History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 251
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<​July 3​> the conspirators. If they are culpable at all it is <​for​> not using their influence against the act, and for not communicating to me information which would have enabled me to prevent it. The intention of the people must to some extent have been whispered about and understood, and ought to have been communicated to me as commander in chief.
“Under these circumstances I am in but a poor situation to use influence with the Mormons to procure their removal. Your own people have destroyed whatever influence I might otherwise have possessed in that quarter to serve you. Your own conduct has placed me in a painfully suspicious attitude; and I have no hopes that I could now have a more persuasive influence with the Mormons than I had with the perpetrators of the horrid deed which I sought to prevent. Under the circumstances I cannot ask the Mormons to confide in me.
“It must appear to them that they have been betrayed by somebody, and they do not know by whom.
“If you mean to request me to exercise a forcible influence to expel them from the ; I answer you now as I have uniformly done, that the law is my guide, and that I know of no law authorising their expulsion. From this determination I have not swerved for an instant from the beginning until this time. I see nothing now requiring any deviation, and besides if I were ever so much determined to drive them out I believe such is the abhorrence against the base deed which some of you have committed, that I could not obtain voluntary aid from the people. I suppose <​that​> you are aware that a call for volunteers is the only mode in which a force can be raised, and the force when raised must be provisioned by voluntary contribution.
“You had better not make too loud a call upon your fellow citizens; you may want their aid for defence; and may yet be glad to receive aid for defence rather than aggression. I know the apprehensions which you entertain of Mormon violence: I will not now say whether your fears are well or ill founded. A little time will develope what may be expected. Taking the law for my guide, I can assure you, that although some [HC 7:161] of you have treated me badly, in thwarting my policy and violating my honor, and have acted basely towards defenceless prisoners, yet you are entitled to, and are assured of all the force of the to prevent or avenge illegal violence towards any of you. An inquiry must be made concerning the murderers; they must for the honor and credit of the be dealt with according to law.
“You ask a small force to be stationed in your as a protection against small parties. You have not probably duly considered how large a force would be necessary for this purpose. A small force could protect but a few points of attack, and must necessarily leave the residue of the exposed. A large force cannot be stationed there permanently. Your best protection is the assurance that upon the first aggression or well defined threats an overpowering force is ready to march directly for the scene of action.
“I am informed that a design is still entertained at of attacking . In this you will not be sustained by myself or the people: [p. 251]
July 3 the conspirators. If they are culpable at all it is for not using their influence against the act, and for not communicating to me information which would have enabled me to prevent it. The intention of the people must to some extent have been whispered about and understood, and ought to have been communicated to me as commander in chief.
“Under these circumstances I am in but a poor situation to use influence with the Mormons to procure their removal. Your own people have destroyed whatever influence I might otherwise have possessed in that quarter to serve you. Your own conduct has placed me in a painfully suspicious attitude; and I have no hopes that I could now have a more persuasive influence with the Mormons than I had with the perpetrators of the horrid deed which I sought to prevent. Under the circumstances I cannot ask the Mormons to confide in me.
“It must appear to them that they have been betrayed by somebody, and they do not know by whom.
“If you mean to request me to exercise a forcible influence to expel them from the ; I answer you now as I have uniformly done, that the law is my guide, and that I know of no law authorising their expulsion. From this determination I have not swerved for an instant from the beginning until this time. I see nothing now requiring any deviation, and besides if I were ever so much determined to drive them out I believe such is the abhorrence against the base deed which some of you have committed, that I could not obtain voluntary aid from the people. I suppose that you are aware that a call for volunteers is the only mode in which a force can be raised, and the force when raised must be provisioned by voluntary contribution.
“You had better not make too loud a call upon your fellow citizens; you may want their aid for defence; and may yet be glad to receive aid for defence rather than aggression. I know the apprehensions which you entertain of Mormon violence: I will not now say whether your fears are well or ill founded. A little time will develope what may be expected. Taking the law for my guide, I can assure you, that although some [HC 7:161] of you have treated me badly, in thwarting my policy and violating my honor, and have acted basely towards defenceless prisoners, yet you are entitled to, and are assured of all the force of the to prevent or avenge illegal violence towards any of you. An inquiry must be made concerning the murderers; they must for the honor and credit of the be dealt with according to law.
“You ask a small force to be stationed in your as a protection against small parties. You have not probably duly considered how large a force would be necessary for this purpose. A small force could protect but a few points of attack, and must necessarily leave the residue of the exposed. A large force cannot be stationed there permanently. Your best protection is the assurance that upon the first aggression or well defined threats an overpowering force is ready to march directly for the scene of action.
“I am informed that a design is still entertained at of attacking . In this you will not be sustained by myself or the people: [p. 251]
Page 251