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On the fourth day of January, 1896, the territory of Utah was admitted to statehood, and the proscribed among its people were freed to the liberties of American citizenship, upon the solemn covenant of the leaders of the Mormon Church that they and their followers would live, thereafter, according to the laws and institutions of the nation of which they were allowed to become a part. And that gracious settlement of upwards of forty years of conflict was negotiated through responsible mediators, was endorsed by the good faith of the non-Mormons of Utah, and was sealed by a treaty convention in which the high contracting parties were the American Republic and the "Kingdom of God on Earth."
I propose, in this narrative, to show that the leaders of the Mormon Church have broken their covenant to the nation; that they have abused the confidence of the Gentiles of Utah and betrayed the trust of the people under their power, by using that power to prevent the state of Utah from becoming what it had engaged to become. I propose to show that the people of Utah, upraised to freedom by the magnanimity of the nation, are being made to appear traitorous to the generosity that saved them; that the Mormons of Utah are being falsely misled into the peculiar dangers from which they thought they had forever escaped; that the unity, the solidarity, the loyalty of these fervent people is being turned as a weapon of offense against the whole country, for the greater profit of the leaders and the aggrandizement of their power. I undertake, in fact, in this narrative, to expose and to demonstrate what I do believe to be one of the most direful conspiracies of treachery in the history of the United States.
Not that I have anything in my heart against the Mormon people! Heaven forbid! I know them to be great in their virtues, wholesome in their relations, capable of an heroic fortitude, living by the tenderest sentiments of fraternity, as gentle as the Quakers, as staunch as the Jews. I think of them as a man among strangers thinks of the dearness of his home. I am bound to them in affection by all the ties of life. The smiles of neighborliness, the greetings of friends, all the familiar devotion of brothers and sisters, the love of the parents who held me in their arms by these I know them as my own people, and by these I love them as a good people, as a strong people, as a people worthy to be strong and fit to be loved.
But it is even through their virtue and by their very strength that they are being betrayed. A human devotion - the like of which has rarely lived among the citizens of any modern state - is being directed as an instrument of subjugation against others and held as a means of oppression upon the Mormons themselves. Noble when they were weak, they are being led to ignoble purpose now that they have become strong. Praying for justice when they had no power, now that they have gained power it is being abused to ends of injustice. Their leaders, reaching for the fleshpots for which these simple-hearted devotees have never sighed, have allied themselves with all the predaceous "interests" of the country and now use the superhuman power of a religious tyranny to increase the dividends of a national plunder.
In the long years of misery when the Mormons of Utah were proscribed and hunted, because they refused to abandon what was to them, at that, time, a divine revelation and a confirmed article of faith, I sat many times in the gallery of the Senate in Washington, and heard discussed new measures of destruction against these victims of their own fidelity, and felt the dome above me impending like a brazen weight of national resentment upon all our heads. When, a few years later, I stood before the President's desk in the Senate chamber, to take my oath of office as the representative of the freed people of Utah in the councils of the nation, I raised my eyes to my old seat of terror in the gallery, and pledged myself, in that remembrance, never to vote nor speak for anything but the largest measure of justice that my soul was big enough to comprehend. By such engagement I write now, bound in a double debt of obligation to the nation whose magnanimity then saved us and to the people whom I humbly helped to save.
Frank J. Cannon.