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

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1803
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<​December 13​> inhuman traffic; but what would those nations think, if they were told the fact, that in , Republican , the boasted cradle of liberty, and land of freedom, that those dealers in human flesh and blood, Negro dealers and drivers, are allowed with impunity to steal white men, and those sons of liberty can obtain no redress. Great God, has it come to this, that free born American citizens must be kidnapped by Negro drivers! What are our authorities doing? Why are not these wretches brought to justice? We have heard that one or two of the citizens of have been engaged in assisting these wretches. We shall try to find out who they are, and their whereabouts, and make them known, and then if they are not brought to condign punishment, we shall say that justice has fled from .”
14 December 1843 • Thursday
<​14​> Thursday 14. At home.
arrived in , having made his escape from his kidnappers in .
I received the following milk and water letter from .
Decer. 12. 1843. Genl. Joseph Smith. Sir, I have received your favor of the 6th. instant together with the proceedings of a public meeting of the citizens of on the subject of the late kidnapping by the people of and others; of two citizens of this .
You request to know if any portion of the Legion shall be called out. My answer is no. The Militia cannot be called out except in the cases specified by me in my letter to dated in the month of August last; in which I took the ground that the Militia can only be called out to repel an invasion, suppress an insurrection, or on some extreme emergency; and not to suppress, prevent, or punish individual crimes. I still am of opinion that the ground assumed by [HC 6:113] me on that occasion is the true one. The prevention and punishment of individual offences have been confided by the Constitution and laws of this , to the judicial power and not to the executive.
If a citizen of the has been kidnapped, or if property has been stolen from this and carried to the State of those who have done either are guilty of an indictable offence. But the constitution and the laws have provided no means whereby either the person or property taken away, can be returned except by an appeal to the laws of . The Governor has no legal right to demand the return of either The only power I would have, would be, simply this; If any of the guilty persons should be charged with larceny or kidnapping by indictment or affidavit duly certified, and with having fled to then I would have the power and it would become my duty to make a demand upon the Governor of for the surrender of the fugitives to be tried by the Courts of this . I am fully satisfied that in ordinary cases this is all the power I would possess. It would be simply a power to be exercised in aid of the Judicial power. Any other powers to be exercised by the Governor would be to make him a dictator and a despot. It is true that an extraordinary case might arise in which the inhabitants of one State might rise in warlike and hostile array against those of another. In which case a state of war would exist and then only could I interfere.
I would advise your citizens to be strictly peaceable towards the people of . You ought to be aware that in every country individuals are liable to be [p. 1803]
December 13 inhuman traffic; but what would those nations think, if they were told the fact, that in , Republican , the boasted cradle of liberty, and land of freedom, that those dealers in human flesh and blood, Negro dealers and drivers, are allowed with impunity to steal white men, and those sons of liberty can obtain no redress. Great God, has it come to this, that free born American citizens must be kidnapped by Negro drivers! What are our authorities doing? Why are not these wretches brought to justice? We have heard that one or two of the citizens of have been engaged in assisting these wretches. We shall try to find out who they are, and their whereabouts, and make them known, and then if they are not brought to condign punishment, we shall say that justice has fled from .”
14 December 1843 • Thursday
14 Thursday 14. At home.
arrived in , having made his escape from his kidnappers in .
I received the following milk and water letter from .
Decer. 12. 1843. Genl. Joseph Smith. Sir, I have received your favor of the 6th. instant together with the proceedings of a public meeting of the citizens of on the subject of the late kidnapping by the people of and others; of two citizens of this .
You request to know if any portion of the Legion shall be called out. My answer is no. The Militia cannot be called out except in the cases specified by me in my letter to dated in the month of August last; in which I took the ground that the Militia can only be called out to repel an invasion, suppress an insurrection, or on some extreme emergency; and not to suppress, prevent, or punish individual crimes. I still am of opinion that the ground assumed by [HC 6:113] me on that occasion is the true one. The prevention and punishment of individual offences have been confided by the Constitution and laws of this , to the judicial power and not to the executive.
If a citizen of the has been kidnapped, or if property has been stolen from this and carried to the State of those who have done either are guilty of an indictable offence. But the constitution and the laws have provided no means whereby either the person or property taken away, can be returned except by an appeal to the laws of . The Governor has no legal right to demand the return of either The only power I would have, would be, simply this; If any of the guilty persons should be charged with larceny or kidnapping by indictment or affidavit duly certified, and with having fled to then I would have the power and it would become my duty to make a demand upon the Governor of for the surrender of the fugitives to be tried by the Courts of this . I am fully satisfied that in ordinary cases this is all the power I would possess. It would be simply a power to be exercised in aid of the Judicial power. Any other powers to be exercised by the Governor would be to make him a dictator and a despot. It is true that an extraordinary case might arise in which the inhabitants of one State might rise in warlike and hostile array against those of another. In which case a state of war would exist and then only could I interfere.
I would advise your citizens to be strictly peaceable towards the people of . You ought to be aware that in every country individuals are liable to be [p. 1803]
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