Reminiscences of Early Utah : With "Reply to Certain Statements by O. F. Whitney"
Salt Lake City
In late 1866, when Salt Lake City attorney Robert Baskin looked down at the mutilated body of a client, he resolved he would do all in his power to increase federal authority in Utah to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes would not go unpunished. He became the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Salt Lake City mayor, and a Utah Supreme Court justice. Through all this, he was seen as a thorn in the side of the Utah establishment. Even so, readers should appreciate his measured tone and lawyerly objectivity, as well as his graceful prose, indicative of a Harvard education, and his solid documentation intended to convince skeptics. After Reminiscences "was published in 1914, Baskin sparred with prominent Mormon writer Orson F. Whitney, who suggested that doubtless the fear, well-founded it seems, that judges would be sent to Utah as an engine of oppression was the reason for excesses. Baskin countered, Yes, without doubt it was fear that inspired disloyal acts, fear the federal government would send judges here to execute impartiality as the law of the land."