September 15, 1857

Brigham Young (1851 photo)


We are invaded by hostile forces, who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.

For the last twenty-five years we have trusted officials of the govern­ment, from Constables and Justices to Judges, Governors and Presidents, only to be scorned, held in derision, insulted and betrayed. Our houses have been plundered and then burned; our fields laid waste, our principal men butchered while under the pledged faith of the Government for their safety, and our families driven from their homes to find that shelter in the barren wilderness, and that protection among hostile savages, which were denied them in the boasted abodes of Christianity and civilization.

The constitution of our common country guarantees unto us all that we do now or ever claimed.

If the constitutional rights, which pertain unto us as American citi­zens, were extended to Utah, according to the spirit and meaning there­of, and fairly and impartially administered, it is all that we could ask.

Our opponents have availed themselves of prejudices existing against us, because of our religious faith, to send out a formidable host to accomplish our destruction. We have had no privilege, no opportunity of defending ourselves from the false, foul and unjust aspersions against us before the Nation. The Government has not condescended to cause an investigating committee or other person to be sent to inquire into and ascertain the truth, as is customary in such cases. We know those asper­sions to be false, but that avails us nothing. We are condemned unheard, and forced to an issue with an armed mercenary mob, which has been sent against us at the instigation of anonymous letter writers, ashamed to father the base, slanderous falsehoods which they have given to the public; of corrupt officials who have brought false accusations against us, to screen themselves in their own infamy; and of hireling priests and howling editors, who prostitute the truth for filthy lucre's sake.

The issue which has been thus forced upon us compels us to resort to the great first law of self preservation, and stand in our own defense, a right guaranteed unto us by the genius of the institutions of our country, and upon which the Government is based.

Our duty to our families requires us not to tamely submit to be driven and slain without an attempt to preserve ourselves. Our duty to our country, our holy religion, our God, to freedom and liberty, requires that we should not quietly stand still and see those fetters forging around, which are calculated to enslave and bring us into subjection to an unlawful military despotism, such as can only emanate (in a country of constitutional law) from usurpation, tyranny and oppression.

Therefore, I, Brigham Young, Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Utah, in the name of the people or the United States in the Territory of Utah,

First - Forbid all armed forces of every description from coming into this Territory, under any pretense whatever.

Second - That all the forces in said Territory hold themselves in readi­ness to march at a moment's notice, to repel any and all such invasion

Third - Martial law is hereby declared to exist in this Territory, from and after the publication of this Proclamation; and no person shall be allowed to pass or repass, into or through, or from this Territory without a permit from the proper officer.

Given under my hand and seal at Great Salt Like City, Territory of Utah, this fifteenth day of September, A.D. eighteen hundred and fifty seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the eighty -second.

            (Signed)           BRIGHAM YOUNG

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