Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” 12 December 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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FROM .
OUR readers will recollect the frequent accounts pub lished in the Star, concerning the outrage in ;  and lest we might give them occasion to think, that we  devote too large a portion of our columns to this subject,  we have issued this Extra, containing a circular recently  received from our friends in the West, which corroborates  many items heretofore laid before the public. It will be  seen, that the more part of the following, or the substance  of it, up to Dec. 15, has been previously published; but  out of respect to our friends in the West, and the justice  of their cause, we consider that it is no more than right,  that they should be allowed to speak for themselves upon  this awful and unheard of persecution in a republican gov ernment!
Facts concerning this afflicted people already before the  world, are sufficient to arouse the sympathy of every feel ing heart, and cause every true republican to blush at the  thought, that men in our country are so destitute of human ity, as to raise an oppressive hand against any people for  their religion! None, we presume to say, will forbear to  weep at such conduct, but those who are bound, more or  ‘l’ess by priestly influence!—-[Editor of the Star.]-
 
“THE MORMONS”
SO CALLED.
So various have been the reports, concerning this people,  that the attempt, at this time, to spread a few facts in rela tion to their inhospitable reception, and final expulsion from   by force of arms, may be unavailing. But  through the solicitation of certain candid and influential  citizens of this , that there should be sent forth, a hand- bill, detailing in a very brief manner, only the important  features of their history in , Missouri; the  writers note the follwing facts, passing over every incident  except the most important. On the 26th July, 1831, about  sixty men, women, and children, landed at  landing, from on board the steamer Chieftain, Captain Shal cross.—These were the first settlers of this people in . From this time their emigration continued,  until their number became about twelve hundred. As re gards their integrity in all their dealings with the world,  their industrious habits, and total abstinence from public  crime, and violations of the laws of the land, let such indi viduals as are unconnected with the mob,  and have personal knowledge of, and dealings with them,  speak in this case; and also, the records of the courts of  .
What then, a candid public enquires, is the cause of their  extraordinary persecutions? The answer is, their firm be lief in the book of Mormon, and the articles and covenants  of their Church, as being brought forth by inspiration of  Almighty God. In June, 1832, this people established a  press in ; and their first paper, entitled the  Evening and the Morning Star, was published the same  month. In this paper, their faith and doctrines were fully  set forth, and through this vehicle, the inhabitants of became acquainted with them; and if those com munications published as revelations from God to this gen eration, are marvelous, the unusual circulation of all man ner of falsehoods, concerning this people, is equally marve lous. As early as the spring of 1832, written hand-bills  were posted up in various parts of the county of ,  warning this people to clear from the county; but they were  unheeded. In the same season, a meeting of the citizens  of the county was called, and a large collection gathered,  which terminated with warnings, and wicked threats to  the leading men in the Church. After stoning and brick- batting their houses for several nights in succession, the  persecution abated in some degree, till the following fall;  when a certain man in the village of , whose  name was not divulged till the summer of 1833, set fire to,  and burnt a large stack of hay, belonging to two of this  people. After this, few acts of violence were committed  openly by the populace, but continual rumors of a mischiev ous and wicked nature, too incredible and trifling to be na med among the intelligent part of community, were busily  circulated among the inhabitants of , and  had the desired effect, in exciting and enraging the illiter ate class against the Mormons.—One report was, that “the  Mormons had declared, that they would have the land of  , for the Lord had given it to them, &c.”— Another, that “the Mormons were tampering with the  Blacks of said ; and that they were, (to use their  term,) colleguing with the Indians, and exciting them to hos tilities against the whites, &c.”—Most industriously were  reports of this nature daily spread, while the Mormons were  entreating for an open and legal investigation into these  rumors. But no such step would the leaders of this faction  consent to take; but, on the contrary, made every effort to  fan the flames, till this demoniac spirit became general, and  those few who wished for peace, were compelled to be  mute.—Thus did the deep-rooted hatred and malice against  their religion rage, under cover of the aforesaid reports.  And foreseeing that false impressions against this people  were prevailing in adjoining counties, because of wicked  fabrications, the conductors of the Star published an address  to the Church abroad, in the last July number, headed  “Free People of Color,” in which they particularly quoted  the two important sections, 4 and 5, from the statute laws  of , with a warning to the church, to “shun every  appearance of evil.” This communication, being misrep resented by the leaders of the faction, hand-bills were im mediately struck off, under date of 16th July, giving full  explanation to every rational man of the views of this peo ple, in relation to the Blacks. The hand bills were posted  up in the village of , at sundry times, and im mediately pulled down by the mob. About this time, the  following noted circular was passing through the county  for signatures, which reads as follows:
-[Those of our readers who wish to peruse the above  mentioned document, we refer to the first number of the  Star, published in this : the length of the article pro hibits its insertion in this extra.—Editor of the Star.]-
At the time the foregoing circular was put into the  hands of the Mormons, there were between 70 and 100 sig natures to it; among the number were names of the follow ing, viz. Henry Chiles, Attorney, , Attor ney, , Attorney, J. P.,  John Smith J. P., John Cook J. P., Lewis Franklin, Jailor,  , Lt. Colonel militia and constable, Gan  Johnson, James P. Hickman, Samuel C. Owens, County  Clerk, Colonel of militia, Judge of County  Court, John O. W. Hambright, R. W. Cummings, Ind.  agent, Jones H. Flournoy P. M., Richard Simpson, &c.  Several other circulars, supposed to be of the same tenor as  the foregoing, were circulated thro’ the , and hun dreds of signatures obtained. Pursuant to the last clause  of said circular, the mob met at the court-house on the 20th  of July; and from their appearance, it became apparent that  nothing but the blood of this defenceless people would ap pease their wrath, unless God, or the  interposed. But through the mercy of God, the execution  of their threats was stayed, and July passed without blood shed. The wicked and wanton manner, in which the of & Co. the type, and books then  publishing, the dwelling-house of said , and some  furniture, were destroyed; together with the inhuman and  degrading treatment of tarring and feathering the  of the Church, and one other worthy member, , in the presence of several hundred people, are facts,  too notorious to need particular comment here. After  compelling Messrs. & to close their store,  and pack their goods, (which was done,) the mob adjourn ed to meet on the 23d July, on which day they again met,  to the number of 3 to 500 as was estimated; some armed  with fire armes, dirks, and sticks, with their red flags hois ted as they entered town, threatening death and destruction  to the Mormons. On this day, six of the Church signed an  agreement for themselves, to leave the county of ,  one half by the 1st January, and the other half by the 1st  of April, 1834, hoping thereby to preserve the lives of their  brethren, and their property. After said agreement was  signed, and the mob harrangued by two of their leaders in  the court-house, they dispersed with threats of destruction  the next new year’s day, if the Mormons were not off by  that time. This people, being wearied with such barba rous usage, made several attempts to effect a settlement in  the new county of Van Buren; and several families removed  there; but the threats of a majority of that county, so alar med the women and children, that they were compelled to  return. Under these circumstances, a petition was sent  by express early in October last, to the of the  , praying his Excellency to point out some relief.— The ’s letter, in reply to said petition, is already  before the public, in which he pointed out certain legal steps  for their safety, and a prosecution of their claims in the  courts of law, &c. Accordingly, by advice of the , suits were directed to be commenced in certain cases  for damages, in the destruction of property, &c. This  was spread and some few honest men in ,  gave this people warning, that the prosecution of their  claims, was arousing the vengeance of the county against  them; and that they were determined to come out by night,  and tear down houses, kill stock, and probably wound and  maim individuals. Having passed through the most aggra vated insults and injuries, without making the least resis tance, a general inquiry prevailed at this time, thoughout  the Church, as to the propriety of self-defence. Some  claimed the right of defending themselves, families, and  houses from destruction, while others doubted the propriety  of self defence; and as the agreement of the 23d July, be tween the two parties, had been published to the world,  wherein it was set forth, that the Mormons were not to  leave until the 1st of January, and 1st of April, 1834, it  was believed by many of the Mormons, that the leaders of  the mob, whose names appeared in the Monitor of that date,  would not suffer so barefaced a violation of the agree ment, before the time therein set forth; but Thursday night,  the 31st of October, gave them abundant proof, that no  pledge, written or verbal, was longer to be regarded; for on  that night, between 40 and 50 in number, many of whom  were armed with guns, proceeded against a branch of the  Church west of Big-Blue, and unroofed, and partly demol ished, ten dwelling houses; and in the midst of the shrieks  and screams of women and children, whipped and beat,  in a savage and brutal manner, several of the men; and with  their horred threats, frightened women and children into  the wilderness. Such of the men as could escape, fled for  their lives; for very few of them had arms, neither were  they embodied; and they were threatened with death if  they made resistance; such, therefore, as could not escape  by flight, received a pelting by rocks, and a beating with  guns, sticks, &c. On Friday, the 1st November, women  and children sallied forth from their gloomy retreats, to con template with heart rending anguish, the ravages of a ruth less mob, in the mangled bodies of their husbands, and in  the destruction of their houses, and some of their furniture.  Houseless, and unprotected by the arm of civil law in , the dreary month of November staring them in  the face, and loudly proclaiming a more inclement season,  at hand; the continual threats of the mob, that they would  drive every Mormon from the ; and the inability of  many to remove, because of their poverty, caused an an guish of heart indiscribable.
On Friday night, the 1st of November, a party of the  mob, proceeded to attack a branch of the church at the  prairie, about twelve or fourteen miles from the .— Two of their numbers were sent in advance, as spies, viz,  Robert Johnson, and one Harris, armed with two guns,  and three pistols. They were discovered by some of the  Mormons, and without the least injury being done to them,  said Johnson struck Pratt; with the britch of his gun, over  the head; after which they were taken and detained till  morning; which, it was believed, prevented a general at tack of the mob that night. In the morning, they were  liberated without receiving the least injury. The same  night (Friday,) another party in , commenced  stoning houses, breaking down doors and windows, des stroying furniture &c. This night, the brick part, attach ed to the dwelling house of , was partly pulled  down, and the windows of his dwelling broken in with brick  batts and rocks; while a gentleman stranger lay sick with a  fever in his house. The same night, three doors of the  store of Messrs. and , were split open; and  after midnight, the goods lay scattered in the streets, such  as calicoes, handkerchiefs, shawls, cambricks, &c; to which  fact upwards of twenty witnesses can attest. An express  came from the village after midnight, to a party of their  men, who had embodied about half a mile from the ,  for the safety of their lives; stating that the mob were tear ing down houses, and scattering the goods of the store in  the street. The main body of the mob fled, at the approach  of this company. One was caught in  the act of throwing rocks and brick batts into the doors  while the goods lay strung around him in the street, and  was immediately taken before , Esq. and a  complaint there made to said , and a warrant re quested, that said might be secured; but said   refused to do any thing in the case at that time.— said was then liberated. The same night, some  of their houses in the , had long poles thrust through  the shutters and sash, into the rooms of defenceless women  and children, from whence their husbands and fathers had  been driven by the dastardly attacks of the mob, which was  made by ten, fifteen, or twenty men upon a house at a time.  Saturday the second November, all the families of this peo ple, in the , moved about half a mile out, with most  of their goods; and embodied to the number of thirty, for  the preservation of life and personal effects. This night, a  party from the , met a party from west of the Blue,  and made an attack upon a branch of the church, located at  the Blue, about six miles from the , here, they tore  the roof from one dwelling, and broke open another house,  found the owner sick in bed, viz, David Bennet, whom they  beat inhumanly, swearing they would blow out his brains,  and discharged a pistol, the ball of which cut a deep gash  across the top of his head. In this skirmish, a young man  of the mob, was shot in the thigh; but, by which party re mains yet to be determined. The next day, (Sunday,)  November, the third, four of the church, viz. , , and two others, were dispatched for Lex ington, to see the circuit Judge, and obtain a peace war rant. Two called on Esq. Silvers, who refused to issue  one, on account, as he has declared, of his fears of the mob.  This day many of the citizens, professing friendship, advis ed this people to clear from the , as speedily as pos sible; for the Saturday night affray had “enraged the whole  , and they were determined to come out on Monday,  and massacre indiscriminately; and in short, it was prov erbial among the mob, that Monday would be a bloody  day.—Monday came, and a large party of the mob gathered  at the Blue, took the ferry boat, belonging to the church,  threatened their lives, &c. But they soon abandoned the ferry,  and went to Wilson’s store, about one mile west of the Blue.  Word had previously gone to a branch of the church, sev eral miles west of the Blue, that the mob were destroying  property, on the east side of the Blue; and the sufferers  there, wanted help, to preserve lives and property. Nine [p. [1]]
FROM .
OUR readers will recollect the frequent accounts published in the Star, concerning the outrage in ; and lest we might give them occasion to think, that we devote too large a portion of our columns to this subject, we have issued this Extra, containing a circular recently received from our friends in the West, which corroborates many items heretofore laid before the public. It will be seen, that the more part of the following, or the substance of it, up to Dec. 15, has been previously published; but out of respect to our friends in the West, and the justice of their cause, we consider that it is no more than right, that they should be allowed to speak for themselves upon this awful and unheard of persecution in a republican government!
Facts concerning this afflicted people already before the world, are sufficient to arouse the sympathy of every feeling heart, and cause every true republican to blush at the thought, that men in our country are so destitute of humanity, as to raise an oppressive hand against any people for their religion! None, we presume to say, will forbear to weep at such conduct, but those who are bound, more or ‘l’ess by priestly influence!—-[Editor of the Star.]-
 
“THE MORMONS”
SO CALLED.
So various have been the reports, concerning this people, that the attempt, at this time, to spread a few facts in relation to their inhospitable reception, and final expulsion from by force of arms, may be unavailing. But through the solicitation of certain candid and influential citizens of this , that there should be sent forth, a hand-bill, detailing in a very brief manner, only the important features of their history in , Missouri; the writers note the follwing facts, passing over every incident except the most important. On the 26th July, 1831, about sixty men, women, and children, landed at landing, from on board the steamer Chieftain, Captain Shalcross.—These were the first settlers of this people in . From this time their emigration continued, until their number became about twelve hundred. As regards their integrity in all their dealings with the world, their industrious habits, and total abstinence from public crime, and violations of the laws of the land, let such individuals as are unconnected with the mob, and have personal knowledge of, and dealings with them, speak in this case; and also, the records of the courts of .
What then, a candid public enquires, is the cause of their extraordinary persecutions? The answer is, their firm belief in the book of Mormon, and the articles and covenants of their Church, as being brought forth by inspiration of Almighty God. In June, 1832, this people established a press in ; and their first paper, entitled the Evening and the Morning Star, was published the same month. In this paper, their faith and doctrines were fully set forth, and through this vehicle, the inhabitants of became acquainted with them; and if those communications published as revelations from God to this generation, are marvelous, the unusual circulation of all manner of falsehoods, concerning this people, is equally marvelous. As early as the spring of 1832, written hand-bills were posted up in various parts of the county of , warning this people to clear from the county; but they were unheeded. In the same season, a meeting of the citizens of the county was called, and a large collection gathered, which terminated with warnings, and wicked threats to the leading men in the Church. After stoning and brick-batting their houses for several nights in succession, the persecution abated in some degree, till the following fall; when a certain man in the village of , whose name was not divulged till the summer of 1833, set fire to, and burnt a large stack of hay, belonging to two of this people. After this, few acts of violence were committed openly by the populace, but continual rumors of a mischievous and wicked nature, too incredible and trifling to be named among the intelligent part of community, were busily circulated among the inhabitants of , and had the desired effect, in exciting and enraging the illiterate class against the Mormons.—One report was, that “the Mormons had declared, that they would have the land of , for the Lord had given it to them, &c.”—Another, that “the Mormons were tampering with the Blacks of said ; and that they were, (to use their term,) colleguing with the Indians, and exciting them to hostilities against the whites, &c.”—Most industriously were reports of this nature daily spread, while the Mormons were entreating for an open and legal investigation into these rumors. But no such step would the leaders of this faction consent to take; but, on the contrary, made every effort to fan the flames, till this demoniac spirit became general, and those few who wished for peace, were compelled to be mute.—Thus did the deep-rooted hatred and malice against their religion rage, under cover of the aforesaid reports. And foreseeing that false impressions against this people were prevailing in adjoining counties, because of wicked fabrications, the conductors of the Star published an address to the Church abroad, in the last July number, headed “Free People of Color,” in which they particularly quoted the two important sections, 4 and 5, from the statute laws of , with a warning to the church, to “shun every appearance of evil.” This communication, being misrepresented by the leaders of the faction, hand-bills were immediately struck off, under date of 16th July, giving full explanation to every rational man of the views of this people, in relation to the Blacks. The hand bills were posted up in the village of , at sundry times, and immediately pulled down by the mob. About this time, the following noted circular was passing through the county for signatures, which reads as follows:
-[Those of our readers who wish to peruse the above mentioned document, we refer to the first number of the Star, published in this : the length of the article prohibits its insertion in this extra.—Editor of the Star.]-
At the time the foregoing circular was put into the hands of the Mormons, there were between 70 and 100 signatures to it; among the number were names of the following, viz. Henry Chiles, Attorney, , Attorney, , Attorney, J. P., John Smith J. P., John Cook J. P., Lewis Franklin, Jailor, , Lt. Colonel militia and constable, Gan Johnson, James P. Hickman, Samuel C. Owens, County Clerk, Colonel of militia, Judge of County Court, John O. W. Hambright, R. W. Cummings, Ind. agent, Jones H. Flournoy P. M., Richard Simpson, &c. Several other circulars, supposed to be of the same tenor as the foregoing, were circulated thro’ the , and hundreds of signatures obtained. Pursuant to the last clause of said circular, the mob met at the court-house on the 20th of July; and from their appearance, it became apparent that nothing but the blood of this defenceless people would appease their wrath, unless God, or the interposed. But through the mercy of God, the execution of their threats was stayed, and July passed without bloodshed. The wicked and wanton manner, in which the of & Co. the type, and books then publishing, the dwelling-house of said , and some furniture, were destroyed; together with the inhuman and degrading treatment of tarring and feathering the of the Church, and one other worthy member, , in the presence of several hundred people, are facts, too notorious to need particular comment here. After compelling Messrs. & to close their store, and pack their goods, (which was done,) the mob adjourned to meet on the 23d July, on which day they again met, to the number of 3 to 500 as was estimated; some armed with fire armes, dirks, and sticks, with their red flags hoisted as they entered town, threatening death and destruction to the Mormons. On this day, six of the Church signed an agreement for themselves, to leave the county of , one half by the 1st January, and the other half by the 1st of April, 1834, hoping thereby to preserve the lives of their brethren, and their property. After said agreement was signed, and the mob harrangued by two of their leaders in the court-house, they dispersed with threats of destruction the next new year’s day, if the Mormons were not off by that time. This people, being wearied with such barbarous usage, made several attempts to effect a settlement in the new county of Van Buren; and several families removed there; but the threats of a majority of that county, so alarmed the women and children, that they were compelled to return. Under these circumstances, a petition was sent by express early in October last, to the of the , praying his Excellency to point out some relief.—The ’s letter, in reply to said petition, is already before the public, in which he pointed out certain legal steps for their safety, and a prosecution of their claims in the courts of law, &c. Accordingly, by advice of the , suits were directed to be commenced in certain cases for damages, in the destruction of property, &c. This was spread and some few honest men in , gave this people warning, that the prosecution of their claims, was arousing the vengeance of the county against them; and that they were determined to come out by night, and tear down houses, kill stock, and probably wound and maim individuals. Having passed through the most aggravated insults and injuries, without making the least resistance, a general inquiry prevailed at this time, thoughout the Church, as to the propriety of self-defence. Some claimed the right of defending themselves, families, and houses from destruction, while others doubted the propriety of self defence; and as the agreement of the 23d July, between the two parties, had been published to the world, wherein it was set forth, that the Mormons were not to leave until the 1st of January, and 1st of April, 1834, it was believed by many of the Mormons, that the leaders of the mob, whose names appeared in the Monitor of that date, would not suffer so barefaced a violation of the agreement, before the time therein set forth; but Thursday night, the 31st of October, gave them abundant proof, that no pledge, written or verbal, was longer to be regarded; for on that night, between 40 and 50 in number, many of whom were armed with guns, proceeded against a branch of the Church west of Big-Blue, and unroofed, and partly demolished, ten dwelling houses; and in the midst of the shrieks and screams of women and children, whipped and beat, in a savage and brutal manner, several of the men; and with their horred threats, frightened women and children into the wilderness. Such of the men as could escape, fled for their lives; for very few of them had arms, neither were they embodied; and they were threatened with death if they made resistance; such, therefore, as could not escape by flight, received a pelting by rocks, and a beating with guns, sticks, &c. On Friday, the 1st November, women and children sallied forth from their gloomy retreats, to contemplate with heart rending anguish, the ravages of a ruthless mob, in the mangled bodies of their husbands, and in the destruction of their houses, and some of their furniture. Houseless, and unprotected by the arm of civil law in , the dreary month of November staring them in the face, and loudly proclaiming a more inclement season, at hand; the continual threats of the mob, that they would drive every Mormon from the ; and the inability of many to remove, because of their poverty, caused an anguish of heart indiscribable.
On Friday night, the 1st of November, a party of the mob, proceeded to attack a branch of the church at the prairie, about twelve or fourteen miles from the .—Two of their numbers were sent in advance, as spies, viz, Robert Johnson, and one Harris, armed with two guns, and three pistols. They were discovered by some of the Mormons, and without the least injury being done to them, said Johnson struck Pratt; with the britch of his gun, over the head; after which they were taken and detained till morning; which, it was believed, prevented a general attack of the mob that night. In the morning, they were liberated without receiving the least injury. The same night (Friday,) another party in , commenced stoning houses, breaking down doors and windows, desstroying furniture &c. This night, the brick part, attached to the dwelling house of , was partly pulled down, and the windows of his dwelling broken in with brick batts and rocks; while a gentleman stranger lay sick with a fever in his house. The same night, three doors of the store of Messrs. and , were split open; and after midnight, the goods lay scattered in the streets, such as calicoes, handkerchiefs, shawls, cambricks, &c; to which fact upwards of twenty witnesses can attest. An express came from the village after midnight, to a party of their men, who had embodied about half a mile from the , for the safety of their lives; stating that the mob were tearing down houses, and scattering the goods of the store in the street. The main body of the mob fled, at the approach of this company. One was caught in the act of throwing rocks and brick batts into the doors while the goods lay strung around him in the street, and was immediately taken before , Esq. and a complaint there made to said , and a warrant requested, that said might be secured; but said refused to do any thing in the case at that time.—said was then liberated. The same night, some of their houses in the , had long poles thrust through the shutters and sash, into the rooms of defenceless women and children, from whence their husbands and fathers had been driven by the dastardly attacks of the mob, which was made by ten, fifteen, or twenty men upon a house at a time. Saturday the second November, all the families of this people, in the , moved about half a mile out, with most of their goods; and embodied to the number of thirty, for the preservation of life and personal effects. This night, a party from the , met a party from west of the Blue, and made an attack upon a branch of the church, located at the Blue, about six miles from the , here, they tore the roof from one dwelling, and broke open another house, found the owner sick in bed, viz, David Bennet, whom they beat inhumanly, swearing they would blow out his brains, and discharged a pistol, the ball of which cut a deep gash across the top of his head. In this skirmish, a young man of the mob, was shot in the thigh; but, by which party remains yet to be determined. The next day, (Sunday,) November, the third, four of the church, viz. , , and two others, were dispatched for Lexington, to see the circuit Judge, and obtain a peace warrant. Two called on Esq. Silvers, who refused to issue one, on account, as he has declared, of his fears of the mob. This day many of the citizens, professing friendship, advised this people to clear from the , as speedily as possible; for the Saturday night affray had “enraged the whole , and they were determined to come out on Monday, and massacre indiscriminately; and in short, it was proverbial among the mob, that Monday would be a bloody day.—Monday came, and a large party of the mob gathered at the Blue, took the ferry boat, belonging to the church, threatened their lives, &c. But they soon abandoned the ferry, and went to Wilson’s store, about one mile west of the Blue. Word had previously gone to a branch of the church, several miles west of the Blue, that the mob were destroying property, on the east side of the Blue; and the sufferers there, wanted help, to preserve lives and property. Nine [p. [1]]
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