Letter to Thomas Ford, 22–23 June 1844

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June 22[–23]. 12. <​oclock​> P. M. [midnight]
To his Excellency ,
Sir, Yours of this date is received by Messrs & , and as it app Another del a part of the same delegation <​​> which who was detaind yesterdy Sta[r]ted for at 12 noon this day date; which who <​whom​> we perceive had not arrived at your last date, some documents conveyed by him would tend to counteract the Some of the views exprssed in your [’s] communication. And we feel confident of if all the facts could be before your , you would have come to different conclusions.— “Ours insisting to be accountable only before our own Municipal court” is totally incorrect. We plead a as a last resort to save us from being thrown into the power of the mob<​ocrats​> which who was then rasing against <​threting [threatening]​> us, <​with death, and it was with gr[e]at reluctance we went befor the <​municipal​> court on account of the prejuidc [prejudice] which might arrise in the mi[n]ds of the unbiased,​> & we did not petition for a Habeas corpus until we had told the constable that on our lives we dare not go to for trial, and plead with him to go before any Magistrate he pleasd. in our vecintgs [vicinity], & <​which ocurrenc is common in Legal procedigs​> & not members of our society, so that our lives might be saved, from the threts <​these​> already issued, aginst us
The press was de[c]lared a nuisance under the authority of the Charter, as written an in 7th Sec of adenda, the same as in the Charter,— so that if the act of declarng the press a nuisanc was unconstitutinal, we cannot <​see​> how it is that the Charter itself is not unconstitutinal. And if we have erred in judment, it is an official act & belongs to the supreme cou[r]t to corre[c]t it. & assess damage on <​vs​> the to restore property abated as a nuisance. If we have arred [erred] in this thing we have done it in good company,— for Mr [William] Blackstone on Private wrongs asserts the doctrine that scurrilus prints may be abated as nuisancs.
There has As to Marshal law,— we truly say that we were ob[l]iged to call out the forges forces to protect out our lives, and the constitution guarantees to every Man that privileige, <​our​> our measures were active and effic[ie]nt, as an the necesscity of the case reqired but the is & has been <​continally​> under the special drcitin [direction] of the [p. [1]] all the time no one person to our knowledge has been arrested only for violatin of the peace. & those some of our own citizens.— All of whom we believe are now discharged.—
And if any property has been taken <​for public benefit​> without a compensatin. or against it has been done without our knowledge or conse[n]t & when shown shall be corrected. if the people will permit us to resume our usual labors.
If we “have committed any a Gross outrage upon the <​Laws &​> liberties of the people” as your represents we are ready to correct that outrage, when the testimony is forth coming, all Men are bound to act in their sphere on their own judgmet and it would be quite impossible for us to know what your ’s Judment would have been in the case refered to. consequently acted on our own and according to our best Judment after having taken able council in the case. But since you require us to be forth coming <​if we have erred we again say we will make all right if we can have the privilege.—​>
“The constitution also provid[e]s that the people shall be protected again[s]t all unreasonable search & seasure” true, but <​does​> this refer particularly the doctrine we believe most fully. and have acted upon it, but we do not beli[e]ve it unreasonable, to search so far as it is necessary to prevent the destruction of <​protect​> lives life.— & property which has been the case in all <​from destruction,​> And we are confidant that nothing more has been done, if any thing, by us in the pervious
We do not believe <​in​> the “Union of Legislative & judicial power” and we have not so under[s]tood the action of the case, in qustin [question]
Whatever power we have exe[r]cised in the , has been done under in accordance with the strict Letter of the Charter, <​&​> and Constitutin & ordinences, as we confidently understnd them.— and that too with the ablest counsel— and but if it be so that we have Erred in this thing. Let the Supreme Court Correct the evil. we have never gone cont[ra]ry to constitutionality Law. so far as we have been able to learn it. If Lawye[r]s have belied their profession, to abuse us, the evil be on there heads
You have intimated that no press had been abated as a nuisance in the . we refer your to Richard <​Humphrey​> vs [p. [2]] Press in and [illegible]— who abated the press, by his own arm,— & for Libel & the courts decided on prosecution no cause of action. And we do know that it is common for police in &c to destroy scurrilous <​libellus​> prints, and we think the Loss of chara[c]ters by Libels, & the loss of life— by mobocratic prints,— to be a greater loss than a little prope[r]ty, all of which Your “says we are wrong life alone excepted, we have sustained,— brought upon us by the most unprin[c]ipled outlaws. Gamblers, countefeters, & Such characters as are seen have been standng by m[e] & probably are now standing around your durig the <​namely those men who have brought these evils upon us​>
We are compelled to
We have no knowledge of men’s being Sworn to pass our , and upon the recipt of your last message. the was disba[n]ded— and the left to your s disposal
How it could be possible for you <​us​> now to be tried constitunaly [constitutionally] by the same who first issued the writ at we cannot see, for the Constitutin expressly says no man shall twice be be put in jeopardy of life & limb <​for the same offenc​> and all you <​the ​> refer to have since the issure of the been complied of <​with​> by for the same offence, & tried before Justice of Peace for , and after a full investigatin ware discharged;— but notwithstanding this we would not hisstitate to stand another trial according to your s wish, were it not that we are confident our lives would be in danger, we dare not come.— Writs, we are assured, are issued agnst us in various parts of the , for what? to drag us from place to place, from court to court across the creeks & prairis— till some blood thirsty villain can find his opportuny to shoot us.— We dare not come, though your promises protectin, yet at the same time you have exprssd fears that you could not control the Mob— in which case we are left to the mercy of the Merciless— Sir we dare not come, <​for our lives would be in dagr [danger]​> And in takig a view of— And we are gu[i]lty of no crime
You say “it will be aginst orders to be accmpanid [accompanied] by others,” if we come to trial.— This we have been obliged to act upon in — and when our witnesses were sent [p. [3]] for by the cou[r]t, as your honor promis[e]s, <​to do,​>” they were thrust into prison— and we [were?] left without witnesses.— Sir you must not blame us for a burnt child dreads the fire.— and although your might be well disposed in the matter. the appernc [appearance] of the mob forbids our comig we dare not do it.
We have been advised by— legal & high minded Gentlemn from abroad, <​who came on the boat last eve​> to lay our grievances before the federal goverment.— as the appernc [appearance] of things is not only treasonabl ag[ai]nst us, but <​againt​> this on the part of <​unless the same has been requsted of — of the govt​> for and we suppose your honor is well aware, by this time, that the mass meetings of the dclard utter extermination to the mormns and that the was not calld out until complants were made, to the Mayers, & the citiz[en]s ware afraid of their limbs lives <​&​> & loosing their confidence in the authorities of the ,— and that nothing on the part of the city authoritis has been wanting legally, & judiciusly to allay excitements & restore peace.— as before stated. We shall leave the forthwith— to lay the facts before the <​Gneral​> govermnt, and as before stated the is left open & unproticted and by every thing that is sacred we implore your to cause our helpless women & childrn to protected from Mob violence And let not the blood of Innocence cry to the god <​heavns​> agnst you.— we agnst again say— If any thing wrong has been done on our part, and we know of nothing. we will make all things right. if the governmnt will give us the oppor[tu]nity, disperse the mob and secure to us our constitinal [constitutional] privileges— that are lives may not be endangerd— when on trial.—
I remain Most Respfuly [Respectfully] Your s Humble svt
Joseph Smith
Mayor & Lut. Genl.
June 22— 1844
12 night Joseph to
June 22. 1844
Lt. Genl. Joseph Smith to [p. [4]]


  1. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Willard Richards.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.