excerpt – The Mormon Church on Trial
Despite some very good recent scholarship,1 much of the daily drama of the Reed Smoot hearings, 1903-1906, remains untold if only because of the volume of official and supporting documentation. The hearings were conducted by a committee of the United States Senate to consider the suitability of newly elected Senator Reed Smoot (1862-1941) to represent the State of Utah. Because Smoot was an LDS apostle, the case attracted national and international attention. Newspapers ran sensational front-page stories as events unfolded. One can only imagine the frenzy a similar hearing would generate today in our information-saturated age—every nook and cranny of Mormonism scrutinized, “shocking” new revelations proclaimed daily.
The Smoot hearings impacted the direction of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose doctrines and practices—not Smoot—emerged as the real focus of the hearings. In many ways, the controversy came to represent what historians today have termed the “transition” period of LDS development, when the church began to shed its rural, insular past and enter the larger mainstream of American religious culture. The present one-volume abridgement of the official record is an attempt to spotlight this important collision between the United States and Mormonism at the dawn of the twentieth century. The historical background for the hearings is treated in Harvard S. Heath’s knowledgeable introduction to this volume.
Although the hearings may have been inevitable and useful in the long term, they were painful in the short term. Smoot’s correspondence during the years of the hearings speaks directly to the anxiety, stress, and pressure he and others lived with. (Unfortunately, Smoot’s diaries for this period have not survived.) At one especially difficult moment, he wrote, “I must admit that it is the hardest thing that I have had to meet in life. I have thought a great deal over the situation, it has worried me until I can hardly sleep, I have prayed over it and have received no answer to my prayers satisfactory to myself …”2 Given the uncertain repercussions of the testimony against him and fragile political alliances he managed to secure, it was easy for Smoot to wax pessimistic: “It is true that at times the clouds look very dark and seem to hang very low, but as the days pass by the sunshine again appears, and I find that the friends that I have made in the past are generally standing by me.”3
My introduction to Senator Smoot and his turbulent first term in office came while I was serving a full-time proselytizing mission for the LDS Church in Florida from 1994 to 1996. My next exposure occurred in mid-1999 while enrolled in a history class taught by Susan Easton Black at Brigham Young University. The class lectures touched gingerly upon the hearings and LDS Church President Joseph F. Smith’s testimony before a sometimes combative committee.
Beginning in the summer of 2004,1 tried to spend almost every available moment working on this abridgement even though it was a challenge to fend off other distractions. My reading of the documents helped to stimulate an interest in public policy and informed my evolving political and religious views. Gradually, I began to see connections between Smoot’s day and my own–an illuminating experience, to say the least.
The full title of the official published record is Proceedings before the Committee on Privileges and Elections of the United States Senate in the Matter of the Protests against the Right of Hon. Reed Smoot, a Senator from the State of Utah, to Hold His Seat.4 It is abbreviated in the present abridgement as Smoot Hearings, followed by volume and page numbers. The hearings, including initial protests to Smoot’s election, spanned three and a half years from January 26, 1903, to June 11, 1906, and covered in detail topics ranging from LDS involvement in politics and business to the church’s temple endowment ceremony, plural marriage, the 1890 Wilford Woodruff Manifesto, and other public and private beliefs and practices. Most witnesses traveled to Washington, D.C., from Utah or Idaho, and each person’s testimony was colored by his or her standing in the LDS Church—very few straddling the fence. Witnesses included high-level church officials, so-called “apostates,” and non-Mormons.
As I combed through the hearings, I was most struck by the testimony of LDS Church President Joseph F. Smith and of Reed Smoot himself. I found their interrogations interesting and revealing; in fact, many of the topics they tackled continue to figure in contemporary LDS Church debates and controversies. Where I included testimony from other witnesses, their statements usually appeared within the context of the topics raised in the examination of the other two witnesses. I have tried, where appropriate, to balance testimony favorable to the LDS Church with testimony that was not.
In the footnotes I have added information from primary sources such as letters, newspaper articles, and diary entries that explain and contextualize the testimony or provide a glimpse into the interpretation the national and Utah media gave to the proceedings. In Salt Lake City, especially, the newspaper commentaries, both pro and con, were vociferous. My decisions about what additional material readers might find helpful reflect my own interests as well as a sense of what others might find obscure. In the reader’s interest, I also silently corrected obvious typographical errors in the transcripts and supplemental material.
I was otherwise guided in my choices about what testimony to include and what further information to place in the notes by the following:
1. At Brigham Young University, the Harold B. Lee library contains J. Reuben dark’s marked-up copy of the hearings, dark, who would come to serve in the church’s First Presidency from 1933 to 1961, highlighted sections of Joseph F. Smith’s testimony in the first volume. I note where such overlapping occurs between my abridgement and dark’s markings. Ironically, Clark joined the First Presidency the same year as Smoot lost his Senate seat.
2. Upon completion of the hearings, separate reports were issued by committee members both for and against Smoot. The majority report ran thirty-two pages, the minority report forty-three pages. These two documents included analysis, relevant testimony, and supporting documentation bolstering each side. My abridgement sometimes follows the excerpts the committee members found relevant or otherwise includes text from their reports, in which case I note the sources.
3. Closing arguments before the committee occurred on January 26-27, 1905, but the case was reopened a year later on February 6, 1906. An additional fifteen witnesses testified, followed by a second round of closing arguments. This additional material seemed significant, including again portions of the record the attorneys chose to cite in their closings. Where the abridgement includes such material, I include a note to that effect.
4. Smoot’s case was eventually decided by the Senate on February 20, 1907. This was a full eight months after an adverse recommendation by the investigating committee. The measure to disqualify Smoot, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, failed by a vote of 42-28. Between when the committee issued its report and the full Senate voted, eight senators, including Smoot himself, delivered speeches for or against him. Where they cited testimony from the hearings, I have noted this in my abridgement.
A project like this is possible only with help and encouragement from friends and associates. My wife, Kim, spent many hours proofing the text as well as humoring my obsession. My sons, Addison and Brandon, were patient, and I’m sure they find it a little strange to discover their father now at home on Saturdays. Tom Kimball deserves all the credit, as well as blame, for introducing me to this project; Kathleen Flake improved its focus and structure. Brothers Alex, Pete, Matty, Andy, and Tim helped out, on demand, with a variety of miscellaneous tasks. Parents Harold and Tina became involved, if only in the interest of their quirky son. Other supporters were Bruce Quick, Stephen Wood, Robert Holland, Heath and Colleen Briggs, and Kelly Ball. I must also acknowledge members of both the Reed Smoot and Carl Badger families (Badger was Smoot’s personal secretary during the hearings), including great-grandson and namesake Reed Smoot, Kathryn Egan, Ethan Kawasaki, and Alice Quinn. Others deserving of thanks are Scott Kenney, Will Bagley, Jim Harris, John Murphy, and Russ Taylor.
My encounter with the Smoot Hearings changed me forever. The day I turned this project over to others was bittersweet.
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Harvard S. Heath
It is doubtful LDS officials anticipated the furor that erupted with Reed Smoot’s election to the U.S. Senate by the Utah state legislature in 1903. Perhaps church authorities thought that with the elections of other Mormons in 1896 and 1900, Apostle Smoot’s election posed no serious problem because he was not a polygamist and was largely removed from the rancor of an earlier era of persecution and prosecution. The unsuccessful seating of B. H. Roberts was almost a dim memory at this juncture. Besides, Roberts had been a polygamist and Democrat—two things Smoot was not. LDS leaders expected opposition from Democrats, a few disgruntled Republicans, and assorted non-Mormons but did not sense the simmering groundswell of indignation over the appointment to national public office of a high-ranking LDS Church general authority.1
Before proceeding further, it may be helpful to understand the place and significance of the Smoot debacle in the context of previous hearings. A systematic study of the years 1791 to 1903 indicates that 107 such hearings occurred which questioned or contested the right of an elected Senator to be seated. To appreciate the magnitude of petitions sent to Washington, D. C., opposing Smoot, it is helpful to know that a petition could come from a single individual or from literally thousands of people. With this qualification in mind, the 3,482 petitions regarding the seating of Smoot represented a significant number of outraged citizens whose moral indignation had been aroused.
The initial salvo against Smoot was unleashed by the Salt Lake Ministerial Association, led by Edward B. Critchlow, a Salt Lake City attorney, and an array of critics of the LDS Church. Although Critchlow authored, and William M. Paden, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, provided research for the original petition opposing Smoot, it was John L. Leilich, Superintendent of Missions for the Methodist Church, who fanned the early flames by accusing Smoot of being a polygamist—which he wasn’t. This erroneous allegation haunted the prosecution throughout the hearings. Smoot learned of the association’s petition while visiting an LDS stake (diocese) conference in Fillmore, Utah, on November 25, 1902. Smoot was a visiting church dignitary at the conference, having been ordained an apostle in 1900. Incensed at what he learned, and in the heat of the moment, he composed a draft telegram stating that his duty was to his country, first and foremost, and he was as capable of serving as any member of the ministerial association. Some associates, realizing the public relations mine field he was about to detonate, assisted him to tone down the substance of the telegram before sending it.
Prior to traveling to Washington, Smoot was already deluged with letters from across the country inquiring about what his victory would mean for the LDS Church and the country. In response, Smoot typically expressed appreciation for the writer’s interest and briefly argued that Mormons had always been misunderstood and misrepresented. However, such replies belied the fact that Smoot was physically spent and emotionally upset over the prospect effacing the inevitable controversy. He met with the LDS First Presidency in February 1903 to consider how he should deal with the opposition to his election. Smoot asked for and received a blessing before embarking on what would become the most ambitious, tumultuous undertaking of his career.
After arriving in Washington, he was pleased to leam he would be formally presented and seated prior to his status being contested. Whether Smoot or LDS leaders felt more secure at this point is difficult to determine, although it appears many supporters believed this was going to be a brief tempest in a teapot and would soon blow over. Smoot shared with colleagues a cautious optimism over his prospects. Nevertheless, as the hearings progressed, his attitude became punctuated by wild emotional swings, and he was subject to alternating bouts of jubilant optimism and dire depression.
The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections was charged with investigating the ministerial association’s allegations. It appointed nine Republicans and five Democrats to conduct the initial hearings. Their findings and recommendations would be reported to the full body of the Senate. Although the committee’s composition changed from beginning to end, the original membership comprised nine northern Republicans, including chair Julius C. Burrows from Michigan, four southern Democrats, and one western Democrat, Fred T. Dubois of Idaho. (See brief biographies of committee members below.)
Newspapers found the controversy not only newsworthy but titillating for their readership, especially among the Eastern press which would consistently track the proceedings. The Salt Lake City newspapers ran daily stories. The non-LDS Salt Lake Tribune provided a service, which Smoot found annoying, of sending the newspaper to all members of the committee and all government department heads. Known to be antagonistic toward the LDS Church, the Tribune took pleasure in adding to Smoot’s woes with investigative stories containing as much sensational and salacious material as could be found.
At the outset of the hearings, it was unclear just who was on trial—Smoot or the LDS Church. A reading of the proceedings reveals that the focus fluctuated. However, it is apparent that the church’s practices and policies were to receive substantially more attention than Smoot’s personal life or qualifications, although it is hard to separate the two as discrete issues.
From March through September 1903, optimism still reigned in Smoot’s camp. Charges had been leveled, but to this point no serious damage had yet been done to the junior Senator’s cause. Then as Congress reconvened in the fall of 1903, the case took a turn for the worse, and for the next two months Smoot’s prior optimism turned to deep concern for the future. The first major problem occurred on November 4 when Apostle Heber J. Grant said he would take more than two wives if the government allowed it. Smoot struggled to explain this remark to his fellow Senators. The second problem was the anti-Mormon proclivity of Senator Dubois, who traveled to Salt Lake City on a fact-finding mission. Dubois was intent on proving the allegations against Smoot and documenting vigilantism and treason against the U.S. government. The Senator initiated the impetus that led to the disfranchisement of all of Idaho’s Mormons in the 1880s and it was reported that Dubois also wanted to organize anti-Mormon newspapers in Idaho and Montana.
By late 1903, aware of the fight that was brewing, LDS leaders decided to seek competent legal counsel. Previously, the First Presidency had designated Franklin S. Richards to represent church interests as an in-house attorney. Smoot eventually settled on Augustus S. Worthington, a non-Mormon lawyer with experience handling Constitutional cases in the nation’s capital, and Waldemar Van Cott, based in Salt Lake City. Through November and December 1903, while attorneys prepared, witnesses subpoenaed by the prosecution began arriving in Washington and newspapers flocked to them for interviews. Smoot tried to keep church officials apprised of developments through letters and coded telegrams. To prevent the contents from falling into unfriendly hands, he was soon using intermediaries to deliver his correspondence with the First Presidency.
Smoot’s attorneys were aware of the tack the prosecution would take. The Senator’s critics intended to argue that (1) he was a polygamist, (2) he had taken an oath against the State of Utah and the U.S. government, (3) he would do whatever church officials asked, and (4) he condoned the continued practice of polygamy including unlawful cohabitation. Smoot had hoped to keep the church on the sidelines through his ordeal, but it became painfully apparent that the committee wanted to explore Mormon practices and doctrines and intended to subpoena its leaders. By February 1904, Smoot was contemplating what he had wrought upon his church. He knew some friends at home thought his election was a mistake and that the price to be exacted for his seat was scarcely worth the problems it posed. He was aware that some fellow members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were less than enthusiastic about what was transpiring, leading him to consider resigning from the Senate. On the other hand, he had the unqualified support of sixty-five-year-old church president Joseph F. Smith, which would eventually prove decisive.
Following some preliminary negotiations, the committee was ready to proceed on March 2,1904. The subpoenas had been sent out; the first witness, Joseph F. Smith, was called to testify. What he said startled the committee and gave the press a field day. For instance, he admitted he had cohabited with all of his five wives during the period after the 1890 Wilford Woodruff Manifesto, the ostensible end to plural marriage. President Smith said he felt this was entirely within the law as he understood it. The church no longer contracted plural marriages, he said, but those already involved in the practice were not expected to abandon their wives and children. He stressed that he had no intention of leaving his wives and the eleven children borne to him after 1890. The mental picture of this articulate, bearded gentleman living with five wives caused an uproar in Washington as many observers interpreted his testimony to be confirmation of the allegations against Smoot.
Apostle Francis M. Lyman, the next LDS authority to testify, responded similarly, explaining that he too felt obligated to care for and be with his plural wives and children. Other subpoenaed apostles—Marriner Wood Merrill and George Teasdale–were excused because of illness. John Henry Smith was ill but agreed to appear at a later date. However, the witnesses the prosecution most wanted to question were two younger apostles, John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley, both of whom had fled the country or maintained the necessary anonymity to avoid being subpoenaed.
Testimonies by Smith and Lyman gave the prosecution hope. By contrast, they dampened Smoot’s spirits, especially when he saw the unexpected public reaction. The press emphasized that the church leadership continued in their unlawful cohabitation and made this the central issue for the American public. Senators who were previously friendly to Smoot informed him that they were receiving up to 2,000 letters a day requesting that the Mormon be denied his seat. Given the sensational exposures of recent testimony, they wanted to know what other unsavory details future witnesses might reveal.
In the April 1904 general conference in Salt Lake City, President Joseph F. Smith issued what has become known as the Second Manifesto reiterating the church’s opposition to polygamy and threatening excommunication to those who entered into new marriages. Smoot felt this declaration was imperative. He had come to learn all too well that if he stood back and compared the theoretical discontinuance of polygamy with the actual facts on the ground, the perception was of duplicity. In Washington, the Second Manifesto was considered to be too little, too late, and there were more calls for Apostles Taylor and Cowley to make an appearance.
Smoot breathed a sigh of relief when committee decided to recess in May, while feeling demoralized by the fact the case was not yet over. Congress reconvened that fall and Smoot’s counsel decided to try to push the matter into January 1905 to give them time to prepare and to let the rage of the previous spring subside as much as possible. It was apparent the chair would have nothing to do with this postponement and pushed for the committee to reconvene some time in December 1904. Smoot was pleased to find he had the continuing support of some Senators. However, once again there were ominous signs on the horizon when a well-known Mormon baiter, Charles Mostyn Owen, agreed to expose to the world the secret rituals of Mormon temples, including the so-called “oath of vengeance” against the United States. The prosecution was going to argue, Smoot learned, that these rites seriously impaired the Senator’s ability to function effectively and independently and might be grounds to preclude him from holding office.
Smoot continued to be inundated by questions about LDS theology and practice, matters in which he had never been very knowledgeable. Church leaders provided him with documentation to authoritatively establish doctrine and urged him and his counsel not to make any missteps on these points. When the investigation continued in December 1904, it became obvious that Smoot was going to be judged on the church’s doctrine, as LDS leaders had predicted. Because the holidays were approaching, the hearings continued only three weeks before recessing. Nevertheless, testimony was presented to show the church had not been sincere or above board in its statements about polygamy.
When the hearings re-opened in January 1905, the Washington press and the Senate committee lingered for a time over the church’s assumed duplicity regarding polygamy and its involvement in directing political activities in Utah and other states. However, having seen substantial progress by the defense while he was vacationing in Salt Lake City, Smoot arrived feeling sanguine about the upcoming sessions. His counsel tried to anticipate what the witnesses might say and prepare appropriately. Joseph F. Smith let it be known that those in or out of the church who opposed Smoot’s right to be seated were traitors and warned against associating with them. Church leaders admonished members to conduct themselves in a way that would not incur suspicion or condemnation from those seeking to attack the church at the hearings.
For the next seventeen days, forty-two witnesses appeared for and against Smoot. The majority were defense witnesses intended to offset the prejudicial testimony from the prosecution. The defense wanted to sprinkle in enough prominent non-Mormons, or “gentiles,” to dispel the idea that Mormons had a monolithic hold on Utah and surrounding regions. While the witnesses did not offer anything startling, they typically lauded Mormons for their contributions to society and sought to create a favorable impression of the Mormon people. It was difficult to determine how these testimonies affected the committee members and other Senators. The press coverage continued searching for and reporting on sensational and spectacular disclosures and ignored the mundane to keep readers interested in the case.
On January 18, 1905, the defense put LDS educator James E. Talmage on the stand. He had spent six months compiling material for his discussion of the church’s tenets in order to refute the witnesses who had preceded him. Two days later, Smoot was unexpectedly called to the stand. Aware that his testimony would be crucial, perhaps the deciding factor in his case, he walked the tightrope of trying not to offend the enemy and not embarrass or criticize his church. According to observers, Smoot was “cautious” and “evasive.” Realizing the necessity of distancing him from the startling testimony of some of the church’s leaders, the defense gave Smoot every opportunity to present himself as a rational, intelligent individual lacking the fanaticism and fervor that had marked some of the previous witnesses. The image Smoot projected was that of a new kind of Mormon—monogamous, business-oriented, civic-minded, and not given to the traditional world view that had characterized the older generation of Latter-day Saints. He sought to deflect accusations of disloyalty, law breaking, aberrant social and political behavior, and political interference from the priesthood. The cross-examination was predictably brutal. However, by January 28 the attorneys on both sides were ready to make concluding statements. Thereafter, no one knew what might come next and neither side was predicting how the case would be decided.
Smoot himself prepared for several possibilities including another continuance. In fact, when the committee decided to carry the investigation over, Smoot became extremely anxious that no untoward event would occur during the interim. His first concern was that something outrageous or irrational might occur at the April general conference, particularly with regard to Apostles Taylor and Cowley. For reasons that seem clear today, he chose not to attend that spring’s conference, citing business commitments on the west coast, and excused himself from all sessions. No adverse action was taken against Taylor and Cowley. Both were sustained in their apostolic offices.
Additional protests occurred in the nation’s capital in the fall of 1905. The National Congress of Mothers, claiming more than two million members, demanded that Smoot be sent home. When he arrived in Washington, he found hundreds of letters awaiting him, asking about positions that had been raised in his case. The most disturbing letters were those that suggested he resign his apostleship to keep his Senate seat or vice versa. When the committee reconvened in February 1906, Smoot was unsure of the mood of other Senators. He fretted over the reaction of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt who, Smoot believed, was the key to his ultimate victory. He therefore undertook steps to reassure Roosevelt, beginning with his decision at the October 1905 general conference to refuse to sustain Apostles Taylor and Cowley as members of the Quorum of the Twelve. In less than a month, both apostles had privately resigned from their quorum, although President Smith decided not to announce their resignations until absolutely necessary.
The beginning of January 1906 was as inauspicious as the previous January. The previous spring, Smoot had exuded a new confidence that everything would soon be behind him. Then Senator Burrows, assisted by Charles Owen and others, introduced evidence that made Smoot once again apprehensive; they were determined to pursue the unresolved question about the temple endowment ritual. Principally they wanted to know if the ritual made the government subservient to the priesthood. After presenting witnesses—notably Walter M. Wolfe, a former Brigham Young University professor and participant in the controversial Cluff expedition to South America—Burrows intended to show that the endowment precluded Smoot from executing his oath as a Senator. Following Wolfe’s seemingly damning testimony, Smoot’s counsel portrayed Wolfe as a drunkard and apostate. Although the former BYU professor’s testimony was distressing, Smoot’s supporters concluded that it was not as damaging as it could have been.
By the time the proceedings ended, Smoot felt that if anything, he had gained ground during the session, the prosecution’s vaunted witnesses not having produced the trouble Smoot’s counsel had feared. Some Senators found aspects of the testimony disturbing, with regard to polygamy, government involvement, and church interference in politics, but there seemed to be nothing so startling that it would adversely affect the case any more than previous revelations already had. Smoot had initially leaned toward wanting to force a vote and be done with the matter, whatever the outcome. But as March and April passed, his colleagues sensed it would be prudent to have the hearings carry over until the next session. Those who were up for re-election were reluctant to anger constituents by voting in Smoot’s favor.
The last issue that needed resolution was the status of Apostles Taylor and Cowley. The committee watched to see what might develop at the church’s upcoming general conference of April 1906. For about six months, the resignations had been sitting on the First Presidency’s desk. By March, President Smith concluded it was time to accept the resignations because Smoot’s situation had made it imperative. A painful decision involving the sacrifice of two apostles, the resignations strengthened Smoot’s case but dealt a devastating blow to Taylor and Cowley and their families.
A decision was made in May 1906 to carry the full Senate vote over until the next year. Smoot’s attorneys, the Republican Party, and the LDS Church favored a delay. However, in resolving the matter in the committee on June 6, the resolution that “Reed Smoot is not entitled to his seat as a United States Senator from the State of Utah” passed by a vote of seven to five. By June 11, two committee reports were filed with the Senate: a majority report opposing Smoot and the minority view supporting him. The majority argued that as a Mormon officer, he was not entitled to high government office because the Mormon Church practiced and promoted polygamy and sought to direct, influence, and dominate social, political, and economic affairs in Utah, which the Senators considered to be un-American. The minority report argued that Smoot was qualified and duly elected, that he had done nothing to indicate he was unable to function as a competent, productive, and loyal public servant.
In January 1907, Smoot’s political friends were confident of a favorable outcome. One factor supporting this optimism was Senator Dubois’s resounding defeat in Idaho in the 1906 elections, which led LDS leaders to sense public opinion might be turning. Meanwhile, Smoot impatiently awaited Senator Burrows’s decision to introduce Resolution 142 to the Senate floor. This was done on February 20. After debate, a vote was called at 4:00 p.m. on the following wording: “Resolved that Reed Smoot is not entitled to his seat as a United States Senator from the State ofUtah[;] two thirds of the Senators concurring therein.” When the votes were tallied, the resolution failed by a vote of forty-two to twenty-eight, five votes shy of the two-thirds majority required for passage of the measure.
Even though it was an equivocal vote of confidence for Smoot, it nevertheless confirmed his right to represent the State of Utah. Of greater significance was that for the first time in its history, the LDS Church had achieved political legitimacy. This should not be misinterpreted as social and cultural acceptance or an indication that American opinion had been magically transformed over night. That process had only begun, but it was a process the Smoot hearings had accelerated. The church desperately needed a victory in this case to gain the respect and stature it needed to be recognized as a bonafide member of American society. Throughout the next two decades, church leaders would look back to the hearings as a crucial turning point in the church’s acceptance nationally and later internationally.
With the unswerving support of Joseph F. Smith and backing of Republican friends, Smoot would go on to re-election for four more terms.
Along with the influence Smoot would come to wield in national politics, often to the church’s benefit, these electoral victories confirmed to President Smith that he had done the right thing to assist Smoot in this watershed moment in Mormon history. The church sought respectability, and this was embodied in the influence Smoot came to project. More than any other man of his time, he helped his state and church out of nineteenth-century isolation into the modern twentieth century. No doubt, the church would have reached the same destination by another road had the hearings not occurred. Even so, it is doubtful the transformation would have happened with the rapidity and distinction Smoot brought to that process.
HARVARD S. HEATH is former curator of the Utah and American West Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. He edited In the World: The Diaries of Reed Smoot and contributed to the reprint edition of The House of the Lord by James E. Talmage. He is currently preparing for publication the diaries of LDS Church President David O. McKay.
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SENATE COMMITTEE ON PRIVILEGES AND ELECTIONS
Joseph Weldon Bailey (1862-1929), D-Texas; elected to two terms in Senate, 1901-13; five-term Congressman, 1891-1901; resigned near end of second Senate term; unsuccessful candidate for Texas governor, 1920; son (Joseph Weldon Bailey Jr.) served in Congress (D-Texas), 1933-34; admitted to bar, 1883; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending fifteen days of testimony.
Albert Jeremiah Beveridge (1862-1927), R-Indiana; elected to two terms in Senate, 1899-1911; unsuccessful Progressive candidate for Indiana governor, 1912, Senate 1914; unsuccessful Republican candidate for Senate, 1922; admitted to bar, 1887; later freelance historian; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending fourteen days of testimony.
Julius Caesar Burrows (1837-1915), R-Michigan; elected to three terms in Senate, 1895-1911; nine-term Congressman, 1873-95; resigned from Congress to fill open Senate seat; admitted to bar, 1859; spoke for abolition during Lincoln campaigns; served as chair of the Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending fifty-two days of testimony.
James Paul Clarke (1854-1916), D-Arkansas; elected to three terms in Senate, 1903-16, died in office; served as Senate president pro tempore, 1914-15; governor of Arkansas, 1895-96; admitted to bar, 1879; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections from beginning of Smoot case until he resigned on January 31, 1906, not having heard any testimony; replaced by Patterson.
Chauncey Mitchell Depew (1834-1928), R-New York; elected to two terms in Senate, 1899-1911; unsuccessful candidate for Senate, 1881; unsuccessful candidate for U.S. presidential nomination, 1888; admitted to bar, 1858; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending six days of testimony.
William Paul Dillingham (1843-1923), R-Vermont; elected to four terms as Senator, 1900-23, died in office; admitted to bar, 1867; governor of Vermont, 1888-90; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending twenty-five days of testimony.
Jonathan Prentiss Dolliver (1858-1910), R-Iowa; elected to two terms in Senate, 1900-10, died in office; six-term Congressman, 1889-1900; resigned from Congress to fill open Senate seat; admitted to bar, 1878; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections beginning in late 1905, replacing McComas, attending two days of testimony.
Fred Thomas Dubois (1851-1930), D-Idaho; served two terms in Senate, 1891-97, 1901-07, as Republican, independent “Silver Republican,” and Democrat; previously delegate from Territory of Idaho, 1887-90; U.S. Marshal of Idaho, 1882-86; used anti-Mormonism as main political platform; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending forty-three days of testimony.
Joseph Benson Foraker (1846-1917), R-Ohio; elected to two terms in Senate, 1897-1909; governor of Ohio, 1885-89; unsuccessful Republican candidate for Ohio governor, 1883, 1889; admitted to bar, 1869; fought in Civil War; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending twenty-four days of testimony.
James Beriah Frazier (1856-1937), D-Tennessee; elected to one term in Senate, 1905-11; governor of Tennessee, 1903-05; admitted to bar, 1881; son (James Beriah Frazier Jr.) a seven-term Congressman (D-Tennessee), 1949-63; replaced Patterson on Committee on Privileges and Elections, February 12, 1906, attending three days of testimony.
George Frisbie Hoar (1826-1904), R-Massachusetts; elected to five terms in Senate, 1877-1904, died in office; four-term Congressman, 1869-77; admitted to bar, 1849; helped conduct impeachment proceedings against William W. Belknap, 1876; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections until death on September 30,1904, having attended ten days of testimony, replaced by Knox.
Albert Jarvis Hopkins (1846-1922), R-Illinois; elected to one term in Senate, 1903-09; nine-term Congressman, 1885-1902; admitted to bar, 1871; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending twenty-two days of testimony.
Philander Chase Knox (1853-1921), R-Pennsylvania; elected to two terms in Senate, 1904-09,1917-21, died in office; resigned first term to become U.S. Secretary of State; appointed U.S. Attorney General, 1901-04; admitted to bar, 1875; credited with being most widely read, “brainiest” man in Senate; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections from late 1904 through end of Smoot hearings, replacing Hoar, attending fifteen days of testimony.
Louis Emory McComas (1846-1907), R-Maryland; elected to one term in Senate, 1899-1905; four-term Congressman, 1883-90; unsuccessful candidate, 1876,1890; appointed Associate Justice of Supreme Court of District of Columbia, 1892; admitted to bar, 1868; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections until retirement, March 1905, having attended twenty-four days of testimony, replaced by Dolliver.
Lee Slater Overman (1854-1930), D-North Carolina; elected to five terms in Senate, 1903-30, died in office; unsuccessful Senate candidate, 1895; admitted to bar, 1878; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending forty days of testimony.
Thomas MacDonald Patterson (1839-1916), D-Colorado; elected to one term in Senate, 1901-07; two-term Congressman, 1875-78 (as Delegate, then Representative); twice unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Colorado governor; admitted to bar, 1867; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections from January 31, 1906, to February 12, 1906, not having heard any testimony, replaced by Frazier.
Edmund Winston Pettus (1821-1907), D-Alabama; elected to two terms in Senate, 1901-07, died in office; served as lieutenant in Mexican War, for Confederacy in Civil War; admitted to bar, 1842; served on Committee on Privileges and Elections through entire Smoot hearings, attending twenty-seven days of testimony.
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SMOOT HEARINGS CHRONOLOGY
Jan. 26: William M. Paden and seventeen others formally submit complaint regarding seating Reed Smoot as U.S. Senator from Utah.
Feb. 25: John L. Leilich adds to the above complaint.
Jan. 4: Reed Smoot answers complaint.
Jan. 16: Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections convenes at 10:30 a.m. to begin hearings. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot. Opening statements from Thomas P. Stevenson and Robert W. Tayler for the complainants, Waldemar Van Cott and Augustus S. Worthington for the respondent, also from Reed Smoot. Executive session, 1:20 p.m.
Mar. 1: The committee meets briefly at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with John G. Carlisle and Robert W. Tayler for the complainants, Van Cott and Worthington for the respondent.
Mar. 2: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Depew, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Carlisle, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Joseph F. Smith is first witness. The committee recesses from 11:45 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Smith testifies again. The committee recesses for ten minutes. Smith’s testimony continues. The committee meets in executive session at 4:05 p.m.
Mar. 3: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, Worthington, and (for Joseph F. Smith) Franklin S. Richards. Smith’s testimony continues. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Smith’s testimony continues afterward. The committee adjourns at 4:20 p.m.
Mar. 4: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smith’s testimony continues. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., after which Smith’s testimony resumes. The committee adjourns at 4:35 p.m.
Mar. 5: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smith’s testimony continues. The committee adjourns at 11:55 a.m.
Mar. 7: Committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smith’s testimony continues. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Smith returns, followed by Clara Mabel Barber Kennedy. The committee adjourns at 4:08 p.m.
Mar. 8: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Kennedy continues, followed by Charles E. Merrill, Emma Mathews, and Francis M. Lyman. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Lyman resumes his testimony. The committee adjourns at 4:30 a.m.
Mar. 9: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Depew, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Joseph F. Smith returns. The committee recesses from noon until 2:00 p.m. Andrew Jenson testifies, followed by Lorin Harmer, Hyrum M. Smith, Thomas Merrill, and Alma Merrill. The committee adjourns at 3:55 p.m.
Mar. 10: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Depew, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Jenson returns. The committee goes into executive session at 11:45 a.m. and afterward recesses until 2:00 p.m. Jenson continues, followed by E. B. Critchlow. The committee adjourns at 4:10 p.m.
Mar. 11: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Foraker, Hoar, Hopkins, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Critchlow continues. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Critchlow returns. The committee adjourns at 4:10 p.m.
Mar. 12: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dillingham, Hoar, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Critchlow continues. The committee recesses from 12:50 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Critchlow returns, followed by Ogden Hiles. The committee adjourns at 4:25 p.m.
Apr. 20: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Depew, Dubois, Hopkins, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. B. H. Roberts testifies. The committee recesses from 11:50 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Roberts continues, followed by Edward H. Barthell. The committee adjourns at 4:10 p.m.
Apr. 21: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Dubois, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Carlisle, Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Roberts is recalled, followed by Calvin Cobb. The committee recesses at 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Cobb continues. Next is Angus M. Cannon. The committee adjourns at 3:35 p.m.
Apr. 22: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Orlando W. Powers testifies. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Powers continues. The committee adjourns at 4:10 p.m.
Apr. 23: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dubois, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Powers continues. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Powers resumes. The committee adjourns at 3:55 p.m.
Apr. 25: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Powers continues, followed by Moses Thatcher. The committee adjourns at 11:50 a.m.
Apr. 26: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Depew, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Thatcher continues. The committee goes into executive session at 11:25 a.m.
Apr. 27: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. L. E. Abbott testifies. The committee adjourns at 11:20 a.m.
May 2: The committee meets at 12:30 p.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, McComas, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, and Worthington. Angus M. Cannon, Jr., testifies. The committee adjourns at 3:45 p.m.
Dec. 12: The committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Rev. J. M. Buckley and George Reynolds testify. The committee recess from 11:50 until 2:00 p.m. Reynolds continues, followed by John H. Hamlin. The committee adjourns at 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 13: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. The following testify: J. H. Wallis Sr., George H. Brimhall, and Josiah Hickman. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Hickman resumes, followed by Margaret Geddes and Arthur Morning. The committee adjourns at 3:15 p.m.
Dec. 14: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Reynolds is recalled, followed by Wilhelmina C. Ellis. Wallis is recalled, followed by August W. Lundstrom. The committee adjourns at 3:00 p.m.
Dec. 15: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Lundstrom is recalled, followed by John Nicholson. Wallis is recalled. The committee recesses from 11:40 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Lundstrom continues. The committee adjourns at 2:00 p.m.
Dec. 16: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Annie Elliott and Charles H. Jackson testify. The committee adjourns at noon.
Dec. 17: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Jackson continues; Nicholson and Hickman are recalled. The committee recesses from 12:55 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Charles W. Penrose testifies. Ellis is recalled, followed by William Budge and John Henry Smith. The committee adjourns at 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 19: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smith continues, followed by Isaac Birdsall. The committee recesses from 1:55 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Birdsall, Budge, and Smith all continue, followed by William Balderston and A. C. Nelson. The committee adjourns at 4:10 p.m.
Dec. 20: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Richards, Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smith is recalled, followed by Benjamin B. Heywood, Annie C. Thurber, and Charles Mostyn Owen. The committee recesses from 12:50 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. Balderston, Owen, and Penrose all continue. Afterward the chair rules that such testimony “tend[s] to prove the doctrines of the organization,” and the committee adjourns at 3:55 p.m.
Jan. 10: The committee meets briefly at 10:00 a.m., then adjourns. Present Senators Burrows, Knox, Overman, and Smoot, with attorney Tayler.
Jan. 11: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Knox, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. William J. McConnell testifies. The committee recesses at 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. McConnell resumes, followed by Burton Lee French. The committee adjourns at 4:25 p.m.
Jan. 12: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Knox, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. F. H. Holzheimer testifies. The committee recesses from noon until 1:30 p.m. Frank Martin, James H. Brady, and J. W. N. Whitecotton testify. The committee adjourns at 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 13: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bev-eridge, Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, Knox, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Whitecotton resumes his testimony. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. White-cotton continues, followed by Hiram E. Booth and Arthur Pratt. The committee adjourns at 5:05 p.m.
Jan. 14: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Knox, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. The following all testify: James E. Lynch, Hugh M. Doug-all, Alonzo Arthur Noon, and William Hatfield. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. In the afternoon, James H. Brady, William McConnell, and William Hatfield continue, followed by John P. Meakin, Robert T. Burton Jr., Samuel N. Cole, James A. Miner, and W. D. Candland. The committee adjourns at 4:00 p.m.
Jan. 16: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Foraker, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. James A. Miner resumes, followed by Elias A. Smith, and William P. O’Meara. The committee recesses from 11:50 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. O’Meara continues, followed by Charles W. Morse, William M. McCarty, and A. S. Condon. The committee adjourns at 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 17: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. William M. McCarty is recalled, followed by Richard W. Young. The committee recesses from noon until 2:00 p.m. Young resumes, followed by E. D. R. Thompson, Charles De Mosey, F. S. Fernstrom, C. V. Anderson, H. J. Hayward, Jens Christian Neilsen, and William Langton. The committee adjourns at 4:40 p.m.
Jan. 18: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Hopkins, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. James A. Miner is recalled, followed by James E. Talmage. The committee recesses from 11:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Talmage resumes his testimony. The committee adjourns at 4:45 p.m.
Jan. 19: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Talmage continues his testimony. The committee recesses from noon until 1:30 p.m. Young and Langton are recalled, followed by Glen Miller, John W. Hughes, Mary G. Coulter, and Mrs. W. H. Jones. The committee adjourns at 4:25 p.m.
Jan. 20: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Knox, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smoot testifies. The committee recesses from noon until 2:00 p.m. Smoot resumes his testimony. The committee adjourns at 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 21: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Knox, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smoot continues his testimony. The committee adjourns at 11:55 a.m.
Jan. 23: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, McComas, Overman, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Smoot continues his testimony. The committee recesses from noon until 1:30 p.m. Smoot resumes, followed by Moroni Gillespie, John M. Whitaker, Oleen N. Stohl, and J. U. Eldredge Jr. The committee adjourns at 4:13 p.m.
Jan. 24: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Depew, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, Knox, McGomas, and Overman, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Frank B. Stephens testifies. The committee recesses from noon until 1:30 p.m. Stephens resumes, followed by Z. T. Sowers, James E. Talmage, Oleen N. Stohl, William Langton, and David Eccles. The committee adjourns at 5:05 p.m.
Jan. 25: The committee meets from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, and Knox, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington.
Jan. 26: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Knox, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Cott, and Worthington. Taylor begins his closing argument opposing Smoot. The committee recesses from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Tayler resumes his argument. The committee adjourns at 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 27: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Dubois, Foraker, Hopkins, Knox, McComas, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Tayler, Van Gott, and Worthington. Tayler continues his argument, followed by Van Cott in Smoot’s defense. The committee recesses from 11:55 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Van Cott resumes, followed by Worthington, also in Smoot’s defense. Tayler closes.
Feb. 6: The committee meets briefly from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dillingham, Hopkins, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Carlisle and Worthington.
Feb. 7: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Depew, Dillingham, Hopkins, Knox, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Carlisle, Van Cott, and Worthington. Walter M. Wolfe testifies. The committee goes into executive session at 12 noon, then adjourns.
Feb. 8: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Hopkins, Knox, and Overman. Wolfe continues, followed by William Jones Thomas, John P. Holmgren, and Charles A. Smurthwaite. The committee recesses from noon until 2:00 p.m. Henry W. Lawrence and Charles Mostyn Owen testify. The committee adjourns at 3:35 p.m.
Feb. 9: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Beveridge, Burrows, Dillingham, Hopkins, Knox, and Overman. Smurthwaite continues. The committee adjourns at 11:20 a.m.
Mar. 26: The committee meets at 10:20 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dubois, Frazier, and Smoot, with attorneys Carlisle and Worthington. Robert J. Shields and James H. Linford testify. The committee recesses from 12:20 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Charles E. Marks, Stephen H. Love, James Clove, and William K. Henry testify. The committee adjourns at 4:02 p.m.
Mar. 27: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows and Dubois, with attorney Worthington, who introduces some letters and affidavits. William K. Henry continues, followed by Joseph Geoghegan. The committee adjourns at 11:55 a.m.
Apr. 12: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Bailey, Burrows, Dillingham, Foraker, Dolliver, Dubois, Frazier, Knox, Overman, Pettus, and Smoot, with attorneys Carlisle and Worthington. Carlisle summarizes the prosecution’s case. The committee adjourns at 11:55 a.m.
Apr. 13: The committee meets at 10:00 a.m. Present Senators Burrows, Dillingham, Foraker, Dolliver, Dubois, Frazier, Knox, and Pettus, with attorney Worthington, who summarizes the respondent’s case. The committee adjourns at 12:05 p.m.
June 11: Senator Burrows submits the final majority committee report to the U.S. Senate; dissenting members submit a minority report.
Feb. 20: The Senate fails to sustain the resolution against Smoot, who retains his Senate seat
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Saturday, January 16
The first public hearing in the Smoot Trial … was slimly attended by members of the committee and by the public. [Nevertheless] all [who were present] manifested keen interest in the case and all excepting Senators Dillingham and Overman asked many questions of Senator Smoot’s council.” —Salt Lake Herald, Jan. 16, 1904
The Chairman.1 The committee is advised that the protestants and the respondent in the pending matter are represented by counsel. The Chair will inquire if anyone appears for the protestants at this time.2 Mr. Robert W. Tayler.3 I appear for the protestants.
The Chairman. Who appears for the respondent, the junior Senator from Utah?
Mr. A. S. Worthington.4 I appear for him, Mr. Chairman, and so does Mr. Waldemar Van Cott.5Mr. Thomas P. Stevenson. Mr. Chairman, I appear for the National Reform Association, one of the organizations which has been protesting against the seating of Mr. Smoot.
The Chairman. Do you represent the original protestants?
Mr. Stevenson. We are original.
The Chairman. Do you speak for any of the signers to the protest now under consideration?
Mr. Stevenson. We filed a protest last spring, at the time Senator Smoot took his seat …6Mr. Tayler. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I represent the protestants who filed the first protest,7 or the protest signed by W. M. Paden and others, that appears first in the printed document which the committee has issued.8 I do not disavow, in so far as I would be able to do so, the representations of the party interested in the Supplemental protest.9 I merely say, respecting the charge made in the supplemental protest, that I do not know, and therefore can not say to the committee, that proof will be made sustaining the charge of what is called the Leilich protest,10 to the effect that Mr. Smoot is a polygamist.11 I have no desire, and the committee, I gather, has no desire, to hear any argument, at this time at least upon the question of then-power to act in a case of this sort, or the legal effect of the things which it is claimed will be proved. The Senators are as familiar as anybody could be with the provisions of the Constitution respecting the power of the Senate to judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members, and also its power to expel. I need only say that there is absolutely no limit upon the right or the power of the Senate in regard to these two procedures, except that the exclusion of a member or the declaration of the vacancy of a seat, on account of a claim that the applicant is disqualified, must of course be sustained by a majority vote of the Senate, and his expulsion must be sustained by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Senate. Beyond that there is no limit to the power of the Senate …
First, then, the Mormon priesthood, according to the doctrine o that church and the belief and practice of its membership, is vestei with, and assumes to exercise, supreme authority in all things tempc ral and, spiritual, civil and political. The head of the church claims to receive divine revelations, and these Reed Smoot, by his covenant and obligations, is bound to accept and obey, whether they affect things spiritual or things temporal. That is the first proposition… Second, the first presidency—
Senator Beveridge. Is that the first proposition upon which you bas your contest against the respondent?
Mr. Tayler. Yes, sir.
Senator Beveridge. His membership in the Mormon Church?
Mr. Tayler. Yes, sir; exactly.
Senator Beveridge. I am merely asking for information; but would or would it not mean that no member of the Mormon Church has a right to hold office.12
Mr. Tayler. I think that is true. Of course the committee will understand that as a practical and as a public question there is a ver marked and proper distinction to be made between a layman in the Mormon Church and one who is in high official position, who is himself authorized to receive revelations and impart them to his inferiors, who must obey those revelations thus imparted.13Second. The first presidency and twelve apostles, of whom Reed Smoot is one, are supreme in the exercise of this authority of the church and in the transmission of that authority to their successor. Each of them is called prophet, seer, and revelator …
The [Utah] legislature, overwhelmingly Mormon, passed a law which provided that no prosecution should be instituted under the law forbidding polygamous cohabitation unless it was done “on complaint of the husband or wife, or a relative of the accused, within the first degree of consanguinity, or of the person with whom the unlawful act is alleged to have been committed, or of the father or mother of said person; and no prosecution for unlawful cohabitation shall be commenced except on complaint of the wife or alleged plural wife of the accused …”14Now that law, which passed the two houses of the legislature by an overwhelming majority, passed without protest,15 without a sign of a ripple on the surface of the Mormon sea officially; but the governor, himself a Mormon, assigning the reason why he did it, that it would arouse public sentiment in this country so vigorously against the Mormon people that it would destroy them, vetoed the bill.16
Senator Beveridge. What has the respondent to do with that law?
Mr. Tayler. The respondent?
Senator Beveridge. What has that law to do with the respondent?
Mr. Tayler. I have said only that the respondent—
Senator Beveridge. What has he to do with the passage of that law?
Mr. Tayler. I have said only that the respondent was one of the ruling officers of the church, and that he entered no protest against nor did he undertake to prevent this nullification of the law.
Senator Beveridge. You do not assert that he had anything to do with the passage of the law, one way or the other?
Mr. Tayler. Oh, no.
Senator McComas. I understand Senator Smoot was an apostle at that time—1901.17
Mr. Tayler. Yes, sir. He was an apostle at that time.
Senator Beveridge. You do not charge that he personally advocated the passage of the law, or anything of that kind?18
Mr. Tayler. No, I do not know that he did. Now, gentlemen, those are the things we expect to prove, and upon them ask the opinion of the committee and the Senate as to its duty.
Senator McComas. Before you take your seat, I wish to ask you a question. Was any other legislation in that direction either attempted or enacted thereafter?
Mr. Tayler. No, I think not.
Senator Overman. When was that legislation passed?
Mr. Yayler. In 1901.
Senator McComas. March 8, 1901.
Mr. Tayler. Mr. Smoot became an apostle in 1900.19
Senator Beveridge. Do you charge the respondent himself with violating the law of the United States in reference to polygamy?
Mr. Tayler. No …
Mr. Worthington. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, it will be perceived that the formal statement of the charges which are here made against Senator Smoot, as they have been reduced to writing and read by my friend, Mr. Tayler, differs very materially from the statement of the charges against the Senator made in the protest itself. While we are prepared now to respond in a general way to those charges and to [inform] the committee as to what we have to say about them, we will ask the privilege of the committee, within a few days, of reducing to writing our answer to this formal statement, so that the committee may have it for consideration in connection with the statement itself.
Senator McComas. I trust that will be done.
The Chairman. If there is no objection, it will be so ordered.
Senator Smoot. Two days will be plenty. We can answer it by Monday, if the committee wants it.20
Mr. Worthington. First, as to the questions of law which will arise here, and as to which Mr. Tayler has said very little. He refers to the general language of the Constitution in reference to the expulsion of Senators and Members of the House, and says there is no limit to the power. I agree with him, Mr. Chairman, that there is no limit to the power of the Senate in that regard. I do not agree with him that there is no limit to the jurisdiction of the Senate. I think it will be shown, when we come to investigate these questions of law, that the proposition is well settled at both ends of the Capitol that neither House has jurisdiction to consider a charge made against a Senator or a Member of the House as to any offense alleged to have been committed by him before he was elected, unless it is something which relates to the election itself, as that it was obtained by bribery or something of that kind. It so happens that that question—
Senator Pettus. Do you maintain that no moral quality in a Senator or Member would authorize either body to expel him or refuse him a seat?
Mr. Worthington. No, Senator, I did not say that. I say for offenses committed before he was elected.
Senator Pettus. I mean before he was elected.
Mr. Worthington. Yes.
Senator Pettus. Your proposition, as I understand, is that no matter what a man may have done or said prior to his election, his election purified him so far as that body is concerned?
Mr. Worthington. That is exactly the proposition. I was about to say that that question was most thoroughly considered in the House of Representatives when Mr. [Brigham H.] Roberts was sent here as a Representative from the State of Utah [in 1898]. It was charged that he was a polygamist, not in theory only, but in practice; that he was defying the laws of the State and the compact under which the State was admitted into the Union. He was not allowed to take his seat, and the question of his qualification was referred to a committee, of which my friend, the gentleman from Ohio, was chairman. A very elaborate and able report was prepared and submitted by the majority of the committee, including Mr. Tayler, in which all the precedents are gone over and in which that conclusion was reached, and that conclusion was sustained by the House of Representatives by a very large majority.21
A minority of the committee, composed of two of the nine members who reported on the matter, stated that in their opinion the House was bound to admit Mr. Roberts because he possessed the constitutional qualifications—he had the requisite age, the requisite citizenship, and he was an inhabitant of the State—and that was all you could look into; that they must admit him, and after being admitted they could turn him out, and he ought to be turned out. So the question was fairly presented, and it was conceded by everybody—I think there was no dissent in the House or in the committee—that he could not occupy his seat because he was a polygamist; but it was decided by the committee and by the majority of the House that if they seated him they could not expel him, because the charge involved something that had been committed in the past, and that therefore he must be prevented from taking his seat …
Mr. Van Cott. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am sorry I was not able to grasp the entire meaning of Mr. Tayler’s statement and to remember it, so as to give the committee the benefit of replying to it at this time. However, we will do so in writing Monday. There are some things that I carry in mind and to which I can refer very briefly.
Mr. Tayler said there was a bill introduced in the [Utah] legislature providing in regard to polygamy, that the complaint could only be made by the husband or wife of the party who was wronged or relatives within the first degree of consanguinity; that the legislature was overwhelmingly Mormon, which is true, and that it passed without a ripple. In that statement Mr. Tayler, not having been in Utah, is violently mistaken. It did make a ripple. It made big waves, and there was a great deal of talk, not only by Mormons but by Gentiles, over any such proposed legislation. It was not a ripple; it was violent.22
The act went to a Mormon governor. He vetoed it. It went back to the Mormon legislature. They could have passed it over his veto. They sustained his veto. If we go into that question in the evidence there will [be] reasons shown, which I would rather not state now, as to why probably that act was introduced. I will say this briefly from my standpoint. In the Mormon Church there are men who are wise and men who are very unwise, just as there are in other churches, just as there are in all parties and in all bodies. The Mormon Church is by no means free of its foolish men, and from my standpoint that was an exceedingly foolish measure. But if we go into the matter it will be found that Senator Smoot had nothing to do with it …
Now, the question is, should this committee investigate cases of unlawful cohabitation or simply cases of polygamy? As a matter of propriety, I say they should investigate only cases of polygamy and not of polygamous cohabitation, with one proviso, which I will state a little later. I want to state the reason why the committee, I think, as a matter of propriety, should do that. It is this: In the enabling act–and I will have to furnish the committee later with those references if it desires, because I see the books are not here, so that I can refer to them—in the constitutional convention, and I will start there, because that is the natural place to begin, there was present Mr. C. S. Varian, a very prominent Gentile. He had been assistant United States district attorney and also United States district attorney in the prosecution of polygamy cases and unlawful cohabitation cases, and had been very vigorous and had been very successful. I have no doubt it was largely through his efforts that the condition came about where the Gentiles united with the Mormons. He was in the constitutional convention. When the proposed constitution was reported to the convention, the language of the constitution was simply like the language of the enabling act—”polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.” That is all there was in the proposed constitution, and that is just like the enabling act.
I wish to call your attention to the significance of it. It is not “unlawful cohabitation and polygamous cohabitation and polygamy are forever prohibited,” but that “polygamy is forever prohibited in the State of Utah.” When that was reported to the convention Mr. Varian called attention to the fact that that provision was not self-executing; that it would take legislation for the purpose of backing it up, and therefore he proposed an amendment to the effect that a certain act of the legislature of Utah, which punished polygamy, be engrafted right into the constitution, so that it would be self-executing in its provisions.
In the discussion of that, Mr. Varian called attention to the act. He said it should be engrafted into the constitution so far as polygamy was concerned, but so far as unlawful polygamous cohabitation was concerned, adultery was concerned, and those things, they should not go into the constitution23 …
Senator Overman. Let me ask you a question for information.
Mr. Van Cott. Certainly.
Senator Overman. What do you mean by “polygamous cohabitation?” Is there any difference between that and the usual crime of fornication, denounced in the States as “fornication” and “adultery?”
Mr. Van Cott. It is just the same with one exception, if you will let me explain. In Washington and other places, I suppose, there is not a man who comes up and says that he has two wives. So, if he lives with a woman not his wife, he is guilty of fornication or adultery. In Utah a man comes out and says: “A is my wife; B is my wife; C is my wife.”
Senator Overman. He announces it publicly. That is the difference?
Mr. Van Cott. Practically.
Senator Pettus. I ask if marriage is not a part of “polygamous cohabitation?”
Mr. Van Cott. Do you mean polygamous marriage?
Senator Pettus. Is not marriage a part of the definition of “polygamous cohabitation?”
Mr. Van Cott. Yes, sir; exactly.
Senator Pettus. A second marriage?
Mr. Van Cott. Yes, sir; it presupposes the marriage. That is the difference …
Mr. Worthington. I am requested by Senator Smoot to interrupt Mr. Van Cott for a moment to say that the chairman assumes what Senator Smoot understands is not the fact at all; that is, that the apostles are a part of the governing body of the church.
The Chairman. Omitting that, take the three individuals constituting the presidency, and the twelve making up the apostles, what is expected to be shown in answer to the charge that any or all of those people are to-day living in polygamy?
Mr. Van Cott. Answering you Mr. Chairman, when you said the “governing body”—
The Chairman. I omit that.
Mr. Van Cott. I understood you; and I was going to pass that over without making any correction, because I understood the meaning. In regard to the others mentioned, frankly speaking, I know nothing about whether they are living in polygamy or not. I have inquired. Of the first presidency, composed of Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, I will say that Anthon H. Lund, one of the first presidency, I have always understood, was a monogamist; that he has never gone into polygamy; that he has never advised it or encouraged it. In regard to John R. Winder—
The Chairman. I do not care about the details. What, if anything, do you propose to show upon that point generally?
Mr. Van Cott. I am stating it because I can not answer yes or no.
The Chairman. Very well.
Mr. Van Cott. In regard to John R Winder, I understand without a doubt—I know him intimately—that he is a monogamist. He is not practicing unlawful cohabitation.
Senator Dubois. That is admitted by Mr. Tayler. There is no contention over that at all. I listened very attentively to his statement—
Mr. Tayler. My understanding is that two first councilors to the president of the church are not polygamists. At least we make no such claim and make no proof of it.
Senator Dubois. But that a majority of the apostles are?
The Chairman. How about the president Joseph F. Smith?
Mr. Van Cott. I was coming to him. As to the president, I understand by repute, and I believe it, that he is a polygamist. I inquired, long before I was connected with this case, as to whether he was living in polygamy, and I have been informed both ways. I have been told that he was not obeying the law. I have been told that he was. As to that I have no proof, and I do not know, and Senator Smoot does not know, and if he did I should give the information to the committee.
The Chairman. May I ask you a question in this connection?
Mr. Van Cott. Certainly.
The Chairman. How many wives is it reputed he has?
Mr. Van Cott. I do not remember, and could not state.
The Chairman. Now as to the apostles.
Mr. Van Cott. In regard to the apostles, I know several of them, and my present recollection is that there are six or seven who are polygamists, and the others never have been polygamists.
Mr. Worthington. What do you mean by “polygamists”—living with polygamous wives?
Mr. Van Cott. I say “polygamists.” I mean by that that they had married more than one wife.
Mr. Worthington. It does not mean polygamy.
Mr. Van Cott. In regard to polygamous cohabitation, there is not one of these apostles that I know of who is living in polygamous cohabitation. I have heard, as to several, that they have obeyed the law strictly ever since the manifesto of President [Wilford] Woodruff in 1890. If there is one of them who has been living in polygamous cohabitation since the manifesto I have not personal knowledge of it, and I do not know of it, so far as the proof is concerned …
The Chairman. Is a man by the name of Heber J. Grant one of the apostles?
Mr. Van Cott. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. Where is he?
Mr. Van Cott. I suppose from the newspapers that he has gone to England in connection with the Mormon Church.24
The Chairman. Do you know whether he is a polygamist?
Mr. Van Cott. I know that he is a polygamist. Whether he is living in polygamous cohabitation I only know from the newspapers. They say his, but outside of that I do not know …
Senator McComas. Do you expect to prove that six apostles and the president are now practicing unlawful cohabitation?25
Mr. Tayler. More than that. I say that the first president and five of the apostles now practicing polygamy signed the prayer to the President of the United States for amnesty.26
The Chairman. Did Apostle Grant sign it?
Mr. Tayler. He did.
The Chairman. Where is he?
Mr. Tayler. I understand he is a fugitive from justice. At any rate a warrant is out for him for a violation of this law.
The Chairman. Is he one of the apostles?
Mr. Tayler. Yes, sir; he is one of the apostles …
NOTES to preface:
1. See Harvard S. Heath, “Reed Smoot: First Modem Mormon,” Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1990; Kathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
2. Smoot to Joseph F. Smith, Mar. 23, 1904, Reed Smoot Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Unless otherwise noted, all correspondence cited throughout this book may be found in the Smoot Papers at BYU.
3. Smoot to Joseph F. Smith, Apr. 9, 1904.
4. The proceedings were published by the Government Printing Office in four volumes, 1904-06, as Senate Report No. 486, 59th Congress, 1st Session. The total page count is 3,432.
NOTES to introduction:
1. For a detailed discussion of the Smoot hearings, with complete source citations, see my “Reed Smoot: First Modern Mormon,” Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1990, esp. chapter 2 on the hearings, 84-197. The standard biography is Milton R. Merrill, Reed Smoot: Apostle in Politics (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1990).
1. The committee chair, Senator Julius Caesar Burrows, exploited the hearings for political gain, as Smoot described in a letter to LDS President Joseph F. Smith: “I called on President [Theodore] Roosevelt and asked him to use his influence as far as possible to have my case decided at as early a day as possible—He expressed a little fear about the position Senator Burrows would take, and stated that he was afraid that he would not be able to have very much influence with him.” The reason for this was that Roosevelt had leaned on Burrows, a fellow Republican, to “go contrary to the wishes of the great majority of his constituents in voting for the Cuban Reciprocity Treaty.” Burrows faced re-election, “and it may be that he will yield to public clamor and carry the investigation just as far as they demand” (Jan. 4, 1904). In an interesting sidebar, Harvard S. Heath noted that Burrows was a distant relative of Joseph F. Smith (“Reed Smoot: First Modern Mormon,” Ph.D. diss. Brigham Young University, 1990, 102-03).
2. The prosecution submitted a twenty-six-page document on January 26, 1903, which charged that (1) the LDS priesthood had supreme authority in all things temporal and spiritual; (2) the First Presidency and twelve apostles were the supreme administrators of this authority; (3) the church’s authorities had not “abandoned the principles and practice of political dictation,” nor “abandoned belief in polygamy and polygamous cohabitation”; (4) the church’s attitude was evidenced by its teachings; (5) “this body of officials, of whom Senator-elect Smoot is one,” had “sought to pass a law nullifying enactments against polygamous cohabitation”; and (6) “protect and honor the violators of the laws against polygamy and polygamous cohabitation.”
Not surprisingly, the Salt Lake Tribune considered “the election of an apostle to be unwise and adverse to the true interests of the State” (Jan. 21, 1903). The LDS Church-owned Deseret News defended Smoot, arguing that the opposition was “based on prejudice and false representations by persons envious of [his] success” (Jan. 21, 1903).
3. Robert W. Tayler (1852-1910) was lead attorney representing the complainants. He had served four terms as U.S. Representative from Ohio, 1895-1902, and was later appointed U.S. District Judge for northern Ohio.
4. Augustus S. Worthington agreed to be lead attorney for Smoot after Charles J. Faulkner agreed to take the case for $5,000, then changed his mind. Smoot suspected “some influence at work to discourage the attorneys,” perhaps by committee members in telling attorneys it would be a “long drawn out fight” (Smoot to Joseph F. Smith, Dec. 16, 1903).
5. Waldernar Van Cott (1859-1940) was born in Salt Lake City but was not Mormon.
6. Smoot was elected by the Utah state legislature on Tuesday, January 20, 1903, by a vote often of eighteen in the senate and thirty-six of forty-four in the house (“Smoot Is Now a Real Senator,” Deseret News, Jan. 20, 1903). Following his swearing-in, the First Presidency wrote to Smoot: “The news of your taking your seat in the Senate reached us by associated press at the temple during our meeting there, and we need not tell you how exceedingly delightful and joyful it made us all feel. Our joy found expression in singing that beautiful hymn, ‘Zion stands with the hills surrounded,’ and offering thanksgiving to the Lord for the victory won” (Mar. 9, 1903).
7. The original complainants were C. E. Alien, Clarence T. Brown, J. J. Corum, E. B. Critchlow, W. Montgomery Ferry, C. C. Goodwin, George R. Hancock, Harry C. Hill, J. L. Leilich, Abill Leonard, S. H. Lewis, H. G. McMillan, W. A. Nelden, W. M. Paden, George M. Scott, Ezra Thompson, P. P. Williams, and E. W. Wilson. See Smoot Hearings, 1:26. Their complaint had to be filed within ten days after Smoot took his seat in the Senate. For a brief biography of each participant, see Critchlow’s testimony in Smoot Hearings, 1:591-93.
8. A few days before the Salt Lake Ministerial Association filed its protest in 1903, a Salt Lake newspaper reported that the association intended to question Smoot’s “credentials” and had “telegraphed to the proper persons in Washington” (Salt Lake Telegram, Jan. 22, 1903). For the entire protest, see Smoot Hearings, 1:1-26.
9. The supplemental protest contained thirteen points, submitted on February 25, 1903, by John L. Leilich. Perhaps the most sensational was the thirteenth charge: “Reed Smoot is a polygamist, and… since the admission of Utah in the union of States he… having a legal wife, married a plural wife in the State of Utah in violation of the laws … and since such plural or polygamous marriage the said Reed Smoot has lived and cohabited with both his legal wife and his plural wife in the State of Utah” (Smoot Hearings, 1:26-30). Leilich’s protest was received with skepticism by the Deseret News, claiming that “the man who has been the forefront of the whole crusade stated … today that he was afraid ‘Brother Leilich had made a pretty mess of the whole business.'” (“Leilich Denounced as a Common Falsifier,” Deseret News, Feb. 27, 1903).
10. In a letter to Smoot two weeks after Leilich’s protest, the First Presidency explained, “We read the charge in company with Brother [Charles W.] Penrose [editor of the Deseret News], and concluded not to dignify it with a place in the columns of the News” (Mar. 9, 1903).
11. The twenty-six-page document included excerpts from LDS scripture, sermons, and newspaper articles, including this from the Salt Lake Telegram, January 16, 1903:
Apostle Smoot, who is in Provo, was cross-examined over the telephone by the telegram to-day. Here is what happened: “You state in a morning paper that you are not a polygamist, and as a Mormon and as an apostle have never been asked to practice polygamy preach it, or advise others to practice it. Will you answer another question? Do you believe in polyg—?”
“I will not. I will not. I won’t,” broke in Mr. Smoot before the reporter could finish the question.
“Will you not answer the plain question: Do you believe in polygamy?”
“I will not answer any question that is not submitted in writing. I have been misquoted and my statements misconstrued by Salt Lake papers, and thereby injured in Washington,” the apostle declared, as he hung up his telephone.
12. Beveridge was making the indirect point that since statehood, Utah had elected Frank J. Cannon, a Mormon, to the Senate. Cannon (1859-1933), son of LDS authority George Q. Cannon, subsequently left the church and was later officially expelled. He regularly attacked Smoot and Joseph F. Smith in the editorial pages of the Salt Lake Tribune and especially in his 1911 book, Under the Prophet in Utah. See also Michael I. Paulos, “Political Cartooning and the Reed Smoot Hearings,” Sunstone, Dec. 200 36-40.
13. This entire section was cited by Van Cott in his closing argument for Smoot (Smoot Hearings, 3:628).
14. According to the Deseret News (Mar. 15, 1901), this language was used in other states (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oregon), where “the crime of adultery could only be prosecuted on the complaint of the husband or wife of the accused.”
15. In fact, the bill was vigorously debated by the state senate before passing eleven to seven (“Evans Bill Passes Senate,” Deseret News, Mar. 8, 1901). The opposition editorialized that “the Evans bill would be more effective in stirring up eastern wrath against the dominant church in Utah than any public or private measure that could be devised” (“Senator Evans’ Bill,” Salt Lake Herald, Mar. 9, 1901).
16. The Evans bill passed in the Utah House on March 11, 1901, by a vote of 25-17. Utah Governor Daniel M. Wells vetoed the bill on March 14, stating that if allowed to become law, it would be “employed as a most effective weapon against the very classes whose condition it is intended to ameliorate. Furthermore, I have every reason to believe its enactment would be the signal for a general demand upon the National Congress for a constitutional amendment directed solely against certain social conditions here” (“Disapproves of the Evans Bill,” Deseret News, Mar. 15, 1901).
17. McComas was one of eight Republicans on the committee. Although from the same party as Smoot, they were “men whom I have been a little afraid of, and I am still of the opinion that if I have any serious opposition, it will come from the [Republican] members of this committee” (Smoot to Joseph F. Smith, Nov. 18, 1903).
18. Shortly before Wells vetoed the Evans bill, the Salt Lake Tribune asked several LDS leaders for their opinion of it. Smoot demurred, saying he had “every confidence in Gov. Well’s ability to handle the matter to the best interests of the State.” Church President Lorenzo Snow said, “I don’t know why I should say anything about it.” Joseph F. Smith, on the other hand, believed Wells should sign the bill “as it was in the best interests of the state.” See “Evans Bill Condemned,” Salt Lake Tribune, Mar. 13, 1901.
19. Smoot was ordained an apostle on April 8, 1900.
20. Smoot submitted a ten-page reply (Smoot Hearings, 1:31-40).
21. When Tayler was a U.S. Congressman, he chaired the Committee on Elections, 1898-99, that ousted B. H. Roberts from the Congress.
22. Presumably Van Cott’s reference to “violence” is to hostility in tone evinced by the Evans Bill, not to actual violence.
23. On January 17, 1904, Smoot’s secretary Carl Badger confided in his journal:
“The first hearing came off yesterday (16th). The Senator thinks that Van Cott made too many admissions” (in Rodney J. Badger, Liahona and Iron Rod: The Biography of Carl A. and Rose J. Badger [Bountiful, Utah: Family History Publishers, 1985], 210). Badger’s journals and correspondence span the duration of the hearings and provide a behind-the-scenes view of the inner machinations and scuttlebutt.
24. Speaking to the University of Utah, Grant bragged of having plural wives. The result was that a warrant was issued for his arrest; but before Sheriff Frank Emery could deliver the warrant to the apostle’s house, Grant was tipped off and was already “speeding eastward”:
The Herald was informed last evening that on Tuesday evening Apostle Grant got on the Rio Grande train from the west side of the yards, catching the smoking car; the train pulled out. The train was an hour late out of Salt Lake … “I had not the slightest idea he would try to escape” said Sheriff Emery … “I supposed he would submit to a warrant without question” (Salt Lake Herald, Nov. 12, 1903).
25. Smoot filed an “additional answer” after the opening statements:
I deny that either the president or any of the apostles of the church has taken a polygamous wife since the manifesto of 1890.1 deny that either the president or any of the twelve apostles has at any time practiced polygamy or polygamous cohabitation with my countenance or with my knowledge, except as herein above set forth … deny that any plural marriage ceremony has been performed by any apostle of the church since the manifesto of 1890, and deny that many or any bishops or other high officials of the church have taken plural wives since that time. I deny, except as herein above admitted, in the answer to this third specification, that all or any of the first presidency or the twelve apostles encourage, countenance, conceal, or connive at polygamy or polygamous cohabitation. I deny that the first presidency or the twelve apostles honor or reward by any office or preferment those who most persistently and defiantly violate the law of the land (Smoot Hearings, 1:74-77).
26. Pursuant to legislation against polygamy in 1880s, LDS leaders were actively pursued by federal officials. Once the Manifesto was in effect, church leaders desired amnesty for those who contracted plural marriages prior to 1890. Their prayer for amnesty was presented in late 1891 to U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, who granted it on January 4, 1893.