Parley P. Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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ed as prisoners of war; and without civil process, we were not holden by civil authority; and as to being prisoners of hope, there was but little chance to hope from present appearances. He replied, that we were taken in order to be tried. “Tried? by what authority?” I enquired. “By court martial,” said he.— “What!” said I, “ministers of the gospel, who sustain no office or rank in military affairs, and who are not even subject by law to military duty, to be tried by court martial, and this in time of peace, and in a republic where the constitution guarantees to every citizen the right of trial by jury?” “Yes,” said he, “this is according to the treaty stipulations entered into at , at the time of the surrender, and as agreed to by , your commanding officer.” , our commanding officer?” enquired I; “what has he to do with our civil rights? he was only the colonel of the militia.” “Why,” said the , “was he not the commanding officer of the fortress of , the head quarters of Mormon forces?” I replied that “we had no fortress, nor Mormon forces, but were part of the militia of the state of ;” at which the seemed surprised, and the conversation ended.
We were astonished above measure at proceedings so utterly ignorant and devoid of all law or justice. Here was a , selected by the of , and sent to banish or exterminate a religious society. And then to crown the whole with inconceivable absurdity, this officer and his staff considered the state of a separate independent government, having a right to treat with a foreign nation, a right which belongs only to the , and not to any one state in the Union. And then, to cap the climax, he considers the Mormons a nation distinct from all other governments; and, in fact, enters into a treaty with the of one of the regiments of their own state militia, which was at that [p. 49]
ed as prisoners of war; and without civil process, we were not holden by civil authority; and as to being prisoners of hope, there was but little chance to hope from present appearances. He replied, that we were taken in order to be tried. “Tried? by what authority?” I enquired. “By court martial,” said he.— “What!” said I, “ministers of the gospel, who sustain no office or rank in military affairs, and who are not even subject by law to military duty, to be tried by court martial, and this in time of peace, and in a republic where the constitution guarantees to every citizen the right of trial by jury?” “Yes,” said he, “this is according to the treaty stipulations entered into at , at the time of the surrender, and as agreed to by , your commanding officer.” “, our commanding officer?” enquired I; “what has he to do with our civil rights? he was only the colonel of the militia.” “Why,” said the , “was he not the commanding officer of the fortress of , the head quarters of Mormon forces?” I replied that “we had no fortress, nor Mormon forces, but were part of the militia of the state of ;” at which the seemed surprised, and the conversation ended.
We were astonished above measure at proceedings so utterly ignorant and devoid of all law or justice. Here was a , selected by the of , and sent to banish or exterminate a religious society. And then to crown the whole with inconceivable absurdity, this officer and his staff considered the state of a separate independent government, having a right to treat with a foreign nation, a right which belongs only to the , and not to any one state in the Union. And then, to cap the climax, he considers the Mormons a nation distinct from all other governments; and, in fact, enters into a treaty with the of one of the regiments of their own state militia, which was at that [p. 49]
Page 49