Utah, the newest of the States, to me the best beloved of all the States, appears to be the only one concerning which there is a serious conflict with the country. I was not born in Utah, but I have spent all the years of my manhood there, and I love the Commonwealth and its people. In what I say there is malice toward none, and I hope to make it just to all. If the present day does not accept my statements and appreciate my motives, I can only trust that time will prove more gentle and that in the future those who care to revert to these remarks will know that they are animated purely by a hope to bring about a better understanding between Utah and this great nation.
Utah was admitted to statehood after, and because of, a long series of pledges exacted from the Mormon leaders, the like of which had never before been known in American history. Except for those pledges, the sentiment of the United States would never have assented to Utah’s admission. Except for the belief on the part of Congress and the country that the extraordinary power which abides in that State would maintain these pledges, Utah would not have been admitted. There is every reason to believe that the President who signed the bill would have vetoed it if he had not been convinced that the pledges made would be kept.
As a citizen of the State and a witness to the events and words which constitute those pledges, as a Senator of the United States, I give my word of honor to you that I believed that these pledges consisted of the following propositions:
First. That the Mormon leaders would live within the laws pertaining to plural marriage and the continued plural marriage relation, and that they would enforce this obligation upon all of their followers, under penalty of disfellowship.
Second. That the leaders of the Mormon Church would no longer exercise political sway, and that their followers would be free and would exercise their freedom in politics, in business, and in social affairs.
As a citizen and a Senator I give my word of honor to you that I believed that these pledges would be kept in the spirit in which Congress and the country accepted them, and that there would never be any violation, evasion, denial, or equivocation concerning them.
I appeal to such members of this body as were in either House of Congress during the years 1890 to 1896, if it was not their belief at that time that the foregoing were the pledges and that they would be kept; and I respectfully insist that every Senator here who was a member of either House at that time would have refused to vote for Utah’s admission unless he had firmly believed as I have stated.
1. Utah, secured her statehood by a solemn compact made by the Mormon leaders in behalf of themselves and their people.
2. That compact has been broken willfully and frequently.