History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1802
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<​December 13​> We have also fulfilled the law, and more than fulfilled it: and for the sake of peace when we knew that we had violated no law, nor in any wise subjected ourselves to persecutions, we have endured the wrong patiently, without offering violence or in any wise injuring the heartless wretches who could be trusted with such a dishonorable document. [HC 6:111] Those vagabonds have been suffered to prowl at large, and boast of their inglorious deeds, in our midst, and no man has injured them, or said why do you so. The time however is now gone by for this mode of proceeding and those vagabonds must keep within their own borders and let peaceable citizens alone or receive the due demerit of their crimes. We think that this ordinance passed by the city Council is wise judicious and well timed, and is well calculated to protect peaceable citizens in their rights, and to prevent those lawless vagabonds from interfering with the rights of peaceable citizens.
To those <​un​>acquainted with our relationship to , and the accumulated wrongs, and repeated aggressions that we have received from the hands of that , our language may appear harsh and ill timed; but those who are in possession of those facts know better. Their merciless, unrelenting, inhuman, prosecutions, and persecutions, from the time of our first settlement in that until the present, have been wholly and entirely unprovoked, and without the shadow of law. Joseph Smith has been suffered to be taken, time and again by them: we say suffered, because he could not be legally and constitutionally taken. Joseph Smith never committed the crimes of which he is charged: he is an innocent man. But allowing their false, diabolical accusations to be true, what then?— Does it follow that he is continually to be followed for the same offence? verily no, The Constitution of the expressly says “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life, or limb.” And yet we find that the state of has put Joseph Smith in jeopardy no less than four, or five times. He was tried once by a Military tribunal in and sentenced to be shot. He was afterwards tried by a pretended civil (Mobocratic) court, and since then he has been several times apprehended, tried and acquited for the same offence, in this , by requisitions. Is he still illegally and unconstitutionally to be held in abeyance by these miscreants, or shall we as free born American citizens assert our rights, put the law in force upon those lawless, prowling vagabonds, and say that he shall be free. Shall we suffer our pockets to be picked through the influence of those scoundrels eternally by defending ourselves against vexatious law suits, or shall we take a more summary way, and by a legal course punish the aggressors, proclaim our freedom and shield ourselves under the broad folds of the Constitution. The latter is the course for us to pursue. The ordinance passed by the city Council will secure this object, [HC 6:112] and we are glad to find that the opinion of Attorney General and J. N. McDougall, correspond so much with our own. “That the Legion is an independent military organization and is by law expressly required to sustain the Municipal laws of .”
What are we to say about those kidnappers who infest our borders, and carry away our citizens? those infernals in human shape.
The whole European world has been engaged in a warfare against those who traffic in human blood. Negociations have been made, treaties entered into, and fleets have been sent out through the combined efforts of the nations to put a stop to this [p. 1802]
December 13 We have also fulfilled the law, and more than fulfilled it: and for the sake of peace when we knew that we had violated no law, nor in any wise subjected ourselves to persecutions, we have endured the wrong patiently, without offering violence or in any wise injuring the heartless wretches who could be trusted with such a dishonorable document. [HC 6:111] Those vagabonds have been suffered to prowl at large, and boast of their inglorious deeds, in our midst, and no man has injured them, or said why do you so. The time however is now gone by for this mode of proceeding and those vagabonds must keep within their own borders and let peaceable citizens alone or receive the due demerit of their crimes. We think that this ordinance passed by the city Council is wise judicious and well timed, and is well calculated to protect peaceable citizens in their rights, and to prevent those lawless vagabonds from interfering with the rights of peaceable citizens.
To those unacquainted with our relationship to , and the accumulated wrongs, and repeated aggressions that we have received from the hands of that , our language may appear harsh and ill timed; but those who are in possession of those facts know better. Their merciless, unrelenting, inhuman, prosecutions, and persecutions, from the time of our first settlement in that until the present, have been wholly and entirely unprovoked, and without the shadow of law. Joseph Smith has been suffered to be taken, time and again by them: we say suffered, because he could not be legally and constitutionally taken. Joseph Smith never committed the crimes of which he is charged: he is an innocent man. But allowing their false, diabolical accusations to be true, what then?— Does it follow that he is continually to be followed for the same offence? verily no, The Constitution of the expressly says “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life, or limb.” And yet we find that the state of has put Joseph Smith in jeopardy no less than four, or five times. He was tried once by a Military tribunal in and sentenced to be shot. He was afterwards tried by a pretended civil (Mobocratic) court, and since then he has been several times apprehended, tried and acquited for the same offence, in this , by requisitions. Is he still illegally and unconstitutionally to be held in abeyance by these miscreants, or shall we as free born American citizens assert our rights, put the law in force upon those lawless, prowling vagabonds, and say that he shall be free. Shall we suffer our pockets to be picked through the influence of those scoundrels eternally by defending ourselves against vexatious law suits, or shall we take a more summary way, and by a legal course punish the aggressors, proclaim our freedom and shield ourselves under the broad folds of the Constitution. The latter is the course for us to pursue. The ordinance passed by the city Council will secure this object, [HC 6:112] and we are glad to find that the opinion of Attorney General and J. N. McDougall, correspond so much with our own. “That the Legion is an independent military organization and is by law expressly required to sustain the Municipal laws of .”
What are we to say about those kidnappers who infest our borders, and carry away our citizens? those infernals in human shape.
The whole European world has been engaged in a warfare against those who traffic in human blood. Negociations have been made, treaties entered into, and fleets have been sent out through the combined efforts of the nations to put a stop to this [p. 1802]
Page 1802