Declaration, 21 June 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Being a Citizen of and Knowing that there is considerable excitement amongst the people thereof and also Knowing that diferent reports are arriving almost hourly and being requested by the Hon to meet the Mormon army and obtain from the leaders thereof the Correctness of the various reports in Circulation & the true intent and meaning of their present movement and their views generally. regarding the dificulties existing betwen them and the people of I did in Company with other gentlemen Call upon the said leaders of the mormons at their Camp in . And now give to the people of the substance of what passed between us.
June 21st. 1834
Being Called upon by the above named gentlemen at our in to ascertain from the leaders thereof our intentions, views and designes in approaching the country in the manner that we have: We; therefore, the more cheerfully comply with the requests because we were called upon by gentlem[en] [o]f good feeling and who were <​are​> disposed for peace and an amicable settlement of the difficulties existing between us and the people of .
The reports of our intentions are various; and have gone abroad in a light which is calculated to arouse the feelings of almost every man. For instance, One report is that we intend to demolish the printing office in . Another report is, that we intend crossing the on sunday next and falling upon women and children and slay them. Another is, that our men were employed to perform them this expedition, being taken from Manufactoring establishments <​in the east​> that had closed business. Also, that we carried a flag bearing peace on one side, and blood or war on the other, and various others too numerous to mention; all of which, a plain declaration of our intentions from under our own hands, will show are not correct.
In the first place, it is not our intentions to commence any hostilities against any man or boddy of men; it is not our intention to injure any ma[n]’s person or property, except in defending ourselves. Our flag has been exhibited to the above gentlemen who will be able to describe it, and our men were not from any Manufactoring establishment at all. But it is our intention to go back upon our lands in by order of the if possible. We have brought our arms for the purpose of self defence, as it is well known to almost all people of the state that we have reason to put ourselves in an attitude of defence, consid[er]ing the abuse that we have suffered in .
We are anxious for a settlement of the difficulties existing between us upon honorable and constitutional principles.
We are willing that twelve disinterested men, six chosen [p. [1]] by ourselves and six by the people of and these men shall say what the possissions of those men are worth who cannot live in the with us, and they shall have their money in one Year; and none of our people shall enter that to reside until the money is paid The damages which we have sustained in consequence of being driven shall also be left to the above twelve. Or they may all live in the if they choose and we will never molest them if they will let us alone and let us enjoy equal rights. We want to live in peace with all men, and Equal Rights is all we require. We want to become permanent citizens of the and bear our proportion in supporting the Government thereof that we may be protected by her laws.
If the above proposals are complied with we are willing to give security on our parts, and shall want the same of the people of for the performance of the agreement.
We do not wish to settle down in a boddy, except where we can purchase the lands with money, for to take possession by conquest or the shedding of blood is something foreign to our feelings. The sheding of blood we shall not be guilty of until all just and honorable principles among men prove ineffectual to restore peace
21st June 1834
Joseph Smith Jr.
John Lincoln
C. K. Morehead
John Sconce
James H Long
James Collins
[p. [2]]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    TEXT: First unidentified—possibly Cornelius Gilliam—handwriting begins.  

  2. 2

    The version published in The Evening and the Morning Star reads, “And now give to the people of Clay county their written statement, containing the substance of what passed between us.” (The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1834, 176.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  3. new scribe logo

    First unidentified—possibly Cornelius Gilliam—handwriting ends; second unidentified handwriting begins.  

  4. new scribe logo

    Second unidentified handwriting ends; Orson Hyde begins. In The Evening and the Morning Star, this section is preceded by the heading “Propositions, &c. of the ‘Mormons.’” (The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1834, 176.)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  5. 3

    TEXT: “[Hole in paper]f”.  

  6. 4

    None of these exact charges have been found in extant reports. President Andrew Jackson’s repudiation of the National Bank caused a brief economic panic in late 1833 and early 1834. As a result, many businesses failed in the eastern United States, leading to layoffs of and poor wages for industrial workers: “every major city sustained a number of business losses; wages and prices sagged; workingmen were discharged.” (Dinnerstein et al., Natives and Strangers, 75–76; Sellers, Market Revolution, 336–338; Remini, Andrew Jackson, 110–111.)  

    Dinnerstein, Leonard, Roger L. Nichols, and David M. Reimers. Natives and Strangers: A Multicultural History of Americans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

    Sellers, Charles. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

    Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson. Vol. 3, The Course of American Democracy, 1833–1845. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.

  7. 5

    Joseph Holbrook recalled that strangers often approached the camp “and said that we had a standard raised with Death on one side or Blood on the other.” While camped at the Allred settlement by the Salt River, Levi Hancock designed a flag for the expedition. He drew an eagle on one side of a white cloth and wrote the word “peace” in “big letters” on the other side. (Holbrook, Reminiscences, 36; Hancock, Autobiography, 143–144.)  

    Holbrook, Joseph. Autobiography and Journal, not before 1871. Photocopy. CHL. MS 5004. Original in private possession.

    Hancock, Levi Ward. Autobiography, 1803–1836. New Mormon Studies CD-ROM: A Comprehensive Resource Library, 2009. CHL.

  8. 6

    The stated intention here is in accord with a 10 May 1834 letter written by Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery, which outlined the purpose of the expedition to Missouri. According to that letter, “the Governor [was] bound to call out the militia” to escort the Saints back to their lands, after which the expedition would “maintain the ground, after the Militia have been discharged, should those wicked men be desperate enough to come upon them.” According to George A. Smith, JS knew at this point that Governor Dunklin was not willing to call out the militia, but apparently he still hoped the governor might change his mind. (Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 May 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 47, broadsheet, CHL; George A. Smith, Autobiography, 31, 33.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Smith, George A. Autobiography, ca. 1860–1882. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 1, fd. 2.

  9. 7

    On 23 June 1834, William W. Phelps, Edward Partridge, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, John Whitmer, and Sidney Gilbert made a similar proposal to Samuel Owens and the Jackson County committee. Owens told Amos Rees that the people of Jackson County would not accept this proposal. (William W. Phelps et al., Clay Co., MO, to Samuel Owens et al., 23 June 1834; Sidney Gilbert et al. to Daniel Dunklin, 26 June 1834, copy; Samuel Owens, Independence, MO, to Amos Rees, Liberty, MO, 26 June 1834, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; “An Appeal,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 183.)  

    Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  10. 8

    TEXT: This paragraph is in a lighter ink than the rest of the document, indicating that Hyde wrote it at a later time than the first part but likely still before the date and signatures that follow.  

  11. 9

    A revelation dated 30 August 1831 specifically stated that “the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood otherwise there is none inheritance for you.” The revelation continued, “& if by purchase behold you are blessed & if by blood as ye are forbidden to shed blood lo your enemies are upon you.” When Samuel Owens responded to this statement in a letter to Robert Kelly and William Davis, editors of the Missouri Enquirer, he quoted the revelation as saying, “Wherefore, the land of Zion shall be obtained but by PURCHASE or by BLOOD” and suggested that either the revelation was false or what the declaration says here was false. (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:29–31]; “Propositions of the Mormons,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 8 Aug. 1834, [3]; Missouri Writers’ Project, Missouri, 108.)  

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

    Missouri Writers’ Project, Works Progress Administration, comp. Missouri: A Guide to the “Show Me” State. American Guide Series. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941.

  12. 10

    In a 23 June 1834 letter, Samuel Owens claimed that the Mormons’ refusal to accept the Jackson County committee’s offer to purchase their lands meant that they wanted only to “imbrue the whole upper Missouri in blood and carnage.” (“Propositions of the Mormons,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 8 Aug. 1834, [3].)  

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

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    Handwriting of Orson Hyde ends; individual signatures begin.  

  14. 11

    John Lincoln is listed in the 1830 census as living in Clay County, Missouri. (1830 U.S. Census, Clay Co., MO, 281.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

  15. 12

    TEXT: Possibly “C. R. Morehead”. A published version of this statement has this name as “C. R. Morehead.” A Charles R. Morehead is listed in the 1830 census as living in Clay County, and a C. R. Morehead is listed as participating in a meeting of Ray County citizens held on 23 July 1836 to discuss “Mormon relations with the citizens of Ray County.” (“The Mormons,” Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser [Columbia], 12 July 1834, [3]; 1830 U.S. Census, Clay Co., MO, 282; “Public Meeting,” Far West [Liberty, MO], 25 Aug. 1836, [1].)  

    Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser. Franklin, MO, 1819–1827; Fayette, MO, 1827–1830; Columbia, MO, 1830–1835.

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    The Far West. Liberty, MO. 1836.

  16. 13

    At least one later account incorrectly gives Sconce’s last name as Searcy. (“Extracts from H. C. Kimball’s Journal,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1845, 6:804.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  17. 14

    James Long is listed in the 1830 census as living in Clay County. (1830 U.S. Census, Clay Co., MO, 281.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

  18. 15

    The 1830 census lists a James Collins as living in Chariton County, Missouri. (1830 U.S. Census, Chariton Co., MO, 53.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.