Fellow Citizens—the circumstances under which we are now assembled
are those of no ordinary character. The display made on the present
occasion and the vast assemblage on this ground indicate in a great
degree, I might say perfectly, the result of liberty, of honest
industry, and of adherence to the principles of the Constitution of
the United States, of which we have been hearing, and the result of
strict obedience to those declarations made by our fathers and
transmitted down to their posterity.
Although we as a people are placed under circumstances entirely
different from those of every other part of our common country, we
were forced to come here unprepared, comparatively, for such an
undertaking, and have had to contend with the sterile soil and
inhospitable climate. We have had to encounter and overcome a great
many difficulties arising from our isolated situation; but still we
can here successfully pursue the arts of peace: we can enjoy the
blessings of liberty.
While almost all the inhabitants of every portion of our common
country from north to south, from the Rio Grande to the St. John's,
are engaged in fratricidal strife, and almost every city, town,
village, and hamlet today echoes with the sound of fife and drum,
calling men to war, we are all enjoying peace.
The procession today was a display of mechanical skill, of
agricultural industry, a display of tools and ingenuity of almost
every kind, and men at work with them. What little powder we burn is
simply in honor of our country's flag—not to destroy our
We have heard something of the hostile preparations that are going on
in the Eastern States. I know of no language adequate to describe the
true character of the present civil war. It is the height of folly—the
extreme of madness, without a parallel in history; and it does seem
like illustrating the maxim of Grecian mythology—"Whom the gods would
destroy, they first make mad!" North and South rushing to battle over
an idea or whim, perfectly heedless as to the consequences.
It was the result of that spirit of oppression and violation of the
principles of our national Constitution which drove us here; it is the
natural result of the training, the education and the foolery with
which priestcraft has blinded the people.
We are at the present time the only people in the United States that
are willing to be governed by the Constitution, and to grant to all
men the same liberties that we ourselves enjoy—the same privileges and
protection which are in accordance with the guarantees in the
Constitution and the laws of the United States made in accordance
therewith. To be sure, there are a great many who pretend to honor
the Constitution; but they are determined in the North and the South
that they will fight each other, Constitution or no Constitution.
Now, if the Constitution of the United States was actually the supreme
law of the land, we could go back to our possessions in Missouri and
Illinois, and enjoy our religion, our property, and the blessings of
peace and liberty, and our wives and children, in Jackson County,
Missouri, and in Hancock County, Illinois, just as well as we can
here, and none would dare to molest us. And until the Constitution
becomes the supreme law of the land, no man or people having the
misfortune to be unpopular can enjoy liberty, or even be protected
outside of these mountains.
Now, brethren, are we not thankful that, at least, we can see the
providence of the Almighty in suffering us to be driven into these
valleys, where we can enjoy the sweets of true liberty—where none dare
molest or make afraid? These are abundant reasons for us to be
I am aware that many of the school children in this vast assemblage
have been detained long enough. I have been pleased with what I have
seen and heard. I simply say a few words because my name was on the
program for an address.
May the blessings of Israel's God rest upon you all! Amen.
- George A. Smith