NS No. 21.
Warsaw, Illinois, July 10, 1844.
For the Warsaw Signal.
This communication is most respectfully, and with sentiments of sympathy and humanity, addressed to all reasonable and well disposed persons, whether male or female, who are attached to the interests of Joseph Smith, the reputed Prophet of the Latter Days.
As reasonable men and women, I ask you to review the history of your extraordinary leader -- compare the doctrines which he taught a few years ago -- compare his whole course of conduct through life, with the doctrines of morality and holiness which he affects to believe. Summon before your minds, the thousands of beggared families, reduced by his extravagance and infidelity, from comfort, to want and wretchedness -- mark his ingratitude to those who have come forward to his relief, in the scenes of his afflictions and distress -- observe his entire disregard of his most solemn promises, in almost all his business transactions -- scan his schemes of dishonest speculation -- blush for his ignorance and vanity, when you hear him clothing himself with the tinkling symbols of empty titles, as "Lieutenant General," -- "Mayor," "President of the High Council," "Melchesidec" or Priest of the Most High God, "Prophet," "Seer," "Revelator," "Translator," &c. &c. -- But his blasphemy. must excite your detestation and abhorrence, when he assumes the exercise of Divine prerogatives, in sealing up from the condemnation of sin, the minions of his power and companions of his revels, in scenes of more than human depravity -- in countenancing, and commanding the commission of crimes, at which the civilized, yea even the barbarous nations of the earth, have always revolted -- his graceless debauches, authorized by his pretended revelations
Look at the silly flummery, of the whole system of his ecclesiastical government -- his "High Councils," -- his two Priesthoods, his Twelves, His Seventies, his Elders, Priests, and Bishop, and his Presidents of quorums. And still forsooth, he is a great declaimer against Priestcraft. His entire disregard of all law human and divine, is clearly evinced in the whole tenor of his conduct -- but he is a great stickler for law, and complains bitterly against mobs, he cries alone in his fulsome rantings against vice, immorality and crime -- but his daily course is marked with scenes of drunkenness, profanity, gambling, falsehood, fraud and villainy and his midnight revels are devoted to debauchery and the concocting of schemes of murder, rapine and revenge. He is loud in his complaints of persecution, -- but no bigoted zealot ever dealt out damnation to a fallen world, with greater prodigality than his saintship. At all times when arraigned before the tribunals of justice, to answer for the violations of law, his cry is persecution [persecution] for righteousness sake! But this will never take again, so well as it did in his exodus from Missouri. His insupportable insolence -- this base ingratitude and unparalleled knavery, which he has practiced towards those very persons whose sympathies were enlisted in his behalf, in the days of his humiliation; and who, not only share with him their worldly comforts, but in many instances trusted him with almost all the hard earnings of their past lives, at a time when he was houseless and destitute -- and his only return for all their kindness and confidence, has been bitter cursing, foul detraction, base slander, villainous swearing and swindling, and dark and diabolical schemes of assassination;
This has convinced the world, so far as it is known, that persecution is a misnomer -- all the punishment of crimes, "persecution?" But this is unquestionably, the only species of persecution to which the Mormon leaders have ever been exposed. Persecution for righteousness sake, good heavens! -- did any person ever suspect Joseph Smith and his minions with the first born sign of righteousness? No never, never, after the most superficial acquaintance with them. With equal propriety, may every pirate murderer, thief and robber, when arraigned for his felony, cry out "persecution!" It is a libel on all past history, to call this Persecution for righteousness sake. It is prosecution for crime -- and for crimes of heinous turpitude. Thousands of the citizens of Illinois, whose houses five years ago were thrown open to receive the poor suffering persecuted saints who were then supposed to have been banished from their houses and homes in Missouri, barely "on account of their most holy religion," have long since learned the mortifying fact, that the leaders of this misguided sect; were in every sense of the word, "fugitives from justice," and provokers of their own ruin. And as soon as they were warmed into life again by the hospitality, benevolence and kind feelings of the people of Illinois, they commenced their career of incorrigible insolence, tyranny, oppression, disregard of both public and private rights, usurpations, cheating, swindling and robbing their late benefactors -- and to prevent a public exposure of their nefarious deeds, schemes of murder and assassination were deliberately adopted; and delivered in charge for execution, to a reckless band of mercenary [band] of desperadoes, who are bound together by the fear of a violent death, and attached to the prophet, by their love of plunder. And for a more detailed account of this organized banditti of murderers, thieves and robbers, see Book of Doctrine and Covenants, pages 204, 219,.231, 234, and 240. This department of mormonism, here denominated "the Order of Enoch" but better known as "Danites" is the fulcrum, upon which rests the prophet's lever for upsetting the presently existing empires of the world, and ultimately rolling himself into universal power. Here we have five pretended revelations, and although they are bunglingly interlarded with "Thus saith the Lord God," and a great quantity of other hypocritical cant -- the names of its members are also concealed, and an awkward; misticism thrown around the whole arrangement; still the infernal purposes of this God-provoking crew, are but ill-disguised, and may be easily perceived by attentive perusal of these pages. We know it is and always has been denied by Joseph Smith and his adherents, that they have any designs upon the rights and liberties of others, if so, we have been at a loss to define the meaning of numerous passages in his revelation, for example in his revelation dated "Zion (Independence, Mo.) August, 1831," preparatory to their removal from Ohio to Missouri, in speaking about purchasing land in Jackson County; this singular passage occurs, to wit. "Behold, here is wisdom: let them do this least they receive none inheritance, save it be by the SHEDDING OF BLOOD." -- Doct. and Covenants, page 139.
And again, in another revelation dated Kirtland, August 1831, on the same subject of settling in Missouri, the Lord is made to say: "wherefore the land of Zion, shall not be obtained, but by purchase, or by blood, otherwise there is no inheritance for you," Doctr's and Covn'ts, page 143. Once more, "and I have made the earth rich and behold it is my footstool; wherefore, again I will stand upon it; and I hold forth and design to give you greater riches, even a labd of promise -- a land flowing with [milch] and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh. And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance, if you seek it with all your hearts, and this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away." Doct. Covt. page 119. But ye shall have no King nor Ruler, for I will be your King -- you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws -- for I am your Law-giver, and what can stay ny hand? ibid. It is not my present purpose to advert to the thousand enigmatical declarations of this character, which are scattered profusely, through most of these silly and blasphemous productions of Joseph Smith; but by calling your attention to a few instances, you may easily perceive that he has laid his scheme of political ambition, from the very commencement of his career, in scenes of blood and violence -- and now he unmasks himself, when he declares, "that if you will not wade to your knees in blood for MY SAKE, you may go to hell and be damned, and I will go and build another city!!" However, if his history for the past 14 years, does not afford you sufficient data, and incontrovertable evidences by which to arrive at a rational conclusion, as to the grand polar star at which he aims, and the proposed means by which he expects to attain his end, it is hardly probable that any brief review of the subject would produce that conviction. But I will here enquire how is it possible, that sensible, moral, well disposed and pious people, can still adhere to him, after they have witnessed the absence of every redeeming virtue, and the presence of every vice and crime, which degrades humanity in the darkest recesses of its depravity? Doubtless, before you saw him, you were taught to regard him as a holy messenger of God, who was especially commissioned to teach the way to life and immortality, both by doctrine and example; -- and although he artfully conceals his true character from the great body of his people, still enough is seen and known of him, by all who have seen or heard him, or given even a passing notice to his career; to convince all as to his real character, who have not closed their eyes and shut their ears against the painful realities of his baseness. Do not say, I beseech you, that your leaders are "persecuted on account of their religion," that is impossible -- they have no religion -- mormonism is a scheme of political ambition, mounted on a hypocritical affection of religion; while atheism of the rankest modern growth, unquestionably is the real creed of its advocates, teachers and principal leaders.
Let us now for a moment examine the tenure of Joseph Smith's commission from heaven to a fallen world, and learn its true intent. At page 126 in the Doctrines and Covenants, in a revelation given Feb. 1831, it is said: "And this ye shall know assuredly, that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. I say unto you none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, for if it be taken from him he shall not have power, except he appoint another in his stead!" Here is a provision for an apostate to appoint his successor; query, why did not Judas Iscariot, choose Mattias, as his successor before he hanged himself, and not have troubled the Apostles with praying and casting lots, to determine this important case. This, at least is very strange, if not a novel arrangement, that the Almighty should permit an apostate to elect the head of his church on earth. "And again, I say unto you that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him (Joseph) food and raiment and whatsoever thing he beedeth to accomplish [-----]" ibid. Joseph's claims at this time seem to have been quite moderate! In the early and incipient state of this blasphemous farce, Joseph Smith it seems called to his assistance as a clerk, a young man named OIiver Cowdry, who afterwards became almost as notorious as Smith himself -- And it appears that Oliver was anxious to be initiated into the mysteries of this wonderful affair, and probably importuned his master, Joseph, for at least a portion of his spirit, and gift of of translating, &c. Then here comes the response from heaven; -- behold I grant unto you a gift: if you desire of me to translate even as my servant Joseph," page 110. How this must have rejoiced the heart of the young schoolmaster, to have discovered such a short route to the attainment of the most profound knowledge of all languages, ancient and modern, as well symbolical as hierogliphical, together with the mysteries of time and eternity. But how great must have been his disappointment and mortification, but a few days after receiving this promise upon the authority of high heaven; to have received from the same source the following, to wit: "Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time!" "You are called to write for my servant Joseph." page 162. Poor Cowdry must have thought, what is wisdom in you, has made o fool of me;" but the poor fellow it seems took the advice, and bore his disappointment patiently for many years thereafter. It will be recollected with what positive certainty this sect always assert their positions, as for example, "I know it." &c. on all occasions. I will here give an example, of their mode of demonstration, beyond a possible doubt. It will be found on page 152 in their book of Doctrines and Covenants, and reads thus: "And now I the Lord give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you, your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, jr., and his labguage you have known and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know now seek ye out of the book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you, or if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true." Here the Lord's Prophet challenges his disciples to try their hands at writing commandments by way of revelations, in competition with his astounding production of that character; and even in this solemn performance he plays the braggert as on all other occasions. It must be admitted, however, that it would be a serious task, for a sensible man, even to immitate his production. But as Joseph himself would have been the judge of this contest, (for need of writing revelations;) and if his competitors had dared to contest the point at issue, he would have broke up in a row, and declared himself as usual, the conqueror! Also on the 76th page of this Mormon Alcaron, we have the following declaration: "Wherefore I the Lord knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith jr., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; and also gave commandments to others that they should proclaim these things to the world:" compare this, with page 126, before recited, "And this ye shall know assuredly that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations," &c. It must be confessed that his holiness has poor memory. See again on page 88 how high Joseph builds his nest, to wit: And again, the duty of the president of the [officer] of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and [to like] unto Moses. Behold here is wisdom -- yea to be a Seer, a revelator, a translator and aprophet -- having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." -- And also page 96. "The president of the council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged in his administration, by the voice of the church, and it is according to the dignity of his office, that he should preside over the high council of the church; and it is his privilege to be assisted by two other presidents, appointed after the same manner, that he himself was appointed," &c. That was by revelation -- given by himself. And on page 97, we read as follows: "On case of difficulty respecting doctrines or principles, (if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the Council,) the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation!!" Oh, wonderful! what a great man, this President General, Seer, Revelator, Translator, Priest, Prophet, King, Mayor, Councillor, Alderman, Trustee, Moses, and Joseph Smith, Esquire, certainly is, cannot be denied.
But in December 1830, it seems that the Lord was not disposed to trust an apostle with election of his own successor, for he then said, page 117, "I have sent for the fullness of my gospel by the hans of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him, &c. I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead." Will Joseph be so good, as to inform his admirers how it happened that the Lord changed his mind in such an important item of church government as appears to have occured in the short space of two months, as in Feb. next following, viz. 1831, he has made the Lord say -- "none else shall be appointed unto this gift except not through him, for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead," page 126. But I cannot forbear noticing the above singular sentence -- "and in weakness have I blessed him," (Joseph) if weakness is a blessing, then is he truly blessed indeed! We find another similar passage on page 140, viz: and they shall also be crowned with blessings from above; yea and with commandments not a few, and with revelation in their time." The Lord has certainly redeemed his promise, in so far as the second clause in this quotation is concerned, for if the Mormons have not been "crowned with commandments not a few," I know of no other people who have.
Were we disposed to amuse our readers with the gross ignorance, vanity and folly which abounds in the writings of this man, his blasphemy would excite our abhorence, and his incorrigable impudence, our contempt. And leave us but little room for amusement. I will now recite one more passage from these sacred oracles which every true believer in Mormonism is bound to receive as of divine authority, to show to what extent Joseph Smith claims prerogatives both human and divine, the "he that is ordained and sent forth," spoken of in the text is Joseph Smith, -- the passage will be found on page 135, and reads thus: "And again verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you, for he that is ordained of God and sent forth, ( i. e. Joseph Smith) the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is, least, and the servant of all: wherefore he is possessor of all things, for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life, and the light, the spirit, and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father, throughJesus Christ his son."
Now reader. I ask you seriously; is not the above declaration, a palpable, open and downright avowal of treason, against both Heaven and Earth -- God and man? Now as he is possessor of all things, see his manner of taking possession of all things; and this will be found on page 147. "Behold it is said in my laws, you are forbidden to get in debt to thine enemies; but behold it is not said at any time that the Lord should should not take when he please. and pay as seemeth him good." Here is a divine commission, to steal, rob and plunder! Joseph Smith has at all times, in all ways and by all means got in debt to all men, both friends and foes, who would trust him; and when once in possession of property or money, as he claims a divine right to possess all things, both in Heaven and on the Earth," he has always paid "as seemed him good," and that has been, by bankruptcy, ingratitude, impudence, lying perjury, and the assassination of his creditors. To trace the history of the business transactions of this great financier who now presenrs his claims, not only to the American people as their Chief Magistrate, but also to all the Nations of the Earth, as Universal Emperor; would excite our mirth at his ignorance and folly, -- our contempt of his impudence and villainy, and our abhorence of his brutality, cruelty, inhumanity and blasphemy.
He is a financier! the ignorant spendthrift, has in the short space of 14 years squandered millions of dollars -- the hard earnings of the industrious poor, in Europe and America -- and like Pharaoh's lean kind, is still always poor himself. He has his circumferanian hoards of priests, elders, and apostles, who are continually ransacking the world, on their begging tything, borrowing, buying, and plundering excursions. He has also his organized banditti of the "order of Enoch" or Danites, whose sworn duty is to execute the orders of the first Presidency, for the purpose of subduing the hearts of the children of men, see Doct's and Covn't, page 234: -- "bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression except judgment shall immediately follow," page 220 -- who are also commanded to "make unto yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and they will not destroy you," ibid. Ye cannot bear all things now, nevertheless be of good cheer for "I will lead you along!" page 205. To provide for my saints, for all things are mine; but it must needs be done in mine own way: and behold this is the way, that I the Lord have decreed to provide for any saint; that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low; for the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare, yea I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves!" page 241. Here we are favored with the theory of the great and universal financier; and if the whole tenor of the language used in the preceding quotations does not imply the right on the part of this holy order, to steal, rob, plunder, cheat, swindle and murder, in order to obtain property and money, to be applied to such purposes as Smith may direct, then we must look to their practical mode of financiering; and a series of fourteen years, unremittingly pursued in acts of villainy and outrage, must be sufficient to satisfy any reasonable mind, that this man's theory and practice are in perfect keeping, one with the other.
But it is amusing to see how little confidence he has in his most devoted admirers; conscious of his own unequalled baseness and depravity he suspects every other man, of possessing similar principles. Hear how he speaks of Oliver Cowdry, choice favorite of heaven, and at that time only second in the church to Smith himself: "Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, for my servants Oliver Cowdry's sake, it is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments and the MONEYS, which he shall carry unto the land of Zion, except one go with him who will be true and faithful," page 156. There is no doubt but that the commandments would have been carried to Zion, quite safely by Oliver; but his Saintship had some fearful forebodings for the safety of the MONEYS!! He knew from practical personal experience that moneys were very slippery things; and scarcely to be trusted in the hands of Saints.
To be continued.
To his Excellency THOMAS FORD,
SIR: -- As the Chief Magistrate of our State we acknowledge your authority to execute the laws... Having said this much sir, we trust we may be permitted to lay before you with respectful deference, a brief history of our condition in relation to the Mormons; the causes that have led to the determined hostility between them and ourselves, and then call your serious attention to the consequences which must inevitably result from the present position of our affairs. It is needless to trace out the history of this people from their first organization as a church; let us take them as we found them in 1838, when they were expatriated from Missouri, so far imposed on our credulity, as to awaken our sympathies actively in their behalf. They were admitted into our county and received with the most hospitable feelings; were pitied by the mass of the citizens and flattered by designing politicians of both parties. Exclusive privileges unheard of before in the history of our State Legislation, were heaped upon them and up to the present moment, demagogues of either political parties have seemed to vie with each other in their kind offices.
Governor of the State of Illinois.
Many of the principal men were charged in Missouri with the commission of high crimes. It is well known that Joseph and Hirum Smith were confined on charges of high treason, and that they escaped from the State and from justice either through the corrupt cupidity of their guard, or the assistance of their decoted followers in crime.
The mass of this people then, as we are assured by the most indubitable authority, were either abandoned rogues, drawn together for mutual protection in their acts of lawless villainy, or misguided fanatics equally subservient to the will of their leaders and actually dangerous to the peace and well being of society. Missouri was blamed for expelling them from her borders but an enlightened public sentiment has long since justified her course, not only as a measure of wise expediency but one of absolute necessity. From their first appearance among us notwithstanding the kindness with which they were received they have committed and encouraged others to commit theft, murder, adultery and other heinous crimes, cardinal points in their religion. These are high charges, we know sir, but they can be substantiated. They have a band of chosen men sworn to execute the commands of their high Council, at all hazards, and in return, these desperadoes, ready for all kinds of work, have their personal safety guaranteed by twelve or fifteen thousand men, who are bound together by the strongest ties that ever united a people in common brotherhood.
They have placed themselves above the constituted authorities of the State, subverted the demands of justice, and in instances too numerous to mention have by a mere sham, a mockery of legal proceedings shielded the greatest scoundrels from the operations of law. Repeated attempts have been made to compel individuals among them to answer charges of high crimes brought against them by the State of Missouri, and they have never failed to foil the officers of justice; and within the last year as your Excellency well knows, their prophet was taken from the agent of Missouri by a singular union of force and fraud, hurried to Nauvoo, and discharged from arrest by the municipal court of that city, Joe Smith himself was the cjief of this tribunal, and the other members willing tools subject to his word. In this as in numberless other instances, this court assumed powers never granted nor intended to be granted by the legislature, and the whole proceedings could be called nothing more nor less than a sacrilegious mockery of justice. When his excellency the Gov. of Missouri again demanded your interference and our citizens seconded his application by respectful addresses, we were advised by your Excellency and believe correctly, that you had executed the laws to the extent of your authority, and the humiliating confession had to go forth to the world that there was a band of unprincipled desperadoes in Hancock county, who had succeeded in placing themselves beyond the reach of law and justice. These, sir, are facts all tending to show conclusively that the Mormons are a lawless people. They are constantly increasing in number and power and aiming at universal dominion, and we have too much assurance that if they had sufficient force they would not hesitate to propagate their religion (if religion it can be called) by the sword.
Many facts of an aggravated nature have gone forth to the world as they transpired, and an honest, candid, impartial public has passed judgment on their crimes; but the half, or, the tenth part has not been told. Their suffrages have been from the first, a bone of contention among the politicians, and the papers of the country have, with a few honorable exceptions, seemed more disposed to screen them and conciliate their favor than to give correct information in regard to their outrages. We have left no method untried to remedy these evils. The Legislature refused to repeal their charter. When we approach the ballot box we find we are virtually disfranchized; for the Mormons greatly outnumber usl if we appeal to the laws the process of our justices are disregarded in Nauvoo, and in the Circuit Court, however impartial the judge may be, we have nothing to hope, when a mormon and anti-mormon are opposed in a civil suit or a mormon is charged as [a] criminal. The Clerk of the circuit court is known to be pledged to the Mormon interests, and the Sheriff is a brother to the Clerk, connected with the Smiths, and equally in the mormon interests. One of the County Commissioners is a mormon and after the August election they will have all the offices of the county.
If we could feel any confidence in their honesty, we would be silent, but when our court is placed completely under the control of an unprincipled faction at Nauvoo, with mormon officers, mormon judges, and mormon witnesses, we ask, sir, with a serious concern what can the anti-mormon citizens of Hancock county expect? They have rendered themselves highly obnoxious to their troublesome neighbors, by their determined and manly efforts to preserve their rights, Many of them are already marked as fit subjects for vengeance and they expect Mormon justice.
The scenes through which we have passed vindicate too plainly what we may expect from the future. For, situated as we are legal redress is out of the question. The laws have failed to answer the ends for which they were designed and we have been forced to arms in defence of our rights. Sir, we love our Constitution and laws. We love the land which we have chosen for our homes, we respect and revere the constituted authorities of the State, and we say to you proudly that there is not in Illinois, famed as she is for sobriety, intelligence, and patriotism, a community of people who would hazard more than ourselves to sustain the laws, so long as the law protects us. We are a minority of population in Hancock county. We have been oppressed and trodden under foot; our dearest rights recklessly violated. We have borne our grievances until we could bear them no longer, and as a last resort have taken up arms.
When the law fails to establish our rights, unless enforced, as it recently has been, at the mouth of the cannon; we have bo recourse left but to cast ourselves boldly and fearlessly upon our reserved rights, and there stand until we are satisfied that the highest authority of the State will officially sustain us in them.
Should there be a certainty that this can never be done, we are willing to leave a land for which we have sacrificed much, and would cheerfully sacrifice more, and seek a home where we may once more breath as freemen. Sir, we assure you calmly, cooly and deliberately, that there can be no compromise between the two parties. It is out of the question; they are greatly our superiors in numbers, and we cannot confide in their faith. They must leave or we must leave: -- and there are now but two questions to solve; which party shall leave, and in what manner? we believe this matter can be settled through the influence and advice of your Excellency. We know, sir, that the case is surrounded with difficulties, and we appreciate the delicacy anf responsibility of your position.
We look to you for such action only as comports with the obligation of your high station; but for ourselves, we must say, that while we profess to be true and loyal citizens, we have been forced to assume an attitude from which we cannot recede until this question is definitely settled without sacrificing every thing sacred and dear to the affections of freemen. True, we could leave the State quietly and peaceably, but we made a common cause to hold it a high duty to stand together until the last hope fails, and then to share a common fate. We are under arms Sir, in defence of our own rights, and have no desire to subvert law and order. We would assure you, in the most positive manner, that we are not opposing a religious sect, as such; wuth the mormon religion nerely as a system of theology, we have at present, nothing to do. Nor have our difficulties grown out of any political considerations as we are advised that some evil disposed persons have asserted. If, as we fear is the case, any individuals have represented this to your Excellency as a political movement on the part of either party, we can only repudiate their statements and caution you to distrust their counsel.
In conclusion, sir, allow us to repeat our full confidence in your desire to perform your whole duty effeciently, under the trying circumstances in which we are placed, and we beg you also to be assured of our desire to bring our difficulties to a speedy and peaceable termination.
In this conclusion, sir, we await your further action.
WARSAW COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
The Act and the Apology.
We have forborne heretofore, to express through the columns of our paper, the opinions which we hold in relation to the important events of last month, having been content to place before our readers the facts of the case, and reserved until the present, what we conceive an ample excuse for the commission of an act, that has been branded by communities having no knowledge of the provocation which existed or the necessity for the step, as a "high handed outrage," a dastardly assassination," murder in cold blood, &c. These epithets are undeserved. True it is, when we look at the naked transaction, without knowing and feeling the situation of this community, and the thousand and one outrages on the rights of our citizens committed by the men whose blood has been shed -- the burning desire to avenge individual wrongs, which doubtlessly goaded on many who were concerned in the act -- the feverish state of the public mind, which continued so long as almost to produce a mania -- the common street declarations of some of our most respectable citizens, that the act ought to be done, and that the prepetrators would not only be protected but honored -- the hope of all, that arms having been taken up, they would not be laid down, until the Mormons had been exterminated, and the disappointment, and consequent rage when the order came to disband, without having effected anything towards the great object for which they had spent their time and money; we say, that without taking any of these circumstances into consideration the act may appear without justification. We trust however, that a generous public will not form too hastily, and upon a mere partial view of the subject so harsh a verdict. We hold it to be a self evident proposition, that the law of God and Nature is above the law of man. There is an uncontrollable impulse in the human bosom, which prompted every man to prefer his own safety and property before the law of the land. No one will brand a prisoner in custody for a high crime with having committed an immoral act, because he escapes from the jailor. True he violates the law of the land by so doing; but nature teaches every one, that he commits no crime by prefering his own safety, to its provisions. A man may take the life of his fellow man in self defence, and he is justified; and why? because the action of the law, if waited for, would be too tardy to afford protection. Therefore, nature says to every man, "protect thy self, when the law of the land cannot protect." What is true of individuals in relation to this matter is applicable to communities. We will therefore apply it to the case in point.
It is a well known fact, that Joe Smith had eluded every effort which had been made for the last four years to bring him to justice. Writs had been repeatedly issued for his apprehension, but, either through the connivance of officers, or by a sham legal process he managed in every case to screen himself from the just demands of law. He and his minions abused and insulted in countless instances our citizens some were beaten -- property was in numerous instances stolen -- the country was flooded with counterfeit coin, and no doubt existed as to the place of its manufacture, and yet for these injuries and insults no legal redredd could be obtained. The parties accused, were either released by a mock writ of Habeas Corpus, or if brought to trial, evidence could be, and was manufactured to an indefinite extent, to exculpate the accused. The Mormon community were leagued together, and jusding from their acts, it appeared to be a part of their religion to fleece, insult, and rob the Gentiles, as non-believers are by them called, and then to stand by and protect each other from legal punishment. Can any community long endure such a series of grievances and outrages on justice, and not become exasperated. No! the God of Nature has planted, even in the meanest reptile, the disposition to turn when trampled upon, Our grievances could not be passively endured; and hence resentment and animosity took possession of every bosom.
Such was the state of the community, before the late excitement commenced. The Prophet, by a long series of daring outrages which he had committed with impunity, became by degrees arrogant and presumptious. He had so long defied and trampled on the laws, that he no longer regarded them as worthy of respect. His vanity had become so inflated by the fondling of corrrupt politicians -- his presumption had grown so daring by long impunity -- his pride so lofty, and aspirations so mighty that he even imagined that in the city of which he was controller, he had all the powers and immunities of a Soverign State.
A felon who had offended against the law of the Union, found shelter and protection from his arm -- an act in itself affording a striking illustration of the extent of the power with which he deemed himself vested. The intense indignation of the public mind consequent upon this outrage, had scarcely began to subside, when another of a more aggravated character kindled the combustable elements of disaffection into a flame. It was not enough that he had defied and insulted the Nation -- he must strike at the palladium of liberty. Not satisfied with descecrating every thing sacred, either in the law of God or man, he must trample under foot the press, that had dared to rebuke him for his presumption and villainy. He did not evem stop here; but by threats of violence endeavored to silence those over whom his city had no jurisdiction.
Such presumption and arrogance, added to his despotic usurpations could not be endured. The law was resorted to, but as usual it was insulted and defied. As one man, this community then flew to arms to avenge the dignity of inculted law; but true to himself the tyrant congregated his followers, within his fortified city and in a tone of insulting defiance dared the officers of justice to attempt his arrest. But he could not stop even here. It was not enough that he had insulted and trampled on law, he even in a time of profound peace eradicated the Civil law within the city, and in lieu thereof established Military preeminence, which placed the lives and property of all who were in the city, or should visit it, at the disposal of his supreme will. Whilst the City of Nauvoo eas thus under Martial law, he had driven into it nearly all the cattle within a circuit of ten miles. He appropriated to his own use the property of those of his enemies who by his threats had previously been compelled to leave the city. Ne took into custody unoffending citizens, who were accused of no crime, and not content with refusing them the necessaries of life, he held them in torturing suspence, by giving them to understand that they were accused of acts which could only be atoned for by their blood. He refused egress to peaceable citizens unless they would take oath not to arm against his power, and that they were no enemies to him or his course. Such is a brief skeleton of the unparalleled outrage of this Heaven daring wretch. What community could endure this state of things, without becoming intoxicated with excitement and rage?
But this arm of the Executive was at last compelled to interpose; and the Prophet seeing the determined position of the Governor, suddenly began to feel that he was not unlimited in authority and that there was power to assert the majesty of insulted law. Immediately the haughty, proud, vain and self-sufficient despot, diffed his imperial robes and mantling himself, in hypercritical humility, he bowed seemingly to the dictates of the law. But could the law reach him? No! its arm was palsied, and to him it was nothing more than a spider's web.
Joe and Hiram Smith, at the time their lives were taken, were in the custody of the officers of the law; and it is asked by those who condemn the act, why the law was not first allowed to take its course before violence was resorted to? We answr that the course of law in the case of these wretches would have been a mere mockery; and such was the conviction of every sensible man.
It is a well ascertained fact, that the prisoners were well provided with fire arms and other weapons. Who is to be blamed for this, it is unnecessary for our present purpose to enquire. The fact however, is unquestionable. The jail is situated in the extreme outskirting of the town of Carthage -- having but one or two small buildings in its vicinity. The prisoners were confined in the jailor's parlor the windows of which were not bared, and the door was unfastened. They were only kept for confinement by the presence of seven guards, armed with muskets. Now, when we take into consideration the fact that the prisoners were athletic men, that they were four in number, that it was in their power to rush down stairs on the guard who were not prepared for a close encounter, at any time, it will appear self-evident to every reflecting mind that with the assistance of a few friends, they could easily by sacrificing the guards have affected an escape. Had one of the guards been shot down so as to call of the attention of his comrads for a moment the prisoners could have rushed upon them, attacked them in the rear and having all the advantages of weapons for a close encounter, could have instantly killed or overpowered their antagonists, and before aid from the town could have been procured would have effected their escape. Let the fact go forth to the world, that four prisoners, accused of the highest crimes known to our laws, who by their mere nod could at any moment command the services of hundreds of their followers, were placed for safe keeping in an isolated building on the prairie, not confined with either bars or bolts, but furnished with arms in abundance; and in such a place, to prevent the escape of such men, were stationed the mighty number of seven guards with muskets in their hands which would have been of no use to them in a close encounter. These are undeniably facts, and they will show to the world what chance the Anti-Mormon citizens of Hancock County had to obtain redress for long borne wrongs.
But besides all this, the fact has been ascertained, and the proof will soon be given to the world that a plan was maturing to release the prisoners, and had it not been for their death, they would have this moment been running at large, polluting by their presence the moral atmosphere around them. And had they escaped, they could have had nothing to fear after the next August election, as will be presently shown.
In the second place, let us suppose they would not have escaped but had stood their examination, and had been fully committed for trial. Could they have been convicted? To answer this question let us ask another. Can a felon ever be convicted of crime if he is allowed to select the grand jury that is to indict him, and the pettit jury before whom he is to be tried? Now let us examine the applicability of this question in reference to the case in hand. It is a well known fact that Joe Smith controlled a majority of the votes in this county. Last year he selected one of his miserable cat's paws for County Commissioner; at the next August election, he would have selected another, which would have given him the complete control of the County Commissioner's Court. This Court selects the Grant and Pettit Hurors; or in other words, Joe Smith would through them have chosen; first the men who could alone bring him to trial, and secondly, the jury before whom he would be arraigned. Will any man of common sense pretend to say, that under such circumstances the law could ever have been made to reach these guilty men? In no case, either in this State or elsewhere; had they ever in a single instance been brought to justice. Though guilty of almost every crime known to the laws, though they had followed robbery, swindling and counterfeiting for a livelihood -- though the seduction of innocence was with them a pastime; though blood was upon their skirts, yet the law had in every instance in which it had been tried, proved utterly ineffectual to bring these robbers, seducers and murderers to justice.
If we are to judge of the future by the past, what conclusion could we have come to, under the circumstances, other than that Joe and Hyrum Smith would although in the custody of the officer of the law, have escaped as in every instance heretofore. The fact was demonstrated -- the conviction was universal. Under such circumstances, what could have been done? Should we have laid quietly down, and suffer the tyrant to rivet the chains that had already galled us to madness. Should we have submitted passively to be robbed, and to see our fellow citizens robbed of property and liberty and knowing from the sad experience of the past, that there was no legal redress, spaniel like, licked the hand of our chastizer, and besought his forbearance? Such questions are insulting to few men. No man through whose veins courses one drop of that noble blood, which prompted our forefathers to throw off the yoke of British oppression, will ask his fellow freemen to kneel at the nod of any tyrant, not condemn him for asserting his liberty, even if in so doing he is obliged to commit a daring violation of law.
We claim, that the community in which we live, is a law abiding community, and that it will go as far to maintain the supremacy of the law as any other in the nation. Our citizens have regretted, and still regret the necessity that existed for taking the law in this particular instance, into their own hands; but that it would sooner or later have to be done, no one acquainted with the facts of the case, could deny. It was inevitable, and the only question was as to the proper time. In relation to this, we will remark, that Joe and Hirum Smith were regarded as the only individuals that could hold together the Mormon community. They were the instigators and authors of all our troubles. The only alternative then was, whether the guilty cause, should be removed and in the natural course of things suffer the evil to eradicate itself; or whether, we should have waited until renewed aggressions, had so far aroused a feeling of hostility, as to provoke the surrounding country to a general war of extermination. Either course, would have been a great violation of the law; but there was no other remedy; and the one or the other was inevitable.
Now we put the question to every generous man; is it not better that the blood of two guilty wretches, whose crimes had long awaited the vengeance of Heaven, has been shed and thus by cutting off the fountain head to dry up the stream of corruption; or would it have been better that they had escaped, as they inevitably would have done through the meshes of the law, and thus brought on a conflict, in which not only hundreds of valuable lives would have been lost, but the blood of the innocent mingled withthat of the guilty?
We have already extended this article to too great a length; neither space nor time will at present allow of an extended recital of facts. An address is however in course of preparation, at present, which if we do not mistake the hearts of a generous public, will produce a reaction as powerful, in our favor, from abroad as is the condemnation under which we at present rest.
TO THE WARSAW COMMITTEE. --
Gentlemen: I have received your communication on behalf of the citizens of Warsaw, stating their unalterable determination to compel the Mormons of your county to leave the State or otherwise to abandon their homes, and evacuate the county & asking my interference and influence to assist you in procuring the removal of the Mormons.
I have no reply whatever to make to that part of the letter which treats of the history, character and offences of the Mormons. I deem this however, a fit occasion to remark somewhat upon the character of the events which have just transpired. These evebts present reasons for my determination which must be noticed.
When I came to your county I announced the policy by which I intended to be governed. The law was my guide; and this you well understood. I announcedthis determination in numerous public addresses, and uniformly in my private concersation. I successively obtained a vote to sustain me in this course from every troop stationed at Carthage or who was visiting there. From the detachment of your town, and vicinity, who visited Carthage the day after the surrender of the Smiths, I obtained a similar pledge. I met them on the prairie, before they arrived in town, and as they must testify, stated to them at length the reasons which ought to influence them to keep the peace, and abide the operation of the laws. They gave every demonstration of satisfaction, and signified with unanimous acclamation that they would stand by in taking a strictly legal course.
All the other portions of the Hancock forces under my command were repeatedly and deeply pledged to sustain me in the same course. Under the firm and confident assurance of support thus obtained I demanded the surrender of the Smiths, and promised them security. In doing so, I now acknowledge that I erred and erred greviously, in relying with too much confidence upon men with whom I was but little acquainted. The idea that men could be treacherous under such circumstances was abhorent to my nature and rejected with indignation. Whatever your hatred of the Smiths might be, I was too confident you would respect your honor -- the honor of your county and State and the rights of defenceless prisoners. I could not believe that so much stupidity and baseness as was necessary for such an enterprise as the murder of defenceless prisoners in jail could be mustered in Hancock. What aggravated the transaction, as a matter personal to my honor as well as your own, and that of the State; selected a time to commit the deed when you believed I was in Nauvoo, in the power of the Mormons, and would most probably be murdered by them, by a way of retaliation. Upon the whole I cannot too strongly express my indignation and abhorence of the base and profligate act which has disgraced the State and raised suspicions in the minds of many in regard to my conduct in this matter, of the most painful character to my feelings.
I am happy however, to learn that these denunciations apply only to a small portion of the people of Warsaw and Hancock county. All the most responsible inhabitants ought to be acquitted of any direct participation with the conspirators. If they are culpable at all it is for not using their influence against the act, and for not communicating to me information which would have enabled me to prevent it. The intention of the people must to some extent have been whispered about and understood, and ought to have been communicated to me as commander in chief.
Under these circumstances, I am in but a poor situation to use my influence with the Mormons, to procure their removal. Your own people have destroyed whatever influence I might have otherwise possessed in that quarter to serve you. Your own conduct has placed me in a painfully suspicious attitude; and I have no hopes that I could now have a more persuasive influence with the Mormons, than I had with the perpetrators of the horrid deed which I sought to prevent. Under these circumstances, I cannot ask the Mormons to confide in me.
It must appear to them that they have been betrayed by somebody, and they do not know by whom.
If you mean to request me to exercise a forcible influence to expel them from the State; I answer you as I have uniformly done, that the law is my guide; and that I know of no law authorizing their expulsion. From this determination I have not swerved for an instant, from the beginning until this time. I see nothing now requiring any deviation. And besides, if I were ever so much determined to drive them out, I believe such is the abborrence against the base deed which some of you have committed, that I could not obtain voluntary aid from the people. I suppose that you are aware that a call for volunteers is the only mode in which a force can be raised, and that the force when raised, must be provisioned by voluntary contribution.
You had better not make too loud a call upon your fellow citizens; you may want their aid for defence, and may yet be glad to receive aid for defence, rather than aggression. I know the apprehensions which you entertain of Mormon violence, I will not now say whether your fears are well or ill founded. A little time will develope what may be expected. Taking the law for my guide, I can assure you, that although some of you have treated me badly, in thwarting my policy and violating my honor, and have acted basely towards defenceless prisoners, yet you are entitled to and are assured of all the force of the State to prevent or avenge illegal violence towards any of you. An enquiry must be made concerning the murderers. They must for the honor and credit of the State be dealt with according to law.
You ask a small force to be stationed in your County as a protection against small parties. You have not probably, duly considered how large a force would be necessary for this purpose. A small force could protect but a few points of attack and must necessarily leave the residue of this County exposed. A large force cannot be stationed there permanently. Your best protection is the assurance that, upon the first aggression or well defined threats, an overpowering force is ready to march directly to the scene of action.
I am informed that a design is still entertained at Warsaw of attacking Nauvoo. In this you will not be sustained by myself or the people. It is a part of my policy that you shall remain quiet, and if you please, watchful, but structly on the defensive; and I now announce to you that I will not be thwarted in this policy with impunity. I am most respectfully.
Your obediant servant,
Carthage, June 30th, 1844.
To the editor of the Warsaw Signal.
Permit me to correct a few errors into which I perceive you have fallen in your notice of events at Carthage during the last week. There are several errors; but I shall only refer to such as are connected with the discharge of my official duties. In the exhibition of the Mssrs. Smiths to the McDonough troops I acted by the request of the Governor, who directed me by taking them upon my right and left to designate each to the different companies, to redeem his promise of gratifying their curiosity. The ceremony was far from being intended, or supposed by the Governor or myself, as a compliment to them. No order was ever given by me for disarming the Carthage Greys, or putting them under arrest; and I am well assured, it was not countermanded by the Governor. The order was issued by me for the other troops to take charge of the Carthage Greys. The action of the Greys was predicated upon misapprehension, and I was assured at that time, as since, that no disrespect was designed for me or the Governor.
M. R. DEMING.
The Anti Mormons of each precinct are requested to hold meetings as soon as possible, and appoint delegates to attend a convention to be held at Carthage, on Saturday, the 20th inst. for the purpose of nominating candidates for County and State Offices, at the approaching election.
At a large meeting of the citizens of the town of Warsaw, held on Friday evening, July 5th, 1844, Mark Aldrich, Esq., was called to the chair and R. C. Gordon appointed Secretary.
William H. Roosevelt, Esq., after having briefly stated the object of the meeting, offered the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
RESOLVED, That the Citizens of that portion of Missouri and Iowa adjoining our borders, having with just promptitude met our call for assistance, on the night of the 27th of June, and the following days, are entitled to, and are hereby presented with the thanks and high considerations of the citizens of Warsaw.
Looking upon our wrongs in a just light, our friends in Missouri and Iowa, were willing to aid us to the utmost extent, and their conduct and sympathy on that memorable occasion shall ever be remembered by us. Their hospitality in receiving our families and the kind attention extended to them, are received with gratitude by that portion of our community, whose good feelings and kind regard are ever highly appreciated by the other sex.
RESOLVED, That the thanks of this meeting be presented to the citizens of Quincy, and Adams County, for the prompt manner in which they volunteered to aid the Governor and the citizens of Warsaw and Carthage while in iminent danger.
RESOLVED, That the thanks of this community be presented to the citizens of Quincy, for their hospitality in opening their doors to our families, when our town was in danger.
After which, the following resolution was offered and unanimously adopted:
RESOLVED, That we, the citizens of Hancock county, of both political parties, have to request politicians of both parties, not residents among us, that if they have any little business of their own to attend to at home, they will much oblige us by attending to it, at least until their services are required among us.
RESOLVED, That the proceeding of the meeting be signed by the Chairman and Secretary, and published in the Warsaw Signal, and as many other papers as will do us the kindness to publish the same,
On motion the meeting was adjourned.
MARK ALDRICK, Chair'm.
R. C. Gordon, Secretary.
To the Public: Mormon Difficulties in Illinois.
The summary execution of two of the Mormon leaders, Joseph and Hiram Smith, at Carthage, on the 27th of June,
has excited a deep unrest abroad as well as at home; and has brought upon us the severest invective of nearly
the whole newspaper press, as far as we have yet heard...
We hold it to be a self evident proposition, that laws are enacted for the safety and protection of the rights, lives
and property of those who are to be governed by them. We hold, moreover, that so long as those laws can afford
such protection, it is the duty of every good citizen to abide by their direction and to uphold their supremacy;
but that whenever, by a train of circumstances, which our legislators never could have anticipated, the law is
rendered ineffectual and cheated out of its efficacy, there is an impulse planted by God and Nature in every
bosom, which prompts men to throw themselves, for protection, on their reserved rights. The law owes us
protection, in consideration of which we owe it allegiance. If it fails to perform its offices towards
us, we are, to the extent of that failure, absolved from its requisitions....
The Mormons could not be expelled as a people without the cooperation of the Governor. True, he had no clearly
expressed Constitutional right to drive them off; no one supposed such a right existed; yet the people thought the
necessity of the case would justify it; and they still think so. But this could not be done. Joe and Hiram Smith,
their acknowledged heads, were in the custody of the law -- so far all was well, they had the promise of the
Governor's protection; this was not well, and we think was not generally known, until his Excellency proclaimed it
after the catastrophe. But what satisfaction could it afford the old citizens of Hancock, to know that Joe was in
jail? They know, and the world must know for reasons before given, that they never could be convicted of any crime.
We had taken a great deal of trouble to assert and maintain the supremacy of the law, but if the matter
rested here, justice might have despaired of his cause. It was this conviction that compressed their execution. Did
they deserve death? There can be no doubt in the mind of any intelligent person acquainted with their history. --
Evidence enough to damn them forty times over has been published. Read the history of the Missouri investigation --
Bennet's, Harris', Howe's and Tucker's works...
(under construction - not yet completed nor proofread)
Note 1: The final article's text is partly taken from a reprint.
Note 2: The text's list of anti-Mormon writers (Bennet, Harris, Howe and Tucker) is probably a misprint in the
final name -- which should perhaps read Turner.