History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 879
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<January 24  Joseph to the  Legislature> upon the result of the criminal charges preferred against them, your Hon. body  will excuse them for manifesting the deep concern they feel in relation to their  trials for a crime so enormous as that of treason— It is not our object  to complain— to asperse any one. All we ask, is, a fair and impartial  trial. We ask the sympathies of no one, we ask sheer justice, ’tis all we  expect— and all we merit, but we merit that— We know the people  of no County in this to which we would ask our final trials to be sent  are prejudiced in our favor. But we believe, that the State of Excitement  existing in most of the Upper Counties is such, that a jury would be  improperly influenced by it. But that excitement, and the prejudice  against us in the Counties comprising the fifth judicial Circuit, are not  the only obstacle we are compelled to meet. We know that much  of that prejudice against us is not so much to be attributed to a want  of honest motive among the Citizens, as it is to wrong information—  But it is a difficult task to change opinions once formed, The other obstacle  which we candidly consider one of the most weighty, is the feeling, which  we believe is entertained by the Hon. against us, and the  consequent incapacity to do us impartial justice. It is from no disposition  to speak disrespectfully of that <high> officer, that we lay before your Hon. body  the facts we do, but simply that the Legislature may be apprised of  our real condition. We look upon as like all other mere  men, liable to be influenced by his feelings, his prejudices, and his  previously formed opinions. We consider his reputation as being  partially, if not entirely committed against us. He has written much  upon the subject of our late difficulties, in which he has placed us in the  wrong— These letters have been published to the world— He has also  presided at an excited public meeting as Chairman, and no doubt  sanctioned all the proceedings. We do not complain of the Citizens  who held that meeting— They were entitled to that privilege— But for  the before whom the very men were to be tried for a capital offence,  to participate in an expression of condemnation of these same individuals  is to us at least apparently wrong, and we cannot think, that we should  after such a course on the part of the Judge have the same chance of a fair  and impartial trial— as all admit we ought to have— We believe that  the foundation of the feeling against us, which we have reason to think   entertains, may be traced to the unfortunate troubles which  occurred in some few years ago— in a battle between the  Mormons and a portion of the Citizens of that , the  Brother in Law of was killed. It is natural that the  should have some feeling against us, whether we were right or wrong in that  controversy. We mention these facts not to disparage — We  believe that from the relation he bears to us, he would himself prefer that our  trials should be had in a different circuit, and before a different court— Many  other reasons, and facts we might mention but we forbear.” [p. 879]
January 24 Joseph to the Legislature upon the result of the criminal charges preferred against them, your Hon. body will excuse them for manifesting the deep concern they feel in relation to their trials for a crime so enormous as that of treason— It is not our object to complain— to asperse any one. All we ask, is, a fair and impartial trial. We ask the sympathies of no one, we ask sheer justice, ’tis all we expect— and all we merit, but we merit that— We know the people of no County in this to which we would ask our final trials to be sent are prejudiced in our favor. But we believe, that the State of Excitement existing in most of the Upper Counties is such, that a jury would be improperly influenced by it. But that excitement, and the prejudice against us in the Counties comprising the fifth judicial Circuit, are not the only obstacle we are compelled to meet. We know that much of that prejudice against us is not so much to be attributed to a want of honest motive among the Citizens, as it is to wrong information— But it is a difficult task to change opinions once formed, The other obstacle which we candidly consider one of the most weighty, is the feeling, which we believe is entertained by the Hon. against us, and the consequent incapacity to do us impartial justice. It is from no disposition to speak disrespectfully of that high officer, that we lay before your Hon. body the facts we do, but simply that the Legislature may be apprised of our real condition. We look upon as like all other mere men, liable to be influenced by his feelings, his prejudices, and his previously formed opinions. We consider his reputation as being partially, if not entirely committed against us. He has written much upon the subject of our late difficulties, in which he has placed us in the wrong— These letters have been published to the world— He has also presided at an excited public meeting as Chairman, and no doubt sanctioned all the proceedings. We do not complain of the Citizens who held that meeting— They were entitled to that privilege— But for the before whom the very men were to be tried for a capital offence, to participate in an expression of condemnation of these same individuals is to us at least apparently wrong, and we cannot think, that we should after such a course on the part of the Judge have the same chance of a fair and impartial trial— as all admit we ought to have— We believe that the foundation of the feeling against us, which we have reason to think entertains, may be traced to the unfortunate troubles which occurred in some few years ago— in a battle between the Mormons and a portion of the Citizens of that , the Brother in Law of was killed. It is natural that the should have some feeling against us, whether we were right or wrong in that controversy. We mention these facts not to disparage — We believe that from the relation he bears to us, he would himself prefer that our trials should be had in a different circuit, and before a different court— Many other reasons, and facts we might mention but we forbear.” [p. 879]
Page 879