"Horrible Massacre of Emigrants!!" The Mountain Meadows Massacre in Public Discourse


The Duty of the Government. 

It may be superfluous in us, on reviewing the facts detailed elsewhere, to say anything to urge the Federal Government at Washington to take prompt measures to investigate the last sanguinary tragedy on the Salt Lake route to California. The facts set forth, that one hundred and eighteen Americans, men, women, and children, have been cruelly butchered on the nation's highway, by a band of ruthless savages, are in themselves sufficiently startling and appalling, to arouse the energies of the most dormant. From time to time, outrages have been perpetrated by the Indians on passing emigrants, of which no notice have been taken by the authorities. It would seem as if those who set out to make their homes in this State, are deemed to have left behind them all claim on the Government for protection; and that they are doomed to death, if unable to defend themselves against the sudden attack of an ambushed enemy, or unfortunate in contending against the unknown and unforeseen dangers of the route.

It is certainly the duty of the Government to afford both assistance and protection to its citizens, whilst traveling over territory under its own immediate supervision. In this respect, it has been heretofore remiss. It is not enough to keep troops stationed at certain points along the road. These troops should be kept on patrol duty along the route, at least during the season of emigration, and by this means not only would the Indians be kept in check, but assistance would be always at hand to help the weary traveler whilst suffering under the thousand and one exigencies of the long and tedious journey.

But, whatever, remissness my have existed heretofore, activity must now be exhibited. A prompt investigation into the cause, and speedy punishment of the perpetrators of this deplorable massacre, is demanded by our people, and we are sure that, on the report reaching the Atlantic shore, a similar demand will burst forth, from Maine to Texas. There is no more excuse for apathy. The time for action has arrived. And should it appear, as these statements distinctly charge, that this persecution and murder of the emigrants is promoted by the Mormon leaders, that opposition to the Federal Government is the cause of it, then let the might of the Republic be put forth, to strangle the monster which has grown up in its midst. But this should be ascertained first, beyond doubt or cavill.

In the march of the troops to Salt Lake, an opportunity will be exhibited for Brigham Young to make good the threats said to have been uttered by him. There are passes, and cañons, and gorges on the way, where a small force could defeat the whole army now on its march. Should a demonstration of this kind be made, and the banner of rebellion and treason be unfurled, a war will be precipitated on us, more costly and more sanguinary, than, at first sight, would appear possible. In that event, it will be discovered that the Mormon leader has wisely chosen his ground. In a country difficult of access, surrounded by hordes of Indians with whom he is in league, it will be a long and tedious warfare to reduce him, with the forces at present at command. But a call on the people for volunteers, would meet such a response as would enable the Government to exterminate the rebels, root and branch, and throw open the great highway to our State to the unmolested travel of the citizens of the Union.

It may seem harsh, to entertain such ideas of the intentions of any considerable body of the people of these United States. But we are led to it, not alone by the statements of the parties published elsewhere; and the speeches of those who took part in the late mass meeting of our citizens, but by the duly reported and authenticated speeches of the Presidents, Bishops and Elders of the Mormons, as reported in their organ at Great Salt Lake City.