Gentile defence of Mormon settlement – 1887

Here is an excerpt which I found in the MacLeod Gazette from August 16, 1887.  Considering this is at the beginning of the Edmunds-Tucker Act and only three months after the Mormons arrived in Cardston this is an amazing defence of the rights of new settlers:

The Lethbridge News quotes the following without comment from the Montreal Star.

“Canada wants all the good immigrants that can be induced to settle in it, but in view of the trouble the people of the United States have had in suppressing polygamy in Utah the immigration of Mormons should be discouraged.  Any attempt to establish polygamy in the Canadian North-West must be met with the utmost severity by the Dominion [Canadian] government.  It will be much easier to deal with this evil at its inception than after it has become firmly established.  the Mormons if they come must be taught to respect Canadian law.”

The above extract is most unfair to the Mormon settlers who have lately come into this country.  They are generally acknowledged to be a class which makes the most desirable settlers, and we have no hesitation in giving them, a hearty welcome.  These settlers have come here prepared to obey the laws of Canada to the letter, and there will be plenty of time to warn the government against them when they show the least inclination to break them.  We think that we can say for them that no such inclination will be shown, and we can only say that Canada has every reason to feel proud of having attracted immigrants of this kind to the country.

  This boosterism of Canadian Mormons during the last decade of the 19th century was carried on by the Gazette and to some extent by the Lethbridge News.  Both of these small town papers supported by area ranchers and the local coal mining operation were happy to see the Mormons come to the Palliser’s Triangle

The Mormon settlements in southern Alberta were a boon because they brought irrigation practices north as well as a working relationship with the local companies which allowed each to benefit.  For the Church it meant that these settlers could claim locations in Cardston, Magrath, Stirling, Taber and Raymond knowing that they would be able to avoid a great number of the problems they had with the law in the United States.

For ranchers it meant that they could sell excess land to the Mormons pulling in more money and the Galt mining company benefited because the establishment of irrigation meant that other settlers would be able to migrate into the area, buying coal and land from the company.  For Elliot Galt and his father the relationship with the Mormons made defending them paramount to protecting their own intersts.  It also helped that Alexander T. Galt also happened to be friends with the Prime Minister John A. MacDonald.

As John Taylor predicted to Charles Card, the Mormons found safety under the British flag. 


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