Monday, June 7, 2010

Reed Smoot Hearings: Day 9 - E.B. Critchlow, part 3

March 11, 1904

This is the third part of the testimony given by E. B. Critchlow.

The first part of cross-examination testimony concerns the protest and how it came about.  The Ministerial Association committee (of 3 members) wanted this protest drafted, and Mr. Critchlow met with Dr. Paden many times to bring this to pass.  He states that this protest was essentially what the non-Mormon public felt almost universally and was reduced to a "proper form of protest."

Mr. Van Cott asks if some of the signers of the protest were opposed to the church.  He asks if Mr. P.L. Williams and Mr. C.C. Goodwin have "always been bitterly opposed to the Mormon Church."  He says that Mr. P.L. Williams has always been "bitterly opposed to the practices of the Mormon leaders" and Mr. C.C. Goodwin has been opposed to the Mormon Church.
Mr. Van Cott.  Now, Mr. Critchlow - not intending it for any offense at all, but simply to get information - you have been, too, have you not?
Mr. Critchlow.  I have always taken occasion to oppose the domination of the church and their practices.
Mr. Van Cott.  That is not quite the question.  You have always been bitterly opposed to the Mormon Church, have you not?
Mr. Critchlow.  I do not admit the word "bitterly," Mr. Van Cott.  I admit the word "opposition" to its very fullest extent.
Commentary:  Ok, so he is a self-described Mormon opponent "to its very fullest extent."

Mr. Critchlow states that in the drafting of the protest that Mr. Leilich asked them "to put in many things which we refused to put in because we did not know of the absolute truth of them."  Thus it is inferred that Mr. Leilich's protest is a fulfillment of what he wanted to see Mr. Smoot charged with and that the protest contains "absolute truth" in the eyes of its signers.

He is asked about the general repute of Mr. Smoot's marital condition.  He states that before he was an apostle there was no doubt that he was not a polygamist; however, after becoming and apostle, he has doubts.
Mr. Critchlow.  The only thing that comes in to qualify that is the question whether they would permit anybody to go into the quorum of the twelve apostles who had not become sealed to somebody.  That is the only thing which questions it.
Mr. Van Cott.  Is that the general opinion?
Mr. Critchlow.  The general opinion is that he is not a polygamist.
Mr. Van Cott.  Was it the general opinion out there that a man had to be a polygamist to be an apostle?
Mr. Critchlow.  It is among many people who are, or who profess to be, well acquainted with the doctrines of the church.
Mr. Van Cott.  What is your opinion?
Mr. Critchlow.  I have not any fixed opinion about it.  It depends entirely upon the person at the head of the church at the particular time.  If a person comes into the church at the present time I should think the chances were in favor of Joseph F. Smith requiring him to live his religion in some form or other before he could become an apostle.  With Lorenzo Snow, I do not think it was so.  With Wilford Woodruff, there might -
Senator Beveridge.  Do you think at the present time Mr. Smoot is a polygamist?
Mr. Critchlow.  I do not.
Commentary:  From this piece of testimony it would appear that there are people (Mormons?) who have studied or believe they know the doctrines of the Mormon Church who have stated that a requirement for becoming an apostle is living the doctrine of plural marriage.  I've heard different opinions on this and think it interesting for a non-Mormon to know this; therefore, it must have been semi-prevalent and not very secret for this type of information to be available.  I don't know the truth of this, but having heard rumblings about things like this, it would surprise me that it was very much like Mr. Critchlow stated.  I also appreciate his honesty:  If he doesn't believe something, he will not shy away for it but will come right out and state it.

Mr. Van Cott.  Did I understand you to say, in answer to a question propounded by Senator Beveridge, that you did not believe Joseph F. Smith would allow an apostle to come into the quorum unless he was a polygamist?
Mr. Critchlow.  No, sir; I did not say that; at least I did not mean to say it.  I meant to say that I very much question whether Joseph F. Smith would consent to a man coming into the apostolate without he either was then or was willing to live up to the principles of the religion as he preaches and professes them, which includes the sealing for eternity, as is commonly understood.
Mr. Van Cott.  That is, you said before, to quote some of your words, "unless he would live his religion?"
Mr. Critchlow.  Live his religion.  That is a common phrase used in Utah.
Mr. Van Cott.  Do you want the committee to understand by that expression that he is a polygamist when he goes in, or that he has to become a polygamist thereafter?
Mr. Critchlow.  I want the committee to understand only this:  That I do not believe - and it is a matter simply of my own private belief, deduced from what I know of the man and his teachings and his course - he will permit a man to be an apostle unless he were either at the time of his election in the status of having lived his religion to that extent, or that he would become such, unless he were a member of the Smith family.
Mr. Van Cott.  That is, if he were a member of the Smith family you think he would allow a person to become an apostle without either being a polygamist or expecting him to become one?
Mr. Critchlow.  I think that would very largely influence Mr. Smith in permitting a man to become an apostle.  If he were his son or his nephew, I think he might be willing to waive any qualification of that sort.
Commentary:  Ok, there's some interesting opinions in that testimony.  I like the "live his religion" line; that is still used today.
Mr. Van Cott.  How do you explain this statement with reference to Anthon H. Lund [not being a polygamist, but yet being high up in the church authorities]?
Mr. Critchlow.  I can explain it only from information, and that is that his first wife will not consent to his taking another wife, and has never consented to it.
Commentary:  Ah, so he's not a polygamist because his first wife will not let him be one.  This can also be taken another way; namely, that he cares a great deal for his first wife and as such respects her wishes.

After a few questions going back and forth with Mr. Critchlow avoiding answering directly the question asked, Mr. Van Cott finally twists his arm enough to answer straight:
Mr. Van Cott.  Mr. Critchlow, you are a lawyer?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Cott.  I have asked the question several times about that:  Do you believe President Smith is not speaking the truth when he says that plural marriages have stopped?
Mr. Critchlow.  I believe he is not speaking the truth, if you wish me to say it.  He is not speaking the truth with regard to conditions as they exist in Utah, which I suppose he must know as everyone else knows them.
Commentary:  Well, there's the admission.  Mr. Critchlow believes Joseph F. Smith is a liar and is misrepresenting conditions as they really exist in Utah with regards to polygamous relationships and probably anything else he wishes to hide.  In his opinion, it is obvious that nothing coming from Mr. Smith can be trusted as being the truth.

Mr. Van Cott then brings up a situation where a non-Mormon, businessman (owner of a brewery), Republican, was not elected mainly because of the influence of the Ministerial Association.
Mr. Van Cott.  Have you any doubt but that it was the result of that fight which defeated him?
Mr. Critchlow.  I have not any doubt that they influenced enough votes to defeat him.
Commentary:  Alright, so this same Ministerial Association goes after people they don't like and they try and influence, politically, anyone and everyone to side with their opinion - and they are successful.  They influenced enough votes to defeat Mr. Jacob Moritz (brewery owner) and now they've got their sights set on Mr. Smoot.  They lost that battle with the legislature, but the carried their fight further because Mr. Critchlow was acquainted with how to file a protest with the Senate - so they used him to do this.  The other side of this coin is that it is dirty politics for a church to help elect, or fight the elections of someone; however, the Ministerial Association does not come under those "rules of politics;" that's just politics as usual because they aren't as powerful in the State as the Church is.  That seems rather hypocritical to me.

Mr. Van Cott then asks about prosecutions during his time as an assistant district attorney, and he asks if Mr. Critchlow ever prosecuted Joseph F. Smith or John Henry Smith.  He did not.
Senator Overman.  Why did you not prosecute him?  You were a Government officer and you knew he was living in unlawful cohabitation?
Mr. Critchlow.  Joseph F. Smith was not in the country at that time, as I now recall.
Senator Beveridge.  Is that the reason why you did not prosecute him?
Mr. Critchlow.  I cannot say that was the only reason.  Of course, prosecutions were based upon information brought in and put before the grand jury by those who were willing to volunteer it, or those of the deputy marshals who were able to procure it; and it is by no means easy to procure.  Whenever information was brought in it certainly was laid before the grand jury, which was the only method of prosecution.
Senator Beveridge.  Did you attempt prosecutions against Mr. Smith or any of these men?
Mr. Critchlow.  I cannot say I attempted it any further than to take charge of the information which the deputy marshals would bring in.  They were the ones who were seeking out this information, and whenever it was obtained it was used against any of the Smiths or the apostles or anyone else.
Senator Beveridge.  As a high officer of the law, if you yourself had knowledge, if you knew it was a matter of common repute, if you yourself knew the circumstances, or any violation of the law by any of these gentlemen, would it be your duty simply to sit there and wait until some person brought you information in a formal way on that subject or would it be your duty to take the initiative?
Mr. Critchlow.  It would be my duty to attempt to stir up the proper officers of the law, who at that time were supposed to be the deputy marshals, to procure the information.
Senator Beveridge.  Did you do that?
Mr. Critchlow.  Against Mr. Joseph F. Smith?
Senator Beveridge.  Or any of these prominent men as to whom you have testified as having been notorious in this regard?
Mr. Critchlow.  I do not recollect that I did.
Senator Beveridge.  Why not?
Mr. Critchlow.  Because I had no information with regard to it that was not common to everybody else, and it was not information sufficient to convict.  But the information that was before us all with regard to these matters at that time was that polygamy had stopped, and that unlawful cohabitation, which it was going on after September, 1890, that it was going to be stopped.  There was rather a disinclination upon the part of everybody connected with the prosecution of offenses to stir up these matters, because we thought it would work itself out; that the situation would become alleviated by the general progress of time.
Commentary:  I put myself in Mr. Critchlow's shoes while reading this testimony and I felt a little uncomfortable answering those questions.  I guess his job performance was being called into question by the Senators, and that wouldn't be comfortable at all.  Mr. Critchlow is opposed to the Mormon Church to the fullest extent possible; he files protests against its leader political leaders (and religious leaders); he prosecuted Mormons, etc.  However, he himself did nothing to bring in the top dogs of the Mormon Church - "I do not recollect that I did;" relying instead on the job description to bail him out.  It wasn't my job was as best he could come up with.  That seems a little weak given his pursuit against Reed Smoot - all the way to Washington before a Senate committee.  One thing that will play in his favor later on is that many witnesses will give essentially the same testimony as given here - they did not prosecute or pursue, and this will be to the Senator's shock.

In 1894, Mr. Critchlow was involved in politics and in fact traveled with politicians as they made rounds to "stump" for their party and ticket.  One of the people that he did with was John Henry Smith.  This traveling was done for the constitutional convention election to be held for drafting a constitution for the future State of Utah.
Mr. Van Cott.  Did you vote for your ticket in Salt Lake County that year?
Mr. Critchlow.  I undoubtedly did.
Mr. Van Cott.  Did you vote for John Henry Smith?
Mr. Critchlow.  I think so.
Mr. Van Cott.  He was a polygamist?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Cott.  Known to be a polygamist?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Cott.  Did you think you were encouraging polygamists to live in unlawful cohabitation because you voted for John Henry Smith to be a member of the constitutional convention?
Mr. Critchlow.  I did not think I was voting on that subject; no; I did not think that I was.
Mr. Van Cott.  You went out on the stump also, as late as 1894, with John Henry Smith?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Cott.  He was a Mormon apostle?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Cott.  Living in polygamy?
Mr. Critchlow.  I think so.
Mr. Van Cott.  I mean living in unlawful cohabitation.
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Cott.  You traveled with him disseminating Republican principles?
Mr. Critchlow.  As best I knew how.
Mr. Van Cott.  That was done for some time?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Senator Beveridge.  Let me ask you a question right here.  Did you protest to him against his practices?
Mr. Critchlow.  Against the practices of Mr. Smith?
Senator Beveridge.  Yes.
Mr. Critchlow.  No, sir; except -
Senator Beveridge.  Did you admonish him?
Mr. Critchlow.  No, sir; not at all.
Senator Beveridge.  When you were assistant United States district attorney did you admonish any of these gentlemen  or warn them to cease their practices?
Mr. Critchlow.  Not at all.
Commentary:  Wow, he was just dragged through the mud again.  This is again a similar line of questioning where Mr. Critchlow's principles and character are brought to question.  If he believes that polygamy and unlawful cohabitation are illegal, as he has stated here, then why didn't he prosecute these people, and why didn't he admonish them when he spent a great deal of time with them?  I guess it is much harder to do when you meet the person and talk with them face to face.

Mr. Van Cott then revisits the statement by Mr. Critchlow that prosecutions don't take place in Utah; he wants to have Mr. Critchlow's reasoning on this point:
Mr. Van Cott.  Mr. Critchlow, is it not the fact that the general feeling in Utah, among non-Mormons - leaving the Mormons out of view - has been that if all plural marriages had ceased since the manifesto, these relations of unlawful cohabitation they were practically willing to close their eyes to?
Mr. Critchlow.  I think so, except in cases where they were really absolutely offensive, or where they occurred in such a manner as to be really examples to the people.  Amongst the higher officials, and even with them, I think it would be fair to say that people were inclined minimize these things as much as possible for the peace of the State and the community and for its upbuilding, and to remove the reproach of it before the country.
Mr. Van Cott.  Now, the other matter that you spoke of - this offensive flaunting.  I wish you would give to the committee a little more in detail what you understand by that, and I call your attention now to the language used by the Supreme Court of the United States where it has quoted that particular phrase.
Mr. Critchlow.  What would be offensive to one person of course might not be to another.  If a man had a polygamous wife and family right by my door side, and his children associated with mine, and he visited a half or a third of his time somewhere else, and it was placed there under my face, it might be offensive to me, while to you or to somebody else, living in another part of the town, it might not be offensive.
     Again, where a man takes two sisters under the same roof, that might be offensive to the whole community.  Then again, it might be entirely innocent and unoffensive to a great class of people who do not care anything about those things.
     Again, I may say, where a man has a polygamous wife in a community and brings other polygamous wives there and makes a sort of a colony of it, then it becomes offensive even to a whole community.  That sort of thing becomes offensive, in a greater or lesser extent, dependent entirely upon the sensibilities of the people immediately affected.
Mr. Van Cott.  But where the polygamists have had their wives living in separate houses, and have simply kept up the old relations without an offensive flaunting before the public of the relations, it has been practically passed over, has it not?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir; as a matter of fact it has been.

There are apparently different classes of polygamists in Utah at this time.  "Mr. John Henry Smith was a different man from polygamists generally."  I take this to mean that he acted like a normal gentlemen, even though he had multiple wives.

To close up the testimony for this day, Senator Beveridge wants to know more about how Mr. Critchlow came across the information about the revelation with the electric-light plant in Brigham City.
Senator Beveridge.  I understood you to say that you got this information from an attorney out there?
Mr. Critchlow.  Yes, sir.
Senator Beveridge.  And that he, of course, got his information from somebody else outside of general repute?
Mr. Critchlow.  Necessarily, I assume.
Senator Beveridge.  So that your testimony amounts to this - that you say that a man said to you that somebody else said to him that the president of the stake had a revelation on the subject of an electric-light plant at this place, that he laid it before the council, and there was a disruption, etc.?
Mr. Critchlow.  I take it in a legal sense that is as close as it comes to being evidence.
Commentary:  I find it a little comical that Senator Beveridge has to be the lawyer for the respondent and do the cross-examination.  He seems to be very sharp.  In this instance he brought out the source of the revelations as a very confusing line of people to tie hearsay to.  Really, that was Mr. Van Cott's job, not the Senator's.  Bravo to the Senator for paying attention enough to pick up on this fact.

At 4:10 PM the committe adjourned until tomorrow, Saturday, March 12, 1904 at 10:30 AM.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for this well researched description of The Reed Smoot Hearings. I am doing a research paper on the subject and am looking for primary sources. I live in California, and so I don't have access to archives in Utah; I have the transcripts of the hearings and newspaper articles from both the New York Times and Deseret News on the subject, as well as a few magazine articles written during the time of the trials. I was wondering if you knew of any other available sources. (i.e. memoirs from committee members, correspondence, etc.) If you can help me out I'd really appreciate it.My e-mail is Thank you.