Sidney Rigdon, Appeal to the American People, 1840, Second Edition

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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turb him. I intend to do it, said he, in order to escape, for if I do  not they will take my life. To aid him in this work, there was  standing a body of armed men; a part of this armed body stood in the  presence of the court to see that the witnesses swore right, and an other part was scouring the county to drive out of it every witness  that they could hear of whose testimony would be favorable to the  defendants. This course was kept up during the whole time of the  court. If a witness did not swear to please the court, he or she would  be threatened to be cast into prison. They never pleased the court  when their testimony was favorable to the defendants. One instance  is all the proof that need be adduced on this head. A man by the  name of Allen was called on, he began to tell the story about ’s  burning houses in the south part of , he was kicked out of  the house, and three men took after him with loaded guns, and he  hardly escaped with his life. Every witness that the defendants had  (that these creatures knew of, and they made diligent search to find  all they could) were either arrested under pretention of some charge,  or else driven off. When a witness did not swear to please the attorney  () he would order them to be taken into custody, and they were  immediately cast into prison, and the next morning they would be  brought forward and tried again. Such was the course the court and  their armed body pursued during their sittings till they got through;  by such means they got men to swear for them, and to swear to most  unhallowed falsehoods. It was indeed suborning witnesses to swear  to promise a man’s life if he would swear, and death or imprisonment  if he did not swear, and not only to swear, but swear to please them.
This matter of driving away witnesses or casting them into prison,  or chasing them out of the county, was carried to such a length that  our lawyers, and , told us not to bring our  witnesses there at all, for if we did there would not be one of them  left for the final trial, for no sooner would and his men know  who they were, than they would put them out of the county. As to  make any impression on , if a cohort of angels were to come  down and declare we were clear, said it would all be the  same, for he () had determined from the beginning to cast us  into prison; we never got the privilege of introducing our witnesses  at all; if we had we could have disproved all they swore.
We here must rather go back a little, for after arrived at , he arrested a great many persons, an account of which will be  found in the memorial of the citizens of to the Legislature  of . Their trials also went on at the same time. One thing  in relation to ’s proceeding we forgot to mention—we will in sert it here. After he had arrived, some persons made application for  a privilege to go and plunder houses for goods, this was readily  granted; and, under this authority, houses were plundered, locks  broken, and property taken at pleasure—and all this without any civil  process whatever.
We will here give a specimen or two of their swearing. We will  first introduce . This said was angry at  one of the prisoners, , in consequence of a law suit existing between them. , we suppose, thought he had a  fair opportunity now to take vengeance in swearing against him; so [p. 48]
turb him. I intend to do it, said he, in order to escape, for if I do not they will take my life. To aid him in this work, there was standing a body of armed men; a part of this armed body stood in the presence of the court to see that the witnesses swore right, and another part was scouring the county to drive out of it every witness that they could hear of whose testimony would be favorable to the defendants. This course was kept up during the whole time of the court. If a witness did not swear to please the court, he or she would be threatened to be cast into prison. They never pleased the court when their testimony was favorable to the defendants. One instance is all the proof that need be adduced on this head. A man by the name of Allen was called on, he began to tell the story about ’s burning houses in the south part of , he was kicked out of the house, and three men took after him with loaded guns, and he hardly escaped with his life. Every witness that the defendants had (that these creatures knew of, and they made diligent search to find all they could) were either arrested under pretention of some charge, or else driven off. When a witness did not swear to please the attorney () he would order them to be taken into custody, and they were immediately cast into prison, and the next morning they would be brought forward and tried again. Such was the course the court and their armed body pursued during their sittings till they got through; by such means they got men to swear for them, and to swear to most unhallowed falsehoods. It was indeed suborning witnesses to swear to promise a man’s life if he would swear, and death or imprisonment if he did not swear, and not only to swear, but swear to please them.
This matter of driving away witnesses or casting them into prison, or chasing them out of the county, was carried to such a length that our lawyers, and , told us not to bring our witnesses there at all, for if we did there would not be one of them left for the final trial, for no sooner would and his men know who they were, than they would put them out of the county. As to make any impression on , if a cohort of angels were to come down and declare we were clear, said it would all be the same, for he () had determined from the beginning to cast us into prison; we never got the privilege of introducing our witnesses at all; if we had we could have disproved all they swore.
We here must rather go back a little, for after arrived at , he arrested a great many persons, an account of which will be found in the memorial of the citizens of to the Legislature of . Their trials also went on at the same time. One thing in relation to ’s proceeding we forgot to mention—we will insert it here. After he had arrived, some persons made application for a privilege to go and plunder houses for goods, this was readily granted; and, under this authority, houses were plundered, locks broken, and property taken at pleasure—and all this without any civil process whatever.
We will here give a specimen or two of their swearing. We will first introduce . This said was angry at one of the prisoners, , in consequence of a lawsuit existing between them. , we suppose, thought he had a fair opportunity now to take vengeance in swearing against him; so [p. 48]
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