Disgraceful Proceedings

The arrest of Wm. J. Pratt of Wilford, Idaho, in the manner, and at the time it was done, is an uncommon proceeding. It reflects upon the courts and the majesty of the law in operation. Citizens have rights which cannot be trampled upon with impunity and safety to society. A fundamental rule of government in its protection to mankind is that the people stand behind any laws which may be necessary for the preservation of their rights. If those laws are not enforced to the benefit of the people, the people behind them should see that they are. It is not in the interest of personal rights that officers should assume the role of a gang of outlaws and enter the house of a private individual without notifying him, in a proper manner, that he is wanted, surround his bed, and demand his surrender. Such proceedings might be considered justifiable if the citizen had offered resistance to the officers of the law. In this instance, however, such was not the case. The citizen was quietly enjoying the peaceful rest of home, when his quiet abode was entered and he himself treated as an outlaw of poor character, his family, no doubt, considerably frightened and the peace of society disturbed. It is a good rule that a man should be treated as innocent of any wrong charged against him until he is proven guilty. While the banner of innocence rests upon him, he should be treated as a citizen enjoying the rights and privileges of citizenship. Officers of the law are stepping beyond the bounds of their duty when insult is added to injury. The sooner this fact is learned by them the better for themselves. It is a dangerous thing for an officer of for anybody else to enter, without giving warning, a man’s home at the dead hour of night, for he might, in some instances, meet the reception usually given a robber, or a murderer after his intended victim. A tradition, and a good one too, has come down to us in this day that the home of an individual is his castle, and associated with it are certain distinct rights and privileges which cannot be taken away and leave society in a peaceful and happy condition. Men who would trample upon this prerogative of home are enemies to mankind. They deserve to be ostracized as such.

Idaho has gained some notoriety through unjust and oppressive measures used toward the “Mormon” people of that Territory. It seems from efforts recently being made, a line of policy is to be pursued and continued which is in harmony with the outrageous proceedings of last winter. A spirit of hatred, enmity and of persecution without cause, actuates those who hold a little brief authority of office when doing anything pertaining to the rights of “Mormons.” It is time for a halt in these outlandish measures. No good is resulting to the officers of the law by such contemptible work. The object they aim to have in view is not being reached. Persecution is the seed of a church. While it is true that some church members may suffer a little inconvenience, others are strengthened in the faith. The true character of those who are unjust and severe in their official duties will come to light, just as has the character of Governor Bunn, of Idaho, and others whose history in part is open to the student. A halt is necessary for the good of the fair name of Idaho. A halt is in order for the benefit of loyal citizens who are developing the resources and adding to the wealth of that Territory. A halt is timely because an end must come to all unjust measures in a land where people are created free and equal. A halt will come and the sooner it comes the better for the name and reputation of those engaged in the merciless crusade.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 16, 1885, 11]
[Utah Journal, Logan, Utah, May 16, 1885]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]


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