Sidney Rigdon, Appeal to the American People, 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 66
image
Accordingly, the trial commenced; on  the bench, and , attorney. This was sure ly a new kind of Court: it was not an inquisition nor yet  a criminal court, but a compound between. A looker on  would be convinced that both the judge and attorney were  not statisfied that some or all of the prisoners had been  guilty of some criminal act or acts, but on the contrary  that their object was to try by all means in their power  to get some person to swear some criminal thing against  us, though they were innocent.
The first act of the court was to send out a body of  armed men to obtain witnesses without any civil process  whatever; and after witnesses were brought before the  court, they were sworn at bayonet point. Dr. was the first brought before the Court. He had  previously told Mr. , that if he () wish ed to save himself, he must swear hard against the heads  of the Church, as they were the ones, the court wanted  to criminate; and if he could swear hard against them,  they would, that is, neither court nor mob, disturbe 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 scour ing 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 testi mony was favorable to the defendants. One instance is  all the proof that need be aduced 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 dilligent  search to find all they could) were either arrested under  pretention of some charge, or else driven off. When a [p. 66]
Accordingly, the trial commenced; on the bench, and , attorney. This was surely a new kind of Court: it was not an inquisition nor yet a criminal court, but a compound between. A looker on would be convinced that both the judge and attorney were not statisfied that some or all of the prisoners had been guilty of some criminal act or acts, but on the contrary that their object was to try by all means in their power to get some person to swear some criminal thing against us, though they were innocent.
The first act of the court was to send out a body of armed men to obtain witnesses without any civil process whatever; and after witnesses were brought before the court, they were sworn at bayonet point. Dr. was the first brought before the Court. He had previously told Mr. , that if he () wished to save himself, he must swear hard against the heads of the Church, as they were the ones, the court wanted to criminate; and if he could swear hard against them, they would, that is, neither court nor mob, disturbe 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 aduced 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 dilligent search to find all they could) were either arrested under pretention of some charge, or else driven off. When a [p. 66]
Page 66