History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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<May 17> prosecutors employed the best counsel they could get, and ransacked the town of and county of for witnesses that would swear hard enough to convict the prisoner; but they entirely failed. Yes sir, let me say to you that not one blemish nor spot was found against his character; he came from that trial, notwithstanding the mighty efforts that were made to convict him of crime by his vigilant persecutors, with his character unstained by even the appearance of guilt. The trial closed about 12 o’clock at night. After a few moments deliberation, the Court pronounced the words “not guilty”, and the prisoner was discharged. But alas! the devil not satisfied with his defeat, stirred up a man not unlike himself, who was more fit to dwell [HC 6:394] among the fiends of hell, than to belong to the human family, to go to and get another writ, and take him to for another trial. They were sure they could send that boy to hell or to , they did not care which; and in half an hour after he was discharged by the Court, he was arrested again, and on the way to for another trial. I was again called upon by his friends to defend him against his malignant persecutors, and clear him from the false charges they had preferred against him. I made every reasonable excuse I could, as I was nearly worn down through fatigue and want of sleep; as I had been engaged in law suits for two days, and nearly the whole of two nights. But I saw the persecution was great against him; and here let me say, , singular as it may seem, while was pleading with me to go, a peculiar impression or thought struck my mind, that I must go and defend him, for he was the Lord’s anointed. I did not know what it meant, but thought I must go and clear the Lord’s anointed. I said I would go; and started with as much faith as the Apostles had when they could remove mountains, accompanied by , who was like the old patriarchs that followed the ark of God to the City of David. We rode on till we came to the house of , where a number of Mormon women had assembled, as I was informed, for the purpose of praying for the deliverance of the prophet of the Lord. The women came out to our waggon, and among the rest. O my God, sir, what were my feelings, when I saw that woman who had but a few days before given herself, heart and hand, to be a consort for life, and that so soon her crimson cheeks must be wet with tears that came streaming from her eyes; yes sir, it seemed that her very heart strings would be broken with grief. My feelings, sir, were moved with pity and sorrow for the afflicted; and on the other hand they were wrought up to the highest pitch of indignation against those fiends of hell who had thus caused the innocent to suffer.
‘The next morning abut 10 o’clock the Court was organized. The prisoner was to be tried by three justices of the peace, that his departure out of the might be made sure. Neither talents nor money were wanting to ensure them success. They employed the ablest lawyer in that , and introduced twenty or thirty witnesses before dark, but proved nothing. They sent out runners and ransacked the hills and vales, grog shops and ditches, and gathered together a company that looked as if they had come from hell, and had been whipped by the soot boy thereof; which they brought forward to testify one after another, but with no better success than before, although they wrung and twisted into every shape, in trying [HC 6:395] to tell something that would criminate the prisoner. Nothing was proven against him whatever. Having got through with the examination of their witnesses about 2 o’clock in the morning, the case was argued about two hours. There was not one particle of testimony against the prisoner. No sir, he came out like the three children from the fiery furnace, [p. 48]
May 17 prosecutors employed the best counsel they could get, and ransacked the town of and county of for witnesses that would swear hard enough to convict the prisoner; but they entirely failed. Yes sir, let me say to you that not one blemish nor spot was found against his character; he came from that trial, notwithstanding the mighty efforts that were made to convict him of crime by his vigilant persecutors, with his character unstained by even the appearance of guilt. The trial closed about 12 o’clock at night. After a few moments deliberation, the Court pronounced the words “not guilty”, and the prisoner was discharged. But alas! the devil not satisfied with his defeat, stirred up a man not unlike himself, who was more fit to dwell [HC 6:394] among the fiends of hell, than to belong to the human family, to go to and get another writ, and take him to for another trial. They were sure they could send that boy to hell or to , they did not care which; and in half an hour after he was discharged by the Court, he was arrested again, and on the way to for another trial. I was again called upon by his friends to defend him against his malignant persecutors, and clear him from the false charges they had preferred against him. I made every reasonable excuse I could, as I was nearly worn down through fatigue and want of sleep; as I had been engaged in law suits for two days, and nearly the whole of two nights. But I saw the persecution was great against him; and here let me say, , singular as it may seem, while was pleading with me to go, a peculiar impression or thought struck my mind, that I must go and defend him, for he was the Lord’s anointed. I did not know what it meant, but thought I must go and clear the Lord’s anointed. I said I would go; and started with as much faith as the Apostles had when they could remove mountains, accompanied by , who was like the old patriarchs that followed the ark of God to the City of David. We rode on till we came to the house of , where a number of Mormon women had assembled, as I was informed, for the purpose of praying for the deliverance of the prophet of the Lord. The women came out to our waggon, and among the rest. O my God, sir, what were my feelings, when I saw that woman who had but a few days before given herself, heart and hand, to be a consort for life, and that so soon her crimson cheeks must be wet with tears that came streaming from her eyes; yes sir, it seemed that her very heart strings would be broken with grief. My feelings, sir, were moved with pity and sorrow for the afflicted; and on the other hand they were wrought up to the highest pitch of indignation against those fiends of hell who had thus caused the innocent to suffer.
‘The next morning abut 10 o’clock the Court was organized. The prisoner was to be tried by three justices of the peace, that his departure out of the might be made sure. Neither talents nor money were wanting to ensure them success. They employed the ablest lawyer in that , and introduced twenty or thirty witnesses before dark, but proved nothing. They sent out runners and ransacked the hills and vales, grog shops and ditches, and gathered together a company that looked as if they had come from hell, and had been whipped by the soot boy thereof; which they brought forward to testify one after another, but with no better success than before, although they wrung and twisted into every shape, in trying [HC 6:395] to tell something that would criminate the prisoner. Nothing was proven against him whatever. Having got through with the examination of their witnesses about 2 o’clock in the morning, the case was argued about two hours. There was not one particle of testimony against the prisoner. No sir, he came out like the three children from the fiery furnace, [p. 48]
Page 48