Sumner Howard writes in letter that John Doyle Lee was guilty and deserving of his faith. The evidence he was guilty was overwhelming.

May 9, 1877
Sumner Howard

Sumner Howard to Charles Devens, April 25, 1877. Published in "Howard's Defence," New York Herald, May 9, 1877, accessed July 6, 2021.

New York Herald
Charles Devens, Robert N. Baskin, Brigham Young, William Carey, George A. Smith, Sumner Howard, William Nelson, John Doyle Lee
Reading Public

THE CONFESSION Without going into details of the conversation I will say that on the occasion he proposed to write a “statement of the Mountain Meadows massacre and other Church crimes,” and submit it to me, to use substantially his own language, “to show that he was the victim of perjury and treachery on the part of the priesthood and their tools.” I said to him that the time to have done that was on his trial, and reminded him that he had once written what he claimed to be a “full confession,” and offered it to Mr. Carey and Mr. Baskin before his first trial, and that they had refused to act upon it or receive it, because they did not believe he told the truth. He stated that he did not go before his first trial as he would have done if he had supposed the Church was going to sacrifice him and send perjured witnesses to swear his life away; that before his trial Brigham Young had sent word to him by Rachel to “be true to his covenants and obligations and not a hair of his head should be harmed.” He said it looked now very much as though he was to be sacrificed by the priesthood; that he hardly knew on his first trial what do to, as the Church authorities has employed a lawyer (George C. Bates), who was opposed to the making of any statement, and had told him he was in no danger, which he believed to be true, until the Mormon witnesses swore against him on his second trial. He urged me to furnish him writing material and secure him the privilege of writing, and said he would write a full and truthful statement of the whole matter; that he had already written the same for Mr. Bishop in his biography. In a day or two again I called at the Penitentiary with writing materials. He was then in the guard room. His first salutation was, “Mr. District Attorney, there is a question of veracity between Warden Crowe and yourself. You promised to see that I was allowed to sleep in the attic, but Crowe says he will shut me up in the cell, and that you have made no arrangement to the contrary.” I do not remember my reply, but it was in substance that I had done as I agreed and would now appeal directly to Marshal Nelson, which I did, and there was no further trouble on that question. I state positively that the above was the only conversation I ever had with Lee when I had occasion to speak of having done as I agreed to do, and I am just as positive that I never did say to him, “Mr. Lee, I am a man of my word, and will take care of you,” as said Gilman, in his affidavit, alleges. Lee did prepare a “statement” of several transactions of the Mormons, including the Mountain Meadow massacre. He gave it to me to read, and I lost no time in reading it carefully. I have it now. It is mine. No word has been erased, altered, or “suppressed,” nor has anything been added to it. It is in his own handwriting from date to signature. By it he declares himself to be entirely innocent of any “intentional wrong in that unfortunate affair.” He contradicts many unimpeachable witnesses and denies facts that are clearly established by positive and circumstantial evidence. In fact, instead of being a statement of facts or confession, it is a denial and a reiteration—so far as it refers to the case in question—of the story he had submitted to the prosecution of his former trial and which had been rejected by the officers then in charge of the case. In the presence and hearing of Marshal Nelson I plainly and distinctly informed Lee that I could not accept his statement as the truth, that it was not a confession of all, and gave him detail my objections to the document. I told him that every man implicated in the massacre as a leader, except Brigham Young, according to his (Lee’s) statement was either dead or had absconded, or that better proof existed against them than his statement indicated that he could furnish. That so far as it charged guilt upon Brigham Young it was not a step in advance of what we already know. That we had proof that ever orders or directions were given by Brigham Young were verbal and communicated through George A. Smith (since deceased). Lee positively denied the possession of any paper implicating Brigham Young. BRIGHAM YOUNG’S COMPLICITY I then believed, and so now, that whatever written communications were sent by Brigham were sent to other persons than Lee and have long since been taken care of by Brigham Young, who, with all the other charges brought against him, has not to my knowledge been accused of being either a fool or so indifferent to his own safety as to allow written evidence of his own guilty to remain in the hands of men over whom he has had supreme control for all the time since this crime was committed, now about twenty years. There are facts within my knowledge, not derived from Lee, that rebut the inference that there was written communication between Lee and Brigham Young, but which will show that communication to have been between Young and another party, which I will, if desired by you, recite in a private communication, and which, with a little time and practice on the part of the public will, I believe, truly establish the correctness of my conclusions in regard to Lee himself being the party to written communication with or from Young. Lee was sent to do his part of the bloody work (to gather the Indians at the Meadows and take command of them) before the council was held at Cedar, with which it is claimed Young communicated. It is unnecessary to enlarge upon this part of Gilman’s affidavit. It is enough to say that when he states (as he does in his affidavit) that Lee gave me a “statement” other than the one referred to by me, and undertakes to give the contents of that statement, he not only contradicts the written narration made by Lee and now in my possession, but stultifies all the known facts as proved on the trial.

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