Springfield, Ill., Sept. 26, 1844.
FURTHER REMARKS -- THE MORMON DIFFICULTIES.
The troops mustered into service by the Governor from Sangamon, are on their march to Hancock County, the seat
of anticipated disturbances, although the last news from that region represents every thing quiet as
usual. The three independent companies of this city, as in duty bound, promptly responded to the call of the
Governor, without stopping to inquire into the reasons which influenced the Commander in Chief, to make the
requisition upon them; and of course are in no way responsible for the consequences that may result to the State
from this movement of the executive. But as conductors of a public journal, it is our right as well as duty, to
lay before the public the facts, as far as they have come to our knowledge, connected with the past and present
Mormon disturbances, with which his excellency has been concerned; and we wish it distinctly understood, that in
any remarks we may see proper to make now or hereafter, that we do not intend the slightest reflection upon any
officer or private under his command. We propose to review, the official acts of the executive of the State, as
we understand them, and leave the public to decide upon the correctness and propriety of our course.
It is not our intention to go into a detailed history of all that has transpired since the first founding of Nauvoo by the Mormons. The public are already familiar with the history of Joe Smith's operations in Illinois, but they may not be as well informed upon all matters relative to Governor Ford's connexion with them, as they may desire; and it is for the purpose of supplying this deficiency, that we pass in review before them some of the most prominent incidents that have transpired within the last few months.
It has been a matter of public notoriety throughout the length and breadth of the State, that the Mormons, headed by those unprincipled scoundrels, Joe and Hyrum Smith, had established in the county of Hancock a government which they openly declared placed them entirely above the constituted authorities of the State; and that they had, in several instances, set at defiance writs issued by the State authorities for the apprehension of Joe Smith and other individuals, and in some instances had gone as far as to imprison the officers charged with their execution. These and similar outrages had been committed again and again with impunity by this band of ruffian outlaws; and yet no measures had been taken by our executive to enforce the laws and protect the peace and dignity of the State. But this was not all. It was equally notorious that they had been for years in the daily practice of plundering the peaceable citizens of Hancock county of their property, and when pursued into Nauvoo, and the property found upon the mormon culprit by the rightful owner, they never failed in proving to the entire satisfaction of the city courts by lying witnesses, that the property had been their's for months or years before. If complaint was made to the Hancock circuit court, the result was the same. The Mormons having entire control of the county offices, whenever they chose, they could have a majority of the grand jury, and consequently no mormon could be indicted on the complaint of an anti-Mormon. The old citizens of Hancock, who had spent years of toil in securing for themselves and families a home, found themselves suddenly and without provocation on their part, stripped of their dearest rights, their property daily and hourly depredated upon without the possibility of redress by an appeal to the law.
They had time and again called for a redress of their grievances, but in vain; yet they continued for years longer to bear with patience all these hardships, in the hope, that in compliance with the provisions of the constitution, Joe Smith would be surrendered to the authorities of Missouri, where he would suffer the penalty of the crimes of which he should be found guilty by due process of law. But in this reasonable hope they were doomed to disappointment, as the following statement will show:
Some eighteen months ago the Governor of Missouri made a requisition upon Gov. Ford. -- The Governor issues his warrant for his arrest, and places it in the hands of the proper officer. The officer finds Joe at Dixon, Ills., and arrests him; but Joe takes the officer by force to Nauvoo, and by the agency of a mock trial, before his City Council, is discharged from custody. The officer repairs to Springfield, applies to Gov. Ford for a military force to enable him to execute the writ, and receives for an answer "That he finds nothing in the Laws or Constitution of the State to authorize him to call out the military for such a purpose;" and consequently Joe Smith is suffered to run at large and continue his depredations on the good people of Hancock county.
Now, mark the remarkable and extraordinary coincidence. At that time a canvass was going on in that District for Congress. It was generally conceded that the Mormon vote would elect the member of Congress; and it was also expected that Joe Smith would throw the Mormon vote for the Whig candidate, on account of personal friendship. Gov. Ford's refusal to call out the military to enforce the law by the arrest of Joe, reaches Nauvoo about two days before the election, and lo, and behold! they vote en mass for Gov. Ford's friend, Mr. Hoge.
Joe Smith now considers himself safe, and gathering impudence from a supposed impunity from arrest, he bids open defiance to the legal authorities of Illinois and Missouri, and riots in his disgusting debaucheries, and as a last and crowning act of tyranny and oppression, he declares a public journal established at Nauvoo, for the purpose of exposing his corruptions to the public, a public nuisance, and directs his Marshal to destroy the press, which was accordingly done, and its proprietors escape with their lives to Warsaw.
The citizens of Hancock now become alarmed for their safety, and finding that the law had on all former occasions
failed to redress their grievances, and protect them in their rights, and despairing of all aid from the Executive
of the State, resolved to take matters into their own hands and rid themselves of a public nuisance that was laying
waste their county, and which had reduced the value of their farms from one and five thousand dollars to as many
In the mean time Joe writes letters denouncing the prominent loco foco candidates for the Presidency, and proclaims himself a candidate for that exalted station. A warrant is now issued for Joe Smith and his city council, for destroying the press, by a Justice of the Peace for Hancock county, and as usual it is treated with contempt. The officer applies for a military force to aid the execution of the law, and the Governor very promptly orders out two or three thousand troops and marches them to the scene of action, and commands Joe to surrender, and after much parlaying, billet-doux writing and sundry closetings with Joe's friends; and pledges from his Excellency of immunity from all harm, Joe and Hyrum repair to Carthage and surrender themselves to trial, and give bond for their appearance at the next term of the Hancock county circuit court, to undergo a mock trial before a Mormon jury with Mormon witnesses. They are now arrested on a charge of treason against the State and placed in jail until they could be bound over for trial, which every body knew from past experience would end in a judicial farce.
The citizens of Hancock, seeing that he was about again to escape what they deemed a just retribution for his past crimes, and a recollection of their past injuries, pressing upon them, in a fit of phrenzy, they break into the jail at the risk of their lives, commit an act over which we would, if we could draw the veil of oblivion, however much, as they may suppose and argue there may be in all the circumstances of the provocation to palliate the act. Of one thing we are assured, by persons who have visited the Mormon religion, and that is, that nineteen-twentieths of the anti-Mormons may justly be considered as accessaries either before or after the fact, and are therefore equally guilty with the 200 who were actually detailed to execute the deed.
A general panic now seizes the Governor, and he makes a rapid retreat to Quincy, advising all in his route through Hancock county, to flee to a place of safety, in expectation that the Mormons would revenge the death of their prophets. This apprehension proved groundless; quiet was soon restored, and the troops returned to their homes. The Mormons had imbibed the impression, in consequence, no doubt, of the blundering and unmilitary conduct of the Governor, that he had left their Prophets in Carthage in charge of the Hancock troops, whom they regarded as their most deadly enemy, for the express purpose of giving their enemies an opportunity of assassinating them, and thus remove Joe out of the way of his favorite for the Presidency, James K. Polk.
From that time to this it would seem that he has been labouring to reinstate himself in the confidence of the Mormons. Immediately after the death of the Smiths, he publishes a most violent and vindictive philippic against the citizens of Hancock, in the shape of an official proclamation, calculated to soothe the exasperated feelings of the Mormons, at the expense of a repetition of the tragedy that had been recently enacted, by goading the people of that county on to acts of desperation. This did not have the effect of reconciling the Mormons to the Governor and his party, and they resolved not to participate at all in the election then about to come off for Congress. It was believed and the result, proved, that if they adhered to their resolution the Locofocos must lose a member of Congress. Something more was obliged to be done to avoid so dire a calamity. A second proclamation was issued a few days before the election, filled with violent abuse of the anti-Mormons, and lauding the Mormons for their disposition to obey the law and preserve the peace, and promising them the entire military force of the State if necessary, to protect them from injury from the assaults of the "murderous outlaws" of Hancock county. This document reached Nauvoo a few days before the election; and what follows? The Mormons reverse their decision not to vote at all, and vote in mass the Polk and Dallas ticket, not only in Nauvoo, but throughout the State.
Now admitting it to be true, as his Excellency alledges in his recent letter, that he had acted throughout the entire transactions with a view solely for the preservation of the peace and the character and dignity of the State, without the slightest reference to party considerations; is it not most extraordinary, that throughout his entire official intercourse with the Mormons, every act should have operated to the political advantage of his own party friends? And that every thing should have been so timed as to secure these results, as certainly as that effect follows cause?
The order issued last week to officers of the different counties calling out 1500 men; sets forth in substance, (we quote from memory, not having been able to procure a copy) that "whereas the citizens of Hancock have advertised that a grand military Wolf Hunt will take place in that county on the 27th instant, &c."
Thus it seems 2500 militia are called out and marched to Hancock county, not to execute the law, nor to suppress an insurrection or rebellion, for nothing of the kind actually exists; but for the purpose of preventing an anticipated breach of the peace at some future period.
Now, will it not strike the reader as very strange, that the same Governor who eighteen months ago, could find
"nothing in the constitution or laws of the State to justify his calling out the militia" to arrest an individual,
surrounded by his Nauvoo Legion of 2,000 armed men, and bidding defiance to an officer, charged with the service
of a writ issued by the executive of a sovereign State; can now find ample authority for calling into service
2,500 men, at an expense to the State of at least 40,000 dollars, for the purpose of protecting the citizens of
Nauvoo, (who boast of being able to muster 2,000 well drilled troops at a moment's warning;) against an
anticipated attack from a party of "Wolf Hunters?" We take the following extract from the Governor's
last proclamation, dated July 25th, before alluded to, for the purpose of showing his opinion then, of
the ability of the Mormons to protect themselves against any force which the anti-Mormons might bring against
I have said to you often that you cannot succeed; by this time you see it yourselves. What can your small force do against two thousand armed men, entrenched in a city, and defending themselves, their wives and their children? Now, we would ask, what has transpired within the last few weeks to render necessary a militia force of 2500 men to protect these same Mormons from an attack from this "small anti-Mormon force." Why this remarkable sensitiveness manifested by the Executive, at this particular time, for the preservation of the peace, and execution of the laws, in the county of Hancock?
It is generally conceded by all acquainted with the state of the public sentiment in the Mormon region, that peace and quietness can never be restored until one party or the other leaves the country. We are free to acknowledge that all our sympathies are with the old citizens of Hancock County. They are identified with us in interest and feeling, and God forbid that through any agency of ours they shall be driven from their homes endeared to them by every association and tie that binds men to earth; in order that a set of lawless debauchees, may riot in their licentiousness over Hancock county, the fairest portion of the State, free and unrestrained; and we will not believe that the people of Illinois will countenance their executive in the adoption of a course of policy calculated to secure such a result. Are they willing to [be] taxed to the amount of hundred[s] of thousands of dollars for the purpose of sustaining in our midst an independent community, with their Legion of 2000 armed men?
This band of Mormons have in the course of four or five years obtained undisputed sway over one county of the State. Should they continue to increase in the same ratio for the future, how long will it be before they will have entire control of the State?
Since the main portion of this article was written, it has been given out, by those who appear to have the confidence of the Governor, that his real object in marching troops into Hancock county, is for the purpose of arresting the band of 200 men who participated in killing the Smiths, in anticipation of their resisting the service of legal process. If this be the Governor's real and sole object, notwithstanding his orders for calling out the troops would seem to imply the contrary, we hope the accused will offer no resistance to the regular operations of the law, but yield implicit obedience to all legal process; and thus show to the world that the denunciations against them by the Governor have been uncalled for and without foundation. He will not deprive them of the privilege of being tried in a neighboring county, where all the circumstances calculated to palliate the offence with which they stand charged will have their weight and influence.
We sincerely hope that nothing will be done by the people of Hancock, calculated to justify the enormous expenditure
of public money now being made by the executive of the State, or that shall authorise the assumption of his
excellency, that the anti-mormons in that region, are a "riotous disorderly class of people." Let them hear, and
forbear a little longer, and the people of Illinois will see to it, as we believe, that their grievances shall
be redressed, and they shall be enabled to enjoy, with the mass of our citizens, the peaceable and undisturbed
possession of their homes and the rights and privileges which justly belong to them.
Our limits forbid our pursuing the subject further at this time; but we shall advert to it again hereafter. In
the meantime we shall keep our readers informed of [all] that transpires of interest to them, at the seat of war.
Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 26, 1844.
THE ANTI-MORMON WAR.
On Tuesday last some surprise, curiosity and excitement, were exhibited in this city, on account of the unexpected
appearance of an order from the Governor, calling for troops to be sent to Macomb, to reach that place on the 24th
inst. Why is all this? was the question in the mouth of every one. All the answer that could be given was, that a
great wolf hunt was to come off in Hancock county on the 27th; and that the suspicion existed that there
was to be a large meeting of anti-mormons in that county, at that time, for the purpose of driving the Mormons from
the State. The Independent companies of the city very promptly prepared to obey orders; but the militia were slow
to answer the call of the Governor.
With the facts of the last Mormon campaign before this people, it is not a matter of surprise, that there should
have been enquiry among our tax-paying citizens, for the reasons which prompted the course of the Governor. But
they obtained little satisfaction and the result seemed to be, that of the whole matter as set down as connected
with politics -- originating, most feared, as all other mormon excitements and movements had done. On
Friday, however, the State Register, the organ of his Excellency, appeared, and contained the following articles:
From the last Illinois State Register.
We learn that his Excellency Gov. Ford, has called out 2500 of the Militia of the State, in consequence of the
reception of the information here, that the anti-Mormon party of Hancock county had issued handbills, for the
assemblage of a military meeting at Warsaw, on the 17th of this month. We learn also that this handbill requests
the presence of the people of Missouri on that day, armed, &c. We trust no good citizen of Missouri will enter
this State, with any hostile purpose towards any of its citizens; and we trust no citizen of our own State will
violate the laws, by an armed attack upon the constituted authorities. Such hostile attack is treason, by the
general laws of the country; and conviction under the laws, subjects the guilty to the punishment of death.
Under the circumstances we feel confident the militia of the State will promptly respond to the call of the
Executive, for the preservation of the public peace, and to prevent the violation of the constitution and laws
of the State. We live in a land where the laws must be supported by the people themselves; for they are enacted
only by their consent and appreciation. The great experiment, whether man can govern himself, without the
intervention of a King, it is the duty of every patriot to sustain; and we feel confident no American freeman
will stand idle, in such an emergency, when called upon by the legally constituted authorities, to take part
on the side of the laws and institutions of his country.
The inquiry has been made, why some steps have not been taken to bring the authors of the late outbreak at Carthage, to Justice? For the information of such of our readers, as take an interest in this matter we are enabled to state from the Governor himself that this delay was necessary, in the first instance to await the result of an application to the government of the U. States for a portion of the regular Army to be stationed in Hancock county, to suppress any further disturbances growing out of these prosecutions or any other cause. This application was made through Col. Jearney, of St. Louis; and it was not until some time in the month of August that he ascertained that the Government refused it.
Since the return of the Governor from Nashville, he has caused notice to be given that he is ready to sustain, as far as he can with the Militia, the proper authorities of Hancock in proceeding with the prosecutions.
It is not expected by any one, that the Governor himself will commence the prosecutions. -- This is the proper business of the officers interested in that county, and it will become the duty of the Governor to sustain them with the force of the State to uphold the laws in case they are resisted.
We have heard it supposed that the Governor ought to offer a reward for the criminals. This is however an error, unless the accused have broke jail or escaped from justice, as will be seen, by reference to the 8th Section of the Act concerning the fugitives from the justice. Revised Laws, 1833, page 320. As the Governor has no information, either personal or official, that any of the accused have escaped or fled, a proper case does not exist for the offer of a reward.
The public are generally informed of the result of Governor Ford's last Mormon campaign. After a display of a
large military force in Hancock county, much marching and counter-marching, Joe Smith and Hyrum Smith, were
killed; -- the troops were discharged; -- the Governor issued proclamations; held a correspondence with W. W.
Phelps, a leading Mormon; -- applied to the government for the U. States troops to keep the peace in Hancock
county; -- was refused; -- retired on St. Louis; -- subsequently appeared at Nashville; -- returned to this city,
and is now making arrangements for a new Mormon campaign.
The articles we have copied from the Register, were of course authorized by his Excellency. Let us look at them. The first denounces as guilty of TREASON any man who comes into the State from Missouri, for the purpose of sustaining the anti-Mormons against the constituted authorities of this State. We are credibly informed that when the penitentiary convict from Rhode Island -- who was convicted of TREASON for levying war against the constituted authorities of that State, and sent to the penitentiary, -- was lecturing the "democracy" here, in language and manner perfectly disgusting to many of the most respectable of the party, Gov. Ford was present, and sanctioned the cheers and clapping in approbation of this infamous orator; a fellow who was engaged in TREASON in Rhode Island!! It may be unpleasant to his excellency, to revert to this fact, bur when we hear him discoursing of TREASON, we cannot help recurring to the time when he approved of the TREASON of Luther, Dorr's humbug Secretary of State, of the pretended government of Rhode Island. It seems to us that lectures from such a source, on the duty of good citizens to sustain "the legally constituted authorities," come with a queer grace.
The second article intimates that the Governor, having failed to get United States troops to keep in awe and subjection the anti-mormons, and to sustain the prosecutions against the murders of Joe Smith, has given notice to somebody in Hancock County, that he is now ready to employ the military force of the State for that purpose.
The Governor appears to us, to apologize, to the Mormons, for not offering a reward for the supposed criminals. The Mormons will probably be satisfied with this apology, more especially, as it is accompanied by the distinct annunciation that the prosecutions will be sustained by the military force of the State. If this course is adopted, the Governor will unquestionably find, in due time, that a considerable number of individuals will be indicted for the killing of the Smiths, and their necks will be in great jeopardy of the halter.
The following paragraph which we copy from the late work of G. T. M. Davis, Esq. detailing the late events in the Mormon region, will show that -- should the Mormon officers of Hancock County, be "sustained," no doubt can exist, but numerous indictments will be found against individuals for the murder of the Smiths.
The only way that indictments were found against Joe Smith at the last term of the Hancock Circuit Court, for perjury, adultery and fornication, was this: The County Commissioner's Court, which selects the grand petit jury and which is composed of three members, consisted of one Mormon, a Jack Mormon, and an anti-Mormon, or old citizen. The Jack Mormon growing alarmed at the increasing outrages committed by the Mormons against all the laws of society, at the term of the County Commissioner who was one of the old citizens, and selected a grand and petit jury, the majority of whom were from the body of the old citizens. The result was, that the grand jury, according to the testimony before them, found the bill of indictment against "Joe." Under the practice of the State of Illinois, process would issue during vacation, returnable to the next term of the Court, or if there was any danger of escape, a capias would issue instanter. But the defendant would have a right, unless confined in a jail, to continue his case until the next term of the Court. This secured Smith against a trial until this fall. In the meantime the August election comes off, at which there is to be elected a County Commissioner for Hancock, in the place of the member of the court who is an anti-Mormon. The Mormons hold a large majority in that county, and the result would be the selection of another strong Mormon, which would make the Court stand two Mormons and one Jack Mormon. At the September term of the County Commissioner's Court, the panel of grand and petit jurors would be selected to serve at the fall term of the Circuit Court. And the result would show, that both the grand and petit jurors would be nine tenths Mormons.. Before this grand jury of Mormons, the complaints against the two Smiths, for riot in the destruction of the press, treason, &c., would go. And no man in his senses can shut his eyes to the fact, that no bills of indictment would be found against them upon any charge. In this way they were placed entirely beyond the reach of law, as they must be indicted in the county where the offence was committed, or not al all. This the
counsel of the Smiths, as well as the prisoners themselves, well knew, and it accounts satisfactorily for the
readiness with which they waived the examination, and entered into recognizance for their appearance at court.
The whole of them know that it was the last of it and that Joe having his minions in office as County Commissioners,
Sheriff, Clerk of the Circuit Court, &c., &c., they could and would successfully defeat the ends of justice.
The advantage which all his principal men had, in this respect, will appear most manifest from the following facts; an individual owed a large amount in the city of St. Louis and failed. Previous to his failing he transferred a large amount of property to his father, or some other near connection, and then turned Mormon. The fraud was so palpable, that the creditors filed a bill in chancery to set aside the conveyances. Testimony was taken in the [cause], and on its hearing, the fraud was made to appear so manifest, that the counsel of the defendants refused to address the jury. -- One of the defendants, nothing daunted at the course of his counsel, remarked to him, "you need have no fears, the jury will stand ten for me, to two against me." The jury retired and after a long absence came into court and stated their inability to agree, when they were discharged, upon inquiry, as the defendant had anticipated, they stood ten for finding a verdict for the defendants, and two for the complainant. -- This was stated to me by one of the most prominent members of the bar in the city of Quincy, who was engaged in the cause. The reason why the defendants were able to judge so accurately of what would be their decision, even before retiring from the jury box, was, that ten of the jury were Mormons and two of them old citizens. With a state of things like this, every reasonable man must see and acknowledge, that there was no such thing in Hancock county as legal redress for any citizen of that county when his opponent was a Mormon. The records of the court of Hancock show that in any contested case between a Mormon and an anti-Mormon. there is scarcely a solitary exception, but what the Mormon succeeded. O. C. Skinner, Esq., of Carthage, who has done a great deal of business for the Mormons, asserts publicly, that it was only necessary to inform a Mormon what he must prove, to succeed, the testimony was always forthcoming.
We cannot predict the result of this military movement. -- We trust, that the Mormons will be satisfied with the measures of Gov. Ford, and vote the loco foco ticket at the next election. We had rather lose the State than see these excitements, outrages, this "backing and filling" of our rulers -- for and against the Mormons. We can lose this State and elect Mr. Clay. Of this we have no doubt. Our State has been taxed enough, and is deeply enough in debt already, to carry out "Van Buren measures," without a new series of campaigns to gratify the Mormons and secure the State for "Polk, Dallas, Oregon and Texas."
As stated last week that several horses had been stolen from the neighborhood of Bear Creek, but we had not then
ascertained who were the sufferers. We have since learned that Mahon _____ lost two horses, Edward Day two, Mr.
Shepherd one, Truman Kinny one, George ______ one, and R. Gilham one. The Latter Day Saints, not content with
fleecing the Gentiles, commenced on each other. Sidney [Knowleton] had a yoke of cattle stolen by a brother Mormon
in whom he placed the utmost confidence.
The northern part of the county, the complaints of the thieving operations of the Mormons are more numerous than
Ever. Every description of loose property, such as Bee gums, plows, harness, &c., unless closely guarded is taken
away. We have heard within the past week of other horse thieving operations, but do not know the particulars.
In view of the fact, that no man appears to be [safe] in his property within the county, we conceive that it is
the duty of the citizens to take active measures to prevent future depredations. Let there at least be an
organization for the purpose of ferreting out offenders.
The following is the communication from Nauvoo, published in the
"There is a very unpleasant state of things anticipated in this county in October, at Court time. It is the
intention of the Mormons at that time to urge the ferreting out of the assassins, as they term them. They state
the Governor is going to lend them no assistance, for he was at the bottom of the plot; and they will try what
virtue there is in the Civil law; and if it is brought successfully to bear, it will save an appeal to the lex
talionis. They have succeeded in electing their ticket to a man. over the citizens of the county; and consequently
anticipate a Mormon jury. There is, therefore, little doubt but that indictments will be [found] against several
individuals in the county -- particularly in Warsaw, for the Mormons love Warsaw as a christian loves the liquid
fires of the [Tartarlan] regions. The Mormons anticipate, if any individual refuses to be arrested, a call will
be made by Sheriff Deming, of sable notoriety, upon the Mormon junto, for a posse from Nauvoo; if the Legion
is not sufficiently strong, the [leader] Deming will unite the civil with [his] military power, and by this
means, be enabled to [stretch] men's necks to order. It is very evident something of a serious character is
entertained upon the part of the Mormons, if any resistance is shown by [any] individual or individuals; which
there will be, if any attempt is made to arrest. They have just had a complete organization in the Legion --
elected a Lieutenant General and Major General, and still seem determined to [crowd] things ne plus ultra."