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The Idaho scimitar. [volume] (Boise, Idaho) 1907-1908, November 02, 1907, Image 4

Image and text provided by Idaho State Historical Society

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88056114/1907-11-02/ed-1/seq-4/

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whiçh surround the successful operation of the Na
tional Irrigation Act. To overcome them requires
high order of executive ability, the best engineering
skill, an enormous outlay of money and the co
operative power of the Government.
Private enterprise could not succeed, except pos
sibly in a few instances, where the land is all public
and the water supply abundant. In nearly every
Government project there are holdings of land by
individuals. If these holdings are large, they must
be sub-divided into small holdings and pass into
individual hands, in order that the central idea of
home-building shall be carried out.
Sufficient work has been done under the law to
demonstrate that it meets the expectations and ob
jects of its framers. It is the most beneficial legis
lation ever enacted for the upbuilding of the arid
portion of our country. It supplements all other
land laws. It does not compete with any of them.
It reclaims land which could not be reclaimed olher
wise.
Our own state furnishes a splendid illustration of
what has just been said. The most beneficial irri
gation project which will be undertaken anywhere in
the United States will be the one which contem
plates storage reservoirs at and near the headwaters
of the Snake River.
Jackson's Lake will be made a great reservoir, into
which will be emptied the water of Emma Matilda
and the Twin Ocean Lakes. Work is now being
done, and a temporary dam will be completed this
fall to store water in Jackson's Lake.
This storage water will make certain the water
supply for all lands now under irrigation from the
Snake River, and supply additional water for new
land.
The Legislature of Idaho passed a state irrigation
law which was approved March 11, 1903. Under its
provisions an individual or association of individuals
can secure the right of water owned by the state,
under certain terms and conditions, compliance with
which must be approved by the State Engineer. The
evident design of this law was to encourage the
storage and diversion of waters for the reclamation
of arid lands, promote the beneficial use of waters
of the state and prevent the acquiring of water
rights by individuals or corporations more than
sufficient for beneficial use.
This act does not deal with land, leaving the meth
od of disposing of the water to those acquiring its
Ample time is given under the law for the
use.
construction of irrigation works and the diversion
of water upon the land after the completion of such
irrigation works.
Under this act the water is utilized for placer
mining for power and domestic and irrigation pur
poses. A great many individuals have taken advan
tage of it for these purposes, and in some instances
water has been acquired under its provisions suffi
cient to irrigate large tracts of land.
Objections can be lodged against all of these
various provisions in the working out of some of
their details. No one would contend that they were
perfect in their operation, or that unscrupulous men
have not taken advantage of each of them to defraud
the Government. They have met the intention of
their authors, however, and have built up our great
country, and made homes for millions. The frauds
have been few, very few, comparatively. The homes
are there as a lasting monument to our law-makers,
and are the bulwarks of our Government, and a
guarantee of the perpetuity of our republic.
Challenge to Smith.
J. F. Gibbs is a Mormon. He was reared in the
Mormon superstition. But he is disgusted with the
violations of law and covenant by Joseph F. Smith;
he is in rebellion against polygamy, interference in
politics and ecclesiastical commercialism.
Mr. Gibbs has written an open letter through the
Salt Lake Tribune to President Joseph F. Smith.
Some of its pointed paragraphs are these :
"View as we may the truth or falsity of Joseph
F. Smith's early conceptions, we find in him the
victim of nature's inexorable psychological forces.
His early experience with the lax enforcement of
the civil law, as exemplified in the death of his
father and uncle, not only engendered in him an un
reasoning contempt and hatred for a democratic
form of government, but inspired him with devotion
to centralized power, the highest type of which is
necessarily the kingdom of God. Thus we are en
abled to understand the mental process by which
Joseph F. Smith justifies himself in disregarding
those laws of men that would prevent him from
obeying a law of God that was only suspended be
cause of the pressure of human laws. (In the fore
going there is no attempt to analyze the mental pro
cess by which it was deemed better, or more digni
fied, to escape the concession that the Almighty had
met His Waterloo by the intervention of a revela
tion suspending polygamy, than by a graceful sur
render to the inevitable.)
"It is hoped, President Smith, that you will at
least concede the honesty of motives in the foregoing
attempt to shield you from the scorn and seemingly
merited contempt on the part of good men and
women who fail to understand that broken pledges
are less than treachery because perpetuated in the
name of religion.
"It is not necessary to go further back in history
than 1890 to discover the causes of the present un
rest among thousands of our people, and for the
welding together of fully one-half of the residents
of this city, irrespective of politics and religion, into
a united, compact and unyielding organization known
as the American party.
"You will remember that hundreds of our people
were in the penitentiary for polygamy and for un
lawful cohabitation. Some fifty or sixty of our
people were in the criminal dock of Judge Judd's
court at Provo awaiting transportation to the peni
tentiary. It was early in September of 1890. In
words that breathed kindness and charity for those
self-confessed law-breakers, Judge Judd said to
them : "Except for the offense for which you have
received light sentences you are a good people.
Your faces are not those of criminals. But the law
has said that your offense is a crime. And I want
to impress this fact on your minds. Uncle Sam is
on top in this territory, and you can take your choice
of three alternatives—obey the law, go to the peni
tentiary or leave the United States."
*
"Within less than one month from the date of
Judge Judd's unequivocal fiat the manifesto 'sus
pending' polygamy was issued and adopted by the
Mormon people. The manifesto was the outpour
ing of an honest, tender soul that was surcharged
with sorrow for the suffering of his people. Presi
dent Wilford Woodruff was an honest and upright
man. But his manifesto was made the initial
pro
ceeding in a conspiracy to remove Uncle Sam from
'on top,' and to relieve certain polygamists from
the three alternatives laid down by Judge Judd.
"The manifesto was received in good faith by the
Mormon people, and with the same interpretation—
the surrender of unlawful cohabitation, that
ceded in the petition for amnesty (December, 1891)
and before the Master in Chancery, and that
wrung from you by repeated applications of the
senatorial force pump before the committee on privi
leges and elections.
was con
was
"The manifesto operated as an act of wholesale
divorcement. Hundreds of modern Hagars
driven forth into the wilderness of a new and strange
existence. In some instances, in order to soften the
blow to their families, men ceased to live with
of their wives, and while tenderly caring for their
families pursued the journey of life alone. Only the
Good Father knows the mighty sacrifices made by
the rank and file of the Latter-day Saints in order
to honestly conform to the new and unexpected law
of God, as communicated in the manifesto.
"And what of yourself, President Smith?
contradistinction to the loyalty of the Mormon
were
any
In
peo
pie to their God and to their compact with the peo
ple of the United States, you continued to cohabit
with all of your wives, with the result that twelve
children—perhaps more—have been added to your
family since the manifesto. And before the com
mittee on privileges and elections you repeatedly
confessed that you were (and are) breaking the
laws of God and man. And your only excuse was,
to quote your own words, 'Because my wives are
like everybody else's wives.
"Now, candidly^ President Smith, wherein were
J JJ
your wives entitled to more consideration than other
plural wives who, in honest obedience to the mani
festo, were compelled to live apart from their hus
bands? And wherein were you entitled to more
consideration than other men who conscientiously
obeyed the laws of God and men ? Honestly, wasn't
it an act of unparalleled cowardice in you to at
tempt to shield yourself from merited con
tempt by hiding behind the skirts of five women who
would have been entirely willing to observe the laws
of God and men had you, yourself, seen fit to sacri
fice your entirely human passions on the altar of
obedience to the same laws?
"In your testimony before the Senate committee
you gave statistics showing a marked decrease in
the number of polygamous families since the mani
festo was issued. Those statistics were given as
evidence that the Mormon people were observing
the covenant they entered into through their leaders
—a covenant implied in the manifesto, and unequivo
cally made in the petition for amnesty and in the
evidence before the Master in Chancery—to the
effect that thereafter they would obey the laws of
the United States. In that testimony you again
sought to hide your sexual crimes behind the obe
dience of your people, and to divert attention from
your personal pledge that you would abandon polyg
amy and unlawful cohabitation in consideration of
amnesty. Relying on your manhood and sense of
honor President Harrison answered your prayer for
amnesty. In your testimony before the Senate
mittee you brazenly confessed that you had ignored
your personal covenants with the President of the
United States, and defiantly intimated that
tended to continue a pledge-breaker. In the light
com
you m
of such inexcusable and infamous treachery should
not Benedict Arnold be forgotten?"
* * *
"Your attention is now respectfully asked while
the question of your interference in the politics of
Utah is being discussed,
sion you will be called as the first witness.
"\ou will doubtless recall having made the fol
lowing unequivocal statement in Provo in April
of 1896:
And with your permis
The fact of the matter is, when a man says you
(Joseph F. Smith) can direct me spiritually, but
not temporally, he lies in the presence of God—
that is, if he has got intelligence enough to know
what he is talking about.' The unmistakable
ing of the above paragraph is that if any Mormon
concedes your right to direct him in spiritual
things he must, forsooth, concede your right to
direct him how, when and where to cast his vote.
Failing to concede the latter 'he lies in the presence
of God.' Therefore, whoever concedes your right
to direct him temporally becomes your political
slave. That is, he is either a slave or a liar, and
can take his choice of your epithets, direct and im
plied. And in the face of your self-asserted right
to be the political boss of the Mormon
U i
mean
voters, you
had the unadulterated gall, in reply to Mr. Taylor,
to testify under oath that 'Our people are given the
largest possible latitude for their convictions, and
if a man rejects a message that I may give to him
but is still moral and believes in the main principles
of the gospel and desires to continue in his mem
bership in the church, he is permitted to remain and
is not unchurched.'
That is, a man can 'lie in the presence of God'
and yet be 'moral !'—according to your logic. But,
returning to the main question, when a man raises
his right hand toward heaven, as proof of his sin-

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