Affidavit, 2 January 1843, William Clayton Copy [Extradition of JS for Accessory to Assault]
JS, Affidavit, before , [, Sangamon Co., IL], 2 Jan. 1843, Extradition of JS for Accessory to Assault (United States Circuit Court for the District of IL 1843). Featured version copied [6 Jan. 1843] in Transcript of Proceedings, –; handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes notations.
Single leaf, measuring 12⅜ × 7⅞ inches (31 × 20 cm) and ruled with thirty-nine horizontal printed lines. The document was folded twice horizontally. This leaf has the same dimensions as the leaves on which fourteen other documents related to JS’s second extradition hearing were copied; small holes at the top of the leaf indicate where it was attached to the other copies.
On 6 January 1843, made this copy of the document for JS in the presence of circuit court clerk . Sometime afterward, affixed a torn page, measuring 3¾ × 8 inches (10 × 20 cm), to the document with two red adhesive wafers. The affixed page contains an introductory statement for the affidavit composed sometime after Clayton made the official copy. A circa 1904 Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) inventory lists “Joseph smith before the distric court,” likely referring to the assembled copies of second extradition documents. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). Its likely inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and its inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 suggest continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 2 January 1843, JS swore an affidavit before the Circuit Court for the District of testifying of his whereabouts at the time of the attempted assassination of former governor . Having petitioned for a writ of on 31 December 1842, JS appeared before the court and asserted that Missouri’s extradition requisition was illegal. JS’s legal counsel in the hearing, , argued that in extradition cases, the United States Constitution allowed extradition only when the requisitioning state accused the defendant of committing a crime in that state. He contended that because JS had not been in Missouri at the time of the 6 May 1842 assassination attempt or for three years prior to that event, Missouri could not charge him with a crime and demand his extradition. On this basis, Butterfield argued that “the U. S. Court was the only tribunal which had jurisdiction in the case,” rejecting the assertion of Illinois state attorney general that the circuit court “had no right to try the case.” The following affidavit, which JS swore before circuit court clerk , provided Butterfield with evidence for the argument that JS had not been in Missouri at the time of the attempted assassination. During the 2–5 January 1843 hearing, Butterfield presented the information in the affidavit before federal judge .
The original affidavit is not extant. On 6 January 1843, created an official copy of the affidavit in cooperation with , who certified that it was “a true and correct copy of the record.” later made another copy based on Clayton’s copy. Clayton’s version is featured here.
Joseph Smith being brought up on Habeas Corpus before this Court comes and denies the matter set forth in the return at to the same in this, that he is not a fugitive from the justice of the State of ; but alleages and is ready to prove that he was not in the State of at the time of the Commission of the alledged crime set forth in the affidavit of , nor had he been in said for more than three years previous to that time, nor has he been in that since that time— but on the contrary at the time the said alledged assault was made upon the said as set forth in said affidavit the said Smith was at in the County of in the State of , and that he has not fled from the justice of the State of and taken refuge in the State of , as is most untruly stated in the warrant upon which he is arrested, and that the matter set forth in the requisition of the of and in the said Warrant are not supported by oath
State of Ss. [scilicet] Joseph Smith being duly sworn saith that the matter and things set forth in the foregoing statement are true.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this 2nd. day of Jany 1843
During the night of 16 April 1839, while traveling to Boone County, Missouri, for trial on charges related to the conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians in 1838, JS escaped the custody of Missouri officials, likely with the cooperation of those guarding him. He then fled to Illinois and had not returned to Missouri since that time. (Promissory Note to John Brassfield, 16 Apr. 1839.)