SPEECH OF HON. THOMAS KEARNS.
POLYGAMOUS MARRIAGES AND PLURAL COHABITATION.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair lays before the Senate the resolution submitted by the Senator from Idaho [Mr. DUBOIS], which will be read.
The Secretary read the resolution submitted yesterday by Mr. DUBOIS, as follows:
Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be, and it is hereby, authorized and instructed to prepare and report to the Senate within thirty days after the beginning of the next session of Congress a joint resolution of the two Houses of Congress proposing to the several States amendments to the Constitution of the United States which shall provide, in substance, for the prohibition and punishment of polygamous marriages and plural cohabitation contracted or practiced within the United States and in every place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and which shall, in substance, also require all persons taking office under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of any State, to take and subscribe an oath that he or she is not, and will not be, a member or adherent of any organization whatever the laws, rules, or nature of which organization require him or her to disregard his or her duty to support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the several States.
Mr. KEARNS. Mr. President, I will not permit this occasion to pass without saying, with brevity and such clearness as I can command, what it seems to me should be said by a Senator, under these circumstances, before leaving public life. Something is due to the State which has honored me; something is due to the record which I have endeavored to maintain honorably before the world and something, by way of information, is due to the Senate and the country.
Utah, the newest of the States, to me the best beloved of all the States, appears to be the only one concerning which there is a serious conflict with the country. I was not born in Utah, but I have spent all the years of my manhood there, and I love the Commonwealth and its people. In what I say there is malice toward none, and I hope to make it just to all. If the present day does not accept my statements and appreciate my motives, I can only trust that time will prove more gentle and that in the future those who care to revert to these remarks will know that they are animated purely by a hope to bring about a better understanding between Utah and this great nation.
Utah was admitted to statehood after, and because of, a long series of pledges exacted from the Mormon leaders, the like of which had never before been known in American history. Except for those pledges, the sentiment of the United States would never have assented to Utah's admission. Except for the belief on the part of Congress and the country that the extraordinary power which abides in that State would maintain these pledges, Utah would not have been admitted. There is every reason to believe that the President who signed the bill would have vetoed it if he had not been convinced that the pledges made would be kept....