"Well, I've lost faith in the whole thing. I consider Mormonism a stupendous humbug, and all the people who have been made to believe in it, terrible dupes. I've no patience with it any longer."
Her husband - "our" husband at the time - laughed as though he considered it a good joke, and turned the conversation, making it general, so that it included me. I think he did not wish such "heresy talked before his young wives, lest it should engender discontent in their hearts. He needn't have been troubled about me, for the mischief was already done. I had begun to think things out for myself, and I had arrived very much at the same conclusion that Emmeline had, although I had not dared to express my opinion to any one.
Once during my married life with him, Brigham invited Emmeline and myself to go with him to Brigham City, where he was to hold a conference meeting. There was a large party, and we went with the usual pomp which attends such occasions. I enjoyed it better than I did most of the excursions I took with him, because I was very fond of Emmeline, and preferred to have her rather than any of the other wives. I think she felt the same way toward me, because she knew that I was her champion; moreover, she was quite aware of my feeling toward "our" husband, and the difficulty he had had in
inducing me to become his wife, and she did not consider me in any degree her rival. We arrived one afternoon, and everything was most amicable. He was unremittting in his attentions to Emmeline, and I was very happy to see her happy, and enjoyed myself very much with some of the younger members of the family. In the evening he told Emmeline that he should expect her to accompany him to church the next day.
The next morning he arose very early, and drove away in a buggy alone; in a little while he returned with Amelia, breakfasted with her, and started away again. In the meantime Emmeline, who had not heard of Amelia's arrival, was preparing to accompany her husband to church; she dressed with unusual care, and made herself look very pretty. She waited impatiently, but he did not come. I knew of the arrival, and when I went up stairs and saw Emmeline waiting with her bonnet on, I asked her if she was not going to start soon, as it was getting late.
"I am waiting for Brother Young." said she.
"The has gone long ago," said I. "I thought you knew it."
"Gone, without me? Why, that's funny, when he made such a point of my going with him."
"Yes; but that was before Amelia came."
Emmeline's face changed expression in a moment. "She here?"
"Yes; she came this morning. Brother Young went to the depot to meet her."
"Then he must have known she was coming. Can I never go any where without having her thrust in my face? I thought for once I should be spared the infliction."
She took off her things and I laid mine aside, too, and in place of going to the grand conference meeting and tending to "our" husband's eloquence, we had a conference of our own, and that morning I came nearer to Emmeline's heart than I ever had before. She talked to me unreservedly and unrestrainedly, and told me events in her history that were full of thrilling interest, but which were given me in confidence, and which I cannot give again to the world. I think the dead eyes would haunt me for ever, and the dead lips would move in ghostly reproach if I betrayed her even now. Dear, loving heart,
that beat so wearily through all the years. I hope you are meeting your reward now, cradled in the infinite love of a Divine Father! Tears dimmed my eyes and moistened my cheeks, when I read, a few days since, of your death; but they were tears of joy at your glad release, and not such bitter tears of indignant sorrow as I shed that morning over the story of your wrongs.
I think Brigham felt ashamed and a little conscience-stricken. I know he was decidedly uncomfortable when he met his insulted wife again. He tried every means in his power to propitiate her, and I never saw him assume so abject a manner before. Amelia returned that day, and he told Emmeline that he did not know of her intention to come down, that he had not expected her at all. He also told her that the reason he paid so much attention to Amelia was that he might "save her soul."
Emmeline did not believe him when he told her he did not expect Amelia, and she told him so very plainly. He then came to me, and said. -
"Emmeline's real mad at me - isn't She?"
"Yes," said I, "but no more than you deserve. I think it's too bad in you to take her for a pleasure trip, and then get Amelia here at the first stopping-place."
"I didn't get her here. I didn't know she was coming."
"Well, all I can say is. it looked like it; you certainly went to the station to meet her."
"I just went down to see who had come, that's all. Seems to me you re taking Emmeline's part pretty strong - ain't you?"
"Yes, I am, for I think you've treated her badly."
"Guess a little of the mad is on your own account isn't it?"
"Not a particle of it. Amelia doesn't interfere with me."
He laughed and went out. Presently Joe made his appearance, probably sent by his father.
"So Emmeline is cutting up rough about Amelia's coming, is she?" he asked of me.
"Not at all; she's indignant, but that's no more than is to be expected; but as for `cutting up rough,' as you term it, she's too much of a lady to do that."
"Well, it's too bad to have this fuss; but I suppose I'm to blame for the whole affair. I was coming down, and I didn't want to come alone, so I asked Mary, Alice, and Amelia to come along too. I never thought of Emmeline when I asked Amelia."
"Mary" was Joseph ,A.'s first wife, Alice was his sister, and the two were very intimate with Amelia. This story sounded very well, but I didn't believe it. neither did Emmeline, when she heard it. It was too evident that Joe had been sent by his father to endeavor to make peace. Be that as it may, Amelia did not put in an appearance again during the trip.
Emmeline had been an invalid for years, and I was not surprised to learn of her death. When I heard of it. I felt as I always do when I hear of the death of any Mormon woman. I thank God to think their misery is over. She had eight children. Marinda, Ella, Louise. - nicknamed "Punk" by her father, - Hyrum, Lorenzo, Alonzo, Ruth, and Della.
Marinda is the only wife of Walter Conrad. Ella and Louise are both married out of polygamy, one to Nelson Empy, the other to James Harris. Hyrum, so far, contents himself with one wife.
Clara Chase is usually spoken of as "the maniac." She died mad several years since, leaving a large family of children. She married him when quite young, but she never was a firm believer in Polygamy, indeed, she distrusted the principles of it from the very beginning, and had many struggles of conscience before she could make up her mind to marry the Prophet, and she suffered perpetual remorse ever after. She had a peculiar face, lowbrowed and dark, and it was rarely lighted up by any pleasurable motive. There was on it an expression of fixed melancholy that seldom varied or changed.
Knowing her aversion to the system, and her distrust of it and of him, Brigham at first treated her with a very great deal of consideration. He gave her an elegant room, nicely furnished, and placed in it a large portrait of himself. He tried to make her surroundings as cheery as possible, and so wean her from the melancholy into which she had fallen. As long as he devoted himself personally to her, she was comparatively cheerful and content, and tried her best to be happy; but when he neglected her she was almost desperate, and wandered about in a half-dazed fashion, weeping and moaning, and calling on God to forgive her.
Just before her last child was born, her fits of remorse were terrible. She endured untold agonies, and accused herself of having committed the unpardonable sin, and she knew salvation was denied. Those who were about her at the time, say that it was heart-rending to hear her.
Just at this time, when her husband should have given her the most love and tenderest of sympathy, he was, more than ever, harsh, cruel, and unfeeling, and treated her with such marked coldness and contempt, that she went insane, and raved constantly. "I am going to hell I am going to hell" was her agonized cry. "Brigham has caused it; he has cursed me for ever. Don't any of you go into polygamy; mind what I say; don't do it. It will Curse you, and damn your souls eternally." When she saw her husband, she cursed him as the cause of her downfall. "I have committed the unpardonable sin; you have
made me do it. 0, curse you curse you You have sent me to hell, and I am going soon." To her children, as they gathered round her, she cried, "0, don't follow my example! Don't go into polygamy, unless you wish to be cursed: Don't let my children do as I have done," she would say to those about her. No help could avail her. Brigham and his counsellors "laid hands" on her. A doctor was called, but all to no purpose. She died in the midst of her ravings. Her children's names were Mary, Maria, Willard, and Phæbe. Mary is dead. Maria is the wife of William Dougall. Phæbe is the only wife of Walter Batie. Willard, the only son, has just graduated with honors at West Point.
Ellen Rockwood was one of the least regarded of the wives. She was a little woman, in delicate health, and very fond of fancy-work. She was the daughter of the warden of the penitentiary, one of Brigham's faithful officers. Her influence with the Prophet was very small, as she had no children, and was regarded as of little consequence on that account. Still, I do not think that Brigham ever positively ill-treated her. He used to call on her very ceremoniously once in six months.
Margaret Alley, who was never much of a favorite, died in 1853. She was morbid in temperament, and, before her death, became very melancholy, owing to the neglect of her husband. She had two children, Eva and Mahonri-Morianchamer.
One of Brigham's "proxy" wives was Jemima Angell, a relative of Mary Ann Angell, his first living and legal wife. Her husband had died, leaving her with three children; and when she came to Nauvoo, Brigham found them. He wanted a servant, and she wanted salvation. The discoveries were simultaneous, and she was very soon persuaded to be sealed to him. All the while they were in Nauvoo, "Aunt Mima" worked untiringly, and on the arrival at Salt Lake he gave her a lot of land for her children. One of her sons built a house on it, but she did not occupy it, as she could not be spared from
Brigham's kitchen. She worked until she became broken down in mind and body, and then Brigham sent her to her daughter, who was married to a poor man, and had a large family of children, yet was willing to take her mother, and do the best he could by her. She died very soon, and the daughter's husband telegraphed the news of the death to Brigham; also the time they should arrive with the body for burial. They lived fifty miles from Salt Lake, in the Weber Valley, and, as they could not obtain a coffin there, they put the body into a box to convey it to her husband, who, when they arrived, was not at
home; at least, he could not be found; and what is called the "Eagle Gate," or the entrance to the Prophet's premises, was closed against them. They could not gain admittance for hours; and, in the mean time, all that was left of "Aunt Mima" lay in a pine box in an open wagon, with every avenue to her husband's house closed against her.
Finally, even Brigham grew ashamed, and allowed himself to be found; and when they asked him where they should take her, said, very carelessly, "0, I suppose she might as go to her sisters', upon the hill!" She was taken there, and decently buried, though Brigham grumbled about the expense.
In the mean time, the land that he had given her had increased in value, and when the children went to take possession of it, he refused to let them have it, although it would have been a God-send to poor Mrs. Frazier, with her large family of children. But his avarice is so inordinate that no amount of suffering stands in the way of his self-enrichment. Once he is bent on obtaining a piece of property, he does not care whom he defrauds to obtain it.
At the time he was sealed to Lucy Biglow, he had her sister sealed at the same time. She was very pretty, and he had seemed very fond of her. But suddenly his fondness cooled, and he treated her in the most shameful manner. He heaped every indignity upon her, and finally sent her back to her parents, saying she had been untrue to him. She protested her innocence; but all in vain. He would not, or professed not, to believe her, and talked harshly and cruelly to her when she attempted to vindicate herself.
Her parents were very much grieved, and were tossed about with conflicting doubts. They wanted to believe their daughter, and, in their hearts, I believe they did; yet they dared not dispute Brigham. They took the poor, heartbroken girl home, and she fairly pined to death under the disgrace that her
husband tried to attach to her name.
Besides those wives whom I have already mentioned, there have been very many more who have been married to him "for eternity." I should be sorry even to guess their numbers. There was also one wife, who, during "Reformation times, was said to have "run away to California" [a thousand miles away through an uninhabited country, and before the era of railways in the West]; but it was whispered among wicked Gentiles that really she paid the full penalty of the Endowment-Oaths, and in the Endowment-House, too, her throat being cut from ear to ear, and the other horrible performances gone through, on account of some indiscretion, or want of faith. Of course, I do not vouch for the truth of this statement. I simply give it in common with much else for what it is worth.
I have heard Brigham say, in speaking of the number of wives and children that he had buried, "that he never shed a tear at anyone's death;" and I believe that, if every friend he had in the world lay before him, cold and still and with frozen pulse, he would look on unmoved and indifferent, and never shed a tear, so utterly heartless is he.
THE PROPHET AT HOME. - HOW HE LOOKS, LIVES, AND
ACTS. - MORMON PHILANTHROPY AND EDUCATION.
Brigham at Forty-five and at Seventy-five. - Slipping the Yoke. - The Salt Lake Tribune. - Books on Mormonism. - Prophetic Philanthropy. - The New Temple. - Paying the
Workmen. - The Tabernacle. - Advantages of the Presidency. - Free Schools and Liberal Education. - Sharp Practice. - The Rich and the Poor. - Unconscious Sarcasm. -
Looking into the Future. - The Spectacles of Ignorance. - Personal Habits. - The Prophet's Barber. - Dinner at the Lion House. - The Good Provider. - Helping Herself. -
Prophetic Cunning. - Evening Devotions. - A Gift in Prayer. - Advice to the Deity. - Fatherless Children. - The Bee Hive. - Monogamist vs. Polygamist.
Unless I pause and look back almost to my very babyhood, and contrast Brigham Young as he then was with the Brigham Young of to-day, I can scarcely realize the change that has taken place in this man. As I recollect him first, he was a man in the prime of life, with rather a genial face, and a manner which, though abrupt at times, had nothing of the assumption and intolerance which characterize it now. Indeed there was, at that time, a semblance of humility, which served his purpose well, by strengthening the confidence of the people in him.
Had he claimed, at that auspicious point in his career, when accident placed him at the head of this peculiar sect, that he was the peer of Joseph Smith, upon whom had descended the mantle of that martyred saint, his pretensions would have been treated as contemptuously as were Sidney Rigdon's. His shrewdness plainly showed him that, and his cunning and tact pointed out to him the surest way of gaining an ascendancy over his followers.
He taught them that Joseph was their Messiah; that he was only acting in his place until he should be restored to them in person; which, strange as it may seem, many still believe will occur, and actually watch for his visible presence among them again. Still, that belief does not obtain so generally as it did during the first years after Joseph's death. The gradual change in the President has not been without its effects, and there is now very much more of the material than of the spiritual in the Mormon belief.
Nearly everything that was done by him in those earlier days was done in the name of the Lord and Joseph, and he was constantly in the habit of expressing his intentions of carrying out "brother Joseph's" plans. Gradually, as he could without its being too closely observed and commented on, he dropped "brother Joseph," and made his own desires the law by which the people were to be ruled. Yet so quietly and subtly was this done, that the Saints never knew when they passed from the rule of Joseph Smith and superstition, to the absolute despotism of Brigham Young which has been indeed a "reign of terror."
The absolute belief which he used to express in Joseph, and his unquestioning faith in his works and mission, he expected every one to yield to him in turn; and he and his immediate followers and associates have taught and insisted upon this blind subjection so long, that the Mormon people have neglected to use their reasoning powers, until they have become so blunted, that the majority of them are incapable of arriving at any conclusions by their own unaided effort, or of forming any independent opinions.
In the early days, in his intercourse with the people, he was one of them, - a sharer in their adversity, a companion, and a friend. Now, he holds himself apart from them, looks upon himself as above and beyond them, as something better than they, and they partake of his own delusion, and assist him in his self-deception.
Now and then one keener than the rest sees the change, and deplores it. Rough old Heber C. Kimball could never become reconciled to it, and, more honest and more daring than the others, used to express himself very freely.
"Brigham's God is gold." he said one day to the apostle Orson Hyde; "he is changed much since he and I stood by each other, in the old days, defending the faith. He has become a selfish, cold-hearted tyrant, and he doesn't care at all for the old friends who have stood by him and loved him. What do you think of that, Brother Orson?"
"That sort of talk may do for Brother Heber," was the reply, "but it would not do for Brother Orson. He could not express himself in that manner with impunity, so he will say nothing."
At forty-five Brigham Young was a common looking, very ordinary appearing man, in no way the superior of the majority of the church, and decidedly the inferior of some of the members. He was homely in speech, neither easy nor graceful in manner, and dressed very plainly in homespun.
Brigham Young, at seventy-five, has the appearance of a well-preserved Englishman, of the yeoman class. There is less bluster in his manner than formerly, but more insolent assumption. He is still the mental inferior of some of the officers of his church, but in crafty cunning and malicious shrewdness he is far in advance of any of his associates. He is not more finished and elegant in his mode of speech, but he says less, and consequently has won the opinion of having grown more pleasing in his address. He is arrogant to his inferiors, and unpleasantly familiar to the very few whom he desires for any reason to conciliate. He dresses in the finest of broadcloth, fashionably cut. is more finical than an old beau, and vainer and more anxious than a young belle, concerning his personnel. He says that this change in his mode of dress has been brought about by his wives. I have no doubt that Amelia may have had some influence in that direction; still his own inclinations probably had just as much to do with it.
Since he has allowed himself to see and be seen by more of the outside world than he formerly did, he has grown to appear more like the Gentiles, concerning whom he sneers so loudly, even while aping their manners and customs. He is impatient of criticism, and as sensitive to public opinion as though he were not constantly defying it. He is at once ambitious and vain, and, like all persons who turn others to ridicule, is very sensitive to anything approaching it when it is directed towards himself. He reads everything that is written against him. I think no book has ever been published, exposing him and his religious system, which he has not perused, from the title page to the conclusion. He loses his temper every morning over the Salt Lake Tribune, -
the leading Gentile paper of Utah, - and longs for a return of the days when one word of his would have put a summary and permanent end to the existence of this sheet, by the utter annihilation of everything and, everybody connected with it. But the time is forever past when the "unsheathing of his bowie-knife," or the "crooking of his little finger," pronounced sentence upon offenders, and the Gentile paper and its supporters flourish in spite of him.
I remember once going into his office, and finding him examining the advertising circular of a book on Mormonism, written by a lady who had for a time been a resident of Utah. He commenced reading it aloud to me in a whining voice, imitating the tone of crying woman. Yet, notwithstanding this attempt to make a jest of it, I knew that the publication of this book annoyed him excessively, and that he was both curious and anxious concerning the contents, and the effect they would produce; for, with all his professed contempt for Babylon and its Gentile inhabitants, he is very sensitive concerning the opinions which are held concerning him by these unregenerate souls.
Unscrupulous and avaricious, he has made even disasters profitable to himself. After the tragical hand-cart expedition, he sold the hand-carts that remained when the emigrants had all got in for fifteen dollars apiece. This was to go to the "church fund," which virtually means "Brigham's private purse." It has been already related how he made his "improved carriage scheme" more than pay for itself several times over, although the did not survive the first trip.
As "Trustee in Trust" of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, all the money of the church passes through his hands, or, more properly speaking. into them, since it is rarely known to leave them again. The tithing-fund, and the subscriptions for various church purposes, are all given into his keeping; and although the sums of money gathered in this way have been very large, none of it has ever been appropriated to the cause for which it was supposed to be intended by those sacrificing souls who denied themselves that the Lord might be served.
He is as inexorable a beggar to-day as he was forty years ago, when he was a humble follower of Joseph Smith, preaching the new gospel to whoever would hear him, and being fed and clothed by whoever would supply his wants. He made no hesitation in letting these wants be known, and he would request that they should be relieved in the name of the Lord.
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my little ones, ye have done it unto me," has been the standard teaching of the Mormon missionaries from the very earliest days; and no one could enlarge on this passage more eloquently than Brother Brigham when he was in need of a new coat, or a small sum of money, or even a supper and a night's lodging.
He is as eloquent now, when talking on the subject of giving, with this exception in his style of address, that he now demands instead of asks, and it is disastrous to refuse him. He begs for the missionaries, and the poor men never get a cent of the thousands of dollars that are raised for them. He begs for
the Temple, which is his pet subject, whenever there is nothing else to beg for, and the amount of money which he has raised for the building ought to have
erected several very imposing edidces.
Many years ago he levied contributions upon the English Saints for the purchase of glass for the Temple winnows. The sum desired must be collected at once. The Lord was soon coming to enter upon his earthly kingdom, and the place must be prepared for him. Missionaries preached, and laymen exhorted; they astonished even themselves by their eloquence, as they dwelt upon the beauty of Zion, the city of the Lord, and the glory that was to descend upon his chosen people. Those who were not moved, by their oratory were impelled by their command; but, for the most part, the money was given voluntarily. Working men and women took a few pennies from their scant wages, and gave them with wonderful readiness, and then suffered from cold and absolute
hunger for days after. But they suffered with painful joyousness and devotion, since they were giving it to the Lord, who had chosen them out of all the world for his very own people, and who would make their self-denials here redound to their glory and grace when at last they should arrive in his presence.
At that time, the foundation walls of the Temple were barely above the ground, and the work has progressed very slowly since. At any rate, the glass has not been bought, and there seems very little probability of window material being needed at present; and if the Lord is not to visit the Saints until his home is completed, even the younger members of the present generation will not be likely to see Him.
The "Tabernacle," where the Saints worship at present, is one of Brigham's few "inspirations," and is as great a success as are most of his inspired ideas. It is an ugly-looking building, oval in shape, with a sort of arched roof, which shuts down over it, like the lid of a wicker-work basket. It is very commodious, which is its chief recommendation, holding comfortably twelve thousand persons. In this "inspired" edifice, every law of acoustics is outraged, and only a small portion of the congregation can hear what the speaker is saying. It is two hundred and fifty feet long, one hundred and fifty feet wide, and eighty feet high, while there is not a column in it to obstruct the view, and the interior view is flat and expansive.
The organ claims to have been built by a good Mormon brother, assisted by a large number of mechanics; and is said to be the largest ever built in the United States. It is placed at the end of the Tabernacle, directly back of the speaker's stand, and the seats for the choir are arranged on each side of it.
This building, in which the Saints are to worship until the more pretentious Temple is finished, is ugly in the outward appearance, cheerless in the interior, very inconvenient in its arrangements, and practically useless unless the walls are draped so as to render the voices of the speakers audible; but when the new building - which is said by Brigham to be of Divine architecture - shall be completed, it is probable that these things will be vastly improved.
In the mean time the begging goes on, but the work moves slowly. Large contributions come flowing in, but the Temple does not advance visibly; while Brigham adds house to house, field to field, increases his bank deposits, and lives as well as any man in his position would wish to live.
The people will take no bonds from him; and as it would it seem like questioning the Lord's anointed, he is supposed to administer the financial affairs under the direction of the Lord, no statements are ever required of him. Once in a while, however, he goes through the form of a settlement of accounts, which he simplifies immensely, by a system all his own. It is said that at one time he balanced his account with the church by ordering the clerk to place two hundred thousand dollars to his account for services rendered, which was exactly the sum of his indebtedness to the church. This was in 1852; and in 1867 he repeated this peculiar financial operation; this time making his services liquidate an obligation for nine hundred and sixty-seven thousand dollars.
It is worth while to be President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at a salary like that, and it is no wonder that he desires to keep it in the family, and is so anxious to appoint a successor.
But on the other side, see at what terrible rates the poor people must have been taxed to have paid for the support of this one man and his family, between the years 1847 and 1867 - a period of just twenty years - one million one hundred and sixty-seven thousand dollars, nearly sixty thousand dollars a year. This does not include many grants of land and other property, made to him by the territorial legislature, nor his compensation by the United States government as governor and Indian agent. Although a very ignorant man himself, able neither to read nor write the English language correctly, he has
always been a bitter opponent of free schools and liberal education.
"I will not give a dollar," he says, "to educate another man's child. If you school your children, there is great danger of their becoming blacklegs and horse thieves," he announced on one occasion, yet he seems quite willing that his own should take the risk. All of them have received a certain amount of education, enough to make them presentable in society, and some have had quite superior advantages. One son has just graduated at West Point, another is a student at the Michigan University Law School, and a third has just entered Cornell University.
Every attempt that has been made for the establishment of free schools he has fiercely battled against, and the other officers of the church have invariably followed his lead. He assures his people that education is the bitterest foe to labor. If they allow their children to be taught anything they will no longer be of any service to their parents. He dilates largely upon this subject in the Tabernacle.
"I am utterly opposed to the schools," he said, in one address. "They have been introduced into the States in consequence of the tyranny of the rich over the poor. But instead of keeping the people poor, and then providing free schools for them, I would have the rich put out their money to usury by giving the poor employment, that they may be able to sustain themselves and school their own children. It is the duty of the rich to use their means, as I have done myself, in building factories, railroads, and other branches of industry, in order that the laboring people may have a chance to work together, and improve their condition; the rich taking their portion. and all growing wealthy together."
There is an unconscious sarcasm in this last sentence that is positively sublime. That one expression, "as I have done myself," is the supremest satire. I do not believe there is anywhere a man so suspicious of his workmen, so penurious in his dealings with them, so anxious to cut their wages down to the very lowest penny, as is Brigham Young. I know men who have been in his employ for years, and have never received the least remuneration. They have worked on and on, and when at last they have brought a bill against him for their labor, they have been met with one equally large on his side for house rent, or goods from the co-operative store, or are told that their labor is to go toward paying their tithing.
If all the rich men use their means, "as I have done mine," therefore there will be very little chance of the poor man being able to educate their children at all: which is exactly what Brigham Young wants. Had he spoken the truth he would have said, "I am opposed to free schools. They will rend this dark veil of superstition which envelops you, and let in the light of reason, and this will loosen my hold on you. If you educate your children you make better men and women of them, but they will not be such blind slaves to me as you have been. The day that sees knowledge generally disseminated throughout this community sees my power broken, my opportunities' gone, and therefore, with my consent, we will have no free schools."
Unlettered and uncultured as he is, he recognizes the power of education, and that is why he is such a bitter opponent to general culture, and why, at the same time, he takes special care that his own children shall lack no advantages.
His personal habits are quite simple, and he is very regular in his mode of living. He rises usually about seven o'clock, dresses and breakfasts very leisurely, and appears at his private office about nine. He examines his letters, dictates replies to his secretary, reads the morning papers, or has them read to him, and attends to some or his official business. His barber comes to him at ten o'clock, and for the time he is engaged exclusively at his toilet. The presence or visitors never interrupts this important event of the day. The rest of the morning he devotes to callers, and to such business as requires his own personal attention. At three he dines, and it is then that he meets his family for the first time in the day. Dinner is served at the Lion House, and the appearance of Brigham Young's family at dinner is very similar to that at a country boarding-house, when the gentlemen are all away at business in town, and the wives and children are left together. At a short table, running across the head of the long dining-room, Brigham sits with his favorite wife by his side. In the days when I first used to be at the Lion House, as a partial guest and partial resident, Emmeline Free occupied this place of honor; but after Amelia's advent, poor, loving Emmeline was thrust aside. When Brigham brings guests to dine with him, they have seats at this table also. At a long table, running lengthwise of the room, all the other wives are seated, each with her children about her. At the sound of the large dinner-bell, they all file in, seat themselves quietly, grace is said by the "presiding patriarch" from his table, and the meal goes on. The family table is plainly spread, and supplied with the very simplest fare, while the smaller one is laden with every delicacy that the markets will afford. These, however, are only for the President and his favorite wife, and the rest of the family must be satisfied merely to look at them, and enjoy the dainties by proxy.
A very amusing incident took place once at this family dinner. One of the wives, - not usually considered among the most spirited ones, - who, like all the rest, had submissively taken the food which had been set before her for years, was one day seized by the spirit of discontent. She had taken a fancy that she should like some of a particular dish which graced her husband's table. She did not express her wish, but quietly rising from her place, went straight to the other table, helped herself to the coveted article, and returning as quietly as she came, took her seat, and resumed her meal, amidst looks of consternation from the other wives, and of indignant amazement from her husband. Surprise made him absolutely speechless for the moment: but I fancy she was properly reproved in due time, for she never attempted a repetition of the act.
When strangers are invited to dine, the tables are more uniform in their appointments. The usual contrast between the one at which the Prophet and his favorite sit, and that around which the other wives and their families are gathered, is not nearly so marked. There is an air of abundance, and even of luxury, on these occasions, which gives the Prophet the reputation, among his guests, of being, what is called in New England parlance, "a good provider."
If only some of these deluded visitors could accidentally happen into the same room at a similar meal, they would see the true state of affairs; but Brigham's family are never visited accidentally. Indeed, it is but a short time since visitors have been allowed in the Lion House at all, for the Prophet has always maintained the strictest privacy regarding his family.
After dinner they see no more of him until family prayers. At seven o'clock the bell is rung, and the wives and children gather in the large Lion House parlor. Not only are the wives who live in the house expected to be present, but those who have homes outside are also supposed to attend evening worship. Not all of them avail themselves of this privilege, and the outside attendance is somewhat irregular. I used to go whenever I felt inclined, which was very seldom; and the longer I was a member of the family, the more infrequent became my attendance.
Brigham sits in the centre of the room, at a large table, on which is an ornamental "astral" lamp. The wives and their respective families are ranged around the room, in the order in which they appear at the table. When all are seated, Brigham reads a few passages of Scripture, all kneel down, and he makes a long prayer.
He was formerly said to have a special "gift" for prayer, and he has not lost it; but somehow his prayers never inspired me with veneration. He prays with great unction, and, I suppose, unconsciously to himself, some of his patronizing manner slips into his appeals to the throne of Divine Grace. until his petitions always seemed to me to be very much like advice to the Deity rather than entreaties for the Divine blessing. If he chances to be in a good humor, he chats a little while before leaving the room; but if not, he goes away directly prayers are over, and that is the last that is seen of him by the household until the next day at dinner.
Some of his children are almost strangers to him. They know nothing of fatherly affection, and while they feel that they have, socially, a sort of prestige, by being so closely related to him, they feel, personally, only a dread and fear of him. He never invites their confidences, nor shows himself interested in their affairs; all this would be quite incompatible with his ideas of prophetic dignity.
The Lion House, where most of the wives live, is a long, three-storied house, at the very left of what is known as the Prophet's Block. It receives its name from the stone figure of a lion crouching over the front portico. There is a stone basement; then the main building, of wood, with peaked gable, narrow pointed Gothic windows, and steed roof. In the basement are the dining-room, kitchen, laundry, and cellar. The parlor is on the principal floor, and the rest of the house is taken up by the apartments of the wives, each wife having a greater or less number of rooms according to the size of her special
Next to the Lion House is a low building, which is used as the "Tithing-Office." Here all the clerks have their desks, and receive Visits from the Saints who come on church or personal business. Adjoining that is Brigham's private office, where he receives his own visitors. At the extreme right is the Bee-Hive House, a large building, which has always been used as Governor Young's official residence.
Lucy Decker has always had the care of it, and has lived there with her children. No wife was ever permitted to share her husband's apartments there, until the reign of Amelia was opened. She has lived there since her marriage, and has been virtually the recognized "head of the harem." It is extremely probable that when her new house is fully finished, the Bee-Hive House will be the official residence only in name, and the household there will see less of him than ever.
Polygamist, as he professes to be, he is, under the influence of Amelia, rapidly becoming a monogamist, in all except the name.
BRIGHAM AS A FARMER. - MY NEW HOUSE. - TAKING
One Year after Marriage. - Life at the Farm. - House-keeping Extraordinary. - Bread and Milk Dinners. - Brigham Tries to Catch us Napping. - Hours of Labor. - Dejection. -
My New House. - Parlor Stairs. - Wells Wanted. - My Mother receives Notice to Quit. - My Elder Brother Pays her Board. - Failing Faith. - Taking Boarders. - The Prophet's
Contemptible Meanness. - Brigham's Neglect. - Rev. Mr. Stratton. - I open my Heart. - The New Religion. - Woman's Sphere. - First Glimpses of the Outer World. - Forming
After we had been married a year. Brigham decided that I should go to The Farm to live. He has several farms among his landed possessions, but this one, which supplies the Salt Lake City family with milk, butter cheese, and vegetables, is always spoken of as "The Farm." It is about four miles from the city, within pleasant driving distance,
but is by no means a desirable place of residence.
Every one of the wives who had been compelled to live there had become confirmed invalids before they left the place, broken down by overwork; and the prospect was not a pleasant one to me, never strong, and unused to hard, continuous labor, such as I knew I should be obliged to perform as mistress of the farm-house. But, as it was my
husband's will, I went, without a word of protest. I had one bit of comfort - my mother was to accompany me.
Outwardly, my new home had a lovely appearance, and Brigham never tired of descanting on its beauties to any one who would listen to him. These expressions of admiration would have been reasonable enough, had not the eulogistic owner insisted on its comfort and convenience, as well as on its beauty; but he was just as earnest in recommending it for those virtues which it did not possess, as he was in lauding it for its pleasant exterior. And, indeed, with its some what irregular architecture, its wide verandas, vine-draped and shaded, its broad, low windows, and beautiful surroundings, it is one of the pleasantest looking places that one would care to see.
It is built after one of the Prophet's own plans, and he says that it cost twenty-five thousand dollars. Possibly it did but I am certain that, with the same amount of money, I could build a house that should vastly exceed that in external beauty and interior appointments.
The walls are very thin, and the sun and heat penetrated in summer, and the cold in the winter, making it at once the warmest and the coldest house I ever saw. That might have been a recommendation, had the temperature been regulated to suit the seasons; but, unfortunately for our comfort, it was hot when we wished it cold, and vice versa. My mother hazarded an opinion to this effect in Brigham's hearing, and he was greatly scandalized by it. He informed her that she had been so long away from civilization that she was not a proper judge of what a house ought to be! They both left "civilization" at
the same time.
Housekeepers will understand something of its inconvenience, when I tell them that the stairs leading to the second story went directly from the parlor; that all the sleeping rooms were up stairs, and that, in order to reach them, we had to pass through a dining-room thirty feet, and a parlor forty feet in length; that hired men, family, and visitors were all compelled to use the same staircase. If any member of the family was ill, everything needed for the invalid had to be carried from the kitchen to the sick room, rendering the care of the invalid tiresome in the extreme.
The duties of housekeeper at "the Farm" were neither slight nor easily performed. There were butter and cheese to make from forty cows, all the other dairy work to attend to, besides cooking for twenty-five or thirty men, including the farm laborers and the workmen from the cocoonery. I know at least six women who have been completely broken down under the work at the farm-house, and neither my mother nor myself have ever recovered from the illness contracted there from overwork. My mother made the butter and cheese, and took charge of the cooking. I assisted in the latter, took care of the house, did the washing and ironing, and was allowed the extreme pleasure of carrying the farm supplies to the other wives every week.
We had occasional visits from Brigham. He was very fond of coming up unexpectedly, and at all sorts of irregular hours, hoping, evidently, that some time he might catch us napping. He was so addicted to fault-finding, and so easily displeased, that we took no pleasure in his visits, and I grew to be positively unhappy every time his approach was heralded. If his coming had brought any comfort, I should have looked eagerly forward to his visits; as it was, I dreaded them, and grew ill with nervousness and apprehension every time he came to us.
I remember one day, when had visited us, he came about noon, just as mother had placed dinner for the workmen upon the table. He walked up and down the dining-room, surveying every dish with a critical eye, until we began to fear that something must be terribly amiss. He professed to be such a connoisseur in all matters relating to the cuisine, and was so frank, to say the least, in the expression of his opinions, and so careless of the terms which he employed, that we dreaded the remarks which were almost certain to follow this critical scrutiny.
After the men were seated at the table, Brigham called my mother into the adjoining room. "You cook too good food for those men," he said; "it is too rich for their stomachs."
"I wish to give them something which they can eat, and I try to do so," replied she. "They work hard, and I surely can do no less than give them palatable food; yet if you do not approve of my manner of providing for them, I will make any change you may suggest, if I can satisfy the men with the fare."
"It don't make any difference whether they are satisfied or not," was the answer. "I say it is healthier for them to have bread and milk, and you must give it to them."
"Shall I give them this, and nothing else, three times a day?" inquired she.
"Well, once in a while you may set on a little butter, too," was the generous reply.
"But are they to have no meat?"
"Perhaps I will allow them a little occasionally, but they are much better off without it."
This is a specimen of the interference to which we were constantly subjected.
At another time, he told my mother that six o'clock was too early an hour to give the men their supper in summer. It was a waste of time, he said; they ought to work in the fields two or three hours longer, at the least. My mother reminded him that after supper there were the forty cows and other stock to be cared for. He said that could as well be done after dark as before; there was no danger of the men hurting themselves with work; nobody ever did, that was in his employ. They all were leagued together, men and women alike, to swindle him, and his wives were as bad as the rest.
My mother told the overseer what Brigham had said, and he replied that, even for the Prophet, he should not ask the men to do another hour's work a day: they were overworked already, and they should leave off work at six o'clock each day, as they always had done. That ended the matter, and the tea hour was unchanged.
I lived here for three years and a half. - long, uneventful years, - and how I hated my life! It was dull, joyless, depressed, and I looked longingly back to the dear old days at Cottonwood, the restful days that never could come again. Even the love I bore my children was changed. It was no less tender, no less deep, but it was less hopeful and more apathetic. I clung to them in a kind of despair, and I dreaded the days, which must inevitably come, when my clinging arms could no longer infold them, when my love alone would cease to satisfy.
I could not tell my feelings to my mother, for, although she was as sensitive to Brigham's captious fault-finding as I was, habit was very strong upon her, and she could never separate him from her religion.
At the end of the three years and a half, he told me one day that he was building a house for me in town, which he intended to have me remove to as soon as possible. It was out of no feeling of regard for me, or care for my comfort, which influenced him; he simply wished to put some one else in the farm-house, and it was necessary that I should move, to make room for the new comer. I knew all this perfectly well, yet I was so happy at the thought of getting out of all the drudgery of the past years, that I was perfectly indifferent to the motives which induced him to make the change for me.
When he told me of the house, I said I had one request to make of him, which I hoped he would grant.
"What is it?" inquired he.
"Are there to be chambers in my new house?"
"Then will you please not to build the stairs from the parlor. Let them go out of any other room in the house but do not disfigure that one. Besides being ugly," I continued, "it is inconvenient, and excessively annoying to obliged to pass through the best room at all times, and on every occasion."
"You can have stairs out of every room in the house if you want them," was the reply.
I was quite satisfied, for I thought that equivalent of a promise that my parlor should be left as I wished it. He told me that he was spending five thousand dollars on the new house, and, from his description. I fancied it a very charming place.
Visitors to Salt Lake City are always taken to see Eliza's house, and much is made of the fact that built expressly for my use; but the following equally important facts are carefully concealed: -
Taking a view of it from the street, it was an exceedingly pretty cottage, with an air of coziness about it, which frequently called out remarks from passers by, who thinks "Sister Ann Eliza very fortunate in her home." Inside was very inconvenient, and badly arranged, being after the stereotyped prophetic plan. The rooms were small, the kitchen being scarcely large enough for a house, measuring ten feet one way, by six feet the other. And yet in this room all the washing, ironing, and cooking for the family were to be done. Then, to my bitter disappointment, the only stairs in the house ascended from
the parlor! - That, too, in the face of my expressed wishes.
There were no facilities for obtaining water, and we were compelled to depend upon our neighbors' wells. Naturally enough, this annoyed them, and they used frequently to say that Brigham Young was abundantly able to provide for us and they did not care to furnish water for his family, or any portion of it. Speaking to him concerning these things was worse than useless, for I never could influence him in the slightest, while every suggestion which I ventured or make irritated him extremely; so I held my peace, alter one or two attempts to change things a little, so that the house should be more convenient.
I had scarcely got settled in my new home, when he told me that my mother must leave me; he could not afford to support her any longer. This, too. when she had worked herself ill in his service, and had asked no reward for her labors except the privilege of staying with me, her only daughter; the child from whom she had never been separated for any great length of time.
I cried bitterly after my husband had left me, but I would not tell my mother what he had said. I knew she would be sorely grieved, and that she would go away at once. Her independent spirit would not permit her to remain a pensioner on this selfish man's unwilling bounty.
I could not live without her. I leaned on her in piteous dependence, and looked to her for all the comfort I had outside of my children. In addition to the dread and dislike which had grown up in my heart toward my husband, I was beginning to lose faith in the religion which he represented. His petty meannesses, his deceit, his unscrupulousness, his open disregard for the truth, all were so utterly at variance with the right, that I could no longer look upon him as a spiritual guide and director.
I looked about me, and on every side I saw so much of misery, that I felt it must be a false faith indeed, which brought such unhappiness to its followers. Yet I knew no other religion, and I groped about in a state of spiritual bewilderment, tortured my many conflicting doubts.
I did not dream, then, of trying to get out of it; my only thought was how to live with the least misery, and my best comfort was to keep my mother.
Finding that I did not tell her, after repeated orders from him to do so, he threatened to send her away himself. In great distress of mind, I went to my elder brother, who offered to pay me five dollars a week for my mother's board, and on those terms Brigham expressed his willingness that she should remain with me.
I now began to find it difficult to make him provide even the commonest necessaries of life for me, and I plainly saw that I must take things into my own hands, and earn my own support, and that of my children. I asked permission of my husband to take boarders, and he granted my request with amazing readiness; so I went to work in good earnest, and soon succeeded in filling my house. As it chanced. all my boarders were Gentiles. Brigham knew this perfectly well, yet he did not seem in the least concerned about it. Indeed, of so little importance was I, or my actions, that he never troubled himself to come near me after he had given his consent that I should support myself in the way I considered the easiest. The last time that he ever visited me was months before I left my home.
Previous to the time of receiving these new inmates into my family. I had one acquaintance outside the Mormon Church. This was Mr. Howard Sawyer. a Gentile gentleman, to whom I was introduced while visiting at Mrs. Rachel Grant's. Some time after I had commenced my work of self-support. I met him again at the house of Mr. Nathaniel V. Felt, a Mormon. The Rev. Mr. Stratton. pastor of the Methodist church in Salt Lake, was with him, and he introduced us at once. He had previously told Mr. Stratton that I spoke very freely on the subject of Mormonism. and that he need not hesitate to question me, as he would find me very frank and honest in the expression of my opinions.
Mr. Stratton was the first representative of a religion outside the Mormon belief whom I had ever met, and I listened anxiously to every word he said, hoping to find some ray of light and cheer. As he talked, I felt very strongly drawn toward the world which he and Mr. Sawyer represented, and I longed to know more concerning it. I was much impressed by this interview; and at its close, Mr. Stratton expressed a wish to see me again, and to have his wife meet me. I was struck by his very manner of speaking of her. I had never heard a woman referred to in so deferential a tone before, and I wondered at it.
As the days went by, I grew more miserable, and longed inexpressibly for the comfort, which neither my people nor their religion - for it had ceased to be mine - could give me. I remembered Mr. Stratton's kindly words, and I ventured to send him a message by Mr. Graham, one of boarders. asking if I might see him and his wife, and talk with them.
An urgent invitation to visit them came by way of speedy reply; and in response, I spent an entire afternoon at their house. They received me so cordially that my heart went out in love toward them at once. I talked to them unreservedly, and opened my soul to my soul to them. I told them of my childhood, my religious training, my unhappy domestic experience, and all the occurrences of my marriage to Brigham Young. They listened with earnest sympathy, and when I finished my story were overflowing with words of pity and consolation. I shall never forget them in my life. They were the sweetest words which had ever been spoken to me, for they helped me to see the way out of bondage.
It was the first glimpse I had ever had of domestic life outside of polygamy, and the deference which the husband showed to the wife, the confidence she displayed in him, and her perfect ease in his presence, were very strange to me. The equality on which they seemed to stand puzzled me. I could not understand this religion which regarded
woman as an independent soul, with a free will, and capability of judgment. The inferiority of women is so strongly insisted upon by the Mormon doctrine that I supposed it must be the same everywhere, and the first view which I got of this sweet household was a revelation to me.
I carried home a braver and stronger heart than had beat in my bosom for many a long day. I went about my daily duties as quietly as though there were not a resolution forming in my mind which was speedily to overturn my whole life, and bring me into a new and strange existence.
Meanwhile my destiny was working itself out in a way I knew not, turning my feet into unexplored paths; and I did not yet see where I was straying, nor what the near future was holding in store for me.
BREAKING THE YOKE. - I LEAVE HOME.
The Workings of Destiny. - A Noble Lawyer. - A Small Stove and a Large Family. - Last Interview with Brigham. - A Startling Proposal. - Sickness and Gentile Care. -
Brigham's Police. - A Moral Thunderbolt. - My Third Baptism. - A Religious Farce. - I Decide to Escape. - A Memorable Day. - Removing in Forty Minutes. -The Walker
House. - Among the Gentiles. - A Perilous Situation. - New Hopes. - Interviewed by Reporters. - Unwelcome Notoriety. - A Touching Letter. - A Visit from my Father. -The Paper War. - Overshooting the Mark. -Suing for a Divorce. - A Tempting Offer, $15,000 and my Freedom. - The Prophet Astonished.
After a person has made up his or her mind to take any step in a new direction, it seems as though every event of the life points the same way. It is almost as if decision had been forced upon him, and the course of action was inevitable.
It was but a very few days after my first memorable visit to Mr. and Mrs. Stratton, when I received in my family a gentleman and his wife by the name of Hagan. Mr. Hagan was a lawyer of considerable repute in Salt Lake City, and I found both himself and his wife very pleasant inmates of my home.
My family had increased so, that it was quite impossible to do the necessary amount of cooking on the very small stove which was in my toy kitchen. - I made up my mind to ask Brigham for another, since, as I was working hard to support myself, he ought to be willing to assist me to this extent.
I called one day at his office, - the last call I ever made him, by the way, - and preferred my request. He looked at me for a moment in evident surprise.
"I believe you are keeping boarders."
"Yes, I am," was my reply; "and that is why I want the stove. I cannot do the necessary cooking on the one I have."
"If you want a cooking-stove, you'll get it yourself. I've put you into a good house, and you must see to the rest. I cannot afford to have so many people calling on me for every little thing they happen to think they want."
I was much distressed and disturbed after this interview. I had known that I must take care of myself for some time, and I had gone about it bravely and willingly, and I felt that this rebuff was in every sense undeserved. Never, during my whole married life, had I made one unnecessary request; and, however much I might have "cost him," as he used to say in speaking of the very small amount he spent for me, I felt that I had more than repaid in hard, - unceasing labor. If he does not wish to support us, why does he place us in the position to expect support from him, was my bitter thought. I did not seek the position of wife to him; it was forced upon me; and I was now compelled to endure the indignities which he chose to heap upon me.
Mrs. Hagan's kindly eyes discovered my distress, and she instantly begged my confidence. I gave it unreservedly and fully. She asked leave to tell her husband, and he, indignant at the treatment I was receiving, consulted with other lawyers, and all agreed in advising me to bring a suit against Brigham for divorce and alimony.
Mr. Hagan assured me that if I did not gain the suit I should have found a way of getting out of my life in Mormonism; that it would be a test case, showing how the polygamous wives of Mormons stood in the law, and that I would find ready sympathy from the outside world.
This proposal, although it startled me, came at a time when I was more ready to entertain it than I should have been at any other period. My mother had discovered Brigham's feelings toward her, and had left my house to return to my father's farm at Cottonwood, and I was grieving over her absence; still, had she been with me, I should have said nothing to her on this subject; for, although she was losing confidence in Brigham Young, she still clung to her religion, while I had not one spark of faith in it remaining.
In the mean time Mr. Hagan went to California for a short trip, begging me to decide upon the matter before his return. The more I thought upon the subject the more perplexed I grew, until I fairly broke down under the weight of nervous anxiety, and became very ill. My boarders took all the care of me through my sickness. I was entirely dependent on them for every care. Not one member of Brigham's family came near me, and I was as utterly neglected by them as though they had not known of my existence.
Those days of struggle were dark indeed, and oftentimes I did not know which way to turn. Perils and miseries faced me on every side. I was in doubt as to which was the true religion, or whether any were true. The question frequently arose, What would become of me if I apostatized? My church taught me that I should be given over to eternal damnation. And although I had ceased to regard my church and its teachings, yet I had a slight feeling of superstition left, and in my weak state I could but portray to myself the horrors of my situation if what it taught were really true.
At this juncture, I received a visit from the Ward Teachers, whose duty it is to visit each family in the city, and examine the different members as to their spiritual welfare. They are an inferior order of ecclesiastics, who serve the various purposes of religious instructors for the weak and ignorant, revenue officers to gather tithing, and general police to spy out and report irregularities or weakness of faith among the brethren.
The spokesman began by asking, "Sister Young, do you enjoy the spirit of our religion?"
"No. sir. I do not," was my reply.
If a thunderbolt had fallen among them they could not have been more surprised. They argued with me, counselled me, prayed with me, and finally I concluded to make one more attempt to cling to Mormonism. They begged me to be rebaptized, and I consented, although I had little faith in the ordinance.
Accompanied by a friend, I went to the Endowment House, where they have a font in which this rite is performed. We waited two hours for those in charge to get the names and ages of a lot of Danes, who were to be baptized for their dead relatives. My patience and very doubtful faith were about exhausted. At last they were ready, and I, as a wife of the President, was honored by being first taken. The men officiating were talking and laughing as in engaged in an every-day affair, while I was trying to feel solemn and to exercise faith, - a signal failure, I assure you. I was led into the water by a great strapping fellow, who mumbled a few words over me and plunged me in. I was taken from the water gasping for breath, and placed in a chair. Some more words were spoken over me, and the farce ended. Everything was done in such a business-like manner, with an utter absence of anything of a devotional nature, that I was thoroughly disgusted, and made no further effort to believe in Mormonism or its ordinances.
Mr. Hagan, on his return, found me fully determined on following his advice. I was ready to renounce my religion and leave my home. I did not know all that was included in my resolution, else I might have faltered in my new determination. My plans were quickly laid, and with the assistance of the friends whom I had found in this hour of trouble, were carried into instant execution, before they could be discovered by Mormon spies.
On the 17th of July, 1873, I sent all my furniture to an auction-room, leaving my house stripped and desolate. It was done so quickly that no one had time even to suspect my intention. Arrangements having been previously made, three furniture vans came at the same time, and in forty minutes my entire household goods were in charge of the auctioneer. They were sold the next day, and I realized three hundred and eighty dollars from the sale. The furniture was worth almost nothing, being old and worn, and of common quality at its best; but my friends bought it at large prices, "to help the young
apostate," as the Tribune said.
I had sent the elder of my boys to his grandmother, the younger remained with me, and together we went to Mr. Stratton's house, where we passed the afternoon. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Stratton took us to the Walker House, the Gentile hotel, which I have ever since claimed as my Salt Lake City home.
Imagine, if you can, my feelings, on being alone with my little child, in a strange place, under such peculiar circumstances. I had abandoned my religion, left father, mother, home, and friends, - deliberately turned away from them all, knowing that the step I was taking could never be retraced. My heart cried out for my mother, who I knew would be more sorely stricken with my action than any one else in the world. I would have spared her if I could, but I was powerless to act in any other manner.
It was the first time in my life that I had been in a hotel and, as I was among people who I had been taught were my bitterest enemies, I was overwhelmed, by a sense of desolate helplessness. I did not know what my fate would be. Every footstep in the halls startled me; for I expected that each would bring some one to summon me to a dreadful death. I fully believed that was to be my last night on earth, so I prepared for death; but the agony of suspense was awful. I had been taught that no deed was too bad, no outrage too dastardly, for the Gentiles to commit upon the Mormons; and, here I had allowed myself to be placed so fully in their power that they might do with me as they pleased, and my fate would never be known.
Does any one wonder that I did not seek refuge with some Mormon friend, of whose sympathy I was sure? No Mormon would have dared to give me shelter. I was in open rebellion against their leader, and had I remained one day among them, my doom would have been irrevocably fixed.
Neither did I dare to remain with my friends, the Strattons; for in so doing I should expose them to Mormon fury, and endanger their lives and their home. So I sought the only place of refuge open to me with untold fear and dread.
I laid awake all night wishing for the day to dawn, yet fearing that I should never see it; and when the first ray of light came through my windows I was relieved and hopeful.
With morning came a new excitement. The news of my flight from home had gone abroad, and the morning papers were full of it, - the Mormon journals abusing, the Gentile journals praising and congratulating me. This part of the experience had never suggested itself to me. It had never occurred to me that it would be made a public matter, and I shrank from the very thought. I felt myself a marked object. Reporters called on me, seeking interviews for the California, Chicago, and New York papers, and questioned me until I was fairly bewildered. I had gone to bed a poor, defenseless, outraged woman, trying to find my way out of a false life into something truer and better, and I arose to find that my name had gone the length and breadth of the country,
and that I was everywhere known as Brigham Young's rebellious wife.
People who were curious to see one of the wives of the Prophet, swarmed into the hotel. I could not leave my room, nor did I dare to do so, nor to allow my children out of my sight for nearly two months. The Mormon papers commenced to assail me in every way, while the Gentile papers came unanimously to my defence. In the midst of it came this most heart-rending letter from my mother: -
"MY DEAR CHILD: You can never know how dear you are to your grief-stricken mother. Your death would have been far preferable to the course you are taking. How gladly would I have laid you in your grave, had I known what was in roar heart. I now pray that you may be spared for repentance and atonement for, as sure as you are living, a day of repentance will come; a day of reckoning and of sorrow, such as you have never imagined. Now, let me entreat of you to pause, and retrace your steps before it is too late. The Lord, my Father, grant that you may listen to your mother's last appeal, and flee from your present dictators, as you would from the fiends of darkness.
"You will never know the effort I am making to write this. When I first received the blow, it struck me down like a flash of lightning, and the first I remember, I was praying for your death before you sinned past redemption. My much-loved child, come to your mother, and try to smooth her pathway to the grave. I should pray to be laid there at once, if I did not hope to save you yet. The path you are pursuing leads to the lowest depths of woe, and I pray, every moment of my life, that you may speedily be arrested. Oh, how could you turn against us? How could you break our hearts? Your father's house, and your brother Gilbert's house, are both filled with weeping friends, who are deploring your fate; and I implore you, in the name of all that is sacred, to come back to us. You seem to be encircled in a cloud of almost impenetrable darkness, but the Lord our God is able to remove the veil, and enlighten you in his own way. I can only pray for you.
"My heart is broken, my clear and much-loved child. I loathe the sight of food, and sleep has forsaken my eyelids. The idol is rudely broken that I have worshiped so long. My fault has been in loving you too well, and having too great anxiety for your welfare.
"I pray you to forgive me for all the wrongs you imagine I have done wrong in bringing you up as I have done. I have ever been laboring, teaching, and instructing with the best of motives, with an eye to your interests. I shed the bitterest tears I ever did in my life. God grant you may never have cause to shed such tears. If I can ever be the least comfort to you, do not fear to let me know. I close by repeating, come to the arms of your heart-broken but still anxious
If she agonized over the writing of that letter, so I did over the reading. I longed to fly to her; but even to make her happy I could not violate my conscience, and go back into the old bondage of darkness again.
My father came at once to see me; and although he at first disapproved of my course, yet when the Mormon press commenced to assail me, he came over to my side at once.
Brigham and his friends commenced their usual method of warfare against a woman who opposes them, by instigating slanders of all sorts for the Gentile papers outside of Utah to publish. They found a ready assistant for their noble and generous attempt in the person of a fellow of low repute, employed as item-gatherer for the Salt Lake Herald, who had recently been converted to Mormonism through the agency of Brigham Young's purse, and was now ready to do any foul work for his master.
His first act was to send a dictated falsehood to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was a telegraph operator, and, through Brigham Young, who, it is alleged, virtually controls the Associated Press and the Western-Telegraph Office in Utah, he had access to wires, and sent all the scandalous messages which his employer dictated, until it became so plainly apparent that he was serving Mormon interests, that the papers refused to publish any more of his misstatements.
As a reward for his labor, he was promised a daughter of Mayor Wells as his wife. The young lady has not yet acquiesced in the arrangement, and he still hangs about Salt Lake, despised alike by Mormons and Gentiles.
The Gentile element in Salt Lake made itself strongly felt in my favor, and the Gentile press combated bravely the scurrility of the Mormon organs. Ladies and gentlemen called on me with offers of sympathy. All the persons connected with the hotel were kindness itself. Mr. and Mrs. Stratton stood by me nobly, and I have never ceased to thank God for raising up such friends in my time of need. I shall always hold them most specially dear, although our paths in life have so diverged that we rarely meet. Through General Maxwell, who was so kind as to come forward with offers of assistance, I brought suit for divorce against Brigham Young.
Surprised, as every one was, by this action, I think no one was more astonished than the Prophet himself. He would have looked for rebellion from almost any other wife sooner than from me, I had been so quiet and acquiescent during all my married life with him. He was annoyed by the publicity of the affair; for, although he likes notoriety, and courts it, he did not care to appear as defendant in a suit for divorce, on the grounds of neglect and non-support. It would not sound well in the Gentile world.
He tried to effect a compromise with me, and through his son-in-law, Hiram B. Clawson, offered me fifteen thousand dollars and my freedom if I would carry the suit no further. I will confess that the offer tempted me. I could take my children and go away quietly with them, and avoid the notoriety which I so hated. If it had been my own individual case alone, I should have eagerly accepted the offer, and made the compromise. But when I thought how much was involved, how many other lives would be affected by the decision which would be given in my case, I put all thought of settlement aside. I would not now be bought by the man who refused to care for me when it was his duty to do so; and I said to my lawyers, and General D Maxwell, Go on. There was no further delay, and the legal fight commenced at once. As so much has been said concerning this trial, and as it seem's so generally misunderstood, I will devote a chapter to the legal points, and an epitome of the court proceedings, as far as they have reached, so that the general public may more fully understand what I sought, and what grounds I had to justify my action.
THE DIVORCE SUIT. - PROCEEDING IN COURT. - BRIGHAM'S AFFIDAVIT.
I bring an Action against the Prophet. - My "Complaint" against Him. - What the "Complaint" Stated. - My Birth and Early Life. - My Marriage with the Prophet. - Exile to Brigham's Farm. - Cause of' Action for Divorce. - The Question of Alimony. - My Own Affidavit. - Corroborative Testimony. - Opinion of Judge McKean. - Brigham
Young's Reply and Affidavit. - The Prophet states the Value of his Property. - Wonderful Difference of Opinion. Proceedings in Court. - Judge McKean Sums Up. - Order for Allowance and Alimony. - Judge McKean Removed. - His Order Quashed by the New Judge. - The latest Proceedings.
On the 28th of July, 1873, I commenced an action for divorce against Brigham Young in the District Court of the Third Judicial District of Utah, and the "Complaint" was served upon him by the United States marshal.
This "Complaint set forth, with the usual prolixity of all legal instruments, the grievances which I had appealed to the law to remedy; but, as it would be utterly impossible, in the circumscribed limits of these pages, to give that document entire, I shall present the reader with as succinct a resumé of its contents as I possibly can.
It was addressed "To the Hon. James B. McKean, Judge of the Third Judicial District Court, in and for the Territoryof Utah, and County of Salt Lake, in Chancery sitting," and the following are the several items which it contained: -
It began by stating who and what I was; that I was born at Nauvoo, Illinois, but had, since the year 1848, been resident in Utah; that I was the wife of Brigham Young; and that I was married to him on the 6th of April, 1868, when I was in my twenty-fifth year, and was the mother of two children by a former marriage, one four and the other three
years of age; that neither I nor my children had anything to depend upon, - a fact of which Brigham was well aware, - and also that my children were boys, still living.
That Brigham had lived with me for about a year after our marriage, treating me with some degree of kindness, and providing, though inadequately, for my support; and that I had always fulfilled my duties as a wife toward him.
That toward the end of 1872 Brigham removed me to a house in Salt Lake City, where, however, he seldom visited me; that when I called upon him to ask a supply of the necessaries of life, he used the most opprobrious language toward me, and gave me so little that I had to work constantly to support myself and children.
That for five years past my health had been so bad that I was now altogether unfitted to labor, and was in Constant need of medical advice; that Brigham knew it, but repeatedly refused to furnish me with assistance, medicine, or food, so that I was obliged to rely upon the charity of friends; that Brigham had declared he would never do anything more for me, and said that henceforth I must support myself, notwithstanding that he was the owner of several millions of dollars; that, as President of the Mormon Church, he occupied a very important position, and I believed that his monthly income could not be less than forty thousand dollars.
That I had been compelled to sell my furniture, and all my household goods, in order to obtain the necessaries of life; and that, for a year previous to that date , Brigham had entirely deserted me.
Further, I stated that it was impossible for our union to continue; that I prayed for a separation, and also an allowance, as all I possessed consisted of about three hundred dollars, and my children were dependent upon me for support; I asserted that I had secured the aid of Messrs. F. N. Smith, A. Hagan, and F. Tilford as my counsel; that I had been informed that twenty thousand dollars would be a reasonable compensation for their services: and I therefore prayed the court to direct a subpæna, commanding the defendant, Brigham Young, to appear to answer to my pending it, he might be ordered to pay me dollars a month from the date of filing this bill, a preliminary fee of six thousand dollars to my counsel, and that after the final decree he should pay them
the remaining fourteen thousand, and all the expenses of the court.
Furthermore, I prayed, that after our legal separation, he might be ordered to support myself and children suitably; and that for that purpose the sum of two hundred thousand dollars might be set aside from his estate.
This bill, the substance of which I have given above, was signed by my solicitors, Smith, Hagan, and Jilford, and to it the following was appended:-
"TERRITORY OF UTAH,
County of Salt Lake,
"Ann Eliza Young, being first duly sworn, deposes and says: That she is the complainant in the above entitled action; that she has heard read the
foregoing bill of complaint, and knows the contents thereof, and that the same is true of her own knowledge, except the matters and things therein stated on
information and belief, and as to those she believes them to be true.
"ANN ELIZA YOUNG.
"Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 19th day of July, A. D., 1873.
"JOSEPH F. NOUNNAN, Clerk."
A motion for an allowance and counsel fees was noticed for hearing at the same time, and the service was by the same officer. This document was headed with all due form and ceremony. It stated, I, Ann Eliza Young, the plaintiff, being duly sworn, alleged:
That I was the wife of Brigham Young, the defendant; that while I was living with him, and performing the work mentioned in the bill already filed, he acquired enormous property, of the value of several millions of dollars, and was now the owner of at least eight millions.
That I had no means of knowing his exact income, but was sufficiently informed to allege that it was at least forty thousand dollars a month.
That the facts stated in the bill were true; that I and my children were penniless; that knowing the power and influence of Brigham, that he had the disposition to harm me, and that my life would be unsafe in any private house, I had taken refuge in the chief hotel in Salt Lake City, - the Walker House, - about the 15th of July, where I had since resided; that my expenses were very large, but that I had no income, and that my health was too feeble to allow me to work. I therefore prayed the court to grant me the items included in the bill already filed.
This affidavit was signed by me, and countersigned by Joseph F. Nounnan, the clerk of the court.
Attached to it was an affidavit, signed C. M. Turck, making, upon oath, a statement of the destitute condition in which I was previous to the time when I left my private residence and went to the Walker House.
Of this affidavit it is needless for me to speak in detail, further than to say that it more than fully establishes to the utmost all that the previous bill and affidavit affirmed. Other affidavits were made by gentlemen who knew me well, - one by Mr. Malcolm Graham, and another by my medical adviser, J. M. Williamson, both of which fully confirmed my own statements.
James B. McKean, judge of the court, was absent temporarily on account of sickness at that time, and Judge Emerson, of the First District Court, presided for him. Judge McKean had held that, in equity cases, the United States marshal was the proper officer to serve process, but the defendant came into court at the time appointed for the hearing, and moved to quash the service of the process, on the ground that the "territorial marshal," and not the United States marshal, was the proper officer to serve the process in the case. Reversing the rule administered by Judge McKean, the judge temporarily presiding held the motion good, and quashed the service.
Therefore new process was issued, and placed in the hands of the territorial marshal, accompanied by an order to the defendant to appear and answer to the motion for an allowance and alimony. This was regularly served, and at the day appointed the defendant appeared by counsel, and, for cause against the motion, filed his demurrer to the bill, on the ground that the District Court had not jurisdiction of the subject of divorce in Utah Territory. Two days were occupied in the argument of this question, and it was taken under advisement for ten days longer. At the end of that time the presiding judge came into court, and held that this court had no jurisdiction in matters of divorce, and denied the motion.
The case then stood over, by an agreement between the counsel, until the following May, 1874. The Supreme Court of the Territory, at its term held in that month, in the case of Cast vs. Cast, decided that the district courts of the territory had jurisdiction in actions for divorce and alimony, thus reversing the opinion of Emerson, justice in this case. The case being afterwards - in July, 1874 - called on for hearing on the demurrer to the complaint in the District Court, McKean, presiding, overruled the demurrer, and gave the defendant leave to answer.
Thereupon my counsel asked and obtained leave to renew the motion for an allowance and alimony pending the suit which had been denied. It is proper also here to state, that on the 24th of June, 1874. Congress enacted a law expressly conferring authority in divorce cases on the District Court of the Territory; but this law only affirmed by legislation what the Supreme Court had already decided to be the law.
On the 24th of August, 1874, Brigham Young filed an answer, of which the following is a correct summary: -
He denied that at any time he had been married to me. That at the time when my affidavit alleged that this marriage to me took place, I was really the wife of James L. Dee, never having been legally divorced from him, but that he [Brigham] believed at the time of alleged marriage in April, 1868, that I had been properly divorced from Dee.
He alleged his previous marriage with Mrs. Mary Ann Angell Young, at Kirtland, Ohio, on the 10th of January, 1834, and that the said legal wife was still living, of which fact I, complainant, was aware.
He admitted his marriage with me, after the custom of the Latter-Day Saints, but denied that the marriage was legal, in any sense acknowledged by the laws of the land.
He then proceeded to deny every one of the counts in my complaint, seriatim, winding up with the following statement: -
"Defendant denies that he is or has been the owner of wealth amounting to several millions of dollars, or that he is or has been in the monthly receipt from his property of forty thousand dollars or more. On the contrary, defendant alleges that, according to his best knowledge, information, and belief, all his property, taken together, does not exceed in value the sum of six hundred thousand dollars, and that his gross income from all of his property, and every source, does not exceed six thousand dollars per month.
"Defendant further says, that at the time of the said alleged marriage. this defendant had, and still has, a very large family; that his said family now consists of sixty-three persons, all of whom are dependent upon this defendant for maintenance and support.
"Whereof the defendant prays judgment of the court that he be hence dismissed with his costs herein.
"WILLIAMS, YOUNG & SHEEKES, and
HEMPSTEAD & KIRKPATRICK,
To the replication of defendant, which was very lengthy, denying or explaining away every point in the bill which I had filed, the following was
"TERRITORY OF UTAH,
County of Salt Lake.
"Brigham Young, being duly sworn, on his, oath says: That he has heard read the foregoing answer, and knows and understands the contents thereof, and that the same is true of his own knowledge, except those matters therein stated on his information and belief, and as to those matters he believes it to be true. Affiant further says that he is the defendant in the above entitled suit.
"Subscribed and sworn to before me this 25th day of August, 1874.
"JOS. F. NOUNNAN, Clerk."
The court then gave me, or my counsel for me, leave to renew the motion for alimony as asked; and notice having been given, the motion was by agreement fixed for hearing on the 3d day of October following. My counsel also filed a motion to strike out portions of the defendant's answer, and on the hearing of the motion for alimony, insisted upon submitting it to the court. When the motion was called for hearing, I offered to submit a number of affidavits bearing on the question of alimony, which were filed and served with the original complaint. The defendant objected to the reading of them, on the ground that they had not had sufficient notice of them by the notice renewing the motion, and they were withdrawn.
The defendant then offered to read affidavits in support of his answer, but as they had not been served, and their contents not made known prior to the hearing, they were objected to and excluded. It also appeared that the affidavits were addressed to other matters of defence than those set up in the answer.
The hearing was then had upon my complaint and the defendant's answer, my counsel at the same time submitting their motion to strike out certain objectionable portions of the answer, and insisting that such portions should be disregarded by the court, and treated - if the motion were well founded - as out of the answer.
The questions involved were argued, and on the 23d day of February, 1875, the judge decided the notion for alimony, pending the suit, in an elaborate written opinion, of which the following is an accurate summary: -
The Judge, Jas. B. McKean, laid down nine general axioms tending to demonstrate that the defendant's pleas were invalid; that a marriage solemnized in Utah, after Mormon fashion, would be legally valid, provided the parties married were competent to enter into that engagement; that the court could not grant a divorce if the marriage were proved bigamous or polygamous; that the court had power to grant alimony, and intended to do so to the extent of one twelfth of what the defendant admitted his income to be, or one eightieth according to my assertion.
He then summed up the statements of both parties to the suit. He gave the substance of my "Complaint," and then took into consideration Brigham Young's reply.
Then he considered the defendant's denial that any marriage had ever taken place between us; his statement that, at the time when I alleged that our marriage took place, I was actually the wife of Jas. L. Dee, never having been properly divorced from him; and also his admission that we had been married polygamously in April, 1868.
The judge gave quotations from various sources to prove that this marriage was legal and binding according to the laws of the Territory and of the United States, notwithstanding that the forms of the Mormon Church were used; providing, always, that we were both competent to enter into the contract.
He discussed the assertion of defendant that he was also incompetent to marry while his lawful wife, Mary Ann Angell, was still living. This, the judge explained, was the admission of felony; as, if admitted, it would prove that the defendant had entered into a bigamous marriage. Such statements he, the judge, said should be admitted as evidence, so far as they were to defendant's prejudice, but must be proved true before they could be admitted as evidence against the plaintiff. The defendant must prove that the plaintiff was the wife of another man, and that he himself was the husband of another woman, on the 6th of April, 1868.
The judge stated, that in order to prove the allegations made on both sides, it would be necessary to summon witnesses, procure documentary evidence, &c., which would involve very great expense. He should, therefore, allow alimony, and a certain amount for costs of prosecution.
He quoted legal precedents to show what amount should be considered reasonable; and then he summed up, and decreed that, after considering all circumstances, the court had concluded to order defendant to pay three thousand dollars for the prosecution of the suit, and also five hundred dollars a month for the maintenance of plaintiff and her children, from the day of the filing of the "Complaint." The order was accordingly made.
In deciding the question, it will be seen that virtually the court disregarded portions of the answer, and, to that extent, sustained the motion to strike out those portions, though it did not formally pass on that motion.
The defendant excepted to the decision, and shortly afterward filed a notice of appeal, and bond to stay proceedings under the order.
The copy of the order directing the payment of the alimony was duly served personally on Brigham Young; and demand having been made upon him for the allowance made for my attorney's fees, and payment refused, he was arrested in proceedings in contempt, and brought before the court.
His answer to the proceedings consisted of a showing that he had taken an appeal, and filed a bond for a stay, &c., and, therefore, he was not in contempt. The court held it not to be an appealable order, and adjudged that he pay a fine of twenty-five dollars, and be committed to custody for one day, which was complied with.
Thereupon he caused the amount then due under the order to be paid. My allowance he had, been given twenty days to pay, and this portion of the order had not been complied with, and had not become due, except five hundred dollars, which was paid, when Judge McKean was removed by President Grant, and David P. Lowe, an ex-congressman from Kansas, was appointed chief-justice, and succeeded to the position.
Shortly after Judge Lowe entered upon his duties, proceedings were begun by counsel to bring the defendant up again in contempt, for refusing to comply with the order as first stated. On appearing, he again showed cause, by claiming his right of appeal, as in the former hearing; and objected, also, that the district courts had no jurisdiction of matters of divorce at the time of the bringing of the suit; that the order was null and void; that there was no contempt.
The court held, in deciding the matter, that it had jurisdiction; that the order was not appealable. In the course of his summing up, he said, "The complaint and answer are each upon oath, and it appears from the record as well as from the statement of counsel in argument, that the order for alimony and expenses was made upon the complaint and answer alone, without any other evidence or showing whatever. It is the general doctrine of the courts in divorce, that before temporary alimony can properly be awarded, the marriage must be admitted by the parties, or established by proofs. In the very recent
case of York vs. York, 34 Iowa, 530, it is said, Alimony is a right that results from the marital relation, and the fact of marriage between the parties must be admitted or proved before there can be a decree for it even pendente lite.'" He then decided that the order was erroneously made, and dismissed the proceedings against the defendant.
The case now stands, therefore, on the motion (not yet formally passed upon) to strike out portions of the defendant's answer. The defendant has also filed a motion to vacate and set aside the original order granting the alimony, and the two will probably be heard together.
My counsel, for me, insist that I am entitled to the alimony upon the following grounds -
1st. That it is alleged in the complaint that the plaintiff and defendant were married at a time and place designated. The defendant admits that a marriage ceremony did take place, and sets up new facts to show that the marriage which actually occurred was invalid. On this state of facts the plaintiff insists that, pending the question as to the legality of the marriage, she is entitled to alimony.
2d. It is denied by the plaintiff that the new matter in the answer ought to be disregarded; first, because it is badly pleaded; and, second, it is an attempt on the part of the defendant to take advantage of his own wrong, to wit, the assertion that he had a lawful wife living, which a court of equity will not permit. The defendant admits that he was married to the plaintiff; that they lived and cohabited together as husband and wife; that he supported and maintained her as such; avers that he never deserted or ill-treated her; and, in fine, clearly shows that a relation of marriage existed in fact between them.
3d. The plaintiff claims that she will succeed on the merits; first, because the defence on the new matter ought to be disregarded as badly pleaded, and inadmissible under any form of plea; second, because the marriage of the defendant to Mary Ann Angell cannot be proved, and never was a lawful marriage. There was cohabitation, but no marriage according to law. This will appear if the true state of facts is ever reached in the trial. And the first alleged marriage must be shown to have been a lawful marriage. In Case vs. Case, 17 Cal. Rep., 598, the law is well stated on this point.
As to the allegation in the answer, that the plaintiff had a lawful husband living at the time of the alleged union between plaintiff and defendant, it is sufficient to say that she was divorced from James L. Dee by the Probate Court of Utah, and that it was done under the statute, and that the Supreme Court of Utah had previously decided that such court had exclusive jurisdiction in divorce matters. While this decision was probably erroneous, it was made by the highest tribunal of the territory, and was not appealable; hence it was the law.
More than this: the act of Congress of June 23, 1874, provided that all judgments of the Probate Courts of Utah which had been executed, or which had not been appealed from, should be held good. So that, upon the facts, there is nothing in the allegation that plaintiff had a husband living at the time of the marriage between the plaintiff and defendant.
It is only right to say. that in the opinion of the ablest lawyers of the West, Judge Lowe, in holding that the new matter in an answer is only denied "at the trial," has misconceived the California case which he cites, and mistakes the law. In injunction cases the pleadings are treated as affidavits by express provision of the California statutes; but no case can be found in California or elsewhere, under the code, where a pleading is treated as true in one stage of a case, and false in another. Such a doctrine would be absurd under any system of pleading that has ever existed.
The last legal step that has been taken, so far, was taken by me in making an affidavit for the purpose of proving that the defendant perjured himself, and which will furnish the foundation for his prosecution for the crime. With this affidavit, the case is stayed for the present.
MY ESCAPE FROM SALT LAKE CITY. - MY PUBLIC CAREER.
Thoughts of the Future. - The Gentile Papers. - A Private Audience at the Walker House. - Hopes and Fears. - I Resolve to Take the Platform. - Sneers and Ridicule. -
Brigham is made Acquainted with my Plans. - Packing under Difficulties. - My Perilous Escape from Utah. - A Noble Woman. - Arrival at Laramie. - Denver. - My First
Public Lecture. - A Grand Success. - Brigham at Work. - A Scandalous Article in the Chicago Times. - A Mean Lawyer. - Lecture at Boston. - Kindness of the Members of
Boston Press. - Opposed be George Q Cannon. - Washington Lecture a Success. - First Glimpses of the True Faith. - Conversion to Christianity.
As soon as I had fully decided that compromise was impossible, I began to consider my future. I felt able to take care of myself and my children, if I could see the way to do it. I was not afraid to work, and I felt a new impulse stirring within me which made me strong. Life was my own, and I would do the best I could.
The thought of a public career had never occurred to me. I had no ambition to gratify, and I had already gained more notoriety than I cared for. I was keenly sensitive to what was said about me, and many of the newspaper paragraphs, wittily written, by persons who neither know me nor understood the situation in which I was placed, wounded me deeply.
The Gentile papers in Utah were, without exception, friendly to me, and I am sure kindlier words were never given than they have sent after me, since the very day I came out from under Brigham's control.
During my residence at the Walker House I was requested to give some account of Mormonism to the residents of the hotel and a few of their friends. I consented to do so, and an evening was appointed. I prepared a simple history of my life, and introduced, in the course of it, an epitomized description of the Mormon religion and its rites; and when the evening arrived, and I entered the parlors of the Walker House, I was startled to see the number of persons who had assembled to listen to me. I stood for a moment gazing in sudden bewilderment; the blood rushed to my face, and my
first impulse was to run away and hide myself in my own room. But the applause which greeted me, the smiling, reassuring faces which were turned towards me, and the sympathy which I read in them all gave me courage.
My audience listened with the closest attention, and when, after a while, I grew more accustomed to my strange position, and ventured to look up, I saw tears on more than one cheek, and when the last word was read, and I laid my manuscript down, I was surrounded by my newly made friends, all enthusiastic in their demonstrations of sympathy.
Previous to this involuntary public appearance, it had been suggested to me that I should take the lecture platform against Mormonism. I shrank from the very mention of it, and replied to the friends who proposed it that I could not, and would not, do it. To parade myself and my troubles before the world seemed such an indelicate thing to do! But when it was shown me that I might make of myself a power against Mormonism which should be felt, and which should open people's eyes to the enormity of the religious system which was tolerated by the government, I hesitated no longer.
I wish it to be distinctly understood that I did not undertake this work with a view to self-aggrandizement, or to gratify an inordinate ambition. Nothing has wounded me more, since I commenced my labors, than the oft-repeated accusation, that I was trying to make capital out of my position as the wife of Brigham Young. I have seen that accusation within a few months in the Woman's Journal, the, leading organ of woman suffrage in Boston, in an article written by one of its editors and part proprietors, who, in the same article, commended Brigham Young to public favor because he gave the suffrage to women.
"Making capital" out of her woes, and, above all, her domestic infelicities, is something no woman of delicacy could do; and had I been- governed by no motive except one so unworthy, I should deserve all the contemptuous criticism which I have been treated to by this apostle of "Fair Play for Women."
Does any one think that, for the sake of emolument, I could thus open my heart to the rude gaze of a curious public, bear all the slurs, slights, jeers, and aspersions that are cast at me by malicious Mormon and thoughtless Gentile papers, be made a by-word of, have my name on every vulgar lip? Never. My womanhood revolts at the idea.
As a means of support, I would never have undertaken it. When I saw it was a duty, I adopted it without hesitation, and I shall never cease my labors as long as I have strength to work. While I have a hand or a voice, Mormonism and Polygamy shall find in me a relentless foe. I will never rest, God helping me, until either I, or this hellish system, so fraught with misery, go down in the contest.
When my decision was fully made, I confided it to my father, who was my constant visitor. He gave me the warmest encouragement; but it was a terrible blow to my mother, who considered that I was setting the final seal to my future and eternal misery.
I discovered, after my arrangements were made, that my intention had become known to the Mormons, who were threatening me with all sorts of vengeance if I insisted on carrying out my plans. It had been arranged that I should make my first appearance in Denver, and as I was extensively advertised there, the news of my proposed lecture had been telegraphed to Salt Lake, so that the date of my departure was made public.
I did not dare to leave Salt Lake by rail, nor would my friends allow it, and all our final arrangements were forced to be made with the greatest secrecy. I did not venture even to take my own trunk. A new one was bought, carried to a friend's room, my clothing conveyed to the same room, a piece or two at a time, packed as we could find opportunity, and then taken to a carriage, and carried outside the city.
On the evening of the 27th of November, I went with my father, and one or two friends, to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Stratton. We left the hotel by the back door, for the front entrance was closely watched, although it was not expected that I would attempt to leave the city until the next morning. About eleven o'clock we left the Strattons', and started, ostensibly to walk home. A carriage was in waiting at the corner. We got in, called for Mrs. Cooke, who was to be my travelling companion, and were driven rapidly out of the city. I was to take the cars on the Union Pacific road at Uintah, and thus avoid travelling at all on the Utah railroad, where I should be sure to be recognized.
The night was intensely dark; we could not see our hands before our faces, and, as we plunged on through the night and the darkness, we were a gloomy and apprehensive party. We were not sure how closely we had been watched, or whether we had succeeded in eluding Mormon vigilance. Even then, the "Danites," those terrible ministers of Mormon vengeance, might be upon our track, and I could not cast off the feeling that every moment brought us nearer and nearer to some dreadful death.
Twice during the night we were lost. The last time, we missed our way, and went several miles up a cañon, and I felt sure that we were betrayed, and that our driver was carrying us to certain destruction. I spoke to him, without letting him know my suspicions, and told him we were going wrong. He turned about, and drove rapidly back, and we reached the mouth of the cañon just as the day dawned. Confusion vanished with the darkness, our driver found the right road, and by fast driving we reached Uintah just as the train came up. Tickets and checks had been secured at Ogden, and with a hurried good by to my father, I jumped on board the train, with Mrs. Cooke, and we were off.
I can never describe my sensations when the train began to move. With the new sense of freedom came a feeling of such utter loneliness that, for a moment, I was bewildered by the situation, and, turning to Mrs. Cooke, I said, helplessly, "What shall I do?"
"Keep up a brave heart, and think of the work before you," said she.
Her experience in Mormonism had been no pleasanter than mine, and she was as glad to get away from it as I was. For twenty years she had taught Brigham's children, and acted in the Mormon theatre, and had never received a cent of remuneration. Her husband, a member of the special police force, was killed on duty, and after his death the prophet, through his counsellor, Daniel H. Wells, swindled her out of the two thousand dollars which the city had granted her, and tried to get her house from her. She put the matter into a Gentile lawyers hands, and still retains her home. She was with me several months, a devoted and faithful companion.
Our first stopping-place was at Laramie, Wyoming Territory, where we were to await the arrival of my agent from Salt Lake. My presence in town was soon discovered, and I received many friendly and congratulatory calls. After my lecture every hospitality was shown me, and I felt fresh courage, so kindly was my reception, and so genuine were all the expressions of interest.
My agent arrived in a day or two, and we set out for Denver. The news of my escape from Utah had been telegraphed, and on my arrival, I found myself eagerly expected. I was visited by the editors of the different papers, who assured me of the friendly feeling toward me, and offered me the use of their columns. The clergymen all came to see me, and spoke generous words in my behalf from every pulpit in the city. They all literally "took me on trust." I shall never forget the earnest, spontaneous kindness which I met from the professional men of Denver.
The night on which I was to give my first lecture, the 5th of December, 1873, was extremely cold, and the snow fell heavily. I was discouraged and despondent, for I had come to consider this first evening as prophetic of my future career, and I saw failure before me. I did not know whether I should be able to reach the church, the storm was so furious; but as a faithful few had promised to be in attendance, let what might happen, I determined to make the trial.
My forebodings had been utterly useless. Long before the church doors were opened a large crowd was in waiting, and before the hour for beginning the lecture arrived the house was full, and hundreds had gone away unable to gain admission. As I looked into the crowded house, before I came on the platform, my courage almost left me. But while hesitating, the thought of the poor women whose cause I was to plead, came vividly into my mind, and with a firm step, and beating heart, I walked onto the platform, and stood facing my first audience, who greeted me with tumultuous, applause.
I have never spoken more effectively in my life than I did that night. It seemed to myself almost as though I was inspired. I forgot myself in my subject, and new indignation thrilled me as I told my story of bondage, such as my hearers never dreamed of, and unveiled the horrors of the Mormon religion. I made no attempts at oratorical effects, I worked up no dramatic points. Naturally and simply as I could, I said what I had to say, without a single rhetorical flourish.
The lecture was a success. After it was over, my audience crowded around me, with such earnest words of commendation, that I felt my first victory won. Since that memorable evening I have addressed hundreds of audiences, but never have I found one more sympathetic than the one composed of the true-hearted people of Denver.
I was not permitted to be quiet after that evening. Engagements came pouring in, and I worked my way steadily eastward. I was universally well received, but I knew that I should somewhere encounter Mormon opposition. I had seen too many attempts made by Brigham Young to ruin anyone who dared to differ with him, to think that I should escape.
The first blow came through the columns of a Chicago Paper, which devoted considerable space one day to a scandalous article concerning me, giving an air of truth to the statement by mentioning the persons who were authority for the reports. I was overwhelmed by it, for I feared it would put an end to the career of usefulness which I had marked out for myself. After I read the shameful article, my first words were, "Brigham Young's money is at the bottom of this."
And so it proved. The matter was put into the hands of Leonard Swett, Esq., of Chicago, for investigation. Letters came, in most cases unsolicited, from the persons referred to as having started the scandal, each one indignantly defying the whole. Further inquiry revealed that George C. Bates, a Mormon lawyer, of low repute, and twenty thousand dollars, induced the Paper to publish the article which originated in the foul imagination of Bates.
The papers of good standing came at once to my defence, and endeavored in every possible way to heal the wounds which the article had so cruelly inflicted on me.
The scandal was published on the eve of my first appearance in Boston, and I was greatly distressed lest it should injure my prospects in that city. I wanted my visit there to be a success, as I felt that, if I made a favorable impression, I should hold the key to all New England. And it was to the stanch and loyal New Englanders that I looked for assistance in my labors. My new and good friends had taught me to consider Reform and New England synonymous terms, and I really believed my battle would be well begun if I could gain such devoted allies as her brave, inflexible sons and daughters. But after the attack by the Chicago Paper, I regarded failure as certain. How surprised and gratified I was to find, instead of the prejudice I had expected to meet, a feeling of earnest kindliness toward myself personally, and of unfeigned interest in my work.
All the papers sent representatives to visit me, and I found them kind and intelligent gentlemen, and the papers which they represented were as generous as they. Nowhere have I met that courtesy and chivalric consideration which have been uniformly accorded me by the members of the Boston press. They have refrained from sarcasm and indelicate witticisms; they have been ready with sympathy, and quick to encourage; and whatever their politics or principles, they have been unanimous in their generous treatment of me.
My first lecture was given in Tremont Temple, before a large and enthusiastic audience. Mr. James Redpath introduced me, and the short speech he made fairly inspired me, it was so kind, so reassuring, so generous, and above all, so just. He had never heard me speak, but he was so bitter an enemy to this horrible system, as indeed he is to every wrong, that he was willing to take me for my work's sake. After the lecture was over, I felt that my hopes were realized, and that New England was open to me.
In Washington, nearly all the government officials attended my lecture, and expressed themselves enthusiastically in my favor. George Q. Cannon was contesting his seat in Congress, and Mormonism and its rulers were at that juncture prominently before the public. Cannon resented my appearance at the capital, and tried to break me down by ridicule. He made friends with the Washington Chronicle, in Brigham's most approved style of winning allegiance, and the day after my first lecture a burlesque report of it appeared in that paper. It was intended to prejudice the public; but when the lecture was over, and all the papers were unanimous in their commendation, the Chronicle suddenly grew ashamed of its disreputable alliance, and refused to maintain it longer, and, at the same time, grew more respectful toward me.
I have had hundreds of pleasant platform experiences since I commenced my crusade against polygamy; but the three which stand out the most vividly in my memory, are the first evenings at Denver, Boston, and Washington.
All this time I was learning to love my Gentile friends very dearly, and to feel at borne in "Babylon." I was comparatively happy, but I was not at rest. There was something lacking in my life, - a void which nothing seemed to fill. Ever since I had found myself the dupe of a false religion, I had drifted blindly on, with no belief in anything, no faith in any system; sometimes, even, doubting the existence of God.
I was in this bitter mood when I spoke, one day, before the Methodist clergymen of Boston and vicinity. Among the persons to whom I was introduced on this occasion, was the Rev. Dr. Daniel Steele, of Auburndale. I had noticed him during my address, and felt quite strongly toward him, on account of the extreme interest which he evinced. One of his first questions was whether I had found any religion to take the place of the superstition I had cast off.
A hopeless "No," was my reply.
Then, for the first time in my life, I heard the principles of the religion of Christ. It was like day-dawn after a night of the blackest darkness, and I cried out eagerly,-
"This is what I want, - this religion of love."
A few weeks after this I was the guest of the Methodist Female College, at Delaware, Ohio, of which Rev. Dr. M'Cabe was president. I was recovering from a severe illness, and was very much depressed. My mother was constantly writing to me, telling me of the struggles through which she was passing in giving up her religion; for Brigham's treatment of me, his utter disregard of the truth, and his malicious attempts to ruin me, opened her eyes, and unbound her reason; and she soon saw the falsity of the whole Mormon plan of salvation. I knew every pang which she was suffering, for I have
passed through it all myself. Yet I was powerless to comfort her, for I was not at peace.
Dr. M'Cabe was my frequent visitor, and patiently and kindly he pointed out the way of rest to me, until at last I willingly placed myself and my troubles in the loving, outstretched arms of God. Life opened out to me fuller than ever of possibilities, and my work grew holier. Peace brooded over my tired heart, and in the new experience I found infinite rest. Tossed all my life on a stormy sea of superstition, I was at last anchored in the sheltered haven of Christian belief.
CHURCH GOVERNMENT. - MORMON APOSTLES. - THE
ORDER OF ENOCH.
Mormon Administration. - The Earthly Trinity. - Filling Vacancies. - Mormon Apostles. - Polygamy made Profitable. - The Seventy. - Two-Dollar Blessing. - Astounding
Promises. - Bishops and Spies. - The Order of Enoch. - All things in Common. - An Apostolic Row. - How Enoch Works. - A Stupid Telegram. - Logic Extraordinary. - A
Gigantic Swindle. - Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution. - Brigham's Revelations. - The Saints Laugh in their Sleeves. - "It pays to be a Mormon." - Beginning to see
through It. - The Apostate President.
Although the power wielded by Brigham Young is absolute, he is ostensibly assisted in the administration of church affairs by a large number of officers, whose real business it is to see that the President's plans are carried out, and his commands obeyed. He is the motive power, and they are mere tools in his hands, to be employed as he sees fit.
The "First Presidency," which controls the whole church, is supposed to be the earthly representative of the Trinity, the Eternal Godhead, Three in One, and consists of the President and the First and Second Counsellors, who are the types on earth of "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," in heaven. It is needless to say which rank Brigham assigns to himself.
His first counsellor, George A. Smith, has recently died, and it is yet undecided who shall fill his place. If the plan was followed which raised Brigham to his present position, the second counsellor would have it by right of seniority; but the general impression is that "Young Briggy" will be jumped into the position, and the Saints will be obliged to receive him as certain "successor," whether they wish it or not. They will have less difficulty in becoming reconciled to the inevitable, since he has been for so long a time persistently thrust upon the people as the "probable" successor,
that they have grown used to hearing his claims discussed.
The second counsellor is Daniel H. Wells, who is notoriously one of the most cruel, bigoted, and tyrannical men in Utah. He, like Smith and Brigham has the title of "Prophet, Seer, and Revelator."
The Prophet Wells served for years as general, or commander-in-chief, of the Mormon army; and has ever been Brighams right-hand man in iniquity, fearlessly disposing of life and property in the name of the Lord, counselling his superior to deeds of blood without number, and then treating with the most consummate cruelty the very men who have
assisted him in the carrying out of his atrocious plans. He is Mayor of Salt Lake City, and stands high among the dignitaries of the church, but he rules with an iron hand, and cruelty and oppression predominate in all he does.
The "apostles" rank in church affairs next to the First Presidency. There are twelve of them, and Orson Hyde is their worthy President. This apostle is a practical polygamist, as are all the rest, but he has a convenient way of utilizing the system. He marries a cook, a laundress, a sempstress, a dairy-maid, or any servant he may happen to need. It is so much cheaper to marry domestics than to hire them. Under the latter arrangement he would be compelled to pay them for their services, while by the former he is only obliged to give them shelter, food, and clothing. His wives represent nearly every
nationality, and when visitors conic to the house. the first Mrs. Hyde introduces her husband's other wives, as "Mr. Hyde's German wife, Mr. Hyde's English wife. Mr. Hyde's Danish wife," and so on. until all are presented.
He apostatized in 1833, and made some remarkable revelations concerning Smith's polygamous practices, but he soon found his way back into the church, and has been one of the most stanch allies of the Prophet. He is supposed to have been connected with some of the most atrocious murders which have been committed in Utah. William Hickman implicated him most seriously in his confessions. Next to him comes Orson Pratt, who has six wives and several children, and is by far the most able man in the church.
The other apostles are John Taylor, the happy husband of six wives; Willard Woodruff, whose kingdom numbers but four; Charles C. Rich, who has an indefinite number of wives and fifty children; Lorenzo Snow; Erastus Snow, whose kingdom is the size of Woodruff's; Franklin D. Richards, who has five wives of his own, and in addition has five proxies, who, before becoming his wives, held the less responsible positions of aunts-in-law. On his uncle's death, Richards assumed the earthly care of them, and promoted them to be members of his own family; George Q. Cannon, the
Mormon politician, who repudiates polygamy in Washington, but is one of its most ardent supporters, both theoretically and practically, at home, having four wives and thirteen children; Brigham Young, Jr., whose family has already been described;
Joseph F. Smith, who has three wives; and Albert Carrington, who holds the office of Church Historian.
The apostles have a general supervision of the Territory. They also go on missions, edit magazines, or take charge of the newly selected "stakes."
The working body of male Mormons is divided into seventy quorums, each having seventy members. Each quorum has a president, and these constitute the "Seventy." These presidents also have a president, who ranks next to the apostles. This
body, the Quorum of Seventies, might with propriety be called the Mormon Missionary Board, as they attend to all matters connected with the propagation of the faith. The present president is Joseph Young, brother to Brigham.
In the year 1834, while the Saints were in Kirtland, Brigham's father expressed a desire to bless his children before he died, as did the patriarchs of old. On mentioning the subject to Joseph Smith, he, as usual, had a revelation that the Lord wished every father to bless his children, and that there should be Patriarchs set apart to bless those who had no father in the church. The first Patriarch was Old Father Smith, Joseph's father, and his business was to bless all the fatherless who applied to him for blessing. At that time blessings were free for all who sought them; but when the first Patriarch died, and was succeeded by his son Hyrum, the business became so engrossing that it was thought best to charge one dollar for every person blessed. Hyrum was succeeded by "Uncle John Smith." his cousin, and he by William Smith, son of Hyrum. The only necessary qualification for this office is to be a Smith, and in some way a relative or descendant of the Prophet.
These "blessings" are rather wonderful affairs; they promise all sorts of things, in a vague, indefinite way, if only the recipient proves "faithful." Some are assured "they shall never taste death, but live until Christ comes, and be caught up to meet Him in the air;" others are assured that they are to have the privilege of redeeming their dead so far back, that there shall not be a broken link in the chain. Absurd as all this seems, there are hundreds of Saints who believe that "every word shall be fulfilled," as they are sometimes promised unconditionally, and the office of Patriarch is quite a profitable one, now that the price of blessings has been advanced to two dollars.
The bishops act at once as ecclesiasts, directors of municipal affairs, and judges of probate. Salt Lake City has twenty-one wards, each of which has a bishop over it. The entire Territory is also divided into wards, each with its governing bishop. Their duty is to settle disputes in the church, and to act as general spies and reporters, alike over Mormons and Gentiles.
In this last duty they are assisted by the Ward Teachers, whose duty it is to visit all the people in their ward, report all suspected persons, catechize every one, and discover all heresies, false doctrines, and schisms among the people, who are obliged to answer every question which is asked them, reserving nothing. Through these spies and informers, and their superiors the bishops, Brigham knows all the most private affairs connected with every individual, and this knowledge serves to render more binding his hold on this people.
Although the Ward Teachers are subordinate to the bishops, indeed, are the agents by which the latter do their work, they do not rank next to them. This position is held by the High Counsel. This body constitutes a sort of court of appeals, when the bishops do not give satisfaction to litigants. Appeal may be made from the High Counsel to the First Presidency.
In the early days of the church, the duty was strongly enjoined of consecrating all the possessions to the Lord; and this was not to be a figurative, but a real consecration; in which all the possessions were to be catalogued and consecrated in legal form, and the transaction authenticated by witnesses. The custodian of this property was to be a "Trustee in Trust," the community into which the faithful Saint thus entered was to be called "The United Order of Enoch," and the property was to be held for the benefit of this community.
The Saints did not take kindly to the Order, and it existed in theory merely. Within a year or two Brigham has been making the most arduous efforts to bring his followers into this community, meeting, however, with very little better success than its founders. When he first proposed its re-establishment, it was decidedly opposed in the Tabernacle, by the apostles Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and George Q Cannon, and a regular quarrel took place; the Prophet and his dissenting followers parting, each with a firm determination not to yield to the other side. The next week the four went north on a preaching tour, and labored harmoniously together in the attempt to build up the Order.
Whoever joins this community gives all his earthly possessions into the keeping of Brigham Young. His children, too, are required to sign away all claim or title to the property; if any are too young to write, the pen is given them, and their hands guided by their elders, and they are thus deprived of their rightful patrimony; and in return for all this, the family is to be furnished with what food and clothing the officers think they require.
As Brigham and his co-workers journeyed northward, he telegraphed to the bishops of the various settlements through which he would pass, informing them what time he would visit them, and requesting them to call special meetings of the residents of their wards before his arrival, and read to them the following telegram: "I am coming north, organizing branches of the Order of Enoch; how many of you are willing to join the Order without knowing anything about it?"
In the little town of Fillmore seventy-five men responded to the call for a meeting, and, strange as it may seem, fifty of those men voted to join the "Order." They fully understood that all on becoming members were required to deed their property to the "Trustee in Trust," otherwise, Brigham Young, his heirs, executors, and assigns, yet they decided, with full knowledge of this, to make a blind investment of all their "worldly gear," and upon the arrival of the religious Autocrat, one half of the remaining twenty-five accepted the situation, and signed their names to an agreement binding themselves to obey "Enoch's" requirements. The following were the unanswerable arguments which Brigham used to secure their conversion: "I want you to understand that the car (meaning Enoch) is rolling on. The set time of the Lord has come, and no man can stay its progress. If you do not want to be run over, jump on, or get out of the way. I do not want a part of your property, I want it all. If there are any of you who cannot abide the requirements of the Lord, I do not want you to come near me, or to speak to me. I feel as far above you as the heavens are above the earth."
Those who became members of this branch of Enoch worked well, determined to make it a success. All labored together for the interest of the Order, and were credited a certain sum, I think fifteen cents an hour. They were economical, hoping to make the books show a balance in their favor, after deducting expenses of sustaining their families. But there were so many sinecures. and so much mismanagement, that after the lapse of one single summer an investigation of affairs became necessary, and the fact became known that their divinely directed labors had not paid the running expenses of the inspiration. Many who had expected that the records would exhibit a balance in their favor, awoke to the disagreeable fact that they, as copartners in the United Order, the grand scheme that was to reconcile "the irrepressible conflict between capital and labor," must discount the sum stipulated as payment for their services. And they are at present in debt for the commonest necessaries of life consumed during their short lived experiment.
A similar condition of affairs exists wherever this gigantic swindle has been in operation. And while Brigham has been gloating over his ill-gotten gains, he has bound these poor victims more firmly to himself by the terrible bondage of debt. The wildest dissatisfaction exists, and in nearly every county the Order may be regarded as dead, and beyond even the power of Brigham Young to restore.
The Tithing System is a direct outgrowth of "Enoch." When Joseph saw that the people did not take kindly to his community plan, he found it necessary to adopt some other means of raising a permanent fund for the church, and Orson Pratt proposed that every member should every year be obliged to pay one tenth of his income, out of which the church should be supported. This plan met with the approval of the officers, and it has been continued ever since.
Every town has its tithing-house, which is in charge of the local bishop. He takes charge of all the goods that are brought in, usually paying himself a handsome commission, and sees, when any quantity has been gathered, that it is transported to the large tithing-house in Salt Lake City.
This tithing-house is under the direct control of Brigham Young, and he, his counsellors and clerks, have the first choice Of all the goods that are brought in; the remaining stores are dealt out as payment to the poor men who are employed by Brigham as laborers. I have seen the tithing-store besieged by a crowd of tired, care-worn women, wives of these men, waiting for their turn to be served. Sometimes a poor woman will stand all day waiting for a sack of flour, a basket of potatoes, or a quart of molasses. Let the day be ever so cold or stormy, there she must wait, until the clerks see fit to attend to her wants.
Everything is received here in payment for tithing: hay, grain, vegetables, butter, cheese, wool, or any other product. If a man has not money, he must give one tenth of what he has. It matters little whether he can afford it; the church demands it, and "the church" gets it.
The nearest approach to the practical realization of the Order of Enoch was what is called Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution. This was a great commercial corporation, engaged in buying and selling the produce of the people, and supplying them with every kind of merchandise needed in a new country. The stock was held by the people of the Territory, and branches of the parent concern were scattered throughout all the leading settlements; so that all the commercial exchanges of the country might be made through this establishment. It was designed to destroy the business of Gentile merchants in Zion, and accordingly all were commanded to patronize it; but the completion of the Pacific Railroad, and the influx of Gentiles, came to the relief of the proscribed merchants; their goods, too, were of a better class, and there was a greater opportunity for selection, so that Mormons and Gentiles alike
patronized them; and at the present time, while the Co-operative Institution seems tottering to its fall, in spite of the frantic attempts of Brigham and his assistants to prop it up and make it secure, the Gentile houses are rapidly gaining in wealth and credit.
Most of Brighams "revelations" have met with about the same degree of success in their attempted carrying out. His project of making silk, and another equally wild scheme of producing sugar from beet-roots, were gigantic failures, although he will not acknowledge it. Two more of his "inspirations" are kept in the minds of the Saints, by being so constantly before their eyes. The unfinished mud wall, which was to protect the city from invasion, and the divinely projected canal, which was to bring the stone for the new Temple from the quarries to Salt Lake City, and which Brigham announced that he had seen just as distinctly in a "vision" as he "ever should with his natural eyes." A large amount of money, and a great deal of hard labor was expended on these
enterprises; all of which is a total loss.
Brigham is shrewd enough to see that "revelation" is not one of his strong points, and he rarely attempts it; less frequently now than formerly, even. The catch-words, "Thus saith the Lord," are not nearly so potent as they were before the Saints came so much in contact with the Gentile world, and unconsciously lost some of their superstition. They do not openly laugh at Brigham's prophecies, but a few of the more honest and far-seeing venture to criticise him very quietly, although they submit to his rule, and are seemingly as good Saints as ever. They are not ready to apostatize; their interests and
associations bind them to the church, and they do not wish to leave it. Some cling to it, like George Q. Cannon, through ambition; for that young apostle dares to cast his eyes toward Brigham's position, and has expressed the belief that he might ultimately succeed him. Others, like Orson Pratt, are so closely identified with it, that they cannot and would not cut themselves adrift from it. The church is their life, and they will only leave one when they are compelled to give up the other. Another class, to which Brighams sons notably belong, stay because their pecuniary interests demand it. It "pays to be a Mormon." But when once the present ruler is taken, they will have nothing to hold them, and they will do openly what they have long since done in their
hearts, - repudiate Mormonism, and all its superstitions and practices. And I am morally certain that the first one to take advantage of his newly-obtained liberty will be John W. Young, who is even now known as "the Prophet's Apostate Son," and who yet, in spite of his apostasy, holds the position of "President of the Salt Lake State of Zion," with the rank of bishop.
THE CONDITION OF MORMON WOMEN. - HIGH AND
LOW LIFE IN POLYGAMY.
Increasing Light. - The Equality of the Sexes. - Exaggeration Impossible. - Likely Saviours. - The Present Condition of Mormon Women. - The Prospects for the Future. - Polygamy Bad for Rich and Poor. - A Happy Family. - The Happiness Marred. - Sealed for Time Only.- Building on Another Man's Foundation. - The New Wife. - How the Old One Fared. - The Husband's Death a Relief. - Asa Calkins's English Mission. - What Came of It. - How to Get Rich. - Two Sermons from One Text. - Dividing the Spoil. - No Woman Happy in Polygamy.
All this while I was gaining knowledge of the domestic Customs and relations of the "Gentiles. At nearly every place that I visited I was entertained in some private family, and my eyes were constantly being opened to the enormities of the wicked system from which I had escaped.
I had felt its misery; I had known the abject wretchedness of the condition to which it reduced women, but I did not fully realize the extent of its depravity, the depths of the woes in which it plunged women, until I saw the contrasted lives of monogamic wives.
I had seen women neglected, or, worse than that, cruelly wronged, every attribute of womanhood outraged and insulted. I now saw other women, holding the same relation, cared for tenderly, cherished, protected, loved, and honored. I had been taught to believe that my sex was inferior to the other; that the curse pronounced upon the race in the Garden of Eden was woman's curse alone, and that it was to man that she must look for salvation. No road lay open for her to the throne of grace; no gate of eternal life swinging wide to the knockings of her weary hands; no loving Father listened
to the wails of sorrow and supplication wrung by a worse than death-agony from her broken heart. Heaven was inaccessible to her, except as she might win it through some man's will. I found, to my surprise, that woman was made the companion and not the subject of man. She was the sharer alike of his joys and his sorrows. Morally, she was a free agent. Her husband's God was her God as well, and she could seek Him for herself, asking no mortal intercession. Motherhood took on a new sacredness, and the fatherly care and tenderness, brooding over a family, strengthening and defending it, seemed sadly sweet to me, used as I was to see children ignored by their fathers.
Seeing this, I began to comprehend a little why it was so difficult to make the state of affairs in Utah understood. The contrast was so very great that, unless it was seen, it could not be realized, even ever so faintly. I feel sometimes, both in speaking to audiences, and in private conversations, the thrill of shocked surprise which runs through my listeners veins as I relate some particular atrocity, or narrate some fearful wrong, which has been suffered either by myself or some person known to me; but even then I know the enormity of the system which permits such things to be possible is but vaguely understood.
I am accused sometimes of exaggeration. In reply to that accusation I would say, that is simply impossible, I could not exaggerate, since language is inadequate to even half unveil the horrors. There are events of daily occurrence which decency and womanly modesty forbid my even hinting at. No one can, even if they would, quite tear the covering away from the foul, loathsome object, called "Celestial Marriage," reeking as it is with filth and moral poison; rotten to the very core; a leprous spot on the body politic; a defilement to our fair fame as a nation. I am compelled to silence on points that would make what I have already said seem tame in comparison. Not a word of all my story is exaggerated or embellished. The difficulty has been rather to suppress and tone down.
Women are the greatest sufferers. The moral natures of the men must necessarily suffer also; but to them comes no such agony of soul as comes to women. Their sensibilities are blunted; their spiritual natures deadened; their animal natures quickened; they lose manliness, and descend to the level of brutes; and these dull-witted, intellectually-dwarfed moral corpses, the women are told, are their only saviours.
What wonder that they, too, become dull and apathetic? Who wonders at the immovable mouths, expressionless eyes, and gray, hopeless faces, which tourists mark always as the characteristics of the Mormon women? What does life offer to make them otherwise than dull and hopeless? Or what even does eternity promise? A continuation merely of the sufferings which have already crushed the womanhood out of them. A cheering prospect, is it not? Yet it is what every poor Mormon woman has to look forward to. Just that, and nothing more.
Rich or poor alike suffer. Polygamy bears no more lightly on the one than the other. If they are poor, they have to work for themselves and their children, suffer every deprivation, submit to every indignity. If they are in more affluent circumstances, they have more time for brooding over their sorrows, more leisure for the exercise of the natural jealousy which they cannot help feeling for the other wives. Happiness and contentment are utterly unknown to Mormon women; they are impossible conditions, either to dwellers in poverty or plenty.
A few years ago, a man and wife of the name of Painter, decided to cast in their lot with the Saints, and enroll themselves among the Lord's chosen people. The woman had been previously married, and her husband had died shortly after his conversion to the Mormon faith. The elders urged her marrying again, and, after a time, she found her heart adding its persuasions to the "counsel" of the brethren, and she married William Painter, an honest, kind-hearted fellow, who made her a good husband, and with whom she lived very happily.
As soon as possible they came to America, but that was not until their family had been increased by two or three children, who were alike the objects of the mother's care and the father's pride. Although they were poor, hardworking people; I have never known a happier family than this when they first came to Utah.
Like all new arrivals they were anxious to receive their Endowments, and it was shortly arranged for them to go through the rites. When they presented themselves at the Endowment House, Heber C. Kimball told the wife that she could only be sealed to her present husband for time. She must belong to her first husband in eternity, he having died in the faith. She was not at liberty to deprive him of his privileges, or to rob him of his kingdom.
The poor woman felt very badly, for this man was the father of her children, and she felt that her claim on him should be the strongest; but the authorities refused to see the matter as she did, and insisted that the sealing should be only for time. There was no help for it, and the poor woman was obliged to submit. Neither was the husband satisfied. It did not suit him to "build a kingdom on another man's foundation;" he must commence one for himself; and, in obedience to counsel, he looked about diligently for a wife all his own. He was not long in finding one, and, greatly to his wife's distress, he
brought home an ignorant young girl, who turned the house topsy-turvy in her endeavors to exercise the authority which she arrogated to herself. The first wife considered that she had some rights still remaining, and that, certainly, she might dictate somewhat concerning household affairs, as she had been so long the ruling power, and understood the manner of regulating and running the domestic machinery; but the new-corner claimed entire supremacy, declaring that she was "the only wife William had," her rival belonging to another man.
Strange as it may seem, the husband took sides instantly with the new-corner against the woman who had been a faithful wife for years, and was the mother of his children. She ruled the household affairs, the first wife, and even the husband and all were compelled to submit to her decision. She heaped every indignity upon the poor wife, even resorting to personal violence, and the victim could obtain neither sympathy nor redress. She was compelled to live under the same roof with her rival, as her husband's means would not admit of two establishments, and for several years she endured the misery silently. We all knew her to be very unhappy, and we pitied her extremely. She was our near neighbor, and the nearest approach to confidences which she ever made was given to my mother. But we did not know for a long time how very much she had to bear.
One cold day, in the midst of a dreary storm, the poor woman came rushing into our house, with her babe in her arms, crying bitterly. She sank into a chair, which my mother placed for her near the fire; and in answer to the anxious inquiries, she sobbed out, "0, sister Webb, I have left my home and my husband. I have been compelled to do it. I can endure no more. If you knew all, I am sure you would not blame me!
Mother inquired what it was that had occasioned this new rupture, and brought her to this final decision.
The poor, distressed creature replied, that her husband had taken Emma, the second wife, and gone on a visit of several days to some relatives, leaving her and the children utterly unprovided either with food or fire, and they were nearly perishing with cold and hunger. She had sent the other children to another neighbor's to get warm, and she and the younger ones had taken refuge with us.
In two or three days the husband returned, and finding where his wife was, compelled her to come back to him, by threats of taking the children from her unless she did. After a few years he died, and what little property there was the young wife claimed. - The first wife appealed to the church authorities, but they upheld the last wife's claims, and she was driven penniless away with her children. She had to support herself and them; but she used frankly to say, that she was happier than she had been for years, and that her husband's death was a positive relief to her I knew this woman well, and I knew that no more worthy woman lived than she. Polygamy blighted her life, and made a miserable dependent of one who would have been, in other circumstances, a happy wife.
About fifteen years since, a man by the name of Asa Calkins was sent by Brigham Young to preside over the Saints in the British Isles. He left two wives in Salt Lake, but on his arrival in England, he met with a young lady who completely fascinated him, and having obtained - the permission of his Prophet to marry while on the mission, began paying her the most devoted attention.
He met with no difficulty in his wooing, and no obstacle was placed in the way of his speedy marriage. After the marriage, he informed his wives in Utah of the event, and they received the news with resignation, as they expected nothing different. But he was not so frank with the new wife. Brigham had told him, when he gave him permission to marry, to say nothing about his other wives, the young English lady supposed herself to be the only Mrs. Calkins. About two years after the marriage, the first went to some of the Eastern states on a visit to some relatives; - While there her health became impaired, and on being advised that a sea-voyage would benefit her, wrote at once to her husband in Liverpool, asking permission to join him in England.
He said, in reply, that she might come, if she was willing to pass as his sister, as he had all the wife there that the English law would allow. As she felt obliged to take The voyage on account of her failing health, she agreed to do as he desired.
On her arrival at Liverpool, she found her husband so infatuated with his new wife that he scarcely noticed her at all, and she almost regretted having crossed the sea; yet she saw no way of escape from the trial, as she was to remain there until her husband's mission was ended, which would not be for two years at least.
Mr. Calkins almost entirely ignored the existence of his first wife, and, taking Agnes, travelled all over Europe; introducing her everywhere as Mrs. Calkins, while the poor sister remained in Liverpool. He lavished every luxury of dress and ornament upon his idol, while the poor, neglected wife was supplied with the merest necessities of life.
In course of time, they all returned to Zion; but Agnes still remained the favorite wife. Calkins had always been one of the most prosperous Saints, but he returned from his mission a rich man. - About the time of his return we often heard rumors concerning, his manner of obtaining this wealth, which were not altogether creditable to him, and, consequently, no one was surprised to hear brother Brigham apply the lash to the delinquent missionary the Sabbath after his arrival at Salt Lake, for what he was pleased to term a species of highway robbery. The Saints universally believed that the man merited the rebuke. But the surprise came the Sabbath following. Brigham changed his tactics, and put in a warm plea in the missionary's defence. He said that he had
not distinctly understood all about Brother Calkins's course in England until some time during the previous week, when he had visited him, and explained matters to his entire satisfaction. He omitted to state that Brother Calkins not only visited him, but divided the spoils with him, his own share amounting to several thousand dollars.
Mr. Calkins was restored to favor. The English Mrs. Calkins was recognized as the chosen wife, and the other two were merely tolerated, and were obliged to see their husband's devotion and wealth lavished on her, while they starved for love and lacked for comforts.
These two cases show the workings of the polygamic system in the families of the rich and the poor. It is as hateful in the one case as in the other, and equally productive of misery in both.
I have yet to learn of one woman who is happy in it. Like Zina Young, they say, "The system must be right, I suppose; we are taught that it is. But if that is the case, we must live it wrongly; there is fault somewhere."
There is worse than that. There is positive sin; and in her heart of hearts, no woman of them all believes it to be right, although she may try, with all the sophistry at her command, to convince herself that it is. Her heart and her reason both give her arguments the lie, and she cannot help hut heed them, even when she counts herself a sinner for so doing.
MY RETURN TO UTAH. - SECRET OF BRIGHAM'S
POWER. - UTAH'S FUTURE.
I Return to Utah. - Reception at the Walker House. - Greeting old Friends. - My Love for the Place. - Six Lectures in the Territory. - Brigham's Daughters make Faces at me. -
My Father and Mother in the Audience. - The Half not told. - Multitudes Pleading for Freedom. - Eastern Newspaper Reports. - Indiscretion. - The Poland Bill. - Increase of
Polygamy. - The Secrets of Brigham's Power - The Pulpit and Press on Mormonism. The Salt Lake City Tribune. - A Word to the Sufferers. - Calls for Help. - The Future of Utah.
In August, 1874, I returned to Salt Lake City; but not in the secret way in which I had left it months before. I was met with every expression of good will, and congratulations and welcomes poured in upon me from every side. A reception was held for me at the Walker House, and I had the opportunity of greeting again the friends who had so nobly assisted me in my struggles for freedom. Foremost of all, Judge McKean, the truest, most upright, and inflexible chief justice who had ever presided over the Utah courts; the man who could neither be bribed nor cajoled; who did right for the rights sake, and who consequently had gained the enmity of Brigham Young and his followers, but who was implicitly trusted by all lovers of justice; General Maxwell, too, who was so kindly acting for me in my suit; Colonel Wickizer, who lent his room for my trunk to be taken to, and otherwise assisted me in my flight from Utah; and Mr.
and Mrs. Stratton, the dearly beloved friends who had first shown me the possibilities of an escape from bondage and a life outside.
This welcome, hearty and spontaneous, touched me deeply, and I felt then that however much my interests might be drawn away from Salt Lake City, and my work lead me away from there personally, yet it was my home, its people were my people, and my heart would always turn lovingly toward it to the day of my death.
And why should I not love it? I had grown with it, and there is not a building in it that I have not watched as it arose, not an improvement that I have not rejoiced in. I have seen a lovely city spring up in an alkali desert as if by magic. True, I have suffered there. Many of its associations are bitter. But that is the city as it has been - the Salt Lake of the past, not the Salt Lake of the future, as I hope its future will be.
During the summer, I lectured six times in the city, and several times in other towns in the Territory. Brigham did not attend any of my lectures, but he sent his daughters and daughters-in-law, and bade them sit on the front seats, and make faces at me. They filled the two rows nearest the platform, and, as I saw them there, my heart went out in pity toward them. I knew all of them; many of them had been my dear friends from girlhood, and I had known how unhappy they had been under the cruel system which I was fighting against. I had been in the confidence of several, and more than one had commiserated me upon my unhappy situation while I was their father's wife. Instead of annoying me, and causing me to falter and break down completely, as the prophet
hoped, it only lent new strength to my purpose, new fire to my words. I knew that these women sympathized with me in every word I uttered, and that in their hearts they earnestly wished true success.
My father and mother were in my audience, too. It had required a great deal of persuasion to induce the latter to be present, but she finally yielded to us all, and went. Long before this she had lost her faith in Mormonism, and was ranked among the apostates. Brigham's attempts to ruin me had opened her eyes, and she at last saw him as he really was. I think no one rejoiced in my success more than she did, and certainly no one else has had power to imbue me with such fresh courage and strength. And now that she has abandoned Mormonism, when I think of her, away from all the old associations, united in her old age to the friends of her childhood, happy in a home safe from the intrusion of polygamy, every shade of bigotry blotted out, her reason unfettered, her will free, I am happier than I ever can say; and if this result only were reached in the cases of the other women of the Territory, I should feel that my
suffering and my labors had not been in vain.
Next to these lectures in Salt Lake, my most successful appearance was made at Provo, where I spoke under the auspices of the Rev. C. P. Lyford, the pastor of the Methodist church in that place, and one of the most inveterate foes of Polygamy and Brigham Young. Three years ago Provo was one of the most powerful of all the Mormon strongholds in Utah. Many deeds of violence had been committed there, and bigotry in its worst form ruled the people. Mr. Lyford, young, brave, and enthusiastic, determined to build a Gentile church there. He went into the work cheerfully and determinedly although he was warned to leave the county, his life threatened, and every possible insult and indignity offered him. But he could not be intimidated, and flatly refused to leave; and now he has a society fully organized, a church built, and a free school established. He has been one of my strongest allies and warmest defenders, and I owe to no one more gratitude than to him.
I have told my story as simply as I could. I have added nothing, but I have left much untold. Another volume, as large as this, would not contain all I could write on this subject. My life is but the life of one; while thousands are suffering, as I suffered, and are powerless even to plead for themselves, so I plead for them. The voices of twenty thousand women speak in mine, begging for freedom both from social and religious tyranny.
I take up papers, and I read letters from eastern correspondents who have visited Utah; and while I do not wonder at the enthusiasm which they display concerning the outward beauty of this city of the desert, I marvel at the blindness which fails to see the misery of the majority of its people. Polygamy is on the decrease, they almost unanimously exclaim; "the ballot and education are its foes, and it cannot stand before them; the young people will not enter the system, and while polygamous marriages diminish in number, monogamic ones steadily increase."
This is not so. I have no doubt it is the story which is told to these strangers by Mormons. But that is an old trick. They have been accustomed, in other days, to repudiate polygamy while practising it most extensively. They are only following "Brother Joseph's" example. He denied it, to save the reputation of himself and his followers; and they do it still, when they wish to blind the Gentiles' eyes, and escape their criticism.
Last year, as the records will show, there were more polygamous marriages in Utah than there have been any previous year since the "Reformation." The Order of Enoch and Polygamy are, to-day, Brigham's two strongest holds on the people. By the first, he holds the men through sheer necessity; for all who have entered the Order have given themselves and their possessions so entirely to him, that they cannot, by any possibility, get free. By the other system, he holds the women in a crueller bondage still. He and Cannon may repudiate the "Celestial Marriage" as strongly as they choose, but they cannot change the facts. They are more shrewd, but not so honest as the fellow who was seen reeling through the streets of Salt Lake City, with a bottle under each arm, shouting, "I've taken a new wife to-day, and I'm not afraid of the Poland Bill." They do care for "the Poland Bill," or, rather, they care about public opinion very much, and they like the positions which they might be obliged to resign if they ventured to claim the legality of Polygamy.
There is a strong working-power against it in its very midst, however, and it seems to me that it is a power which must prevail. The pulpit and press combined are dealing some heavy blows upon it, and it cannot always stand under it. Instead of the Mormon church being the only church in Utah, nearly every denomination is represented there now, and the most of these churches have schools connected with them, - such superior schools, some of them, that a few of the more liberal and intelligent Mormons venture to send their children to them.
But the strongest power in the Territory against Polygamy, - the most implacable and relentless foe to Brigham Young and his pet institution, - is the Sale Lake City Tribune, the leading Gentile paper in Utah. It is owned by a stock company, composed of the leading Gentiles in the Territory; is ably conducted, and is hated and dreaded by the Mormons, although they all read it. It has been my constant friend, and has stood bravely by me ever since I turned my back on my false faith, and sought shelter and friends in "Babylon."
It is a power in politics. When Governor Woods - although a loyal and brave officer of the government - was removed to make place for Axtell, who was a mere tool in the Prophet's hands, the indignant utterances of the paper made themselves felt all over the country; and the supporters of the new governor in Washington grew ashamed, and he was removed to make room for Governor Emory, the present governor, who, as yet, has shown no disposition to assimilate with the saintly portion of his subjects.
Now, as I approach the end of my story, I turn longing eyes toward my old home, and my heart goes out in pity, in tenderness to it and the women there. To them I want to say, Your cause is my cause. your wrongs have been my wrongs; and while you are still bearing them patiently, because you know there is no redress; hopelessly, because while your hearts are breaking, you see no avenue of escape, I am trying the best I know to make the way easy and plain to your eyes, dimmed with tears, and your feet, tired of wandering in broken paths. Many of you, I know, think that I am wrong; you believe, as I once did, that to fight against Brigham Young, and his will, is certain damnation. You mourn for me as one lost; you regard me with pity; but yet, in your hearts, you wish to believe that I am right you would like to be convinced that I am. Some of you are certain of it, but you do not see your own way out. The darkness closes around you thicker and heavier, and, tired of groping about, you fold your hands and sit in an apathy worse than death, waiting until the dawn of eternity shall throw light upon your path. God help you, sisters, one and all, and bring you out of the spiritual bondage in which you are held.
And you, happier women, - you to whom life has given of its best, and has crowned royally, - can you not help me? The cry of my suffering and sorrowing sisters sweeps over the broad prairies, and asks you, as I ask you now, "Can you do nothing for us?" Women's pens, and women's voices pleaded earnestly and pathetically for the abolition of slavery. Thousands of women, some of them your country women, and your social and intellectual equals, are held in a more revolting slavery to-day. Something must be done for them. This system that blights every woman life who enters it, ought not to
remain a curse and a stain upon this nation any longer. It should be blotted out so completely that even its foul memory would die.
Yet, how is it to be done? I confess myself discouraged when I ask that question. Legislation will do no good, unless the laws can be enforced after they are once made. But if laws are to be framed, and the men who enforce them are to be removed as a punishment for their faithfulness, they are better not made.
But one thing is certain. If one voice, or one pen, can exert any influence, the pen will never be laid aside, the voice never be silenced. I have given myself to this work, and I have promised before God never to withdraw from it. It is my life-mission; and I have faith to believe that my work will not be in vain, and that I shall live to see the foul curse removed, and Utah - my beloved Utah - free from the unholy rule of the religious tyrant, - Brigham Young.