Discourse, 4 July 1843, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff

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If the people will give ear a momen[t] I will address them, with few words in my own defence as touching my arest. In the first place I will state to those that can hear me that I never spent more than six months in except while in prison, while I was there I was at work for the suppor[t] of my family, I never was a prisioner of war during my stay for I had not made war, I never took a pistol, a gun, or sword & the much that has been said on this subject is false I have been willing to go before any governor Judge or tribunal where justice could be done & have the subject investigated. I could not have committed treason in that while there I had no controll any whare in temporal things while there but in spiritual I was driven from that by force of arms under the exterminating order of . I have never commited treason the people know vary well I [p. [66]] have Been a peaceable Citizen but their has been a great hugh & cry about Jo Smith being shot, No crime can be done but what it is laid to Jo Smith Here I was again dragged to the Court, & was cleared & now it comes again, But as often as God sees fit for me to suffer I am ready But I am as innocent of these crimes as the Angels in heaven. I am not an enemy to mankind I am a friend to Mankind. I <​am​> not an enemy to nor any any governors or people As to the military station I hold & the cause of my holding it is as follows. When we came here the required us to bear arms & do military duty according to law, & as the Church had just been driven from the State of & rob[b]ed of all their property & arms they were poor & destitute of armes: they were liable to be fined for not doing duty when they had not arms to do it with, they came to me for advice I advised them to organize themselves into independant companies, & demand arms of the , this they did, Again their were many Elders having licence to preach which by law exhonorated them from Military duty but the officers would not release them on this ground I then told the Saints that though I was clear from Military duty by law in consequence of lameness in one of my legs, yet I would set them the example & would do duty myself, they then said they were willing to do duty if they could be formed into an independant company & I could be at their head & upon this ground came the & I [p. [67]] holding the office of Lieutenant General not that I seek for power. & with regard to elections some say we all vote together & vote as I say: But I never tell any man how to vote or who to vote for, But I will show you how we have been situated by bringing a comparison Should their be a Methodist society here & two candidates running for office: one says if you will vote for me & put me in govornor I will exterminate the Methodist take away their Charters &c. The other candidate says if I am Govornor I will give all an equal privilege, which would the Methodist vote for, of course they would vote in mass for the candidate that would give them their rights; thus it has Been with us said if the people would elect him he would exterminate the mormons & take away their charters As to he made no such threats, but manifested a spirit in his speaches to give every man their rights; hence the Church universally voted for & he was elected Govornor; But he has issued writs against me the first time the Missourians made a demand for me & this is the second one he has issued for me which has caused me much trouble & expense. [p. [68]]