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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the forty-fifth Congress, 1879-'80

Circulars,   pp. 1-12 PDF (4.6 MB)

Page 12

known to such person to'be living; nor to any person by reason of any former
which has been dissolved by decree of a competent court; nor to anyperson
by reason of
any former marriage which has been pronounced void by decree of a competent
on the ground of nullity of the marriage contract.
   Whatever doubt, if any, has heretofore existed as to the efficiency of
 the law above cited, and the intent of the general government to enforce
 it, has now been terminated by the recent decision Of the Supreme
 Court, the highest judicial tribunal of the land, sustaining the constitu-
 tionality of this legislation and affirming the conviction and punishmeaut
 of offenders against that law.
   Under whatever specious guise the subject may be presented by those
 engaged in instigating the European movement to swell the numbers of
 the law-defying Mormons of Utah, the bands and organizations which
 are got together in foreign lands as recruits cannot be regarded as oth-
 erwise than a deliberate and systematic attempt to bring persons to the
 United States with the intent of violating their laws and committing
 crimes expiressly punishable under the statute as penitentiary offenses.
   No friendly power will, of course, knowingly lend its aid, even indi-
 rectly, to attempts made within its borders against the laws and govern-
 ment of a country wherewith it is at peace with established terms of
 amity and reciprocal relations of treaty between them; while, even were
 there no question involved of open and penal infraction of the laws of
 the land, every consideration of comity should prevail to prevent the
 territory of a friendly state from becoming a resort or refuge for the
 crowds of misguided men and women whose offenses against morality
 and decency would be intolerable in the land from whence they come.
   It is not doubted, therefore, that when the subject is brought to its
 attention, the government of                  will take such steps As
 may be compatible with its laws and usages to check the organization
 of these criminal enterprises by agents who are thus operating beyond
 the reach of the law of the United States and to prevent the departure
 of those'proposing to come hither as violators of the law by engaging in
 such criminal enterprises by whomsoever instigated.
   You are instructed, therefore, to present the matter to the govern-
 ment of-.,through the minister of foreign affairs, and to
 urge earnest attention to it, in the interest not merely of ! faithful exe-
 cution of the laws of the United States, but of the peace, good order, and
 morality which are cultivated and sought to be promoted by all civilized
 couintries. You will fortify your representations on the subject by cita-
 tion of any facts which may come to.your notice concerning emigration
 of this character from             ; and to this end the consular officers
 in your jurisdiction have been instructed to communicate to you what
 information with regard thereto may come to. their knowledge. Your
 timely protest in cases where the probable departure of Mormon emi-
 grants is reported or known to you would probably prove a weighty aux-
 iliary to the general representations you are now instructed to make.
 You are also authorized, in your discretion, to call attention to this subject
 and the determined purpose of this government to enforce this law and
 eradicate this institution, through the public press of the principal cities
 or ports of the country, as you may find useful towards the end in view.
 I desire to be informed of the steps taken by you under these instruc-
 tions and of the disposition shown in reference to the same by the gov-
ernment to which you are accredited.
       I am, sir, your obedient servant,
  [NOTE.-A similar instruction was sent to consular officers directing them
to co-
operate with the diplomatic officers of the United States in the premises.

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