History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]
JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. F-1, created 9 Apr.–7 June 1856 and 20 Aug. 1856–6 Nov. 1856; handwriting of and Jonathan Grimshaw; 304 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the final volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This sixth volume covers the period from 1 May to 8 Aug. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1 through E-1, go through 30 Apr. 1844.
History, 1838-1856, volume F-1, constitutes the last of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 May 1844 to the events following his 27 June 1844 death, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in 1856.The material recorded in volume F-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin, and also assistant church historian . Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the volume and creating a set of draft notes, which Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks. Woodruff gathered additional material concerning the death of Joseph Smith as a supplement to George A. Smith’s work recording that event. Jonathan Grimshaw and , members of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed the draft notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents.According to the Historian’s Office journal, Jonathan Grimshaw initiated work on the text of volume F-1 on 9 April 1856, soon after Robert L. Campbell had completed work on volume E-1. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.) Grimshaw’s scribal work begins with an entry for 1 May 1844. Unlike previous volumes in which the numbering had run consecutively to page 2028, Grimshaw began anew with page 1. He transcribed 150 pages by June 1856, and his last entry was for 23 June 1844. Though more of his writing does not appear in the volume, he continued to work in the office until 2 August, before leaving for the East that same month. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 and 10 Aug. 1856.)assumed the role of scribe on 20 August 1856. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 20 Aug. 1856.) He incorporated ’s draft notes for the period 24–29 June 1844 on pages 151–189, providing an account of JS’s death and its immediate aftermath. He next transcribed a related extract from ’s 1854 History of Illinois on pages 190–204. Pages 205–227 were left blank.provided the notes for the final portion of the text. This account begins with an entry for 22 June 1844 and continues the record through 8 August 1844, ending on page 304. (The volume also included ten pages of addenda.) The last specific entry in the Historian’s Office journal that captures at work on the history is for 6 November 1856. A 2 February 1857 Wilford Woodruff letter to indicates that on 30 January 1857, the “presidency sat and heard the history read up to the organization of the church in , 8th. day of August 1844.” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 6 Nov. 1856; Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 2 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, p. 410; see also Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 28 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, pp. 430–431.)The pages of volume F-1 contain a record of the final weeks of JS’s life and the events of the ensuing days. The narrative commences with and arriving at , Illinois, on 1 May 1844 from their lumber-harvesting mission in the “” of Wisconsin Territory. As the late spring and summer of 1844 unfold, events intensify, especially those surrounding the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor in mid-June. Legal action over the Expositor leads to a charge of riot, and subsequently JS is charged with treason and is incarcerated at the jail in , Illinois. The narrative of volume F-1 concludes with an account of the special church conference convened on 8 August 1844 to consider who should assume the leadership of the church.
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<May 1> Wednesday, 1. Heavy rain and wind last night.
At home counseling the brethren, and rode out a short time in the afternoon with a gentleman from .
Elder and Bishop arrived from the .
Mr. Thomas A. Lyne, a tragedian from , assisted by and others, got up a theatrical exhibition in the lower room of the , which was fitted [HC 6:349] up with very tasteful scenery. They performed Pizarro, the Orphan of Geneva, Douglas, the Idiot witness, Damon and Pythias, and other plays, with marked success; the was well attended each evening, and the audience expressed their entire satisfaction and approbation.
<2> Thursday 2. Very windy all night, breaking down large trees; a thunder storm also.
At home, and counseling the brethren.
Sent to to find out why he refused paying his note, when he brought in some claims as a set off, which knew were paid; leaving me no remedy but the glorious uncertainty of the law.
At 10 A.M, the “Maid of Iowa” steamer started for for a load of wheat and corn to feed the laborers on the .
and Coll. started to attend Court at on the case of “Joseph Smith v. and .”
In the afternoon I rode to the Prairie to sell some land, and during my absence returned from .
Lieut. made the following affidavit:
“, May 2nd., 1844.
|“State of Illinois,)||ss.|
|City of .)|
Personally appeared before me, , Judge Advocate of the Nauvoo Legion, ; and being duly sworn deposes and says, that on or about the 28th. day of April, 1844, at the dwelling house of in aforesaid, Colonel , Surgeon in Chief, and Brevet Brigadier General of said Nauvoo Legion, while talking about General Joseph Smith, said that General Smith kept a gang of robbers and plunderers about his house for the purpose of robbing and plundering, and he (Smith) received half the spoils: also that said General Joseph Smith tried to get him () to go and kill ; with many other ungentlemanly and unofficer-like observations concerning said General Smith and others.
, 2nd Lieut. 1st. Compy. 1st Regiment, 2nd Cohort, Nauvoo Legion.
Personally appeared, , the signer of the above com[HC 6:350]plaint, and made oath the same was true according to the best of his knowledge and [p. 1]
<May 2.> belief the day and year above written before me,
Judge Advocate of the Legion”
<3> Friday 3 At home giving advice to brethren who were constantly calling to ask for counsel. Several thunder showers during the day.
In General Council from 2 to 6, and from 8 to 10 p. m. gave an account of his mission.
[10 lines blank]
Wrote a letter to Uncle , and requested him to attend General Council next Monday.
The following letter was written:
“, May 3rd., 1844.
Your long communication by Elder Kay was received two weeks last Saturday; also the one by last Saturday; and we feel <to> thank you for the care you have taken to write us so particularly. We are glad to receive such communications, and wish you to continue the same course as opportunities present. The brethren have all had good passages (four ships) was only five weeks and three days to ; all things safe. All things are going on gloriously at . We shall make a great wake in the nation; Joseph for President. Your family is well, and friends generally. We have already received several hundred volunteers to go out electioneering and preaching, and more offering. We go for storming the nation. But we must proceed to realities.
“The whisperings of the Spirit to us are that you will do well to content yourself awhile longer in old , and let your wife remain where she is. We hope the may be completed say one year from this spring, when in many respects changes will take place; until then who can do better in than yourself? But we will not leave you comfortless; we did send elders to your assistance. For three or four months we want all the help we can get in the , after which you may expect help.
“In the meantime, you are at liberty to print as many “Stars”, pamplets, Hymn Books, Tracts, Cards &c, as you can sell; and make all the money you can in righteousness. Don’t reprint everything you get from ; many things are printed here not best to circulate in . Select and write doctrine, and matter (new), such as will be [HC 6:351] useful to the saints in and new to us; so that when we exchange papers all will be edified. God shall [p. 2]
<May 3.> give you wisdom if you will seek to him; and you shall prosper in your printing.
“We also wish you to unfurl your flag on your shipping office, and send all the saints you can to , or , or , or any other port in the ; but not at our expense any longer. We have need of something to sustain us in our labors, and we want you to go ahead with printing and shipping, and make enough to support yourself and help us a bit. You will doubtless find it necessary to employ brother Ward. Keep all your books straight, so that we in the end can know every particular. Ship every body to you can get the money for— saint and sinner— a general shipping office. And we would like to have our shipping agent in sleep on as good a bed, eat at as respectable a house, keep as genteel an office, and have his boots shine as bright and blacked as often, as any other office keeper. Yes, sir; make you money enough to wear a good broadcloth, and shew the world that you represent gentlemen of worth, character, and respectability. We will by and by have offices from the rivers to the ends of the earth; and we will begin at from this time and increase, and increase, and increase the business of the office as fast as it can be done in safety, and circumstances will permit. Employ a runner if necessary, and shew the world you can do a better and more honorable business than anybody else, and more of it. Don’t be afraid to blow your trumpet. We need not say deal with everybody, so that they will want to deal with your again, and make all the money you honestly can. Send no more emigrants on emigration, books, or Star money. Temple orders for emigrants may be filled on Temple funds. Keep account of all moneys in their separate departments, and favor us with a report occasionally. Sell the Books of Mormon the first opportunity if it be at a reduced price, and forward the money by the first safe conveyance to . We will pay your wife as you request<ed> in your letter as soon as possible. We wish you to take care of yourself and family, and with all help us beside; and we have now put you in possession of means to do it. Let no body know your business but the underwriters; our wives know not all our business, neither does any wise man’s wife know all things; for the secret of the Lord is with those that fear him, and do his business: a hint to the wise is sufficient; but we will add, if you want us to do any thing for your wife, write us and we will do it: but [HC 6:352] keep our business from your wife, and from every body else.
“We are glad to hear a door is open in France, and sure we have no objections to your going over and preaching &c; but we think perhaps you will now find as much to do in as you can find time to do it in; if not, go by all means. We are in hopes of sending a special messenger to France in a few days; if so, very likely he may call on you, and you pass over and give him an introduction: this would be pleasant for you all.
“(, a word with you privately: Joseph said last Conference that Zion included all North and South America; and after the was done, and the elders endowed, they would spread abroad and build up cities all over the : but at present we are not to teach this doctrine; Nay, hold your tongue; but by this you can see why it is wisdom for the saints to get into the — any where— rather than stay in to starve.) [p. 3]
<May 3.> “The prophet has a charter for a dam from the lower line of the to the island opposite , and from thence to the sand bar above in the . Could five, six, or seven thousand dollars be raised to commence the dam at the lower extremity, and erect a building, any machinery might be propelled by water. The value of a steam engine would nearly build the dam sufficient for a Cotton factory, which we much need. Start some Capitalists if you can; ’tis the greatest speculation in the world; a world of cotton and woollen goods are wanted here.
“We have proposed to to return to your assistance in the shipping business soon; also to enter into exchanges of goods and produce; which he will do he has not decided. What will hinder your doing a good business in shipping this season? good? yes; in competing with the first offices in the , and by next season taking the lead, if not this! When the saints get to , &c, let them go to work, spread abroad in the land, or come to , as they find convenient and have means; and when the season arrives start again for . Write soon after the receipt of this, and let us know the prospect.
“Tell the saints when they arrive in to make themselves as comfortable as they can, and be diligent in business, and not be over anxious if they cannot come to ; they will find elders in all the States who will be ready to give them instruction, and if they can gather something by the way by their industry to assist themselves with then they arrive here it will be well for them.
“We have dropped the until the can be completed, and the is going on finely. We have had an open winter and forward spring. The Twelve are holding general Conferences all over the ; they will go east soon, and [HC 6:353] will write you as soon as he gets the information to tell what house you can remit the book money to in . We shall have a State Convention at on the 17th inst.— an Election— a great many are believing the doctrine. If any of the brethren wish to go to Texas we have no particular objection; you may send a hundred thousand there if you can in eighteen months, though we expect before that you will return to receive your endowment, and then we will consult your interest, with others who may be going abroad, about taking their families with them. The Kingdom is organized; and although as yet no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, the little plant is in a flourishing condition, and our prospects brighter than ever. Cousin Lemuel is very friendly, and cultivating the spirit of peace and union in his family very extensively.
“ and , , & , &c., have organized a new church. (Laws and Fosters were first cut off.) is prophet, and , counselors; Higbee and of the Twelve: cannot learn all particulars; , Bishop; old Dr. Green and old his counselors; they are talking of sending a mission to , but it will probably be after this when they come among you. ’Tis the same old story over again, ‘the doctrine is right, but Joseph is a fallen prophet.’
Your brethren in the New Covenant,
.” [p. 4]
<May 3.> Elder wrote from Richmond, Mass., as follows:
“Dear Brother Joseph, and Brother , or whom it may concern,
“This is to forewarn you that you have a snake in the grass— a base traitor and hypocrite in your midst— of whom perhaps you may not be <fully> aware. You may <think> these harsh terms, but I speak from good evidence, and speak the truth. Mr. , brother to Elder , has written a letter from , which is now going the rounds in this neighborhood, and is fraught with the most infamous slander and lies concerning Joseph Smith and others, and which is calculated to imbitter the minds of the people who read or hear of it. It affirms that Joseph Smith is in the habit of drinking, swearing, carousing, dancing all night &c, &c; [HC 6:354] and that he keeps six or seven young females as wives &c; and many other such like insinuations. At the same time he cautions the people to whom he writes, to keep the letter in such a way that a knowledge of its contents may not reach , as he says he is on intimate terms and confidential friendship with the ‘prophet Jo’ and the Mormons, and that he hopes to get into office by their means: this is his own acknowledgement of his own baseness, imposition, and hypocrisy. I have not seen the letter myself, but have carefully examined the testimony of those who have, and I have also seen and witnessed its baneful effects upon the people here.
“Now I say to the saints, let such a man alone severely; shun him as they would the pestilence; be not deceived by a smooth tongue nor flattering words. Neither accept of any excuse nor apology until he boldly contradicts and counteracts his lying words abroad, but rather expose and unmask him in your midst, that he may be known and consequently become powerless, if he is not already so. I am well and expect to be in tomorrow.
“I remain as ever your friend and brother in the love of the truth.
Richmond, Mass., May 3rd. 1844.”
<4> Saturday 4. Rode out on the prarie to sell some land. The stone work for four circular windows finished cutting for the middle story of the . Elder moved into his new brick house.
A Court Martial was detailed as follows:—
“Head Quarters, Nauvoo Legion,
May 4th 1844.
, Sergeant Major, 2nd. Cohort, Nauvoo Legion,
“You are <hereby> forthwith commanded to notify the following named officers of the Nauvoo Legion to assemble at the of Lieut. General Joseph Smith on Friday the 10th inst, at 9 o’clock A. M., as members of a court martial detailed for the trial of , Surgeon in chief, and Brevet Brigadier General of the Nauvoo Legion, on the complaint of Lieut. , for unofficer-like and unbecoming conduct; and hereof fail not and make returns of your proceeding to the President of the Court on the first day of its sitting, viz:
Brigadier General as President,
Prevet Brigadier General ,
" " " ,
" " " ,
" , [p. 5]
<May 4> “Colonel ,
Lieut. Colonel ,
" " ,
" " ,
as members, and Colonel as Judge Advocate; [HC 6:355] also to summons and to appear at the same time and place as witnesses.
“Given under my hand the day and year above written,
Major General N. L. Commanding.”
wrote a letter at Prest. ’s <request> to .
<5> Sunday 5 At home. Rainy day. Elder preached at the at 2 p. m. A large company of friends at my house afternoon and evening, whom I addressed on the true policy of this people in our intercourse with the National government.
<¶A Conference was held at Marsh Hill, (Formerly Froom’s Hill,) England, comprising 681 members, 22 Elders, 43 priests, 15 teachers, 7 deacons.>
<6> Monday 6 Attended General Council all day. <Elder was added <to> the Council.> Voted to send on a mission to France, and to . was nominated as a candidate for the Vice Presidency of the . I had a warrant served on me by , issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court at on the complaint of , who had laid his damages at $5,000, but for what the writ does not state!! I petitioned the Municipal Court for a writ of Habeas Corpus, which I obtained.
At 6 P. M., I was in conversation with and a number of gentlemen in my on the subject of ’s correspondence with .
Beautiful day. West wind.
<7> Tuesday 7. Rode out on the prarie at 9 A. M. with some gentlemen to sell them some land. A tremendous thunder shower in the afternoon with strong wind and rain, which abated about sunset, and I staid at my all night.
Esquire issued a writ of ejectment against all persons who had bought land of Dr. [HC 6:356] on the block east of the , having given them warranty deeds, but not having paid for the land himself.
An opposition printing press arrived at ’s.
The following notice was issued by the :—
“State of Illinois,)
City of ,)
To the of said greeting. You are hereby required to notify , , and , that they have been elected members of the City Council of said ; and that he has been elected Alderman of said by said City Council; and the said Councilors and Alderman, and Gustavus Hills, are required to appear, receive their oath of office, and take seats in said Council on Saturday the 8th. June 1844, at 10 o’clock A. M., at the council chamber. By order of the Council.
“Witness my hand Corporation Seal this 7th. May 1844.
L.S. [p. 6]
<May 8> Wednesday 8. Returned home. At 10 A. M. went before the Municipal Court on the case “ vs Joseph Smith”; I insert the report of the trial as published by direction of the Court:
“Municipal Court, City of , Illinois.
Third day, Regular Term, May 8th., 1844.
Before Alderman , acting chief justice, and Alderman , , , , Gustavus Hills, , and , associate justices, presiding.
|Joseph Smith, Senr.)||Messrs. & ,|
|On Habeas Corpus.)||Counsel for Smith.|
“This case came before the Court upon a return to a writ of habeas corpus which was issued by this court on the 6th. of May, instant, upon petition of Joseph Smith, Sen. as follows:
|“State of Illinois.)||Sct.|
|City of .)|
“To the Honorable Municipal Court in and for the City of :
“The undersigned, your petitioner, most respectfully represents that he is an inhabitant of said ; your petitioner further represents that he is under arrest in said , and is now in the custody of one , deputy sheriff of the County of , and State of [HC 6:357] Illinois; that the said holds your petitioner by virtue of a writ of ‘capias ad respondendum’, issued by the clerk of the Circuit Court of the County of , and State of Illinois, at the instance of one of said county, requiring your petitioner to answer the said , ‘of a plea of the case’, damage five thousand dollars; your petitioner further represents that the proceedings against him are illegal; that the said warrant of arrest is informal, and not of that character which the law recognizes as valid; that the said writ is wanting and deficient in the plea therein contained; that the charge or complaint which your petitioner is therein required to answer, is not known to the law.
“Your petitioner further avers that the said writ does not disclose in any way or manner whatever any cause of action; which matter your petitioner most respectfully submits for your consideration, together with a copy of the said warrant of arrest which is hereunto attached.
“Your petitioner further states that this proceeding has been instituted against him without any just or legal cause; and further that the said is actuated by no other motive than a desire to persecute and harass your petitioner for the base purpose of gratifying feelings of revenge, which, without any cause, the said has for a long time been fostering and cherishing.
“Your petitioner further states that he is not guilty of the charge preferred against him, or of any act against him, by which the said could have any charge, claim, or demand whatever against your petitioner.
“Your petitioner further states that he verily believes that another object the said had in instituting the proceeding was, and is, to throw your petitioner into the hands of his enemies, that he might the better carry out a conspiracy which has for some time been brewing against the life of your petitioner. [p. 7]
<May 8>“Your petitioner further states that the suit which has been instituted against him has been instituted through malice, private pique, and corruption.
“Your petitioner would therefore most respectfully ask your honorable body to grant him the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus, that the whole matter may be thoroughly investigated, and such order made as the law and justice demands in the premises; and your petitioner will every pray.
Joseph Smith, Senr.”
, May 6th., 1844.”
|“State of Illinois.)||Sct.|
|City of .)|
“The people of the State of :
“To the of said city greeting.
“Whereas, application has been made before the Municipal Court of [HC 6:358] said , that the body of one Joseph Smith, Senior, of the said City of , is in the custody of , deputy sheriff of , and State aforesaid:
“These are therefore to command the said , of the aforesaid, to safely have the body of said Joseph Smith, Senior, of the aforesaid, in his custody detained, as it is said, together with the day and cause of his caption and detention, by whatsoever name the said Joseph Smith, Senior, may be known or called, before the Municipal Court of said forthwith, to abide such order as the said Court shall make in this behalf; and further, if the said , or other person or persons having said Joseph Smith, Senior, of said City of , in custody, shall refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this writ, you the of said , or other person authorized to serve the same, are hereby required to arrest the person or persons so refusing or neglecting to comply as aforesaid, and bring him or them, together with the person or persons in his or their Custody, forthwith before the Municipal Court aforesaid, to be dealt with according to law; and herein fail not, and bring this writ with you.
“Witness, , Clerk of the Municipal Court at , this 6th. day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-four.
Clerk, M. C. C. N.”
“I hold the within named Joseph Smith, Senior, under arrest, by virtue of a capias ad respondendum
“To May Term, A. D. 1844.
“The day of his caption, May 6th., 1844.
“To damage, five thousand dollars.
, S. H. C.
By , D. S.” [p. 8]
|“State of Illinois,)||ss.|
“The People of the State of :
“To the of said county greeting.
“We command you that you take Joseph Smith, if to be found within your , and him safely keep, so that you have his body before the Circuit Court of said County of on the first day of the next term thereof, to be holden at the Court house in on the third [HC 6:359] Monday of May instant, to answer , of a plea of the case; damage, the sum of five thousand dollars as he says; and you have then there this writ, and make <due> return thereon in what manner you execute the same.
“Witness, , Clerk of said Circuit Court, at , this first day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hunded and forty-four.
By D. E. Head, Deputy.”
“The is directed to hold the within named defendant to bail in the sum of five thousand dollars.
By D. E. Head, Deputy.”
“This is a true copy of the original now in he possession of , sheriff of .
By , Deputy.”
|“State of Illinois,)||Sct.|
|City of .)|
“To Mr. :—
“Sir, You will please to take notice that Joseph Smith, Senior, has petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus from the Municipal Court of said , praying that he may be liberated from the custody of , Deputy sheriff of , by whom he is held in custody on a capias ad respondendum, issued by the circuit court of on the first day of May instant, to answer on a plea of the case, &c.; which writ is granted, and you will have the opportunity to appear before the Municipal Court at 10 o’clock A. M. on the 7th. of May instant, at the Council Chamber in said , and show cause why said Joseph Smith, Senior, should not be liberated on said habeas corpus.
“Witness my hand and seal of Court this 6th. day of May, 1844.
Clerk M. C. C. N.”
“The above trial is deferred until Wednesday, the 8th. instant, 10 o’clock A. M.
“I have served the within by reading to the within named .
“ did not appear either by himself or counsel.
“Mr. then said:
‘The petition and papers have been read in your hearing; it is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds— 1st. [p. 9]
<May 8> the insufficiency of the writ, and other causes assigned. The insufficiency of the writ is sufficient to discharge the prisoner; it is the privilege and option of this court if the writ is invalid. It is the privilege of the prisoner to have all the matters investigated, in order to prove that the prosecutor is joined in with other persons in a conspiracy to take away Mr. Smith’s life. Although it is competent for the court to discharge on account of the insufficiency of the writ, yet we want an examination into the matters, in order that all may be understood. All warrants should disclose the crimes known to the court, so that the prisoner might know what answer to make; the prisoner might have had to lay in jail six months because he knows nothing what he is charged with in the writ; it might be that he is charged with debt; that he had to pay to the sum of five thousand dollars, or anything. There is no action specified; is it meant for trespass, for mal treating, beating, or slander, or what other crime? so that the damage of five thousand dollars might be known for what it is. The writ is void for want of substance and form; all who are familiar with law, common sense, or justice, must know that it is indefinite— no charge defined. If we are not released here we shall be released in the circuit court on account of the insufficiency, but we are now willing to investigate the merits of the case. We know nothing but from information from other sources, and we want this court to determinate whether we are held to any charge to ; we have given him notice to attend here, if he has any cause to keep us here. I propose to bring in the testimony of the prisoner; he has averred certain facts; he is ready to make oath of them if your honors require it. There is no ordinance against the prisoner taking his oath, it is within the province of the court to allow him to do so; it is the privilege of the court in any case to hear the plaintiff; law is founded on justice.’
‘It has been truly stated that this court has nothing before it on which it can act; there is a prisoner brought into court who was in custody within the province of your honors; those papers have been read but they disclose no crime— no guilt; there are no merits to try; they present no meritorious cause of action; they do not present the prisoner’s guilt in any form whatever; what are the merits? Shall we try him for horse stealing, burglary, arson, or what? You shall hear the merits if you can find them out; then the court has power to try. Is it burglary, arson, or something else? What is the point to try? Those papers know no crime; this Court knows no crime; there are no merits— no existence of any thing; it is an ignis fatuus— a will-o’-the-wisp, to arrest somebody for doing nothing— to have the privilege of trying a lawsuit about nothing. The court never says ever preferred any thing; if there can be any merits hatched up, we will try them.’
“Joseph Smith said:
‘I am satisfied that this thing can be brought to trial; it appears I am a prisoner, and by the authority of the Circuit Court. I petitioned this court for a hearing; I am a prisoner, and aver that it is a malicious prosecution, and a wicked conspiracy, got up by men for the purpose of harassing me, and decoying me into their hands. I want to show that this man has joined a set of men who have entered into a conspiracy to take away my life. After hearing the case you have power to punish, imprison, or fine, or any thing you please; you have a right to punish the offender; if I am a criminal you have a right to punish me, and send me to the circuit court; but if I am as innocent as the angels of heaven, you have power to send the prosecutor to trial if crime is proved against him. They have no merit in their cause; I want to show up their conspiracy— that these men [p. 10]
<May 8> are working the basest corruption; they have lifted up their hands against innocence. You have power to hear the petitioner on his oath; I will show you a precedent. Look at the federal court of this district; the case was made out by affidavit which I swore to before the court.
“The habeas corpus is granted on the testimony of the petitioner; it is the law in Blackstone, that where no other matter is in existence, and the prisoner swears he is innocent, and his character for truth is supported by good testimony, he must be discharged; and he then goes away as free as the proud eagle. If I have the privilege of testimony under oath to the facts that they make slander of, then they cannot do anything with it. Suppose that I am an eye witness to the crime of adultery, or any other crime, and know verily for myself that the man is guilty of adultery, or other crime, and I speak of it, the man may sue me for damages, although I know him to be guilty; but if I swear <to> it in a court he cannot hurt me. If I have the privilege of giving testimony under oath, they can never do anything with me; but if you discharge me on the insufficiency of the writ, they can prosecute me again and again; but if you give me a fair hearing they cannot prosecute me again. I want the oath to go to the world; I must make statements of facts in order to defend myself. I must tell the story in its true light under oath; then I can be for ever set free. May I not have the privilege of being protected by law? The peace of myself, my family, my happiness, and the happiness of this depend upon it.’
“The Court allowed him to proceed with the case.
‘This is a malicious prosecution, and we have averred that it is malicious, and have a right to prove it. There is an insufficiency in the writ; the writ did not show any crime had been committed, and we can show that we are not guilty of any plea in the case. There is no charge or case against us, and the whole matter is corrupt, and malicious, and wicked.’
“Joseph Smith sworn— Said:
‘I must commence when was foaming against me and the Municipal Court in my house. said he was grieved at me, and I was grieved at him. I was willing on my part to settle all difficulties, and he promised if I would go before the City Council and tell them, he would drop everything against me for ever. I have never mentioned the name of disrespectfully from that time to this, but have been entirely silent about him; if any one has said that I have spoken disrespectfully since then, they have lied; and he cannot have any cause whatever. I want to testify to this court of what occurred a long time before left this . I was called on to visit ; I went and found him on a bed on the floor.
“-[Here follows testimony which is too indelicate for the public eye or ear; and we would here remark that so revolting, corrupt, and disgusting has been the conduct of most of this clique, that we feel to dread having anything to do with the publication of their trials. We will not however offend the public eye or ear with a repetition of the foulness of their crimes any more.]-
“ said pointed out the spot where he had seduced a girl, and that he had seduced another. I did not believe it; I felt hurt, and labored with about it; he swore with uplifted hands that he had lied about the matter. I went and told the girl’s parents; when and made affidavits, and both perjured themselves; they swore false about me so as to blind the family. I brought before , and others; was present, when they both acknowledged that they had done these things, and asked us [p. 11]
<May 8> to forgive them. I got vexed— my feelings had been hurt; has been guilty of adulterous communication, perjury &c; which I am able to prove by men who heard them confess it. I also preferred charges against — the same charges which I am now telling; and he got up and told them it was the truth, when he pleaded for his life, and begged to be forgiven. This was his own statement before sixty or seventy men; he said the charges were true against him and . I have been endeavoring to throw out shafts to defend myself, because they were corrupt, and I knew they were determined to ruin me; he has told the public that he has <was> determined to prosecute me because I slandered him, although I tell nothing but the truth. Since the settlement of our difficulties I have not mentioned his name disrespectfully; he wants to bind up my hands in the circuit court, and make me pay heavy damages for telling the truth. In relation to the conspiracy I have not heard say he would take away my life; but , , and , said they would shoot me; and the only offence against me is telling the truth. I did say that stole a raw hide; these are the things that they now want to ruin me for— for telling the truth. When riding in the stage, I have seen him put his hand in a woman’s bosom, and he also lifted up her clothes. I know that they are wicked, malicious, adulterous, bad characters; I say it under oath; I can tell all the particulars from first to last.’
‘With regard to , at the time that is spoken of I stopped opposite Mr. Law’s store; we had been conversing with ; when I came into the room rather recoiled and wished to withdraw; he went out and sat upon a pile of wood. He said it is all true; I am sorry for it; I wish it had never happened. I understood who related some of the circumstances, he cried and begged of us to forgive him, and said if he could be permitted to stay in the as a private individual he should be happy; that was about what he said; “it is true, I am sorry for it, and I wish it had never been so”, as we came up. , , and Mr. Smith had been talking about it. I have not mentioned it before. I knew of the whole affair; it was on the 4th of July, or a few days after; it was shortly after I came from . I was in the City Council when said all was settled.’
‘I have heard say all these things were facts; he acknowledged that had the [blank], and that he had doctored him; he acknowledged that, and a great deal more.
“I will make one statement: in our conversation with , I told him that one charge was seducing young women, and leading young men into difficulty, and he admitted it; he said if he had let young men and women alone it would have been better for him.’
‘In relation to the matters before the court which I am unacquainted with, I was sick at the time, but I have heard them talked of back and fro.’
‘I recollect Joseph Smith came to me with a complaint against and , and made affidavit that it was true; I have the affidavit in my house. I went to see on last Saturday, and found him at Mr. Morrison’s, where he was waiting for a steam boat. I endeavored to prevail on him to relinquish his undertaking; he said he had no character in , and therefore he had none to lose. I tried to convince him that he had a character, and might be looked upon with respect; but he flatly contradicted me and said he had none, and that was the reason why he persecuted [p. 12]
<May 8> Joseph Smith; as he had no character he did not care what he did— he had nothing to lose by it. That was the substance of our conversation.’
‘I recollect a settlement of difficulties between and my brother Joseph, about which some of the court may recollect. I recollect asking forgiveness of the Lodge, when there were about sixty present. acknowledged that it was the truth, and that he was sorry, and had been a thousand times; he acknowledged his connexion with the woman on the hill: I did think he was with at the time. The statement of was, that he was guilty— he was sorry and asked forgiveness— he said he had seduced six or seven; he acknowledged it, and said if he was forgiven he would not be guilty any more. said he knew it was true— he was sorry and had been a hundred times. The very things that we had challenged him with he acknowledged. I told that it had better be settled; he said Joseph had accused him, and if his character was gone all was gone; he said he would settle it, and they went into the room. He did not deny any charge; he said he was sorry, that he wanted it buried, and it was agreed to do so. did not say anything about his sickness, but made those observations to him— that he had doctored him in the time of his sickness.’
‘I asked if he did not tell that he had seduced a girl; he replied, “I told that I did seduce her, but I tell you I never did it; I told him so for my own notion of things.” I do not recollect of him saying that he had got a bad disorder with the French girl; he said he should not have been seduced if it had not been by <for> . When charged with them, said they were true— that they were alleged a hundred times; he said, “I will alter— I will save my character.” I have never heard from brother Joseph anything about his character; Joseph did not accuse him of anything before the police— he said had better take care. was a little dissatisfied, but that difference was settled; I was present. He said he would not receive any thing again from abroad— he would not take any steps by hearsay; he would come to him and tell him. There were several present when this took place.’
“ sworn— he recollected the conversation, but not very distinctly; but he did recollect that acknowledged to Joseph Smith that he was guilty of the charges preferred against him.
“Court adjourned for one hour and a half.
‘With regard to this case, I know nothing, but through a circumstance which occurred at . Elder came to my house to preach; he preached and was upholding the authorities of the Church very much; he came over here and apostatized the same day. I then came over and went to see him; I asked him why he had changed his mind so quick; he said he had seen affidavits of the guilt of Mr Smith; he told me was going about to the different conferences. I told him <I thought> he had better send some one else; his conduct was not the best, and I know of circumstances that were not right. Once I was a mate on a Steamboat, and was clerk; we had not much cabin; we had some females on board. I and another had given up our room to some ladies for the night; it was my watch, and I went into the cabin for my Buffalo robe about one o’clock in the night, when I saw him leaning over the berth where one of the ladies slept. This was in the night, and he had no business there; no gentleman had any [p. 13]
<May 8> right there. I gave up my berth to the ladies, and I felt indignant at such conduct; his conduct towards the lady passengers was unbecoming, and particularly in one who professes so much virtue as he does now.’
‘I have seen , go into rooms with females, but what their intentions were I did not know. I might have seen him two or three times; I think he has done that which is not right. I should judge from conversations with him that that was the case; <I presume he has a good many times;> I might recollect twenty times; he has frequently told me things of that kind. It is a private case to be sure. He has told me that he had commenced an action against Joseph Smith for slander. I met today; I asked him about the fuss, when he said he had got Mr. Smith up for slander; he said he should not come here, but did not say why. I recollect the time that he was sick, when attended him; I went to see him nearly every day. I understood to say that he was prosecuting Mr. Smith for slander, and that he was up before the Municipal Court. He told me he supposed I was wanted to prove that he was a thief, whoremaster, and everything else.’
‘I have several times had conversations with ; I recollect that near two years ago there was a fuss about ’s spiritual wife system before the High Council. I recollect a French woman coming up from , and that had medical assistance x x x x x x x x attended him. Joseph Smith administered unto him, but it was irksome; assented that it was so; he did not contradict it; he promised to reform— he would do better— he would do so no more.’
‘I think it is near two years since that I had a conversation with ; he expressed himself indignant at some things; he expressed himself that he was sorry; he would live a new life— he never would say a word against President Joseph Smith; he had an inclination to write that what he had published was false. I exhorted him to go and recall what he had said. I afterwards saw him in , when he promised by every thing sacred that he would come home, reform, and then go and publish this doctrine, for it was true. He said he had taken a course that was wrong towards President Smith, and was sorry for it. He said he would study at , for his character was ruined here. When we were in , I went over to , and exhorted him to alter his conduct. The last time I conversed with him, he said, “if I had taken your counsel, I should now have been a man looked on with respect”; he said he was not connected with the people that opposed President Smith and never would; he much regretted the course he had taken.
‘The statement I made out against I have proved to be facts, and therefore it is not slander. I have testified boldly, and have brought witnesses to prove him to be an adulterer, and a vicious man. I did not do it until he began to use his <evil> influence against me. If I had been to blame, and he had got the least chance, he would have been here; he knows I am here, and all know that they have nothing against me. I have proved all that I ever testified; the Court would be bound to discharge me on account of having proved it. There are very few lawyers who know the great principle of the Habeas Corpus Act; ask a lawyer, and he does not know but that he has got to go to some Judge. The U. S. District Judge () has been one of the Supreme Judges of the ; his decision is that it should [p. 14]
<May 8th.> be as much in the power of the simple magistrate as of the greatest judge; hence Governors and Supreme Judges all know that I am correct. A simple magistrate should have the right; “the right of Habeas Corpus shall not be denied”; it does not say by a governor or judge; who then does it mean? all the authorities. All judges know that it is a fact. If you hold the office of a magistrate, and you are sworn to keep inviolate the Constitution of the , you are sworn to fulfil that part which says that you shall not refuse the privilege of the Habeas Corpus to any one. I have only to open Blackstone, or the Bible, and then I know where powers are. I never said anything about the Higbees, or the Laws, or the Fosters, but what is strictly true. I have been placed in peculiar circumstances.
“The only sin I ever committed was in exercising sympathy, and covering up their iniquities, on their solemn promises to reform; and of this I am [HC 6:360] ashamed, and never will do so again.’
“After hearing the foregoing evidence in support of said petition, it is considered and ordained by the Court: 1st, That the said Joseph Smith Senior, be discharged from the said arrest and imprisonment complained of in said petition, on the illegality of the writ upon which he was arrested, as well as upon the writ of the Case, and that he go hence without day [delay?]. Secondly, ’s character having been so fully shown as infamous, the Court is convinced that this suit was instituted through malice, private pique, and corruption, and ought not to be countenanced; and it is ordained by the Court that said pay the costs.
In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal of said Court at the City of , this 8th day of May, 1844.
I copy the following from the Neighbor of this date:
“Hurrah for the General!! The following which we extract from the St. Louis Organ, shews how the public mind is turning, and what their feelings are in regard to the Prophet, his views, and theirs also in regard to the Presidency.
‘Forbear awhile— we’ll hear a little more. The matter is now settled with , , and ! Let return at once from his political perambulation in the South, abandon his hopes of re-election by aid of the “immediate annexation” of , and let be quiet at Kinderhook that he may watch <the operations of> the “sober second thought” of the people! General Joseph Smith, the acknowledged modern prophet, has got them all in the rear; and from the common mode of testing the success of candidates for the Presidency, to wit— by steamboat elections— he, Smith, will beat all the other aspirants to that office, two to one. We learn from the polls of the steamboat Osprey, on her last trip to this , that the votes stood for
|General Joseph Smith,||29 gentlemen and 5 ladies.|
|,||16 " " 4 " .|
|,||7 " " 0 ".”|
Attended theatre in the evening. [HC 6:361]
<9th.> Thursday 9th. A Court Martial was held in my for the trial of Major General , on a charge of ungentlemanly and unofficerlike conduct. [p. 15] <May 9th> Present, Brevet Majors Generals , , , , and ; Colonels, and ; Judge Advocate, ; and Secretary, . The charge was sustained, and cashiered.
Evening attended theatre and saw “Damon and Pythias”, and the “Idiot Witness” performed.
Elders and called upon me this morning, and said they were ready to start on their mission to attend the Conferences appointed throughout the north of , , and . I blessed them in the name of the Lord, and told them to go and they should prosper, and always prosper. They left in company with Elders and .
<10> Friday 10. Rode out after breakfast to the pra[i]rie to sell some land to some brethren.
The Court Martial was held in the on the charge against , Surgeon General, for unbecoming and unofficerlike conduct &c. Brigadier General , presiding. The charges were sustained. [HC 6:362]
A Prospectus of the Nauvoo Expositor was distributed among the people by the apostates.
The Jury of , Illinois awarded $40 damages and the costs against and for illegal imprisonment and abuse which I suffered from them last June in that county.
<11> Saturday 11 At 10 A. M., I attended City Council, and staid till half past 11, but there not being a quorum, adjourned until next regular session. At one P. M, at my , and had a conversation with Mr. Lyne on the theater; and at 6 P.M., attended prayer meeting; , and , present. Several showers of rain during the day. The Legion had a Company Muster.
<12> Sunday 12. At 10 A. M., I preached at the ; the following minutes <brief synopsis> of my discourse were taken <was reported> by my clerk, :—
“The Savior has the words of eternal life; nothing else can profit us; there is no salvation in believing an evil report against our neighbor. I advise all to go on to perfection, and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of godliness. A man can do nothing for himself unless God direct him in the right way; and the Priesthood is revealed for that purpose. The last time I spoke on this it was on the resurrection of the dead, when I promised to continue my remarks upon that subject; I still feel a desire to say something on this subject. Let us this very day begin anew, and now say, with all our hearts, we will forsake our sins and be righteous. I shall read the 24th. ch. [p. 16]
<May 12> of Matthew, and give it a literal rendering and reading; and when it is rightly understood it will be edifying. (He then read and translated it from the German.) I thought the very oddity of its rendering would be edifying any how. ‘And it will preached be, the Gospel of the Kingdom in the whole world, to a witness over all people, and then will the end come.’ I will now read it in German; (which he did, and many Germans who were present said he translated it correctly.) The Savior said, when those tribulations should take place, it should be committed to a man, who should be a witness over the whole world; [HC 6:363] the Keys of Knowledge, power, and revelations, should be revealed to a witness who should hold the testimony to the world. It has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries — new things— for my hearers. Just at the time when some men think that I have no right to the Keys of the Priesthood— just at that time I have the greatest right. The Germans are an exalted people; the old German translators are the most correct— most honest of any of the translators, and therefore I get testimony to bear me out in the revelations that I have preached for the last fourteen years. The old German, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew translations all say it is true; they cannot be impeached, and therefore I am in good company. All the testimony is, that the Lord in the last days would commit the Keys of the Priesthood to a witness over all people. Has the Gospel of the Kingdom commenced in the last days? and will God take it from the man until he takes him himself? I have read it precisely as the words flowed from the lips of Jesus Christ. John the Revelator saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth. The scripture is ready to be fulfilled when great wars, famines, pestilence, great distress, judgments &c., are ready to be poured out on the inhabitants of the earth. John saw the angel having the holy priesthood who should preach the everlasting gospel to all nations. God had an Angel— a special Messenger— ordained and prepared [p. 17]
<May 12.> for that purpose in the last days. Woe! Woe! be to that man or set of men, who lift up their hands against God and his witness in these last days; for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones. My enemies say that I have been a true prophet; why I had rather be a fallen true prophet than a false prophet. When a man goes about prophesying, and commands men to obey his teachings, he must be either a true or false prophet; false prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets, and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones. The doctrine of eternal judgments belong<s> to the first principles of the gospel in the last days. In relation to the Kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his Kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God. Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world, was ordained to that very purpose in the grand council of Heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that grand council. It is the testimony that I want that I am God’s servant, and this people his people. The Ancient Prophets declared in the last days the God of heaven shall <should> set up a Kingdom, which should never be destroyed, nor left to other people; and the very time that was calculated on, this people were struggling to bring it out. He that arms himself with gun, sword, or pistol, except in the [HC 6:364] defence of truth, will some time be sorry for it. I never carry any weapon with me bigger than my penknife; when I was dragged before the cannon and muskets in , I was unarmed. God will always protect me until my mission is fulfilled. I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the Kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, and I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world. I once offered my life to the Mob as a sacrifice for my people, and here I am. It will not be by sword or gun that this Kingdom will roll on; the power of truth is such that all nations will be under the necessity of obeying the gospel. The prediction is that army will be against army; [p. 18]
<May 12> it may be that the saints will have to beat their ploughs into swords, for it will not do for men to sit down and see their women and children destroyed patiently. My text is on the resurrection of the dead, which you will find in the 14th ch. of John. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” It should be, “in my Father’s Kingdom are many Kingdoms”, in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint heirs with me. I do not believe the Methodist doctrine of sending honest men, and noble minded men to hell, along with the murderer and adulterer; they may hurl all their hell and fiery billows upon me, for they will roll off me as fast as they come on. But I have an order of things to save the poor fellows at any rate, and get them saved; for I will send men to preach to them in prison, and save them if I can. There are mansions for those who obey a celestial law, and there are other mansions for those who come short of that law; every man in his own order. There is baptism &c for those to exercise who are alive, and baptism for the dead who died without the knowledge of the gospel. I am going on in my progress for eternal life; it is not only necessary that you should be baptized for your dead, but you will have to go through all the ordinances for them, same as you have gone through to save yourselves; there will be 144,000 Saviors on Mount Zion, and with them an innumerable host, that no man can number. Oh! I beseech you to go forward, and make your calling and your election sure; and if any man preach any other gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed, and some of you who now hear me shall see it, and know that I testify the truth concerning them. In regard to the law of the Priesthood, there should be a place where all nations shall come up from time to time to receive their endowments; and the Lord has said, this shall be the place for the baptism for the dead. Every man that has been baptized and belongs to the Kingdom, has a right to be baptized for those who are gone before; and, as soon as the law of the gospel is obeyed here by their friends who act as proxy for them, the [p. 19]
<May 12.> Lord has administrators there to set them free. [HC 6:365] A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundation of the world, have been thus fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for; but it must be first revealed to the man of God lest we should run too far. ‘As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive’; all shall be raised from the dead. The Lamb of God hath brought to pass the resurrection, so that all shall rise from the dead. God Almighty himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. Our God is a consuming fire. When our flesh is quickened by the Spirit, there will be no blood in the tabernacle. Some dwell in higher glory than others. Those who have done wrong always have that wrong gnawing them. Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings. I will from time to time reveal to you the subjects that are revealed by the Holy Ghost to me. All the lies that are <now> hatched up against me are of the devil, and all the influence of the devil and his servants will be used against the Kingdom of God. The Servants of God teach nothing but the principles of eternal life; by their works ye shall know them. A good man will speak good things and holy principles, and an evil man evil things. I feel in the name of the Lord to rebuke all such bad principles, liars &c, and I warn all of you to look out who you are going after. I exhort you to give heed to all the virtue and the teachings which I have given you. All men who are immortal dwell in everlasting burnings. You cannot go anywhere but where God can find you out. All men <are born to> die and all men must rise; all must enter eternity. In order for you to receive your children to yourself, you must have a promise— some ordinance— some blessing— in order to ascend above principalities, or else it may be an angel. They must rise just as they died; we can <then> hail our lovely infants with the same glory, the same loveliness in the celestial glory where they all enjoy alike; they differ in stature, in size: the same glorious spirit gives them the likeness of glory and bloom; the old man with his [p. 20]
<May 12> silvery hairs will glory in bloom and beauty; no man can describe it to you— no man can write it. When did I ever teach any thing wrong from this ? When was I ever confounded? I want to triumph in Israel before I depart hence and am no more seen. I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught; must I then be thrown away as a thing of naught? I enjoin for your consideration, add to your faith virtue, love &c. I say in the name of the Lord, if these things are in you, you shall be [HC 6:366] fruitful. I testify that no man has power to reveal it but myself— things in heaven, in earth, and hell; and all shut your mouths for the future. I commend you all to God, that you may inherit all things; and may God add his blessing. Amen.”
My brother and Elder also addressed the saints.
My brother received an anonymous letter supposed to have been written by , threatening his life and calling upon him to make his peace with God, for he would soon have to die.
At 3 P. M., I attended prayer meeting in the Council room; and were present; the room was full, and we all prayed for deliverance from our enemies, and exaltation to such offices as will enable the servants of God to execute righteousness in the earth.
I copy the following form the Times and Seasons:
“For the Neighbor.
“Before taking my farewell of your beautiful and growing , I avail myself of a few leisure moments in expressing some of my views and conclusions of the prophet Joe and the Mormons. In the first place allow me to say that the Mormons as a people have been most woefully misrepresented and abused, and in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred by persons who know nothing of their principles and doctrines. Before visiting this place my mind was very much prejudiced against the Mormons from reports which I had listened to in traveling through the different states; and I presume if I had never taken occasion to inform myself of their religion and views, my mind would <have> still remained in the same condition. There is not a city within my knowledge that can boast of a more enterprising and industrious people than can ; her citizens are enlightened and possess many advantages in the arts and sciences of the day, which other cities (of longer standing) cannot boast: in a word bids fair to soon out rival any city in the West.
“General Smith is a man who understands the political history of his country, as well as the religious history of the world, as perfectly as any politician or religionist I have ever met with. He advances ideas, which, if carried into [p. 21]
<May 12> effect would greatly benefit the nation in point of com[HC 6:367]merce and finance; and while he maintains, and philosophically shows, that our country is approaching a fearful crisis, which if not arrested, will end in disgrace to the country, and cause our national banner to hug its mast in disgust and shame, clearly points out the remedy.
“Shall the liberty which our fathers purchased at so dear a price be wrenched from the hands of their children? Shall our national banner, which floated so proudly in the breeze at the declaration of independence, be disgraced and refuse to show its motto? Shall we, as American citizens, fold our arms and look quietly on, while the shackles of slavery are being fastened upon our hands, and while men only seek office for the purpose of exalting themselves into power? I say, shall we still rush blindly on and hasten on our own destruction by placing men in power who neither regard the interests of the people, nor the prayers of the oppressed? Every American citizen will shout at the top of his voice, NO!
“Mr. Smith’s ‘views of the powers and policy of the government’ manifest a republican spirit, and if carried out, would soon place the nation in a prosperous condition, and brighten the prospects of those who now have to toil so incessantly to support the profligate expenditures, and luxurious equipage of the present rulers and representatives of our nation.
“Joseph Smith is a man who is in every way calculated to make a free people happy; he is liberal in his sentiments, and allows every man the free expression of his feeling on all subjects; he is sociable and easy in his manners, is conversant and familiar on all exciting topics, expresses himself freely and plainly, on the different methods of administering the government; while he is not ashamed to let the world know his views, and criticise upon his opinions.
“I am, sir, in no way connected with the Mormon Church, but am disposed to listen to reason in all cases. I have heretofore been a warm advocate of the measures of the Whig party; but considering General Smith’s views and sentiments to be worthy the applause of every citizen of the , and especially the yeomanry of the country, I shall in every instance advocate his principles, and use my utmost influence in his favor.
I am, sir, Yours, in haste,
, May 12th., 1844.”
<13> Monday 13 Heavy thunder showers during the night. At 10 A. M., went to my and conversed with several of the brethren. Sold one hundred acres of land, received $300 in cash, and his note for $1000, and $20 for the . Paid $298, and [HC 6:368] took up a note of , & ’s, given for money they had borrowed for me, and gave $10 to .
At 2 P. M., attended meeting of the General Council at which the following letter from Elder was read:—
“, April 25th. 1844.
I take the liberty to transmit through you to the Council of our Church, the results of my labors thus far. I arrived in this place on the 23rd. inst., by way of , , and .
I found Elder here, having been called home to on account of his wife’s ill health. Elder has been indefatigable in his exertions in prosecuting the business entrusted to his charge. His business has [p. 22]
<May 13> been before the Senate and referred to the committee on the Judiciary, and the report of said committee is not yet rendered; which is the cause of his delay in writing to you.
“Yesterday we conversed with Messrs. , , , and , and last evening we spent several hours with the Hon., . They all appear deeply interested in the question, and received us with every demonstration of of respect that we could desire. thought the bill would not pass, from the fact that there already exists between and a treaty for the joint occupancy of , and that any act of our government authorizing an armed force to be raised, and destined for that country, would be regarded by as an infraction of that treaty, and a cause of her commencing hostilities against us. But my reply was, these volunteers are not to be considered any part or portion of the Army of the , neither acting under the direction or authority of the ; and, said I, for men to go there and settle in the character of emigrants cannot be regarded by our government as deviating in the least degree from her plighted faith, unless she intends to tamely submit to British monopoly in that country. said he would present the Memorial if we desired it; I thanked him for his kind offer, but observed that I was not yet prepared for the bill to be submitted, but wished to elicit all the facts relative to the condition of , and also advise with many other members relative to the matter; and we could better determine then how the bill [HC 6:369] should be introduced. We do not want it presented and referred to a standing committee, and stuck away with five or ten cords of petitions, and that be the last of it; but we want the memorial read, a move made to suspend the rules of the House, and the bill printed &c.
“ said, ‘I am for any how; you may set me down on your list, and I will go for you if you will go for Oregon.’ has been quite ill, but is just recovered; he will help all he can; likewise. But says that he does not believe any thing will be done about or the this session; for it might have a very important effect upon the Presidential election, and politicians are slow to move when such doubtful and important matters are likely to be affected by it. He says that there are already two bills before the House for establishing a territorial government in , and to protect the emigrants there; and now he says, were your bill to be introduced it might be looked upon that you claimed the sole right of emigrating to and settling that new country to the exclusion of others. He was in favor of the being settled, and he thought the bills already before the House would extend equal protection to us; and equal protection to every class of citizens was what the government could rightly do, but particular privileges to any one class they could not rightly do. I observed that the bill asked for no exclusive rights; it asks not for exclusive rights in , neither do we wish it. Other people might make a move to , and no prejudices bar their way; and their motives would not be mis-interpreted. But said I, knows her guilt, and should we attempt to march to without the government throwing a protective shield over us, ’s crimes would lead her first to misinterpret our intentions, to fan the flame of popular excitement against us, and scatter the firebrands of a misguided zeal among the combustible materials of other places, creating a flame too hot for us to encounter, too desolating for us to indulge the hope of successfully prosecuting the grand and benevolent enterprise which we have conceived. We have been compelled [p. 23]
<May 13> to [HC 6:370] relinquish our rights in ; we have been forcibly driven from our homes, leaving our property and inheritances as spoil to the oppressor; and more or less in , we have been subject to the whims and chimeras of illiberal men, and to threats, to vexatious prosecutions and law suits.
“Our government profess to have no power to help us or to redress the wrongs which we have suffered, and we now ask the government to protect us while raising our volunteers; and when we get into we will protect ourselves, and all others who wish our protection. And after subduing a new country, encountering all its difficulties and hardships, and sustaining the just claims of our nation to its soil, we believe that the generosity of our government towards us will be equal to our enterprize and patriotism; and <that> they will allow us a grant or territory of land, which will be both honorable in them, and satisfactory to us. This, he says, is all very just and reasonable. But still, he thinks that Congress will take no step in relation to , from the fact that his resolution requesting the President of the to give notice to the British government for the abolition of the treaty of joint occupation, was voted down; and while that treaty is in force, our government dare do nothing in relation to that country. This resolution was introduced by to pave the way for the passage of those bills in relation to a territorial government in .
“All our members join in the acknowledgement that you now have an undoubted right to go to with all the emigrants you can raise. They say the existing laws protect you as much as law can protect you; and should Congress pass an additional law it would not prevent wicked men from shooting you down as they did in . All the men in Congress would be glad we would go to that country and settle it.
“I will now give you my opinion in relation to this matter; it is made up from the spirit of the times in a hasty manner; nevertheless I think time will prove it to be correct:— That Congress will pass no act in relation to or at present. She is afraid of , afraid of , and afraid the Presidential election will be twisted by it. The Members all appear like unskilful players at checkuers— afraid to move; for they see not which way to move advantageously. All are figuring and playing round the grand and important questions. In the days of our Lord the people neglected the weightier matters of the law, but tithed mint, rue, annis, and cummin; but I think here in they do little else than tithe the mint.
“A Member of Congress is in no enviable situation; if he will boldly advocate true principles, he loses his influence and becomes unpopular; [HC 6:371] and whoever is committed, and has lost his influence, has no power to benefit his constituents; so they all go to figuring and playing round the great points. said that Mr. Smith could not constitutionally be constituted a member of the army by law; and this, if nothing else, would prevent its passage. I observed that I would in that case strike out that clause. Perhaps I took an unwarrantable responsibility upon myself; but where I get into a strait place, I can do <no> better than act according to what appears most correct.
“I do not intend the opinion that I have hastily given shall abate my zeal to drive the matter through, but I have given the opinion for your benefit, that your indulgence of the hope that Congress will do something for us may not cause you to delay any important action. [p. 24]
<May 13.> “There is already a government established in to some extent; magistrates have been chosen by the people &c. This on the south of the Columbia; north of that river the Hudson Bay Company occupy. There is some good country in , but a great deal of sandy barren desert. I have seen a gentleman who has been there, and also in .
“The most of the settlers in and are our old enemies the mobocrats of . If, however, the settlement of or be determined upon, the sooner the move is made the better; and I would not advise any delay for the action of our government; for there is such a jealousy of our rising power already, that government will do nothing to favor us. If the saints possess the Kingdom, I think they will have to take it; and the sooner it is done, the more easily it is accomplished.
“Your superior wisdom must determine whether to go to , to , or to remain within these , and send forth the most efficient men to build up Churches, and let them remain for the time being; and in the mean time send some wise men among the Indians, and teach them civilization and religion, to cultivate the soil, to live in peace with one another and with all men. But whatever you do, don’t be deluded with the hope that government will foster us, and thus delay an action which the present perhaps is the most proper time that ever will be.
“ is becoming a popular question; the fever of emigration begins to rage; if the Mormons become the early majority, others will not come; if the Mormons do not become an early majority, the others will not allow us to come.
“ is faithful, useful, and true; he has got the run of matters here very well, and is with me in all my deliberations, visitings &c.
“ goes with us this evening to introduce us to the , and to view the White House. [HC 6:372]
“My heart and hand are with you. May Heaven bless you and me.
As ever I am,
“To the Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”
Also the following letter:—
“, April 26th, 1844.
To day I trouble you with another communication which you will please have the goodness to lay before our Council.
We were last evening introduced to the at the White House by the politeness of , where we spent an hour very agreeably. The is a very plain, homespun, familiar, farmer-like man. He spoke of our troubles in , and regretted that we had met with such treatment; he asked us how we were getting along in . I told him that we were contending with the difficulties of a new country, and laboring under the disadvantageous consequences of being driven from our property and homes in .
“We have this day had a long conversation with . He is ripe for , and the . He said he would resign his seat in Congress if he could command the force that Mr Smith could, and would be on the march to that country in a month.
“I learn that the eyes of many aspiring politicians in this place are [p. 25]
<May 13.> upon that country; and that there is so much jealousy between them that they will probably pass no bill in relation to it. Now all these politicians rely upon the arm of our government to protect them there; and if government were to pass an act establishing a territorial government west of the , there would be at once a tremendous rush of emigration; but if government pass no act in relation to it, these men have not stamina or sufficient confidence in themselves and their own resources to hazard the enterprize. The northern whig members are almost to a man against and ; but should the present administration succeed in annexing , then all the whigs would turn round in favor of ; for if be admitted, slavery is extended to the south; then, free states must be added to the west to keep up a balance of power between the slave and the free states.
“Should be admitted war with is looked upon as inevitable. The Senate have been in secret session on the ratification of the treaty of annexation; but what they did we cannot say. General Gaines, who was boarding at the same house with , was secretly [HC 6:373] ordered to repair to the Texan frontier four days ago, and left immediately. I asked if that did not speak loud for annexation. He says, no! Santa Anna being a jealous hot headed pate, might be suspicious the treaty would be ratified by the Senate, and upon mere suspicion might attempt some hostilities, and Gaines has been ordered there to be on the alert and ready for action if necessary. Probably our navy will in a few days be mostly in the Gulf of Mexico.
“There are many powerful checks upon our government, preventing her from moving in any of these important matters; and for aught I know these checks are permitted to prevent our government from extending <her> jurisdiction over that territory which God designs to give <to> his saints. says he would equally as soon go to that country without an act of Congress as with; ‘and that in five years a noble State might be formed, and then if they would not receive us into the Union we would have a government of our own’. He is decidedly of the opinion that Congress will pass no act in favor of any particular man going there; but he says if any man will go, and desires that privilege, and has confidence in his own ability to perform it, he already has the right, and the sooner he is off the better for his scheme. It is the opinion here among politicians, that it will be extremely difficult to have any bill pass in relation to the encouragement of emigration to ; but much more difficult to get a bill passed designating any particular man to go; but all concur in the opinion that we are authorized already.
“In case of a removal to that country, is the place of general rendezvous; our course from thence would be westward through , bearing a little north until we come to the , leaving the State of on the left, thence onward till we come to the Platte, thence up the north fork of the Platte to the mouth of Sweetwater river in longitude 107o 45" w., and thence up said Sweetwater river to the South pass of the about eleven hundred miles from , and from said South pass in latitude 42o 28" north to the Umpqua and Klamet Valleys in bordering on is about 600 miles making the distance from to the best portions of 1700 miles. There is no government established here, and it is so near that when a government shall be established there, it may readily embrace that country likewise. There is much barren country— rocks and mountains— in , but the valleys are very fertile. I am persuaded [p. 26]
<May 13> that Congress will pass no act in relation to that country, from the fact that the resolution requesting the to give notice to the British government for the discontinuance of the treaty of joint [HC 6:374] occupation of , was voted down with a rush; and this notice must be given before any action can be had unless Congress violates the treaty; at least so say the politicians here.
“ has given me a map of , and also a Report on an exploration of the country lying between the and the on the line of the , and great Platte Rivers: by Lieut. J[ohn] C. Fremont of the Corps of topographical Engineers. On receiving it, I expressed a wish that Mr. Smith could see it; says it is a public document, and I will frank it to him. I accepted his offer, and the book will be forthcoming to him. The people are so eager for it here, that they have even stole it out of the library. The author is ’s son-in-law; borrowed it of I was not to tell any one <in this > where I got it. The book is a most valuable document to any one contemplating a journey to . The directions which I have given may not be exactly correct, but the book will tell correctly. says he can direct Mr.Smith to several gentlemen in who will be able to give him any information on the state of affairs in that country; and when he returns to , he will visit Mr.Smith.
“ and myself drafted a bill this morning, and handed it into the Committee on the Judiciary from the Senate, asking an appropriation of two million—— dollars for the relief of the sufferers among our people in in 1838 & 9; to be deposited in the hands of the City Council of , and by them dealt out to the sufferers in proportion to their loss. We intend to teaze them until we either provoke them, or get them to do something for us. I have learned this much, that if we want Congress to do anything for us; in drawing up our memorial, we must not ask what is right in the matter, but we must ask what kind of a thing will Congress pass? Will it suit the politics of the Majority? Will it be popular or unpopular? For you might as well drive a musket ball through a cotton bag, or the gospel of Christ through the heart of a priest, case hardened by sectarianism, bigotry, and superstition, or a camel through the eye of a needle, as to drive anything through Congress that will operate against the popularity of politicians.
“I shall probably leave here in a few days, and will remain. I go to get money to sustain ourselves with.
“I shall write again soon, and let you know what restrictions, if any, are laid upon our citizens in relation to passing through the Indian territories. I shall communicate every thing that I think will benefit. In the mean time, if the Council have any instructions to give us, we shall be happy to receive them here or at .
“John Ross is here; we intend to see him. It is uncertain when Con[HC 6:375]gress rises; it will be a long pull in my opinion.
As ever, I am yours sincerely,
“’s best respects to the brethren.”
was instructed to answer the above letters, and Elders and were instructed to carry the answers. [p. 27]
<May 13> Council adjourned at 5 p. m.
[5 lines blank]
The Steamer “Maid of Iowa” returned from with 400 Bushels of Corn, and 200 Bushels of Wheat, which had been purchased for the . At 8 p. m., I went on board with Dr. , and visited Captain .
I insert a letter which I received from , and my answer:—
“Ashland, Novr. 15th. 1843.
I have received your letter in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, stating that you understand that I am a candidate for the Presidency, and enquiring what will be my rule of action relative to you as a people, should I be elected.
“I am profoundly grateful for the numerous and strong expressions of the people in my behalf, as a candidate for President of the ; but I do not so consider myself. That must depend upon future events, and upon my sense of duty.
“Should I be a candidate, I can enter into no engagements, make no promises, give no pledges, to any particular portion of the people of the . If I ever enter into that high office, I must go into it free and unfettered, with no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from my whole life, character, and conduct.
“It is not inconsistent with this declaration to say, that I have viewed with a lively interest, the progress of the Latter Day Saints; that I have sympathized in their sufferings under injustice, as it appeared to me, which has been inflicted upon them; and that I think, in common with all other religious communities, they ought to enjoy the security and protection of the constitution and the laws.
I am, with great respect, your friend and obedient servant,
Joseph Smith, Esqre.” [HC 6:376]
“, Ill. May 13th. 1844
Your answer to my inquiry, ‘what would be your rule of action towards the Latter Day Saints, should you be elected President of the ,’ has been under consideration since last November, in the fond expectation that you would give (for every honest citizen has a right to demand it,) to the country, a manifesto of your views of the best method and means which would secure to the people, the whole people, the most freedom, the most happiness, the most union, the most wealth, the most fame, the most glory at home, and the most honor abroad, at the least expense; but I have waited in vain. So far as you have made public declarations, they have been made, like your answer to the above, soft to flatter, rather than solid to feed the people. You seem to abandon all former policy which may have actuated you in the discharge of a statesman’s duty, when the vigor of intellect and the force of virtue should have sought out an everlasting habitation for liberty; when, as a wise man, a true patriot, and a friend to mankind, you should have resolved to ameliorate the awful condition of our bleeding country by a mighty plan of wisdom, righteousness, justice, goodness, and mercy, that would have brought back the golden days of our nation’s youth, vigor, and vivacity, when prosperity crowned the [p. 28]
<May 13> efforts of a youthful Republic, when the gentle aspirations of the sons of liberty were, ‘we are one’.
“In <your> answer to my questions last fall, that peculiar tact of modern politicians declaring. ‘if you ever enter into that high office, you must go into it free and unfettered, with no guarantee<s> but such as are to be drawn from your whole life, character, and conduct’, so much resembles a lottery vender’s sign, with the goddess of good luck sitting on the car of fortune, a-straddle of the horn of plenty, and driving the merry steeds of beatitude, without reins or bridle, that I cannot help exclaiming; O frail man, what have you done that will exalt you? Can any thing be drawn from your life, character or conduct that is worthy of being held up to the gaze of this nation as a model of virtue, charity, and wisdom? Are you not a lottery picture with more than two blanks to a prize? Leaving many things prior to your Ghent treaty, let the world look at that, and see where is the wisdom, honor, and patriotism, which ought to have characterized the plenipotentiary of the only free nation upon the earth? A quarter of a century’s negociation to obtain our rights on the northeastern boundary, and the motley manner in which tries to shine as American territory, coupled with your presidential race, and come-by-chance secretary ship in 1825, all go to convince the friends of freedom, the golden patriots of Jeffersonian democracy, free trade and sailor’s rights, and the protectors of person and property, that an honorable war is better than a dishonorable peace.
“But had you really wanted to have exhibited the wisdom, clemency, benevolence, and dignity, of a great man in this boasted Republic, when fifteen thousand free citizens were exiled from their own homes, lands, and property, in the wonderful patriotic State of , and you then upon your oath and honor, occupying the exalted station of a senator of Congress from the noble hearted State of Kentucky; why did you not show the world your loyalty to law and order, by using all honorable means to restore the innocent to their rights and property? Why, sir the more we search into your character and conduct, the more we must exclaim from holy writ, ‘the tree is known by its fruit.’
“Again, this is not all; rather than show yourself an honest man, by guaranteeing to the people what you will do in case you should be elected president, ‘you can enter into no engagement, make no promises, and give no pledges’, as to what you will do. Well, it may be that some hot headed partisan would take such nothingarianism upon trust, but sensible men and even ladies would think themselves insulted by such an evasion of coming events! If a tempest is expected, why not prepare to meet it, and in the language of the poet, exclaim:—
‘Then let the trial come; and witness thou,
If terror be upon me; if I shrink
Or falter in my strength to meet the storm
When hardest it besets me.’
“True greatness never wavers, but when the Missouri Compromise was entered into by you for the benefit of slavery, there was a mighty shrinkage of western honor; and from that day, sir, the sterling Yankee, the struggling Abolitionist, and the staunch Democrat, with a large number of the liberal minded Whigs, have marked you as a black-leg in politics, begging for a chance to shuffle yourself into the Presidential chair, where you might deal out the destinies of our beloved country for a game of brag that would end in: ‘Hark from the tombs a doleful sound’. Start not at this picture; for your ‘whole life, character, and conduct’ have been spotted with deeds that cause a blush upon the face of a virtuous patriot. So you must be contented [p. 29]
<May 13> in your lot, while crime, cowardice, cupidity, or low cunning, have handed you down from the high tower of a statesman to the black hole of a gambler. A man that accepts a challenge or fights a duel is nothing more nor less than a murderer; for holy writ declares that ‘whoso sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed’; and when in the renowned city of the notorious dropped from the summit of a senator to the sink of a scoundrel to shoot at that chalk line of a Randolph, he not only disgraced his own fame, family, and friends, but he polluted the sanctum sanctorum of American glory; and the Kingly blackguards throughout the whole world are pointing the finger of scorn at the boasted ‘asylum of the oppressed’, and hissing at American statesmen as gentlemen vagabonds and murderers, holding the olive branch of peace in one hand and a pistol for death in the other! Well might the Savior rebuke the heads of this nation with wo unto you scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, for the government and Congress, with a few honorable exceptions, have gone the way of Cain, and must perish in their gainsayings like Korah and his wicked host. And honest men of every clime, and the innocent, poor, and oppressed, as well as heathens, pagans, and Indians, every where, who could but hope that the tree of liberty would yield some precious fruit for the hungry human race, and shed some balmy leaves for the healing of nations, have long since given up all hopes of equal rights, of justice and judgment, and of truth and virtue, when such polluted, vain, heaven daring, bogus patriots, are forced or flung into the front rank of government to guide the destinies of millions. Crape the heavens with weeds of wo, gird the earth with sackcloth, and let hell mutter one melody in commemoration of fallen splendor! for the glory of has departed, and God will set a flaming sword to guard the tree of liberty, while such Mint-tithing Herods as , , , , and , are thrust out of the realms of virtue as fit subjects for the Kingdom of fallen greatness; vox reprobi, vox Diaboli!
“In your late addresses to the people of South Carolina, where rebellion budded [blank] but could not blossom, you ‘renounced ultraism’, ‘high tariff’’, and almost banished your ‘banking systems’, for the more certain standard of ‘public opinion’. This is all very well, and marks the intention of a politician, the calculations of a demagogue, and the allowance for leeings of a shrewd manager, just as truly as the weather cock does the wind when it turns upon the spire. Hustings for the south, barbacues for the west, confidential letters for the north, and ‘American system’ for the east:
‘Lull-a-by baby upon the tree top,
And when the wind blows the cradle will rock.’
“Suppose you should also, taking your ‘whole life, character, and conduct’ into consideration, and, as many hands make light work, stir up the old ‘Clay party’, the ‘National Republican party’, the ‘High Protective Tariff party’, and the late coon skin party, with all their paraphernalia, ultraism, ne plus ultraism,— sine qua non, which have grown with your growth, strengthened with your strength, and shrunk with your shrinkage, and ask the people of this enlightened Republic what they think of your powers and policy as a statesman; for verily it would seem, from all past remains of parties, politics, projects, and pictures, that you are the Clay and the people the potter; and as some vessels are marred in the hands of the potter, the natural conclusion is, that you are a vessel of dishonor.
“You may complain that a close examination of your ‘whole life, [p. 30]
<May 13> character, and conduct”, places you as a Kentuckian would pleasantly term it ‘in a bad fix’; but, sir, when the nation has sunk deeper and deeper in the mud at every turn of the great wheels of the union, while you have acted as one of the principle drivers, it becomes the bounden duty of the whole community, as one man, to whisper you on every point of government to uncover every act of your life, and enquire what mighty acts you have done to benefit the nation, how much you have tithed the mint to gratify your lust, and why the fragments of your raiment hang upon the thorns by the path as signals to beware!
“But your shrinkage is truly wonderful! Not only your banking system, and high tariff project, have vanished from your mind ‘like the baseless fabric of a vision’, but the ‘annexation of ’ has touched your pathetic sensibilities of national pride so acutely, that the poor Texans, your own brethren, may fall back into the ferocity of , or be sold at auction to British stock jobbers, and all is well, for ‘I’, the old senator from Kentucky, am fearful it would militate against my interest in the north to enlarge the borders of the union in the south. Truly ‘a poor wise child is better than an old foolish King who will be no longer admonished’. Who ever heard a nation that had too much territory? Was it ever bad policy to make friends? Has any people ever become too good to do good? No, never; but the ambition and vanity of some men have flown away with their wisdom and judgment, and left a creaking skeleton to occupy the place of a noble soul.
“Why, sir, the condition of the whole earth is lamentable. dreads the teeth and toe nails of . has the rheumatism, brought on by a horrid exposure to the heat and cold of British and American trappers; has caught a bad cold from extreme fatigue in the patriot war; South America has the headache, caused by bumps against the beams of Catholicity and Spanish sovereignty; Spain has the gripes from age and inquisition; trembles and wastes under the effects of contagious diseases; groans with the gout, and wiggles with wine; Italy and the German states are pale with the consumption; Prussia, Poland, and the little contiguous dynasties, duchies, and domains, have the mumps so severely, that ‘the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint’; Russia has the cramp by lineage; Turkey has the numb palsy; Africa, from the curse of God, has lost the use of her limbs; China is ruined by the Queen’s evil, and the rest of Asia fearfully exposed to the small pox the natural way from British pedlars; the islands of the sea are almost dead with the scurvy; the Indians are blind and lame; and the , which ought to be the good physician with ‘balm from Gilead’, and an ‘asylum for the oppressed’, has boosted and is boosting up into the council chamber of the government, a clique of political gamblers, to play for the old clothes and old shoes of a sick world, and ‘no pledge, no promise to any particular portion of the people’, that the rightful heirs will ever receive a cent of their Father’s legacy! Away with such self-important, self-aggrandizing, and self-willed demogogues! their friendship is colder than polar ice; and their professions meaner than the damnation of hell.
“Oh man! when such a great dilemma of the globe, such a tremendous convulsion of Kingdoms, shakes the earth from center to circumference; when castles, prison houses, and cells, raise a cry to God against the cruelty of man; when the mourning of the fatherless and the widow causes anguish in heaven; when the poor among all nations cry day and night for bread and a shelter from the heat and storm; and when the degraded black slave holds up his manacled hands to the great statemen of the , and sings,
‘O liberty, where are thy charms,
That sages have told me were sweet!’ [p. 31]
<May 13.> “And when fifteen thousand free citizens of the high blooded Republic of North America are robbed and driven from one state to another without redress or redemption, it is not only time for a candidate for the presidency to pledge himself to execute judgment and justice in righteousness, law or no law, but it is his bounden duty as a man, for the honor of a disgraced country, and for the salvation of a once virtuous people, to call for a union of all honest men, and appease the wrath of God by acts of wisdom, holiness, and virtue! The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
“Perhaps you may think I go too far with my strictures and inuendoes, because in your concluding paragraph you say: ‘It is not inconsistent with your declarations to say, that you have viewed with a lively interest the progress of the Latter Day Saints, that you have sympathized in their sufferings under injustice, as it appeared to you, which has been inflicted upon them; and that you think, in common with all other religious communities they ought to enjoy the security and protection of the constitution and the laws.’ If words were not wind, and imagination not a vapor, such ‘views’ ‘with a lively interest’ might coax out a few Mormon-votes; such ‘sympathy’ for their suffering under injustice, might heal some of the sick, yet lingering amongst them, raise some of the dead, and recover some of their property from ; and finally, if thought was not a phantom, we might, in common with other religious communities, ‘you think, enjoy the security and protection of the Constitution and laws!’ But during ten years, while the Latter day Saints have bled, been robbed, driven from their own lands, paid oceans of money into the Treasury to pay your renowned self and others for legislating and dealing out equal rights and privileges to those in common with all other religious communities, they have waited and expected in vain! If you have possessed any patriotism it has been veiled by your popularity for fear the saints would fall in love with its charms. Blind charity and dumb justice never do much towards alleviating the wants of the needy; but straws show which way the wind blows. It is currently rumored that your dernier resort for the Latter day Saints is to emigrate to or . Such cruel humanity, such noble injustice, such honorable cowardice, such foolish wisdom, and such vicious virtue, could only emanate from . After the saints have been plundered of three or four millions of land and property by the people and powers of the sovereign state of ; after they have sought for redress and redemption from the County Court to Congress, and been denied through religious prejudice and sacerdotal dignity; after they have builded a city and two temples at an <immense> expense of labor and treasure; after they have increased from hundreds to hundreds of thousands; and after they have sent Missionaries to the various nations of the earth to gather Israel according to the predictions of all the holy prophets since the world began, that great penipotentiary the renowned Secretary of State, the ignoble duelist, the gambling Senator, and Whig candidate for the presidency, , the wise Kentucky lawyer, advises the Latter Day Saints to go to to obtain justice and set up a government of their own. O ye crowned heads among all nations, is not a wise man and very patriotic? Why Great God! to transport 200,000 people through a vast prarie, over the , to , a distance of nearly two thousand miles, would cost more than four millions! or should they go by Cape Horn in ships to , the cost would be more than twenty millions! and all this to save the from inheriting the disgrace of for murdering and robbing the saints with impunity! and , who make no secret to say, that if they get into power they will carry out ’ exterminating plan to rid the country of the Latter Day Saints, are
‘Little nipperkins of milk,’
compared to ‘’s’ great aqua fortis jars. Why he is a real giant in humanity: ‘send [p. 32]
<May 13> the Mormons to , and free from debt and disgrace!’ Ah! sir, let this doctrine go to and fro throughout the whole earth, that we, as said, Know your cause is just, but the government can do nothing for you because it has no power; ‘you must go to , and get justice from the Indians!’
“I mourn for the depravity of the world, I despise the hypocrisy of christendom, I hate the imbecility of American statesmen, I detest the shrinkage of candidates for office from pledges and responsibility; I long for a day of righteousness, when ‘he whose right it is to reign shall judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth’, and I pray God who hath given our fathers a promise of a perfect government in the last days, to purify the hearts of the people and hasten the welcome day.
“With the highest consideration for virtue and unadulterated freedom,
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Hon. , Ashland, Ky.”
I instructed to take charge of the books of the “Maid of Iowa”, and to go on board as clerk.
<14> Tuesday, 14. Rode out about 7 A.M. The “Maid of Iowa” started for at 8.30 A.M. This afternoon, , my old lawyer, gave a lecture on the , relating the history of some of my first persecutions. I spoke after he closed, and continued my history to the present time, relating some of the doings of the apostates in .
At 4 P.M., prayer meeting— few present. Prayed for ’s daughter who was sick. Elder was present.
<15> Wednesday 15 At home— much rain through the day— rising rapidly. Mr. Adams, son of , with , called to see me at the . At 5 P.M. went to my , and heard my letter to read. At 7 P.M., rode to the upper landing with Mr.Adams.
I insert the following from the Times and Seasons:—
“We take pleasure in announcing to the saints abroad that continues to flourish, and the little one has become a thousand. Quite a number of splendid houses are being erected, and the is rapidly progressing, insomuch that there is one universal expectation, that before next winter closes in upon us the top-stone will have been raised, and the building inclosed.
“The saints continue to flock together from all parts of this wide-spread continent, and from the islands of the sea. Three ships’ com[HC 6:377]panies have arrived this spring from , and are now rejoicing in the truths of the everlasting gospel. The prophet is in good health and spirits, and unwearied in his anxiety and labors to instruct the saints in the things of God, and the mysteries of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we may truly say that those who came to scoff remain to pray. Many have come here filled with prejudice and strange anticipations, but have been convinced that report is false with her thousand tongues, and have almost invariably left a testimony behind them. Instead of finding Mr. Smith the cunning, crafty, and illiterate character that he has been represented to be, they have found in him the gentleman and scholar; frank, open, generous, and brave. But it is his immediate connexions and associates alone that can appreciate his virtues and his talents. While his face is set as a flint against iniquity from every quarter,—— the cries of the oppressed ever reach his heart, and his hand is ever ready to alleviate the sufferings of the needy.
“A few artless villains can always be found who are watching for his downfall or death; but the Lord has generally caused them to fall into their own pit, and no weapon [p. 33]
<May 15> formed against him has prospered. One or two disaffected individuals have made an attempt to spread dissention, but it is like a tale that is nearly told, and will soon be forgotten. It was first represented as a monster calculated to spread desolation around, but we are credibly informed by a person who attended their first meeting, that there was much difficulty in raising a committee of seven, for there was some objection to Father [blank]; but as none could be found to fill the vacuum, he constituted one of the seven stars!!
“It will be unnecessary for us to say much about those luminaries of the last days, as they shine forth in their true colors in our columns this week in the trial of President Smith. But to say any thing by way of warning to the brethren abroad would resemble the ‘ocean into tempest tossed, to waft a feather or to drown a fly’. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them; do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?’
“The glad tidings of salvation, and the fulness of the gospel, are fast spreading from city to city and from nation to nation. The little stone will still increase till the Knowledge of God covers the earth, and righteousness and truth extend from pole to pole.”
I copy from the Neighbor:—
“To the friends and voters of .
“Elder , (late representative) wishes to say to the friends and voters [HC 6:378] of , that in consequence of the sickness of his family, now in the hands of a doctor in the city of , he relinquishes the idea of offering himself as a candidate for a seat in the next Legistature of ; but, as a matter of the highest consideration, would recommend his brother as a suitable and capable person to fill that office, and worthy of the people’s confidence and votes.
“We know of no person that would be more qualified to fill his station than Genl. (his brother.) We are not informed whether the will accept of the office or not; if he will, we don’t know of any gentleman in who would be more competent. is a man of sterling integrity, deep penetration, and brilliant talents. He is well versed in politics, and as unchangeable as the everlasting hills. He is a man of probity and virtue, and an unwavering patriot.
“If Gen. will allow his name to be brought forth we go it for him; and we know from the confidence and respect that is entertained of him as a gentleman and a patriot, he will be elected. What say you General?”
<16> Thursday 16. Went to my at 8 A. M., and heard read a letter written by , in behalf of the Council, to Elders and at .
[1/4 page blank] [p. 34]
<May 16> [1/2 page blank]
I ordered the Municipal Court to meet at one p. m., and spent the morning on reading.
At one p. m., I presided in Municipal Court. The case of , who had been arrested by Jones on the charge of procuring money at under false pretences, came up on Habeas Corpus. The complainant, , by his counsel, , asked for and obtained an adjournment for one week in order to procure witnesses. The , by his counsel, , objected to the plea, supposing the prosecuting party always ready for trial. The Court decided that it was an important case, and it was not best to be in haste; and if the prisoner is discharged on the merits of the case after a full investigation, he goes free for ever. The majority of the Court decided to adjourn until Thursday next.
I was about home the rest of the day, and read in the [HC 6:379] Neighbor the report of my trial before the Municipal Court on the 8th. inst.
The following appears in the Times and Seasons:—
I have just returned from the north part of this , where I have been on business for our beloved President Joseph Smith, and it feels so good to breathe the pure air of liberty and friendship after spending some three or four days in a swamp, or rather a slough of religious prejudice and political hypocrisy, which are equally nauseous and offensive, that I cannot let this opportunity pass without giving vent to some of my feelings in regard to what passed while I remained at the town of on .
“My principal business was to appear in the Circuit Court as a witness in the case of Joseph Smith vs and , for false imprisonment and using unnecessary force and violence in arresting the plaintiff. [p. 35]
<May 16> “A plea had been entered in this suit by the council for the defendants, to which the council for the plaintiff demurred. The demurrer was argued on Wednesday morning the 8th. inst, and the parties finally joined issue on the charge for using unnecessary force and violence, and the Court gave permission by consent of the Bar to proceed with the trial, but the Council not being fully prepared, it was laid over until the following morning the 9th. inst.
“On Thursday morning after the usual preliminaries of opening Court, the above case was called up for trial, and the clerk ordered to impanel a jury; and here, sir, a scene took place which ought to make every honest American citizen blush and weep for the credit and honor of his country and laws. A number of men were called up and when questioned as to whether they had previously expressed opinions in relation to the suit now pending, nearly the whole answered in the affirmative. The further question was then put as to whether they had any prejudice against either of the parties, to which a great majority replied they had against Smith. They were then questioned as to what their prejudice had reference, his religious sentiments or general course of conduct. The greater part replied, to his religious sentiments; and the remainder said they were opposed to his general course of conduct. [HC 6:380] About twenty men had to be called upon one after another, out of which number the Court finally selected twelve as competent jurors, although the majority of these decidedly expressed their feelings of prejudice against the plaintiff. They were however accepted on the ground that they said they thought they could do justice to both parties, although some of them expressed a doubt whether they could do justice or not.
“The jury being sworn, the Court, or rather the Counsel, proceeded to examine the witnesses on the part of the plaintiff, which occupied nearly the whole day. But little of the real matter of fact could be set before the Court, on account of their being confined to the charge of unnecessary force and violence; but this was proven in the clearest point of light.
“I must refer to the testimony of old Mr. Dixon, whose silvery locks seem to tell an age of many years. His evidence related to the circumstance of the refusing for a length of time to give the plaintiff the privilege of Habeas Corpus, and threatening to drag him to in fifteen minutes from the time they arrived at . The old gentleman seemed to tremble with indignation while relating the simple facts as they transpired at the time; and, like a true lover of his country, appeared proud of the privilege of telling those men that the citizens of would not suffer themselves to be disgraced by permitting them to drag away a citizen of this to a foreign State for trial, without the privilege of a trial by Habeas Corpus, a privilege which is guaranteed to every individual under like circumstances, and especially when it was understood that he was to be dragged to , amongst a people whose hands are yet dripping with the blood of murdered innocence, and who thirst for the blood of General Joseph Smith as the howling wolf thirsts for its prey. Surely such a picture would melt the heart of any thing but an adamantine. There are those, and men too who profess to be the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who can hear such things, and still wish the Missourians had got Gen. Smith to to murder him without judge or jury; and surely they are no better than murderers themselves, and only lack the opportunity to make them shedders of innocent blood.
“After the evidence was through on the part of the plaintiff, the witnesses for the defence were examined, which only occupied a few minutes. The arguments were then advanced on both sides, during which time I could not help noticing how apt the respectable gentleman of the opposite council was to sing he song of ‘old Joe Smith’s’, [p. 36]
<May 16> which might appear very gentlemanly in his mind, but to me it seemed as contemptible as the voice of a stupid ass, or the tongue of slander.
“Finally the case was submitted to the jury, who were charged by the Court, and then ordered to retire and bring in a sealed verdict the fol[HC 6:381]lowing morning at 9 o’clock. Friday morning came and with it the verdict, and it proved to be in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants for forty dollars and costs of suit. I confess I was astonished when I heard it, and could not help thinking that prejudice sometimes overrules justice even in the jury box. I could not help comparing the results of this trial with one which came off the day previous, wherein a certain person complained of another for destroying his cow by setting his dogs on the animal until they worried her. It appears the cow of the plaintiff had seen fit to break into the defendants lot without asking leave, and the defendant, or rather his men, not liking such treatment, set their dogs on her and destroyed her. Well, the result of this trial was a verdict of damages for the plaintiff of thirty dollars and costs.
“Now, sir, compare the two cases. On the one hand, here is a citizen of the near too hundred miles from his home and his friends; he is on a visit with his family, not dreaming of danger or difficulty. Two men, or rather wolves in sheep’s clothing— for it is a fact that when and made enquiry for Gen. Smith at at the time of the arrest, they said they were Mormon Elders, and wanted to see President Joseph Smith, &c— two men, I say, while he is thus enjoying himself with his family, came upon him with each a loaded pistol in his hand, and threatened to shoot him dead if he offered the least resistance, although no resistance had been offered. They then began to haul him about, and when he asked them what they wanted with him, and what was their authority, they replied they were going to take him to ; and jamming their pistols at his side swore that was their authority. He requested them to let him go into the house to bid his family good bye; but this they positively refused, not even giving him the privilege to get his hat. They then forced him into the waggon, and placing themselves one on each side, with a loaded pistol pressed close against his side, and repeatedly striking him with them so as to make him lame and sore for two weeks afterwards, they drove him to , and ordered horses ready in fifteen minutes to drag him among his murderers; and otherwise abused, insulted, threatened, and treated him in the cruelest manner possible, filling his family with the most excruiating [excruciating] pangs, and rending the heart of his beloved companion with grief to witness their ferocious cruelty; not knowing but his life would be sacrificed before morning, and finally pursued their persecutions until it cost him thousands upon thousands of dollars expenses; and all this without a cause; and when he sues for justice against these men; he obtains damages to the amount of forty dollars!
“On the other hand a man loses a cow which had broke into his neighbor’s lot, and he obtains damages to the amount of thirtydollars. [HC 6:382]
“Now, sir, if this is not the effects of prejudice amounting to oppression, then I am no judge of right and wrong. I am very much inclined to think that if Gen. Joseph Smith, or any of his friends, had treated any citizen of this or any other State in the manner he was treated by those men, and they had sued for damages as he did, the case would have terminated very different, however, so it is.
“The idea of a man yielding to such a degree of prejudice as to render him incapable of executing justice between man and man, merely from rumor and report, is to me perfectly ridiculous and contemptible, as well as wicked and unjust; [p. 37]
<May 16> and when a man is all the day long boasting of the rights and privileges guaranteed to every citizen of the under the Constitution and laws and at the same time is so prejudiced against one of the most peaceable citizens that ‘he does not know whether he can render him justice’in a court of equity, but would rather strengthen the hands of mobocrats and law breakers, the inference that one must naturally draw is, that such a man is either a consummate scoundrel and hypocrite, or that he is guilty of the most flagrant violation of the most sacred constitutional principles embraced in the fundamental doctrines of this Republic. I am happy, sir, to have evidence daily that no such corrupt prejudice exists in the heart of General Joseph Smith, nor in the community so far as I have been able to discover.
“Now, as to the exceptions these men have taken in regard to Gen. Smith’s religious views, or general course of conduct, it matters not much. His religious views are his inalienable right, and is nobody’s business; and the man who cannot render him justice on that account is a wilful violator of the laws he professes to admire; and, sir, I have for more than two years last past been a close observer of Gen. Smith’s ‘general course of conduct’, as well as his private life; and justice to him, to myself, and the cummunity at large, compels me to say, that in all my intercourse with men, I never associated with a more honorable, upright, charitable, benevolent, and law abiding man than is the much perseuted Gen. Smith, and, sir, when I hear men speak reproachfully of him, I never ask for a second evidence of their corruptness and baseness. General Smith, sir, is a man of God, a man of truth, and a lover of his country; and never did I hear him breathe out curses or railery at any man because he saw fit to differ in religious matters. Shame on the principle— shame on the man or the set of men who show themselves so degraded and miserably corrupt.
“The last night of our stay at , I had the privilege of speaking on the principles of my religion to a number of individuals in a kind of argument with two men; and sir, although it is near fours years since I have made a practice of preaching, it felt as sweet as ever. Truth to an honest heart is sweet, but to a wicked man is like a pierc[HC 6:383]ing sword, as was manifest on that occasion; for although the principles of the gospel were laid down so plain and clear that it was impossible to misunderstand, yet the opposing party repeatedly misconstrued my language, and even his own accessions.
“I cannot persuade myself that the prejudice referred to above is a general thing; there are many honorable exceptions, and I presume if the Mormons had signified their intentions of supporting the democratic candidate for the Presidency at the ensuing election, instead of nominating an independent candidate of their own choice, their prejudice would not have been so great at the trial of and , and perhaps Gen. Smith would have obtained a judgment somewhat equivalent to the injuries he sustained from that unholy persecution. But the Mormon people are too noble minded to be bought or biased by fear or favor, and have been too often deceived by the plausible pretensions of demogogues to put trust in any but tried friends. Gen. Smith has ever been an undeviating friend, not only to this community, but to the oppressed of every name or society; and we consider him as competent and qualified for the highest office of the as any other man, and a little more so; and a great deal more worthy of it.
“In conclusion, let me say that whatever others may say, I consider it an honor to be associated with such a man as Gen. Joseph Smith, and all true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the more wicked men despise and misrepresent the principles and conduct of President Smith, the more I love him and delight in his [p. 38]
< May 16> society; and this I can do without prejudice or animosity against any man or set of men. I believe in the broad principle of equal rights and privileges, so far as religion or politics are concerned; and while I seek to enjoy my religion according to the knowledge in me, I will interfere with the rights of no man, nor persecute because my neighbor does not think as I do.
“A multitude of business compels me to close, and I must forbear.
I have the honor to be your brother in the everlasting covenant,
, May 16th., 1844.”
From the Neighbor:—
“Steam Boat Election.
“On the last upward voyage of the ‘Osprey’ from to this place, as usual the merits of the several candidates for the next Presidential election was discussed. A vote was taken, and the following was the [HC 6:384] ‘state of the polls’ as handed to us by a gentleman who came as passenger:
Gen. J. Smith, 26 gentlemen, 3 ladies
, 6 " 2 "
, 2 " 0 ".
“The ladies are altogether forsaking , and the gentlemen as a matter of course are following after. There is a wonderful shrinkage in , but the General is going it with a rush.
“Hurrah for the General!” [HC 6:385]
<17> Friday, 17 The State Convention met in the Assembly Room; I copy the minutes:—
“Convention met according to appointment, and was organized by appointing Gen. to the chair, and Dr.F. Merryweather, secretary.
“Dr. presented the following letter, and took his seat in the Convention. Several letters of the same character were presented by other gentlemen, but we have not room to insert them.
‘Muscoutah, St. Clair Co., Ill.
May 4th., 1844
At various meetings held in this county, where I have had the honor of attending; and the interesting topic of the selection of a suitable person for the high station of President of the being at this time the most important to Americans, and with the names that are now before the people, Joseph Smith of is recognized respectfully as a candidate, declarative in the principles of Jeffersonianism, or Jefferson Democracy, Free trade and Sailors’ rights, and the protection of person and property.
‘A Convention being about to be held in the City of on the 17th of this month, (May) your name has been on every occasion given as a delegate to said convention, and through me the message to be imparted you, asking you to represent our expressions in the case.
‘Please say for us as Americans, that we will support Gen. Joseph Smith in preference to any other man that has given, or suffered his name to come before us as a candidate. And that at the great Baltimore Convention, to be held on the 13th of July, our delegation to said convention be authorized to proclaim for us submission to the Nominee as may be by them brought before the people in case of a failure to [HC 6:386] nominate Joseph Smith, (our choice) and unite approbatively [p. 39]
<May 17> for his support.
‘Respectfully, sir, this communication and authority usward is forwarded you as your voucher at said convention, with our hearty prayers for the success of him whose special name is given in the important affair.
Henry B. Jacobs, Agent for the friends of Gen. J. Smith, whom he those people represent.’
“’s letter to General Joseph Smith was then read by , and also General Joseph Smith’s rejoinder, which was applauded by three cheers.
“It was moved and seconded that the following gentlemen be appointed a committee to draft resolutions for the adoption of this convention:
“Dr., , , , and .
“It was moved and seconded that the correspondence of the central committee for government reform of be read by , also General Joseph Smith’s answer to the same.
‘, April 20th., 1844
‘Joseph Smith, Esqr,
Sir;— The subscribers, the Central Committee of the National Reform Association, in accordance with a duty prescribed by their constitution, respectfully solicit an expression of your views as a candidate for public office, on a subject that, as they think, vitally affects the rights and interests of their constituents.
‘We see this singular condition of affairs, that while wealth in our country is rapidly accumulating; while internal improvements of every description are fast increasing, and while machinery has multiplied the power of production to an immense extent, yet, with all these national advantages, the compensation for useful labor is getting less and less.
‘We seek the cause of this anomaly, and we trace it to the monopoly of the land, which places labor at the mercy of capital. We therefore desire to abolish the monopoly, not by interfering with the conventional rights of persons now in possession of the land, but by arresting the further sale of all lands not yet appropriated as private property, and by allowing these lands hereafter to be freely occupied by those who may choose to settle on them.
‘We propose that the Public lands hereafter shall not be owned, but occupied only, the occupant having the right to sell or otherwise dispose of improvements to any one not in possession of other land; so that by preventing any individual from becoming possessed of more than a limited quantity, every one may enjoy the right.
‘This measure, we think, would gradually establish an equilibrium [HC 6:387] between the agricultural and other useful occupations, that would ensure to all full employment and fair compensation for their labor, on the lands now held as private property, and to each individual on the public lands the right to work for himself on his own premises, or for another, at his option.
‘An answer, as soon as convenient, will much oblige
Your fellow citizens,
|John Windt,||Lewis Masquerier,|
|Egbert S. Manning,||Daniel Witter,|
|James Maxwell,||George H. Evans,|
‘, Ill., May 16th., 1844.
‘To John Windt, Egbert S. Manning, James Maxwell, Lewis Masquerier, Daniel Witter, George H. Evans, and Ellis Smalley, Esqres.,
‘Your communication of April 20th., soliciting my views relative to the public lands is before me; and I answer, that as soon as the greater national evils could be remedied by the consolidated efforts of a virtuous people, and the judicious legislation of wise men, so that slavery could not occupy one half of the for speculation, competition, prodigality, and fleshly capital, and so that enormous salaries, stipends, fees, perquisites, patronage, and the wages of spiritual wickedness in “ermine and lace”, could not swallow up forty or fifty millions of public revenue, I would use all honorable means to bring the wages of mechanics and farmers up, and the salaries of public servants down; increase labor and money by a judicious tariff, and advise the people— who are the only sovereigns of the soil— to petition Congress to pass a uniform land law! that the air, the water, and the land of the “asylum of the oppressed” might be free to freemen!
‘With considerations of the highest regard for unadulaterated freedom,
‘I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
“After which the meeting adjourned for one hour.
“It was moved and seconded that the following gentlemen be constituted a committee to appoint electors for this :
“Dr. , , , , and .
“It was moved and seconded that the following gentlemen be constituted a central committee of correspondence, having power to increase their number: [HC 6:388]
“Dr. , Dr. , , and .
“The following delegates from the different states of the union were then received by vote:
|Dr. ,||St. Clair,||.|
|A. Badlock,||Joe Davi[es]s,|
|J. C. Wright,||Scott,|
|W. B. Ide,||,|
|E. Reece, Esqre.||,|
|Hugh Herinshaw [Herringshaw],||West Chester,|
|S. A. Perry,||Essex,|
|J. H. Newton,|
|W. W. Dryer,||Lorain,|
|M. J. Coltrin,||Cuyahoga,|
|W. Vanausdell,||Green Briar,||.|
|L. B. Lewis,||. [HC 6:389]|
|Cap. R. Jones||,||Louisiana.|
|E[lijah] F. Sheets,||Do.||Do.|
|J. A. Mikesell,||Do.||.|
|Gen. G. Miller,||Madison,||Do.|
|Dr. ,||Providence,||Rhode Island.|
|J. S. Swiss,||N. Hampshire.|
|R. Alexander,||Union District,||S. Carolina.|
|Younger Maccauslin,||Randolph,||N. Do.|
|D. J. Patton,||.|
“It was moved, seconded, and carried by acclamation, that General Joseph Smith of , be the choice of this Convention for President of the .
“It was moved, seconded, and carried by acclamation, that Esqre., of , be the choice of this Convention for Vice President of the .
“The nine following Resolutions were then adopted, the fifth of which was carried by acclamation.
1 “Resolved, that from all the facts and appearances that are now [HC 6:390] visible in the , that we believe much imbecility and fraud is practiced by the officers of government; and that to remedy these evils it is highly necessary that a virtuous people should arise in the panoply of their might, and with one heart and one mind, correct these abuses by electing wise and honorable men to fill the various offices of government.
2. “Resolved, that as union is power, the permanency and continuance of our political institutions depend upon the correction of the abuses.
3. “Resolved, that as all political parties of the present day have degraded themselves by adhering more or less to corrupt principles and practices, by fomenting discord and division among the people, being swallowed in the vortex of party spirit and sectional prejudices, until they have become insensible to the welfare of the people and the general good of the country; and knowing that there are good men among all parties, in whose bosoms burn the fire of pure patriotism, we invite them by the love of liberty, by the sacred honor of freemen, by the patriotism of the illustrious fathers of our freedom, by the glorious love of country, and by the holy principles of ’76, to come over and help us to reform the government.
4. “Resolved, that to redress all wrongs, the government of the , with the President at its head, is as powerful in its sphere as Jehovah is in his.
5 “Resolved, that the better to carry out the principles of liberty and equal rights, Jeffersonian Democracy, free trade and sailors rights, and the protection of person and property, we will support General Joseph Smith of for the President of the at the ensuing election.
6 “Resolved, that we will support , Esqre., of , for the Vice Presidency.
7 “Resolved, that we will hold a National Convention at Baltimore on Saturday, the 13th. day of July.
8 “Resolved, that we call upon the honest men of all parties in each state to send their delegates to said convention.
9 “Resolved, that all honest Editors throughout the are requested to publish the above resolutions.
“Resolved, that those gentlemen who stand at the head of the list, who have gone to the several states to take charge of our political interests, be requested to use every exertion to appoint electors in the several electoral districts of the states which [p. 43]
<May 17> they represent, and also to send delegates to the Baltimore Convention.
“Resolved, that and , Esqre., be requested to furnish a copy of their speeches for publication. [HC 6:391]
“Resolved, that the electors be instructed to make stump speeches in their different districts.
“Resolved, that the thanks of this meeting be given to for his patriotic song.
“It was moved and seconded that , , , , and , represent this Convention at the Convention to be held in Baltimore on the 13th of July next.
“, Esqre., then addressed the meeting, and was succeeded by the following gentlemen:— Gen. Joseph Smith, Dr. , , , , , and , Esqre..
“It was moved, seconded, and carried, that the thanks of this meeting be given to the and Secretary.
“The Convention was addressed in an eloquent speech by , Esq., showing the political dishonesty of both and , and stating his views, and the present condition of the country.
“ rose and addressed the Convention in the following eloquent strain:
‘ and Fellow Citizens,—
‘As an American— a citizen of St. Clair County, and of the State of , with the deference ever acknowledged on occasions like this, I feel the spirit of obedience that was required of one of old when he was bade to take off his shoes for he was walking on holy ground, and that this was a holy cause.
‘Influenced by the distinguished honors paid me on the 24th. of April in the convention then here held, and the invitation to associate on this occasion, I feel that on occasions of this importance it commands the rallying excuses of more than a Bonapartean or Mortier desperation; that to have names now brought before an American people that have for the last fourteen years or longer, been like the foot ball of the sportsman and the extraordinary selected subjects of derision and contumely, that new expressions are about to be made that the people are about to trace back the erroneous doings of a nation, to weep and repent for malefactors, to examine the old building that in those days was founded by our forefathers, and for want of qualified tenants, has become occasionally tinged with filth and spurious matter— that its anticipated solidity to the beating storms has ceded— and its firmness in various ranges assumed dubitable type. The Jeffersonian doctrines have been forsaken; merit and qualification have been abandoned, humbuggery and sarcasm in their stead adopted, and modern American growth in the unhealthy tones of vice, farce, non-sustenance of truth, and non-valorous deeds in their stead, the only objects for promotion captioned by these expressions, to this august assembly. In the character of a delegate from St.Clair county, I say, that reform— politically as well as morally, claims the present field; that the many gubernative exercises of the various Presidents since those days that were honored by a [George] Washington, a [Thomas] Jefferson, [James] Madison, [James] Monroe, and [Andrew] Jackson, have been to Americans, thorns whose irritability never cease, whose national maligne depot has been indelible and that has cankered the lovely cement that germinated in the days of the Revolution in 1776, and that were by our forefathers fostered with hope of ameliorizing the conditions of this and previous generations. Unwilling as I may be to offer [p. 44]
<May 17> to my nation the least attack of reproach, yet, as publicity was given of a western convention to take up the subject of a national merit— by delegating and instructing delegates, by the expression of a will to submit to the nomination of the Baltimore Convention and covenant to support the nominee— and with all the utterance of our disapprobation of ’s ever standing before the lovers of the “’76” cause in any character that might respect or recognize him as a portion of material in the erection or construction of this American microcosm I on this occasion stay the ceremony of exposition— I tremble for our once happy country, at the threat of ’s election again by the Americans to the Presidency and thank God that the age of gray hairs will to every American in these days say “look e’er you leap”; since 1819 I have risked an American’s part for the sustenance of democracy, and I do assert, Jeffersonianism; ever shaded by the promise of better times, while the Locker was opened and the Americans hope till spill’d. On this occasion, delegates hasten to the Baltimore convention— and like Americans, we trust, will represent the cares of a nation and claim the western peoples choice— open again as in the “Declaration of Independence” the assertion “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
“Light and transient causes” may be by party opposition to be the movers for this proposition of Reform. But with one voice we will respond No! No!! No!!! For very many years agitating ceremonies have roused from their slumber, and caused the offsprings of “1776” to look back and rehearse the tales, remembering the savage shriek and calling up to horrible vivification the bloody banners of Britain, when the unholy proffer was made for “slavery or death”. When the cradle was only a forest of uncertainty and our Mothers as in the hands of Heaven’s King sustained to impart the voice of patriotic perfective and excellence. This day associates with our recollection much of the history of Americans, and but for the want of time ’twould be rehearsed. This day sweetens recollection with the privilege of a convention to tell over the national grievances— the omissions of official duty and the usurpation of aristocratical power. This day only whispers the silly lilliputian efforts of , sanctioned by , , and . This day published for days passed, has told the world that to be free was our privilege, that to renounce Van Burenism would be healthy to Americans— that to dissanction the deaf eared costumes of a White Housed scorpion was prudent, and to tell the old veterans of 1776 that those rights occupy our wills— and the spirits of our fathers yet mingle in our blood and stimulate our actions, to nobly die defending the covenant made by the signers of the “Declaration of Independence” on the 4th. day of July, 1776.
‘Nail to the topmast the Flag with letters of gold legible to all “Free trade and sailors rights, protection of person and property.”
‘Americans now begin to examine their privileges; and like the skilled physician examining a diseased heart, will thump in proper character on its environs for a flat cone— if flat, they’ll say “beware”— if cone “all’s right”— the diseased heart has been detected, and in its furious race, is hastening the exit of that aspirant, who, while in its premonitory stage said, “Your cause is a good one, but I cannot afford you any assistance in your present distressed condition”; and that man who refused the hearing of the Mormon grievances, when by a , a Steward, and a , they were offered for Congressional action [p. 45]
<May 17th.> () asserting that the Mobocracy— the decree, (the woman and babe destroyer) and the expatriating or exterminating feat from , was not only just but that he was clad with proof— with legal justification, and the Mormons merited all and more than they had received of viralence and brutality. If American jurisprudence be on these decisions, and by the men whom democracy sustained, the deeds of valor which again will place them at the head of <our> affairs, the strands are broken, the links have sprung, and the anchor fangs refused to hold; may we now say that in 1844, Joseph Smith the proclaimer of Jefferson Democracy, of Free trade and Sailors rights, and protection of Person and Property, with us stands first to the Baltimore Convention, (and if his want of success in the nomination exists instruct our delegates to say ), and like men stand firm— to a man vi voca speak out— and herald the tidings North, South, East, and West, admitting that
“None but mean spirits dread the face of care,
And none but cowards, life’s afflictions bear;
All dastard spirits sink at distant war,
And tremble as it threatens from afar;
But rich or poor, true minds preserve their weight,
And if exalted or debased are great.”’
“Synopsis of the remarks of Hon. :—
‘I cannot leave this subject and do justice to my own feelings, and the character of Gen. Smith, without giving a short history of the first persecution that came upon him in the counties of and , in the State of , commenced by that class of people calling themselves christians.
‘The first acquaintance I had with Gen. Smith was about the year 1823. He came into my neighborhood, being then about eighteen years of age, and resided there two years; during which time I became intimately acquainted with him. I do know that his character was irreproachable; that he was well known for truth and uprightness; that he moved in the first circles of community, and he was often spoken of as a young man of intelligence and good morals, and possessing a mind susceptible of the highest intellectual attainments.
‘I early discovered that his mind was constantly in search of truth, expressing an anxious desire to know the will of God concerning his children here below, often speaking of those things which professed christians believe in. I have often observed to my best informed friends, [HC 6:392] (those that were free from superstition and bigotry), that I thought Joseph was predestinated by his God from all eternity to be an instrument in the hands of the great dispenser of all good to do a great work; what it was I knew not. After living in that neighborhood about three years, enjoying the good feelings of his acquaintances as a worthy youth, he told his particular friends that he had had a revelation from God to go to the west about eighty miles to his ’s, in which neighborhood he should find hid in the earth an old history, written on golden plates, which would give great light and knowledge concerning the will of God towards his people in this generation, unfolding the destiny of all nations, kindreds, and tongues; he said that he distinctly heard the voice of him that spoke. , one of the father’s of your church, a worthy man, and my intimate friend, went with him. When I reflect upon our former friendship, , and upon the scenes that he has passed through through in consequence of mal-administration, mobocracy, and cruelty, I feel to lift [p. 46]
<May 17> up my voice to high heaven, and pray God to bless the aged veteran, and that his silver locks may go down to the grave in peace like a shock of corn fully ripe. In a few days his friends returned with the glad news that Joseph had found the plates, and had gone down to his s for the purpose of translating them. I believe he remained there until he finished the translation. After the book was published he came to live in the neighborhood of ’s, about four miles from me, and began to preach the gospel, and many were pricked in their hearts, believed, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. He soon formed a church at , his meetings were numerously attended, and the eyes of all people were upon him with astonishment. O, , the world was turned up side down at once, and the devil— always ready to assist and help along in all difficulties that arise among men— personified in some of the religionists, began to prick up his ears, and jump, and kick, and run about, like Jim Crow, calling for rotten eggs to help in the wake; you would have thought, sir, that Gog and Magog was let loose on the young man. He called upon the world’s people, (as they are called) but got no help; he then flew about in the sectarian churches, like lightning, and they immediately came to his aid; and uniting their efforts, roared against him like the thunders of Mount Sinai. When those fiery bigots were let loose, they united in pouring the red hot vials of their wrath upon his head. They <Their> cry of “false prophet! false prophet!!” was sounded from village to village; and every foul epithet that malice and wicked ingenuity could invent, were heaped upon him. Yes sir, the same spirit that influenced the Presbyterians of , about one hundred and fifty years ago, in their persecution of the Quakers, when they first began to preach <their doctrines> in that , was fully manifested by those religious bigots, [HC 6:393] who were afraid if they let them alone, their doctrines would come to nought. What was the result of the persecution in ? Why, sir, warrants were made out by those churches having authority, and the Quakers were tried for heresy. But what was the result of those trials? The sentence of death was passed upon the Quakers for heresy by those religious fanatics, and three of them were hung by the neck on Bloody Hill, in , to make expiation for that unpardonable crime. “Tell it not in Gath”, nor publish it on the tops of the mountains in this boasted land of freedom, that the Puritans of New England, who had fled from the Old World in consequence of religious intolerance, that they might enjoy the sweets of liberty, so soon became persecutors themselves, and shed innocent blood; which still cries aloud from the dust for vengeance upon their heads. Let shame cover the faces when we mention the name of freedom in our grand Republic.
‘O my God! when in one portion of our country blood is flowing for the crime of worshipping our Creator according to the dictates of conscience, or as the spirit directs, and in the other are great rejoicings in consequence thereof; where, I ask, is that boasted freedom for which our fathers fought and bled? O thou who holds the destinies of all things in thine hands here below, return these blessings unto us, that we may keep them as precious jewels till time is no more. But, , I am wandering too far from the subject. I will return to the persecutions which followed Gen. Smith, when his cheeks blossomed with the beauty of youth, and his eyes sparkled with innocence.
‘Those bigots soon made up a false accusation against him, and had him arraigned before Joseph Chamberlain, a justice of the peace, a man that was always ready to deal out justice to all, and a man of great discernment of mind. The case came on about 10 o’clock, A. M. I was called upon to defend the prisoner. The [p. 47]
<May 17> prosecutors employed the best counsel they could get, and ransacked the town of and county of for witnesses that would swear hard enough to convict the prisoner; but they entirely failed. Yes sir, let me say to you that not one blemish nor spot was found against his character; he came from that trial, notwithstanding the mighty efforts that were made to convict him of crime by his vigilant persecutors, with his character unstained by even the appearance of guilt. The trial closed about 12 o’clock at night. After a few moments deliberation, the Court pronounced the words “not guilty”, and the prisoner was discharged. But alas! the devil not satisfied with his defeat, stirred up a man not unlike himself, who was more fit to dwell [HC 6:394] among the fiends of hell, than to belong to the human family, to go to and get another writ, and take him to for another trial. They were sure they could send that boy to hell or to , they did not care which; and in half an hour after he was discharged by the Court, he was arrested again, and on the way to for another trial. I was again called upon by his friends to defend him against his malignant persecutors, and clear him from the false charges they had preferred against him. I made every reasonable excuse I could, as I was nearly worn down through fatigue and want of sleep; as I had been engaged in law suits for two days, and nearly the whole of two nights. But I saw the persecution was great against him; and here let me say, , singular as it may seem, while was pleading with me to go, a peculiar impression or thought struck my mind, that I must go and defend him, for he was the Lord’s anointed. I did not know what it meant, but thought I must go and clear the Lord’s anointed. I said I would go; and started with as much faith as the Apostles had when they could remove mountains, accompanied by , who was like the old patriarchs that followed the ark of God to the City of David. We rode on till we came to the house of , where a number of Mormon women had assembled, as I was informed, for the purpose of praying for the deliverance of the prophet of the Lord. The women came out to our waggon, and among the rest. O my God, sir, what were my feelings, when I saw that woman who had but a few days before given herself, heart and hand, to be a consort for life, and that so soon her crimson cheeks must be wet with tears that came streaming from her eyes; yes sir, it seemed that her very heart strings would be broken with grief. My feelings, sir, were moved with pity and sorrow for the afflicted; and on the other hand they were wrought up to the highest pitch of indignation against those fiends of hell who had thus caused the innocent to suffer.
‘The next morning abut 10 o’clock the Court was organized. The prisoner was to be tried by three justices of the peace, that his departure out of the might be made sure. Neither talents nor money were wanting to ensure them success. They employed the ablest lawyer in that , and introduced twenty or thirty witnesses before dark, but proved nothing. They sent out runners and ransacked the hills and vales, grog shops and ditches, and gathered together a company that looked as if they had come from hell, and had been whipped by the soot boy thereof; which they brought forward to testify one after another, but with no better success than before, although they wrung and twisted into every shape, in trying [HC 6:395] to tell something that would criminate the prisoner. Nothing was proven against him whatever. Having got through with the examination of their witnesses about 2 o’clock in the morning, the case was argued about two hours. There was not one particle of testimony against the prisoner. No sir, he came out like the three children from the fiery furnace, [p. 48]
<May 17> without the smell of fire upon his garments. The court deliberated upon the case for half an hour with closed doors, and then we were called in. The court arraigned the prisoner and said: “Mr. Smith, we have had your case under consideration, examined the testimony and find nothing to condemn you, and therefore you are discharged.” They then proceeded to reprimand him severely; not because anything derogatory to his character in any shape had been proven against him by the host of witnesses that had testified during the trial, but merely to please those fiends in human shape, who were engaged in the unhallowed persecution of an innocent man, sheerly on account of his religious opinions.
‘After they had got through, I arose and said: “This court puts me in mind of a certain trial held before Felix of old, when the enemies of Paul arraigned him before that venerable judge for some alleged crime, and nothing was found in him worthy of death or of bonds. Yet, to please the Jews who were his accusers, he was left bound contrary to law; and this court has served Mr. Smith in the same way, by their unlawful and uncalled for reprimand after his discharge, to please his accusers.” We got him away that night from the midst of three hundred people without his receiving any injury; but I am well aware that we were assisted by some higher power than man; for to look back on the scene, I cannot tell how we succeeded in getting him away. I take no glory to myself; it was the Lord’s work, and marvellous in our eyes.
‘This, , is a true history of the first persecution that came upon Gen. Smith in his youth among professed Christians, and in a country heralded to the ends of the earth as a land of freedom, where all men have the constitutional right to worship as they please, and believe what they please without molestation, so long as they do not interfere with the rights and privileges of others. Yes sir, a persecution got up through the influence of religious bigotry by as vile a set of men as ever disgraced the family of man. But their devices against him were brought to nought by that overruling power that controls all things, and brings to nought the councils of the wicked. , little did I think, that I was defending a boy that would rise to eminence like this man— a man whom God delights to honor as a [HC 6:396] prophet and leader of his people; one to whom he has given the Keys of heaven and earth, and the power of David, and said to him, whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you. And may he live to put his foot upon the neck of his enemies in love and meekness. I Know sir, that God has made him a leader of many thousands of people, and may he teach them in meekness, and with that wisdom and judgment that God shall direct.
‘I add no more.’
“The Convention adjourned sine die.
“F. Merryweather, Secretary.”
I rode out in the afternoon. About 6 p.m, a caucus was held, but being sick I could not attend. At night a large assemblage burned a barrel of tar in the street; I went out to see what was the matter, and found they were giving toasts; and as soon as they became aware of my presence, they carried me on their shoulders twice round the fire, and escorted me to the by a band of Music.
Elders and were ordained High Priests and set apart to go on a mission to by Elders , [p. 49] <May 17> , and . [HC 6:397]
<18> Saturday 18. At 9 A. M., I went with to visit President , and afterwards went out to the regimental training; and also in the afternoon riding on “Joe Duncan”. At 5 p. m., two cannons were fired opposite my , and the regiments were dismissed.
The High Council cut off from the church, , , , and , for apostacy.
<19> Sunday 19. Cloudy morning; rain about noon. I remained at home. Elder preached at the in the morning. The usual prayer meeting at 2 p. m was dispensed with on account of the mud and rain. In the evening I talked to the brethren at my , , my old lawyer, being present. read my last letter to to the company.
<20> Monday 20. continues <continued> very sick, and was with her most of the time. At 10 A. M., there was a meeting at the for the purpose of collecting means to enable Elder to go to .
The Circuit court commenced its sitting at , presiding; and many of the brethren went. returned in the evening with the intelligence that [HC 6:398] a summons was supposed to be issued for me to appear on the same case on which I was set free by Habeas Corpus on the 8th inst. The lawyers agreed to move an abatement. A good influence in favor of the saints appears to have prevailed.
A General Court Martial of the Legion was held, Brevet Major <Gen.> presiding. It was adjourned to the 10th June next.
<21> Tuesday 21. A very pleasant morning; I rode out on horseback to the pra[i]rie with and . At 7 A.M., Elders , , , and about a hundred Elders, left this on the steamer Osprey (Captain Anderson) for . The “Maid of Iowa” arrived at 8 A. M. with sixty-two saints from the eastern States on board, all in good health and spirits; the clerk, reported the fields on each side the were covered with water to the depth of upwards of sixteen feet, and all the farms on the flats of the were submerged, and the was still rising eight inches per day. The “Maid” started up the for Wappelo on the Iowa river at 3 p. m. I was at home towards night with , who is somewhat better. I shovelled dirt out of the ditch, while stood on the corner of the fence to watch; an officer arrived having a summons and an attachment to take me to , but he could not find me. I rode out in the evening to see ’s child who was sick, and returned home at 9 p m.
I copy from the Times and Seasons:—
“Newark, Kendall Co., Ill., May 21st. 1844.
“Editor of the Times and Seasons:
We arrived at Ottawa on the 17th inst, after driving [HC 6:399] four days through constant rains, and over roads almost impassable for man or beast. We were soon informed that the Conference was removed twenty miles up Fox river, at the Newark branch. Notice had been given for a political address to be delivered in the Court House in the evening by one of the Twelve; several hundred citizens assembled, and were addressed by Elder . The speaker considered General Smith the smartest man in the , and best calculated to fill the presidential chair, [p. 50]