Trial Report, , Hancock Co., IL, [8–26 July 1843], Extradition of JS for Treason (Nauvoo, IL, Municipal Court 1843); “Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo, Illinois” and “Trial of Joseph Smith,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 12 July 1843, –; 19 July 1843, ; 26 July 1843, –.
of Colonel Ashley, but under the immediate command of Captain , who, the day previous, had promised them peace and protection, but on receiving a copy of the ’s order “to exterminate or to expell” from the hands of Colonel Ashley, he returned upon them the following day and surprised and massacreed the whole population of the , and then came on to the town of and entered into conjunction with the main body of the army. The messenger informed us that he himself with a few others fled into the thickets, which preserved them from the massacre, and on the following morning they returned and collected the dead bodies of the people and cast them into a well; and there were upwards of twenty who were dead or mortally wounded, and there are several of the wounded who are now living in this .— One, of the name of Yocum, has lately had his leg amputated, in consequence of wounds he then received. He had a ball shot through his head, which entered near his eye and came out at the back part of his head, and another ball passed through one of his arms.
The army, during all the while they had been encamped in , continued to lay waste fields of corn, making hogs, sheep and cattle common plunder, and shooting them down for sport. One man shot a cow and took a strip of her skin, the width of [his] hand, from her head to her tail and tied it around a tree, to slip his halter into, to tie his horse to. The was surrounded with a strong guard, and no man woman or child was permitted to go out or come in, under the penalty of death. Many of the citizens were shot in attempting to go out to obtain sustenance for themselves and families. There was one field fenced in, consisting of twelve hundred acres, mostly covered with corn. It was entirely laid waste by the horses of the army, and the next day after the arrival of the army, towards evening, came up from the camp, requesting to see my brother Joseph, , , , and , stating that the officers of the army wanted a mutual consultation with those men, also stating that Generals , , and Graham—(however General Graham is an honorable exception: he did all he could to preserve the lives of the people, contrary to the order of the ,)—he, , assured them that these generals had pledged their sacred honor that they should not be abused or insulted, but should be guarded back in safety in the morning, or so soon as the consultation was over. My brother Joseph replied that he did not know what good he could do in any consultation, as he was only a private individual; however he said that he was always willing to do all the good he could and would obey every law of the land, and then leave the event with God. They immediately started with to go down into the camp. As they were going down about half way to the camp, they met with a phalanx of men, with a wing to the right and to the left, and a four-pounder in the centre. They supposed he was coming with this strong force to guard them into the camp in safety; but to their surprise, when they came up to , he ordered his men to surround them, and stepped up to the and said, “These are the prisoners I agreed to deliver up.” drew his sword and said, gentlemen, you are my prisoners, and about that time the main army were on their march to meet them. They came up in two divisions, and opened to the right and left, and my brother and his friends were marched down through their lines, with a strong guard in front, and the cannon in the rear, to the camp, amidst the whoopings, hollowings, yellings and shoutings of the army, which was so horrid and terrific that it frightened the inhabitants of the . It is impossible to describe the feelings of horror and distress of the people. After being thus betrayed they were placed under a strong guard of thirty men, armed cap-a-pie, which they relieved every two hours. There they were compelled to lay on the cold ground that night, and were told in plain language, that they need never to expect their liberties again. So far for their honors pledged. However, this was as much as could be expected from a mob under the garb of military and executive authority in the State of . On the next day, the soldiers were permitted to patrol the streets, to abuse and insult the people at their leisure, and enter into houses and pillage them, and ravish the women, taking away every gun and every other kind of arms or military implements: and about twelve o’clock on that day came to my house with an armed force, opened the door and called me out of doors and delivered me up as a prisoner unto that force. They surrounded me and commanded me to march into the camp. I told them that I could not go: my family were sick, and I was sick myself, and could not leave home. They said they did not care for that—I must and should go. I asked when they would permit me to return. They made me no answer, but forced me along with the point of the bayonet into the camp, and put me under the same guard with my brother Joseph—and within about half an hour afterwards, was also brought and placed under the same guard.— There we were compelled to stay all that night, and lie on the ground: but along some time in the same night, came to me and told me that he had been pleading my case before the Court Martial, but he was afraid he should not succeed. He said there was a Court Martial then in session, consisting of thirteen or fourteen officers, Circuit Judge , and , District Attorney; also , Presbyterian priest, and about 20 other priests of the different religious denominations in that country. He said they were determined to shoot us on the next morning in the public square in . I made him no reply. On the next morning, about sunrise, ordered his brigade to take up the line of march and leave the camp. He came to us where we were under guard, to shake hands with us, and bid us farewell. His first salutation was, ‘By God you have been sentenced by the court martial to be shot this morning; but I will be damned if I will have any of the honor of it, or any of the disgrace of it; therefore I have ordered my brigade to take up the line of march and to leave the camp, for I consider it to be cold blooded murder, and I bid you farewell,’ and he went away. This movement of , made considerable excitement in the army, and there was considerable whisperings amongst the officers. We listened very attentively, and frequently heard it mentioned by the guard, that the damned Mormons would not be shot this time. In a few moments the guard was relieved with a new set; one of those new guard said that the damned Mormons would not be shot this time, for the movement of had frustrated the whole plan, and that the officers had called another court martial, and had ordered us to be taken to , and there to be executed; and in a few moments two large wagons drove up and we were ordered to get into them, and while we were getting into them, there came up four or five men armed with guns, who drew up and snapped their guns at us, in order to kill us, some flashed in the pan, and others only snapped, but none of their guns went off. They were immediately arrested by several officers and their guns taken from them, and the drivers drove off. We requested of to let us go to our houses and get some clothing; in order to do this, we had to be drove up into the . It was with much difficulty that we could get his permission to go and see our families and get some clothing; but after considerable consultation, we were permitted to go under a strong guard of five or six men to each of us, and we were not permitted to speak to any one of our families, under the pain of death. The guard that went with me ordered my to get me some clothes immediately, within two minutes, and if she did not do it, I should go off without them. I was obliged to submit to their tyrranical orders, however painful it was, with my and children clinging to my arms and to the skirts of my garments, and was not permitted to utter to them a word of consolation, and in a moment was hurried away from them at the point of the bayonet. We were hurried back to the wagons and ordered into them, all in about the same space of time. In the mean while our , and , and sisters, had forced their way to the wagons to get permission to see us; but were forbidden to speak to us; and they immediately drove off for . We travelled about twelve miles that evening, and encamped for the night. The same strong guard was kept around us, and were relieved every two hours, and we were permitted to sleep on the ground, the nights were then cold, with considerable snow on the ground, and for the want of covering and clothing, we suffered extremely with the cold That night was a commencement of a fit of sickness from which I have not wholly recovered unto this day, in consequence of my exposure to the inclemency of the weather. Our provision was fresh beef roasted in the fire on a stick; the army having no bread in consequence of the want of mills to grind the grain. In the morning at the dawn of day, we were forced on our journey, and were exhibited to the inhabitants along the road; the same as they exhibit a carravan of elephants or camels We were examined from head to foot, by men women and children, only I believe they did not make us open our mouths to look at our teeth. This treatment was continued incessantly, until we arrived at , in . After our arrival at , we were driven all through the for inspection, and then we were ordered into an old log house, and there kept under guard as usual, until supper, which was served up to us as we sat upon the floor, or on billetts of wood, and we were compelled to stay in that house all that night and the next day. They continued to exhibit us to the public, by letting the people come in and examine us, and then go away and give place for others, alternately all that day and the next night; but on the morning of the following day we were all permitted to go to the tavern to eat and to sleep; but afterward they made us pay our own expenses, for board, lodging, and attendance, and for which they made a most exorbitant charge. We remained in the tavern about two days and two nights, when an officer arrived with authority from , to take us back to , Ray county, where the had arrived with his army to await our arrival there; but on the morning of our start for , we were informed by , that it was expected by the soldiers that we would be hung up by the necks on the road, while on the march to that place, and that it was prevented by a demand made for us by , who had the command in consequence of seniority, and that it was his prerogative to execute us himself; and he should give us up into the hands of the officer, who would take us to , and he might do with us as he pleased. During our stay at , the officers informed us that there were eight or ten horses in that place belonging to the Mormon people, which had been stolen by the soldiers, and that we might have two of them to ride upon, if we would cause them to be sent back to the owners after our arrival at . We accepted of them, and they were rode to , and the owners came there and got them. We started in the morning under our new officer, , of Keytsville, Chariton county, with sevral other men to guard us over. We arrived there on Friday evening, the 9th day of November, and were thrust into an old log house, with a strong guard placed over us. After we had been there for the space of half an hour, there came in a man who was said to have some notoriety in the penitentiary, bringing in his hands a quantity of chains and padlocks. He said he was commanded by to put us in chains. Immediately the soldiers rose up and pointing their guns at us, placed their thumb on the cock, and their finger on the trigger; and the ’s prison keeper went to work; putting a chain around the leg of each man, and fastening it on with a padlock, until we were all chained together, seven of us.
In a few moments came in , we requested to know of him what was the cause of all this harsh and cruel treatment.— He refused to give us any information at that time: but said he would in a few days; so we were compelled to continue in that situation; camping on the floor, all chained together, without any chance or means to be made comfortable; having to eat our victuals as it was served up to us, using our fingers and teeth instead of knives and forks. Whilst we were in this situation, a young man of the name of , brother-in-law to my brother , came to see us, and put up at the tavern where made his quarters, he happened to come in time to see make choice of his men, to shoot us on Monday morning, the 12th day of November, he saw them make choice of their rifles, and load them with two balls in each, and after they had prepared their guns, saluted them by saying ‘Gentlemen, you shall have the honor of shooting the Mormon leaders on Monday morning at eight o’clock!’ But in consequenc of the influence of our friends, the heathen was intimidated, so that he durst not carry his murderous designs into , and sent a messenger immediately to to obtain the military code of laws. After the messenger’s return, the was employed nearly a whole week, examining the laws; so Monday passed away without our being shot: however, it seemed like foolishness to me for so great a man as pretended to be, should have to search the military law to find out whether preachers of the gospel, who never did military duty, could be subject to court martial. However, the seemed to learn that fact after searching the military code, and came into the old log cabin where we were under guard, and in chains, and told us he had concluded to deliver us over to the civil authorities; as persons guilty of treason, murder, , , theft, and stealing. The poor deluded did not know the difference between theft, larceny, and stealing. Accordingly we were handed over to the pretended civil authorities, and the next morning our chains were taken off, and we were guarded to the court-house, where there was a pretended court in session; being the judge, and , the district attorney;—the two extremely and very honorable gentlemen who sat on the court martial when we were sentenced to be shot. Witnesses were called up and sworn at the point of the bayonet and if they would not swear to the things they were told to do, they were threatened with instant death, and I do know, positively, that the evidence given in by those men whilst under duress, was false. This state of things was continued twelve or fourteen days, and after that time we were ordered by the , to introduce some rebutting evidence, saying, if we did not do it, we would be thrust into prison. I could hardly understand what the meant, for I considered we were in prison already, and could not think of any thing but the persecutions of the days of Nero, knowing that it was a religious persecution, and the court an inquisition: however, we gave him the names of forty persons who were acquainted with all the persecutions and sufferings of the people.— The made out a subpoena, and inserted the names of those men and caused it to be placed in the hands of , the notorious Methodist minister, and he took fifty armed soldiers and started for . I saw the subpoena given to him and his company, when they started. In the course of a few days they returned with most all those forty men, whose names were inserted in the subpoena and thrust them into jail, and we were not permitted to bring one of them before the court, but the turned upon us with an air of indignation and said, gentlemen you must get your witnesses or you shall be committed to jail immediately; for we are not going to hold the court open on expense much longer, for you any how. We felt very much distressed and oppressed at that time. said, what shall we do? Our witnesses are all thrust into prison, and probably will be, and we have no power to do any thing, of course we must submit to this tyrranny and oppression; we cannot help ourselves. Several others made similar expressions in the agony of their souls; but my brother Joseph did not say any thing, he being sick at that time with the tooth ache, and ague in his face, in consequence of a severe cold brought on by being exposed to the severity of the weather. However, it was considered best by and Lawyer , that we should try to get some witnesses before the pretended court. Accordingly, I myself gave the names of about twenty other persons; the inserted them in a subpoena, and caused it to be placed into the hands of the Methodist priest, and he again started off with his fifty soldiers to take those men prisoners, as he had done to the forty others. The sat and laughed at the good opportunity of getting the names, that they might the more easily capture them, and so bring them down to be thrust into prison, in order to prevent us from getting the truth before the pretended court, of which himself was the chief inquisitor or conspirator. returned from his second expedition with one prisoner only, whom he also thrust into prison.
The people at had learned the intrigue and had left the , having been made acquainted with the treatment of the former witnesses. But we, on learning that we could not obtain witnesses; whilst privately consulting with each other what we should do, discovered a Mr. Allen, standing by the window on the outside of the house, we beckoned to him as though we would have him come in, he immediately came in. At that time retorted upon us again, saying, gentlemen are you not going to introduce some witnesses; also, saying it was the last day he should hold the court open for us, and if we did not rebut the testimony that had been given against us, he should have to commit us to jail. I had then got Mr. Allen into the house, and before the court, so called. I told the we had one witness, if he would be so good as to put him under oath; he seemed unwilling to do so; but after a few moments consultation, the ’s arose and said he should object to that witness being sworn, and that he should object to that witness giving in his evidence at all; stating that this was not a court to try the case, but only a court of investigation on the part of the . Upon this, arose, and said ‘he would be God damned if the witness should not be sworn, and that it was a damned shame that these defendants should be treated in this manner; that they could not be permitted to get one witness before the court, whilst all their witnesses, even forty at a time, have been taken by force of arms, and thrust into the ‘bull-pen’ in order to prevent them from giving their testimony.’ After sat down, the permitted the witness to be sworn, and enter upon his testimony. But so soon as he began to speak, a man by the name of Cook, who was a brother-in-law to Priest , the Methodist, and who was a lieutenant, and whose place at that time, was to superintend the guard, stepped in before the pretended court, and took him by the nape of his neck and jammed his head down under the pole or log of wood, that was placed up around the place where the inquisition was sitting, to keep the by-standers from intruding upon the majesty of the inquisitors, and jammed him along to the door, and kicked him out of doors. He instantly turned to some soldiers who were standing by him, and said to them, ‘go and shoot him, damn him, shoot him, damn him.’
The soldiers ran after the man to shoot him, he fled for his life and with great difficulty made his escape. The pretended court immediately arose, and we were ordered to be carried to , Clay county, and there to be thrust into jail. We endeavored to find out for what cause, but all that we could learn was because we were Mormons. The next morning a large wagon drove up to the door, and a blacksmith came into the house with some chains and handcuffs, he said his orders were from the , to handcuff us, and chain us together, he informed us that the had made out a , and sentenced us to jail for treason; he also said the had done this that we might not get bail; he also said the stated his intention to keep us in jail until all the Mormons were driven out of the ; he also said that the had further stated that if he let us out before the Mormons had left the , that we would not let them leave, and there would be another damned fuss kicked up; I also heard the say myself, whilst he was sitting in his pretended court, that there was no law for us, nor the Mormons, in the State of : that he had sworn to see them exterminated, and to see the ’s order executed to the very letter, and that he would do so; however, the blacksmith proceeded and put the irons upon us, and we were ordered into the wagon and they drove off for , and as we journeyed along on the road, we were exhibited to the inhabitants, and this course was adopted all the way, thus making a public exhibition of us, until we arrived at , Clay County. There we were thrust into prison again, and locked up—and were held there in close confinement for the the space of six months, and our place of lodging was the square side of a hewed white oak log—and our food was any thing but good and decent; poison was administered to us three or four times, the effect it had upon our system, was, that it vomited us almost to death, and then we would lay some two or three days in a torpid, stupid state, not even caring or wishing for life. The poison being administered in too large doses, or it would inevitably have proved fatal, had not the power of Jehovah interposed in our behalf, to save us from their wicked purpose. We were also subjected to the necessity of eating human flesh, for the space of five days, or go without food, except a little coffee, or a little corn bread, the latter I chose in preference to the former. We none of us partook of the flesh except ; we also heard the guard which was placed over us making sport of us, saying that they had fed us upon ‘Mormon beef.’ I have described the appearance of this flesh to several experienced physicians, and they have decided that it was human flesh. We learned afterwards, by one of the guard, that it was supposed that that act of savage cannibalism, in feeding us with human flesh, would be considered a popular deed of notoriety; but the people on learning that it would not take, tried to keep it secret; but the fact was noised abroad before they took that precaution. Whilst we were incarcerated in prison, we petitioned the Supreme Court of the State of for , twice, but were refused both times by , who is now the Governor of that . We also petitioned one of the county judges for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted in about three weeks afterwards; but were not permitted to have any trial; we were only taken out of jail and kept out for a few hours and then remanded back again. In the course of three or four days after that time, came into the jail in the evening, and said he had permitted to get bail, but said he had to do it in the night, and had also to get away in the night, and unknown to any of the citizens, or they would kill him; for they had sworn to kill him if they could find him; and as to the rest of us, he dared not let us go, for fear of his own life, as well as ours. He said it was damned hard to be confined under such circumstances, for he knew we were innocent men, and he said the people also knew it; and that it was only a persecution and treachery, and the scenes of acted over again, for fear that we would become too numerous in that upper country. He said the plan was concocted from the down to the lowest judge, and that that damned Baptist priest, Riley, who was riding into every day to watch the people, stirring up the minds of the people against us all he could, exciting them and stirring up their religious prejudices against us, for fear they would let us go. , however, got bail and made his escape to . The jailor, Samuel Tillery, Esq,. told us also, that the whole plan was concocted by the down to the lowest judge in that upper country, early in the previous spring, and that the plan was more fully carried out at the time that went down to , with General , and , the self-styled ‘Deleware Chiff.’ This was some time in the month of September, when the mob were collected at , in Carroll county. He also told us that the was now ashamed enough of the whole transaction and would be glad to set us at liberty if he dared to do it; but said he, you need not be concerned, for the has laid a [pl]an for your release. He also said that , the ’s Attorney, was appointed to [b]e Circuit Judge, on the circuit passing throu[g]h , and that he () was inst[r]ucted to fix the papers, so that we would be su[r]e to be clear from any incumbrance, in a very [s]hort time.
Sometime in April, we were tak[e]n to , as they said, to have a tria[l,] but when we arrived at that place, instead of finding a court or a jury, we found another in[q]uisition, and , who was the district attorn[e]y, the same man who was one of the court [m]artial when we were sentenced to death, was now the circuit judge of that pretended court; [a]nd the grand jury that was empannelled, were [a]ll at the massacre at , and lively actors in that awful, solemn, disgraceful, cool-blooded murder, and all the pretence they made of excuse, was, they had done it because the ordered them to do it. The same jury sat as a jury in the day time, and were placed over us as a guard in the night time; they tauntalized and boasted over us, of their great achievements at , and at other places, telling us how many houses they had burned, and how many sheep, cattle and hogs they had driven off, belonging to the Mormons, and how many rapes they had committed, and what squealing and kicking there was among the damned bitches; saying that they lashed one woman upon one of the damned Mormon meeting benches, tying her hands and her feet fast, and sixteen of them abused her as much as they had a mind to, and then left her bound and exposed in that distressed condition. These fiends of the lower region boasted of these acts of barbarity, and tantalized our feelings with them for ten days. We had heard of these acts of cruelty previous to this time, but we were slow to believe that such acts of cruelty had been perpetrated. The lady who was the subject of their brutality, did not recover her health, to be able to help herself for more than three months afterwards. This grand jury constantly celebrated their achievements with grog and glass in hand, like the Indian warriors at their war dances, singing and telling each other of their exploits, in murdering the Mormons, in plundering their houses and carrying off their property; at the end of every song they would bring in the chorus: ‘God damn God, God damn Jesus Christ, God damn the Presbyterians, God damn the Baptists, God damn the Methodists,’ reiterating one sect after another in the same manner, until they came to the Mormons, to them it was, ‘God damn the God damn Mormons; we have sent them to hell.’ Then they would slap their hands and shout hosanna, hasanna, glory to God, and fall down on their backs, and kick with their feet a few moments; then they would pretend to have swooned away into a glorious trance, in order to imitate some of the transactions at camp meetings. Then they would pretend to come out of their trance, and would shout and again slap their hands and jump up, while one would take a bottle of whiskey and a tumbler, and turn it out full of whiskey, and pour it down each other’s necks, crying ‘damn it take it, you must take it;’ and if any one refused to drink the whiskey, others would clinch him whilst another poured it down his neck, and what did not go down the inside, went down the outside; this is a part of the farce acted ou[t] by the g[r]and jury of , whilst they stood over us as guards, for ten nights successively. And all this in the presence of the great , who had previously said in our hearing, that there was no law for the Mormons in the state of . His brother was then acting as district attorney in that circuit, and if any thing, was a greater cannibal than the . After all these ten days of drunkenness, we were informed that we were indicted for treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft and stealing. We asked for a change of venue from that to Marion county, but they would not grant it; but they gave us a change of venue from to ; and a mittimus was made out by the pretended , without date, name or place. They fitted us out with a two horse wagon, and horses, and four men, besides the sheriff, to be our guard; there were five of us. We started from the sun about two hours high, P. M., and went as far as that evening and staid till morning. There we bought two horses of the guard and paid for one of them in our clothing, which we had with us, and for the other we gave our note. We went down that day as far as ’s, a distance of some four or five miles. There we staid until the morning, when we started on our journey to , and travelled on the road about twenty miles distance. There we bought a jug of whiskey, with which we treated the company, and while there the sheriff showed us the mittimus, before referred to, without date or signature, and said that told him never to carry us to , and never to show the mittimus; and said he, I shall take a good drink of grog and go to bed; and you may do as you have a mind to. Three others of the guard drank pretty freely of whiskey, sweetened with honey; they also went to bed, and were soon asleep, and the other guard went along with us and helped to saddle the horses. Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the State of ; and in the course of nine or ten days arrived safely at , Adams county, where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health; they having been driven out of the previously; by the murderous militia, under the exterminating order of the Executive of ; and now, the people of that , a portion of them, would be glad to make the people of this believe that my brother Joseph has committed treason, for the purpose of keeping up their murderous and hellish persecution, and they seem to be unrelenting, and thirsting for the blood of innocence, for I do know most postively that my brother Joseph has not committed treason, nor violated one solitary item of law or rule, in the State of .
But I do know that the Mormon people, en masse, were driven out of that , after being robbed of all they had, and they barely escaped with their lives: as well as my brother Joseph, who barely escaped with his life, his family also, was robbed of all they had, and barely escaped with the skin of their teeth, and all of this in consequence of the exterminating order of , the same being confirmed by the Legislature of that . And I do know—so does this court, and every rational man who is acquainted with the circumstances, and every man who shall hereafter become acquainted with the particulars thereof—will know, that , and Generals , , and , also , have committed treason upon the citizens of , and did violate the Constitution of the , and also the Constitution and laws of the State of ; and did exile and expel, at the point of the bayonet some twelve or fourteen thousand inhabitants from the , and did murder some three or four hundreds of men, women and children in cold blood, and in the most horrid and cruel manner possible, and the whole of it was caused by religious bigotry and persecution, because the Mormons dared to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and agreeably to His divine will, as revealed in the scriptures of eternal truth, and had turned away from following the vain traditions of their fathers, and would not worship according to the dogmas and commandments of those men who preach for hire and divine for money, and teach for doctrine the precepts of men—expecting that the Constitution of the would have protected them therein. But notwithstanding the Mormon people had purchased upwards of two hundred thousand dollars worth of land, most of which was entered and paid for at the land office of the in the State of —and although the of the has been made acquainted with these facts, and the particulars of our persecutions and oppressions, by petition to him, and to Congress—yet they have not even attempted to restore the Mormons to their rights, or given any assurance that we may hereafter expect redress from them. And I do also know, most positively and assuredly, that my brother, Joseph Smith, Senior, has not been in the State of since the spring of the year 1839. And further this saith not.