TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH WILL RISE AGAIN. -- BRYANT.
Vol. I. - No. 10.
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Sat., June 18, 1842.
Whole No. 10.
For the Wasp.
MR. EDITOR: --
Mr. S. Francis, Editor of the 'Sangamo Journal,' in his
562nd number, has seen proper to attack me,
some of my friends, and the Nauvoo Institutions, in so unprovoked and ungentlemanly, a manner as to call for a few
passing remarks. The following is the article alluded to; to wit:
"LET HIM THAT READETH, UNDERSTAND!"
"The Editor of the State Register, and other Van Buren presses of this State, are endeavoring to create a sympathy in favor of the Mormons, the European Catholics, and the Van Buren office-holders, who are associated in politics, by charging some of our candidates with laboring to excite a spirit of persecution against them. We have heard one of Gen. Duncan's speeches, and he certainly said nothing about the Mormon or Catholic religion, but did say much, and the public has much to say, about the Van Buren office-holders, forming a coalition with those two churches, which are known, (so far as the Mormons and European Catholics are concerned,) under the dictation of their Pope, and Priests and Prophet. Mr. Van Buren's instructions to our Charge d'Affaires at Naples, to assure the Pope of Rome, that "it would afford him pleasure to extend the protections of the government to his (the Pope's) subjects in the United States," must be understood as an acknowledgment that a foreign potentate may, and does hold the subjects, in this land, by the Constitution and laws of which, every man is declared free and independent, and by which same constitution every citizen is prohibited from receiving any honorable title from, or holding allegiance to any foreign prince or power; and no man, with true American feelings, can regard the person, who would utter so servile a sentiment for the purpose of securing votes in his favor, influenced and controlled by a foreign power, in any other light than as a traitor to his country. The late Acts of the Legislature of New York, passed by a party vote of the Van Burenites, in obedience to the dictation of Bishop Hughes, is another evidence of the disposition of this organized office seeking party, to still further secure the votes of the subjects of His Holiness in this country.
The people have much to say, and will say much also, in relation to the CORRUPT BARGAIN between the leaders of the same party in Illinois, and Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, by which they have formed a league to govern the State. They give him power, and he is to give them votes. It is for exposing this infamous and dangerous plot, that the editor of the State Register is endeavoring to create a sympathy in favor of the Mormons, by a hypocritical attempt to raise the cry of persecution.
And in order to put the public in full possession of what we consider conclusive evidence of the existence of such a nefarious PLOT AND LEAGUE, we have been at considerable trouble to embody and now present them various extracts from the Acts which grant odious and dangerous powers to the Mormons, from the "Times and Seasons," their newspaper, and from the Journals of the Legislature, which Journals clearly show that it was the leaders of the Van Buren party, who smuggled those Acts through the Legislature; --
The 10th section of the Act incorporating the Nauvoo House Association, is in the following words: --
'And whereas Joseph Smith has furnished the said association with the ground whereon to erect said House, it is further declared that the said Smith, and his heirs shall hold by PERPETUAL SUCCESSION a suit of rooms in the said House, to be set apart and conveyed in due form of law.'
See acts of 1841, page 152.
The only objection the public can have to this provision is the attempt to entail an estate upon the family of this head of the Mormon church; which is a principle odious to freemen, is against the spirit and genius of our government, and if this office seeking party be once fairly established in power through the influence of this coalition, will undoubtedly be followed in its usual accompaniment of an hereditary title, to be held by him and his heirs in like perpetual succession.
The act incorporating the City of Nauvoo, confers upon the Mormons most extraordinary powers, Section 24 of this act provides for the establishment of a University, conferring upon its officers legislative powers, equal to those possessed by the Legislature itself.
Section 25 of the same act provides for the establishment of a military corps of
indefinite size, called "Legion," to the officers of which are granted powers both
dangerous and offensive. By it, the commissioned military officers are
constituted the "LAW MAKING power," with no restriction whatever, except the
constitution of the United States and of this State, -- the force of which may be
seen from the entire section as follows: --
'The City Council may organize the inhabitants of said city subject
to military duty, into a body of independent military men, to be called the
'Nauvoo Legion,' the court martial of which shall be composed of the
commissioned officers of said Legion, and constitute the law-making power,
with full power and authority to make, ordain, establish, and
execute all such laws and ordinances as may be considered necessary for the
benefit, government, and regulation of said Legion; Provided, said court
martial shall pass no law or act, repugnant to, or inconsistent with, the
constitution of the United States or of this State.. The said Legion shall perform
the same amount of military duty as is now, or may be hereafter required of the
regular militia of the State, and shall be at the disposal of the Mayor in executing
the laws and ordinances of the city corporation, and the laws of the State, and at
the disposal of the Governor for the public defence, and the execution of the laws of
the State or of the United States, and shall be entitled to their proportion of
the public arms; and provided also, that said Legion shall be exempt from
all other military duty.'
Under the power conferred by this section the Mormons have created the office of Lieutenant General, and have
elected Joe Smith to the same, who has actually been commissioned by the Governor as such officer, which makes
him the highest military officer in the United States, and when in the service of the United States, he will
command all its armies. Gen. WASHINGTON was appointed Lieutenant General after the revolution,
but since his resignation the office remained vacant in the army of the United States, and thus Joe Smith is believed
to be the only officer of that rank now in this country. He is certainly the superior of all the militia officers of
Illinois, and in service will rank above them all. Although some question his right to command Gen. Scott, if called
into the service of the United States, yet it is the opinion of experienced military men with whom we have conferred,
that there is no doubt upon this point, as no rule is better understood or more clearly settled in our country, than
that, when a regular and militia officer are acting together in the United States service, if of the same grade the
former takes precedence, but if the militia officer is of superior rank, he is entitled to the command; and thus, as
Lieutenant General is higher than Major General, and the latter is the highest office in the army of the United States,
there can be no doubt, that when in the service of the United States, Lieutenant General Joseph Smith will command her
Thus it will be seen that the "law-making power" given to this extraordinary military corps, composed as it is
chiefly of foreigners, is bad enough. But it is not worse than the omission to require of its officers an oath to
support the constitution of the United States, and of this State. -- The 26th section of the same act exempts these
privileged Mormons from working on the public roads, and only requires of them three days work in the year upon the
streets of their city, while all other citizens may be compelled to work each year five days upon the roads.
Section 27, of the same act is in the following words:
'The city council shall have power to provide for the punishment of
offenders by imprisonment in the county or city jail, in all cases, when such
offenders shall fail or refuse to pay the fines and forfeitures, which may
be recovered against them.' (See Acts of 1841, page 57.)
Here power is given to the Mormons to imprison, for an indefinite and unlimited period, which may be extended to
continue during his life, any person who may be unable to unwillingly pay any fine they may choose to impose for
any breach, real or imaginary, of any law or ordinance they may choose to enact. And as an example of the danger our
citizens are in from this power, being lodged in their hands, we copy from the Times and Seasons, of October 1st, 1841,
the first law passed by this extraordinary corporation under their most extraordinary charter. It is entitled: --
'An Ordinance in relation to religious societies.
'Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians,
Methodists, Baptists, Latter-Day Saints, Quakers, Episcopalians, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans, and all
other religious sects, and denominations, whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges, in this city,
and should any person be guilty of ridiculing, abusing, or otherwise depreciating another, in consequence of
his religion, or of disturbing, or interrupting, any religious meeting, within the limits of this city, he shall
on conviction thereof before the Mayor, or Municipal Court, be considered a disturber of the public peace, and fined
in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both, at the discretion of
said Mayor, or Court.
'Sec. 2nd. It is hereby made the duty of all municipal officers to notice, and report to the Mayor, any breach or
violation of this or any other ordinance of this city that may come within their knowledge, or of which they may be
advised; and any officer aforesaid is hereby fully authorized to arrest all such violators of rule, law, and order
either with or without, process.
'Sec. 3d. This ordinance to take effect and be in force, from and after its passage.
Passed, March 1st, 1841
JOHN C. BENNETT, Mayor.
James Sloan, Recorder."
We would enquire, what citizen can be safe in passing through that favored city, if he is liable to a fine of five
hundred dollars and imprisonment for six months, (and for life if he cannot pay the fine), for "ridiculing, abusing,
or otherwise depreciating" the Mormon or any other religion, especially when it is made the duty of every
officer to notice and report it to the Mayor, who is the final judge in the case? and that, too, without the ordinary
process of law, which in every other case, and before every other tribunal in the State is considered indispensable to
the protection of the liberty and property of citizens?
Enough, we think, has been quoted from these laws, to shew that more power than is safe, proper, or consistent with the
liberty and security of our citizens has been conferred upon this Mormon Church, and thus has been consummated that
most to be deprecated and justly odious of all unions, that of Church and State -- the Church here being constituted
the law making power in four distinct departments, the civil government. the military, the judiciary, and the literary.
Now for the history of the passage of these acts through the Legislature, the how, and the wherefore. These measures
were introduced into the Senate by Mr. Little, a whig Senator from Hancock county, who held his seat, (we believe,)
by Mormon votes, and, therefore, may have felt bound to present them, whether he voted for them or not.
The first in order, being the bill to incorporate the city of Nauvoo, after being thus introduced was, a motion of
Mr. Richardson, read a second time by its title, and on motion of Mr. Little referred to the committee on the judiciary
(see Senate Journal, Friday, 27th November, 1840,) and was on the 5th day of December, 1840 (see Senate Journal,
page 45,) reported back by Mr. Snyder, from the committee on the judiciary, to whom the same had been referred, with
an amendment, which was concurred in, and the bill ordered to be engrossed and read a third time. No vote on this bill
appears to have been recorded in the Senate, and the above is all that we can find in its Journal respecting it.
In the House of Representatives on the 10th of December, on motion of Mr. Dodge, this bill was considered, and on
motion of Mr. Turney, the rules of the House were dispensed with, and it was read the first and second time by its
title, and referred to the committee on the judiciary. (See House Journal, page 100).
On the 12th day of the same month, Mr. Kitchell, from the committee on the Judiciary to whom the same had been
referred, reported this bill back to the House without amendment, and it was ordered to a third reading -- when
Mr. Oliver moved to dispense with the rules of the House, and that the bill be read a third time by its title, which
was agreed to, and the bill was passed. (See House Journal, page 110.)
This the short history of the passage of an act incorporating a city, establishing an university, creating an
independent military legion, and authorizing the imprisonment of our citizens, all without recording a vote at any
stage in either house, and without reading the bill at all, in the House of Representatives. It will be borne in
mind, that Mr. Little, though a whig, was elected by the Mormons, and that every other person who took an active
part in smuggling this bill through the legislature, was of the organized Van Buren party; neither must it be
forgotten that these persons profess to be opposed to all acts of incorporation, and were on all other occasions
very strenuous to have a repealing clause in all such acts, although no such clause was proposed to this act.
The evidence that a corrupt motive influenced certain leaders to effect the passage of this act, does not stop here.
We have the report of a speech made by Mr. Hicks, of Jefferson county, before a considerable audience at the court
house in which is found the following:
'Mr. Hicks said, he had examined the charters granted to the Mormons -- that he was opposed to all such incorporations,
and was about to oppose these, but was persuaded to let them pass by his democratic friends, who assured him that
if they could get these bills through, the Mormons would vote for their candidates at the next election, and as he
had differed on some other occasions from his democratic friends, which had given offence, he was induced to abandon
his opposition to these bills and let them pass.'
It will be seen by the following letter from the Mormon Prophet, which we copy from the Times & Seasons of
May 6th, 1841, that Judge Douglass, who is notoriously one of the greatest managers of the party, and who has boasted
of having introduced the Van Buren Convention system in this State, has had an efficient agency in procuring the
passage of these measures; and if he had no hand in making the bargain, the public have a right to call him to explain
how he has ever proved himself friendly to the people, and how and with whom he interested himself
to obtain these several charters, holding as he did at the time, the office of Secretary of State; and why did they
vote him the freedom of the city?
'CITY OF NAUVOO, May 6th, 1841.
To the editors of the Times and Seasons:
Gentlemen, -- I wish through the medium of your paper to make known, that on Sunday last I had the honor of receiving
a visit from the Hon. Stephen A. Douglass, Justice of the Supreme Court and Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of
the State of Illinois * * * who addressed the assembly and expressed his satisfaction at what
he had seen and heard respecting our people, and took that opportunity of returning thanks to the citizens of Nauvoo,
for conferring upon him the freedom of the city, stating that he was not aware of rendering us any services of
sufficient importance to deserve such marked honor. Judge Douglass has ever proved himself friendly to this
people, and interested himself to obtain for us our several charters, holding at the time the office of Secretary of
I am, very respectfully, yours, &c.
If an honorable or pure motive induced Judge Douglass to use his official influence with the legislature, let him
show how, and with whom he used his influence. He certainly cannot plead ignorance of the outrageous provisions of
these "great chartered privileges." But the Judge's connection with, or service to, these Mormons, does not stop
here, as appears from the following extract from a General order of Lieut. General Joseph Smith, which was occasioned
by a controversy between the Nauvoo legion and the Hancock county militia, in which the Judge takes sides with the
Mormons; and as appears from the papers, appointed the Mormon Major General Bennett, Master in Chancery, to protect
the Mormons. -- This appears to have given great offence to the citizens of that county. The General order referred
to is published in the Times and Seasons of May 15, 1841.
'NAUVOO LEGION, Head Quarters Nauvoo }
Legion, City of Nauvoo, Ills., May 4, 1842. }
* * * As will be seen by the following opinion of Judge Douglass, of the Supreme Court of
the State of Illinois, than whom no man stands more deservedly high in the public estimation, as an able and profound
jurist, politician and statesman; the officers and privates belonging to the Legion, are exempt from all
military duty, not required by the legally constituted authorities thereof, they are therefore expressly
inhibited from performing any military service not ordered by the general officers, or directed by the court martial.
* * * '
Here follows the opinion of Judge Douglass, which shows that he prejudged and decided, by volunteering an opinion
upon matters of law that were almost certain to come before him for adjudication in his judicial capacity -- besides
which he appointed the Mormon Major General Bennett, Master in Chancery, in reference to this particular case. Comment
upon a course so extraordinary, unprecedented and abhorrent to all who value the purity and independence of the
judiciary, is useless and renders unnecessary any remarks upon the conduct imputed to him by rumor, in relation to
his discharging this Joe Smith from arrest by virtue of a State warrant issued upon the requisition of the Governor
of Missouri, in which State Joe was indicted for high treason -- and similar conduct in granting anew trial to two
Mormons, convicted of larceny by a jury, and the entry of a nolle prosequi by the State's Attorney, another
Van Buren disciple.
The general order proceeds: --
'If officers act upon the obsolete laws of the 'little book' which have been repealed tears since, it will be sweet
to the taste but 'make the belly bitter,' and should any civil or military officer attempt to enforce the collection
of any military fines upon the members of the Legion, excepting when such fines are assessed by the court martial of
the Legion, such persons are directed to apply to the Master in Chancery for Hancock county, for an injunction to
stay the illegal proceedings.
'JOSEPH SMITH, Lieut. General.
'JOHN C. BENNETT, Maj. General.'
And he might have added, "Mayor of the City of Nauvoo, Chancellor of the University, master in Chancery for
Hancock Circuit Court, and Quarter Master General of Illinois."
This appointment by Judge Douglass of Major General Bennett as master in Chancery, called forth severe strictures
upon Bennett and Douglass, from a press located in a neighboring village, as will be seen from an extract from the
'Times and Seasons' of June 15, 1841.
'THE WARSAW SIGNAL.'
'We can hardly find language to express our surprise and disapprobation at the conduct of the editor of the Signal
as manifested in that paper of the 19th ult. We have fondly hoped that the sentiments therein expressed would never
have dared to be uttered by any individual in this community in which we reside, and we would ask the editor of the
Signal, what is the cause of his hostility, of his sudden and unexpected ebulition of feeling, this spirit of
opposition and animosity? Whose rights have been disturbed? Gen. Bennett has been appointed Master in Chancery, by
Judge Douglass; and Gen. Bennett is a Mormon.' * * *
Again, Governor Carlin has not been wanting in his contributions to pamper the pride and gratify the ambition of the
warlike people. He appointed General Bennett his Quarter Master General, by virtue of which office he has possession
of all the arms of the State, and has actually taken most of them to the head quarters of the Nauvoo Legion. And what
renders the Governor's servility to this people still more conspicuous and odious, is his having permitted Bennett to
continue to hold the office of Quarter Master General of this State, while Major General of the Nauvoo Legion; offices
wholly incompatible with each other; -- and that this was the case is evident from two general orders issued by
Bennett, one in each of the before mentioned capacities and published in the 'Times and Seasons' of May 15th, 1841.
The heading, signatures and some extracts from one bearing date, 4th May, 1841, have already been given; -- the other
is as follows:
'State of Illinois, City of Nauvoo }
Quarter Master General's Office}
May 8th A. D. 1841.
To the Militia of Illinois, etc. etc. * * * * * *
Signed, JOHN C. BENNETT,
Quarter Master General of Illinois.'
In order to exhibit the spirit actuating, and the designs intended by these Mormon allies of the organized Van Buren
office-seeking party, we introduce a few extracts from their writings and speeches. The first id from an oration
delivered by Sidney Rigdon:
'We take God and all the Holy Angels to witness this day, that we warn all men in the name of Jesus Christ, to come
on us no more forever. The man or set of men, who attempt it, does it at the expense of their lives.
* * *
No man shall be at liberty to come into our streets, to threaten us with mobs, for if he does, he shall atone for it
before he leaves the place; neither shall he be at liberty, to villify and slander any of us, for suffer it we will not;
neither will we indulge any man, or set of men, in instituting vexatious law-suits against us, to cheat us out of our
just rights; if they attempt it we say woe be unto them. We this day then proclaim ourselves free, with a
purpose and a determination, that never can be broken, no never, NO NEVER, NO NEVER.'
In the book of Covenants, page 191, is found the following:
'Wherefore I say unto you, that I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant, (namely the book of Mormon) even that
which was from the beginning, and that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth,
shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself
shall be laid low of power.'
On page 76:
'Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may. Prepare ye, prepare ye
for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is sheathed in
heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth, that they that will not hear the voice of his servants,
neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; Wherefore I
have called upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised to thrash the nations by the power
of my spirit; and their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler, and I will gird up their
loins, and they shall fight manfully for me, and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword
in their behalf; and with the fire of my indignation will I preserve them.'
The following is by Parley P. Pratt, one of the Mormon twelve apostles:
'The Government of the United States has been engaged, for upwards of seven years, in gathering the remnant of Joseph
(the Indians) to the very place where they will finally build the New Jerusalem; a city of Zion; with the acquisition
of the believing gentiles, who will gather with them from all the nations of the earth; and this gathering is clearly
predicted in the book of Mormon, and the place appointed, and the time set for its fulfillment; and except the gentiles
repent of all their abominations and embrace the same covenant, (the book of Mormon) and come into the same place of
gathering, they will soon be destroyed from off the face of the land, as it is written by Isaiah, 'The nation and
kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish." And I will state as a prophesy, that there will not be an unbelieving
gentile on the face of this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure
overthrown in 5 or 10 years from this date, (1838,) then the book of Mormon will have proved itself false.'
William W. Phelps, Post-master, in the county of Caldwell, Mo., makes the following statement on oath in a judicial
'Mr. Rigdon arose and made an address to them, in which he spoke of having borne persecutions, and law-suits, and
other privations, and did not intend to bear them any longer, that they meant to resist the law, and if a sheriff
came after them with writs they would kill him, and if any body opposed them, they would take off their heads."
"Joseph Smith, jr. followed Mr. Rigdon, approving his sentiments, and said that was what they intended to do.
Mr. Rigdon then commenced making covenants with uplifted hands, one of which was, that if any persons from the
surrounding country came into their town, walking about, no odds who he might be, any one of that meeting should
kill him, and throw him aside into the brush. Another covenant was, to conceal all things. These measures were
carried unanimously in the form of covenants with uplifted hands. Mr. Rigdon then observed, that the kingdom of
Heaven had no secrets, that yesterday a man slipped his wind, and was dragged into the hazel brush; and, said he,
the man who lisps it shall die.'
We conclude the mass of testimony compiled for the purpose of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt the positions
assumed by us, by quoting a proclamation of Lieutenant General Joseph Smith, which is said by some of his Van Buren
friends to have been issued by him in consequence of his nomination for Lieutenant Governor, in the Van Buren
Convention -- it being a principle with that party for every person, when fairly initiated, to use his utmost
exertions to sustain its measures. But we think the evidence of its being in pursuance of a corrupt bargain, sticks
out too plainly to impose such an excuse upon the people. But we give the document from the "Times and Seasons,"
in which it was published:
To my friends in Illinois: --
City of Nauvoo, Illinois,
December 20th, A. D. 1841.
The Gubernatorial Convention of the State of Illinois, have nominated Colonel Adam W. Snyder for GOVERNOR, and
Colonel John Moore for LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR of the State of Illinois -- election to take place in August next. --
Colonel Moore, like Judge Douglass, and Esq. Warren, was an intimate friend of General Bennett, long before that
gentleman became a member of our community; and General Bennett informed us that no men were more efficient
in assisting him to procure our Chartered Privileges than were Colonel Snyder and Colonel Moore. -- They are
sterling men, and friends of equal rights -- opposed to the oppressor's grasp, and the tyrant's rod. With such
men at the head of our State Government we have nothing to fear. In the next canvass we shall be influenced by
no PARTY consideration -- and no Carthagenian coalescence or collusion, with our people will be suffered to affect,
or operate against General Bennett or any other of our tried friends already semi-officially in the field; so
the partizans in this county who expect to divide the friends of humanity and equal rights will find themselves
mistaken -- we care not a fig for WHIG or DEMOCRAT: they are both alike to us; but we shall go for our FRIENDS,
our Tried Friends, and the Cause of Human Liberty which is the cause of God. We are aware that "Divide and Conquer"
is the watch-word with many, but with us it cannot be done -- we love liberty too well -- we have suffered too
much to be easily duped -- we have no cat's-paws amongst us. We voted for Gen. Harrison because we LOVED him --
he was a Gallant Officer and a Tried Statesman; but this is no reason why we should always be governed by his
FRIENDS -- he is now Dead and all of his friends are not ours. We claim the privileges of freemen, and shall act
accordingly. Douglass is a Master Spirit, and his friends and our friends -- we are willing to cast our banner
on the air, and fight by his side in the cause of humanity, and equal rights -- the cause of liberty and the
law. Snyder, and Moore, are his friends -- they are ours. These men are free from the prejudices and superstitions
of the age, and such men we love, and such men will ever receive our support, be their political predilections what
they may. Snyder, and Moore, are known to be our friends; their friendship is vouched for by those whom we have
tried. We will never be justly charged with the sin of ingratitude -- they have served us, and we will serve them.
Lieutenant General of the
To every one who has given the foregoing a careful perusal, we would put the question -- Can any candid man,
who is not blinded by the desire or hope of getting a office, doubt for an instant that the VAN
BUREN PARTY -- by which we mean those who are striving to live upon the public,
and fatten upon its resources and the office holders and seekers -- are willing and desirous to connect themselves
with any faction, and even willing to sacrifice the dearest rights of their country upon the altar of personal
ambition, and private gain, for the purpose of obtaining power, and the emoluments of office? -- Remember how
long they clung to the railroad system and the Canal, even after our credit was prostrated, and our resources
exhausted, with no other object in view than to continue their partizans in office by securing the foreign votes.
These means having failed, they now seek the same and by forming an union with the Mormons, the Catholic powers
of Europe, and the nullifers of the South, -- and thus to form a party of discordant elements, whose only bond
of union, and common object is, power and spoil. In view of these facts, has not the time come when the
PEOPLE -- the honest, the hard working, the tax-paying People -- should take the management
of the Government into their own hands, and drive from their posts, and confine to their proper sphere, all those
office-holding, office seeking drones, who have been multiplied in the country for the purpose of ruling it, and
have sought to trample upon its liberties that they might riot upon its distresses -- and in which unholy designs
they have been for the last twelve years successful?
[Note: John C. Bennett's response to the above lengthy article begins immediately below:]
The foregoing article shows so little regard for truth, and the reasoning is so palpably fallacious, that I consider
it useless to multiply many words on the subject, but, as the object and political designs of the writer are so
apparent, and the times so portentous, I cannot refrain from a duty which I owe both to myself, and the public.
1st. The 'NAUVOO LEGION.' This military body, possesses, in the County of Hancock,
the same corporate powers as appertain to the Invincible Dragoons or the 2nd Division of Illinois Militia,' in the
counties of White, Edwards, and Wabash, AND NO OTHERS WHATEVER. I wrote, and procured, the
charters for both corporations -- they are both alike. Why does not Mr. Francis attack the Dragoons
as well as the Legion? Simply because it would afford him no political capital. They are the two best military
bodies in the State, and are dissimilar only in point of numbers. Both charters are perpetual and in both corporations
the Court Martial, composed of the commissioned officers, constitutes the 'law-making power' so much dreaded
by Mr. Francis. The 'Louisville Legion,' the 'Louisiana Legion,' and the 'Albany (B------ C------), ' are the same
kind of corporations, and are to Kentucky, Louisiana, and New York, what the 'Invincible Dragoons' and the 'Nauvoo
Legion,' are to Illinois, and nothing more. They are all effective military forces, incorporated for the purpose of
more perfect discipline; and who that loves his country would object to that! None. No, not one! But the
Court Martial, the 'law making power,' of the Nauvoo Legion us to Mr. Francis, like the Upas tree of death --
he is instantly seized with Hydrophobia, and the spirit of the demoniac shows itself in every paragraph. Who ever
heard of a corporation without a ;law making power'! No one on earth, and none ever contemplated such an anomaly --
it would be like a body devoid of the principle of vivification, inoperative and useless.
2nd. The 'CITY OF NAUVOO.' This charter I likewise wrote and procured, without any
'CORRUPT BARGAIN,' or nefarious 'PLOT AND LEAGUE,' as charged by Mr. Francis -- neither
did 'Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet,' as he calls him, ever see or converse with, the leaders of either party
on this subject, prior to the granting of the charters now under consideration; and I am bold to say, that this city
possesses no unusual or extraordinary powers -- certainly none which are not possessed in common by Chicago,
Springfield, Quincy, or any other city. Have not all cities the use of a county or city jail? Certainly they
have, and Mr. Francis knows it as well as any other man -- for if he is so ignorant as that, he certainly deserves
expatriation. Neither is the Mayor the 'final judge,' as Mr. Francis says, for any person may appeal from the decision
of the Mayor or any Alderman to the Municipal Court, and from the Municipal to the Circuit Court of Hancock County,
and from the Circuit to the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. So all is safe yet, Mr. Francis. If the city Council
of Nauvoo have passed any illegal ordinances, let the party aggrieved apply to the judiciary for redress, and have the
ordinances set aside -- there would be no difficulty in such a case whatever. Come, Mr. Francis, if you are a law
abiding man, redress the grievances by due course of law, and there will be no barrier interposed. But this, I presume,
would not answer your party purposes in the coming election. I repeat it again -- NAUVOO POSSESSES NO UNUSUAL
POWERS WHATEVER, and I defy the proof to the contrary.
3d. The 'CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER
DAY SAINTS,' or Mormons. This body is incorporated under the general act and not by
special grant, and possesses no power or privileges but what is common to all other churches in Illinois.
4th. The 'UNIVERSITY OF THE CITY OF NAUVOO.' This corporation is vested
with such plenary powers as appertain to any other college or university in Illinpoi, and such only. Read,
Mr. Francis, and 'Let him that readeth, understand.'
5th. SIDNEY RIGDON, Esq. This gentleman speaks for himself, and 'he that hath ears to
hear, let him hear' --
'Personally appeared before me, Hiram Kimball an Alderman of the City of Nauvoo, Sidney Rigdon,
who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith that if William W. Phelps ever swore to the statement in
the Sangamo Journal of the 10th of June, 1842, he swore for Missouri, and to that which I now declare under
oath to be palpably false, and further this deponent saith not.
Sworn and subscribed before me, this 14th day of June, 1842.
HIRAM KIMBALL, Alderman.'
Mr. Phelps now resides in this city, and can speak for himself.
6th. GENERAL JOSEPH SMITH. As to the election of this gentleman,
I alone am responsible. If there is any moral turpitude attached to it, let it be placed upon my head. I organized
the military forces of this city, and the circumscent county, like a Roman Legion -- a Legion with Cohorts --
and Joseph Smith was duly elected Lieutenant General, which every military man knows is a
reviewing, and not a commanding, officer. George Washington, as Major General, was a
fighting and commanding officer; but, as Lieutenant General, he was the chief reviewing officer:
so of all others. The peculiar organization of the Nauvoo Legion required that General Smith should be placed
in his present situation as the one most appropriate. In relation to his commission there was no option with the
Executive -- he was bound to issue the authenticated return of the election: and if General Smith commands all the
Armies of the United States by rank, (according to Mr. Francis,) so mote it be; the Legion will then take the
right of the [forces], and Illinois will form No. 1, of the General Grand Encampment.
7th. This paragraph I appropriate to my own case. On the 20th day of February, 1839, I was elected and commissioned
Brigadier General of the Invincible Dragoons of the 2nd division of Illinois Militia. This office I resigned to
Major General John M. Robinson, of White County; and on the 20th day of July, 1840, I was appointed and commissioned
Quarter Master General of the State of Illinois, by His Excellency, Thomas Carlin, Governor and Commander-in-Chief;
and on the 5th day of February, 1841, I was elected and commissioned Major General of the Nauvoo Legion. When at
Governor Carlin's, on official business, he informed me that it was the opinion of his military advisors that I
had vacated the office of Quarter Master General by accepting that of Major General, and that he considered
himself bound to supply the vacancy, which he accordingly did in the appointment of Colonel J. M. Bassett. I,
however, was of a different opinion, and told the Governor that his advisers were neither military men, nor
acquainted with military law, or the customs and regulations of the regular army -- that an office in the
staff could not be incompatible with one in the line; and that no military men would ever dispute
it for a moment; but, in order to satisfy the public mind I addressed a letter to Judge Young on the subject,
dated -- July 16th, 1841, requesting him to obtain the professional opinion of General Scott which follows --
'War Office, Aug. 4th, 1841.
I hasten to reply to your lertter of yesterday. You state this case: -- Gen. J. C. Bennett being the
Quarter Master General of Illinois (-- it is presumed, with the rank of Brigadier General --) he is elected,
in a seperate organization of a portion of the State, a Major General, and commissioned accordingly.
The professional question put to me, is -- Are the two offices incompatible with each other: -- in other words,
does the acceptance of the second, vacate the first?
I answer -- not necessarily: -- not unless there be something express to that effect, in the Constitution
or laws of Illinois. The first office is in the general staff of the state: -- the second in the line of the militia
generally, or in the line of the seperate organization.
For example: -- General Jesup is the Quarter Master General of the U. S. Army, which gives him, from the date of
appointment, the rank of Brigadier General, under one act of Congress, and under another, for ten years faithful
service, in that rank he was made a Major General by brevet. As Quarter Master General he served as Brigidier
General; in all other situations -- that is, out of the Staff, his other commission making him a Major
If the law of Illinois does not give the rank of Brigidier or Major General, to the officer appointed Quarter
Master General, there is not even the show of incompatibility between the two commissions of Gen. J. C. Bennett
in the statement laid before me.
It will be understood, of course, that, as Major General of the Army, I do not presume to have the least possible
authority over questions arising in the militia, under the laws of the particular States. I venture merely to
give, for what it may be worth, my professional opinion on a point submitted to me,
I have the honor to remain,
Hon. R. M. Young,
U. States Senate.'
Your ob. Serv.
The 4th Sec. of 'An Act for the Organization and Government of the Militia of this State' -- Approved,
March 2nd, 1833, and now in force, reads as follows --
'Sec. 4. That there shall be one Adjutant General, Quarter Master General, and Pay Master General, to be appointed
by the Commander-in-Chief, to rank respectively as Colonels of Cavalry;' etc., etc. So it will be seen that there
was not even the 'show' of incompatibility between my two commissions. I would advise Mr. Francis to study
military law before he again speaks of the incompatibility of a staff office with an officer of the line.
Any military man giving such as opinion should be cashiered for incompetency.
As Quarter Master of the State of Illinois, I issued orders to the Warden of the Penitentiary, who had the custody
of the public arms, directing as equitable a distribution as possible, both of those furnished on my designation
and requisition and that of General Pearce, my predecessor; neither did I at any time order an undue proportion
of the Nauvoo Legion, but positively refused to supply the full draft for which they had given binds to the Executive,
on the grounds that other parts of the State had older claims. These claims I ordered to be supplied in order of
date, having at the same time a due regard to the limited supply for the General Government. Illinois should have
drawn for about eighty thousand troops, (which would have supplied all the demands of the State,) whereas, form
official neglect, she has drawn for only about thirty thousand. Let this be regulated by the appropriate deputants
military and semi-military, and there will be no lack of public arms -- no complaining that a small draft had
swallowed them up -- and no feeling on this subject. There is an abundant supply of arms for the State if the proper
legal steps are taken to procure them: and the public weal requires that every independent company in the State
should be furnished with its full quota, and this I hope that Colonel Cooley, the successor of Colonel Bennett,
As a general officer of the line, I have always been a strict disciplinarian, and I always shall be, knowing as I
do that no military force can be made Respectable or Available, either in peace or war, without self-discipline,
and due subordination. If it is necessary that a military organization be kept up at all, it should be Effective,
Well Drilled, and Always Ready For The Public Service. Such, by indefatigable exertions, is the Nauvoo Legion,
the division of my special command as Major General. Illinois should be proud of such a corps: they would do her
honor in the tented field, and bear upon the warrior's shield -- victory LIBERTY, and LAW.
As Mayor of the City of Nauvoo, and Chancellor of the University, I have discharged my duities to the entire
satisfaction of all concerned, and shall pass over that matter as of no particular consequence.
The office of Master-in-Chancery for Hancock Circuit Court, has never, in my hands, been prostituted to the
subversion of the due course of law in the administration of public justice; nor has any person or party, either
in politics or religion, been made the subject of favorism, to the injury of another -- this boon, I presume, will
be awarded me by all. Let this suffice, then, in relation to myself.
8th. SIDNEY H. LITTLE, Esq. This gentleman was not elected by or in any way
dependant on the Mormons. He was a senator before the Mormons located in Hancock county, and utterly declined to
re-election. It is then, to say the least of it, ungentlemany and cruel to impugn his motives. He viewed the charter
as every other liberal statesman did before their eyes were jaundiced by the rancor and fury of party strife.
9th. I now close this article by stating that the charters under consideration were not passed on party grounds,
for the vote was unanimous in the senate in their favor, and there were only fifteen dissenting members in the
house of representatives; GOVERNOR DUNCAN'S friends voting for their passage in
both Houses, and in the COUNCIL OF REVISION.
I have done for the present -- will Mr. Francis publish?
Nauvoo, Ill., June 14, 1842.
JOHN C. BENNETT.
Note: An excerpt from this John C. Bennett June 14th letter to the Wasp was published in the Springfield
State Register of July 15, 1842 and
from there reprinted in the Peoria Democratic Press of
July 20, 1842. Both of these Democratic
organs heralded the June 14th letter as having been "suppressed" by the editor of the Sangamo Journal, after
he began publishing Bennett's series of hostile letters, exposing Joseph Smith, etc., in the columns of the
Journal on July 8, 1842.