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THE EDMUNDS BILL.
in history that is,
law every accused person is considered
witness the cruel invasion of our own innocent until convicted; by this act
rights, and by that very legislative body every innocent person may be adjudged
to which we are entitled to look for guilty until he proves his innocence. If
defence. this is not unconstitutional, arbitrary and
The recent enactment of the Congress subversive of every principle of law, jus of the United States, known as the tice or equity, and opposed to the spirit Edmunds Bill, contains the plan of the of Republicanism, 1 fail to find anything campaign against the people of Utah.
As sufficient time has elapsed since its “ Those whom the gods would destroy, approval to allow a fair consideration of they first make mad.” Plotting politi
its provisions-its present effects and cians have whipped a subservient Con prospective results; it is quite reasonable gress into enacting this bill under a gag
that people who will be touched by this law and the uplifted party lash, but the proscriptive measure should now turn end is not yet. “The race is not always upon it the full light of that higher law to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” by which Congressional enactments must Already those who were most anxious for be viewed. Living in the glory of this it are either quarreling over its meaning Republic, being partakers of its bounteor cursing its immediate effect. Even in ous freedom, and always looking upward the hands of its friends it will be a scor
to the beneficent charter, bequeathed by pion that will sting deepest the hand that the inspired fathers of the nation, it is holds it. And for those against whom it
but natural that we should refer reverenis formulated we can only say, not always tially to the Constitution in time of trial. shall
The fundamental law of our free govern. Truth be ever on the scaffold,
ment is the crucible in which every Wrong forever on the throne;
statute must be tested. Failing to withFor that scaffold sways the future,
stand the heat of reason, the enactment And behind the dim unknown
is dross. Such it is maintained is the Standeth God within the shadow,
Edmunds Bill—unconstitutional because Keeping watch upon His own.
it is directed against three great bulwarks Ellen B. Ferguson. which are thrown around the person and
property of every American citizen.
These three provisions in the Constitution are:
First.--That a man cannot be punThe people of Utah are sailing amid ished until judicially tried. troubled waters. What was once the Second.—That he cannot be punished calm, wide stretching ocean of prosperity, for an act innocent when committed. has of late been lashed to fury; while Third.--That when tried he cannot be overhead and far beyond are low circling made to bear witness against himself. clouds of storm. Many bright years we The founders of our Government, realhave dwelt here in sweet content, un izing the terror of popular clamor and distressed by local feud, unscathed by the unreasonableness of an excited comwar or serious disaster, and always pay monwealth, wisely restricted legislative ing loyal homage to that grand govern exercise to certain well defined limits, ment beneath whose guardianship Utah and declared all encroaching enactments has gained her mature growth. It has to be unconstitutional and void.
To be en no common event which has now make the safeguard real and effectual, dis turbed the serenity of a peaceful they placed above all petty strife and all people. We have taken but little part in partizan law-making, a high tribunal ile e sordid struggles of the world, and the with power to pass a final approval or no ise of conflict and bloodshed has come condemnation of any statute. Therefore
us only as a woeful echo from far off unto this court of last appeal every citids. Now, however, we are called to zen must look for the interpretation of
THE EDMUNDS BILL.
the law; and by its decision even Con States have exclusive jurisdiction, shall gress itself must abide.
be entitled to vote at any election held in It is provided in Section 9, Article I, any such Territory or other place, or be of the Constitution, that, “No bill of at- eligible for election or appointment to, or tainder or ex post facto law shall be be entitled to hold any office or place of passed.” The Supreme Court of the public trust, honor or emolument in, unUnited States, in the case of Cummings der, or for any such Territory or place vs. the State of Missouri (4th Wallace, or under the United States." page 323), defines a bill of attainder as Thus in the enactment now under confollows:
sideration, it is expressly provided that “A bill of attainder is a legislative act certain classes of persons shall be diswhich inflicts punishment without a judi- franchised and disqualified from holding cial trial.
office, without first having been tried and “If the punishment be less than death, convicted of some public offense. As the act is termed a bill of pains and pen no provision is made in this statute for alties. Within the meaning of the Con their arraignment and conviction by a stitution, bills of attainder include bills court of competent jurisdiction, and as of pains and penalties. In these cases, such disfranchisement and disqualificathe legislative body, in addition to its le tion are most clearly “punishment,” the gitimate functions, exercises the powers Bill is one of attainder. Further: the and office of judge; it assumes, in the direct intention of the movers of the language of the text books, judicial Act was that no such trial should be had. magistracy; it pronounces upon the guilt When it was suggested by honest oppoof the party, without any of the forms nents of the unconstitutional provisions or safeguards of trial; it determines the of the Bill that only upon conviction sufficiency of the proofs produced, whe should men be disfranchised or deposed, ther conformable to the rules of evi all amendments which were offered to dence or otherwise, and it fixes the de- that effect were promptly rejected by the gree of punishment in accordance with majority. its own notions of the enormity of the But that no doubt may remain reoffense."
garding this matter of punishment, let us A legislative act which usurps judicial refer once more to the case above cited powers is declared by the foregoing de- (pages 321 and 322), in which the Sucision to be most obnoxious to American
preme Court enunciates the following ideas; for such usurpation is always in doctrine: dicative of unjust enactments. So much “The theory upon which our political did the framers of the fundamental law institutions rest is that all men have inof this country fear, in future times, the alienable rights—that among these are subversion of the principles of liberty, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that they hedged the way around by and that in the pursuit of happiness all many safeguards, and made any effort at avocations, all honors, all positions are proscription or persecution the unmistak-alike open to every one, and that in the able characteristic of unconstitutional protection of these rights all are equal legislation. This power so strongly de before the law. Any deprivation or susclared against is attempted to be exer pension of any of these rights for past cised by Congress through the medium conduct is punishment, and can be in no of the Edmunds Bill. Section 8 of that otherwise defined." measure reads as follows:
What could be plainer on the point at “That no polygamist, bigamist or any issue than the language above quoted? person cohabiting with more than one By this Bill it is attempted without trial woman, and no woman cohabiting with or conviction to disfranchise and disqualany of the persons described as afore- ify from holding office all persons who said in this section, in any Territory or were at the time the Bill became a law other place over which the United polygamists or bigamists. In this respect
it is not only a bill of attainder but an punishment to that then prescribed; or ex post facto law, because it imposes the changes the rules of evidence by which additional punishment of disfranchise less or different testimony is sufficient to ment and disqualification from holding convict than was then required. office to that prescribed when the offense “In Fletcher vs. Peck, Mr. Chief Juswas committed. The statute may not be tice Marshall defined an ex post facto retroactive so far as it relates to a person law to be one 'which renders an act puncohabiting with more than one woman;
ishable in a manner in which it was not because cohabitation is what is known to punishable when it was committed.'” the law as a continuous offense, and by In two respects, therefore, the Bill is ceasing the illegal practice, this class of retroactive. First.—“It imposes a pun. persons may to a great extent avoid the ishment for an act which was not punishproscriptions. But the polygamist or
able at the time it was committed”— bigamist has no such opportunity to es disfranchises and disqualifies from holdcape. Marriage is a status, a relation- ing office men who wedded plural wives ship, not to be changed at will by either previous to the passage of the first staone of the parties thereto. The fact that tute in this country against such unions, the law declares against polygamy and and who have not since transgressed the bigamy is of no assistance to an offender law. Second.—"It imposes additional in seeking to get clear from the conse punishment to that then prescribed”-in quences of his act. So far as he is con cases of violations of the law of 1862, as cerned, the law will, for the purpose of until the enactment of the Edmunds Bill, determining his guilt and the extent of the only penalties declared were fine and his punishment, recognize each matrimo- imprisonment, while by the new law the nial contract as a marriage, the respon- | additional punishment of disfranchisesibility of which he
cannot evade. ment and disqualification from holding Therefore, a man who committed the of- office is sought to be imposed upon past fense of polygamy immediately preced- offenders. ing the approval of the Edmunds Bill, if
Inasmuch there is no provishis wives are yet living, is still a polyga- ion in the bill for determining judicialmist. No renunciation by himself can ly that a person belongs to either of the Ilow release him from the proscriptions; classes proscribed, it is likely that the and no cohabitation with his wives need Commissioners, who are to be appointed now be taken as a renewal of the mis- to practically govern Utah, will either deed of polygamy. The same may be arbitrarily disfranchise persons said of a man who married plural wives pected, or prescribe a test oath to be at any
time before there existed any Ter taken by the voter, which will be in efTitorial or National statute against such fect requiring him to bear witness against a union. Thus a man who became a po- himself, as his refusal to take the oath lygamist previous to the passage of the would afford the desired evidence of his anti-polygamy Act in 1862—when he was disability. not violating any law, is yet a polyga Such a Bill-permitting invasion of primist; and, in common with every subse vate privileges,placing extraordnary powquent offender, is proscribed and by this ers in the hands of a few to the oppresanjust measure is sought to be punished. sion of the many, and depriving individThe assertion that such law is ex post uals and even whole classes of their civil fa cto is substantiated by the eminent au rights-has been already proclaimed unthority heretofore quoted (4th Wallace, constitutional by the Supreme Court of pages 325 and 326), where the following the United States, that tribunal which de Snition is given:
holds the power of annulling any wrong“By an ex post facto law is meant one ful act of the National Legislature. which imposes a punishment for an act The men who framed and passed which was not punishable at the time it this Bill went too far.
With unholy was committed; or imposes additional zeal they strove to take away the
THE EDMUNDS BILL.
liberties of a people, and in doing so eration-written in the light of present
The people Scourged, despoiled and ostracised; but are sure to be losers in the event, whenas neither want, nor tribulation, nor fire, ever they suffer a departure from the rules nor sword could wrest from them their of general and equal justice, or from sacred belief, the attempt is now made to the true principles of universal liberty." rob them of political and religious rights The words of the Constitution, the by statutory enactments. It is a danger language of the great statesman, and ous precedent. Let but one barrier of the declaration of the Supreme Tribunal the Constitution be broken down, and of the Republic may well be deemed through the steadily enlarging gap will prophetic. They sound now the warnrush flood upon flood of iniquitous laws. ing note against oppression, as if the The devastation which may thus be immortal patriots of other generations wrought, let history indicate: other re had been inspired to see in vivid light publics have risen to the zenith of glory; the future of their children. Unani. they have allowed the brazen voice of mously they proclaim such tyrannical, intolerance and bigotry to hush the cry proscriptive enactments as the Edmunds of unpopular innocence: other repub Bill unrighteous and void. lics have seen their fundamental laws united voice be not heeded, if the eterdisregarded in answer to blind hatred; nal truths of free government, which and from the first perversion of its con they promulgated be to-day declared stitution, each one of these past demo- obsolete, then is there no human justice. cracies has dated its decline and fall.
But, beyond and above all such unThe great statesman and law-giver, worthy doubt is the faith which animates Alexander Hamilton, has described this every loyal citizen in the destiny of his kind of legislation and its effects in such Country. While the glory of the Nation a clear and forcible manner, that his ut is yet filling the future with triumphal terance might well be regarded as a light, we need not fear proscription. It statement of the case now under consid- I is engraved upon every stone of Liberty's
from an idea that he is a mere child; no, he is a powerful divinity, who appears in human shape; in his anger, death. He who shows hatred of the king, through delusion of mind, will certainly perish, In order to check abuses, a financial for speedily will the king apply his heart to that man's destruction." for the personal inspection of the king, all who had any hand in manipulating
The Indian empire being too extensive and closely watched the official acts of he, instead of having a cabinet of ministers to administer the affairs of govern- I judge of the honesty of the various viceANCIENT GOVERNMENT OF THE HINDOOS.
213 Temple that the majestic structure can no language but his own, boasted that he not survive a breach in its foundation. bad traveled through Europe without a When in envious anger false priests courier, and had not been cheated one within the edifice shall be permitted to farthing. He was a good physiognomist tear away the underlying principles of and filled his pocket with the small coins the Constitution that they may thrust out of the country in which he was traveling. true and modest worshipers, then and Whenever called to make a payment to a not till then will the time have come for man, he would begin by slowly dropping the common ruin of the Republic. into the man's hand several of these Franklin S. Richards. coins, looking him keenly in the face.
The moment he saw by a gleam of the There is a good story which illustrates eye or twitching of the mouth, that he the advantage of being skilled in reading bad dropped the amount of the bill, he faces. An Englishman who could speak stopped.
ANCIENT GOVERNMENT OF THE HINDOOS. After the people became classified ment in his vast dominions, such as is into castes and occupations, they intro adopted by the governments of Europe, duced, according to the Asiatic model, divided his own power and authority ina monarchial government, the machinery to as many parts as his empire contained of which was very simple and rude, con
provinces. In every province a vicegerferring all power upon a single individual. ent was appointed by the king, who was "If the world had no king,” says the
empowered to subdivide his authority law of Menu, “it would quake on all
among subordinates, who held the same sides through fear; the rulers of this
absolute powers in their respective disuniverse, therefore, created a king, for
tricts, as the king held over the whole. the maintenance of this system.” The
The highest authority beneath the monfollowing, also from the laws of Menu,
arch was the ruler of a thousand towns, clearly indicates the exalted dignity and
which was nicely graded to the ruler of attributes of a Hindoo monarch: “A
one town; each town having the area of particles from the one of our townships, but densely popu
lated. Each governor or lord was surpasses all mortals in glory. Like the
amenable to the one over him, until sun, he burns eyes and hearts, nor can
the chain of authority reached the king. any human
creature on earth ever gaze All the subordinates had concurrent or him. He is fire and air, he is the god powers with the soveriegn, in their resof criminal justice, he is the genius of pective districts, to levy and collect taxes wealth, he is the regent of waters, he is the lord of the firmament. A king, even
and raise troops, the expense of which though a child, must not be treated lightly,
was defrayed out of the taxes collected; the surplus was conveyed to the royal treasury by passing through the hands of the lord of one town, with all the intermediates to the lord of a thousand towns, and so on until it reached there.
king is formed of
minister was appointed by the king, who was distinguished for his honesty,
the revenues of the empire. We may