Mountain Meadows Massacre Historical Accounts

The Federal Government and the Mormons, San Francisco Evening Bulletin, October 27, 1857

We devote considerable space this evening to the statements of persons who have recently crossed the Mormon territory, going to prove the complicity of these people in the later butchery of over one hundred immigrants and their rebellion against the Government of the United States. These statements are convincing. Through their savage allies, the Mormons have slain in cold blood and left unburied to rot, men and women peaceably pursuing their pathway across the territory of the United States. They have enrolled themselves in companies and taken up arms against the Government. They have audaciously declared their intention of cutting off all connection with the Government, and threaten the extermination of Federal troops sent out by the President to maintain and enforce the laws.

What effect this news will have at Washington, it is hard to foresee. But we much mistake the character of President Buchanan and his Cabinet, if it does not lead speedily to such action as will cause that arch-traitor, Brigham Young, to repent his temerity. The blood of American citizens cries for vengeance from the barren sands of the Great Basin. The insulted dignity of the nation demands retribution from their infamous murderers. The insulted dignity, virtue, Christianity, and decency require that the vile brood of incestuous miscreants who have perpetrated this atrocity shall be broken up and dispersed. And the tide of popular opinion, now rolling up from every end of the land, calls loudly upon the Government to let no longer delay ensue before commencing the good work.

And even should the news of the Mormon massacre upon the plains not suffice to incite to full activity the entire power of the Federal Officers, the position now taken by Brigham Young must do so. He has not waited to be attacked but has commenced offensive warfare. The independence of Utah Territory has been declared, and the determination announced of adhering to no laws except such as the Mormons make themselves. This must bring them in speedy conflict with the United States — and this ensures their final extermination. For once the general detestation and hatred, pervading the whole country against the Mormons is given legal countenance and direction, a crusade will start against Utah which will crush out this beastly heresy forever.

From this State [California] alone thousands of volunteers could be drawn, who would ask no better employment than the extermination of the Mormons at the call of the government. A war against these people will not be like a common war, in which the people feel no particular individual enmity against their foes; the degrading doctrines of the Latter-Day Saints have arrayed against them the hatred of decent people throughout the world. The press has denounced and the pulpit has hurled its anathemas at them until Christendom is stirred up against Brigham and his Apostles, and an opportunity is only wanting for this feeling to break out. Then will be seen the folly of those who prophesy that the Mormons will be able to hold out against the forces that will be brought against them for any length of time. If they were sustained by the moral sentiment of the people of the United States, they might do much. But with this sentiment bearing them down, they scarcely can survive the first shock.

The Mormon Murderers, San Francisco Evening Bulletin, October 28, 1857

The details of the news which we published yesterday, received by the Senator from Los Angeles, are of a character which cannot fail to convince all who have read them, that the recent massacre of one hundred and eighteen emigrants at the Mountain Meadows was directly instigated, if not actually conducted by Mormons. Travelers coming through Salt Lake state that there, such outrages were prophesied. On the road, the Mormon guides and interpreters exhibited the most perfect control over the Indians, and at San Bernardino, within the borders of our own State, the murder of over one hundred of our brethren is exulted over by the traitorous wretches who have control of matters there, one of whom has been for several years a member of our State Legislature, and who, it is said, has sent to Governor Johnson for arms and ammunition, to suppress disturbances among the Indians. If the Governor complies with the request of this hoary-headed apologist for wholesale murder, he will be aiding, without doubt, in the consummation of other massacres, such as that of the Mountain Meadows.

The terrible events which have come recently crowding upon us so rapidly, are heart-rending enough to stir up the feelings of any community not entirely dead and lost to all sense of common humanity, and sympathy with the hundreds of slaughtered Americans, whose bones are whitening in the caves of ocean, or bleaching upon the hot sands of the desert. And when we have every reason to believe that the latter lie there, because a horde of traitorous wretches have sworn vengeance upon all our countrymen who cross their path — we may well become excited, and we do not doubt that, in the language of our Los Angeles correspondent, “were a call made by the government, half our population would respond.” We believe, throughout the length and breadth of California, the same feeling exists, and that when the tocsin is sounded, thousands of men from the extreme north to the southern border, will be ready to rush to the defense of their countrymen, and to inflict terrible vengeance upon their murderers.

After all the experiences which have been related, after all the publications of the threats made by the Mormon leaders at Salt Lake, after the facts have come to light which has, in relation to massacres by the Indians, no sane man can longer doubt that the Mormon hierarchy has determined upon a life-time warfare upon the citizens and government of the United States. They are leagued with the hostile Indian tribes, and with whom their elders, and preachers, and presidents, have instilled a bitter hatred to all Americans who are not Mormons. They are preparing to resist the U. S. forces upon their entrance into Utah — and here is the wonderful fact existing before us, that we have in the very heart of our own territory, a body of men, organized under a government of their own, openly hostile to ours, threatening us with vengeance and death, and carrying their threats into execution, whenever opportunity offers.

What shall the government do? Continue to pursue the temporizing policy which has permitted the growth of this at first insignificant and diminutive community into a powerful legion of armed men, daily growing stronger and better prepared to resist us? — or shall not a determined effort be made to root out this social cancer? The several hundred men, now on their way to Utah, will, we firmly believe, be not only resisted, but successfully resisted, and we shall expect to hear, simultaneously, of their arrival and their defeat or flight. There are ten thousand fighting men at Salt Lake, well provided with arms and ammunition, and inspired by that spirit of religious fanaticism which, in all ages, has made men ready to fight with a desperate determination, such as we can be aroused to by no other feeling — not even love of country. The route, between Salt Lake and the borders of California, must be protected by a large body of troops, who must not be permitted to remain stationed merely at certain points, but who should act as a patrol, constantly on the move. This must be done, or overland emigrants to California will be murdered and robbed continually.

The evidence of emigrants, which we gave in yesterday’s issue, has been sent to Washington. The government will, we suppose, of course, investigate the whole matter, and we hope, upon being satisfied of the facts, immediate and determined action will be taken. We are satisfied that the Mormon traitors must be rooted out of our territory, fully and finally — that this must be the policy of our government, sooner or later, and that the sooner the war is commenced the better. Still, the government would not be authorized in acting, until they have received the most indubitable proofs of the treacherous, murderous conduct of the Mormons.

We doubt not that, in California, from five to ten regiments, of a thousand men each, could be recruited, in a very short space of time, and of men generally accustomed to hardships such as would have to be endured in such a campaign as they would be required to enter upon. If the government decides to take determined action in this matter, California will be found ready to aid her, with the best energies and best heart’s blood, if need be, of thousands of her citizens.