Edmunds-Tucker Act (1887)

Edmunds-Tucker Act

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Forty-ninth Congress, Sess. II, Chs. 397, 1887.

CHAP. 397.—An act to amend an act entitled “An act to amend section fifty-three hundred and fifty-two of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes,” approved March twenty-second, eighteen hundred and eighty-two.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United State of America in Congress assembled, SEC. 1. That in any proceeding or examination before a grand jury, a judge, justice, or a United States commissioner, or a court, in any prosecution for bigamy, polygamy, or unlawful cohabitation, under any statute of the United States, the lawful husband or wife of the person accused shall be a competent witness, and may be called, but shall not be compelled to testify in such proceeding, examination, or prosecution without the consent of the husband or wife, as the case may be; and such witness shall not be permitted to testify as to any statement or communication made by either husband or wife to each other, during the existence of the marriage relation, deemed confidential at common law.

SEC. 2. That in any prosecution for bigamy, polygamy, or unlawful cohabitation, under any statute of the United States, whether before a United States commissioner, justice, judge, a grand jury, or any court, an attachment for any witness may be issued by the court, judge, or commissioner, without a previous subpoena, compelling the immediate attendance of such witness, when it shall appear by oath or affirmation, to the commissioner, justice, judge, or court, as the case may be, that there is reasonable ground to believe that such witness will unlawfully fail to obey a subpoena issued and served in the usual course in such cases; and in such case the usual witness-fee shall be paid to such witness so attached: Provided, That the person so attached may at any time secure his or her discharge from custody by executing a recognizance with sufficient surety, conditioned for the appearance of such person at the proper time, as a witness in the cause or proceeding wherein the attachment may be issued.

SEC. 3. That whoever commits adultery shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding three years; and when the act is committed between a married woman and a man who is unmarried, both parties to such act shall be deemed guilty of adultery; and when such act is committed between a married man and a woman who is unmarried, the man shall be deemed guilty of adultery.

SEC. 4. That if any person related to another person within and not including the fourth degree of consanguinity computed according to the rules of the civil law, shall marry or cohabit with, or have sexual intercourse with such other so related person, knowing her or him to be within said degree of relationship, the person so offending shall be deemed guilty of incest, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not less than three years and not more than fifteen years.

SEC. 5. That if an unmarried man or woman commit fornication, each of them shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding one hundred dollars.

SEC. 6. That all laws of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah which provide that prosecutions for adultery can only be commenced on the complaint of the husband or wife are hereby disapproved and annulled; and all prosecutions for adultery may hereafter be instituted in the same way that prosecutions for other crimes are.

SEC. 7. That commissioners appointed by the supreme court and district courts in the Territory of Utah shall possess and may exercise all the powers and jurisdiction that are or may be possessed or exercised by justices of the peace in said Territory under the laws thereof, and the same powers conferred by law on commissioners appointed by circuit courts of the United States.

SEC. 8. That the marshal of said Territory of Utah, and his deputies, shall possess and may exercise all the powers in executing the laws of the United States or of said Territory, possessed and exercised by sheriffs, constables, and their deputies as peace officers; and each of them shall cause all offenders against the law, in his view, to enter into recognizance to keep the peace and to appear at the next term of the court having jurisdiction of the case, and to commit to jail in case of failure to give such recognizance. They shall quell and suppress assaults and batteries, riots, routs, affrays, and insurrections.

SEC. 9. That every ceremony of marriage, or in the nature of a marriage ceremony, of any kind, in any of the Territories of’ the United States, whether either or both or more of the parties to such ceremony be lawfully competent to be the subjects of such marriage or ceremony or not, shall be certified by a certificate stating the fact and nature of such ceremony, the full names of each of the parties concerned, and the full name of every officer, priest, and person, by whatever style or designation called or known, in any way taking part in the performance of such ceremony, which certificate shall be drawn up and signed by the parties to such ceremony and by every officer, priest, and person taking part in the performance of such ceremony, and shall be by the officer, priest, or other person solemnizing such marriage or ceremony filed in the office of the probate court, or, if there be none, in the office of court having probate powers in the county or district in which such ceremony shall take place, for record, and shall be immediately recorded, and be at all times subject to inspection as other public records. Such certificate, or the record thereof, or a duly certified copy of such record, shall be prima facie evidence of’ the facts required by this act to be stated therein, in any proceeding, civil or criminal, in which the matter shall be drawn in question. Any person who shall willfully violate any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not longer than two years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

SEC 10. That nothing in this act shall be held to prevent the proof of marriages, whether lawful or unlawful, by any evidence now legally admissible for that purpose.

SEC. 11. That the laws enacted by the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah which provide for or recognize the capacity of illegitimate children to inherit or to be entitled to any distributive share in the estate of the father of any such illegitimate child are hereby disapproved and annulled; and no illegitimate child shall hereafter be entitled to inherit from his or her father or to receive any distributive share in the estate of his or her father: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any illegitimate child born within twelve months after the passage of this act, nor to any child made legitimate by the seventh section of the act entitled “An act to amend section fifty-three hundred and fifty-two of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes”, approved March twenty-second, eighteen hundred and eighty-two.

SEC. 12. That the laws enacted by the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah conferring jurisdiction upon probate courts, or the judges thereof, or any of them, in said Territory, other than in respect of the estates of deceased persons, and in respect of the guardianship of the persons and property of infants, and in respect of the persons and property of persons not of sound mind, are hereby disapproved and annulled; and no probate court or judge of probate shall exercise any jurisdiction other than in respect of the matters aforesaid, except as a member of a county court; and every such jurisdiction so by force of this act withdrawn from the said probate courts or judges shall be had and exercised by the district courts of said Territory respectively.

SEC. 13. That it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General of the United States to institute and prosecute proceedings to forfeit and escheat to the United States the property of corporations obtained or held in violation of section three of the act of Congress approved the first day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled “An act to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the Territories of the United States and other places, and disapproving and annulling certain acts of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah”, or in violation of section eighteen hundred and ninety of the Revised Statutes of the United States; and all such property so forfeited and escheated to the United States shall be disposed of by the Secretary of the Interior, and the proceeds thereof applied to the use and benefit of the common schools in ‘the Territory in which such property may be: Provided, That no building or the grounds appurtenant thereto, which is held and occupied exclusively for purposes of the worship of God, or parsonage connected therewith, or burial ground shall be forfeited.

SEC. 14, That in any proceeding for the enforcement of the provisions of law against corporations or associations acquiring or holding property in any Territory of the United States in excess of the amount limited by law, the court before which such proceeding may be instituted shall have power in a summary way to compel the production of all books, records, papers, and documents of or belonging to any trustee or person holding or controlling or managing property in which such corporation may have any right, title, or interest whatever.

SEC. 15. That all laws of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah, or of the so called government of the State of Deseret creating, organizing, amending, or continuing the corporation or association called the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company are hereby disapproved and annulled; and the said corporation, in so far as it may now have, or pretend to have, any legal existence, is hereby dissolved; and it shall not be lawful for the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah to create, organize, or in any manner recognize any such corporation or association, or to pass any law for the purpose of or operating to accomplish the bringing of persons into the said Territory for any purpose whatsoever.

SEC. 16. That it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General of the United States to cause such proceedings to be taken in the supreme court of the Territory of Utah as shall be proper to carry into effect the provisions of the preceding section, and pay the debts and to dispose of the property and assets of said corporation according to law. Said property and assets, in excess of the debts and the amount of any lawful claims established by the Court against the same, shall escheat to the United States, and shall be taken, invested, and disposed of by the Secretary of the Interior, under the direction of the President of the United States, for the benefit of common schools in said Territory.

SEC. 17. That the acts of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah incorporating, continuing, or providing for the corporation known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the ordinance of the so-called general assembly of the State of Deseret incorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so far as the same may now have legal force and validity, are hereby disapproved and annulled, and the said corporation, in so far as it may now have, or pretend to have, any legal existence, is hereby dissolved. That it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General of the United States to cause such proceedings to be taken in the supreme court of the Territory of Utah as shall be proper to execute the foregoing provisions of this section and to wind up the affairs of said corporation conformably to law; and in such proceedings the court shall have power, and it shall be its duty, to make such decree or decrees as shall be proper to effectuate the transfer of the title to real property now held and used by said corporation for places of worship, and parsonages connected therewith, and burial grounds, and of the description mentioned in the proviso to section thirteen of this act and in section twenty-six of this act, to the respective trustees mentioned in section twenty-six of this act; and for the purposes of this section said court shall have all the powers of a court of equity.

SEC. 18. (a) A widow shall be endowed of third part of all the lands whereof her husband was seized of an estate of inheritance at any time during the marriage unless she shall have lawfully released her right thereto.

(b) The widow of any alien who at the time of his death shall be entitled by law to hold any real estate, if she be an inhabitant of the Territory at the time of such death, shall be entitled to dower of such estate in the same manner as if such alien had been a native citizen.

(c) If a husband seized of an estate of inheritance in lands exchanges them for other lands, his widow shall not have dower of both, but shall make her election to be endowed of the lands given or of those taken in exchange; and if such election be not evinced by the commencement of proceedings to recover her dower of the lands given in exchange within one year after the death of her husband, she shall be deemed to have elected to take her dower of the lands received in exchange.

(d) When a person seized of an estate of inheritance in lands shall have executed a mortgage, or other conveyance in the nature of mortgage, of such estate, before marriage, his widow shall nevertheless be entitled to dower out of the lands mortgaged or so conveyed, as against every person except the mortagee or grantee in such conveyance and those claiming under him.

(e) Where a husband shall purchase lands during coverture, and shall at the same time execute a mortgage, or other conveyance in the nature of mortgage, of his estate in such lands to secure the payment of the purchase-money, his widow shall not be entitled to dower out of such lands, as against the mortgagee or grantee in such conveyance or those claiming under him, although she shall not have united in such mortgage; but she shall be entitled to her dower in such lands as against all other persons.

(f) Where in such case the mortgagee, or such grantee or those claiming under him, shall, after the death of the husband of such widow, cause the land mortgaged or so conveyed to be sold, either under a power of sale contained in the mortgage or such conveyance or by virtue of the decree of a court if any surplus shall remain after payment of the moneys due on such mortgage or such conveyance, and the costs and charges of the sale, such widow shall nevertheless be entitled to the interest or income of the one-third part of such surplus for her life, as her dower.

(g) A widow shall not be endowed of lands conveyed to her husband by way of mortgage unless he acquire an absolute estate therein during the marriage period.

(h) In case of divorce dissolving the marriage contract for the misconduct of the wife, she shall not be endowed.

SEC. 19. That hereafter the judge of probate in each county within the Territory of Utah provided for by the existing laws thereof shall be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and so much of the laws of said Territory as provide for the election of such judge by the legislative assembly are hereby disapproved and annulled.

SEC. 20. That it shall not be lawful for any female to vote at any election hereafter held in the Territory of Utah for any public purpose whatever, and no such vote shall be received or counted or given effect in any manner whatever; and any and every act of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah providing for or allowing the registration or voting by females is hereby annulled.

SEC. 21. That all laws of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah which provide for numbering or identifying the votes of the electors at any election in said Territory are hereby disapproved and annulled; but the foregoing provision shall not preclude the lawful registration of voters, or any other provisions for securing fair elections which do not involve the disclosure of the candidates for whom any particular elector shall have voted.

SEC. 22. That the existing election districts and apportionments of representation concerning the members of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah are hereby abolished; and it shall be the duty of the governor, Territorial secretary, and the Board of Commissioners mentioned in section nine of the act of Congress approved March twenty- second, eighteen hundred and eighty two entitled “An act to amend section fifty-three hundred and fifty-two of the Revised Statutes of the United States in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes”, in said Territory, forthwith to redistrict said Territory, and apportion representation in the same in such manner as to provide, as nearly as may be, for an equal representation of the people (excepting Indians not taxed), being citizens of the United States, according to numbers, in said legislative assembly, and to the number of members of the council and house of representatives, respectively, as now established by law; and a record of the establishment of such new districts and the apportionment of representation thereto shall be made in the office of the secretary of said Territory, and such establishment and representation shall continue until Congress shall otherwise provide; and no persons other than citizens of the United States otherwise qualified shall be entitled to vote at any election in said Territory.

SEC. 23. That the provisions of section nine of said act approved March twenty-second, eighteen hundred and eighty-two, in regard to registration and election officers, and the registration of voters, and the conduct of elections, and the powers and duties of the Board therein mentioned, shall continue and remain operative until the provisions and laws therein referred to to be made and enacted by the legislative assembly of said Territory of Utah shall have been made and enacted by said assembly and shall have been approved by Congress.

SEC. 24. That every male person twenty-one years of age resident in the Territory of Utah shall, as a condition precedent to his right to register or vote at any election in said Territory, take, and subscribe an oath or affirmation, before the registration officer of his voting precinct, that he is over twenty-one years of age, and has resided in the Territory of Utah for six months then last passed and in the precinct for one month immediately preceding the date thereof, and that he is a native-born (or naturalized, as the case may be) citizen of the United States, and further state in such oath or affirmation his full name, with his age, place of business, his status, whether single or married, and, if married, the name of his lawful wife, and that he will support the Constitution of the United States and will faithfully obey the laws thereof and especially will obey the act of Congress approved March twenty-second eighteen hundred and eighty-two, entitled “An act to amend section fifty-three hundred and fifty-two of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes,” and will also obey this act in respect of the crimes in said act defined and forbidden, and that he will not, directly or indirectly, aid or abet, counsel or advise, any other person to commit any of said crimes. Such registration officer is authorized to administer said oath or affirmation; and all such oaths or affirmations shall be by him delivered to the clerk of the probate court of the proper county, and shall be deemed public records therein. But if any election shall occur in said Territory before the next revision of the registration lists as required by law, the said oath or affirmation shall be administered by the presiding judge of the election precinct on or before the day of election. As a condition precedent to the right to hold office in or under said Territory, the officer, before entering on the duties of his office, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation declaring his full name, with his age, place of business, his status, whether married or single, and, if married, the name of his lawful wife, and that he will support the Constitution of the United States and will faithfully obey the laws thereof, and especially will obey the act of Congress approved March twenty-second, eighteen hundred and eighty-two, entitled “An act to amend section fifty-three hundred and fifty-two of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes,” and will also obey this act in respect of the crimes in said act defined and forbidden, and that he will not, directly or in directly, aid or abet, counsel or advise, any other person to commit any of said crimes; which oath or affirmation shall be recorded in the proper office and indorsed on the commission or certificate of appointment. All grand and petit jurors in said Territory shall take the same oath or affirmation, to be administered, in writing or orally, in the proper court. No person shall be entitled to vote in any election in said Territory, or be capable of jury service, or hold any office of trust or emolument in said Territory who shall not have taken the oath or affirmation aforesaid. No person who shall have been convicted of any crime under this act, or under the act of Congress aforesaid approved March twenty second, eighteen hundred and eighty-two, or who shall be a polygamist, or who shall associate or cohabit polygamously with persons of the other sex, shall be entitled to vote in any election in said Territory, or be capable of jury service, or to hold any office of trust or emolument in said Territory.

SEC. 25. That the office of Territorial superintendent of district schools created by the laws of Utah is hereby abolished; and it shall be the duty of the supreme court of said Territory to appoint a commissioner of schools, who shall possess and exercise all the powers and duties heretofore imposed by the laws of said Territory upon the Territorial superintendent of district schools, and who shall receive the same salary and compensation, which shall be paid out of the treasury of said Territory; and the laws of the Territory of Utah providing for the method of election and appointment of such Territorial superintendent of district schools are hereby suspended until the further action of Congress shall be had in respect thereto. The said superintendent shall have power to prohibit the use in any district school of any book of a sectarian character or otherwise unsuitable. Said superintendent shall collect and classify statistics and other information respecting the district and other schools in said Territory, showing their progress, the whole number of children of school age, the number who attend school in each year in the respective counties, the average length of time of their attendance, the number of teachers and the compensation paid to the same, the number of teachers who are Mormons, the number who are so-called gentiles, the number of children of Mormon parents and the number of children of so-called gentile parents, and their respective average attendance at school; all of which statistics and information shall be annually reported to Congress, through the governor of said Territory and the Department of the Interior.

SEC. 26. That all religious societies, sects, and congregations shall have the right to have and to hold, through trustees appointed by any court exercising probate powers in a Territory, only on the nomination of the authorities of such society, sect, or congregation, so much real property for the erection or use of houses of worship, and for such parsonages and burial grounds as shall be necessary for the convenience and use of the several congregations of such religious society, sect, or congregation.

SEC. 27. That all laws passed by the so called State of Deseret and by the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah for the organization of the militia thereof or for the creation of the Nauvoo Legion are hereby annulled, and declared of no effect; and the militia of Utah shall be organized and subjected in all respects to the laws of the United States regulating militia in the Territories: Provided, however, That all general officers of the militia shall be appointed by the governor of the Territory, by and with the advice and consent of the council thereof. The legislative assembly of Utah shall have power to pass laws for organizing the militia thereof, subject to the approval of Congress.

Received by the President, February 19, 1887.

[NOTE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE.—The foregoing act having been presented to the President of the United States for his approval, and not having been returned by him to the house of Congress in which it originated within the time prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, has become a law without his approval.]

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2 comments:

  1. William A Baumgardner Sr.May 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Now the Gentiles of our country live in adultery, fornication & polygamy & nothing is done. It was just a ploy to ry to hurt the Lord's only TRUE Church on earth. God help those that done this. They will burn in hell.

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  2. Kind of bitter there William. You should remember it was the republicans that created and passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act while stating "the twin relics of barbarism were polygamy and slavery". I don't think the people in the church care one iota about this--the majority vote republican (even when the running politician has affairs in his background). Also the scriptures say that the Lord "winked at men's follies about taking multiple wives, concubines, etc." Adam wasn't placed in the garden with Eve, etc. It was just Eve. Good luck in your journey here!

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