Newspaper Page Text
Mr. French Writes.
House of Representatives, Washington, February 29, 1908. Hon. Fred T. Dubois, Editor Idaho Scimi tar, Boise, Idaho. My Dear Sir: Some little time ago you published in your paper under the heading ''Keeping the Faith" an editorial purporting to give a statement from me bearing upon the relation of the leaders of the party of which I am a member to the Mormon church. In an editorial of more re cent date you have seen fit again to attempt to discredit me with the people of Idaho, and I feel it my duty to call to your attention the inaccuracies and unfairness of your statements in this regard. In one editorial you purport to give a portion of my testimony before the committee on privileges and elections of the United States Senate in what is known as the Smoot case. Your editorial is in part as follows : Somehow, during the course of the examination of Mr. French before the Senate committee, it oc curred to the chairman of that committee to ask the Representative from the State of Idaho what would be the effect upon his political fortunes should he make complaint against some polygamous mem ber of the Mormon church, as he would have a right to do under constitutional and statutory enact ments, and have him arrested. Mr. French—I think it would be resented by the members very generally of the Mormon church. I think so. The Chairman—So it is quite necessary, in poli tics, not to offend the church by such a step as ff iat o Mr. French—Well, I think they would regard it as rather a breach of faith. Hie Chairman—Yes. Mr. French—I think they would. The Chairman—Naturallv. Mr. French—I do not mean on my part, but a breach of faith entered into with the leaders of pohtical parties. ...... ply, but it is not to be presumed that he would be solicitous over the effect of a breach of faith on the part of the Democratic party, which has not been guilty of placing him in Congress. So, accord features, the leaders of the political party that opened to Mr. French the doorway to fame entered into a compact with the Mormon church that would be violated should one of its party-made officials invoke the law upon a member of the church and arraign him before the bar of justice for a palpable cnme - While you have quoted my exact language, no one knows better than you that my language had no relation whatever to the leaders of any party at a date later than 1890, when you and other leaders made certain assurances or pledges to the Mormon people. No one knows better than do you that in that portion of my testimony which you quoted, that I refererd plainly to the agreement which you referred to in your speech in the Senate February 5, 1903 (Cong. Rec. 57th Cong. 2nd Sess. pp. 1729-30). At that time you spoke as follows: I live among those people; and, so far as I know, in Idaho there has not been a polygamous marriage celebrated since that manifesto was issued, and I have yet to find a man in Idaho or anywhere else who wiH say that a polygamous marriage has been celebrated anywhere since the issuance of that mam festo. Mr. (Senator) Hale—Then it must follow from that, as the years go by and as the older people removed 1 "' polygamy as a practice will be practically re Mr Ve Dubois—There is no question about it; and I will say to the Senator, owing to the active part which we took in that fierce contest in Idaho, I, with others who had made the fight, thought we were justified in making this promise to the Mormon people. We had no authority of law, but we took it upon ourselves to assure them that those older men who are living in the polygamous relation, who had growing families which they had reared and were rearing before the manifesto was issued, and at a time when they thought they had a right under the constitution to enter the polygamous relation that those older men and women and their chil dren should not be disturbed; that the polygamous man should be allowed to support his numerous wives and their children. The polygamous relations, of course, should not continue, but we'would not compel a man to turn his families adrift. We prom ised that the older ones, who had contracted those relations before the manifesto was issued, would not be persecuted by the Gentiles ; that time would be given for them to pass away, but that the law would be stringently enforced against any polygamous mar riage which might be contracted in the future. In this speech you refer especially to the "prom which you said you, with others, were justified ise in making. The testimony which I gave refers exactly to that agreement, and does not refer to either political You are as un j . party at a time later than 1890. reasonable in handling this quotation in my testi mony as the man who attempted to justify stealing by the Biblical words "Let him that stole steal," omit ting the words "no more." You have indeed quoted my exact language, but you have taken it away from everything it refers to, as you must know fully for you were present and heard my testimony. In a more recent editorial, in speaking of me, Replying to this statement, which is the gist of your editorial, I desire to say that your statement j las no foundation whatever in fact. You have made , . , , , . , , . th,s statement doubtless with the idea of discrediting me in the sections of the State where they are no Mormon people. You should know, if you do not know already, that I have never recommended any , , , . ^ ^ , body for appointment to any position because he was a member of the Mormon church, or so far as that is concerned, of any other church. I have never made inquiry as to the religious conviction r . iT , , . ot any a PP llcant for an y appointment. I do not hesi fate to sa.y, however, that at no time in the past have I refused to recommend an applicant for ap pointment to any position upon the ground that he member of the Mormon or any other church, an< h frankly, I shall follow the same course in the future, because I believe it is absolutely right, In closing, I would call to your attention the c ' ? a . °" February 13 > 1903 > in the Senate of the United States (Appendix Cong. Rec. 57tb Cong. 2nd Session, page 101) : He (Mr. French) is an enthusiastic tithe pro moter. Whenever he can fling a fat postoffice into the saintly lap he does not hesitate or bungle. Some one who can read his title clear* to a polygamous brotherhood gets the job. As one of the representatives of a State where the Mormons are one-fourth of the people I join with the Senator from Utah, who is in part a rep resentative of a State where'three-fourths are Mor mons > saying that there is no polygamy, that is, doubt^f''the'gi'ntlemcn on the'otter side 1 in quibbling over this proposition, I believe you were right then and I commend words of that day to your present consideration. Very truly yours _Rnrtnn T q,, , , f - Tl >* above letter from Congressman French is Printed exactly as it was received. We will be glad ,? 0ther rephes °! ,he Congressman, for he re P resentatlve of Idaho m 'he popular branch °* Congress. ^ speech which was delivered in the Senate on February 5, 1903, by Senator Dubois is made to do service again, or rather some portions of it - • ... ... , , speech P roves nothing, in the light of subsequent events, except that Senator Dubois was mistaken, deceived and betrayed by the Mormon leaders accepted the manifesto of President Woodruff and pleas for ^nesty signed by the authorities of * 1C clurc i , anc * the ratification of the manifesto by the Mormon people themselves in two semi-annual conferences, as being sincere The entire churrb are sincere your The He j„ evcrv ronceivnhU W1 wi . , ? conceivable way, had pledged that there ' voui( be no more new polygamy, no more living * n tlle polygamous relation by the older polygamists, after 1890, the date of the issuance of the manifesto' Senator Dubois made the speeclt in the' Senate . , , . . 1 ie oenate a Ut two ^ ears before the testimony in the Smoot case > wb en the leaders of the church, under oath, before the Senate committee and in the hearin« of Senator Dubois, who was a member of the con ... . t le . com ~ , ' s 1 ' C , . that ^ ley _ were stl11 bving in the Polygamous relation. I he Senator was compelled to admit that he was mistaken and deceived as to the facts stated by him in his speech of more than a year previous. Congressman French seems to look the absolutely saving clause in the February 5, 1903. over speech of After saying that the older po . lygamists would be allowed to live out their li ves and care and provide for their wives and children The polygamous relations! of course, should not continue, but we would not compel a man to turn his families adrift, gressman French sat in the committee this language was used : Con room be tween the leading Mormon officials of Idaho, Presi dent William Budge, and one of the chief Mormoi of the church, Apostle John Henry Smith, of Utah He heard each of them testify that their plural wives had borne them children since the manifesto and that they did not intend to abandon their polyga mous practices. Congressman French knew, as Sen ator Dubois and every one else did, that numbers of Mormons, including Apostles Abram H. Cannon an< ^ J°bn W. Taylor, of Utah, anc ^ Matthias F. Cow e Y> ot irreston, Idaho, had entered into new po lygamy since the manifesto. The sworn testimonv is of Mormons themselves in this hearing before the Senate committee showed that four out of the twelve apostles of the Mormon church had entered into new polygamy since the manifesto, namely: Abram H. Cannon, George Teasdale, John W. Tay lor and M. T. Cowley. The president of the church testified, in the presence of Senator Dubois and Congressman French, that each of his five wives had borne him children since the manifesto. Eight of the twelve apostles either testified themselves it was admitted for them that they had continued their polygamous relations with their plural wives after the manifesto, i. e., after each and ot them had given his solemn pledge, over his sig nature, that there would be no more polygamous living. or every one , . to Mormon 1 e enate that his opposltl T° m0n practlces would destroy him politically. ^"fessman French prefers to sustain the Mor ns tl ' eir Polygamous living and domination in £ tlcs ' Senator Dubois prefers to oppose their 11011 ot cllurcb an d state and polygamous practices, Congressman French knows that the Mormon church donates the Republican It is not a matter of much concern to the people what Senator Dubois thought or said about polyg amy and polygamous living among the Mormons in the years following their pledges, but it is a mat ici of deep concern to the people what Senator Du bois did in his representative capacity, after the Laders of the church testified under oath that tbev veie living in violation of their pledges and in \ iolation of the laws of the land and of the laws of God. It will not suffice for Congressman French to answer by saying the people have expressed thei selves by electing him to represent them, and re fusing to elect Senator Dubois. ii Congressman French testified before the commit! î" himself and under oath admitted, in substance, that *t destroy him politically if he opposed the polygamous practices of the Mormons. would Senator Dubois stated on party of Idaho and that it uses its political power to protect its polygamous members from punishment, combination between the Republican party and the Mormons in Idaho has debauched and disgraced the State administration and forced the Republican pait\ in the Legislature to violate its solemn plat form pledges to the people. 1 he Congressman is content with the alliance and lends his sympathy and He knows that this An assemhIW ^ r r , . ' . assemblin g of the war craft of the nations at tbe little Island of Hayti announces the existence of another revolution in that region of perpetual disturbance The shins 8 P y foreigners and their reward satisfies his conscience, he should at least be manly enough to defend his allies, not insult the intelligence of the people by relying for his sole defense on a speech of Senator Dubois, which He should proves nothing, excepting that Senator Du bois was deceived the speech. as to the facts when he made are there to protect the property.