Letter, Robert D. Foster to Nauvoo City Council, 8 July 1844

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July 8th 1844
To the Honble
City Council of
Gentlemen this morning I was waited upon by one of your body Esqr who informed me that you would hold a session this day at 1 PM and he was instructed, by authority to inform me of your determination as far as possible to carry out the pledge given me by under whose protection by authority of power from the City Council I came here unprotected other than his pledge, I have confidence in a majority of this people to keep peace and magnify the law, but it does appear that I am not safe in this alone or even with a small guard this I believe and have the testimony of some of the guard to sustain me and though they pledge my safety as far as they can yet they think they have not the power to control certain men and measures and that it would be unsafe for me to venture— even with them about any of my business consequently I remain under guard at s house, and here permit me to express my thanks to you Gentlemen for the measures you have [p. [1]] taken for my personal safety and through you to those whom you have sent on this occasion as a guard for my protection— should be free from all Censure in bringing me here tis true I have his pledge for my safety he can state to you the circumstances and how I threw myself unnecessarrily into you power— for the purpose of preserving your feelings and allaying all excitement,— you may now do with me as you think best tis hard to be driven from all I have and in order to preserve my life to be under the necessity of leaving my affairs in their present unsaleable condition, all my business being in rather an unfinished state which if I could superintend myself could be all done with much less expense than by any agency in as much as I have paid much for the completion of the same that cannot be adjusted in my absence I have already experienced much loss on account of my absence which I cannot now detail; I should like to sell my property to responsible men if it is decreed that I cannot live here or exchange and take property for some part I am now nearly out of money and daily incurring heavy expense and am dependent upon my property for means of support— if you can send me cus [p. [2]]tomers to purchase my property; I will sell and leave the if I can do no better other wise I must do the best I can and rely on on another source for protection while I obtain my right and possess it in peace as is my right I do not want to be harsh or inconsistent in this trying time I shall wait anxiously your deliberations on this day Again I will say let no one mistake s object in bringing me here or do him the injustice to believe that he has acted unwisely in this matter, for coming time will develop to you that he may be an acceptable agent in bringing universal satisfaction to all parties as far as can be restored but there are some things done and injuries sustaind that cannot be made good, and altho the loss to you and many may be incalculable yet he cannot bring to life the dead, but he has much influence in the surrounding country to restore peace to the living & restore tranquility to the contending parties in this agetated community, if he was not (as has been said) endowed with plenary power to act according to his own judgment he has only erred or the side of peace to you and as agreed I have complied with his every [p. [3]] injunction so as to give no cause to excite the inflamable part of this community or to injure the feelings of the wounded and sorrowfull portion I truly deprecate and sincerely lament the awful outrage upon the Messrs Smith at it is a catastrophe sufficent to cause the (as such) to mourn, tis a Bloody deed unparralleld and when this generation shall have passed away twill remain an everlasting indelible Bloody stain in our s escutcheon, and a dark spot in the history of our for the latest & last generation of the to shudd[e]r and shrink from with deep regret when contrasted with the chivalrous deeds of our forefathers. The law has been barely trampeled upon the authorities set at defiance the peace of this community broken up and the names of the Smiths immortalized in Bloody Tragedy, the subject cannot be forgot nor their names buried they live and that forever, would to God the Horible catastrophe could have been averted but alas tis done and for its own bloodstaind honour may cry alas— in my own behalf I have nothing to say but can bring indisputable testimony to prove my absence & innocence in this affair I knew not [p. [4]] of the plot or the plotters I partook not of the Bloody deed directly nor indirectly in any way, but was always in favour of magnifying the law: (I speak also for my ) we are and always have been opposed to mob violence and more especially the shedding of Blood and may heaven avert the handing down of our names to posterity in connection with this horrid massacree otherwise than in its true light and then I shall never shrink or fear to meet it in time or Eternity Before J & s Friends or Enemies any man or set of men or the congregated hosts of heaven with Jehovah at thier head, and I here declare that my consienc [conscience] bears me witness that my garments are clean of the Blood of those men, and as it is impossible for you to search the recesses of my heart I appeal to Jehovah the judge between me & they. I deeply sympathize with the Bereaved families of the Messrs Smiths— I shall duly appre[c]iate your answer gentlemen as soon as you may be ready & with considerations of Respct
I am your Obt Svt
City Council Nauvoo [p. [5]]
’s— Letter to the City Council
Read July 8th 1844 [p. [6]]


  1. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Willard Richards.