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1 occurrence of roughing it
[Clear Hits]


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1 occurrence of roughing it
[Clear Hits]





Page Appendix


Mormonism is only about forty years old, but its career has been full of
stir and adventure from the beginning, and is likely to remain so to the end.
Its adherents have been hunted and hounded from one end of the country
to the other, and the result is that for years they have hated all “Gentiles”
indiscriminately and with all their might. Joseph Smith, the finder of the
Book of Mormon and founder of the religion, was driven from State to
State with his mysterious copperplates and the miraculous stones he read
their inscriptions with. Finally he instituted his “church” in Ohio and
Brigham Young joined it. The neighbors began to persecute, and apostasy
commenced. Brigham held to the faith and worked hard. He arrested
desertion. He did more—he added converts in the midst of the trouble.
He rose in favor and importance with the brethren. He was made one of
the Twelve Apostles of the Church. He shortly fought his way to a higher
post and a more powerful—President of the Twelve. The neighbors rose
up and drove the Mormons out of Ohio, and they settled in Missouri.
Brigham went with them. The Missourians drove them out and they retreated
to Nauvoo, Illinois. They prospered there, and built a temple which made
some pretensions to architectural grace and achieved some celebrity in a
section of country where a brick court-house with a tin dome and a cupola
on it was contemplated with reverential awe. But the Mormons were
badgered and harried again by their neighbors. All the proclamations
Joseph Smith could issue denouncing polygamy and repudiating it as utterly
anti-Mormon were of no avail; the people of the neighborhood, on both
sides of the Mississippi, claimed that polygamy was practised by the Mormons,
and not only polygamy but a little of everything that was bad.
Brigham returned from a mission to England, where he had established a
Mormon newspaper, and he brought back with him several hundred converts
to his preaching. His influence among the brethren augmented with every
move he made. Finally Nauvoo was invaded by the Missouri and Illinois


Page 573
Gentiles, and Joseph Smith killed. A Mormon named Rigdon assumed the
Presidency of the Mormon church and government, in Smith's place, and even
tried his hand at a prophecy or two. But a greater than he was at hand.
Brigham seized the advantage of the hour and without other authority than
superior brain and nerve and will, hurled Rigdon from his high place and
occupied it himself. He did more. He launched an elaborate curse at
Rigdon and his disciples; and he pronounced Rigdon's “prophecies” emanations
from the devil, and ended by “handing the false prophet over to
the buffetings of Satan for a thousand years”—probably the longest term
ever inflicted in Illinois. The people recognized their master. They
straightway elected Brigham Young President, by a prodigious majority,
and have never faltered in their devotion to him from that day to this.
Brigham had forecast—a quality which no other prominent Mormon has
probably ever possessed. He recognized that it was better to move to the
wilderness than be moved. By his command the people gathered together
their meagre effects, turned their backs upon their homes, and their faces
toward the wilderness, and on a bitter night in February filed in sorrowful
procession across the frozen Mississippi, lighted on their way by the glare
from their burning temple, whose sacred furniture their own hands had
fired! They camped, several days afterward, on the western verge of Iowa,
and poverty, want, hunger, cold, sickness, grief and persecution did their
work, and many succumbed and died—martyrs, fair and true, whatever else
they might have been. Two years the remnant remained there, while
Brigham and a small party crossed the country and founded Great Salt Lake
City, purposely choosing a land which was outside the ownership and jurisdiction
of the hated American nation.
Note that. This was in 1847.
Brigham moved his people there and got them settled just in time to see
disaster fall again. For the war closed and Mexico ceded Brigham's refuge
to the enemy—the United States! In 1849 the Mormons organized a “free
and independent” government and erected the “State of Deseret,” with
Brigham Young as its head. But the very next year Congress deliberately
snubbed it and created the “Territory of Utah” out of the same accumulation
of mountains, sage-brush, alkali and general desolation,—but made
Brigham Governor of it. Then for years the enormous migration across the
plains to California poured through the land of the Mormons and yet the
church remained staunch and true to its lord and master. Neither hunger,
thirst, poverty, grief, hatred, contempt, nor persecution could drive the Mormons
from their faith or their allegiance; and even the thirst for gold,
which gleaned the flower of the youth and strength of many nations was
not able to entice them! That was the final test. An experiment that
could survive that was an experiment with some substance to it somewhere.

Great Salt Lake City throve finely, and so did Utah. One of the last
things which Brigham Young had done before leaving Iowa, was to appear
in the pulpit dressed to personate the worshipped and lamented prophet
Smith, and confer the prophetic succession, with all its dignities, emoluments
and authorities, upon “President Brigham Young!” The people


Page 574
accepted the pious fraud with the maddest enthusiasm, and Brigham's
power was sealed and secured for all time. Within five years afterward he
openly added polygamy to the tenets of the church by authority of a “revelation”
which he pretended had been received nine years before by Joseph
Smith, albeit Joseph is amply on record as denouncing polygamy to the day
of his death.

Now was Brigham become a second Andrew Johnson in the small beginning
and steady progress of his official grandeur. He had served successively
as a disciple in the ranks; home missionary; foreign missionary;
editor and publisher; Apostle; President of the Board of Apostles; President
of all Mormondom, civil and ecclesiastical; successor to the great
Joseph by the will of heaven; “prophet,” “seer,” “revelator.” There was
but one dignity higher which he could aspire to, and he reached out modestly
and took that—he proclaimed himself a God!

He claims that he is to have a heaven of his own hereafter, and that he
will be its God, and his wives and children its goddesses, princes and princesses.
Into it all faithful Mormons will be admitted, with their families,
and will take rank and consequence according to the number of their wives
and children. If a disciple dies before he has had time to accumulate
enough wives and children to enable him to be respectable in the next
world any friend can marry a few wives and raise a few children for him
after he is dead, and they are duly credited to his account and his heavenly
status advanced accordingly.

Let it be borne in mind that the majority of the Mormons have always
been ignorant, simple, of an inferior order of intellect, unacquainted with
the world and its ways; and let it be borne in mind that the wives of these
Mormons are necessarily after the same pattern and their children likely to
be fit representatives of such a conjunction; and then let it be remembered
that for forty years these creatures have been driven, driven, driven, relentlessly!
and mobbed, beaten, and shot down; cursed, despised, expatriated;
banished to a remote desert, whither they journeyed gaunt with famine and
disease, disturbing the ancient solitudes with their lamentations and marking
the long way with graves of their dead—and all because they were
simply trying to live and worship God in the way which they believed with
all their hearts and souls to be the true one. Let all these things be borne
in mind, and then it will not be hard to account for the deathless hatred
which the Mormons bear our people and our government.

That hatred has “fed fat its ancient grudge” ever since Mormon Utah
developed into a self-supporting realm and the church waxed rich and
strong. Brigham as Territorial Governor made it plain that Mormondom
was for the Mormons. The United States tried to rectify all that by appointing
territorial officers from New England and other anti-Mormon localities,
but Brigham prepared to make their entrance into his dominions
difficult. Three thousand United States troops had to go across the plains
and put these gentlemen in office. And after they were in office they were
as helpless as so many stone images. They made laws which nobody


Page 575
minded and which could not be executed. The federal judges opened court
in a land filled with crime and violence and sat as holiday spectacles for insolent
crowds to gape at—for there was nothing to try, nothing to do, nothing
on the dockets! And if a Gentile brought a suit, the Mormon jury
would do just as it pleased about bringing in a verdict, and when the judgment
of the court was rendered no Mormon cared for it and no officer could
execute it. Our Presidents shipped one cargo of officials after another to
Utah, but the result was always the same—they sat in a blight for awhile,
they fairly feasted on scowls and insults day by day, they saw every attempt
to do their official duties find its reward in darker and darker looks, and in
secret threats and warnings of a more and more dismal nature—and at last
they either succumbed and became despised tools and toys of the Mormons,
or got scared and discomforted beyond all endurance and left the Territory.
If a brave officer kept on courageously till his pluck was proven, some pliant
Buchanan or Pierce would remove him and appoint a stick in his place. In
1857 General Harney came very near being appointed Governor of Utah.
And so it came very near being Harney governor and Cradlebaugh judge!—
two men who never had any idea of fear further than the sort of murky
comprehension of it which they were enabled to gather from the dictionary.
Simply (if for nothing else) for the variety they would have made in a
rather monotonous history of Federal servility and helplessness, it is a pity
they were not fated to hold office together in Utah.

Up to the date of our visit to Utah, such had been the Territorial record.
The Territorial government established there had been a hopeless failure,
and Brigham Young was the only real power in the land. He was an absolute
monarch—a monarch who defied our President—a monarch who
laughed at our armies when they camped about his capital—a monarch who
received without emotion the news that the august Congress of the United
States had enacted a solemn law against polygamy, and then went forth
calmly and married twenty-five or thirty more wives.

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The persecutions which the Mormons suffered so long—and which they
consider they still suffer in not being allowed to govern themselves—they
have endeavored and are still endeavoring to repay. The now almost forgotten
“Mountain Meadows massacre” was their work. It was very famous
in its day. The whole United States rang with its horrors. A few items
will refresh the reader's memory. A great emigrant train from Missouri
and Arkansas passed through Salt Lake City and a few disaffected Mormons
joined it for the sake of the strong protection it afforded for their escape.
In that matter lay sufficient cause for hot retaliation by the Mormon chiefs.
Besides, these one hundred and forty-five or one hundred and fifty unsuspecting
emigrants being in part from Arkansas, where a noted Mormon
missionary had lately been killed, and in part from Missouri, a State remembered
with execrations as a bitter persecutor of the saints when they
were few and poor and friendless, here were substantial additional grounds
for lack of love for these wayfarers. And finally, this train was rich, very
rich in cattle, horses, mules and other property—and how could the Mormons
consistently keep up their coveted resemblance to the Israelitish tribes and
not seize the “spoil” of an enemy when the Lord had so manifestly
“delivered it into their hand?”

Wherefore, according to Mrs. C. V. Waite's entertaining book, “The
Mormon Prophet,” it transpired that—

“A `revelation' from Brigham Young, as Great Grand Archee or God,
was dispatched to President J. C. Haight, Bishop Higbee and J. D. Lee
(adopted son of Brigham), commanding them to raise all the forces they
could muster and trust, follow those cursed Gentiles (so read the revelation),
attack them disguised as Indians, and with the arrows of the Almighty make
a clean sweep of them, and leave none to tell the tale; and if they needed
any assistance they were commanded to hire the Indians as their allies,
promising them a share of the booty. They were to be neither slothful nor
negligent in their duty, and to be punctual in sending the teams back to
him before winter set in, for this was the mandate of Almighty God.”


Page 577

The command of the “revelation” was faithfully obeyed. A large party
of Mormons, painted and tricked out as Indians, overtook the train of emigrant
wagons some three hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, and made
an attack. But the emigrants threw up earth works, made fortresses of their
wagons and defended themselves gallantly and successfully for five days!
Your Missouri or Arkansas gentleman is not much afraid of the sort of
scurvy apologies for “Indians” which the southern part of Utah affords.
He would stand up and fight five hundred of them.

At the end of the five days the Mormons tried military strategy. They
retired to the upper end of the “Meadows,” resumed civilized apparel,
washed off their paint, and then, heavily armed, drove down in wagons to
the beleaguered emigrants, bearing a flag of truce! When the emigrants
saw white men coming they threw down their guns and welcomed them
with cheer after cheer! And, all unconscious of the poetry of it, no doubt,
they lifted a little child aloft, dressed in white, in answer to the flag of

The leaders of the timely white “deliverers” were President Haight and
Bishop John D. Lee, of the Mormon Church. Mr. Cradlebaugh, who served
a term as a Federal Judge in Utah and afterward was sent to Congress from
Nevada, tells in a speech delivered in Congress how these leaders next proceeded:

“They professed to be on good terms with the Indians, and represented
them as being very mad. They also proposed to intercede and settle the
matter with the Indians. After several hours parley they, having (apparently)
visited the Indians, gave the ultimatum of the savages; which was,
that the emigrants should march out of their camp, leaving everything behind
them, even their guns. It was promised by the Mormon bishops that
they would bring a force and guard the emigrants back to the settlements.
The terms were agreed to, the emigrants being desirous of saving the lives
of their families. The Mormons retired, and subsequently appeared with
thirty or forty armed men. The emigrants were marched out, the women
and children in front and the men behind, the Mormon guard being in the
rear. When they had marched in this way about a mile, at a given signal
the slaughter commenced. The men were almost all shot down at the first
fire from the guard. Two only escaped, who fled to the desert, and were
followed one hundred and fifty miles before they were overtaken and
slaughtered. The women and children ran on, two or three hundred yards
further, when they were overtaken and with the aid of the Indians they
were slaughtered. Seventeen individuals only, of all the emigrant party,
were spared, and they were little children, the eldest of them being only
seven years old. Thus, on the 10th day of September, 1857, was consummated
one of the most cruel, cowardly and bloody murders known in our

The number of persons butchered by the Mormons on this occasion was
one hundred and twenty.

With unheard-of temerity Judge Cradlebaugh opened his court and proceeded


Page 578
to make Mormondom answer for the massacre. And what a spectacle
it must have been to see this grim veteran, solitary and alone in his pride
and his pluck, glowering down on his Mormon jury and Mormon auditory,
deriding them by turns, and by turns “breathing threatenings and slaughter!”

An editorial in the Territorial Enterprise of that day says of him and of
the occasion:

“He spoke and acted with the fearlessness and resolution of a Jackson;
but the jury failed to indict, or even report on the charges, while threats of
violence were heard in every quarter, and an attack on the U. S. troops intimated,
if he persisted in his course.

“Finding that nothing could be done with the juries, they were discharged,
with a scathing rebuke from the judge. And then, sitting as a committing
magistrate, he commenced his task alone. He examined witnesses, made
arrests in every quarter, and created a consternation in the camps of the
saints greater than any they had ever witnessed before, since Mormondom
was born. At last accounts terrified elders and bishops were decamping to
save their necks; and developments of the most startling character were
being made, implicating the highest Church dignitaries in the many murders
and robberies committed upon the Gentiles during the past eight years.”

Had Harney been Governor, Cradlebaugh would have been supported in
his work, and the absolute proofs adduced by him of Mormon guilt in this
massacre and in a number of previous murders, would have conferred gratuitous
coffins upon certain citizens, together with occasion to use them.
But Cumming was the Federal Governor, and he, under a curious pretense
of impartiality, sought to screen the Mormons from the demands of justice.
On one occasion he even went so far as to publish his protest against the use
of the U. S. troops in aid of Cradlebaugh's proceedings.

Mrs. C. V. Waite closes her interesting detail of the great massacre with
the following remark and accompanying summary of the testimony—and
the summary is concise, accurate and reliable:

“For the benefit of those who may still be disposed to doubt the guilt of
Young and his Mormons in this transaction, the testimony is here collated
and circumstances given which go not merely to implicate but to fasten
conviction upon them by `confirmations strong as proofs of Holy Writ:'

“1. The evidence of Mormons themselves, engaged in the affair, as shown
by the statements of Judge Cradlebaugh and Deputy U. S. Marshal Rodgers.

“2. The failure of Brigham Young to embody any account of it in his
Report as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Also his failure to make any
allusion to it whatever from the pulpit, until several years after the occurrence.

“3. The flight to the mountains of men high in authority in the Mormon
Church and State, when this affair was brought to the ordeal of a judicial

“4. The failure of the Deseret News, the Church organ, and the only
paper then published in the Territory, to notice the massacre until several


Page 579
months afterward, and then only to deny that Mormons were engaged
in it.

“5. The testimony of the children saved from the massacre.

“6. The children and the property of the emigrants found in possession
of the Mormons, and that possession traced back to the very day after the

“7. The statements of Indians in the neighborhood of the scene of the
massacre: these statements are shown, not only by Cradlebaugh and
Rodgers, but by a number of military officers, and by J. Forney, who was,
in 1859, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory. To all these
were such statements freely and frequently made by the Indians.

“8. The testimony of R. P. Campbell, Capt. 2d Dragoons, who was sent
in the Spring of 1859 to Santa Clara, to protect travelers on the road to
California and to inquire into Indian depredations.”

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[If ever there was a harmless man, it is Conrad Wiegand, of Gold Hill,
Nevada. If ever there was a gentle spirit that thought itself unfired gunpowder
and latent ruin, it is Conrad Wiegand. If ever there was an oyster
that fancied itself a whale; or a jack-o'lantern, confined to a swamp, that
fancied itself a planet with a billion-mile orbit; or a summer zephyr that
deemed itself a hurricane, it is Conrad Wiegand. Therefore, what wonder is
it that when he says a thing, he thinks the world listens; that when he
does a thing the world stands still to look; and that when he suffers, there
is a convulsion of nature? When I met Conrad, he was “Superintendent of
the Gold Hill Assay Office”—and he was not only its Superintendent, but its
entire force. And he was a street preacher, too, with a mongrel religion of
his own invention, whereby he expected to regenerate the universe. This
was years ago. Here latterly he has entered journalism; and his journalism
is what it might be expected to be: colossal to ear, but pigmy to the eye.
It is extravagant grandiloquence confined to a newspaper about the size of a
double letter sheet. He doubtless edits, sets the type, and prints his paper,
all alone; but he delights to speak of the concern as if it occupies a block
and employs a thousand men.

[Something less than two years ago, Conrad assailed several people
mercilessly in his little “People's Tribune,” and got himself into trouble.
Straightway he airs the affair in the “Territorial Enterprise,” in a communication
over his own signature, and I propose to reproduce it here, in all its
native simplicity and more than human candor. Long as it is, it is well
worth reading, for it is the richest specimen of journalistic literature the
history of America can furnish, perhaps:]

From the Territorial Enterprise, Jan. 20, 1870.


To the Editor of the Enterprise: Months ago, when Mr. Sutro incidentally
exposed mining management on the Comstock, and among others


Page 581
roused me to protest against its continuance, in great kindness you warned
me that any attempt by publications, by public meetings and by legislative
action, aimed at the correction of chronic mining evils in Storey County,
must entail upon me (a) business ruin, (b) the burden of all its costs, (c) personal
violence, and if my purpose were persisted in, then (d) assassination,
and after all nothing would be effected.


In large part at least your prophecies have been fulfilled, for (a) assaying,
which was well attended to in the Gold Hill Assay Office (of which I am
superintendent), in consequence of my publications, has been taken elsewhere,
so the President of one of the companies assures me. With no
reason assigned, other work has been taken away. With but one or two
important exceptions, our assay business now consists simply of the gleanings
of the vicinity. (b) Though my own personal donations to the People's
Tribune Association have already exceeded $1,500, outside of our own numbers
we have received (in money) less than $300 as contributions and subscriptions
for the journal. (c) On Thursday last, on the main street in Gold
Hill, near noon, with neither warning nor cause assigned, by a powerful
blow I was felled to the ground, and while down I was kicked by a man
who it would seem had been led to believe that I had spoken derogatorily of
him. By whom he was so induced to believe I am as yet unable to say. On
Saturday last I was again assailed and beaten by a man who first informed
me why he did so, and who persisted in making his assault even after the
erroneous impression under which he also was at first laboring had been
clearly and repeatedly pointed out. This same man, after failing through
intimidation to elicit from me the names of our editorial contributors, against
giving which he knew me to be pledged, beat himself weary upon me with
a raw hide, I not resisting, and then pantingly threatened me with permanent
disfiguring mayhem, if ever again I should introduce his name into print,
and who but a few minutes before his attack upon me assured me that the
only reason I was “permitted” to reach home alive on Wednesday evening
last (at which time the People's Tribune was issued) was, that he deems
me only half-witted, and be it remembered the very next morning I was
knocked down and kicked by a man who seemed to be prepared for flight.

[He sees doom impending:]


How long before the whole of your prophecy will be fulfilled I cannot
say, but under the shadow of so much fulfillment in so short a time, and
with such threats from a man who is one of the most prominent exponents
of the San Francisco mining-ring staring me and this whole community
defiantly in the face and pointing to a completion of your augury, do you
blame me for feeling that this communication is the last I shall ever write
for the Press, especially when a sense alike of personal self-respect, of duty
to this money-oppressed and fear-ridden community, and of American fealty


Page 582
to the spirit of true Liberty all command me, and each more loudly than
love of life itself, to declare the name of that prominent man to be JOHN
B. WINTERS, President of the Yellow Jacket Company, a political aspirant
and a military General? The name of his partially duped accomplice and
abettor in this last marvelous assault, is no other than PHILIP LYNCH,
Editor and Proprietor of the Gold Hill News.

Despite the insult and wrong heaped upon me by John B. Winters, on
Saturday afternoon, only a glimpse of which I shall be able to afford your
readers, so much do I deplore clinching (by publicity) a serious mistake of
any one, man or woman, committed under natural and not self-wrought
passion, in view of his great apparent excitement at the time and in view of
the almost perfect privacy of the assault, I am far from sure that I should
not have given him space for repentance before exposing him, were it not
that he himself has so far exposed the matter as to make it the common
talk of the town that he has horsewhipped me. That fact having been
made public, all the facts in connection need to be also, or silence on my
part would seem more than singular, and with many would be proof either
that I was conscious of some unworthy aim in publishing the article, or else
that my “non-combatant” principles are but a convenient cloak alike of physical
and moral cowardice. I therefore shall try to present a graphic but
truthful picture of this whole affair, but shall forbear all comments, presuming
that the editors of our own journal, if others do not, will speak
freely and fittingly upon this subject in our next number, whether I shall
then be dead or living, for my death will not stop, though it may suspend,
the publication of the People's Tribune.

[The “non-combatant” sticks to principle, but takes along a friend or two
of a conveniently different stripe:


On Saturday morning John B. Winters sent verbal word to the Gold Hill
Assay Office that he desired to see me at the Yellow Jacket office. Though
such a request struck me as decidedly cool in view of his own recent discourtesies
to me there alike as a publisher and as a stockholder in the
Yellow Jacket mine, and though it seemed to me more like a summons
than the courteous request by one gentleman to another for a favor, hoping
that some conference with Sharon looking to the betterment of mining matters
in Nevada might arise from it, I felt strongly inclined to overlook what
possibly was simply an oversight in courtesy. But as then it had only been
two days since I had been bruised and beaten under a hasty and false
apprehension of facts, my caution was somewhat aroused. Moreover I remembered
sensitively his contemptuousness of manner to me at my last
interview in his office. I therefore felt it needful, if I went at all, to go
accompanied by a friend whom he would not dare to treat with incivility,
and whose presence with me might secure exemption from insult. Accordingly
I asked a neighbor to accompany me.


Page 583


Although I was not then aware of this fact, it would seem that previous
to my request this same neighbor had heard Dr. Zabriskie state publicly in
a saloon, that Mr. Winters had told him he had decided either to kill or to
horsewhip me, but had not finally decided on which. My neighbor, therefore,
felt unwilling to go down with me until he had first called on Mr.
Winters alone. He therefore paid him a visit. From that interview he
assured me that he gathered the impression that he did not believe I would
have any difficulty with Mr. Winters, and that he (Winters) would call on
me at four o'clock in my own office.


As Sheriff Cummings was in Gold Hill that afternoon, and as I desired
to converse with him about the previous assault, I invited him to my office,
and he came. Although a half hour had passed beyond four o'clock, Mr.
Winters had not called, and we both of us began preparing to go home.
Just then, Philip Lynch, Publisher of the Gold Hill News, came in and said,
blandly and cheerily, as if bringing good news:

“Hello, John B. Winters wants to see you.”

I replied, “Indeed! Why he sent me word that he would call on me
here this afternoon at four o'clock!”

“O, well, it don't do to be too ceremonious just now, he's in my office,
and that will do as well—come on in, Winters wants to consult with you
alone. He's got something to say to you.”

Though slightly uneasy at this change of programme, yet believing that
in an editor's house I ought to be safe, and anyhow that I would be within
hail of the street, I hurriedly, and but partially whispered my dim apprehensions
to Mr. Cummings, and asked him if he would not keep near enough
to hear my voice in case I should call. He consented to do so while waiting
for some other parties, and to come in if he heard my voice or thought I had
need of protection.

On reaching the editorial part of the News office, which viewed from the
street is dark, I did not see Mr. Winters, and again my misgivings arose.
Had I paused long enough to consider the case, I should have invited Sheriff
Cummings in, but as Lynch went down stairs, he said: “This way, Wiegand—it's
best to be private,” or some such remark.

[I do not desire to strain the reader's fancy, hurtfully, and yet it would
be a favor to me if he would try to fancy this lamb in battle, or the duelling
ground or at the head of a vigilance committee—M. T.:]

I followed, and without Mr. Cummings, and without arms, which I never
do or will carry, unless as a soldier in war, or unless I should yet come to
feel I must fight a duel, or to join and aid in the ranks of a necessary Vigilance
Committee. But by following I made a fatal mistake. Following


Page 584
was entering a trap, and whatever animal suffers itself to be caught should
expect the common fate of a caged rat, as I fear events to come will prove.

Traps commonly are not set for benevolence.

[His body-guard is shut out:]


I followed Lynch down stairs. At their foot a door to the left opened
into a small room. From that room another door opened into yet another
room, and once entered I found myself inveigled into what many will ever
henceforth regard as a private subterranean Gold Hill den, admirably adapted
in proper hands to the purposes of murder, raw or disguised, for from it,
with both or even one door closed, when too late, I saw that I could not be
heard by Sheriff Cummings, and from it, BY VIOLENCE AND BY FORCE,
I was prevented from making a peaceable exit, when I thought I saw the
studious object of this “consultation” was no other than to compass my
killing, in the presence of Philip Lynch as a witness, as soon as by insult a
proverbially excitable man should be exasperated to the point of assailing
Mr. Winters, so that Mr. Lynch, by his conscience and by his well known
tenderness of heart toward the rich and potent would be compelled to testify
that he saw Gen. John B. Winters kill Conrad Wiegand in “self-defence.”
But I am going too fast.


Mr. Lynch was present during the most of the time (say a little short of
an hour), but three times he left the room. His testimony, therefore, would
be available only as to the bulk of what transpired. On entering this
carpeted den I was invited to a seat near one corner of the room. Mr. Lynch
took a seat near the window. J. B. Winters sat (at first) near the door, and
began his remarks essentially as follows:

“I have come here to exact of you a retraction, in black and white, of
those damnably false charges which you have preferred against me in that
— — infamous lying sheet of yours, and you must declare yourself
their author, that you published them knowing them to be false, and that
your motives were malicious.”

“Hold, Mr. Winters. Your language is insulting and your demand an
enormity. I trust I was not invited here either to be insulted or coerced.
I supposed myself here by invitation of Mr. Lynch, at your request.”

“Nor did I come here to insult you. I have already told you that I am
here for a very different purpose.”

“Yet your language has been offensive, and even now shows strong excitement.
If insult is repeated I shall either leave the room or call in
Sheriff Cummings, whom I just left standing and waiting for me outside
the door.”

“No, you won't, sir. You may just as well understand it at once as not.
Here you are my man, and I'll tell you why! Months ago you put your
property out of your hands, boasting that you did so to escape losing it on
prosecution for libel.”


Page 585

“It is true that I did convert all my immovable property into personal
property, such as I could trust safely to others, and chiefly to escape ruin
through possible libel suits.”

“Very good, sir. Having placed yourself beyond the pale of the law,
may God help your soul if you DON'T make precisely such a retraction as I
have demanded. I've got you now, and by — before you can get out of
this room you've got to both write and sign precisely the retraction I have
demanded, and before you go, anyhow—you — — low-lived — lying
— —, I'll teach you what personal responsibility is outside of the law;
and, by —, Sheriff Cummings and all the friends you've got in the world
besides, can't save you, you — —, etc.! No, sir. I'm alone now, and
I'm prepared to be shot down just here and now rather than be villified by
you as I have been, and suffer you to escape me after publishing those
charges, not only here where I am known and universally respected, but
where I am not personally known and may be injured.”

I confess this speech, with its terrible and but too plainly implied threat
of killing me if I did not sign the paper he demanded, terrified me, especially
as I saw he was working himself up to the highest possible pitch of
passion, and instinct told me that any reply other than one of seeming concession
to his demands would only be fuel to a raging fire, so I replied:

“Well, if I've got to sign —,” and then I paused some time. Resuming,
I said, “But, Mr. Winters, you are greatly excited. Besides, I see you
are laboring under a total misapprehension. It is your duty not to inflame
but to calm yourself. I am prepared to show you, if you will only point out
the article that you allude to, that you regard as `charges' what no calm
and logical mind has any right to regard as such. Show me the charges,
and I will try, at all events; and if it becomes plain that no charges have
been preferred, then plainly there can be nothing to retract, and no one
could rightly urge you to demand a retraction. You should beware of making
so serious a mistake, for however honest a man may be, every one is
liable to misapprehend. Besides you assume that I am the author of some
certain article which you have not pointed out. It is hasty to do so.”

He then pointed to some numbered paragraphs in a Tribune article,
headed “What's the Matter with Yellow Jacket?” saying “That's what I
refer to.”

To gain time for general reflection and resolution, I took up the paper
and looked it over for awhile, he remaining silent, and as I hoped, cooling.
I then resumed, saying, “As I supposed. I do not admit having written
that article, nor have you any right to assume so important a point, and
then base important action upon your assumption. You might deeply
regret it afterwards. In my published Address to the People, I notified
the world that no information as to the authorship of any article would be
given without the consent of the writer. I therefore cannot honorably tell
you who wrote that article, nor can you exact it.”

“If you are not the author, then I do demand to know who is?”

“I must decline to say.”


Page 586

“Then, by —, I brand you as its author, and shall treat you accordingly.”

“Passing that point, the most important misapprehension which I notice
is, that you regard them as `charges' at all, when their context, both at their
beginning and end, show they are not. These words introduce them: `Such
an investigation
[just before indicated], we think MIGHT result in showing
some of the following points.
' Then follow eleven specifications, and the
succeeding paragraph shows that the suggested investigation `might EXONERATE
those who are generally believed guilty.' You see, therefore,
the context proves they are not preferred as charges, and this you seem to
have overlooked.”

While making those comments, Mr. Winters frequently interrupted me in
such a way as to convince me that he was resolved not to consider candidly
the thoughts contained in my words. He insisted upon it that they were
charges, and “By —,” he would make me take them back as charges, and
he referred the question to Philip Lynch, to whom I then appealed as a
literary man, as a logician, and as an editor, calling his attention especially
to the introductory paragraph just before quoted.

He replied, “If they are not charges, they certainly are insinuations,
whereupon Mr. Winters renewed his demands for retraction precisely such
as he had before named, except that he would allow me to state who did write
the article if I did not myself, and this time shaking his fist in my face with
more cursings and epithets.

When he threatened me with his clenched fist, instinctively I tried to
rise from my chair, but Winters then forcibly thrust me down, as he did
every other time (at least seven or eight), when under similar imminent
danger of bruising by his fist (or for aught I could know worse than that
after the first stunning blow), which he could easily and safely to himself
have dealt me so long as he kept me down and stood over me.

This fact it was, which more than anything else, convinced me that
by plan and plot I was purposely made powerless in Mr. Winters' hands,
and that he did not mean to allow me that advantage of being afoot, which
he possessed. Moreover, I then became convinced, that Philip Lynch (and
for what reason I wondered) would do absolutely nothing to protect me in
his own house. I realized then the situation thoroughly. I had found it
equally vain to protest or argue, and I would make no unmanly appeal for
pity, still less apologize. Yet my life had been by the plainest possible
implication threatened. I was a weak man. I was unarmed. I was helplessly
down, and Winters was afoot and probably armed. Lynch was the
only “witness.” The statements demanded, if given and not explained,
would utterly sink me in my own self-respect, in my family's eyes, and in
the eyes of the community. On the other hand, should I give the author's
name how could I ever expect that confidence of the People which I should
no longer deserve, and how much dearer to me and to my family was my
life than the life of the real author to his friends. Yet life seemed dear and
each minute that remained seemed precious if not solemn. I sincerely trust


Page 587
that neither you nor any of your readers, and especially none with families,
may ever be placed in such seeming direct proximity to death while obliged
to decide the one question I was compelled to, viz.: What should I do—I, a
man of family, and not as Mr. Winters is, “alone.”

[The reader is requested not to skip the following.—M. T.:]


To gain time for further reflection, and hoping that by a seeming acquiescence
I might regain my personal liberty, at least till I could give an alarm,
or take advantage of some momentary inadvertence of Winters, and then
without a cowardly flight escape, I resolved to write a certain kind of retraction,
but previously had inwardly decided

First.—That I would studiously avoid every action which might be construed
into the drawing of a weapon, even by a self-infuriated man, no
matter what amount of insult might be heaped upon me, for it seemed to
me that this great excess of compound profanity, foulness and epithet must
be more than a mere indulgence, and therefore must have some object.
“Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.” Therefore, as
before without thought, I thereafter by intent kept my hands away from
my pockets, and generally in sight and spread upon my knees.

Second.—I resolved to make no motion with my arms or hands which
could possibly be construed into aggression.

Third.—I resolved completely to govern my outward manner and suppress
indignation. To do this, I must govern my spirit. To do that, by force
of imagination I was obliged like actors on the boards to resolve myself into
an unnatural mental state and see all things through the eyes of an assumed

Fourth.—I resolved to try on Winters, silently, and unconsciously to himself
a mesmeric power which I possess over certain kinds of people, and
which at times I have found to work even in the dark over the lower

Does any one smile at these last counts? God save you from ever being
obliged to beat in a game of chess, whose stake is your life, you having but
four poor pawns and pieces and your adversary with his full force unshorn.
But if you are, provided you have any strength with breadth of will, do not
despair. Though mesmeric power may not save you, it may help you; try
it at all events. In this instance I was conscious of power coming into me,
and by a law of nature, I know Winters was correspondingly weakened. If I
could have gained more time I am sure he would not even have struck me.

It takes time both to form such resolutions and to recite them. That time,
however, I gained while thinking of my retraction, which I first wrote in
pencil, altering it from time to time till I got it to suit me, my aim being to
make it look like a concession to demands, while in fact it should tersely
speak the truth into Mr. Winters' mind. When it was finished, I copied it
in ink, and if correctly copied from my first draft it should read as follows.
In copying I do not think I made any material change.


Page 588


To Philip Lynch, Editor of the Gold Hill News: I learn that Gen. John
B. Winters believes the following (pasted on) clipping from the People's
of January to contain distinct charges of mine against him personally,
and that as such he desires me to retract them unqualifiedly.

In compliance with his request, permit me to say that, although Mr.
Winters and I see this matter differently, in view of his strong feelings in
the premises, I hereby declare that I do not know those “charges” (if such
they are) to be true, and I hope that a critical examination would altogether
disprove them. CONRAD WIEGAND.

Gold Hill, January 15, 1870.

I then read what I had written and handed it to Mr. Lynch, whereupon
Mr. Winters said:

“That's not satisfactory, and it won't do;” and then addressing himself
to Mr. Lynch, he further said: “How does it strike you?

“Well, I confess I don't see that it retracts anything.”

“Nor do I,” said Winters; “in fact, I regard it as adding insult to injury.
Mr. Wiegand you've got to do better than that. You are not the man who
can pull wool over my eyes.”

“That, sir, is the only retraction I can write.”

“No it isn't, sir, and if you so much as say so again you do it at your
peril, for I'll thrash you to within an inch of your life, and, by —, sir, I
don't pledge myself to spare you even that inch either. I want you to understand
I have asked you for a very different paper, and that paper you've
got to sign.”

“Mr. Winters, I assure you that I do not wish to irritate you, but, at the
same time, it is utterly impossible for me to write any other paper than that
which I have written. If you are resolved to compel me to sign something,
Philip Lynch's hand must write at your dictation, and if, when written, I
can sign it I will do so, but such a document as you say you must have from
me, I never can sign. I mean what I say.”

“Well, sir, what's to be done must be done quickly, for I've been here
long enough already. I'll put the thing in another shape (and then pointing
to the paper); don't you know those charges to be false?”

“I do not.”

“Do you know them to be true?”

“Of my own personal knowledge I do not.”

“Why then did you print them?”

“Because rightly considered in their connection they are not charges, but
pertinent and useful suggestions in answer to the queries of a correspondent
who stated facts which are inexplicable.”

“Don't you know that I know they are false?”

“If you do, the proper course is simply to deny them and court an investigation.”


Page 589

“And do YOU claim the right to make ME come out and deny anything
you may choose to write and print?”

To that question I think I made no reply, and he then further said:
“Come, now, we've talked about the matter long enough. I want your final
answer—did you write that article or not?”

“I cannot in honor tell you who wrote it.”

“Did you not see it before it was printed?”

“Most certainly, sir.”

“And did you deem it a fit thing to publish?”

“Most assuredly, sir, or I would never have consented to its appearance.
Of its authorship I can say nothing whatever, but for its publication I assume
full, sole and personal responsibility.”

“And do you then retract it or not?”

“Mr. Winters, if my refusal to sign such a paper as you have demanded
must entail upon me all that your language in this room fairly implies, then
I ask a few minutes for prayer.”

“Prayer! — — you, this is not your hour for prayer—your time to
pray was when you were writing those — lying charges. Will you sign
or not?”

“You already have my answer.”

“What! do you still refuse?”

“I do, sir.”

“Take that, then,” and to my amazement and inexpressible relief he
drew only a rawhide instead of what I expected—a bludgeon or pistol.
With it, as he spoke, he struck at my left ear downwards, as if to tear it off,
and afterwards on the side of the head. As he moved away to get a better
chance for a more effective shot, for the first time I gained a chance under
peril to rise, and I did so pitying him from the very bottom of my soul, to
think that one so naturally capable of true dignity, power and nobility could,
by the temptations of this State, and by unfortunate associations and aspirations,
be so deeply debased as to find in such brutality anything which he
could call satisfaction—but the great hope for us all is in progress and
growth, and John B. Winters, I trust, will yet be able to comprehend my

He continued to beat me with all his great force, until absolutely weary,
exhausted and panting for breath. I still adhered to my purpose of nonaggressive
defence, and made no other use of my arms than to defend my
head and face from further disfigurement. The mere pain arising from the
blows he inflicted upon my person was of course transient, and my clothing
to some extent deadened its severity, as it now hides all remaining traces.

When I supposed he was through, taking the butt end of his weapon and
shaking it in my face, he warned me, if I correctly understood him, of more
yet to come, and furthermore said, if ever I again dared introduce his name
to print, in either my own or any other public journal, he would cut off my
left ear (and I do not think he was jesting) and send me home to my family
a visibly mutilated man, to be a standing warning to all low-lived puppies


Page 590
who seek to blackmail gentlemen and to injure their good names. And when
he did so operate, he informed me that his implement would not be a whip
but a knife.

When he had said this, unaccompanied by Mr. Lynch, as I remember it,
he left the room, for I sat down by Mr. Lynch, exclaiming: “The man is
mad—he is utterly mad—this step is his ruin—it is a mistake—it would be
ungenerous in me, despite of all the ill usage I have here received, to expose
him, at least until he has had an opportunity to reflect upon the matter. I
shall be in no haste.”

“Winters is very mad just now,” replied Mr. Lynch, “but when he is
himself he is one of the finest men I ever met. In fact, he told me the
reason he did not meet you upstairs was to spare you the humiliation of a
beating in the sight of others.”

I submit that that unguarded remark of Philip Lynch convicts him of
having been privy in advance to Mr. Winters' intentions whatever they
may have been, or at least to his meaning to make an assault upon me,
but I leave to others to determine how much censure an editor deserves for
inveigling a weak, non-combatant man, also a publisher, to a pen of his own
to be horsewhipped, if no worse, for the simple printing of what is verbally
in the mouth of nine out of ten men, and women too, upon the street.

While writing this account two theories have occurred to me as possibly
true respecting this most remarkable assault:

First—The aim may have been simply to extort from me such admissions
as in the hands of money and influence would have sent me to the Penitentiary
for libel. This, however, seems unlikely, because any statements elicited
by fear or force could not be evidence in law or could be so explained as to
have no force. The statements wanted so badly must have been desired for
some other purpose.

Second—The other theory has so dark and wilfully murderous a look
that I shrink from writing it, yet as in all probability my death at the earliest
practicable moment has already been decreed, I feel I should do all I can
before my hour arrives, at least to show others how to break up that aristocratic
rule and combination which has robbed all Nevada of true freedom, if
not of manhood itself. Although I do not prefer this hypothesis as a
charge,” I feel that as an American citizen I still have a right both to think
and to speak my thoughts even in the land of Sharon and Winters, and as
much so respecting the theory of a brutal assault (especially when I have
been its subject) as respecting any other apparent enormity. I give the matter
simply as a suggestion which may explain to the proper authorities and to
the people whom they should represent, a well ascertained but notwithstanding
a darkly mysterious fact. The scheme of the assault may have been

First—To terrify me by making me conscious of my own helplessness
after making actual though not legal threats against my life.

Second—To imply that I could save my life only by writing or signing
certain specific statements which if not subsequently explained would eternally
have branded me as infamous and would have consigned my family to
shame and want, and to the dreadful compassion and patronage of the rich.


Page 591

Third—To blow my brains out the moment I had signed, thereby preventing
me from making any subsequent explanation such as could remove
the infamy.

Fourth—Philip Lynch to be compelled to testify that I was killed by
John B. Winters in self-defence, for the conviction of Winters would bring
him in as an accomplice. If that was the programme in John B. Winters'
mind nothing saved my life but my persistent refusal to sign, when that
refusal seemed clearly to me to be the choice of death.

The remarkable assertion made to me by Mr. Winters, that pity only
spared my life on Wednesday evening last, almost compels me to believe
that at first he could not have intended me to leave that room alive; and
why I was allowed to, unless through mesmeric or some other invisible influence,
I cannot divine. The more I reflect upon this matter, the more probable
as true does this horrible interpretation become.

The narration of these things I might have spared both to Mr. Winters
and to the public had he himself observed silence, but as he has both verbally
spoken and suffered a thoroughly garbled statement of facts to appear
in the Gold Hill News I feel it due to myself no less than to this community,
and to the entire independent press of America and Great Britain, to give
a true account of what even the Gold Hill News has pronounced a disgraceful
affair, and which it deeply regrets because of some alleged telegraphic
mistake in the account of it. [Who received the erroneous telegrams?]

Though he may not deem it prudent to take my life just now, the publication
of this article I feel sure must compel Gen. Winters (with his peculiar
views about his right to exemption from criticism by me) to resolve on my
violent death, though it may take years to compass it. Notwithstanding I
bear him no ill will; and if W. C. Ralston and William Sharon, and other
members of the San Francisco mining and milling Ring feel that he above all
other men in this State and California is the most fitting man to supervise
and control Yellow Jacket matters, until I am able to vote more than half
their stock I presume he will be retained to grace his present post.

Meantime, I cordially invite all who know of any sort of important villainy
which only can be cured by exposure (and who would expose it if they felt
sure they would not be betrayed under bullying threats), to communicate
with the People's Tribune; for until I am murdered, so long as I can raise
the means to publish, I propose to continue my efforts at least to revive the
liberties of the State, to curb oppression, and to benefit man's world and
God's earth. CONRAD WIEGAND.

[It does seem a pity that the Sheriff was shut out, since the good sense
of a general of militia and of a prominent editor failed to teach them
that the merited castigation of this weak, half-witted child was a thing that
ought to have been done in the street, where the poor thing could have a
chance to run. When a journalist maligns a citizen, or attacks his good
name on hearsay evidence, he deserves to be thrashed for it, even if he is a
“non-combatant” weakling; but a generous adversary would at least allow
such a lamb the use of his legs at such a time.—M. T.]