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



Our readers will not have forgotten the thrill of horror with which they received intelligence of the massacre at the Mountain Meadows, in southern Utah, of over a hundred emigrants from Arkansas on their way to California. At that time, this terrible slaughter was attributed solely to Indians; but subsequent developments led to the suspicion that the attack was stimulated and aided by members of the Mormon communities settled in the vicinity of the scene of blood. From time to time, since, these dark suspicions have been confirmed by admissions of Mormons themselves, or of men who have abandoned the church. A few months ago, about the time when the army under General Johnston entered the Valley of Salt Lake, a gentleman from California visiting the Mormon southern settlements, embraced the opportunity to push inquiries in regard to the massacre, and learned that the struggle in which the emigrants lost their lives was protracted during a period of nearly three weeks, and yet it was not claimed that the Mormons tendered the assailed the slightest assistance. This fiendish disregard, of all obligation to aid their fellow-man, prepares us to receive with credit the statements ci (sic) other witnesses, who say that the attack was prompted and led by Mormons, that its purpose was to chastise the emigrants for offences against Mormondom, and that an agreement was made between the Indians and their Mormon allies, by which the former were to take the cattle of the party and the Mormons their wagons. We have also had evidence that the Mormons did not keep faith with the Indians, but themselves retained the greater part of the cattle, which, as late as June last, were still in their possession. Judge Cradlebaugh, of the U.S. District Court at Provo city, evidently is satisfied that these terrible stories are not without foundation, for in a recent charge to the Grand Jury, he alluded to the case, distinctly declaring that others than Indians were engaged in the slaughter. There is too much reason to fear that no conviction of Mormons can be had. Still, if the Judge can secure a thorough investigation, clear up the dread mystery, and fix the guilt where it belongs, he will have accomplished a most desirable end.