“Although after 1854 the Mormons reckoned on the hostility of two if their federal judges [W. W. Drummond and George P. Stiles], they accepted the third, John F. Kinney, as decidedly favorable to them. . . . Both the Mormons and their critics, however, erred greatly in their evaluation of Kinney: his outward behavior in utah, as well as his offer in 1858 to ‘render essential service’ to the Church during its crisis with the nation, were acts of duplicity. Like Hurt and Burr, e sent angry dispatches to the Government. He condemned Utah’s probate courts as devices to deny justice to the Gentile, and he spoke of his fear of ‘personal violence at the hands of some of these assassins.’ . . .
The Mormons had no cause to misunderstand the nature of Judge W. W. Drummond, who became to them as much an object of execration as Col Robert Ingersoll to the Fundamentalists. In the first thirty lines of an editorial in the Millennial Star, the Church’s publication in England, Drummond was branded an ‘infamous scoundrel and dastardly wretch,’ ‘a ‘beastly criminal,’ ‘horrible monster,’ ‘black-hearted judge,’ ‘poor wretch,’ ‘lying, adulterous, murderous fiend,’ ‘loathsome specimen of humanity,’ ‘and a number of additional names falling into various categories of iniquity. . . .
[T]he judge was as unsavory as any man appointed to office in Utah by a thoughtless Administration. . . . On going to Utah he deserted his wife and children and took with him a prostitute from Washington, whom he occasionally seated beside him during court sessions. It seemed equally certain that he bragged of his great desire for money and highly probable that he used his position to make it by unscrupulous methods. . . .
The third member of the supreme court . . . was George P. Stiles. In earlier days he had been prominent in the Church . . . More recently, however, he had turned away from the faith and had been excommunicated. Like the appointment of a profligate [i.e. Drummond] to high office in Utah, the selection of an apostate as United states judge could only increase political strife in Utah. . . .
Several [Mormon] lawyers, with the usually even-tempered James Ferguson as their leader, entered Stiles’ court and threatened him with physical harm if he should continue his offensive behavior. . . On the night of December 29, 1856, a mob broke into stiles’ office . . . The raider removed everything. When stiles, Hurt and others arrived on the scene they found what seemed to be the entire contents of the office burning in the backyard privy. . . . He promptly left for Washington, where with Drummond he offered these occurrences as proof that the people of Utah were in open rebellion against the United States. . . .
Now the people of Utah had engaged in an activity close to rebellon. In doing so they had given their enemies in the East, and the Administration as well, a suitable pretext for armed intervention in Utah.”