Mountain Meadows Massacre Historical Accounts

Who are the witnesses that testify that the Mormons committed this bloody deed, or were the instigators of it? Are they not Gentiles? Did not the majority of them come from Arkansas? Had they no property? If anyone or all of these motives prompted the Mormons to kill off or to instigate the extirpation of the train alluded to, how happened it, in the name of all that is just, that those parties escaped, who are now cited as witnesses and who followed on the trail of the murdered train? — How happened it that they were assisted by the Mormons, escorted into their fort when attacked by Indians, protected and guided by them through the exasperated red men; when to all their other motives for murder was added the additional one of concealment? Had they killed or caused to be killed the first train for the motives assigned, who would think if they would reflect upon it for a moment, that they would let others equally as objectionable pass by unmolested, especially when they knew that they would not fail to charge them with the slaughter? But the enlightened press do not condescend to notice these things. It would be treating the Mormons like white men — like freemen, equally entitled with themselves to all the rights of American citizens.

In one corner of the paper in which these accusatory statements were published (Los Angeles Star,) we perceived a little notice which stated that the editor had received from Mr. J. Ward Christian of San Bernardino, a long statement of the late attack, by the Indians, on the emigrant train on the Salt Lake road, differing materially from that which he had already published; and, perhaps, he would insert it in his next issue. Scarcely a paper that has published all the statements from which this materially differed, has noticed the existence of such a statement. Coming from San Bernardino, it must be justificatory of the Mormons, and, therefore, must be ignored. Every other accused party may have the benefit of a doubt; but a Mormon — Never. They are fearful that the unfavorable impressions which they wish made on the public mind in respect to the Mormons, should be weakened; therefore, every statement that would increase the hatred of the masses against “Mormonism” and the carefully published, and duly compiled in the summary of news sent on the steamer to the East; but the exculpatory evidence is not once alluded to. This was the course they pursued with the Drummond slanders until their author’s character was so completely exposed that he was a stench in the nose of every virtuous man. And when the time arrives, as it most assuredly will, that the utter falsity of those charges will also be made apparent, the exposure will be quietly hushed up and no more be said about it than can possibly be helped.

Our contemporaries think that a crisis is approaching. In this, we agree with them. It is time that there should be a change of some kind; we care but little what it may be. With the Lord to uphold the cause of the just, it can not be any worse than it has been. For ourselves, we are sick and weary of enduring such treatment as we, in common with our co-religionists, have endured for years past. We have borne the yoke so long that our patience is nearly exhausted. This continual abuse and piling on of false charges — this eternal whine about Mormon treason, Mormon aggressions, Mormon licentiousness, with these oft-repeated threats of whipping us into an abjuration of our principles and of exterminating us, we are tired of hearing. We know that the Mormons in Deseret are an industrious, peaceable, God-fearing people and that they have been most foully abused and vilified. All they have asked or now ask is justice; all they desire is their guaranteed rights. These they never have had; but we, as one individual whose interests are wholly identified with theirs, feel that the time has arrived when it is but right that they be demanded, and if needs be, contended for.

Brigham Young’s Tactics, Daily Alta, San Francisco, December 23, 1857

The course of Brigham Young heretofore, whenever any outrage has been perpetrated upon government officials or property, has been to make stout denial of all participation or knowledge of these overt acts. Even when his own conduct has so plainly belied his words (as it almost invariably has done) he has always maintained stoutly entire ignorance and innocence of these matters. The crowning act of this gross impudence, this adding of insult to injury, is reported by Mr. Lander, who is attached to Magraw’s wagon road party, and who recently arrived in St. Louis on his way to Washington, and gave an interesting statement of the progress of the party, up to the time of its leaving, to the St. Louis Republican. Mr. Lander states, “that Brigham Young had already disclaimed any participation of knowledge of the overt act of burning the supply trains, and the best judges of the Mormon character believe that the leaders of this singular society will continue to endeavor to blind the eyes of the General Government, and put off the day of a stand up fight until the last moment.”

This has always been the course pursued by Brigham Young. He denied all knowledge of, or participation in, the brutal murder of Lieutenant Gunnison; and his brave companions when there is no single circumstance connected with the massacre that does not point to Young and his band of “Destroying Angels,” as the prime movers in the affair. Every other outrage that has been perpetrated upon the government officers and private individuals he has always ignored, when the truth of his statements was entitled to the same degree of credence that would have been his denial of an act of murder performed by his own hand, and that is still grasping the fatal weapon, he standing over the body he has just stricken down, to the very witnesses of the whole transaction, who had beheld him perform the bloody deed. He has denied all knowledge of, or participation in the murder of one hundred and sixty emigrants, men, women, and children, last fall. And yet his myrmidons hovered on the outside, while the butchery was going on, holding constant communication with the Indians, and receiving from them the captive children to help swell the bloating ulcer of Mormonism.

Why did this human hyena, who fills the capacities of Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, take prompt action for the punishment of the Indians, if there was no complicity between him and the tribes? He boasts of his power over these barbarous hordes, and why was it not exercised, instead of welcoming numbers, if not all, of those attached to the band into Salt Lake City, with the most friendly greetings on the part of the inhabitants, immediately after the massacre was performed? Indeed, it may almost be said, that these Indians danced their congratulatory war dance in hellish glee almost within the limits of the town, and Brigham Young and all Mormondom looked on in quiet satisfaction.

It is to be presumed that the course of Mormon policy has been about played out. This independent denial of Young of all knowledge of the burning of the government train, is such an apparent and blackening falsehood, that it will have the effect of permanently sealing the ears of the Administration against the belief in any of his future statements in palliation or excuse of crimes or overt acts of treason. Hos record is at length written up, and he will have to pay the penalty of his many atrocious crimes.

Meanwhile, those of our citizens, who, while they express their abhorrence of Mormonism, are busily engaged, in the capacity of newspaper corresponding, in patching up arguments against the right and policy of sending troops to Salt Lake City, to take summary vengeance upon Young and his hosts, if it becomes necessary, if they can reconcile themselves to accept these gospel denials of Young as possessing one grain of truth, may have some reasonable excuse for the course which they are pursuing. If they cannot do so, then we suggest that they expend their tender sympathies upon the orphans and relatives of the band of emigrants who were butchered, last fall, through the instigation of Young, while on their way to become good citizens of California.