About ten thousand of their fanatical adherents had been gathered within the limits of Missouri (Kimball's Journal, p. 69; Woodruff. Leaves from my Journal, p. 59). They felt their power, and were highly inclined to declare themselves "independent, above all other creatures beneath the celestial world" (Bennett, p. 312).
The prophecy of Daniel has been extremely abused at different periods by different bodies of insane sectaries, particularly by the so-called "Fifth Monarchy Men," who flourished during the English Revolution and immediately after the restoration of the Stuart dynasty. A similar madness took possession of Joseph and Sidney; the Theocracy became identified with "the little stone, spoken of by Daniel, which should roll on and crush all opposition to it, and ultimately should be established as a temporal as well as a spiritual kingdom" (Bennett, pp. 330, 335, 338).
"Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad"; on the Fourth of July Sidney with the consent and applause of Joseph issued a challenge to a war of extermination against the state of Missouri and the entire United States; they audaciously laid a token upon their shoulder and defied any power that could come nigh, to brush it away. The effects of this challenge were sustained during the summer by the preaching of Joseph who would appear to have recently become a student of the life of Mohamed. He said:
That he should yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; that if he was not left alone he would be a second Mohamed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean; that like Mohamed, whose motto in treating for peace was "the Alcoran or the Sword" so it should be eventually with us. "Joseph Smith or the Sword" (Bennett, p. 321).Besides his own fanatical followers the Indians who then resided a few miles distant just beyond the western border of Missouri were confidently expected to be the allies and supporters of the Theocracy, and they were cultivated with as much assiduity as might be convenient. During this same season, and perhaps shortly after the challenge of Sidney, Joseph remarked in a public discourse that he had fourteen thousand men not belonging to the church, who were ready at a moment's warning, which was generally understood to mean the Indians (Bennett, p. 310).
The Lamanites or Indians were from the outset a ridiculous weakness of the Mormons. Their Indian tendencies had been mentioned as one of the chief reasons why it would be inconvenient to the hospitable and excellent people of Clay county to permit further to remain among them (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 62). The committee of nine, who were appointed on the 29th of June 1836 affirmed that their guests "were charged with keeping up a constant communication with the Indian tribes on the frontier; with declaring even from the pulpit that the Indians are a part of God's chosen people, and are destined by heaven to inherit this land in common with themselves. The best and bravest of the citizens of Missouri had now become really apprehensive on that point" (Bennett, pp. 309-310). One of the clearest reasons for his action when he called out the militia to oppose the Mormons was stated by Governor Boggs to be that "there were signs of Indian disturbances and of civil disturbances in Caldwell, Daviess and Carroll counties (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 154).
Besides his exertions to corrupt the Indians, Joseph engaged in other efforts to prepare for the onset of the state of Missouri if ever it should suit their convenience to accept the challenge which had been so wantonly exhibited on the Fourth of July. Shortly after the establishment of Caldwell county by the legislature of Missouri, on the 26th of December 1836, the militia of the county had been organized at the insistance of Mr. W. W. Phelps. A battalion was enlisted and George M. Hinkle was chosen to be Colonel, Lyman Wight,
Lt. Col, and Reed Peck, Major. The above officers had been recognized by the constituted authorities and had received commissions from the Governor (Early Scenes, p. 88).
This arrangement was not at present agreeable to Joseph and Sidney. W. W. Phelps had been excluded from the church in April 1833, while George M. Hinkle and Reed Peck were both suspected of cultivating intimate relations with the members of the "Pure Church," otherwise designated as the "church of Christ." It was therefore every way desirable that their power as military authorities should be circumscribed and crippled as much as possible; they could not be trusted in any sore emergency.
Consequently just after the organization of the Danites, who were soon brought to embrace many of the able-bodied men at the disposal of the Theocracy (Bennett, p. 311), it was resolved to establish a new military organization under the name of the "Host of Israel" (Lee, Life and Confessions, p. 57). Mr. Lee affirms that this project was completed shortly before the election in August 1838. In harmony with the preposterous literalism of the Theocracy the "Host of Israel," which included all who were any way capable of rendering military service was organized under captains of ten, captains of fifty and captains of a hundred after the model of the ancient "Host of Israel" (Lee, p. 57; Bennett, pp. 329-330).
But while this was the case it was found convenient to diverge from the "ancient order of things," by electing three field
officers: George W. Robinson was chosen Colonel of the "Host of Israel," for Caldwell county, Philo Dibble, Lieutenant Colonel, and Seymour Brunson, Major (Early Scenes, p. 88). In the eye of the law this was a treasonable organization; both in form and in fact it was a mob, just as truly as were the Danites.
Everything was now believed to be in prime condition for action. On the sixth of August 1838, just one month and two days after the challenge to a war of extermination had been delivered, during which time it had been published and was also commenced in the Elder's Journal, the customary election for a couple of Congressmen occurred. To all appearance the state of Missouri had given no attention to the defiance that was given by the Theocracy. The Theocracy was spoiling for a fight, and was weary of waiting upon the motions of its adversary. An election is commonly a fine opportunity to provoke a quarrel and the Theocracy were awake to everything that looked like an opportunity. Nothing of the sort befell in Caldwell county where the Mormons were in the ascendancy, although by this time a respectable minority of anti-Mormons had appeared, so that it was important if they would triumph for the faithful to act in unison even there (Early Scenes, p. 90). In Daviess county on the contrary, which had been established by the legislature just three days after Caldwell
was founded, the situation was otherwise; there the Gentiles were by far the most numerous, but the Mormons held the balance of power between the Whig and Democratic parties (Lee, p. 56). At this period of their history they were voting with the Democrats and opposing the Whigs.
Political excitement was running high (Davis and Durrie, p. 115). Mr. Wm. P. Peniston, Colonel of the 60th Regiment of Missouri Militia was at the polls in Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess, where he resided. As a person of some degree of local prominence he was likely solicited to address the people, although he was not at the moment a candidate for any office. In the course of his remarks he assumed the position that the Mormons were no more entitled to the benefits of the electoral franchise than the colored population; for if the latter were in slavery the Mormons were likewise the slaves of the theocratic Presidency (Caswall, p. 162).
About thirty of the Saints were present to attend to the sentiments that were propounded in this harangue (Lee, p. 60). A conflict would be almost inevitable when the parties should become duly excited; neither did it signify much; election escapades of that sort were common everywhere. But this was just the kind of excuse that Sidney and Joseph were longing to obtain; in their estimation the state of Missouri had now stepped forward to brush away the token that had been resting upon the shoulder of the Theocracy ever since the Fourth of July. The Theocracy were intent upon making the most of a trifling opportunity.
Tidings of the affair at Gallatin reached Far West with the usual accompaniments of exaggeration. It was reported that several of the Mormons had been killed, and that their bodies were denied the benefits of burial by reason of the wrath of their adversaries (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 137). No report could have been more welcome; immediately Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney the members of the First Presidency were at the head of a mob of a hundred men, and on their way to the Mormon settlement at Adam-ondi-Ahman (Bennett, p. 325; Juv. Inst., 12, p. 137). In the ride of twenty-five miles that intervened between Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 111), many visions of glory must have passed before this precious trio. Joseph had embraced an opportunity to declare in his public addresses that "he could revolutionize the United States, and that if provoked he would do it" (Bennett, p. 317). His prediction relating to the "one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean" would often cross his thoughts. The Theocracy was marching forth to its conquest, which would not be arrested until all nations should acknowledge its authority.
The 7th of August 1838 was an era in the history of Mormonism; the Theocracy crossed the Rubicon and took up arms against the world. Joseph's mob did not set its course towards Gallatin, where it would have been possible to undertake an investigation; it laid its way for Adam-ondi-Ahman where it might increase its numbers. Many of the faithful are said to have joined themselves to the ranks before Adam-ondi-Ahman was reached (Juv. Inst., vol. 12, p. 137).
At the house of Lyman Wight, the chief man of Adam-ondi-Ahman, the trio came to their sober second thoughts. The brethren who entered the encounter at Gallatin on the preceding day had come out of it with flying colors; they had been able to take care of themselves. But it would be an exceedingly difficult business to explain the present lawless proceeding of the Theocracy in levying war against the county of Daviess and the commonwealth of Missouri. Revolving this matter in his thoughts during the night of the 7th of August Joseph fell upon a scheme which he believed would enable him to conceal his own action and that of the insolent mob which marched at his heels.
The terms of that scheme were to intimidate all the people who could be supposed to have personal knowledge of this hostile invasion of Daviess county. Adam Black, a Justice of the Peace, resided in the vicinity of Adam-ondi-Ahman (Juv. Inst., vol. 12, p. 137); he had sold to Vinson Knight, the Bishop of Adam-ondi-Ahman, the landed estate upon which that worthy resided. If Governor Boggs at Jefferson City should obtain official information such as would justify him in taking action against the prophet for his lawless movement against the county of Daviess, he reflected that it must occur by the agency of a Justice of the Peace. If however, it should be in the power of Joseph to provide that nobody should appear before Justice Black for the purpose of making affidavit touching the invasion of Daviess county the affair might pass away without ever coming to the ears of the Chief Magistrate.
The first project that he fell upon was to deal with Black in person. Accordingly he prepared a document which he considered it would be important to compel the Justice of the Peace to subscribe. The next step befell on the morning of the 8th of August, when Joseph appeared at the house of Justice Black with an armed force said to number 154 men (Bennett, p. 309); Dr. Avard, who was present, estimates that there were from 150 to 200 men (Bennett, p. 325). Arrived at the residence of Black this fanatical mob immediately surrounded it and gave him orders to affix his name to the writing that was thrust before his eyes. As a natural consequence Mr. Black was alarmed. Avard says that if Black had not given the company some kind of satisfaction it was the common understanding that he was to be violently dealt with (Bennett, p. 325). Black declares for himself that the party threatened him with instant death (Bennett, p. 309).
But Mrs. Black kept her head, and showed as courageous a temper as may anywhere be observed. In the teeth of the howling mob she rebuked the prophet with vigor, and told him she supposed that he had come to steal something from the house (Caswall, p. 163). Possibly it was due to her dauntless spirit that her husband was enabled to summon a sufficient amount of courage to decline to affix his signature to the paper which Joseph had brought along. On the contrary he asked the privilege of composing a paper for himself such as he should be willing to subscribe, and this privilege was conceded, by the lawbreakers who had undertaken to coerce him. The text of that paper has been preserved and reads as follows:
"I, Adam Black, a Justice of the Peace of Daviess County do hereby sertify to the people coled Mormin, that he is bound to support the constitution of this State, and of the United States, and he is not attached to any mob, nor will attach himself to any such people, and so long as they will not molest me I will not molest them. This the 8th day of August, 1838. Adam Black, J. P."The effrontery with which Joseph was enabled to denominate the people of Daviess county against whom he had now levied causeless war, as nothing better than a mob, is of a piece with others of his achievements. Mr. Black was not a distinguished master of the art of expression, but in the last clause of the above paper he is understood to engage that in case the Mormon people should leave him alone he would not molest them. This engagement he was fully persuaded to keep inviolate. He was so highly intimidated by the dangerous bearing of Joseph and his fierce mobocratic followers that it was full twenty days before he got courage enough to peep or mutter against one of the most dastardly outrages. The affidavit which he was finally induced to subscribe and forward to the Governor of the state of Missouri was not uttered until the 28th day of August (Bennett, p. 309).
But Joseph was not content merely to frighten Mr. Black so that he would abstain from fulfilling the sworn duties of his office; he likewise conceived the purpose to frighten the other citizens of Daviess county to such an extent that they would not be disposed to ask the services of a Justice of the Peace in order to
bring the lawless proceedings of the prophet to the attention of the rightfully constituted authorities. Hyrum Smith deposes to the following intent:
Joseph also requested Mr. Black to call together the most influential men of the county the next day, that we might have an interview with them; to this he acquiesced, and accordingly the next day they assembled at the house of Colonel Wight, and entered into a mutual covenant of peace to put down mob violence, and to protect each other in the enjoyment of their rights. After this we all parted with the best of feelings, and each man returned to his own home (Lucy Smith, p. 239).Posterity is indebted to the Mormons for tidings of this large and singular meeting of the 9th of August 1838. The Gentile citizens of Daviess county were there brought to such a disgraceful pass that ever afterward none of them was solicitous to allude to that painful occurrence in their history. In all the depositions that have been printed regarding these events no citizen of Daviess permitted himself to publish the shame of that day. It was in some sort of a disgrace to the hardy men of that region that they should have so far lost their spirit as to permit the mob that Joseph led to force them into such outrageous measures. Every one of them was as much intimidated as was his worship Mr. Adam Black. It was two thirds of a month before any of them could become aware of the shocking indignity that had been imposed upon them. When this circumstance is considered
it will appear a matter of surprise that the mobocratic prophet accomplished so little. If instead of quietly returning to Far West on the morning of the 10th of August, he had turned the head of his column towards St. Louis, it appears to be possible that he might have entered the city in triumph.
Thus began and ended the famous campaign of four days. The military who performed it were for the most part members of the "Host of Israel," who were under the command of their recently elected Colonel George W. Robinson; Lieutenant Colonel Philo Dibble of the "Host of Israel" was left behind in command of Far West (Early Scenes, p. 88). About twenty of the Danites also went along under the command of Dr. Sampson Avard, their founder and at that period their chief leader (Bennett, p. 328). George M. Hinkle and Reed Peck, one the Colonel and the other the Major of the lawfully organized militia of Caldwell county were entirely ignored. It would not have been possible perhaps to have their services in such an outrageous breach of law and order.
After the aforesaid disgraceful delay the citizens of Daviess county began to awake and to assert the majesty of the law against the prophet who in the service of his Theocracy had ruthlessly trampled upon the law and upon themselves. Mr. Adam Black was by some process induced to screw his courage to the sticking place and on the 28th of August he made an affidavit touching the shameful breach of the peace which had been committed against him. William Dryden,
the Justice of the Peace before whom Mr. Black made his sworn statement, shortly issued a writ for the arrest of Alanson Ripley and George A. Smith, a couple of leaders of the mob who chanced to reside at Adam-ondi-Ahman. The above writ was committed to a special deputy, for the reason that the constable had been driven from the county "by and through fear of the Mormons." Mr. Nathaniel H. Blakely, the special deputy, summoned a guard of ten men, and made his way to Adam-ondi-Ahman, but force was employed to drive them out of town, and they were constrained to return without the prisoners (Bennett, p. 312).
Judge Austin A. King of the Fifth Judicial Circuit gave his attention to the enterprise of arresting the lawless prophet. A writ that was founded upon an affidavit made by Colonel Peniston was sent to Far West by the hands of the Sheriff of Daviess county; Joseph refused to obey the summons but professed his willingness to be tried in Caldwell county. On the other hand it appears that the offense was committed in Daviess and not in Caldwell county, and also that it was an impossibility to procure a verdict against Mr. Smith for any kind of offense in Caldwell. From Mormon accounts the point is clear that the sheriff of Daviess went on two several occasions to interview Joseph on this business without success; the mob was too strong for the law (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 153).
That act of defiance on the part of the prophet and of his adherents in Daviess county created a deal of excitement. The men of Daviess being unable to execute the laws, it was not long before the citizens of other counties came forward to assist them (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 153-4).
The Theocracy affirmed that when God speaks he must be obeyed, whether his word comes in contact with the laws of the land or not; and as the kingdom spoken of by Daniel had been set up its laws must be obeyed (Bennett, p. 338). But the whole of northwestern Missouri were at length united in the conviction that it was right to resist the insolent mobocrat, who in the name of religion was violating every bond of social order.
Historical authorities have not transmitted the exact date of the writ that was returned with dishonor by Joseph from his stronghold at Far West, but it must have been towards the close of the month of August when Governor Boggs perceived the peril of the situation. If he would prevent the embarrassments of an armed conflict between the lawless "Host of Israel" and the almost equally lawless bodies of citizens who had collected to the number of times hundred at Millport in Daviess, he must speedily summon the militia. Accordingly he issued orders to Atchison, Clark, Lucas, Wallock, Bolton, Crowther and Grant, who were Generals of Division in different portions of the state, to the effect that they should each raise some companies of cavalry and infantry for immediate service (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 154).
A portion of the troops were on the ground of action before the 6th of September 1838. Joseph who had previously carried his head in the clouds now became alarmed. It entered into his mind that it might be a prudent thing if the leader of the insolent Theocracy should condescend a trifle "to befriend that law which is the constitutional law of the land."
With his cumstomary shrewdness he sends a messenger who should summon from Liberty his former counsel Messrs. Atchison and Doniphan (Early Scenes, p. 88). General Atchison having already succeeded in raising from his Division the quota of troops which had been required by the Governor, came in haste to inquire for what purpose his presence had been desired by Joseph (Early Scenes, p. 88). A hundred of the militia did him escort service. The prophet on his part had formed the plan of going to the trial in Daviess with all his own forces collected at his back. Atchison knew the temper of the people of Missouri too well to permit his client to improve his cause after that fashion; the only guard that was allowed was believed to have been the hundred troops whom General Atchison had brought along from Clay county (Early Scenes, p. 88).
Some of those troops under the influence of General Atchison must have been comparatively sweet upon Joseph. A scene which the garrulous old Lucy Smith describes may have been enacted in one or other form by them (Lucy Smith, pp. 233-235). It was also at this moment that Joseph and Sidney undertook the important step of becoming students of the law (Stenhouse, p. 83). For a number of years after this date it was the pride of Mr. Rigdon to be designated as an Attorney at Law (Bennett, p. 210; p. 156). He is even reported to have endeavored the task of earning a livelihood in that character shortly after he had occasion to quit Nauvoo in the year 1842.
Thursday the 6th of September was fixed as the day for the appearance of the criminals of the Theocracy at their trial in the
county of Daviess (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 154). The scene of the occurrence was laid midway between Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman (Early Scenes, p. 88), where the troops who had been enlisted from various sections of the state under orders from the Governor had been encamped (Lee, Life and Confessions, p. 64). The prosecutor, Colonel Wm. P. Peniston, upon whose motion the writ had been issued was not ready for trial, and the brethren were compelled to return and wait upon his convenience the next day.
When Atchison declined to permit the heads of the Theocracy to be guarded to the scene of trial either by the "Host of Israel" or by the Danites, he solemnly assured Joseph that he would be equal to the task of giving him complete protection. But as the prophet entered the camp of the state troops on the morning of the 6th of September, he perceived that they were decidedly unfavorable to him; so extreme was their hostility that he conceived there was room to question whether General Atchison might be able to hold their passions in check. Consequently it occurred to the mind of Mr. Smith that it would be wise and safe for him to perfect arrangements to protect himself. This was accomplished by ordering "a company of the brethren to accompany him to the line of Caldwell county, and there remain so as to be ready at a moment's warning, if there should be any difficulty at the trial" (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 154).
No difficulty befell at the trial; Joseph and the leading conspirators against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth, were found guilty and bound over to court in the sum of Five Hundred Dollars apiece (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 154).
But the business did not end there. The company of troops whom Joseph had collected at the borders of Caldwell county must have embraced nearly every able-bodied man within the limits of the county; the place of rendezvous could not have been more than a couple of miles from the scene of trial. The militia and the citizens were therefore greatly incensed by what in their eyes would appear to be an impudent proceeding on the part of the Theocracy. Joseph was understood to be endeavoring to intimidate themselves and the court of justice which they had been charged to protect. Instead of mending the business by submitting to be tried for his crime the prophet had only made it worse.
So much fuel was added to the flame that the men of the citizens' party were excited to the point of appearing in force before the town of Adam-ondi-Ahman on the morning of Saturday the 8th of September, for the purpose of besieging and capturing it (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 161). Their blood was thoroughly aroused; in an open issue between the Theocracy and their country they were resolved to defend the latter to the extent of their ability, although they were constrained to allow that they had no formal orders from the Chief Magistrate thus to assemble themselves against their enemies and his.
As soon as this action was announced the Mormons of Caldwell began to arrest the opponents of the Theocracy within their own county (Bennett, p. 313), it was apparently considered important to make the struggle as fierce as possible. They likewise sent troops from Caldwell to sustain
their beleaguered brethren at Adam-ondi-Ahman; a party were dispatched thither on the 8th of September and another on Sunday the 9th (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 161). To appearance these reinforcements were under the command of Major Seymour Brunson of the "Host of Israel" (Lee, Life and Confessions, p. 69). Besides Major General Atchison there was likewise called into service his law partner, the distinguished Alexander W. Doniphan, who was commander of the First Brigade of Atchison's Division (Stenhouse, p. 83). The latter is given out to have had under his command as many as Five Hundred soldiers, who had assembled in obedience to the call of the Governor (Kidder, p. 136). These were considered enough to hold in check the opposing parties, and so it appears that orders were not sent forward to the other commanders of Division whose names were mentioned above to put in motion the forces which they had enlisted to operate in this campaign.
Only a single occurrence of moment fell out during the remainder of the month of September. The forces which were operating against Adam-ondi-Ahman, were under the control of a certain Dr. Austin of Carroll county (Kidder, p. 135). Finding that he had a party of adherents at Richmond in Ray county, Austin sent thither for a collection of public arms, with which to provide his forces. Hearing of that enterprise the Mormons of Adam-ondi-Ahman were shrewd enough to prevent its completion; the arms were captured by a scouting party that had been sent forth under the command of Captain Allred and his band of ten men (D.&C., 12, 161). After they had procured them
the brethren were naturally afraid to employ these weapons against their enemies. They were shortly afterwards surrendered into the hands of Brigadier General Doniphan (Caswall, p. 166).
The five hundred militia under the direction of General Atchison were not required for any long season; they were disbanded on the 20th of September (Stenhouse, p. 83). Two companies of them were retained for thirty days after that date under the command of Brigadier General Parkes of Ray county, who was charged with the duty of watching the citizens and preventing them from making any assaults upon the Mormons (Caswall, p. 166). General Parkes performed his duties with so much energy that before the end of September, Daviess county was entirely at peace. Especially was the tune of Joseph and the Mormons changed. Addressing the Governor on the 27th of the month, General Atchison says: "I have found there is no cause of alarm on account of the Mormons; they are not to be feared; they are very much alarmed" (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 171).
The prophet had sowed to the wind; he was now reaping the whirlwind. It signified nothing hopeful that Daviess county became quiet during the last portion of the month of September 1838. The people of the state of Missouri, were much aroused by the circumstance that they had been challenged to a war of extermination, and that this war had just now been opened upon them. They were resolved to give the Theocracy as much of that kind of entertainment as they could desire; hostilities were by no means at an end; they were only transferred to another theatre. On the first of October they broke out at the town of De Witt in Carroll county.
At De Witt in Carroll county was a Mormon village, which Hyrum Smith asserts contained as many as seventy families (Lucy Smith, p. 240). It was situated about fifty miles south east of Far West, immediately on the banks of the Missouri River, and had been founded sometime prior to the establishment of Adam-ondi-Ahman in Davies (Handbook of Reference, p. 47). It was a convenient and desirable point for the Saints who might be making their way to Caldwell county by water, to quit the river; steamboats could likewise here discharge any cargo of freight that was intended for Far West. It is also possible that the personal interests of a couple of landed proprietors had some influence in directing the choice of the Mormons so that it might fall upon this particular spot (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 184).
It has been shown how the citizens of Clay county considered that they had solved the problem which threatened themselves and the state of Missouri, when they got the Mormons snugly packed away in the county of Caldwell. It was not in the calculation that they should transgress those limits and fix their residence in other
portions of the Commonwealth, where the same objection was felt to their presence as in Clay county. The purpose of the Missourians, therefore, almost throughout the Second Missouri War, went no farther than to drive the Mormons back to Caldwell county, where it was conceded they belonged; it was not until the 27th day of October 1838 that the notion of driving them beyond the limits of the state was broached (Stenhouse, p. 96).
Consequently it was held that the Saints at De Witt had no just right to a position in that section, and that it was important to drive them back to Far West, whence they had come forth. At the same time a meeting was held in Saline county for the purpose of warning away a handfull of the brethren who had found their way to that place (Lyman O. Littlefield: The Martyrs, Salt Lake, 1882, p. 28).
It was considered that Dr. Austin of Carroll county had won his spurs as a leader of the citizens who recently assembled to oppose the Mormons in Daviess county. Returning to his home he shortly collected a force of two or three hundred men (Stenhouse, p. 84), and sat down before the town of De Witt on the first of October 1838 (Caswall, p. 166; Handbook of Reference, p. 48). The men of Carroll appear to have cried out lustily for help (Bennett, pp. 313-4), but it was not bestowed very generously. The people of the adjoining county of Chariton sent a committee to investigate the grievance of their neighbors and after it had reported declined to send any sort of assistance (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 171). Jackson county gave them the loan of
a cannon and possibly a number of soldiers went along to keep it out of harm's way. Towards the close of the siege General Parkes, who had now come forward, speaks of five hundred troops who were under the command of Austin, which considering the exertions that were made does not appear to be a remarkable increase (Stenhouse, p. 84).
Shortly after information had come to hand relating to the distress of the Saints of De Witt, Joseph and Sidney went to their assistance (Kidder, p. 136; Caswall, p. 167), with about a hundred troops from Far West. Colonel Hinkle was in command of the defence of De Witt (Stenhouse, p. 84). This is an important circumstance. The members of the First Presidency had now received a wink regarding the impropriety of levying such a force as the "Host of Israel," and this excellent "Host" with its field officers was for the moment laid aside; a process by which the burdens of command were transferred to the shoulders of the rightful Colonel of the Caldwell militia. The state thereby gained a point against the Theocracy.
As soon as it was possible Joseph and Sidney sent an appeal to Governor Boggs, who is reported to have returned a very ungracious reply (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 183), which however it is believed the Mormon historians have constructed for their own uses. Instead of refusing to attend to their request, Boggs ordered General Parkes to march from Daviess to Carroll county, with the two companies that were under his command for the purpose of preserving the peace. The Mormons themselves in a contemporary document allow that the militia were on the ground (Tullidge, p. 257).
A report which General Parkes sent to Major General Atchison his commanding officer on the 7th of October, leads one to suspect that he had then been present a sufficient length of time to become familiar with the situation. He says:
"Nothing seems so much in demand here (to hear the Carroll county men talk), as Mormon scalps; as yet they are scarce. I believe Hinkle with the present force and position will beat Austin with five hundred of his troops. The Mormons say they will die before they will be driven out, etc. As yet they have acted on the defensive as far as I can learn. It is my settled opinion that the Mormons will have no rest until they leave; whether they will or not, time only can tell" (Stenhouse, p. 84).The tables were clearly turned; in Daviess county the militia of the state were of sufficient strength to overawe the party of the citizens, but now they were compelled merely to look on and play the role of spectators. Nevertheless General Parkes was not idle or unskillful. He had a settled, conviction, as appears from the above cited passage in his report, that it was out of the question for the Saints continuously to abide in De Witt; consequently he employed his exertions to procure for them the best terms of removal that lay within his reach. His diplomacy was skilful enough to enable him to engage the services of the two persons who, the Mormons declare, "had been the sole cause of the settlement of De Witt being made," to act in the character of mediators. These desired the Saints to make peace with
their assailants, and such was the confidence felt in their integrity, that the Saints acceded to the proposal.
The conditions that they offered were highly favorable; the garrison was allowed to march away with all their possessions and with the honors of war, while the brethren were to be paid for the lands and houses that were left behind, which latter were mere cabins and amounted to scarcely anything (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 184). The above favorable capitulation occurred on the 10th of October 1838; and a committee was appointed without delay for the purpose of putting a price upon the fixed estate of the Mormons (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 184). The business was speedily completed, and the whole party with Joseph, and perhaps Sidney also, at their head were prepared to set forward to Far West on the 11th of October (Juv. Inst.). For his enterprise in effecting this arrangement there can be no question that General Parkes deserved well both of his country and of the Mormons also. It was a reasonable and humane conclusion especially when it is considered that the Saints had just now been insane enough to provoke and begin a war of extermination against the people of Missouri.
On the other side the Mormons have always found a peculiar pleasure in slandering the character of General Parkes and of the troops under his command; especially Captain Bogart of Ray county, who had the honor to command one of the two companies that have been mentioned has suffered from their tongues and pens. Nothing would have been satisfactory to these haughty and insolent adherents of the Theocracy but for Parkes and his forces to join with themselves utterly in destroying the citizens of Missouri; these were esteemed to have no rights as long as the Theocracy was in existence, except to be exterminated out of hand.
Fifty wagons were in the train that quitted De Witt on the morning that has been indicated (Caswall, p. 167). Mormon authorities set down the number at seventy (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 184), but that figure would argue a larger amount of movable wealth and comfort than it is believed was in the possession of the people of the town.
Many stories are set afloat in Mormon prints to the effect that numbers of the garrison of De Witt perished of starvation, but the siege of only ten days was scarcely long or close enough for that; besides the oxen which were employed to draw the fifty wagons might have easily prevented a casualty of that color. During the march it unhappily fell out that a lady who had recently been confined by childbirth, succumbed to exposure and weariness, and was buried at the wayside without any coffin (Stenhouse, p. 85). This sad casualty has been much improved by Mormon writers, and the number of deaths has been several times multiplied (Lucy Smith, p. 242).
Fairness requires it to be added that when the war had progressed a little farther hatred against the Theocracy became so active that the people of Carroll county forgot to pay the sum that had been promised the Mormons in lieu of their real estate at De Witt (Caswall, p. 167).
It is not very likely that they arrived in Far West before Saturday, the 13th of October. The customary worship in Far West Hall on the next morning would afford a desired opportunity to relieve their painful emotions. The prophet entered the pulpit in great force, and as a natural consequence preached an intemperate discourse. He broke in right form with the peaceful policy which he had been wont to advocate in previous years, and informed the Saints that the time had come when they should avenge their own wrongs, and that all who were not for them to the extent of taking arms to sustain them should be considered to stand against them; that the property of such persons should be confiscated and their lives forfeited (Bennett, pp. 318-9). In conclusion "gave notice that he
wished the whole county collected the next day (Monday) at Far West" (Bennett, p. 325). Mormon historians affirm that the ground of this warlike proceeding lay in the conduct of the citizens of Carroll county, who after the surrender of De Witt had expressed their purpose to march into Daviess county for the purpose of driving the Saints from that place also (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). No materials are at hand that will avail to settle the question whether this is a true statement or merely one of the pretexts which the Mormons exhibit uncommon deftness in producing.
On Monday the 15th of October almost the entire male population of Caldwell county had assembled at the bidding of Mr. Smith; few were bold enough to declare by remaining away that they opposed his insane project (Bennett, p. 318). Joseph again took the pulpit for another harangue (Bennett, p. 325), which however, was not of much duration, and related chiefly to the ways and means of carrying on the war. He said this enterprise must be accomplished by the taking of spoils, and intimated that it was as much in order to rob the dissenters in Caldwell county as the Gentiles in Daviess (Bennett, pp. 334-5). For the purpose of encouraging and directing his soldiers, Mr. Smith related an antidote concerning a certain fabulous Dutchman who had a supply of potatoes which he refused to sell to a captain in command of troops. After perceiving that the owner of the tubers was not to be persuaded the captain turned away and gave orders that none of his men should permit him to find them disturbing the Dutchman's potatoes. Next morning, however, the Dutchman woke
up to the fact that not a single potato was left remaining in his patch, and yet the captain had no personal knowledge concerning the process by which they had been removed (Bennett, p. 325). The point of this anecdote consisted in the notice that was hereby supplied that Joseph did not mind how much property his people should steal in case the business was deftly performed, and without his personal knowledge (Bennett, p. 332). He even argued that our Savior was reduced to the necessity of stealing corn upon a certain occasion, when it was not possible for him otherwise to procure it.
The most important address that marked the day in question, was produced by Colonel Lyman Wight. This person appears to have introduced his observations with an inquiry of such significance that it was two several times proposed to Joseph in the presence of the entire assembly. The record says:
"Wight asked J. Smith, Jr., twice, if he had come to the point now to resist the law; that he wanted this matter now distinctly understood. He said he had succeeded in smoothing the matter over with Judge King, when he was out [September 7, 1838]; and that he defied the United States to take him; but that he had submitted to be taken (before Judge King), because he (Smith) had done so... Smith replied, the time had come when he should resist all law" (Bennett, p. 334).The meaning and interpretation of the language have reported that the period had now arrived when the Theocracy must always and everywhere assert its right to stand above every human government,
and that as members of the Theocracy the Mormons were not amenable to the laws of the state of Missouri, of the United States or of any other human authority. Apparently it was just after Joseph had made this insolent declaration that Colonel Wight condescended to suggest the plan which he had conceived regarding the war that they had begun. "He said that before the winter was over he thought he would be in St. Louis and take it" (Bennett, p. 325). John Corrill affirms that he expected mob after mob to arise which he would have to subdue in detail until he reached St. Louis, where Wight declared he intended to pass the winter (Kidder, p. 138).
The above scheme was very dear to Colonel Wight; it controlled the military operations of the Saints during the remainder of the war. At the close of the meeting it was considered expedient to put to the vote a series of resolutions which had been prepared in advance to embody and express the measures that Mr. Smith now proposed. It was therefore unanimously resolved that all the members of the church should take hold and help; those who had been backward in carrying on the warfare should now come forward, and their property should be consecrated, so far as might be necessary for the use of the army. If any man undertook to leave the place, and go to the enemy, he should be stopped and brought back or lose his life (Kidder, p. 137).
The business of speaking and resolving having been completed in due form the meeting was adjourned to the public square where the work of enlisting volunteers was begun. Of these Corrill, a reliable witness declares that several hundred were obtained;
two hundred were enrolled for service in Daviess county, and others inscribed their names for the purpose of guarding Far West from attack (Kidder, p. 137). In addition to these a so-called Fur Company was raised to do service in Caldwell county. Their function was to procure provisions and to impress teams and even men (Kidder, p. 137), in accordance with the hint that had been given regarding the propriety of robbing the disenters in Caldwell.
On Tuesday the 16th of October the army marched away to Daviess county under the general supervison of Joseph and Hyrum two members of the First Presidency (Bennett, p. 320); Sidney Rigdon was left behind with two hundred men in command at Far West (Caswall, p. 169). The force which marched away to adam-ondi-Ahman, was augmented by numerous able-bodied Saints in Daviess county. John D. Lee estimates that about three hundred and seventy five persons were in line (Life and Confessions, p. 68); John Corrill who was also an eyewitness speaks of as many as four or five hundred (Bennett, p. 330).
Caswall (p. 169) affirms that Apostle D. W. Patten was placed in control of the movement in Daviess county, but recent Mormon authority affirms that Colonel Hinkle, who had commanded at De Witt was likewise in authority here (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). It would be of consequence if that question could be settled. The recognition of Hinkle would indicate that the business was going forward in some sort under the auspices of the state militia; the removal of Hinkle would suggest that the Theocracy had now laid its dependence upon the Danites and upon the "Host of Israel." The latter is the more likely conclusion. Hinkle was
present at least for a portion of the time on this expedition into Daviess county, but apparently in no official or influential character; his authority was entirely disregarded (Bennett, pp. 334-5).
Mormon historians likewise affirm that the campaign in Daviess county was undertaken by the order of Brigadier General Doniphan (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). But General Doniphan was not at that moment engaged in the military service of the state. He had been dismissed from that service by the action of Major General Atchison, who on the 20th of August 1838 had disbanded the militia under his command. The order of the Governor by which General Doniphan was again called forth was not issued until several days after the Saints had begun their wild business in Daviess. Their invasion of Daviess was the very reason why General Doniphan was once more summoned to the field. The testimony which Hyrum Smith delivered before the court at Nauvoo a few years after these events is exceedingly confused, and in many points unreliable (Lucy Smith, p. 237-66). But there is embraced in it a single passage bearing on this business, which the historian should not pass by without notice. The prophet's brother deposes as follows:
"Soon after, we again applied for military aid, when General Doniphan came out with a force of sixty armed men to Far West; but they were in such a state of insubordination, that he said he could not control them, and it was thought advisable by Colonel Hinkle, Mr. Rigdon and others, that they should return home. General Doniphan
ordered Colonel Hinkle to call out the militia of Caldwell, and defend the town against the mob, for, said he, you have great reason to be alarmed; for, he said, Neil Gillum, from the Platte Country, had come down with two hundred armed men, and had taken up their station at Hunter's Mill, a place distant about seventeen or eighteen miles north-west of the town of Far West... (Lucy Smith, p. 240).The question recurs as to the precise date of the above described visit of General Doniphan. It will be observed that at the time it was performed Mr. Rigdon and Colonel Hinkle were the chief figures to be encountered in Far West. Nothing is reported concerning Joseph and Hyrum. This circumstance leads to the supposition that Doniphan with his escort came to Far West while Joseph and Hyrum were absent on the campaign in Daviess county, and conferred with Mr. Rigdon who was left behind with two hundred troops to defend the place. Further, this visit must have occurred about Saturday the 20th of October, when Colonel Hinkle, perceiving that his occupation was done in Daviess county and had returned to Far West to sulk in his tent. It is possible that the sixty armed men who provided General Doniphan the honor of supplying an escort were the company of Captain Bogart of Ray county, which had been retained after the balance of Atchison's forces were disbanded.
It will now be in order to consider the amount of General Doniphan's responsibility in precipitating the horrors of intestine war upon the commonwealth of Missouri. It is clear that the war was already in progress before General Doniphan undertook his visit to Far West, and
the militia of Caldwell county were already under arms; two hundred of them were at that moment under the command of Rigdon at Far West. On the other hand it is possible that General Doniphan, who appears to have been a person of impulsive temper, went far enough to permit an inconsiderate expression of some sort to escape his lips; a gentleman who had long performed the functions of legal counselor for the Mormons would be liable to fall into a blunder of that color. This remark would be treasured up, improved in appearance, and employed upon every occasion when it might be desirable to fabricate a pretext for lawless conduct. There is no question but that Doniphan was able to take care of himself upon ordinary occasions, but in his entire experience he had never encountered a diplomatist of the same shrewdness, capacity and unscrupulous temper as Joseph Smith. In the hands of the wily prophet, the admirable general and lawyer became nothing better than a puppet. Instead of mending matters by conference Doniphan ordinarily made them worse, and is believed to have brought upon himself very uncomfortable suspicions on the part of his contemporaries and fellow soldiers (Bennett, p. 315). But Doniphan was no traitor; he was a true man. Generous simplicity is always fair spoil for shrewd and practiced chicanery. Few men in America could successfully try conclusions with Mr. Smith at this point. As the result of present research it is fair to affirm that the hasty utterances of General Doniphan, however much they may have encouraged the Mormons, did not occasion the devastation by their hands of the county of Daviess. That was purely the result of the folly and iniquity of the Theocracy.
Tuesday the 16th of October was occupied by the march from Far West to Adam-ondi-Ahman. That night was improved for the purpose of another meeting like the one which had been held in Far West Hall on the morning of Monday the fifteenth. Mr. Smith put forward his customary reflections touching the importance of the Saints' protecting themselves and taking the kingdom. Here he is believed to have proposed for the first time distinctly in public the theory of the Fifth Monarchy Men, to the effect that the church was the little stone spoken of by Daniel, which should roll on and crush all opposition to it, and ultimately should be established as a temporal as well as a spiritual kingdom (Caswall, p. 169; cf. Bennett, p. 330).
Colonel Lyman Wight was also gracious enough to unfold again an outline of the military campaign which he had indicated already at Far West (Caswall, p. 169). Nothing short of the control of the entire state of Missouri would satisfy his ambition.
On Wednesday the 17th of October there was a snow storm (Bennett, p. 318), which operated to prevent the forces from immediately engaging in the scheme for which they had come into the county. The day appears to have been employed in distributing the forces into companies of different sizes from twenty men up to the number of
eighty (Bennett, p. 332), according to the emergencies of the particular service upon which it was expected they should be engaged. A Fur Company, like that which has been mentioned at Far West was organized and specially charged with the duty of plundering the citizens (Bennett, p. 332; cf. p. 320).
During the progress of this day and storm General Parkes, who it will be remembered, had recently been employed to prevent a bloody collision at De Witt in Carroll county, arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman, it is supposed, under special orders from Governor Boggs. He must have been charged here as heretofore to have a care that no breach of the peace should occur. This brave and efficient officer with his two companies, one of which, it is well known, was under the command of Captain Bogart, comprised all of the mobilized military force that the commonwealth just then had at its disposal, and they were by necessity sent forward wherever there was any call of duty or of danger. The march to Adam-ondi-Ahman under existing circumstances was every way a dangerous operation.
The peril of the situation occupied by Brigadier General Parkes and his faithful troops was much enhanced on the night of Wednesday the 17th by the unadvised action of some of the citizens of Daviess county. These perceiving that the Mormons had levied war and invaded the county, proceeded in their turn to unauthorized acts of violence, selecting as their victim the wife of Don Carlos Smith the youngest brother of Joseph. Hyrum Smith describes the unfortunate affair in the following terms:
On the evening that General Parkes arrived at Diahman, the wife of the late Don Carlos Smith, my brother, came in to Colonel Wight's, about eleven o'clock at night, bringing her two children along with her, one about two years and a half old, the other a babe in her arms. She came on foot a distance of three miles, and waded Grand River, and the water was then about waist deep, and the snow about three inches deep. She stated that a party of the mob, a gang of ruffians, had turned her out of doors, had taken her household goods and burnt up her house, and she had escaped by the skin of her teeth. Her husband at that time was in Western Tennessee, and she was living alone (Lucy Smith, p. 243).
The violence of the Mormon mob had begotten this violence of the citizens on the other side, but the persons who performed the dastardly act that is here described could not have been aware of the serious straits to which they were contributing to reduce General Parkes and his people. Hyrum Smith has left some intimations of the manner in which the Saints pressed upon the unfortunate Parkes. He says:
This cruel transaction excited the feelings of the people in Diahman, especially Col. Wight, and he asked Gen. Parks, in my hearing, how long we had got to suffer such base violence? Gen. Parks said he did not know how long. Col. Wight then asked him what should be done? Gen. Parks told him, "he should take a company of men, well armed, and go and disperse the mob, wherever he should find any collected together, and take away their arms." Col. Wight did precisely according to the orders of Gen. Parks, and my brother Joseph Smith, senior, made no words about it... (Lucy Smith, p. 243).
The customary virtuosity of the Smiths at the trade of delivering false witness it is thought may be observed in the above passage. The entire blame for the atrocities which were perpetrated by the Theocracy in Daviess county is laid down at the door of General Parkes, just as in a previous instance the invasion of the county was said to have been made under the order of General Doniphan. But General Parkes had come nigh for the special purpose of preventing these atrocities. There is nothing like the agility of Mormon chicanery, and yet Hyrum Smith enjoyed the reputation of special sanctity. Possibly General Parkes in the overwhelming embarrassment and peril of his situation may have been weak enough to say something to Wight concerning the propriety of leading a force to the house of Don Carlos Smith and dispersing the wretches who had recently looted it. It was likely this small and apparently almost indispensable concession that has been employed as a pretext for the horrible crimes that were enacted in all portions of the county. Recent Mormon publications enjoy a sufficient amount of effrontery to mend the story by representing that "Lyman Wight held a commission as Colonel in the command of Parkes, and obtained permission from him to call out his men and go and put the mob down" (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). It is however, an established fact that Colonel Peniston was the commander of the militia of Daviess county (Bennett, p. 315). Colonel Wight had been in command of the militia in Caldwell county, but after his removal to Daviess county in the spring of 1838 he had forfeited the position, and possessed no military
footing except what he might lay claim to as the head of a mob that was designated as the "Host of Israel" in Daviess county.
Proceeding under authority this way assumed from General Parkes, on Thursday morning at sunrise were issued orders for all the citizens to be safely removed beyond the limits of the county within three days (Bennett, p. 315); the period ran out at sunrise of Sunday the 21st of October (Bennett, pp. 335-6).
In the next place Wight collected the troops and made them a splendid address of which the following account has been transmitted by an eye-witness: "Colonel Wight called together every man and boy that could carry arms. When the forces were assembled Col. Wight made a war speech. As he spoke he stood by his fine brown horse. There was a bear skin on his saddle. He had a red handkerchief about his head, regular Indian fashion, with the knot in front; bareheaded, in his shirt sleeves, with collar open, showing his naked breast. He held a large cutlass in his right hand. His manner of address struck terror to his enemies, while it charged his brethren with enthusiastic zeal, and forced them to believe that they were invincible and bullet proof. We were three hundred and seventy-five strong. I stood near Col. Wight while he was speaking, and I judge of its effect upon others by the way it affected me" (Lee, Life and Confessions, p. 68).
While this burst of oratory was performing, General Parkes, it would appear, was moving off with all speed for the laudable purpose of leading his small force beyond the reach of an explosion that might have been very bloody and unfortunate (Lee, p. 69).
Possibly it was the merit of Parkes to have conveyed to the Governor the earliest authentic accounts of the existing posture of affairs in Daviess county. The military history of the state of Missouri has not yet been composed; and many things must therefore be left without the advantages of definite date and detail, but upon the basis of the report which the commander of the above two faithful companies of militia, it would become clear to the executive that it was necessary once more to summon the forces of the commonwealth to arms.
On looking about them in the county of Daviess the Mormons were unable to discover anything like an armed force to resist them. A change of policy was therefore indispensable; as no armed force appeared it was conceived to be of good uses to destroy the places where they had formerly harbored (Kidder, p. 137). Of these Gallatin and Millport were the most prominent, though as a matter of course there would be numbers of private houses in different sections of the district which would be known as the residences of men who were more or less unfriendly to the church. Patten was sent to Gallatin with eighty men (Bennett, p. 319), who are believed to have been chiefly Danites. Lyman Wight with a like number of soldiers marched against Millport (Bennett, p. 320). The few citizens that chanced to be in either place upon their daily occasions were dispersed without any conflict. All of the houses in both places appear to have been plundered; some of the houses in each were likewise burned. Two other companies also went forth in other directions (Caswall, p. 170). The Fur Company was kept in active service in many quarters.
The work so favorably begun on Thursday the 18th, was pressed forward under the best of auspices on Friday and Saturday. Revenge was very sweet and the Saints of the Lord were enjoying it almost to their hearts' content. More hardships were likely inflicted upon the citizens of Daviess than had ever been experienced by the Mormons. The customary casualties of such wholesale measures was duly supplied by a woman in labor and by another woman who was compelled to fly when her infant was only four days old (Bennett, p. 315). It is impossible to clear a large and populous territory without some sorrows of that nature. Moreover, many were compelled to enter upon their flight without necessary clothing; their wives and little children wading in many instances through the snow without a shoe (Bennett, p. 315).
On Sunday, October the 21st a raiding party of two hundred went into the adjoining county of Livingston to plunder and misuse the people (Bennett, p. 315). Here they were also successful in laying hands upon the cannon which the citizens of Jackson had loaned to the citizens of Carroll for the purpose of reducing the town of De Witt (Kidder, p. 138; cf. Bennett, pp. 316 and 317).
After sunrise on Sunday morning the 21st, when the three days of grace were exhaused, the work of arresting those who had not yet been fortunate enough to quit the limits of the county, was apparently begun. One of the citizens who was arrested on Sunday night by Apostle Patten, reports that "while they were getting me into Diahman about midnight, I passed on between Millport and that place, and
counted ten houses on fire" (Bennett, p. 337). The whole number of houses that were destroyed during this raid is variously estimated at from eighty to one hundred and fifty (Kidder, p. 138). Hyrum Smith reports that the people left their houses and set them in flames merely for the sake of procuring an accusation of arson to be laid down against the much abused Mormons (Lucy Smith, pp. 243-4). It will hardly be required to give any attention to this lame explanation.
By Sunday the 21st of October nearly every Gentile had quitted the county (Bennett, pp. 314-5). On the 24th of October it was said they were all gone (Bennett, p. 318). Before that time it is likely that Apostle Patten had safely conveyed his forces back to Far West in Caldwell. It would have been an interesting spectacle to witness the three Hosannas with which Mr. Rigdon welcomed the conquerors at their triumphal entry (Caswall, p. 171).
These magnificent successes produced a marked effect upon the temper of Joseph; his schemes speedily reached to infinity. Suspecting that the cohesive power of plunder was superior to that of religion he even proposed to change his tactics, and become a temporal prince. George M. Hinkle deposes as follows with reference to this point:
After we came in from Diahman to Far West, from the last expedition to Daviess, Joseph Smith, Jr., said he intended to hoist a war flag, or standard, on the square in Far West, on which he intended to write "Religion aside, and free Toleration to all Religions and to all People that would flock to it," and that he believed thousands
in the surrounding country would flock to it, and give him force sufficient to accomplish his designs in maintaining his flag and carrying on the war (Bennett, p. 335).
Apostle Patten the commander of the Danites was exulting in his newly won bombastic military title; in one of his paroxysms of delight Joseph had bestowed upon him the designation of "Captain Fearnaught," and his ambition rose to a promising height. Colonel Wight's plan of campaign, by means of which the mob should be whipped in detail, was apparently adopted without considering whether the silly mob would sit still and consent to be whipped in detail. But in case they were stupid enough to concede that point haste was still important if the Saints expected to carry the work to such a point that it would be feasible for them to winter quietly in St. Louis. On the contrary,
while Mr. Smith was not indifferent to the benefits of military renown he was chiefly solicitous to finger the spoils that should thereby accrue. He enjoyed to tell the brethren "that as they had commenced consecrating in Daviess county, that he intended to have the surrounding counties consecrated to him; that the time had come when the riches of the Gentiles should be consecrated to the Saints (Bennett, p. 331).
During the absence of the army in Daviess a new invention that was expected to promote its efficiency was established at Far West. The Mormon penchant for literalizing the Scriptures has often been remarked upon. They read in the Book of Exodus concerning the work of the Lord in smiting all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, while the children of his own people were graciously passed over (Exodus, chapter 12), and considered that it would be desirable if a process of that kind might be carried forward in the state of Missouri. Consequently for months before the war began there were hints regarding the organization of such a process. In order to achieve success that way it was thought to be important to have the aid of the Indians, and an eyewitness declares that he heard Lyman Wight affirm that "they had twelve men (the Destroying Angels) of their church among the Indians, and that their object was to induce the Indians to join them in making war upon the Missourians" (Bennett, p. 311). Another eyewitness declares how "the public teachers have recently been very urgent in soliciting the people to fly to their towns for protection, as the time had arrived when the 'Flying
Angel' should pass through the land accompanied by the Indians" (Bennett, p. 310). Apparently an arrangement was meditated by which parties of Indians should accomplish the work of destruction under the guidance of Mormon elders who should inform them which houses to spare and which to consume.
In the existing exigency, however, the Indians had left the Saints to themselves. Therefore, on the night of Saturday, October 20th 1838, a special corps of twelve was formed under "the name of the Destruction Company for the purpose of burning and destroying... This burning was to be done secretly by going as incendiaries" (Bennett, p. 320).
Being now reinforced by this new branch of the military service, the policy was pursued of massing all the available forces at Far West, for the purpose of striking a blow at any point that it might be considered important to touch. In keeping with this warlike policy, Lyman Wight reached Far West on the evening of October the 24th with 300 soldiers from Daviess county (Lee, p. 73; Fragments of Experience, p. 50). Before this date the entire militia of Caldwell county had also been ordered to duty by the command of Higbee, the County Judge (Lucy Smith, p. 244; Stenhouse, p. 94). This hostile array was intended for nothing but speedy conquest.
The only hostile force within sight was encamped at a place called Buncombe in Ray county, about twelve miles north of Richmond the county seat (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). It was composed of 30 or 40 men (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200), under the command of Bogart, who is well known as one
of the two captains that were doing duty under the command of Brigadier General Parkes. Having retired before the superior force of the Mormons in Daviess on Thrusday the 18th of October these gentlemen had resorted to their own county of Ray for the purpose of affording what protection they might to their alarmed fellow citizens until such time as the Governor should find occasion to summon the militia of the entire state.
Captain Bogart was a Methodist preacher who had figured as a Major of Cavalry in the Black Hawk war of the year 1832 in Illinois, having commanded there a battallion of rangers which accomplished satisfactory service (Ford's History of Illinois, p. 125). Though he had subsequently quitted that state in ill odor (Ford, p. 260), he was yet a good soldier, and at the present instant was acting in the line of duty.
To all appearance, Apostle Patten as a rising military genius, had become a trifle jealous of Colonel Wight, and was solicitous to strike a decisive blow in which the latter should have no sort of share. In pursuance of this purpose he is believed to have kept his spies actively employed throughout the day of October the 24th in observing the movements of Captain Bogart. Two of them came to Far West as late as 11 o'clock in the evening in order to inform him where the enemy had established his camp at nightfall (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). The plan for a complete surprise of Bogart and his comrades was believed to be securely laid.
At the hour just now indicated Patten summoned his force consisting of about sixty or seventy men (Kimball, p. 54), under the pretext that eight of Bogart's
people had taken three of the Mormons, and carried off a number of horses and other property (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). The followers of Patten in this ride were nearly all, if not every one of them, Danites (Lee, p. 73). Their project was a lawless invasion of the county of Ray, for while it might have been within the province of County Judge Higbee, to command the lawful militia to defend the citizens of Caldwell, he yet had no authority to send anybody across the border.
The distance of twenty miles to a ford of Crooked River that lay just miles inside of Ray county was accomplished by daylight of the 25th of October (Fragments, pp. 50-1). By the instructions he had obtained from his spies it appears that Patten expected to find Bogart encamped at the house of one Fields (Kidder, p. 139), but he was disappointed. Possibly Bogart was aware that spies were on his track; to deceive them his camp might have been altered after nightfall to avoid a surprise. The combat is believed to have befallen on the farm of a certain Mr. McDaniel (Bennett, p. 329).
It chanced in the end that instead of Patten surprising Bogart, the triumph was on the other side; Bogart was fortunate enough to surprise Patten. The Mormons have never forgiven Captain Bogart, the skill and courage he displayed on this trying occasion; it would not be amiss if the people of Missouri should take some kind of care to honor his memory for the distinguised feat he accomplished on their behalf.
The Danites were severly punished in the encounter at Crooked River. Gideon Carter fell dead at the first fire; he was so much disfigured
that the brethren at first did not recognize him (Kimball's Journal, p. 57). Eleven others were wounded, among the number Apostle Patten and Mr. Patrick O'Banion, both fatally (Handbook of Reference, p. 48). James Holbrook and another Danite fell to fighting in the dark and did not perceive that they were fellow soldiers until they had done important injury each to the other (Lee, p. 73).
A wagon was procured in which six of those most seriously wounded were carried from the field (Fragments, p. 52). Of these Apostle Patten being in desperate straits was left at the house of a Saint named Winchester, who resided four miles from the scene of the action and perhaps within the limits of Caldwell county. He desired the friends who bore him away to stop earlier but they were apparently afraid to risk either the patient or themselves within the precincts of Ray county (Kimball's Journal, p. 54). Under the roof of the said Winchester, Patten made a pious end surrounded by the chief names of the hierarchy (Kimball's Journal, pp. 54-5).
O'Banion, who was carried to the house of President Rigdon in Far West, passed away shortly after the departure of his commander (Kimball, p. 57). By the representations of H. C. Kimball both of these brethren enjoyed the advantages of medical assistance, which was contrary to the requirements of strict Mormon orthodoxy.
Though Patten and his Danites were so severely punished they were yet sufficiently resolute to drive Captain Bogart and his men from the field (Kimball, p. 54); they also took plunder and about thirty horses belonging to the enemy (Kidder, p. 139). On the contrary it cannot
be called in question that the victory remained with the men of Ray county. They were fighting on their own soil; the Mormons were fighting in the character of invaders. It was confidently believed that one Danite could chase a thousand and two could put ten thousand to flight; that no Danite could be hurt by Gentile hands (Lee, p. 75). But the Danite prestige and faith were now destroyed; their confidence in the Lord, for the moment, was quite upset. John D. Lee declares, "I was thunderstruck to hear Joseph Smith, the apostle, say at the funeral of Capt. Patten, that the Mormons fell by the missiles of death the same as other men" (p. 75). With the leader of the Danites in his grave the corps had no more spirit; it is believed to have been immediately dissolved. A vivid impression of the gloom that rested over the camp of Israel is conveyed by the narrative of Mr. Heber C. Kimball, who with important significance remarks, "This was a gloomy time!" (Journal, p. 57).
On the other hand the people of Ray were not aware how fortunate was their situation. They perceived that Bogart their only defender and hope had been driven away with the loss of one man by death and several others by wounding (Kidder, p. 139); but they were not informed relating to the severe and final check he had imposed upon the scheme of the Theocracy. Their consternation was very painful; it was given out that Richmond would be burned without delay (Stenhouse, p. 95), perhaps by the agency of the corps of Destruction under command of the Destroying Angel of whom Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde, two of the apostles who recently escaped from Far West had brought
particular information (Bennett, pp. 319-20). Captain Bogart appears to have had self-command enough to dispatch one of his troopers to Lexington for the purpose of conveying official information to the Governor; the courier reported, possibly by authority, that ten of his comrades were killed and the balance were captured (Stenhouse, p. 95).
There was no longer any real occasion to fear the Mormons. Under the most favorable conditions it would require several days for them to recover from their depression; if these were employed with discretion and vigor the Governor and his people might hope to be ready when the insolent Theocracy once more should venture forth to battle. Apostle Patten and the chief strength of the Danites were alike interred at Far West on the 27th of October, with great lamentation. The brethren had obtained a lesson which showed them how perilous a thing it may be to tinker with secret organizations and with firearms.
The excuse which the Mormons invented to cover up their blame in this transaction was that they were not aware that they were attacking the militia of the state when they fell upon Bogart and his company (Kidder, p. 139). It is perfectly useless to set forward this pretense. Captain Bogart had been in service since the beginning of September 1838; he had been well known in the character of a Captain of militia under Brigadier General Parkes, first in Daviess county, then in Carroll county, and again in Daviess; the Mormons had kept spies on his track throughout the entire day of October the 24th, and taken accurate notice of his encampment at nightfall and there can be no question
that they understood exactly the nature of the party with whom they were dealing. The spies who reported his movements are conceded to have had no kind of doubt that it was Captain Bogart whom they were following (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 200). Consequently it is clear that the very reason why the Theocracy elected to assault Bogart must be sought in the circumstance that he was in command of a body of troops that stood in the service of the state of Missouri. It is a custom of the Theocracy that has been previously mentioned, to designate all those who do not belong to themselves by the title of mobs and mobocrats. They appear to conceive that no other government than the Theocracy has any lawful right to existence.
John D. Lee reports that the dwellers about the Mills were rendered uneasy by the battle that had just transpired with Captain Bogart and his men: The morning after the battle of Crooked River, Haun came to Far West to consult with the prophet, concerning the policy of removing the settlers to the fortified camps. Colonel Wight and myself were standing by when the prophet said to him, "move in by all means if you wish to save your lives." Haun replied that if the settlers left their homes all their property would be
lost, and the Gentiles would burn their houses and other buildings. The prophet said, "you had much better lose your property than your lives; one can be replaced, the other cannot be restored; but there is no need of your losing either if you will only do as you are commanded." Haun said that he considered that the best plan was for all of the settlers to move into and around the mill, and use the blacksmith shop and other buildings as a fort in case of attack in this way he thought they would be perfectly safe. "You are at liberty to do so if you think best," said the prophet. Haun then departed well satisfied that he had carried his point (Lee, p. 78).
Accordingly the dwellers in the vicinity were assembled at the Mills; tents were brought into requisition for the purpose of sheltering some of them (Stenhouse, p. 101). Besides the inhabitants of the neighboring community several families of the brethren who had just now arrived in the country were sojourning for a brief season at the place (Tullidge, p. 259). This was the case of Warren Smith and his family (Heroines of Mormondom, p. 88), as likewise of Joseph Young and family (Stenhouse, p. 100). Altogether there were about thirty families collected at the hamlet (Stenhouse, p. 101), among which were numbered about forty men (Tullidge, p. 259). It is possible that as many as two hundred persons were upon the ground, some of them employed in guarding the Mills and others in gathering their crops (Stenhouse, p. 101). It was apparent to all parties that their situation was exposed and perilous.
With a view to provide against every casualty that lay within sight the Saints at Haun's Mills were at pains to confer with their Gentile neighbors; they "made an agreement with the mob which was about there that neither party should molest the other, but dwell in peace" (Tullidge, p. 259).
On the 26th of October Governor Boggs, having been duly informed of the atrocities that had been practiced by the Saints in driving from their homes the people of Daviess county is said to have issued an order by means of which two thousand troops were summoned to arms (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 206). This order was directed to five of the military Divisions in that portion of the state where the troubles were going forward, and it provided that four hundred men should be raised from each of them (Stenhouse, p. 96).
Apparently the Governor was embarrassed to obtain a suitable commander for this force. Major General Atchison of the Third Division was not even summoned to the war (Bennett, p. 323), but General Doniphan of Clay and General Parkes of Ray, each of whom commanded a brigade in Atchison's Division received orders (Stenhouse, p. 99). Neither was General Samuel D. Lucas of Jackson, who commanded another Division, called into service, "except that General Lucas was directed to raise four hundred men in his Division, and to place them under the command of a Brigadier General. The privilege was offered him of commanding the troops from his own Division," but not in the character of a ranking officer (Bennett, p. 323).
It is hardly possible in the present state of research to affirm with certainty what might have been the occasion of the Governor's aversion to Atchison and Lucas. Mormon authorities declare that his Excellency had been offended by the friendship which Atchison displayed towards the Saints, particularly at the period when the latter had command of the forces in Daviess during the month of September 1838. Possibly there is a moiety of truth in this conclusion; but there is no positive proof relating to the business. It is likewise related that Atchison was chagrined by the neglect of the Governor, and improved the occasion to give a public dinner to his friends at Liberty in the progress of which he was free to denounce his Excellency (Early Scenes, p. 89). Whether this incident really fell out in the fashion described is exceedingly questionable.
If it be true as reported that Atchison was suspected of treason in favor of the Mormons, it is more than likely that no charges of that quality could be laid down at the door of Major General Lucas of Jackson county. Why was he not called to the burdens and honors of supreme command? There is need of additional information touching this portion of the subject; the history of Missouri appears to be up to this time a too little explored field of research.
Possibly Governor Boggs, who was at the head of a Democratic administration, may have been sensible of the existence of good reason why the Whig party should be prominently enlisted in the enterprise of expelling the Mormons from the state; it was clearly not to be desired that the Democrats should render themselves offensively prominent in the prosecution of this labor. It must have been well known to Governor Boggs that General John B. Clark of Fayette, Howard county, who commanded the First Division of state militia was a prominent Whig leader; he was the candidate of that party for the office of Governor in the year 1840, and received 22,212 votes, against Thomas Reynolds the Democratic candidate who was honored by 29,625 votes (Davis and Durrie, p. 118).
But that suggestion will be reserved for the consideration of students who have leisure to bestow minuter attention upon the history of the Commonwealth of Missouri than would be appropriate in the present connection.
When he had gotten quit of the two ranking officers by the process of neglect Governor Boggs on the morning of the 27th of October, sent an order to John B. Clark, Major General in command of the First Division of Missouri State Militia, instructing him to enlist four hundred troops within the limits of his Division (Stenhouse, p. 99), and to take charge of all the troops that had been raised or should be raised in the state. In his character of controlling General he was required to proceed to the county of Daviess and there operate to restore to their homes the citizens who had been driven beyond the limits of the county by the victorious Mormons during the campaign which they had waged there from the 15th to the 23d of October (Stenhouse, p. 99).
The City of Jefferson where his Excellency composed the above order on behalf of the good people of Daviess county is removed at least as much as one hundred and twenty miles from the scene of the combat with Captain Bogart on Crooked River. It therefore required a trifle more than two days for tidings of the latest Mormon encroachment to be conveyed to his ears. After the order which has been cited just above had been sent forward couriers arrived bearing advices concerning the grave occurrence that had transpired in the early morning of October the 25th. Amos Rees, Esq., of Clay county, well known as a former legal adviser of the Mormons, and Wiley S. Williams, Esquire, one of the Governor's aides, who is believed to have been a resident of Richmond in Ray county (Bennett, pp. 318-9), had each sent dispatches to the Chief Magistrate (Stenhouse, p. 96).
Boggs was highly affected by this new movement of the insolent Theocracy; it is believed to have brought to his memory the autrocious sentiments of Mr. Rigdon's Oration for the Fourth of July, that had been put to press and scattered broadcast about the country. Sidney had there pronounced in favor of a "war of extermination" and given assurance to the people of Missouri that his Mormons "would follow them till the last drop of blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one part or the other shall be utterly destroyed" (Stenhouse, p. 78).
When these flaming words were circulated about the various offices of the state government throughout the summer of 1838 it is likely that the Chief Magistrate had persued them with a chuckle of contempt. He could not believe that the Saints would ever be mad enough in sober earnest to undertake a programme of that color. But in the light of this last movement, Boggs perceived that Sidney and the Saints were in earnest. They were already carrying the war to the homes of their adversaries, and none could predict where it might end. Self-preservation is the first law of life; it was natural for the Governor to consider a scheme for self-preservation. Since the Mormons were waging what they had proclaimed should be a "war of extermination" there was no other resource but that they must be met with a "war of extermination."
Consequently in the afternoon of the 27th of October, Governor Boggs altered the plan which he had communicated to Major General Clark in the forenoon. It was no longer expected that he should give
his cares to the enterprise of restoring the people of Daviess to their pillaged homes; something more urgent was required; General Clark must "hasten his operations, and endeavor to reach Richmond in Ray county with all possible speed" (Stenhouse, p. 99). So far from re-instating the citizens of Daviess county; the Governor would now be content if he could prevent Ray county from being devastated and Richmond from being burned (Stenhouse, p. 99). And because of Mr. Rigdon's announcement that it should be a war to the knife, his Excellency was moved to add in special time that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary for the public good" (Stenhouse, p. 96).
Great complaints have been urged against Governor Boggs on the score of the above order; but the Saints always find it convenient to forget that it was issued for no other reason than that they had previously issued a challenge to a war of extermination, and that they were at that moment pressing what Governor Boggs very naturally concluded was intended to be a war of extermination. Nobody is to be chastised for the prosecution of the above "exterminating order" half so severely as the insolent Theocracy, who are directly and chiefly responsible that it should have been set forth. If they had been strong enough to carry out the plan that was before them, they would have imposed "Joseph Smith or the Sword" upon every inhabitant of Missouri, and the state would have been shortly drenched in blood.
It was easy to enlist soldiers in those days, especially in the counties of Clay and Jackson, against each of which the
Theocracy that was now marching forth to join battle, entertained a grievance if not an active grudge. They felt that their only safety was to be sought under the shadow of a military standard. Consequently it is given out by Mormon authorities that the mob from all parts of the country crowded about this standard and certainly it behooved them to do so. If the assault that was made upon Ray county on the morning of the 25th of October had fallen out with moderate success, it would not have been more than a week before the "Host of Israel" and the Danites would have been knocking at the doors of Liberty and of Independence. Everybody occupied the point of view that was held by Judge King, who remarked to the Governor that whether "with or without authority, something will shortly have to be done" (Bennett, p. 319).
Clay and Jackson counties conceived themselves to be in such extreme peril that they could not afford to wait for authority from Governor Boggs; it was their duty to defend themselves even if no order had been as yet issued from Jefferson City to that effect. Before the Governor had lifted a finger Major Generals Atchison and Lucas had set themselves to work and raised as many as two thousand troops within their two Divisions-as large a number as his Excellency later considered it necessary to summon from five of the Divisions of the State (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 206). On Sunday the 28th of October, having been made aware that the Governor had appointed Major General Clark to be the chief commander of the forces they addressed a letter to him in which they gave notice of the fact that they had enlisted
about two thousand men for the purpose of holding the Saints in check until adequate forces might be provided and suggesting that the matter was of such grave issues that it would be seemly for the Governor in person to enter the field. Evidently these gentlemen thought it would be appropriate for every citizen of the commonwealth to be called into service.
If anybody had suspected that General Atchison was at heart a traitor to the people of Missouri, this letter of the 28th of October was calculated to correct that kind of impression. In the course of it he declared that, from late outrages committed by the Mormons, civil war is inevitable. They have set the laws of the country at defiance, and are in open rebellion (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 206). General Clark embraced the earliest opportunity to send forward this epistle by the hands of a courier; it was by that means placed before the Governor as early as the first of November (Bennett, p. 322), and possibly was a source of gratification to him. When the Mormons were made acquainted with the contents of it their feelings were much estranged. Joseph expressed the common sentiment when he wrote, "I would just name also that General Atchison has proved himself as contemptible as any of them" (Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 326).
The change of policy on the part of the Governor, by which Daviess county was for the moment left to its fate, and every exertion was concentrated to deliver the county of Ray, operated shortly to crowd Ray county with troops; it was but a brief season in fact until they quite overflowed the boundaries of Ray and invaded the sacred
precincts of the Mormon kingdom of Caldwell. The Theocracy had left its own territory for the purpose of carrying war and plunder to the homes of the people of Missouri; the people of Missouri now in turn entered the boundaries of the Theocracy bent upon a like cruel enterprise. It chanced that a regiment from the county of Chariton, which is said to have been under the command of Colonel Daniel Ashley sent a detachment composed of three companies under the command of Captain Nehemiah Comstock to form an encampment in the vicinity of Haun's Mills, perhaps with a view to observe the movements of the inhabitants of the hamlet and prevent them from making their way into the town of Far West, where the Mormons were as numerous as was considered to be desirable under existing circumstances.
It is likely that Captain Comstock settled down in the vicinity of Haun's Mills on Monday the 29th of October; the Saints paid him a visit on that day in order to learn what his instructions and designs might be and Captain Comstock in good faith gave them assurances of protection, which were doubtless of much comfort to their minds (Stenhouse, p. 100). The Governor's order of the evening of the 27th had not yet arrived, and Captain Comstock was not yet aware that the authorities of Missouri meditated anything of the nature of a war of extermination. On the night of the 29th, or more likely on the forenoon of the 30th a copy of that order is believed to have found its way to the retired camp of Comstock, and he appears to have set himself to work to execute it to the letter. He began the
bloody business about four o'clock of the afternoon of October the 30th (Stenhouse, p. 101), and completed it about sunset (Heroines of Mormondom, p. 89).
The poor victims took refuge in the blacksmith shop, according to the plan which Mr. Haun had already laid down for their observance in case they were attacked, and perhaps most of those who were found there were ruthlessly cut down. Amanda Smith reports that fifteen were killed and ten wounded, two of whom died the next day (Heroines of Mormondom, p. 90). Among the killed are mentioned the names of Messrs. Merrick, McBride, a solder of the American Revolutionary War, York, Cox of Indiana, Warren Smith and his son Sardius Smith. As persons who were severely wounded, are mentioned the names of Isaac Laney, Mr. Yocum, Miss Mary Stedwell, the boy Alma Smith, and another boy whose name is unknown.
Mormon accounts have contributed what they might to heighten the effect of this cruel affair by representing that Sardius Smith was murdered while begging for mercy (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 218), but his mother, Amanda Smith, knows nothing of that occurrence (Heroines of Mormondom, pp. 90-3).
If the militia of Chariton had been as bloody minded as such an act would indicate, it is likely that they would have murdered Alma L. Smith, and the other little boy whose name is not given, who were both hidden away with Sardius Smith under the bellows of the blacksmith (Heroines of Mormondom, p. 89). They would likewise have killed Willard Smith, who to appearance was in the shop and escaped without a scratch (Heroines of Mormondom,. pp. 90-1). Mormon writers have an excellent gift for dressing up a story; this story needs no dressing up; it is ill enough as it stands. Here the insolent Theocracy obtained a solemn answer to the bloody challenge of extermination which they had issued on the Fourth Day of July. They had also recklessly opened a war of extermination, and it was to be anticipated that they should encounter the chances of a war of extermination. This incident proved to them that the people of Missouri were as deeply in earnest as themselves, and filled their minds with terror. It was a pity that such means should have been employed for their instruction; but they required nothing half so urgently as a sound, strong lesson.
On Sunday the 28th however, the spirits of the prophet had rallied to a considerable degree. The following account is supplied by Mr. Lee of an occurrence that befell at Far West on the day in question, although he erroneously transposes it to Sunday the 21st of October at Adam-ondi-Ahman. It could not have fallen out at that place and time because Mr. Rigdon who figures in it was not present at Adam-ondi-Ahman on the date suggested. He relates:
It had rained heavily the night before and the air was cold. The men were shivering over a few firebrands, feeling out of sorts and quite cast down. The prophet came up while the brethren were moping around, and caught first one and then another, and shook them up, and said, "Get out of here and wrestle, jump, run, do anything but mope around; warm yourselves up; this inactivity will
not do for soldiers." The words of the prophet put life and energy into the men. A ring was formed according to the custom of the people. The prophet stepped into the ring ready for a tussle with any comer...While the sport was at its height Sidney Rigdon, the mouthpiece of the prophet, rushed into the ring, sword in hand and said that he would not suffer a lot of men to break the Sabbath day in that manner (Lee, pp. 76-7).
The town of Far West was by this time becoming a crowded centre (Scraps of Biography, p. 98). Lyman Wight had come nigh with three hundred soldiers from Daviess; as many more had previously been driven away from Carroll county, and the faithful in the remoter sections of Caldwell were now sufficiently disturbed to leave their homes in search of safety at the county seat. On Monday the 29th of October tidings went abroad that the enemy had actually had the audacity to enter the boundaries of Caldwell; special reference was had in this instance to the regiment of Colonel Ashley from the county of Chariton, a portion of whom had established their quarters in the vicinity of Haun's Mills on Shoal creek.
It is likely that General Doniphan, was still operating in the northern portion of Daviess county, whither he had been sent by the Governor on a wild goose chase to intercept the retreat of the Mormons (Stenhouse, p. 99). No troops were actually in sight of Far West, however large the number that might be in sound of the place. Consequently on the morning of Thursday the 30th of October it was still in the power of Joseph to whistle to keep his
courage awake. He delivered an address in which he allowed himself to affirm that he did not care anything about the coming of the troops, nor about the laws, and that he did not intend to try to keep the laws, or please them any longer; that they were a d----d set, and God would damn them, so help him Jesus Christ; that he meant to go on them as he had begun, and take his own course, and kill and destroy, and told the men to fight like angels; that heretofore he had told them to fight like devils, but now he told them to fight like angels; that angels could whip devils (Bennett, p. 331).
Nevertheless before this oration was pronounced Mr. Smith had been at pains to send for Colonel Hinkle, the only lawful commander of the militia of Caldwell county, whose services had been discarded during the campaign in Daviess county, in favor of the leaders of the mob of Danites and of the "Host of Israel." Hinkle had marched into Far West in the early morning and was present in time to hear the above harangue; he was summoned that he might serve the prophet by "meeting the militia to confer with them" (Bennett, p. 335). Joseph had an idea that as Doniphan was drawing nigh, if it should be in his power to hold communication with him it might be comparatively easy for so accomplished a diplomatist to make a fool of the bluff and honest soldier.
Accordingly he ordered 160 troops with flag of truce, to go in search of Doniphan, and to all appearances went himself in the company (Caswall, p. 174). But unhappily for his project Mr. Smith failed to encounter the force of Doniphan. That officer
on his march towards Far West is believed to have traveled a road leading farther to the southward than was anticipated by Joseph. This was likely occasioned by his desire to co-operate with the command of General Lucas. Therefore instead of approaching Far West from the north, as he was expected to do, General Doniphan approached it from the east (Lucy Smith, p. 245). He arrived in advance of the hundred and sixty Mormon troops who had been searching him out under a flag of truce (Caswall, p. 174). Hyrum Smith reports that Doniphan appeared half an hour before sunset on the evening of October the 30th.
Colonel Hinkle must have been made aware that his services were only required when it was important to communicate with the enemy. It was not considered prudent to excite them to further prejudice by sending to confer with them an officer of the "Host of Israel," but that organization appears to have been still maintained and entrusted with the chief business of the campaign. H. C. Kimball mentions the circumstance that Brigham Young and himself were both appointed to be captains of fifty on the evening of Doniphan's advent (Journal, pp. 57-8).
Instead of the five hundred men whom the Governor supposed him to possess (Stenhouse, p. 99), there were fifteen hundred men in line when Doniphan sat down before Far West; in such a period of peril everybody who offered was accepted for service (Caswall, p. 174).
Whatever may have been said or fancied regarding his
attitude on previous occasions there can be no question that General Doniphan was thoroughly resolved against the Mormons on this occasion. The moment his troops arrived a flag of truce was sent, not to summon the city to surrender, but to notify them of the intention of the commanding general to massacre them. The bearer of the flag was instructed to say that John Cleminson, who was clerk of the Circuit Court of Caldwell county (Kidder, p. 146), and his wife, and a certain Adam Lightner, were offered their lives; but that the balance of the people could expect nothing but death (Lucy Smith, p. 245). It is not easy to reconcile this sanguinary suggestion with the conduct that is attributed by Mormon historians to General Doniphan on the two or three following days.
Joseph affirms that up to the evening of the 30th of October General Doniphan had not yet received the Governor's order of extermination (Tullidge, p. 243), but it is difficult to believe in the correctness of that statement. The order was well known at Haun's Mills, where at that moment Captain Comstock was employing his exertions to execute it: if General Doniphan had received no account of it, the proceeding by which he instructed the people of Far West to prepare for immediate destruction is certainly remarkable. General Doniphan must have been in possession of the Governor's order as early as the evening of the 30th October.
The anxiety of the Mormons naturally rose to so high a pitch that they were willing to adopt every sort of expedient to assuage it. They had captured a couple of officers of militia
and fell upon the notion of returning them to their friends by the hands of Mr. C. C. Rich under a flag of truce (Stenhouse, p. 95). The voluntary delivery of a couple of prisoners, it was hoped would operate as a kind of reproach to the militia who did not propose to give any quarter in their assault upon Far West. Hyrum Smith is authority for the statement that this flag of truce was sent by the Colonel of Militia (Lucy Smith, p. 246); Hinkle now perceived his good offices were much in demand. Hyrum Smith also declares that as the messenger approached the camp with the purpose of requesting an interview with Generals Atchison and Doniphan he was fired upon by Bogart the Methodist preacher (Lucy Smith, p. 246). Owing to the darkness which must have prevailed at the hour when this business was performed a blunder of that sort was every way likely: the only wonder is how Mormon historians should have become aware that it was Captain Bogart who did the act of which they complain. Stenhouse, however, has improved upon the story as told by Hyrum Smith, and represents that Bogart fired upon Mr. Rich as the latter was returning to Far West after having delivered the prisoners (Stenhouse, p. 95). A later Mormon version does not differ from the assertion of Hyrum Smith (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 218).
The only result of this second flag of truce was the discovery that Atchison was not in camp, that Captain Cornellius Gilliam at the head of a force from the Platte Country, which had been operating as a corps of observation at Hunter's Hills for some length of time had now effected a junction with the command of Doniphan. The
latter was kind enough to promise that he would not proceed with the massacre of the people of Far West during the night which had now set in, but he distinctly forbore to make any promise regarding the action of the corps that was under the direction of Gillium (Lucy Smith, p. 246).
The aforesaid Colonel of the Caldwell Militia was still unable to bring his mind to repose, and according to Hyrum Smith, he "immediately dispatched a second messenger with a white flag, to request another interview with General Doniphan, in order to touch his sympathy and compassion, and if it were possible, for him to use his best endeavors to preserave the lives of the people" (Lucy Smith, pp. 246-7). This was a sad plight for the Theocracy which had recently been insolent enough to challenge and then recklessly to begin a war of extermination.
The messenger who went out on this occasion brought tidings of the fact that General Samuel D. Lucas of Jackson county had arrived and united his forces with those of Doniphan (Lucy Smith, p. 247). This was a doleful message enough; Lucas was a General of Division, and although he had not been summoned to the field in that character, yet it appears that when they met at Far West he took rank above Doniphan, and had supreme command of the troops, which are said to have numbered as many as three thousand men (Caswall, p. 176; Scraps of Biography, p. 99). The Mormons considered that they were made aware of the temper of General Lucas by means of certain acts of violence that had been performed by members of his force upon the persons of Elder John Tanner and a certain Mr. Carey (Lucy Smith, p. 247).
The situation now put on a serious aspect; the people of Far West occupied their energies in the labor of preparation throughout the night of October the 30th; the men casting up a temporary fortification on the south side of the town, where the bulk of the militia were assembled, and the women collecting their most valuable effects against the terrible battle that it was anticipated the morning would produce (Tullidge, pp. 243-4). The messengers who went forth under the last flag of truce were permitted by General Lucas to peruse the so-called "exterminating order" of Governor Boggs (Caswall, pp. 176-6), and it was clearly in order for the Saints to prepare for the worst.
Consternation prevailed in every quarter; the Theocracy had now obtained what they asked for-a war of extermination. Joseph it is well known was an arrant coward; he could scarcely wait for the hour to arrive on the morning of the 31st of October, when it should be in order to send forth Colonel Hinkle himself into the camp of the enemy (Lucy Smith, p. 248; cf. Tullidge, p. 244). John Corrill as cited by Caswall (p. 175), affirms that Hinkle on this occasion received instructions from Joseph to "beg like a dog for peace." It was the custom of the Mormons to put on their most pious behavior when they chanced to be discovered in any act of peculiarly flagrant iniquity; for example, after the total failure of Zion's Camp, which entered Missouri for the purpose of carrying fire and sword to the inhabitants of Jackson county the brethren in the month of July 1834, issued a pathetic and
stirring appeal to the people and the constituted authorities of the nation, and to all men of the earth, for peace (Juv. Inst., 11, p. 286).
The terror of Joseph and his followers must have been by this time greatly increased by tidings of the massacre at Haun's Mills. Messengers from that portion of the county could hardly fail to appear in Far West before daylight of October 31; these would give the Saints to understand the precise nature of the interpretation which the militia were disposed to place upon the instructions of Governor Boggs. Hinkle entered the camp of General Lucas at 8 o'clock on the morning of October 31st "to beg for peace like a dog" (Tullidge, p. 244). Any conditions were considered to be good enough, provided the Colonel should be able to deliver the town of Far West from the fate that had just now fallen upon the brethren at Haun's Mills.
The highest thanks of the Mormons and of all friends of humanity are due to Colonel Hinkle for the manner in which he conducted the business that was entrusted to his hands. He pleaded his cause with General Lucas from 8 o'clock in the morning until a somewhat late hour of the afternoon. Possibly he was aided in his enterprise by the favor of General Doniphan (Lucy Smith, p. 248); especial mention is given to the authority of General Graham in that direction (Lucy Smith, p. 250).
Two hours before sunset Colonel Hinkle returned to Far West (Caswall, p. 176), bringing the most favorable conditions upon which it was possible that peace could be procured. The Mormons were allowed
one hour in which to consider these conditions, during which period General Lucas would occupy his skill and energy in so disposing his troops as to make an effective assault in case the terms were rejected (Stenhouse, p. 104). Total extermination was the only alternative in case of refusal (Caswall, p. 176). The terms of surrender were as follows:
1. That the Saints should deliver up their leading men to be tried according to law.
2. That they should deliver up their arms of every kind.
3. That owners of property should sign a deed of trust by which their property should be conveyed to five commissioners in trust for the benefit of the people whom they had plundered and of the state which they had assaulted with a war of extermination, for the purpose of paying the expenses of the war; to pay the debts of the members of the church, and particularly to make compensation for losses inflicted by the hands of the Danites.
4. That they should quit the state of Missouri without delay (Caswall, p. 180; cf. pp. 177-8, and especially p. 176).
These conditions appear to be severe, but they were so much more favorable than the now defeated Theocracy felt they had any reason to expect that they were received with a degree of gratification. A sense of relief must have prevailed when they perceived that the fate of the Saints at Haun's Mills had been averted by the agency of Colonel Hinkle. For the [nonce] he must have
been regarded and even hailed as the savior of his people. He had exhibited forethought enough to remember that it might be possible his brethren should desire to discuss these conditions for a longer period than the single hour which General Lucas had conceded; it was provided that in case such an arrangement were demanded it might be obtained; by delivering the leaders of the church as hostages the brethren would be permitted to consult about the terms until the morning of November 1st (Stenhouse, p. 104). If the conditions of peace were declined by the church then it was agreed that General Lucas should return the hostages and as shortly thereafter as convenient give himself to the labor of exterminating the entire church (Stenhouse, p. 104).
But Mr. Smith was too well content with the terms which Colonel Hinkle had brought to desire any longer period than one hour to consult about them; there was no occasion to deliver any hostages. Joseph called the brethren together and made them a parting address. John D. Lee says he, "told them they were a good lot of fellows, but they were not perfect enough to withstand so large an army as the one now before them; that they had stood by him, and were willing to die for and with him, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven; that he wished them to be comforted for God had accepted their offering; that he intended to and was going to offer himself up as a sacrifice, to save their lives and to save the church. He wished them all to be of good cheer and pray for him, and to pray that he and the brethren that went with him might be delivered from their enemies."
He then blessed his people in the name of the Lord. After this he and the leading men six in number went with him direct to the camp of the enemy (Lee, p. 82).
Nobody in the entire camp of the Saints misunderstood the nature of the act which the prophet was here performing. John Corrill as reported by Caswall says that Joseph declared "he would go to prison for twenty years, or suffer death itself, if he could by either means preserve his people from extermination (Caswall, p. 175).
It was impossible that Joseph or anybody else could have supposed that Hinkle was leading them into the camp of General Lucas upon any other occasion whatever than that the leaders of the church should surrender themselves as prisoners to be tried according to law, as was distinctly stipulated in the first article of capitulation. There was no kind of deception anywhere; it is a gross slander to accuse Hinkle of having acted the part of a traitor. Joseph had ordered those of the Danites who had taken part in the battle at Crooked River to decamp, with the special understanding that himself and the balance of the Saints should submit to be imprisoned (Lee, p. 82). Every act was performed with deliberation and aboveboard; Joseph gave his formal assent to the terms that were brought and exhibited by Colonel Hinkle.
The prisoners who were required by the first article of capitulation were Joseph Smith, jr., Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt and George W. Robinson. Hyrum Smith rightly belonged in the number, but he was not taken into custody until the next day (Lucy Smith, p. 251). Lyman Wight and George W. Robinson were demanded for their
prominence in the mobocratic organization called the "Host of Israel." Philo Dibble who was the Lieutenant Colonel of that treasonable body was also required, but he succeeded in escaping to Illinois (Early Scenes, pp. 89-90), as also Major Seymour Brunson is supposed to have done.
Joseph was in an unctuous mood on the way to prison. Seeing that General Lucas had desired their immediate attendance, he said that "if it was the Governor's will, they would submit, and the Lord would take care of them." When they met General Lucas they perceived that he had "made every arrangement for the destruction of Far West" (Caswall, p. 177), and possibly congratulated themselves that it had been permitted to the diplomacy of the Colonel of Militia for Caldwell county to defeat this scheme. That night they were shown to a bed on the frozen ground (Lucy Smith, p. 251), but as it was precisely the same sort of accommodations as General Lucas and his entire army enjoyed, it would have been preposterous to complain.
On the first of November the second and third articles of the Mormon capitulation were disposed of according to the compact that had been duly entered into. The Mormon forces under their officers marched out and laid down their arms, which amounted to six hundred and thirty guns, besides swords and pistols (Caswall, p. 177). When this part of the programme had been performed, a table and writing materials were brought into the hollow square that had been drawn up near the residence of Widow Beaman (Kimball, p. 58), where the 500 property holders of the church were compelled to subscribe the deed of trust
that had been stipulated in the third article (Caswall, p. 177).
While this was going forward, the soldiers whose services were not immediately required were employed in the business of searching the houses of the city. It was desirable to make sure that no firearms were retained besides those which were laid down when the Saints surrendered on the public square. Likewise the Mormons had been much employed in the business of plunder; many of the houses of Far West were well supplied with stolen goods. Doubtless painful abuses were enacted in connection with this search. John D. Lee, however, is candid enough to confess that the suffering inflicted upon the Mormons was in great part owing to the fault of the Mormons themselves. "When the Gentiles found any of their property that had been stolen, they became very abusive" (Lee, p. 89). Numbers of Mormon authorities speak of the destruction of property, and wanton insults to women (Kimball, pp. 58-9). Excesses of this sort are, alas, too common in every war; it is easily conceivable that they were inflicted at the hands of the now victorious Missourians. The Theocracy should have counted these evils among the costs before they ventured to begin a war of extermination.
During the night of the first of November, it has been declared that attention was given to that portion of the first article of capitulation which spoke of the trial of the leading men "according to law." It is possible that the officers met together to discuss the question whether these should be brought before a military tribunal, or handed over to the civil courts. A vast amount of mere talk has been vented;
it should be remembered that no eyewitness of that so-called court-martial has ever given any account of it; all that the world has heard about it is derived from Mormon sources, and none of the Mormons was present to become informed touching the things they have too confidently affirmed.
Hyrum Smith declares upon the authority of Colonel Hinkle, who he claims was in attendance that the so-called court-martial "consisted of thirteen or fourteen officers; Circuit Judge A. A. King, Mr. Birch, District Attorney, also Sashiel Woods, Presbyterian priest, and about twenty other priests of the different religious denominations in that county" (Lucy Smith, p. 251). But neither Joseph nor Hyrum can be safely trusted to relate the truth touching a business of this nature; it is more than likely that the language of Colonel Hinkle, as so frequently chances, has been improved to suit the purposes of the party who professes to repeat it. A court-martial of such composition as is here described never was on land or sea. The officers of the Missouri Militia may be trusted to have understood their vocation too well to take part in such an organization under sanctions of military authority. It is inconceivable that any tribunal of the character above described, claiming to be a court-martial should have convened in the camp of General Lucas.
It is also reported that this same impossible court-martial was on the point of resolving to cause the prisoners to be executed on the public square at Far West, but that General Doniphan interposed
his influence and authority to prevent such a casualty. It is possible indeed that something of this kind may have occurred, but the story cannot be accepted upon the authority which is now offered to support it. That authority is a History of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints, that was published at Cincinnati in 1840 (Caswall, pp. 178-9; cf. Preface, p. xii), and the testimony of Hyrum Smith, delivered before a court at Nauvoo on the 30th of June, 1843 (Lucy Smith, p. 252).
Hyrum Smith there deposes as follows:
On the next morning about sunrise, General Doniphan ordered his brigade to take up the line of march and leave the camp. He came to us where we were under guard to shake hands with us and bid us farewell. His first salutation was, "By G---, you have been sentenced by the court-martial to be shot this morning; but I will be d----d if I will have any of the honor of it, or any of the disgrace of it; therefore I have ordered my brigade to take up the line of march and leave the camp, for I consider it to be cold-blooded murder, and I bid you farewell" (Lucy Smith, p. 252).In opposition to this version lies the consideration that an officer like Doniphan would not be likely to encourage insubordination by intemperate language of the sort that is cited here. Moreover it is not true that he drew off his brigade and left General Lucas alone before Far West on the morning of the 2d of November. On the contrary General Lucas not only ordered General Doniphan but also almost the entire military force to return to their homes on the day in question. Lucas
with his Brigadier General Moses Wilson of Jackson county had the honor to conduct Joseph and the balance of the prisoners to a camp on Crooked River, twelve miles from Far West, where they rested that night (Lucy Smith, p. 253; cf. Tullidge, p. 246). On the morning of the 3d of November the march was resumed, and General Lucas after an unavoidable delay at the Missouri River to permit his army to be transported across the ferry, entered Independence some time past noon on the 4th of November but, it is fancied, almost as early as General Doniphan reached Liberty in Clay county (Tullidge, pp. 248-9).
The significance of the entire proceeding was that General Lucas, whom the Governor had snubbed in favor of General Clark, was enabled to slip into Far West and gain a complete victory before the latter had time to arrive on the ground. Clark did not come to Far West until the 4th day of November (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 24) at which time General Lucas was comfortably settled with his prisoners and his splendid triumph at Independence fifty miles away. No better jest could have been produced in military circles for that year than the record how finely Lucas had circumvented his rival.
But the trick which Joseph played upon Colonel Hinkle was likewise a masterpiece, even for a prophet who was well accustomed to the amusement of playing tricks. His recollections of the cowardice he had displayed in the presence of peril at Far West could not have been agreeable to Mr. Smith. If he might find a scapegoat upon which to unload his disgrace it woud be very desirable. During the night of the first of November he had been informed that Hinkle proposed to turn state's evidence, and incontinently did what he could to induce the Colonel to desist and decline to give his testimony (Kidder, p. 150). Failing to persuade
him, the wily prophet concluded to see if he could not do something to blast the reputation of Colonel Hinkle. Accordingly he got up a preposterous story to the effect that the latter had betrayed him into the hands of the enemy. He even had the effrontery to affirm that he had entered the camp of General Lucas under the supposition that Lucas had invited him thither for the purpose of holding a consultation, and that he was amazed on arriving at the place to discover that he was to be treated in the character of a prisoner (Lucy Smith, pp. 249-50). It is the disgrace of Mormon literature that it is still engaged in retailing contemptible suspicions against the loyalty of an officer like Hinkle, who did the church and humanity a worthy service, by preventing a sad scene of butchery. Both the friends and the foes of Mr. Smith had reason to be in dread of his slanderous tongue; its poisonous sting could not be extracted by the choicest of benefits.
About the same hour when the command of Lucas and Wilson were disbanding at Independence, the belated Gen John B. Clark is supposed to have arrived at Far West. He had 1400 soldiers (Caswall, p. 174) and must have had a considerable amount of chagrin; it was indeed sad to be so soundly overreached. Gen. Clark would have been more than commonly amiable to keep his temper sweet under conditions that were so entirely unfavorable.
But it was not difficult for Sidney and Joseph and the other prisoners to keep their temper sweet in Independence; in all their lives they had never before been half so much lionized. By the testimony of Parley P. Pratt, hundreds of people flocked to see them day after day; much prejudice was removed and the feelings of the populace
began to be in their favor (The Martyrs, p. 31). It was the best opportunity to proclaim the "fullness of the gospel" they had ever encountered, and they spent most of their time engaged in that business (Tullidge, p. 249).
The manner in which they were used by Generals Lucas and Wilson during the sojourn they enjoyed at Independence from the 4th to the 8th of November renders it still more difficult to assign any sort of credit to the stories that have been retailed concerning the sanguinary court-martial which is fabled to have occurred at Far West on the night of the first of November. No person who was an eyewitness of that transaction has ever left on record a syllable relating to it. It is conceivable that the myth took its origin in the following fashion. On the night in question after it had been announced that Colonel Hinkle expected to desert the Mormons and to turn state's evidence against their leaders it was easy for him to obtain the freedom of the camp. This privilege gave him an opportunity to make himself acquainted with the currents of sentiment that were flowing about him, and he heard a good deal of the wild talk which is usual on such occasions touching the propriety of shooting the prisoners on the spot.
Late in the night Hinkle came to Hyrum Smith and mentioned to him the tenor of the conversation that was prevailing among persons of more or less responsibility (Lucy Smith, p. 251). It may be that he specified the names of a number of officers who had brought the subject forward in his presence; the name of Judge Austin
A. King may have been mentioned, as likewise that of Thomas C. Burch, the Commonwealth's attorney for the 5th Judicial District. In addition to these it would be easy to refer to the Rev. Sashel Woods of Carroll county, and to as many as twenty other preachers whom it was given out that Colonel Hinkle had conferred with. From materials of this sort it was comparatively a trifling enterprise after the lapse of several years to construct a mythical court-martial, which owing to its structure anybody except Hyrum Smith, who was ignorant of military concerns, would have perceived was impossible (Lucy Smith, p. 251). It is time that this silly story were duly exploded.
While Sidney and the brethren were uncommonly busy at Independence the occupation of General Clark at Far West was entirely gone. Nevertheless he felt that it was incumbent upon him to make a show of business. Accordingly he appears to have employed his time in sending several messengers to Independence demanding that the prisoners abiding there should be delivered to his keeping at Richmond in Ray county (The Martyrs, p. 32). Lucas had been content with only seven prisoners; it would be seemly for General Clark to signalize his expedition by taking a few more prisoners. On the 5th of November the entire body of Saints were collected on the public square at Far West, and about fifty of them were selected for imprisonment, who were immediately marched into a house and confined (Tullidge, pp. 260-1). It was desirable that he should do something, but the fact that he passed by such men as Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball (Kimball's Journal, p. 65) for
people of inferior note would suggest that he did not have sufficient acquaintance with the Mormons to know just what it might be wise to do. On the 6th of November, General Clark found that it was out of his power to resist the inclination to make a speech for the edification of the Saints. In the course of this performance he also made a concession which was highly merciful, and should have obtained for him the enduring gratitude of the brethren. But as usually chances in such cases the Saints forgot the favor; they have been ever since employed in pouring out the vials of their wrath and ridicule upon the head of the man who dared so much to serve them.
It will be remembered that by the terms of the treaty the Mormons made with General Lucas on the 31st of October they placed themselves under obligations to quit the state of Missouri without any delay. The brethren at Far West it may be supposed gathered about General Clark as soon as his arrival was announced to induce him if possible to alter this term of their contract. They had no idea of leaving the state at all if they could possibly avoid such a catastrophe, and it would be a point in their favor in case they could induce the authorities to permit them to remain until the next spring. Their wheedling was successful; General Clark yielded the point only to be in turn soundly abused by the Saints down to the present moment.
In the progress of the above mentioned address to the men of the Theocracy he declares: There is a discretionary power vested in my hands which considering your circumstances I shall exercise
for a season. You are indebted to me for this clemency. I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting in crops; for the moment you do this the citizens will be upon you; and if I am called here again, in case of non-compliance with a treaty made, do not think that I shall do as I have done now. You need not expect any mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the governor's order shall be executed (Kimball, p. 61).
To the above concession on the part of General Clark was attached a condition to the effect that the Mormons of Daviess should quit that county on the spot, and retire to Caldwell county, there to subsist during the winter as best they could (Lee, p. 89; Handbook of Reference, p. 49). It was felt that it was a breach of the original understanding for any Mormon to hold his residence outside of Caldwell; the return of the Saints of Daviess was therefore considered in the light of a remedy for a wrong which should not have been committed in the outset. After his speech was concluded General Clark on the 6th of November took leave of Far Wet with forty six of the prisoners whom he had collected (Tullidge, p. 261), and turned the head of his column towards Richmond in Ray county. If they had been dealing with citizens of the state of Missouri, it would be impossible to explain or excuse the conduct of Generals Lucas, Doniphan and Clark; but they were dealing with the subjects of a hostile Theocracy which existed chiefly for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Missouri and of the
United States. The Theocracy had provoked a war for that very purpose; it was nothing but just that this hostile power should suffer the consequences of defeat. The seven prisoners were going on famously at Independence. On the 6th of November they were promoted from the rude house where they had been at first confined, to dine and sleep at the tavern of the town (Lucy Smith, p. 254). Their guard was dismissed and only a single person was left behind chiefly with the aim of doing them reverence (The Martyrs, p. 31). In his company they made the circuit of the town, and with deep devotion visited the spot which had once been appointed and dedicated as the site of the Temple. They were dined and possibly wined by Brigadier General Moses Wilson and by other notabilities of Independence (The Martyrs, p. 31). So much liberty was supplied that Parley P. Pratt allows that he was seriously tempted to abuse it and break the parole of honor that beyond question must have been required at his hands (The Martyrs, pp. 31-2).
The repeated demands which General Clark had made for the prisoners were not neglected out of any ill will or military insubordination; on the contrary the delay was occasioned by the difficulty that was felt to obtain a guard to escort them to Richmond. Parley P. Pratt says:
None would volunteer, and when drafted they would not obey orders, for in truth, they wished us to go at liberty (The Martyrs, p. 32). Finally on the afternoon of the 8th of November a guard of a Colonel and two or three officers started with them. These were on
a singularly intimate footing with the prisoners. Parley P. Pratt relates: Some of us rode in carriages and some on horseback. Sometimes we were sixty or eighty rods in front or rear of our guards, who were drinking hard out of bottles which they carried in their pockets. At night, having crossed the Missouri River, we put up at a private house. Here our guards all got drunk, and went to bed and to sleep, leaving us their pistols to defend ourselves in case of any attack from without, as we were in a very hostile neighborhood (The Martyrs, p. 32).
General Clark would naturally feel a certain degree of irritation; he had come off with the second honors at Far West, and for causes that had not yet been explained to his mind there was a delay on the part of General Lucas to produce the prisoners that were in his hands. General Clark was in no mood for trifling; consequently he deputes Colonel Sterling Price of Keytesville, Chariton county, with a guard of seventy-four men to proceed to Independence and fetch the prisoners (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 254). On the morning of the 9th of November Colonel Price encountered the prisoners and their drunken guard from Independence at the point where the latter had crossed the river on the previous evening, and here there was a sudden conclusion of the process of lionizing that must have been so grateful to Joseph and Sidney.
On the evening of the 9th of November the party came to Richmond where a vacant house was found for their accommodation as at Independence (Lucy Smith, p. 255). But they experienced a
different style of entertainment, it is supposed chiefly for the reason that they had fared as royal prisoners in the former instance, and that Joseph enjoyed the role of "royal prisoner" (Tullidge, p. 248). Half an hour after their arrival chains and padlocks were produced by a person who had gained a reputation for applying them skilfully at the state's prison. He informed them that he had orders from General Clark to put them in chains and proceeded to execute his function by chaining the whole party together (Lucy Smith, p. 255). Possibly the bearing of these seven may likewise have been indecently supercilious towards General Clark upon the visit he paid them just before, when they were pleased to inquire of him the reason why they had been incarcerated (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 254). Of the remaining forty six prisoners no one else was considered to deserve the indignity of chains; that distinction was reserved for Joseph Smith, jun., Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, G. W. Robinson and Amasa M. Lyman.
Hyram Smith has imparted the sanction of his authority to a cock and bull story related by Jedediah M. Grant, who at that time was a guest at the tavern in Richmond, to the effect that he chanced upon General Clark when the latter was engaged in making a selection of certain soldiers who should shoot the prisoners on the morning of Monday the 12th of November (Lucy Smith, p. 255). This deserves even less credit than the accounts that have been transmitted concerning the fabulous court-martial at Far West. The credit of Jedediah M. Grant is infirm, especially where it is so entirely unsupported as on the present
occasion. His declaration is contradicted by the fact that the Court of Inquiry which must have been organized for several days in advance, actually got to work at the business of examining witnesses on Monday the 12th of November (Bennett, p. 324). The dates and circumstances do not in the least agree with such a wild narrative.
Hyrum is a sanctimonious but not a skilful falsifier. He affirms that the interest of the Mormons was sufficiently powerful to prevent General Clark from causing the seven prisoners to be summarily executed on the morning of November the 12th. But General Clark, not to be outdone, sent a messenger all the way to Fort Leavenworth, a distance of more than sixty miles, to obtain the military code of laws. "After the messenger's return," Hyrum proceeds, the General was employed nearly a whole week, examining the laws, so Monday passed away without our being shot (Lucy Smith, p. 256).
The facts fell out as follows: "Late on the evening of Friday the 9th of November 1838 the seven prisoners arrived from Independence. On Saturday the 10th of November preparations must have been made by the summoning of witnesses for the approaching Court of Inquiry. General Clark also wrote a letter which because it accused the Saints of every crime from treason down to petit larceny" (Stenhouse, p. 111) was welcome to so good a Democrat as Boggs, but in which so far as present knowledge goes no reference was had to a court-martial or to any other than a civil process. There is no proof anywhere sufficient to render credible the proposition that he wanted to try anybody by court-martial. On Sunday the 11th was the day of rest; on Monday the civil trial went forward: there was not even a delay of a single day,
to say nothing of a week, until Clark should decide whether to resort to civil or to military law. It is hardly conceivable that any messenger was dispatched to Fort Leavenworth for the purpose declared; but if the event fell out as reported he could not have had time to return before the Court of Inquiry, which it would require several days to organize, was in full activity on the morning of November 12th.
Mormon authorities have poured out a deal of helpless rage upon this Court of Criminal Inquiry. Hyrum Smith denounces it as a "pretended court" (Lucy Smith, p. 256), and in another place as "an inquisition" (Lucy Smith, p. 257). In an "Appeal to the American People, published by Authority of the Church of the Latter Day Saints," Sidney Rigdon affirms that it was "a new kind of court; -- it was not an inquisition, nor yet a criminal court, but a compound between both" (Kidder, p. 152). In point of fact it appears to have been nothing else than the customary examining court, which in this instance was organized on a scale to correspond with the magnitude of the crimes that were to be investigated. It was the same kind of court as Governor Dunklin proposed to organize at Independence for the advantage of the Mormons after their expulsion from Jackson county in 1833, and which the Saints went with their witnesses to attend under the escort of Captain Atchison and the Liberty Blues, on the 24th of February 1834. Objection has been offered to the circumstance that the witnesses were collected by Captain Bogart and his company who had earned uncommon distinction in the recent war (Kidder, pp. 152-3; Lucy Smith, p. 257).
But the times were highly disjointed; in the midst of the terror and alarm that had been created by the incursions and the violence of the Theocracy the sheriffs and constables had been driven away from their posts of duty. The Court of Inquiry was compelled to make use of the militia or fail to fetch such witnesses as were in a situation to testify.
Mormon authorities assert that forty one witnesses were examined on the part of the state (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 267), but other authorities speak of only about thirty witnesses both for the Commonwealth and for the defence (Millennial Harbinger, 1842, p. 498). The Original Senate Document of February 1841 is not accessible; the present investigation is founded upon the liberal extracts from its pages which are supplied by Bennett, Kidder, and by the Millennial Harbinger of 1842.
Hyrum Smith relates that the witnesses of the Commonwealth were examined for "twelve or fourteen days" (Lucy Smith, p. 256). The former is likely the correct figure; after the testimony of the Commonwealth was all entered, it was perceived that it failed to implicate a number of the prisoners, and on Saturday the 24th of November, twenty three of the sixty three who chanced to be on trial were discharged (Handbook of Reference, p. 49).
It was now in order for the defendants to bring in their witnesses to rebut the charges that had been laid against them by the evidence of the Commonwealth. But testimony was an uncommonly scarce commodity on the part of the defendants. According to the custom of Missouri jurisprudence in such cases, they were
offered the privilege to be examined without oath, but they found it prudent to decline that benefit (Kidder, p. 151). By their utmost exertions they were only able to procure seven witnesses in rebuttal. Of these three were inmates of Lyman Wight's house, one was Miss Nancy Rigdon, a daughter of Sidney's; another was a servant in the family of Joseph Smith (Kidder, p. 151-2). This was indeed a beggarly account; Kidder reports that the testimony of the whole seven witnesses amounted to nothing in the way of refuting the charges that were laid against the defendants; "it did not touch the main charges and points at all" (Kidder, p. 152). It was singular that Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, who were present in Richmond during the progress of the trial (Kimball, p. 65), should not have been called. Possibly men of that calibre were afraid to appear; it would have been easy for the lawyers so to frame their examination as to inculpate the witness and thus to render the case still worse than it would have been if no effort at all had been made to produce testimony.
After due notice and delay (Lucy Smith, p. 257), it was possible for the Court of Inquiry to hear from only seven inconsiderable witnesses for the Theocracy. It adjourned on Wednesday the 28th (though Caswall, p. 182, affirms it was the 29th) of November, at the close of a session of sixteen days (The Martyrs, p. 33). Of the thirty prisoners who remained in durance at that time, eleven were found guilty of treason and murder and were thrust into prison without the advantage of bail. Of these Joseph Smith, jun., Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae were sent
to Clay county for safe keeping in the jail at Liberty. Five others, namely, Parley P. Pratt, Maurice Phelps, Luman Gibbs, Darwin Chase and Normon Shearer were left in jail at Richmond (Tullidge, p. 252). Their treason related to the organization of the Danites and of the "Host of Israel" and to the levying of war upon the state of Missouri in the counties of Daviess, Ray and Caldwell; the charge of murder related to the death of one or more of the troops of Captain Bogart in the encounter at the ford of Crooked River.
Nineteen of the prisoners were not accused of treason and murder; theirs were the smaller crimes of "burglary, arson, robbery and larceny" (Bennett, p. 324), and they were duly released on bail, as was customary in such cases (Handbook of Reference, p. 49; Kidder, p. 141). The prisoners who had been relieved of their shackles on the morning of the 12th of November (Lucy Smith, p. 256), now had them restored to procure their safe transmission on the journey from Richmond to Liberty (The Martyrs, p. 34). Joseph entered Liberty jail with his native impudence (The Martyrs, pp. 34-5), on the afternoon of the 30th of November 1838 (Tullidge, p. 253).
The circumstance that the Saints could produce so few witnesses who would testify before the Court of Inquiry at Richmond was felt to be damaging indeed. It was a sort of burden upon the minds of the faithful for a number of years. At length during the Nauvoo period both Mr. Rigdon and Hyrum Smith gave their exertions to the labor of explaining
it away. The effort of Sidney may be seen in Kidder, pp. 153-4; the effort of Hyrum, which is believed to have followed after, is embraced in the paper which he presented before the Court at Nauvoo on the 30th of June 1843. The two worthies agree together in several particulars and at other points they are at variance.
They agree in suppressing the fact that the defendants were invited to testify without oath on their own behalf, and so contrive to get the truth before the public eye.
They also agree in suppressing the fact that seven witnesses for the defence were heard before the Court of Inquiry, and leave the reader to believe that no witness at all was permitted to speak on their behalf. Sidney explains the absence of Mormon witnesses by asserting that there was an armed body "scouring the country to drive out of it every witness that they could hear of whose testimony would be favorable to the defendants" (Kidder, p. 153). Hyrum is more ingenious and daring; he has improved upon the representation set forth by Sidney. He says: We gave the judge the names of forty persons, who were acquainted with all the persecutions and sufferings of the people. The judge made out a subpoena and inserted the names of those men, and caused it to be placed in the hands of Bogart the notorious Methodist minister, and he took fifty armed soldiers and started for Far West. I saw the subpoena given to him, and his company when they started. In the course of a few days they returned with most all those forty men whose names were inserted in the subpoena, and
thrust them into jail, and we were not permitted to bring one of them before the court; but the judge turned upon us with an air of indignation, and said, "Gentlemen, you must get your witnesses, or you shall be committed to jail immediately, for we are not going to hold the court open on expense much longer for you anyhow." We felt very much grieved and oppressed at that time. Colonel Wight said, "what shall we do? Our witnesses are all thrust into prison, and probably will be, and we have no power to do anything; of course we must submit to this tyranny and oppression; we cannot help ourselves"... However, it was considered best by General Doniphan and Lawyer Rees that we should try to get some witnesses before the pretended court. Accordingly, I myself gave the names of about twenty other persons; the judge inserted them in a subpoena, and caused it to be placed in the hands of Bogart, the Methodist priest, and he again started off with fifty of his soldiers to take those men prisoners, as he had done the forty others. The judge sat there and laughed at the good opportunity of getting the names, that they might the more easily capture them, and so bring them down to be thrust into prison, in order to prevent us from getting the truth before the pretended court, of which himself was the chief inquisitor or conspirator. Bogart returned from his second expedition with one prisoner only, whom he also thrust into prison (Lucy Smith, pp. 257-8).
It is entirely safe to affirm that an enormity of that hideous complexion would have been trumpeted abroad by every Mormon writer
between the years 1838 and 1843. Within those five years it would have been denounced hundreds of times within the limits of Mormon literature. But this infamous proceeding on the part of Bogart and King was not so much as hinted at anywhere by anybody. It was something too wicked to be kept concealed from all the world in that fashion; it was too iniquitous to be made known to no other Mormon writer except Hyrum Smith and Rigdon.
Sidney affirms that "if a witness did not swear to please the court, he or she would be threatened to be cast into prison. They never pleased the court when their testimony was favorable to the defendants" (Kidder, p. 153). The grain of truth that may be derived from this statement is found in the circumstance that it would be exceedingly difficult for a prominent Mormon to testify in favor of the defendants without in some sort implicating himself either as a Danite, a member of the "Host of Israel," as a burglar or a thief, and there can be little question that considerations of that nature prevented any but the most irresponsible of the people from appearing to testify on behalf of their leaders.
As a proof of the wicked manner in which witnesses were handled both Sidney and Hyrum mention the fortunes of one Allen who at the instance of the defendants came forward to offer testimony. If Allen had been really used in the manner described by either of these authorities Mormon annals would have been full of the affair long before the year 1843, and many persons would have been made aware of it besides Rigdon and Hyrum. It would be a kindly service for some
member of the Missouri bar to vindicate the honor of his profession by setting forward the exact facts in the case of witness Allen. It is clearly out of the question to give any large amount of credit to the extravagant stories that are narrated by Hyrum Smith (Lucy Smith, pp. 258-9), and by Sidney Rigdon (Kidder, pp. 153-4).
That was the course they adopted in the existing emergency. On the 19th of November, while the examining trial was proceeding at Richmond, the Legislature of the state of Missouri assembled at Jefferson City (Davis and Durric, p. 116). Instead of abiding by the compact which had been made in its dire extremity by the alien hostile Theocracy, the brethren fell back upon their position as citizens of Missouri, and even allowed themselves to approach the Legislature with a memorial that was composed by a committee appointed for the business at Far West under the date of the 10th of December, 1838 (Tullidge, pp. 254-263).
Assuming the role of deeply injured citizens, these unappeasable traitors allowed themselves to pray the Legislature "that a law might be passed rescinding the order of the Governor to drive us from the state, and also giving us the sanction of the Legislature to inherit our lands in peace. We ask an expression of the Legislature, disapproving of the conduct of those who compelled us to sign a deed of trust, and also disapproving of any man or set of men taking our property in consequence of that deed of trust and appropriating it to the payment of damage sustained in consequence of trespasses committed by others" (Tullidge, p. 262). They even displayed audacity enough to ask payment for the arms with which they had waged war against the state of Missouri (Tullidge, pp. 262-3).
Hypocrisy could hardly go farther than may be observed in the closing sentences of the appeal of these incurable traitors and enemies to the civil state: "in laying our case before your honorable body, we say that we are willing and ever have been, to conform to the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state. We ask in common with others the protection of the laws. We ask for the privilege guaranteed to all free citizens of the United States and of this state to be extended to us, that we may be permitted to settle and live where we please, and to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience, without molestation" (Tullidge, p. 263). If General Clark was present to hear the reading of this memorial and petition, it could not have been difficult for him to perceive that his unadvised clemency was in a fair way to embarrass
the government which he had tried to serve with such a good conscience. The results of his campaign were all in jeopardy; half a dozen resolute fools and doctrinaires might have easily overthrown them entirely, and caused the civil state to bow down in the midst of tears and apologies to a traitorous rival within her own borders.
But the Saints had not yet attained the highest proficiency in politics, and therefore the half dozen fools and dictrinaires were not forthcoming. Hitherto the Mormons had always voted in a body with the so-called Democratic party; they had not yet acquired the art which they later learned so well of selling their votes for patronage. But the Democratic party with which the Mormons voted was in the ascendancy. In August 1836, Lilburn W. Boggs the candidate of the Democrats for Governor had received 14,315 votes, while his Whig opponent William H. Ashley, one of the most popular leaders of the times, had received only 13,057 votes (Davis and Durrie, p. 112). If at this time the Mormons had transferred their vote to Mr. Ashley and turned the scale in favor of the Whig party they would have held their place securely in Missouri for a number of years, despite their treason and machinations. But under existing circumstances neither party was made sensible of the advantages of conciliating them by the arts which demagogues understand so well how to employ; it was not yet known that they were a purchasable quantity.
The Mormon memorial of the 10th of December was brought before the Legislature at Jefferson City on the 19th of that month (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 1, p. 317). It is reported to have produced considerable discussion, but the desires of the petitioners were finally defeated by a motion postponing the question until some day in the following July, at which time the body would no longer be in session (Caswall, p. 183). There could have been no more lucky escape. Possibly it was in connection with this discussion that the sum of Two Thousand Dollars was appropriated for the relief of the people of Caldwell and Davies counties, Gentile as well as Mormon (Kimball's Journal, p. 65), and Two Hundred Thousand Dollars were voted to pay the militia for their labors in reducing the insolent Theocracy. The state of Missouri was not to be caught by any stories declaring that the Saints were citizens of the Commonwealth; the people of Missouri were too wise to be robbed of the hardly earned results of their service at arms.
The action of the Legislature on the 19th of December was a sore and salutary check to the insolence of the brethren, who appear to have been making all necessary arrangements to hold their ground in Caldwell county. They had met together on the 13th of December for the purpose of completing the organization of the High Council of Zion. This body had been depleted by the flight of certain brethren who had to quit the country to avoid being arrested (Kimball, p. 65), and it was important that their places should
be supplied by others. John D. Lee relates that "the men who had been most active in gathering plunder had fled to Illinois to escape the vengeance of the people, leaving their families to suffer for the sins of the bleeding Saints" (Life and Confessions, p. 89). Besides the above contingent of plunderers, it is not unlikely that certain of those Danites who quitted Far West in so much disorder because they had been participants in the conflict at Crooked River in Ray county, may have been members of the High Council.
Three days later, on Sunday the 16th of December, is dated the first epistle with which Joseph is believed to have cheered the spirits of the faithful, which, so far as may be concluded from extracts (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 268; Kidder, p. 167; Tullidge, pp. 270-1), was an insolent performance which did not so much as mention the agreement to remove from the state. Likewise on the 19th of December which the Legislature was in the act of discussing the Mormon memorial, the aforesaid High Council convened at Far West and installed two of the Apostles, Page and Taylor, whom Joseph by the aid of his inspiration had indicated on the 8th day of the preceding July (Tullidge, p. 264; Kimball, p. 65; cf. D.&C., 118, 6). The debate in the Legislature followed by the appropriation of only Two Thousand Dollars for the relief of the suffering people of Caldwell and Daviess, while as much as Two Hundred Thousand were distributed among the soldiers, served the righteous purpose of opening the eyes of the Theocracy to the fact that it would be a perilous affair to trifle with the state of Missouri. Certain efforts appear to have been later put forward looking to an investigation of the war in its causes, progress and results (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 278; Stenhouse, p. 116).
Stenhouse even permits himself to intimate that General Atchison came forward once more to plead the cause of the Mormons in the Legislature; but (if this report may be credited) his exertions were not rewarded by success; the committee of two Senators and one Representative that were appointed to prosecute the investigation were instructed not to assemble for business until the first Monday in May 1839, at which time it was foreseen the issue would be dead by the removal of the Theocracy (Stenhouse, p. 116).
However, the Theocracy displayed the customary pertinacity of such institutions; the epistle which was addressed by the First Presidency to Kimball and Young on the 16th of January 1839 (Kimball, p. 66-7), would appear to indicate that they had not yet given up all hopes of keeping their position. Kimball and Young were instructed to remain in Caldwell county, and in case they should go away to remove their families it would be their duty to return in person.
It could not have been many days after this time when it became apparent that no good end could be achieved by longer holding forth a challenge against the victorious civil state. Joseph at length obtained a revelation by which the Saints were instructed to make preparations for their departure (Lucy Smith, p. 272; cf. p. 270). The families of the eleven brethren who had the honor to be in prison were accorded the preference when the word of removal
was given (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 278). Sidney's family took precedence over that of Joseph (Lucy Smith, p. 272), and the work of removal was shortly in full progress. On the 29th of January it had proceeded to a point where it was felt to be important to consider the necessities of the poor of the Saints. When the subject was mentioned first to Bishop Edward Partridge, he was not disposed to entertain the project with cordiality; it was his notion that all should depart who might be able to perform the journey at their own charges, while the balance should be left behind, as not worthy of further toil or trouble. But Brigham Young who by the post script of Joseph's letter of January 16th had just now ascended to the dignity of President of the Twelve Apostles (Kimball, p. 67), was sensible of the waste that would be entailed by that policy, and caused the brethren to enter into a compact that they would "stand by each other to the utmost of their ability, in removing from this state, in compliance with the authority of the state"; and to acknowledge that they were "firmly bound to the extent of all their available property, to be disposed of by a committee who shall be appointed for the purpose, for providing means for the removing of the poor and destitute, who shall be considered worthy, from this country, till there shall not be one left behind who desires to remove from the state" (Tullidge, p. 265). The committee which was appointed by the terms of the above resolution was composed of Elias Smith, who was a first cousin of the Prophet, Theodore Turley and Hiram Clark (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 22), and perhaps some others (Kimball, p. 72). It is not unlikely that by the aid of Elder Israel Barlow, the prophet had already been brought into communication with Dr. Isaac Galland who was eager to supply the brethren
a place of refuge in the state of Illinois (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 278). A prospect of this kind would go far to explain the change which had come over the dreams of the Theocracy; there was now a place in sight to which they might direct their steps.
When the work of removal was now fairly inaugurated, and on the very day when Mrs. Emma Smith began her journey to Illinois (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 278), namely on the 7th of February 1839, Joseph and his brethren in Liberty Jail made an effort to escape from their confinement (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 1, p. 325; Juv. Inst., 13, p. 21). Elaborate preparations were made by the brethren for this event; the town of Liberty was fairly well filled with expectant Saints, who were ready to welcome the escape of their prophet and to defend him against the efforts of the state authorities to capture him again. The names of Erastus Snow, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball are mentioned among those who were present on this occasion (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 21; Kimball, p. 67).
The project failed and all the conspirators that chanced to be sojourning in the town were arrested (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 21). Many people were seriously disappointed when the project failed; in alluding to the affair Joseph deposes as follows: "The sheriff and jailer did not blame us for our attempt; it was a fine breach, and cost the county a round sum; but public opinion says that we ought to have been permitted to have made our escape; that then the disgrace would have been upon us, but now it must come on the state" (Remy and Brenchley, p. 325). This alludes to the fact that
many persons in Clay county were enlightened enough to perceive that in the persons of Joseph, Sidney and their fellow prisoners the state of Missouri had got an elephant on her hands, which it would be difficult to dispose of. There could be no question that they were all guilty of treason and murder, and righteously liable to the penalties attached to such crimes. On the other hand, because the prisoners were constantly posing as victims of religious persecution it was felt to be highly inexpedient for the state to punish them to the extent that they merited. If they had escaped through this breach in Liberty Jail, their absence would have been appreciated as a welcome relief. The man who might have been unfortunate enough to return them to their confinement would have been everywhere decried in the character of a stupid martinet. It was exceedingly desirable that these prophets who were resting under charges of murder and treason, instead of boldly demanding a trial should confess their guilt by running away.
Sheriff Hadley and Jailer Samuel Tillery were both favorable to the prisoners (Tullidge, p. 797; Lucy Smith, p. 262); they had other partisans in the town of Liberty, especially Messrs. Atchison, Doniphan and Rees, the keeper of the tavern, and several prominent leaders of the Masonic fraternity (Kimball, p. 72). Mrs. Morgan, the widow of William Morgan, of Batavia, New York, who was alleged to have been abducted and murdered by the Masons in 1826
had with her daughter cast in her fortunes with the Mormons probably because of their uncompromising hostility against Masonry (Bennett, p. 176; Magazine of American History, July 1886, p. 99). It must have conveyed a singular impression to her mind to observe the faithful now fraternizing as closely as they could with the representatives of Masonry.
Notwithstanding the influence of the sheriff and jailer and other partisans of the prisoners in the town of Liberty, it was impossible for them to prevent the public from carrying through the demand that punishment should be inflicted for this effort to escape. The body of the people were much aroused (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 21). They carried the point, apparently, that the fare of the culprits should be reduced as is customary in such cases and casualties. Hyrum Smith relates that they "were subjected to the necessity of eating human flesh for the space of five days, or go without food, except a little coffee, or a litttle corn bread" (Lucy Smith, p. 260). This story about human flesh is one of the most stupid that ever was suggested, and rests upon no authority in the world.
Hyrum Smith says "we heard the guard which was placed over us, making sport of us and saying that they had fed us upon Mormon beef" (Lucy Smith, pp. 260-1). It is entirely uncalled for to pervert this language by interpreting into it any sort of allusion to human flesh. But Hyrum retorts, "I have described the appearance of this flesh to several experienced physicians, and they have decided that it was human flesh" (Lucy Smith, p. 261). It is not the first time that experienced
physicians have allowed themselves to pronounce an opinion without sufficient proof. It is a reproach to Mormon literature that this stupid affair is still related as if there were any ground upon which to conclude that it ever did exist. The prisoners themselves were not convinced that it was human flesh; the student is not likely to be convinced of this fact by the casual testimony of a medical man who was as much as two hundred miles removed from the specimens in question at the moment when he pronounced his judgment.
During the months of February and March 1839 the roads were crowded with Saints who were on their way to Illinois (Turner, p. 58); everybody was moving who could command a horse or a vehicle for the purpose; others who had no worldly gear to detain them may be supposed to have made the journey on foot. The families of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball set forward on the 14th of February (Tullidge, Brigham Young, p. 89; Kimball, p. 67). The myth that is gathering about Brigham now represents that "the persecution against him was so bitter, and the mob was so determined to kill him that he had to flee" (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 278), but Mr. Young makes allusion to nothing of the kind in his account of the occurrence (Tullidge, Brigham Young, p. 89).
The population had now begun to move so kindly that it was considered public opinion would endure the release of Mr. Rigdon by the process of habeas corpus. It was the policy of the authorities to allow the prisoners' hope of release to grow just in the same proportion as the
hope of the Theocracy to remain in Missouri was diminished (Tullidge, p. 797; Lucy Smith, p. 260; p. 262). Accordingly it was arranged with County-judge Turnham, who had already figured as the friend of the Saints in June 1834 (Howe, p. 166; Scraps of Biography, p. 91), to award the service in question to Mr. Rigdon. As a result of the investigation that was had under the writ of habeas corpus, Sidney was permitted to come abroad after dark in the streets of Liberty for the purpose of seeking after a person who should be willing to go upon his bond for bail (Lucy Smith, p. 261). Having obtained this kindness Mr. Rigdon returned to jail with the other prisoners until a favorable opportunity should occur, that might be used by Sheriff Hadley and Jailer Tillery to sent him forth unmolested on his journey to Illinois. He is believed to affirm that his arrival at Quincy took place in the month of February 1839 (Kidder, p. 159).
If Sidney could be released upon a writ of habeas corpus, there was no legal reason why the other prisoners might not be favored in the same way; Judge Turnham is reported to have conceded in so many words that public opinion was the only obstacle that hindered him from setting them free. He had reason to fear that both his own life and theirs would be unsafe in case they were admitted to bail (Lucy Smith, p. 261). When they became aware of that posture of affair Joseph and his associates naturally became restive, desiring to be themselves allowed the same privilege that had been accorded to their more fortunate friend. Every means that they could think of
before one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri, in the belief that they would all be by him released upon bail.
It was upon this occasion that the patience of Joseph with his lawyers became exhausted. Messrs. Reese and Doniphan had risked almost everything to serve him and his people, but they now got no thanks for their exertions. In his communication of March 20th, 1839 the prophet informs the brethren that all the prisoners would "have been liberated at the time Elder Rigdon was, on the writ of habeas corpus, had not our own lawyers interpreted the law, contrary to what it reads, against us; which prevented us from introducing our evidence before the mock court. They have done us much harm from the beginning. They have of late acknowledged that the law was misconstrued, and tantalized our feelings with it, and have entirely forsaken us and have forfeited their oaths; and we have come back on them for they are co-workers with the mob" (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 1, p. 325).
To appearance the position which Messrs. Rees and Doniphan assumed was the same as had been so ingenuously confessed by Judge Turnham. If the prisoners had got their dues they would have supplied the tassel to a gibbet, but it was not expedient that they should be awarded what was due them; on the contrary it was good policy to set them loose as speedily as public opinion would consent to such a course. Joseph exclaims: "As nigh as we can learn, the public mind has been for a long time turning in our favor, and the majority is now friendly; and the lawyers can no longer browbeat us by saying
that this or that is matter of public opinion, for public opinion is not willing to brook it; for it is beginning to look with feelings of indignation against our oppressors, and to say that the Mormons were not in fault in the least" (Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 325).
Rees and Doniphan on their part did not credit the above favorable opinion touching the state of public opinion; they resolutely declined to have anything to do in connection with the project to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from one of the judges of the Supreme Court. Joseph relates: "We have tried for a long time to get our lawyers to draw us some petitions to the Supreme Judges of this state, but they utterly refused. We have examined the law and drawn the petitions ourselves, and have obtained abundance of proof to counteract all the testimony that was against us, so that if the Supreme Judge does not grant us our liberty, he has got to act without cause, contrary to honor, evidence, law or justice, sheerly to please the devil; but we hope better things, and trust before many days God will so order our cause that we shall be set at liberty to take up our habitation with the Saints" (Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 326).
The petitions to the Supreme Judges which are mentioned in the above extract from Joseph's letter of the 20th of March, were taken by Messrs. Kimball and Turley on the 15th of March 1839 and carried forward from Liberty to Jefferson City, where it was expected to lay them before Judge Tompkins and his associates of the Supreme Bench. They visited
Tompkins and McKirk and Napton in succession without obtaining any consolation from either of them. Finally the petition was presented to the secretary of state, who at that moment was Mr. James L. Minor; as a matter of course he could do nothing more than to honor it with respectful perusal (Kimball, p. 69). The messengers returned to Liberty with their sorrowful report on the 3rd of April 1839 (Kimball, p. 70).
Joseph now began to perceive that the policy of the state authorities in retaining him until the great body of his adherents had safely quitted the limits of the Commonwealth would be adhered to. He was very weary of his partners in jail; accordingly he gave instructions to the brethren to do their diligence to be gone (Kimball, p. 70); if they loved their prophet they could help him to his liberty in that way. Moreover it was commonly understood by the Missourians that the first day of April would be the last day of grace (Lee, p. 89); those of the Saints who remained after that period must needs have the public emity. Everybody who could be off was already out of harm's way before the first of April.
From his retreat at Quincy Mr. Brigham Young was moved to do what he could both for the poorer of the brethren and for the relief of the prisoners. On Sunday the 17th of March a meeting was held at which Mr. Thomas B. Marsh was excommunicated (Handbook, p. 49), and assistance was forwarded to the unfortunates at Far West (Tullidge, p. 267-268). This assistance did not come before it was urgently
required; the citizens of Missouri were becoming impatient to be quit of the last remnants of the hated Theocracy. Their demonstrations became so threatening that on the 14th of April, the committee who had the business in keeping removed thirty six of the more helpless families from Far West to a stopping place called Tenney's Grove that was situated about twenty five miles away, within the limits of Ray county (Kimball, p. 72). Finally on the morning of the 18th of April the citizens appeared in considerable force and fury and drove both the committee and all the laggards except those who like Mr. Heber C. Kimball kept themselves more or less concealed, out of Far West and out of Caldwell county (Kimball, p. 73). The embarrassing situation in which the state of Missouri felt that she had been placed by the action of General Clark was now much relieved; the time had come nigh when she might safely dismiss the elephant which she had drawn in the unhappy lottery of the previous autumn. Missouri was quite as eager to be rid of the prisoners as they were to be rid of her.
On the 6th of May the enterprise of getting rid of the prisoners was begun. Having had their examining trial during the preceding November, they were now sent forward to hold an interview with the Grand Jury of Daviess county, where many of their iniquities had been perpetrated (Tullidge, pp. 277-8). Complaint was made that they were sent a distance of eighteen miles out of their way, in order to avoid carrying them through Far West (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 4), where they might have succeeded in arousing the fanaticism of their few remaining supporters
to a pitch that would be perilous, but it is evident that the sentiments which directed this detour were just and humane.
On Monday the 8th of April they arrived at Gallatin; on the 9th they were presented before the Grand Jury; on the 10th a true bill was found for Murder, Treason, Burglary, Arson and Larceny (Tullidge, p. 278). There is a confusion of authority regarding the Judge who presided over the court in Gallatin on this occasion. Ordinarily Judge A. A. King is credited with that distinction (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 4), but Hyrum Smith asserts repeatedly that Mr. Thomas C. Burch was the Judge (Lucy Smith, p. 262; p. 264). It must be noted that Messrs. Rees and Doniphan were not in attendance; Mr. Kimball was under the necessity of applying to a certain "Judge Hughes, who had formerly been an Indian agent" (Kimball, p. 71) to engage him to appear in defence of the brethren. Joseph declares that during the few months he resided in Missouri, he paid his lawyers about $50,000 for fees in the various suits which had been brought against him, and that for his money he obtained very little justice, since his counsel were frequently paralyzed by fear of the mob; but sometimes they were so drunk that they could do nothing when required to act (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 1, p. 320 note). This is the measure of gratitude that was accorded to Messrs. Atchison, Doniphan and Rees, who had served the prophet with such exceptional ability and devotion.
Stephen Markham made an effort to assist the prophet by presenting his personal testimony before the Grand Jury in rebuttal of the
evidence that had been laid before them on the part of the Commonwealth, but to appearance his own record was so faulty that he came near compromising his liberty and getting a place on the wrong side of the docket. Nothing but incontinent flight would avail to deliver him from that evil fortune (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 4).
When the indictment of the Grand Jury came up for trial a few days afterward the prisoners applied through their counsel for a change of venue to Marion county. The reason why choice was made of Marion county has not been clearly stated. Possibly it was preferred because it was situated just opposite to Quincy, Illinois, whither the prisoners hoped to effect their escape; possibly they were aware of adherents in Marion as well as in Monroe county, who might be expected to employ their influence on behalf of the leaders of the Theocracy. Something of this kind may be read between the lines of Lucy Smith's narrative. Esquire Mann, of Palmyra the county seat of Marion, was a devoted friend of the Mormons if he was not a member of the church (Lucy Smith, pp. 273-4).
For some reason which is not clearly understood the change of venue to Marion county was not allowed; in the place of it the prisoners were dispatched to Boone county for trial (Lucy Smith, p. 264). A search among the records of the court at Gallatin would likely serve to indicate the date upon which the change of venue was granted; the event is believed to have occurred on the 13th of April 1839.
As it was the policy of the authorities to permit the prisoners to escape at the earliest practicable moment they were favored with a number of privileges that would have appeared singular under other circumstances. For example on the afternoon of the 14th of April they were carried to Adam-ondi-Ahman, a distance of twelve or fifteen miles from Gallatin and in the very opposite direction from Boone county, where their instructions directed that they should be delivered. On the 15th of April they went from Adam-ondi-Ahman to the residence of a certain Judge Morin (Lucy Smith, p. 264), believed to be the same partisan of the Mormons who by John D. Lee is designated as Judge Morning (Lee, p. 56). Morin's place was situated four or five miles away from Adam-ondi-Ahman, and the prisoners were permitted to spend the entire day of the 15th of April under his roof (Lucy Smith, p. 264). The purpose of this delay is supposed to have been to grant the prisoners opportunity to make arrangements for effecting their escape. A sheriff and four other men had been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding them. Two of the guards it is supposed rode in the wagon with the prisoners, while the other three were mounted on horseback. It was desirable to collect a sufficient amount of money to purchase two of the saddle horses, and also to reward each of the five guards for the kindness of closing his eyes to the transaction. Ê
How much of this money was obtained at Adam-ondi-Ahman and how much of it was supplied by Judge Morin has not been stated. It is believed that no very liberal response was made on either quarter.
On the contrary the necessary expenses were met by a sight draft on Apostle Heber C. Kimball for Five Hundred Dollars, which that worthy represents was shortly presented and paid at Tenney's grove (Kimball, p. 74).
When everything was got in readiness the party started westward on the morning of the 16th of April, and traveled a distance of twenty miles from the residence of Judge Morin (Lucy Smith, p. 264). There on the evening of the 16th of April (Tullidge, p. 278), the farce of effecting the delivery of the prisoners was enacted. Hyrum Smith relates that the prisoners bought a jug of whiskey and gave a treat of that beverage to the company. The sheriff notified them of his intention to retire to sleep and signified that the present would be a favorable opportunity for their enterprise. Three of the guards, most likely by previous convention, followed the example of their superior, while the fourth sat up till the hour of departure for the purpose of assisting his clients to saddle the horses which they had purchased (Lucy Smith, p. 264), if not to prevent them from stealing other horses and accouterments which they had not purchased.
This last member of the guard is said to have born the name of John Brassfield, and Emma Smith suggests that even after the date in question he was remembered with favors by the Mormons (Tullidge, p. 795). When by the aid of Mr. Brassfield the two animals had been duly caparisoned, the prisoners, five in number, went on their journey, three of them marching on foot and two mounted on horses (Lucy Smith).
They must have observed a process which was quite familiar to travelers of that time and country, which was known by the title of "ride and tie." On the 22d of April 1839 (Handbook of Reference, p. 50), sometime during the afternoon of the day (Lucy Smith, p. 279), they arrived at Quincy.
On the 23d of April Lucy Smith relates: "The Quincy Greys came to our house and saluted my sons in the most polite manner" (p. 279).
Thus at last the state of Missouri was relieved of a burden which for several years had oppressed her like a nightmare. Her conduct was much maligned, because it was much misapprehended. Illinois received the Theocracy with open arms and floods of sympathizing tears, but it was not long before she repented of her generosity and enlightenment in sack cloth and ashes. It is ever a perilous business to nurse and cherish within its own bosom an incorrigible and unscrupulous enemy of the civil government.
Allusion is distinctly had in this instance to the passage at First Corinthians, 8:5: "There be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or on earth, (as there be gods many and lords many)." The assertion by Mr. Smith that each of the faithful Mormons, who might be fortunate enough to come to the chiefest heaven, would there become a God, was believed to be an admirable and inspired explanation of this word of Holy Scripture; it would also supply a
desirable consolation and incitement to the excellent but obscure believers in Joseph.
Several years after its earliest promulgation this poor conceit was permitted to lie undeveloped; at any rate there is no mention given of it in the revelations of the prophet. His mind, however, would be turned back to the subject with much interest by the Hebrew studies of the years 1835 and 1836. Especially when Mr. Joshua Seixas came to Kirtland to open the third session of the School of the Prophets on the 4th of January 1836, Joseph would be certified beyond any question through his authority that the word Elohim was a plural form. Whatever explanation Mr. Seixas may have presented touching that circumstance, it is plain that Mr. Smith had one of his own which he had already received in an inspired and recorded "Vision of the Lord."
But the years 1836, 1837 and 1838 were so sadly crowded by turmoils that Joseph was hardly at liberty to examine the subject to the bottom, until he was clapped into prison in November of the last named year. There he gave his thoughts and leisure to issues of theology, and in particular to the question about a plurality of Gods. By the 20th of March 1839 he had made up his mind, and in the letter addressed to the church on that date, portions of which are now treated as a revelation from the Lord, two definite references are made to this preposterous hobby. In the first of these he predicts "a time to come in which nothing shall be withheld; whether there be one God or many Gods, they shall be made manifest" (D.&C., 121, 28).
Persons who were familiar with the inspired style and methods of Mr. Smith would hardly find it difficult to guess on which side of the question his convictions lay. Yet, in case any remnant of uncertainty existed, it would have been wholly removed by the second notice, in which he permits himself to speak of "that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other Gods" (D.&C., 121, 32).
These two allusions to the tenet of a plurality of Gods did not occur without ample preparation; the prophet had now made up his mind, by means of several months of reflection and of conference with the brethren who shared his imprisonment. It will be in order to explain the process by which the preparation suggested had been procured. It was connected with the so-called gospel of Abraham, which it was pretended had been discovered upon one of the papyri that was found in one of the well known mummy cases. Remy and Brenchley, who are commonly reliable authority in the matter of dates, declare that the four mummies were purchased from Mr. Chandler on the 5th of July, 1835 (vol. 1, p. 301). As soon as these records had been secured it pleased Mr. Smith to devote a considerable amount of study and attention to their contents; he even allows himself to affirm that shortly after the purchase he commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, employing the assistance of W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery in the capacity of scribes (The Book of Abraham by Elder George Reynolds, Deseret News Printing and Publishing, Salt Lake City 1879, p. 2).
His labors on the precious document are brought forward in his Autobiography under date of the first and seventh of October and the 24th of November 1835. On the 16th of December he relates: "Elders McLellin, B. Young and J. Carter called and paid me a visit, with which I was much gratified. I exhibited and explained the Egyptian records to them and explained many things concerning the dealings of God with the ancients, and the formation of the planetary system" (Reynolds, Book of Abraham, p. 3). The work in question is once more brought forward, this time in a "Vision" that was manifested to Joseph and Oliver on the 3d of April, 1836, which was the Sunday following the dedication of the "House of the Lord" at Kirtland, where it is reported: "after this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed, all generations after us should be blessed" (D.&C., 110, 12).
When the 3d of April 1836 had passed by, Joseph's occasions rarely brought him to wrestle with the hardships of Egyptian hieroglyphics, whether in the company of Phelps and Cowdery or of any other persons. To appearance the gospel of Abraham drops out of view; there is no word about it anywhere in the literature until suddenly it is announced in the aforesaid letter of March 20th, 1839, by the use of terms that are not in the least obscure to readers who chance to be familiar with what has subsequently been published under the name of the gospel of Abraham.
It is on this wise that Mr. Smith expresses himself:
"God shall give unto you [the saints] knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now; which our forefathers have waited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times; which their minds were pointed to by the angels as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory: a time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many Gods they shall be manifest; all thrones and dominions and principalities and powers shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ; and also if there be bounds set to the heavens, or to the seas; or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon or stars; all the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days, months and years, and all their glories, laws and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensations of the fulness of times" (D.&C., 121, 26-31). The above description so nicely corresponds to the contents of the work that was published under the title of the Book of Abraham in 1842 (Pearl of Great Price, pp. 33-45), that it is conceived to suggest that Mr. Smith had only recently completed the elaboration of the Book of Abraham, and had it in full before him either in manuscript or in mind. Clearly it was now his settled purpose to send it forth in print for the instruction and edification of the saints, and thus fulfill the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham which Elias had confirmed at Kirtland three years before.
Inasmuch as he had firmly committed himself to the doctrine of a plurality of Gods in the Book of Abraham (Pearl of Great Price, pp. 41-45) it was every way natural that Joseph should bring
the topic which he had there been handling to the attention of the brethren in his epistle of the 20th of March. His thoughts were too full of it to permit him to hold his peace.
In a previous portion of the present work reference was made to the fact that the brethren, who in the early time were all "called and chosen" (D.&C., 52, 1), had now degenerated to such a point that many, even of those who had been ordained by the hands of the priesthood, were recognized as being called but not chosen (D.&C., 95, 5; 105, 35-6). The experience of life, that was gained in the Second Missouri War, had availed to induce Mr. Smith still farther to sustain that distinction (D.&C., 122, 34-40).
The reason why these unfortunates were not chosen shows another generous advance of hierarchical arrogance. It is "because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson-that the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness" (D.&C., 121, 35, 36). There is scarcely an ecclesiastical organization except the Catholic Church which ventures to an extreme so positive. At this point the Mormons join hands with the Catholics most intimately. To carry out the parallel still more closely it was carefully provided that the Priesthood should remain with Joseph (D.&C., 122, 6), just as in the
case of the Catholics the Pope is the Vicegerent of God upon the earth.
Mention has been given of the circumstance that at one time Joseph was believed to display a tendency to ignore and outgrow the "ancient gospel," which he even degraded with the designation of a mere "preparatory gospel," and suggested that the "Lord in his wrath caused it to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel" (D.&C., 84, 26-28). Sidney must have been proud of the revenge he obtained for that slight in these times that tried mens' souls; in the epistle which the First Presidency of the church addressed to Kimball and Young under date of January 16, 1839, it was enjoined that the "elders should preach nothing but the first principles of the gospel" (Kimball, p. 67). A similar injunction had been laid upon the first missionaries who were sent forth to preach the gospel in England.
On one of these Mr. Smith took in hand the business of reorganizing the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which it has been shown was at this moment depleted by the loss of four of its members, namely the two Johnsons, Boynton, and McLellin (D.&C., 118:1). In the first instance the business of choosing the Twelve Apostles had been adorned with a mumber of scenic effects. For example the three chief witnesses of the Book of Mormon were brought together, and caused to offer up prayers, each one in succession; they were blessed by the laying on of hands of the First Presidency, and with the inspiration of that consecration fresh upon their hearts and heads, they set to work to make choice of the Twelve, under the supposition that they would be infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit (Tullidge, pp. 149-150).
Everybody who cared to investigate the subject might have easily been satisfied regarding the true contents of that proceeding; Joseph himself had selected the Twelve Apostles; it was merely for the purpose of dignified installation and useful deception that recourse was to the prayers and pretended divine instruction of the witnesses aforesaid. On the 8th of July 1838, however, all of these witnesses were in flagrant apostasy; it was out of the question to employ their services a second time. Joseph therefore proceeds without that particular sort of jugglery and announces the names of the four new apostles by means of divine revelation, namely, John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards (D.&C., 118, 6). They had been appointed on the previous occasion exclusively by his selection, and there was no reason why upon the present occasion he should not be bold enough to confess the truth.
It is a singular circumstance that the prophet did not even require these new apostles to be ordained; he considered that it would be sufficient if they were "officially notified of their appointment" (D.&C., 118, 6). The reason of this default lay in the fact that the four persons who had been preferred to Apostolic labors were scattered so widely abroad as not to be easily accessible; Wilford Woodruff was at Scarboro, Maine (Leaves From My Journal, p. 51), and Willard Richards, who by the way was a cousin of Brigham Young's (Tullidge, Life of Brigham Young, p. 83), was sojourning in England, whither he had gone on a mission during the month of June 1837 (Handbook of Reference, p. 46). This irregularity on the
part of Mr. Smith was later corrected; all of the persons mentioned were duly ordained.
Joseph also hinted at the project of making provision for the families of the Twelve Apostles; at any rate he permitted the Lord to promise that in case they should continue to preach in all lowliness of heart in meekness and humility and long suffering, he would provide for their families (D.&C., 118, 3). This hint was highly improved by seven of the Apostles at a conference which they held at the house of Mr. Samuel Clark in Far West Missouri, on the morning of the 26th of April 1839. These brethren, two of whom were not ordained until as much as half an hour afterwards, passed a resolution to the effect "that the Twelve should have their shackles taken off, that they might go forth into the world to preach the gospel, and that the Bishops were to provide for their families" (Kimball, p. 78).
This was indeed a distinguished advance on the part of the Twelve Apostles; a change by means of which their families should enjoy access to the public treasury, at least for the period of time in which themselves should be absent from home, engaged in the work of carrying the "ancient gospel" and the "ancient order of things" into the regions that lay beyond. No provision of this nature was made on behalf of the luckless families of the Seventies; these must suffer and starve while their natural protectors were roving the country over in behalf of the prophet and his pretensions. Unjust and selfish
as this damand on the part of the Twelve must have been recognized to be, it was quietly conceded both by the Seventies and by their families; at a Conference of the entire church where Joseph presided on the 4th of May 1839, the proceedings of the members of the Twelve that had been held upon the spot of the "House of the Lord" in Far West were sanctioned and confirmed (Kimball, p. 77).
Such a large amount of loose talk has been vented concerning the Conference of certain members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at Far West on the 26th of April 1839, that it may not be amiss to turn aside at this point and set down the main facts of the occurrence. When Joseph delivered his revelation of the 8th of July 1838, commanding the Apostles to depart the next spring "to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fullness thereof, and bear record of my name"; and to "take leave of my saints in the city of Far West on the 26th day of April next, on the building spot of my house" (D.&C., 118, 4-5), he had no idea that the reckless challenge which four days previously Sidney Rigdon had issued would have been accepted, the war of extermination which it demanded would have been fought, and nearly all the Mormons driven out of Missouri.
From the moment when that great disaster fell and Joseph was clapped up in prison he is believed to have conceived a degree of solicitude for the prediction in which he had been so unwary as to mention a place and a date. Provisions were instituted for the literal performance of it as early as the 16th of January, 1839. In a letter of that date which was sent by the First Presidency
to Messrs. Kimball and Young it was enjoined that "though you take your families out of the state, it will be necessary for you to return, and leave as before designed, on the 26th of April" (Kimball, p. 66). After receiving this command it was never for a moment doubtful to Kimball or Young what course it would be wholesome for them to pursue. Kimball remained in Missouri until the date in question; he also had an arrangement by means of which Brigham Young was expected to arrive from Quincy Illinois at that time (Kimball, p. 74).
In order that the perils of the procedure might not be increased the revelation is suspected to have been kept as much of a secret as possible; only official members of the church seem to have been made aware of it. Kimball, who remained behind to prepare for the occasion was under the necessity of going about the town of Far West a day or two in advance to notify the few saints to be present and witness the proposed resumption of the work on the house of worship (Kimball, p. 74). As a matter of course it would also be kept as much as possible from the knowledge of the apostate Mormons who resided at Far West; so much success was achieved in this enterprise that it is reported that Mr. Theodore Turley calling at the house of a prominent apostate on the morning in question informed him of the presence of the Twelve according to revelation, and that the said apostate was taken wholly by surprise (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 22).
In case the revelation was thus deftly concealed from the Saints and from the apostates it is far less likely that the Gentiles should have received
any notice of it. It is said that on his return to Far West in the forepart of April 1839 Mr. Turley was injudicious enough to mention the project to Captain Bogart, John Whitmer and others, but there is a degree of uncertainty regarding this report, as it is presented by Tullidge (p. 277). Possibly it was out of the transaction there recorded that the Mormon historians have invented the stupid story that, "Missouri gave a formal challenge to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that though all the rest of Joe Smith's revelations should be fulfilled, this one should not" (Tullidge, p. 240). That sort of nonsense is much in need of documentary evidence; it is apparently on a par with the extraordinary myth that was set on foot by Joseph to the effect he was informed that during his imprisonment in Missouri, "he had been sentenced at three different times to be shot" (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 4). But independent of the question of opposition the fulfillment of this revelation was felt to be a necessity on the part of the Saints themselves; the First Presidency had distinctly commanded it to be fulfilled; the fictitious resistance of the state of Missouri and of apostate Mormons at Far West are nothing better than accessories that have been invented to heighten the effect of the story. The best account of the expedition of the Twelve is supplied by Mr. Wilford Woodruff and Mr. Heber C. Kimball.
The journey from Quincy was begun in the face of a degree of opposition from Patriarch Joseph Smith, sen., and others (Woodruff, p. 57), on the 18th of April, 1839 (Woodruff, p. 58). On that day the members of the committee which had been charged with the task of
assisting the poor to remove from Missouri, were expelled by force from Far West and took up a temporary abode at Tenny's Grove in Ray County. It was a day of much hustling and comotion, on the part of the citizens who by this time must have got a suspicion that those who lingered so long did not expect to leave at all (Kimball, pp. 72-3). When they had succeeded in driving forth the Mormon rear guard they would be inclined to regard the business accomplished, and would care little or nothing about a wild-goose chase on the part of the Twelve Apostles a few days later, even in case advices had been conveyed to them with reference to it.
Apostles were not very numerous at Quincy or elsewhere on the 18th of April, 1839. Luke and Lyman Johnson, John F. Boynton, William E. McLellin, Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde were in apostasy. William Smith, as usual, was next door to apostasy (Kimball, p. 77); David W. Patton was dead; Parley P. Pratt was confined, for his crimes, in the jail at Richmond. Thus it will appear that nine of the original number were quite out of the combat: the burden of the day rested upon the shoulders of the remaining three: namely, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt, whose energies were supported by the pair of new apostles who had already obtained their ordination, namely, John Taylor and John E. Page.
But Page had not yet made his exit from Missouri; the brethren met him April 21st, on their journey to Far West, and took him back with them (Woodruff, p. 58). At the beginning of the expedition were present Messrs. Young, Kimball,
Orson Pratt and John Taylor; in their company traveled Mr. Wilford Woodruff and Mr. George A. Smith, who expected to receive ordination to the apostleship at Far West, and Mr. Alpheus Cutler, the master workman of the building committee of the new "House of the Lord" at Far West (Woodruff, p. 59). They were conveyed in two wagons that had been supplied by Messrs. Woodruff and Cutler (Woodruff, p. 58).
On the 24th of April they passed Tenney's Grove and carreid back to Far West the members of the committee for the poor, namely, Messrs. Elias Smith, Theodore Turley and Hiram Clark (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 22). Arriving on the night of the 25th of April, the party made themselves at home at the house of Mr. Maurice Phelps, who was in prison with Parley P. Pratt, at Richmond jail (Woodruff, p. 58). Before the dawn of day they assembled for the purpose of holding a Conference at the house of Brother Samuel Clark, where among other items of business thirty one persons were excommunicated (Kimball, p. 74). Having closed the Conference the company retired to the foundation of the "House of the Lord." The corner stone had already been laid on the preceding 4th of July, but they repaired to the southeast chief corner of the temple ground and laid what Mr. Woodruff denominates "the south east chief corner stone of the temple" (Woodruff, p. 59), by rolling a stone upwards of a ton in weight upon or near the southeast corner (Kimball, p. 75), a labor that was accomplished by the aid of Mr. Alpheus Cutler.
When this poor farce had been accomplished to their liking or ability the Apostles proceeded to the main business for which they had braved the perils of the underaking; namely they ordained to their own rank Messrs Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith, and to the rank of the Seventies, Messrs. Darwin Chase and Norman Shearer, who had been released from imprisonment at Richmond by the sentence of the Grand Jury of Ray county on the 24th of April, 1839 (Handbook of Reference, p. 50). According to a well established Mormon custom the Quorum, whose number had now been increased to seven, offered up prayer one after another in succession, and then sung the hymn of Adam-ondi-Ahman. The closing performance was to take leave, perhaps during the singing of the hymn, of the saints who had been gotten together for the purpose of fulfilling the revelation in that regard (D.&C., 118, 5). By all the exertions they could put forth it was not possible to collect more than eighteen persons for this service; their names may be mentioned honoris causa, as also for purposes of comparison, as follows: Alpheus Butler, Elias Smith, Theodore Turley, Hiram Clark, Norman Shearer, Daniel Shearer Darwin Chase, Shadrach Roundy, Stephen Markham, William Burton, William O. Clark, John W. Clark, Hezekiah Peck, Mary Ann Peck, Martha Peck, Artemisia Granger, Sarah Granger and Richard Howard (Woodruff, p. 59). After breakfast at the house of Samuel Clark the brethren were enabled to depart on their return to Illinois before the sun had risen. Riding thirty miles that day they spent the night at Tenney's Grove with the families of Elders Clark and Turley of the committee (Kimball, p. 75).
They reached Quincy on the 2d of May (Kimball, p. 75), with the conviction that they had fulfilled the word of the Lord as spoken by his prophet.
But it was such a meagre fulfillment as was hardly worth half the pains it cost. It is allowed there were present eighteen persons, but these were not enough to fulfill anything more than the letter of the injunction of the command: "Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the 26th of April next, on the building spot of my house, saith the Lord."
They did not even fulfill the letter of Joseph's revelation. The reader will have perceived that the presence of Alpheus Cutler, the master workman of the building committee of the Lord's house was considered indispensable on the above occasion. The reason of that circumstance must be sought for in a revelation that had been bestowed on the 26th of April 1838. Joseph had there directed: "in one year from this day, let them recommence laying the foundation of my house; thus let them from that time forth labor diligently until it shall be finished from the corner stone thereof, until there shall not anything remain that is not finished" (D.&C., 115, 11. 12). Mr. Cutler was therefore brought from Quincy not merely because he had a convenient outfit in which the Apostles might find conveyance, but also to "recommence laying the foundation of my house," according to the injunction expressed above.
Yet in the very next breath the prophet had enjoined that the work which was resumed on the 26th of April, 1839 should be prosecuted without any cessation until the structure was completed in every part. Certainly this portion of the revelation was conspicuously neglected; it has been neglected every day since that date; the foundation as it then stood has been removed until nothing at present remains of it except "a depression in the earth three or four feet deep, about the size of the original excavation, and some fragments of crumbling walls, all covered with blue grass, weeds and loose stones" (Magazine of American History, July 1886, p. 99). What does it avail to have accomplished an infinitesimal item of the would be thought divine command while all the rest of it was left to take care of itself as best it might shift to do so? Especially it ill becomes the Mormons to make so much noise relating to the small business that the expedition did accomplish when it left behind an incomparably larger task that was not touched. The credit of Joseph's inspiration had not been assisted by expedients of this color.
Returning from the digression in which the too much boasted journey and courage of the Apostles has been discussed, it will now be proper to mention other changes in the constitution of the church that were enacted in Missouri. The requirement that the faithful should deliver up all their property except just enough to sustain themselves and their families after a frugal sort, was still insisted upon and the new name of "surplus property" was invented for it (D.&C., 119, 1).
But it now became apparent that this arrangement would hardly meet the financial requirements of the hierarchy. It gave them no special hold except upon the comparatively small number of men who chanced to be of feeble wits and comfortable estate, like John Tanner or Philo Dibble; the majority of the faithful had no "surplus property" nor any other kind of property. It was desirable, however, that the church should possess a claim upon their brawny muscles, and so compel them to divide with her their hard crusts of bread. Consequently Mr. Smith suggested the important improvement of tithing. likewise the interest of their labors and investments every year. The surrender of the "surplus property" was henceforth represented as being nothing more than "the beginning of the tithing of my people"; it was enjoined that "after that those who have thus been tithed shall pay one tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy Priesthood, saith the Lord" (D.&C., 119, 4).
Here was a pecuniary contrivance which considering the fact that several thousand follower were now collected about them would supply the hierarchy a steady and comfortable income. The earliest tithing house of Mormon history is mentioned by Kimball as having existed at Far West (Kimball, p. 73). The question next arose regarding the method in which this new and steady income might be wisely disposed of, and it was settled by the prophet's inspiration on the 18th of July, 1838, in a
fashion that is worthy of study. Following is a "Revelation given through Joseph the Seer, at Far West, Missouri, July 18th, 1838, making known the disposition of property tithings, as named in the revelation given on the 8th instant. Verily, thus saith the Lord, the time is now come that it shall be disposed of by a Council composed of the First Presidency of my church, and of the bishop and his council and by my High Council; and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord. Even so, Amen" (D.&C., Section 120).
It will be perceived that the above revelation removed the foundation from beneath the United Order of Enoch of infamous memory. Joseph never had any use for that convenience after he went to Missouri to live; it was comfortably laid away among the curiosities of the lumber garret. Years afterwards the Saints of Utah in the spirit of martinets, who were unable to comprehend their prophet, restored what he had here cast aside; but they have never found a way to bring the re-organized order of Enoch into any special prominence (Compendium of Doctrines, pp. 263-266).
It will likewise be observed that while in the above revelation Joseph affects to pay respect to the other members of the First Presidency, to the bishop and his council, and to the High Council, he reserves the lion's share of the influence and money for his particular personal uses, by providing in express terms that the business of management is to be also performed "by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord." Mr. Smith was very much inclined to provide
for his private interests. The United Order of Enoch was destroyed and discontinued apparently because he fancied it would be easier to compass the design of handling the funds of the faithful by other expedients.
It is perhaps worthy of mention that in addition to the Historian of the Church another officer was appointed in Missouri for the purpose of collecting the slanders that had recently been sent forth through various channels against the Saints. This office, however, was instituted for a merely temporary emergency and was laid aside when the special work was performed that had been assigned to it. Mr. A. M. Musser had the honor to be preferred to it (D.&C., Section 123).
Originally Joseph had firmly committed himself to the position that Independence Missouri was the Zion of promise: "Wherefore this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom, here is wisdom. Behold the place which is now called Independence, is the centre place, and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house" (D.&C., 57, 2-3). But as soon as Joseph was comfortably settled at Far West that place was not only elevated to the dignity of a "holy and consecrated land" (D.&C., 115, 7), but it was likewise permitted to depose the town of Independence, and Far West was itself conceded to be Zion. The Bishop of Far West was spoken of
in express terms as the "bishop of my church of Zion" (D.&C., 119, 1); the construction of the "House of the Lord" at Far West was designated as the "laying of the foundation of Zion" (D.&C., 119, 2). It is always convenient for Mormon writers to overlook this palpable contradiction on the part of a leader who is given out to have enjoyed the advantages of divine insight and inspiration. That inspiration, however, was too wayward to justify the exertion of any special pains to defend its consistency. After Far West had been captured and spoiled in November 1838, the prophet once more changed his notion; in his epistle of January 16, 1839, he announced that "America will be a Zion to all that choose to come to it" (Kimball, p. 67). The same sentiment was further elaborated during the Nauvoo period.
Kirtland had been formally condemned by Mr. Smith in the first of his three revelations given on the 8th of July 1838, the object of which was to persuade the brethren who still lingered there to remove to Missouri and fix their residence at Adam-ondi-Ahman. He injoins as follows: "Let the properties of Kirtland be turned out for debts, saith the Lord. Let them go, saith the Lord, and whatsoever remaineth,
let it remain in your hands, saith the Lord" (D.&C., 117, 5). On the other hand, in the letter of the 16th of next January it is suggested that in case certain English brethren were disposed to come immediately to America, "they would do well to send their wise men before them and buy out Kirtland, and the regions round about" (Kimball, p. 66). This revolution of sentiment, was preceded by a somewhat marked return of tenderness towards the "House of the Lord" in Kirtland, and by regrets that it should be defiled at the hands of members of the "Pure Church," who are denounced in the character of "money-changers" (D.&C., 117, 16). Possibly Mr. Smith was now grateful that the efforts made by his own followers to burn that sacred structure during the winter of 1837-8 had been thwarted through the watchfulness and courage of those same "money-changers."
It has already been signified that the religious or prophetic name for Kirtland was Shinahar; Adam-ondi-Ahman, which had been established for the behoof of refugees from Kirtland, was also given the name of Shinahar, but for the sake of distinction, the prophet further drew upon his gibberish and called it Olaha Shinahar (D.&C., 117, 8). The invitation which Joseph sent forth on the 8th of July desiring the Saints of Kirtland to remove to Missouri had met with a favorable response two days before the time of its delivery. On the 6th of July 1838, five hundred and fifteen Saints left Kirtland for Missouri (Handbook of Reference, p. 47). The fates were not favorable to
this company of emigrants; only about 200 of their number were enabled to complete the journey, the balance being scattered to the four winds of heaven (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 130). But those who fell by the wayside were happier than the number who succeeded in reaching the heights of the second Zion. It was a sad fortune enough to escape the turmoils of Kirtland only to be plunged into the greater turmoils of Far West. The faithful two hundred arrived at the latter place after a journey of nearly three months, which must have been performed in the character of beggars, on the 2d of October, 1838; two days later on the fourth of October they were received at Adam-ondi-Ahman. The Second Missouri War was already in progress.
By reason of the untimely apostasy of David Whitmer, who was president of the Stake at Far West, and of Oliver Cowdery, who held the like office at Kirtland, that dignity fell into disrepute, and had not been included in either of the five schemes for the correct organization of the hierarchy that have been described above. But though neglected it was not rejected. Evidence has been presented of the fact that after the deposition of David Whitmer and of his two counselors, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer their places were supplied by Thomas B. Marsh, with David W. Patten and Brigham Young as his counselors (Juv. Inst., 12. p. 111). It is worthy of remark that on the 8th of July 1838 William Marks was offered the bait of President of the Stake at Far West in case he would desert Kirtland and come up to Zion (D.&C., 117, 10). The Stake of Olaha Shinahar, commonly designated as Adam-ondi-Ahman was placed under the Presidency of John Smith, with
Reynolds Cahoon and Lyman Wight as his counselors (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 111). Parley P. Pratt had the honor to bring up the rear of the retreat from Missouri. Himself and Maurice Phelps escaped from prison at Richmond, perhaps by covert permission, on the 4th of July, 1839 (Handbook of Reference, p. 50). It is suspected that the people of Missouri were of a good resolution to hang Mr. Pratt without regard to consequences. He was kept a prisoner in Ray county for the reason that the principal charge against him related to the fight with Bogart at Crooked River within the territory of that county. His measure of the crime involved in that performance was believed to be particularly heinous; Mr. Wyatt Cravens, one of Bogart's men who was captured, had testified that "after the Mormons pretended to set him at liberty, he was waylaid on his return homeward by a Mormon, and shot at and wounded, but finally succeeded in making his escape" (Kidder, p. 145).
John D. Lee, who honors Mr. Cravens with the name of Tarwater, says that after the Mormons told him he was free to go home "he started off, and when he was some forty yards away, Parley P. Pratt, then one of the Twelve Apostles, stepped up to a tree, laid his gun up by the side of the tree, took deliberate aim and shot Tarwater. He fell and lay still. The Mormons believing he was dead, went on and left him lying where he fell. Tarwater came to, and reached home, where he was taken care of, and soon recovered from his wounds. He afterwords testified in court what he knew and, upon his evidence Parley P. Pratt, was imprisoned in Richmond jail in 1839" (Lee, pp. 73-4). If the purpose had
existed to bring Parley to the gallows, it was finally surrendered to milder counsels after the departure of all the Saints. Though he might have richly deserved execution it was perceived to be an ill policy to supply the brethren with another martyr. The authorities in Missouri, therefore, with excellent wisdom and enlightenment placed a restraint upon their sentiments, permitted the claims of strict justice to be defeated, and gave the culprit his liberty. He arrived at Quincy on the 19th of July, 1839, amid great rejoicing on the part of the Saints (Kimball, p. 81). The rejoicing of the Missourians to be quit of him and his was just as sincere if not quite so active.
The number of Mormons who were expelled from Missouri is estimated all the way from Ten Thousand (Kimball, p. 69; Woodfuff, p. 59) to Fifteen Thousand (Handbook of Reference, p. 50). Considering the fact that he was not able under the most favorable circumstances to muster more than six or seven hundred soldiers for duty, it is conceived to be likely that not more than Six or Seven Thousand followers were subject to the commands of the prophet at any time during the Missouri period.
A member of the band of robbers who had been scattered abroad on the occasion was Dr. Isaac Galland. Whether he was present at the fall of their fort in the year 1832 has not been declared, but it is well known that three years later he was a resident of Hancock county. Governor Ford deposes that:
"In the year 1834, one Dr. Galland was a candidate for the legislature in a district composed of Hancock, Adams, and Pike counties. He resided in the county of Hancock, and as in the early part
of his life he had been a notorious horse thief and counterfeiter, belonging to the Massac gang, and was then no pretender to integrity, it was useless to deny the charge. In all his speeches he freely admitted the fact" (History of Illinois, p. 406).The place of his residence in Hancock county was situated directly on the Mississippi River at the head of the Des Moines rapids, and went by the name of Commerce. Here he owned or controlled a farm that included 47 acres of land (Bennett, History of the Saints, p. 99). Possibly these few acres represented the bulk of his estate; but the Doctor was wont to make his boasts of great expectations from the lands of the Half Breeds of the Sac and Fox Nation of Indians, which were situated just opposite to Commerce on the Iowa side of the river.
This "Half Breed Tract" was destined to play a considerable role in the history of the Saints during their residence al Nauvoo; it may therefore be worth the pains to give some account of it. It covered an area of 119,000 acres in the extreme southern portion of the state of Iowa, which was bounded on the east by the Mississippi and on the south and west by the Des Moines River. Custom had appropriated to it the name of the Delta of Iowa. By means of a treaty that was enacted with the General Government in the year 1824, this Delta had been reserved for the use of the Half Breeds of the Sac and Fox Nation of Indians. Meanwhile these Half Breeds held it by the same title as other Indian lands were held, namely by the right of possession; and the United States retained reversionary
interest in it, or the privilege to purchase it at pleasure.
But in the month of June 1834 the Government relinquished to the Half Breeds of the Sac and Fox Nation of Indians the reversionary interest which they previously had held, and authorized them to transfer their several shares in it either by sale or devise or by descent. This procedure at once brought the entire body of 119,000 acres of land into the market.
But the question immediately arose, as to who were the real Half Breeds of the Sac and Fox Nation of Indians, and who had the right to dispose of shares in these wealthy lands. Spurious or doubtful claims to the dignity of being a Half Breed of the Sac and Fox Nation of Indians began to pour in from every side. Originally there were in all not more than forty or fifty of these claimants, but the number was shortly swelled to one hundred and sixty.
Two years later in the summer of 1836 a Syndicate of New York capitalists had their attention turned in this direction and went into the business of purchasing Half Breed claims. Dr. Galland who lived just across the river was able to persuade these gentlemen that he knew more about the Half Breeds and their shares than any other person; on the supposition that he would be indispensable to their speculation they took him into their company and made him one of the five trustees. No great period elapsed however before he showed the cloven hoof, and was shown to the door. Ever afterwards he would feel a sort of grudge against the New York company, and be glad of any good opportunity to cross their plans. Moreover he had been dealing
or professing to deal in Half Breed shares on his own private account; but his finances were so much reduced that his purchases could not have been important, unless perchance he had contrived to pay for them in spurious coin.
Owing to disorders that had prevailed under a former chief by the name of Black Hawk, the government had erected barracks just across from Commerce for the purpose of holding the Indians in check. This post was known by the title of Fort Des Moines, and in the year 1837, when it was vacated by the troops, the New York capitalists had influence enough to cause their agents to be installed in the buildings that were left behind. A town was shortly laid out to which the name of Montrose was given, and there was every reason to hope that the enterprise would prosper according to the wishes of those who were cultivating it (Bennett, p. 101). Here was a case in which possession was nine points of the law, and beyond any question they were in possession.
Dr. Galland's interest on the contrary was very small and undefined (Bennett, p. 100); but as he was not troubled with modesty he at first arrested that he owned seven tenths of the Half Breed Tract and later claimed that he owned the whole of it (Bennett, p. 99). Despite these extravagant pretensions he was not in possession of a single foot of the entire area; it was his constant desire however to come into possession of the whole of it.
Apparently in the month of August 1838, when the earliest notes of the second Mormon War were heard in Daviess county,
Elder Israel Barlow, foreseeing the heavy wrath to come, quitted the state of Missouri, in order to find elsewhere a place of safety (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 278). Wandering forth to whatever point chance might direct his steps he drifted into the Delta of Iowa. Here was a sort of "No Man's Land," where thieves and coiners could and did revel at will, with none to molest or make them afraid (Mackay, The Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, p. 200).
Elder Barlow immediately conceived the notion that this Half Breed Tract would be of all others the very place to establish a theocracy; here there would be no power disposed to contest its claim to paramount sovereignty. It was not long before he encountered Dr. Galland, who was exceedingly desirous to invent a method by which he could supplant the New York Syndicate. The situation of the Saints in Missouri was minutely recited, it readily enlisted the interest of the worthy Doctor, who professed the warmest sympathy for the brethren. Who. since they had lost in the conflict they had provoked and precipitated, he was much disposed to consider were exposed to shocking persecution. He "at once took steps to bring the town of Commerce to the favorable notice of the brethren, as a place suitable for the settlement of the Saints" (Juv. Inst., 12, [p.] 278).
His exertions met with a speedy and sympathetic response; the Delta of Iowa was regarded by almost all the brethren as a land adapted for their uses. The earliest indication of an extensive migration from Missouri to the Half Breed Tract occurs in the
month of November 1838. Upon the arrival of General Lucas at Far West, Hyrum Smith, who had been placed in prison, was permitted on the second of November to enter the town for the purpose of visiting his family (Handb., p. 49). Hyrum was naturally concerned for the safety of those parties who had taken part in the Battle of Crooked River on the 25th of October. He felt assured that in case the state of Missouri should lay hands upon these it would be difficult for them to escape. Consequently he strenuously counseled that all the brethren who had been present upon that occasion should make their escape as speedily as possible, before the moment when Far West should be invested (Fragments of Experience, p. 52).
There was no embarrassment at all relating to the place whither it would be appropriate for these fugitives to turn their steps: on the night of the second of November 1838, the entire body of them set their faces towards "the Des Moines River in Iowa Territory" (Fragments, p. 52); after many hardships from the inclement season they reached the place about the middle of the month (Fragments, p. 54).
It was natural that Dr. Galland should be delighted to welcome this addition to the motley population of the Half Breed Tract, inasmuch as their coming almost amounted to an assurance that all the balance of the Saints would follow after. His triumph over the hated capitalists from New York, he fancied was now placed beyond the reach of peradventure; it would not be difficult to render the village of Montrose so warm that their agents would not
consent to dwell in it and keep possession for them.
What has been just now exhibited, will supply an explanation of the remarkable circumstance that on quitting the state of Missouri the Mormons should have traveled eastwards instead of northwards or westwards. They had been repeatedly advised to find a home in Wisconsin or in Michigan. and Joseph had connections in both these quarters; the fact that he neglected these counsels for the purpose of finding a home towards the east has never been sufficiently insisted upon. It was entirely due to the agency and influence of Dr. Isaac Galland that Illinois was cursed with the Mormon invasion. He pointedly laid claim to the distinction of having selected the spot where this concentration of Mormon power should exist (Kidder, p. 164), and history declares that his claim was supported by facts. There was hardly a moment after the 15th of November 1838, when the advance guard of the faithful first pitched their tents in the barracks at Fort Des Moines, when a doubt could be raised concerning the destination of the church in case they were compelled to quit the state of Missouri. Galland deserves to be remembered by the people of Illinois among the number of those who have contrived to bring great calamity upon their Commonwealth.
If the reason should be asked why the Saints did not find their way directly to the Half Breed Tract instead of going by the way of Quincy, it will he found in the circumstance that the fugitives were exceedingly destitute. There were no supplies at Montrose, while clothing and charity were believed to exist in
abundance at Quincy. It was clearly impracticable for them to establish themselves at Montrose without the relief and assistance that were expected and supplied at Quincy.
Why did the brethren finally fix their residence not on the Half Breed Tract in the Territory of Iowa, but directly opposite in the state of Illinois? Because Joseph was afraid to lay extensive improvements upon land to which he had no valid title. Dr. Galland was ready at any moment for a sufficient consideration to deliver him a warrantee deed, but nothing was clearer than that this instrument would fail him, at the moment when the Indian shares should finally be divided and he should be compelled to enter upon a conflict with the New York Syndicate. The records affirm that on the 24th of June 1839 he purchased for the use of the Church "the town of Nashville in Lee County, Iowa Territory, and twenty thousand acres of land adjoining it" (Handbook of Reference, p. 50), but there is no account of the precise conditions of the transaction. Joseph had no confidence in the power of Galland to deliver the property, and it is possible that he wanted to pay him for it in "chips and whetstones." Before the business was ended however Galland had in his possession the titles that were held by a number of brethren to land in Missouri (Kidder, p. 160). There can be hardly any question but that Joseph and the brethren were shrewdly overreached in this transaction: the titles which they held in Missouri were not half so uncertain as was the title of Dr. Galland in Lee county, Iowa.
Before laying the foundations of a city on the Half Breed Tract it was the policy of Joseph to get at least the twenty thousand acres which he had pretended to purchase into his own possession, by driving away the agents of the New York capitalists. This however was no slight enterprise. The Syndicate were represented in Montrose by the brothers D. W. and Edward Kilbourn, who were highly resolute and efficient gentlemen (Bennett, p. 93). Other families by the names of Booth, Burtis and Bissell also resided in the village (Bennett, pp. 102-3), and under existing conditions it would be no easy enterprise after the customary theocratic fashion to trample upon their rights and themselves without any kind of scruple. The prophet therefore fell upon a different policy, sending his brethren to reside in the vacant barracks he appears to have directed them to render the existence of the Kilbourns too painful for endurance by a process of petty thieving, and by means of other interruptions and intimidations.
Time would be required before this policy could be brought to the desired termination and result. Meanwhile it was indispensable for the heads of the church to possess a home that they could call their own, and land upon which it would be safe to lay improvements. When they found themselves in that exigency it was natural for Dr. Galland to point the way to the farm of 47 acres which he owned across the river in Illinois. Here it would be feasible to camp for a season, while they were observing and directing the campaign against the agents of the Syndicate on the Half Breed Tract. By a mere accident of this color it fell out that the city of Nauvoo got itself
builded in Illinois instead of in Iowa. Nothing was farther from the original purpose of the prophet and of his advisers.
There were grave objections to the situation of Commerce. It lay in the low bottom land adjoining the Mississippi, and being shut off from healthy breezes by the elevated district of country that adjoined it on the east. the place was notorious as a harbor of fevers and agues. It would have been hard to find a more squalid village in all the countryside. The most prominent feature connected with it were a couple of blockhouses that had been constructed for the behoof of the Sac and Fox Nation of Indians, perhaps in the days when the settlers could not guess at what hour their warlike chieftain, who was feared by the name of Black Hawk, might find it agreeable to undertake a foray into Illinois. In addition to these were a stone house, that might have been designed for purposes of defense, and three framed houses. In the vicinity, but not within the village were three other houses one of stone and three of hewed logs.
Possibly Dr. Galland was the owner of one or more of the six houses that were found in the precincts of the village. Another may have belonged to Davison Hibard, Esquire. Mr. Hugh White the son-in-law of Hibard (Bennett, p. 234) also owned one of the houses and in addition a considerable amount of landed property. The Hotchkiss family controlled large districts in the vicinity. On the first of May 1839 a bargain was made with Dr. Galland by which the prophet came into possession of the 117 acres
that went under his name, and also, it would appear, of the place that was owned by Mr. White (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 26; Bennett, p. 98). The purchase from Hotchkiss may not have been effected before the close of the year 1839; the Saints were busily engaged upon the exertion to pay for it as late as October 1841 (Kidder, pp. 206-7), and the labor was not yet completed in July 1842 (Bennett, p. 98).
Philo Dibble affirms that White was paid Twenty-eight Hundred Dollars for the land that was obtained from him (Early Scenes, pp. 95-6); Monsieur Remy on the contrary mentions Fourteen Thousand Dollars as the sum that was given to White (vol. 1, [p.] 337, note). Possibly neither one of these estimates is entirely accurate. Fourteen Thousand Dollars may have been the amount that was paid for the farms of Hotchkiss, White and Galland, all put together.
At the outset Montrose was naturally regarded as a more important centre than Nauvoo. Several of the 12 Apostles had their residence at this point, and it was the place where the counsels of the Church were sometimes held; on the 2d day of July the authorities assembled there in the house of Brigham Young and set apart and blessed a couple of the apostles, before they should start on their mission to Europe (Kimball's Journal, pp. 80-1). But in the course of events it was inevitable that Commerce should get the start of Montrose; it was not many months before the latter had sunk down to be a mere pendant of the former.
After making a contract with Galland for 20,000 acres of land in Lee county Iowa to which however, that worthy had only the very faintest shadow
of a title, Joseph conceived that it would be too much of a sacrifice to permit the entire affair to go by default. Consequently in the month of March 1841 he obtained a revelation by which the name of Montrose was changed to Zarahemla, and the faithful from every section of the country were enjoined to come forward and build up Zarahemla and the neighboring town of Nashville as well as the town of Nauvoo (D.&C., Sect. 125). Following close upon the heels of this revelation came Mr. Alanson Ripley the official Surveyor of the town of Nauvoo with his troop of assistants to lay out in the State of Iowa a Mormon town four miles square (Bennett, p. 101). The old time insolence of the Theocracy was again beginning to display itself. To the astonished citizens of Montrose Bishop Ripley presented the customary explanation of the theocratic [moo?], saying:
"As for the niceties of the law of the land, I do not intend to regard them; the kingdom spoken of by the prophet Daniel has been set up, and it is necessary that every kingdom should be governed by its own laws."Mr. Kilbourn adds that with compass and chain these miscreants strode through the gates and over the fences up to the very doors of the Gentiles, and set down stakes for the lots of a new city (Bennett, p. 101). Several months prior to this event Dr. Galland had been duly convinced of the truth of Mormonism and had permitted his name to be inscribed among the faithful (D.&C., 124, 78).
Having been ordained to the office of Elder, he was in the month of February 1841 appointed by Joseph to officiate as his attorney
for the performance of certain business on behalf of the church and of the prophet in his individual capacity (Kidder, p. 332). This business was nothing else than to travel in the Eastern states and to dispose of the lots which should shortly be surveyed in Montrose or had already been surveyed in Commerce, which was now called by the name of Nauvoo. In order to facilitate the performance of his task Dr. Galland had recourse to printers ink, and composed a small pamphlet of 32 pages which was devoted to a description of the advantages and beauties of Iowa, with especial reference, it is suspected to the Half Breed Tract. It appeared early in the year 1840 at Chillicothe Ohio, under the title of "I. Galland's Iowa Emigrant. Containing a Map and a General Description of Iowa Territory."
When this performance had issued from the press, it was considered that the First Presidency of the church might render a degree of assistance to the enterprise by supplying Dr. Galland with an appropriate recommendation. This was speedily given in the form of a flaming proclamation in which Galland was described as "a man of extensive information, great talents and high literary fame, who had devoted all his powers and influence to give the Saints a character" (Kidder, p. 164). He was farther declared to be "the honored instrument of the Lord to prepare a home for the Saints when they were driven from their inheritance, the Lord having given him control of vast bodies of land, and prepared his heart to make the use of it which he intended should be made" (Bennett, p. 110).
It was perhaps originally designed that Hyrum Smith should go forth in company with Elder Galland and take a part in the labors of disposing of these town lots (D.&C., 124, 79), but that portion of the arrangement was neglected. Galland was very industrious and very successful in the mission that had been intrusted to his providence. Kilbourn declares that
"many instances might be mentioned of individuals at the east, who have exchanged with the 'Agents of the Church' their valuable possessions for these worthless land titles, and there are cases of suffering, of families reduced, to beggary by these villains, which would cause them, were they other than the heartless wretches they are, to relent, and desist from their cruel purpose" (Bennett, p 100).
It is not likely that Joseph took the spoiling of the Saints' goods much to heart: the point that troubled him most of all must have been that Elder Galland pocketed all the ready cash that came in his way and refused to divide, or to give, any account whatever concerning his stewardship. All that was obtained by sales in Iowa was understood to be clear gain: but the sales that were made in Nauvoo showed a different aspect. There the prophet was compelled to deliver the goods although his Agent had not delivered the money. Consequently on the 18th of January 1842, a second proclamation was sent forth which "revoked, countermanded, annulled and made void all the power and authority, given or intended to be given to the said Isaac Galland" (Kidder, p. 332). Joseph was presumed to be famous in the character of a discerner of spirits, but Elder Galland's spirit was a trifle too obscure for his perception. The prophet was soundly beaten in the transactions that he cultivated with the gentleman "who had devoted all his powers and influence to give the Saints a character."
It may be of service on the other hand to examine some of the causes which induced the inhabitants of Illinois to adopt the singular policy which they at this time elected to pursue.
They were moved to a certain extent by considerations of self-interest. The country was new and settlers were in demand. Numbers of gentlemen who had land for sale were naturally solicitous that a cordial welcome should he given to prospective purchasers. Governor Ford affirms that
"several counties and neighborhoods vied with each other in offers of hospitality, and in endeavors to get the strangers to settle among them (History of Illinois, p. 261)."
The people of Illinois were likewise inflated with a very unhandsome and unjustifiable contempt for the people of Missouri. The latter was a slave state, while Illinois was a free state. Illinois for the moment appeared to forget that mobs and violence of many types had stained with blood the annals of her early years; her citizens too speedily came to the conclusion that the hard fortune which had been bestowed upon the Saints was a natural result of the leanness and ferocity o[f] the Missourian intellect and character. It is natural in every quarter of the earth to fancy that we alone are fortunate enough to inhabit the Middle Kingdom, while all who reside beyond the borders that have been set for us are by that very circumstance a collection of barbarians.
One of the principal causes by which the people of Illinois were led astray was a deplorable ignorance of the character of the Mormon church and of the purpose which Joseph and Sidney had in view. The Mormon church was a Theocracy of the strictest type; it had been formed exactly upon the model of the Old Testament Scriptures. It was the purpose of Joseph and Sidney to render this Theocracy independent of the Government of Illinois and of every other Government. Nay, as it was "the kingdom that had been spoken of the Prophet Daniel," it was destined to overturn every other kingdom; it would shortly grind to ashes the Government of Illinois and of the United States as well.
All of this was carefully concealed when the Saints first knocked at the door of the unsuspecting and unhappy
Commonwealth. Hardly a man in all of Illinois was but blind to the real condition of affairs in Missouri; it was not whispered anywhere that the Theocracy had challenged the state of Missouri to a war of extermination on the 4th of July 1838; had ruthlessly begun that war in the month of August; had been ingloriously defeated in November; that the Mormon leaders who had abundantly incurred the penalties which are commonly inflicted for High Treason, had been permitted to escape by the enlightened and merciful policy of Missouri. These conspirators against all civil governments were now posing in Illinois as American citizens and as martyrs for their religious faith; and nearly everybody believed they had been wickedly persecuted for conscience sake. The eloquence of Joseph in this connection must have supplied a truly edifying display:
"If these transactions had taken place among barbarians, under the authority of a despot, or in a nation where a certain religion is established according to law and all others proscribed, then there might have been some shadow of defence offered. But can we realize that in a land which is the cradle of liberty and equal rights, and where the voice of the conquerors who had vanquished our foes had scarcely died away upon our ears, where we frequently mingled with those who had stood amidst 'the battle and the breeze,' and whose arms had been nerved in the defence of their country and of liberty: whose institutions are the theme of philosophers and poets, and are held up to the admiration of the civilized world -- in the midst of all these scenes with which we are surrounded, a persecution the most unwarrantable was commenced, and a tragedy the most
dreadful was enacted by a large portion of the inhabitants of one of those free and independent states which comprise this vast republic" (Tullidge, pp. 280-1).It would have been worth going a mile to witness an assembly of the citizens of Illinois weeping over the above touching recital, and to mark how the righteous indignation which they could by no means repress would flash from their eyes. In the entire history of Illinois there is scarcely a more striking episode than was enacted at the town of Monmouth in Warren county on the 9th day of May 1841. Joseph had been arrested by Governor Carlin under a writ from his excellency the Governor of Missouri upon the old charge of High Treason which was still hanging over him in that state. Having by this time become expert in the chicaneries of the law he contrived to obtain a writ of habeas corpus by means of which he was brought before Judge Stephen A. Douglas, who chanced to be holding court in Monmouth. His cause was managed by the Honorable O. H. Browning, a distinguished lawyer of the Whig party. The peroration that was employed by Mr. Browning has become famous in Mormon literature. He exclaimed:
Great God! have I not seen it? Yes; my eyes have beheld the blood stained traces of innocent men and women and children in the dread winter, who have traveled hundreds of miles barefoot through frost and snow, to seek a refuge from their savage pursuers 'Twas a scene of horror sufficient to enlist the sympathy of an adamantine heart. And shall this unfortunate man whom their fury has seen proper
to sacrifice, be driven into such a savage land, and none dare to enlist in the cause of justice? If there was no other voice under heaven ever to be heard in this cause, gladly would I stand alone, and proudly spend my last breath in defence of an oppressed American citizen" (Tullidge, p. 309).If they could have been bottled up, the copious tears which the Democratic Judge Douglas poured out from his perch on the woolsack would have been very interesting specimens a short while afterwards. The whole audience was melded: it was a noble triumph of a red handed traitor. In the year 1846 however, Judge Douglas conspired to send the faithful forth on a much longer journey through a more dreary winter, without the loss of a single tear over their fate. The heart of Mr. Browning had long since changed to adamant, and his voice was not raised in their cause, although it was clear to all the world that the state of Illinois was handling them more cruelly than ever the state of Missouri had done. Both Douglas and Browning were delighted to be quit, upon any terms of an insolent if not a dangerous Theocracy.
The only other explanation of the hospitality which the people of Illinois extended to the Mormons, that it may be worth the pains to suggest in this place, was the desire of the rival political parties to employ their votes. Joseph had scarcely set down his foot at Quincy before certain organs of the Whig party had made the discovery that the Mormons had been expelled from Missouri by a Democratic governor and by a Democratic people.
It was natural to intimate that the Saints had hitherto received little thanks for the consistency and the steadfastness they displayed in support of tho Democratic party.
Those wore the days of Joseph's innocence of the mysteries of partisan politics. Possibly as a result of a consultation with Mr. Rigdon, he went to work on the 14th of May 1839 and composed a letter for the purpose of correcting the error into which the public journals had fallen. He there entered his protest against the insinuation that the Democratic party was responsible for his troubles: on the contrary he emphatically asserted that politics had nothing to do with the affair; the entire blame rested on an infatuated populace who were in all respects as much divided in political as in religious opinions (Remy and Brenchley, 1, [pp.] 334-8). Here is the latest display of the prophet's simplicity in the domain of politics: it was not long afterwards until he was thoroughly instructed in all the arts of the wire pullers.
When himself and Sidney came to Washington City in the month of November 1839 for the purpose of laying the claims of their people before Congress they fell into the hands of Mr. Clay, the leader of' the Whig party, and their eyes were duly opened to know good from evil (Ford, p. 262). By consequence, their agent who appeared at Springfield to ask for a charter in the month of December 1840, was sufficiently instructed in the arts and processes of political life. He signified that it was the intention of the Mormons to join neither party, farther than their own interests might be supported by that party: they would vote only for such persons as had done or were willing to do them the most service (Ford, p. 262). In pursuance of this policy they sustained the Whig party
at the elections in August and November 1840, as also in August 1841. For the rest it is fair to say that a constant endeavor was made by both parties to win their favor, as long as they remained in the state.
Whatever might have been the full secret of the hospitality which Illinois displayed towards the Mormons there can be no two opinions relating to the great extent of it. In evidence of the correctness of this assertion is presented the charter of the town of Nauvoo which was passed without a dissenting voice by the Legislature on the 16th day of December 1840. Of its kind it is the most remarkable document within the range of American history. Joseph subsequently explained the business as follows:
"The city charter of Nauvoo is of my own plan and device. I concocted it for the salvation of the church, and on principles so broad that every honest man might dwell secure under its protective influence without distinction of sect or party" (Tullidge. p. 302).He had now achieved the ideal after which he had striven so faithfully, namely "so to organize the church that the brethren might be independent of every incumbrance beneath the celestial kingdom." It was natural that a vote of thanks should be given to the parties who had been silly enough to build this strong fortress from which it was believed the Theocracy might safely defy and even destroy the civil government of the state of Illinois. This vote was expressed in the following words:
"Resolved by the City Council or Nauvoo that the unfeigned thanks of this Community be respectfully tendered to the Governor, the Council of Revision, and the Legislature of the state of Illinois, as a feeble testimonial of their respect and esteem for noble high-minded and patriotic statesmen, and as an evidence gratitude for signal powers recently conferred,The authorities of Illinois carried to such an extent their fawning upon the Mormons as to excite a measure of ill-feeling in the bosom of the people of Missouri. Finally as a measure of self defense against the unparalleled obloquy that had been heaped upon them by the traitors whom they had mercifully permitted to escape the penalty of their crimes, it was considered prudent for Missouri to revive the former prosecution. Thomas Reynolds, who was then occupying the position of Governor, on the 15th of September 1840 issued a requisition upon the Governor of Illinois for the arrest of Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, P. P. Pratt, Caleb Baldwin and Alanson Ripley as fugitives from justice (Handbook, pp. 51-2). It was believed that if these men were fairly tried and the evidence that lay against them was clearly exhibited the people of Illinois might have a chance to discover the real character of the criminals over whom they were making so much parade. Governor Carlin received the requisition in due season and issued his writ but neglected to make proper exertions to cause it to be served; it was not
until the next year that any arrest was made under it. On the 4th of June 1841. Joseph came to Quincy where His Excellency resided, and displayed his customary impudence by calling to pay his respects to Mr. Carlin at his private house. This unexampled procedure on the part of a fugitive from justice excited the indignation of the Governor; he caused Joseph to be arrested on the 5th of June, but he was released by Judge Douglas under a writ of habeas corpus on the 10th of the same month (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 152).
But while the rulers and the people of Illinois appeared to be in conspiracy against the interests of the Commonwealth, the climate was loyal; it swept away the enemies of the state in considerable numbers and rendered many more incapable of doing much harm. As the summer of the year 1839 advanced almost every second person within the limits of Nauvoo must have been prostrated by fever and ague. Joseph himself was among the number of the sufferers, but on the morning of the 22d of July he arose from his bed and enacted marvels of healing not only in Nauvoo but across the river at Montrose (Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, [pp.] 62-65). Sidney was of the company who attended the prophet on this triumphal progress (Woodruff, p. 68), but he had no faith in the prophet's miraculous powers: his ague was as industrious afterwards as it had been before that day. He lived in what was known as "the lower stone house" (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 39), and was proud of his residence, which had likely been assigned to him because it was the most comfortable and roomy edifice in the town (Kimball, pp. 77-8); and yet it was a very unwholesome situation. Joseph
was sadly tried by the illness and the querulousness of Rigdon especially during the journey to Washington and the eastern states in the winter of 1839-40. No miracles would reach him and they were compelled to carry along Elder Robert H. Foster, M.D., who should extend to him professional assistance (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 87). Mr. Rigdon had serious thoughts of quitting the place for Kirtland, but Joseph avoided that calamity by commanding him remain and to remove his family from the "stone house" to another house in "the neighborhood in which my servant Joseph resides" (D.&C., 124, 103-10).
It was not many months however, before the inhabitants of Illinois began by degrees to come to their senses. The Whig party was the first to perceive that they had nursed a relentless enemy to all civil government into life. The circumstance which chiefly availed to open their eyes was amusing enough in several respects. Having voted with the Whigs during the years 1840 and 1841 Joseph gradually became sensible of the fact that the Democrats were the most numerous party in the state (Ford. pp. 277-8). It was natural that he should desire to he on the side of the strongest. and Judge Douglas, the leader of the Democrats had cultivated him with the utmost assiduity and tact. Consequently he shortly surprised the citizens of Illinois with the following Proclamation, which was first published in the Times and Seasons, the official paper that had been established at Nauvoo in the month of November 1839 (Handbook, p. 51):
amongst us. We voted for General 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 his friends are not our friends. We claim the privileges of free men, and shall act accordingly. Douglas is a master-spirit, and his friends are our friends -- we are willing to cast our banners 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."
Great swellings of heart were felt by members of the Whig party when the above document was first made known; it was clear that the Mormon vote was for sale in the interests of the Theocracy. The Democrats in their turn were highly delighted. Colonel Snyder died in the month of May 1842, but Judge Thomas Ford who took his place at the head of the ticket received the suffrages of the Mormons, and was duly elected in the month of August. But a year later, in August 1843, the Democrats were at the point of losing the Saints once more, Joseph having made a promise to support the Honorable Cyrus Walker,
who was the Whig candidate for Congress, in payment of the services which that gentleman had rendered him during a trial that had been held on the 30th of June 1843. At the last moment however, the Saints were prevented from fulfilling this engagement by threats of vengeance on the part of the Democrats (Ford, pp. 314-20). Neither of the parties loved them well; both parties were ready to believe the numerous and too well-founded stories which were circulated concerning the enormities that went forward at Nauvoo. At last the lawyers who had formerly been so swift to defend them, withdrew their services; when Joseph was in his dying straits none of them could be induced to come nigh him, and he was compelled to have recourse to the services of John S. Reid, the poor old pettifogger, who having defended him before a magistrate's court at Colesville, New York, in June 1830, had followed his fortunes ever since, and of a certain person by the name of Wood who is otherwise unknown. In short all parties were heartily weary of the Saints and would have said them a gracious adieu long months before that pleasure was finally accorded to them.
Prudence therefore suggested that the opportunity should be improved which had been afforded by the hospitable transports of the Commonwealth of Illinois; it was beyond any sort of question that the people would shortly come back to reason and deplore the folly which they had committed. Against such a day, Mr. Smith was solicitous to be well prepared: it was much to be desired that the Theocracy might then be in a situation to hurl defiance into the face of Illinois and even to overawe and silence her. Every effort towards that end which lay in his power was duly performed.
The charter of the city of Nauvoo -- a veritable marvel of impudence -- was concocted for the purpose of hedging about the Theocracy and rendering it impregnable against any assaults on the part of the civil power; and yet the document was by the Legislature handed back almost unaltered to the Mormons, on a silver waiter and with a disgraceful degree of complaisance. The Saints had always been famous for their hostility to the laws of the land, though upon occasion they would sometimes condescend to "befriend" such of the laws of the land as might appear to them to be constitutional. The Constitution was understood by them to be in their favor, but all the laws which crossed their treasonous schemes were regularly denounced as unconstitutional.
By consequence the charter absolved the members of the city council, in their official capacity, from the duty of obeying the laws of the land; the only oath which they were required to take and subscribe provided that they should "support the Constitution of the United States and of this state" (Bennett, p. 195).
Furthermore the city council was empowered "to make, ordain, establish, and execute all such ordinances not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this state, as they may deem necessary" (Bennett, p. 196): a specification which gave them the right to override whatever statute it might be inconvenient to obey, and to violate all statutes at their own sweet will. It was clear from the outset that there was going to be no security for any right that the authorities might find it convenient to trample upon, within the limits of Nauvoo.
The Saints had always felt a special degree of hostility to those courts which were organized and conducted by the civil government: they proposed in the present instance to organize a court of their own that could be depended upon for any sort of legal oppression or other enormity that might be required in defence of the crowds of evil doers who flocked to their standard. In addition to the Mayor's Court, which was the criminal court erected for the trial of offenses against the ordinances of the town, they made provision for another and every way extraordinary tribunal which should be known by the name of the Municipal Court. Of this Court the Mayor was appointed to be the Chief Justice and the Aldermen Associate Justices (Bennett, p. 197). It had no connection with the regular system of courts for the administration of justice within the state of Illinois, except that some legislator out of pure shame was moved to add a proviso, that there must be a right of appeal to the Circuit Court of Hancock County, and that litigants before the Municipal Court should nor be deprived of the right of trial by jury.
Two great lines of defence against the power and authority of the state of Illinois -- the city Legislature and the city Judiciary -- were in this way secured: to make assurance doubly sure, a third entrenchment was drawn about the Theocracy in the form of the Nauvoo Legion, which it was particularly provided should be "a body of independent military men." As if that were not enough, it was farther stipulated that this Legion should not be subject to any of the military authorities of the state, except the Governor alone, a concession
in favor of his Excellency that appears to have been made mainly for the purpose of saving appearances. But the most objectionable feature of all was the stipulation that this body of independent military men should be "at the disposal of the Mayor in executing the laws and ordinances of the city corporation" (Bennett, p. 198).
The theocratic army had its own special Court Martial, which body in its turn was graciously forbidden to pass any law that might he "inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States or of this state." It was not long before the impudent prophet had caused the office of Lieutenant General to be created, apparently with the object of out-ranking Major General Winfield Scott, who at that time stood at the head of the army of the United Stales.
It is singular that in the face of all these transactions the men of the Theocracy should have never grown weary of proclaiming that they were loyal "American citizens," and still more singular that they should have found numbers of well meaning people who were willing to credit their report.
Still another line of fortifications behind which the Prophet entrenched himself was an ordinance intended to secure to him the power of persecuting people who might chance to lisp a word against the Theocracy within the limits of Nauvoo. At Kirtland and perhaps at other places he had been annoyed by the Gentiles who now and then would get the ear of his followers and unsettle their minds. It was desirable that nothing of the kind should befall in Nauvoo, especially as numbers of English Saints were expected soon to arrive, who amid
the inevitable discomforts of the earliest months of their new and strange residence might easily be induced to give heed to the voice of the adversary. Therefore on the first of March 1841 was brought forward and passed "An Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies" as follows:
"Sec. I. Be it enacted by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-Day Saints, Quakers, Episcopalians, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohamedans 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 and 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 peace and fined in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisoned not exceeding six months or both at the discretion of the Mayor or Court.The point that is of leading significance may be observed in that portion of this enactment which declares that "should any person he guilty of ridiculing and abusing, or otherwise depreciating another, in consequence of his religion"
the offender would render himself liable to legal prosecution. Joseph and his Elders were themselves chargeable with offenses against this provision nearly every Sunday that came round; but it was not intended for their behoof. It was intended for any visitors, who by means of a casual conversation might chance to shake the belief of some unquestioning devotee. It was by this clause made easily possible for a person who might be for any case obnoxious to the hierarchy to be arrested and even if he was innocent the lightest word in doubt of Joseph's pretensions could be tortured into a violation of the statute.
It is likewise an item worthy of consideration that Joseph should have had the impudence to extend the privileges that are mentioned above to various religious parties in Nauvoo, as if these were not accorded by the Constitution of the country to all religious people. His concession of these privileges appears to imply that he believed he had the right upon occasion to deny them. There can be little question that he would have liked to enjoy and employ that right; but as this was not possible, he adopted a policy by which the privileges of men who held to other forms of faith would be as far circumscribed as it lay within his compass to circumscribe them.
Established behind the covering of these several entrenchments the Theocracy fancied itself to be secure, and in point of fact it was enabled to flourish famously. As an indication of the success which it achieved, allusion may be given to the change of opinion that occurred with reference to Independence, Missouri, and with reference to the temple which once by divine revelation was appointed to be builded there. It has already been signified how in the year 1838 that project
was entirely surrendered and the town of Far West was raised to the dignity of being called Zion (D.&C., 119, 1-2). When Joseph first arrived in Illinois however, both Far West and Independence were considered out of the question; on the 19th of January 1841 Independence was distinctly surrendered (D.&C., 124, 49-51). But scarcely eighteen months had passed by before the possibility and even the necessity of re-capturing Independence, and making it the chief centre of the theocratic empire, were freely discussed and insisted upon (Bennett, p. 193).
The Rigdons were proud of this new connection: when Mr. Ephraim Robinson Marks died at Nauvoo in the spring of the year 1842 (Bennett, p. 241). his name and memory were perpetuated by a son of Sidney's, who was born on the 9th of April 1842, and received the name of Ephraim Robinson Marks Rigdon.
The second daughter, who after Sidney's mother was called Nancy Rigdon, having been born on the 8th of December 1822, was just now approaching the 20th year of her age, and had become a charming beauty. She was receiving the marked attention of Colonel Francis M. Higbee, and was most likely engaged to be married to him (Bennett, p. 242). But Joseph the prophet was solicitous to obtain her as one of his "spiritual wives" (Bennett, p. 241), and his rivalry produced an explosion. The natural estrangement
that sprung up between Mr. Smith and the Higbees continued to grow until it contributed very largely to produce the destruction of the former on the 27th of June 1844.
Sidney was poor in respect to worldly gear. The infamous "Order of Enoch" had fallen into decay and his supplies by consequence were very limited indeed. Mr. Smith, on the contrary, could boast that he owned a million of dollars of property in the city of Nauvoo and its vicinity (Bennett, p. 98). This wide difference in their pecuniary situation was trying to the temper of the man who knew himself to have been the founder of Mormonism and in a sense the creator of all the wealth that his official superior laid claim to. When Joseph took the benefit of the Bankrupt Law on the 18th of May 1842 (Bennett, p. 97), the step was planned for no other purpose than to increase his wealth; he wanted to get quit of his debts without getting quit of any portion of his money. It was an affair of bitter earnest when Sidney went into bankruptcy at about the same time (Kidder, p. 338).
It must be conceded, however, that Mr. Rigdon was never behindhand in the matter of putting forward his own complaints: it was also a great satisfaction to his mind to put forward the complaints of his brethren. For example at the conference which was held near the town of Quincy from the 4th to the 6th of May 1839 he was appointed, most likely at his own suggestion, to visit the seat of government for the purpose of laying the grievances of the Saints before Congress and the President of the United States (Kimball, p. 77).
Having given his mind to the study of law under the instruction of Messrs. Atchison and Doniphan, Sidney was proud to [prank] in the title of Attorney al Law. Apparently the greater portion of the summer of 1839 was employed in the business of collecting data and depositions, with a view to lay them before Congress and print them in the Congressional Record. After strenuous exertions he succeeded in amassing against the United States a debt which rose to the stately figure of one million, three hundred and eighty one thousand and forty four dollars, and fifty one and a half cents (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 110). It must be conceded that this was a pleasant achievement in mathematics. Towards the close of the year 1843, when Joseph was summing up his losses in his own private diary he made a different estimate as follows: "I have already had thirty eight vexatious law suits, and have paid Missouri $150,000 for land" (Tullidge, p. 432).This land represented the bulk of the losses which the Mormons experienced in Missouri; judging by the standard which the prophet here sets up, it is not likely that the losses of his people all told were more than $225,000 at the hands of the Commonwealth of Missouri.
Sidney's poverty was somewhat relieved and his complaints a trifle abated by the appointment he received to be post-master at Nauvoo (Bennett, p. 156). His Professorship of Rhetoric Belles Lettres and Church History in the University of Nauvoo (Caswall, p. 199), amounted to scarcely anything at all. It is not likely that the University ever came to any higher dignity than that of a grammar school under the direction of Orson Pratt (Bennett, p. 211). Sidney neither gave any instruction nor received any pay in the character of Professor.
When the Conference of October 1839 came round Joseph concluded that the journey to Washington would he too pleasant a thing for Sidney to enjoy without assistance; he decided to go along in person in order to see to it that the work was well done. No right confidence being felt in Sidney's legal abilities, the name of Judge Elias Higbee was also added to the Committee. Orrin Porter Rockwell was carried along perhaps :in the character of bodyguard and bully. The miasma of Nauvoo had proven too much for Sidney's constitution and Robert H. Foster was permitted to attend him as his private physician (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 87). According to Mormon representations Sidney was worse than useless to the cause during this expedition: he was sick all the way, and passed his time in nothing but retching and grumbling. But modern Mormon accounts were not written by admirers of Mr. Rigdon, and due allowance must be made for unconscious prejudices. Sidney was left behind at Philadelphia to make the best of his way back to Nauvoo in the spring of 1840.
Possibly that arrangement was every way agreeable to him as it would enable him to pass by Pittsburgh and spend some time among his relatives there. Chills and fevers kept firm hold of him throughout the year 1840; but for one single circumstance it could not be known that he was in existence at all during that year. When the Governor of Missouri issued a requisition for Joseph Smith and his fellow criminals in the month of September 1840, Sidney had life enough to "put himself in a position where he could not be found" (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 124).
Hardly any question can be raised against the supposition that he was losing ground in the year 1840: but his case was not in the least degree hopeless. For example, in the revelation that came to him on the 14th of February 1841. Joseph declared for the benefit of his servant Sidney: "verily I say unto you, even now, if he will hearken to my voice it shall be well with him" (D.&C., 124, 110).
On the sixth of April he was preferred to the chief post of honor and was permitted to pronounce the oration at the laying of the comer stone of the new temple. Notwithstanding "his long affliction and weakness of body." his effort was considered equal to the occasion and gave much satisfaction (Bennett, pp. 29-30). It was a serious menace to his position, on the other hand, when on the following day: "Gen. J. C. Bennett was presented with the First Presidency, as Assistant President, until President Rigdon's health should be restored" (Bennett, p. 26). Perhaps Sidney concluded it was high time to rally his forces and get well; or at least to do his work without any reference to his grievances or his ailments. He contrived to stand in his lot for the balance of the Nauvoo period. On the 26th of May 1842 he even obtained the distinction in connection with Orson Pratt, of a nomination to the Legislature of Illinois (Bennett, p. 158). The fine Italian hand of General John C. Bennett, however. was clearly apparent in this latter proceeding.
It was now appointed to Mr. Rigdon deeply to feel the curse of the literalism which he had carried to such extremes. "Where the Scriptures speak we speak": it was clear to him that the Old Testament writings spoke of the institution of polygamy. He was resolved that he would not "speak with the Scriptures" at that point. The expedient that he adopted to evade the example of Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon. has already been adverted to. He introduced into the Book of Mormon a statement to the following effect:
"Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord... Wherefore, I the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old" (Jacob 3, 24-28).It was believed that the above provision would be sufficient to repress any disposition that might arise on the part of the faithful to imitate the example of patriarchs and kings as related to the business of plural marriage. But that expectation was cruelly disappointed almost from the outset. While they were engaged in the labor of copying the manuscript which Sidney had committed to their providence, Joseph Smith and Martin Harris acquired among their neighbors at Harmony, Pennsylvania, the reputation of "artful seducers" (Howe, p. 267). The effort that was at that
period made by Joseph to betray the virtue of Eliza Winters became a theme of considerable comment (Howe, p. 268).
Trouble of the same sort appeared again shortly after the prophet had established his residence at Kirtland, Ohio. To instance a case in point, Miss Fanny Brewer testifies:
"There was much excitement against the prophet on another account, likewise an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family, and under his protection. Mr. Martin Harris told me that the prophet was most notorious for lying and licentiousness" (Bennett. p. 85).Possibly it was with reference to the above incident that during the summer of 1831, Sidney came forward in defence of his chief. It was not in his power to deny the correctness of the allegation; he therefore conceded it, and justified the crime of Joseph by recourse to his wonted tricks of literalism. He said: "were Joseph to get another man's wife, and seek to kill her husband, it could be no reason why we should not believe revelations through him, for David did the same" (Howe, p. 203).
With a view to bring [farther] pressure to bear upon Joseph and to cover up the scandal which his behavior had already produced, Sidney in conjunction with Oliver Cowdery contrived to get a Section relating to Marriage introduced into the second edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which was published at Kirtland in the year 1835. The circumstance will be recalled that Joseph and Frederick G. Williams were absent in Michigan, at the time when, on the 17th of August 1835, the materials that composed this second edition
were passed upon by a general assembly of the church. The following provision of the article concerning marriage is of importance in this connection.
"All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy; we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again" (D.&C., fourth European edition, Section CIX, 4).This mere paper blockade availed but little to abate the excesses of Joseph; it suited all well enough for use on the English and other fields of foreign missionary exertion (Stenhouse, pp. 194-5), but it was a dead letter at home. After quiting Kirtland, Joseph continued his evil behavior in Missouri (Remy and Brenchley, I, [p.] 311): it is possible that during their imprisonment in the jail al Liberty he held many stout arguments with Sidney relating to the Biblical propriety of polygamy, and to the lack of authority with which Sidney had presumed to prohibit polygamy in the Book of Mormon. Every expedient was apparently employed for the purpose of shaking the steadfastness of Sidney's mind. It is supposed that with reference to one of the Swedenborgian elements of Mormon teaching, the latter was finally induced to consent that people might be married for the other world, who could never be lawfully joined together in this world. It was not expected that the union in question should ever become anything more than a spiritual
connection; the notion that it should be consummated by any carnal act, was perhaps especially disclaimed.
Poor Sidney was in this instance defending himself in the last ditch. Joseph was clamoring in favor of proclaiming polygamy, and of taking every responsibility which a step of that sort might entail. He was likewise practicing polygamy on all hands. The situation was very unhappy; Sidney could not abide the notion of actual plural marriage, but in his despair he was perhaps induced to concede the innocency of what was commonly designated as the "spiritual wife doctrine." He was at his wits' end; he conceded what he could not avoid: he fancied that the "spiritual wife doctrine" would be better than the nastiness of polygamous relations.
It was always a perilous thing to have any sort of dealing with Joseph. His agility on that occasion was equal to the enterprise of unloading the entire infamy of the "spiritual wife doctrine" upon the shoulders of Sidney, who was impudently declared to be the inventor of it (Mackay, p. 139). Likely it is correct to affirm that Sidney advanced the notion in the first instance; but it should also be considered that it was merely a straw to which the poor drowning man was clinging by the operation of a blind impulse.
But when Joseph had once succeeded in pressing that concession upon his unhappy fellow laborer, he considered that it supplied all the license that one could reasonably desire for the indulgence of unbridled lust. In his version of the business "spiritual marriage" was nothing else than actual co-habitation. In most cases this was performed without further promises or other complications; but where the
object of his passion had too much self-respect to endure this beastly prostitution, the prophet was in the custom of conceding her the privilege of becoming one of his "spiritual wives," by means of a ceremony of private marriage (Bennett, p. 246), which he assured the party did not prevent her from marrying any other person, who might be ambitious of the honor of supporting her for the prophet's advantage (Bennett, p. 242).
It has been shown in the preceding chapter that the stock of Mr. Rigdon, partly by reason of sickness, and possibly by reason of other causes, had fallen below par. Joseph naturally conceived that his worthy associate in the First Presidency would be solicitous by any kind of process to raise his stock once more to the highest figure. His second daughter Nancy was both buxom and winsome; she might have passed for the belle of Nauvoo. Already in the summer of 1841 her charms had attracted the notice of the lecherous prophet (Bennett. p. 241); in the summer of 1842 came a formal attack upon her virtue.
Sidney's position in this affair must be allowed to be of good credit to him; he resisted the scheme of Joseph and defended the purity of his family. Nancy in her turn by the aid of F. M. Higbee, her betrothed (Bennett, p. 242), repelled the advances of the saintly seducer with an amount of spirit that well became her blood (Bennett, p. 243). Joseph was foiled, but he did not surrender the project; on the contrary he pursued it in a doctrinal letter on the subject of spiritual marriage, which was placed in her hands by Apostle Willard Richards, who fulfilled for him at that moment the functions of
private secretary (Bennett, pp. 243-5). This document was done in the prophet's best vein and is one of his most able and polished performances.
From the moment when the above feat was enacted Sidney was in virtual if not in formal apostasy. It might have been well enough for Joseph in the year 1831 to "get another man's wife and seek to kill her husband": but it was considered a monstrous affair in the year 1842 for him to get another man's daughter, even though he did not seek to kill her father. No open outbreak was experienced until the 28th day of June, 1842, at which time Joseph appeared in the company of Bishop George Miller for the purpose of confronting Miss Nancy and compelling her to retract the reports which had been placed in circulation relating to the misconduct of the Lord's Anointed. The result was highly undesirable for Joseph; she coolly produced the doctrinal letter which he had requested her on reading to commit to the flames. Instead of retracting any of her charges she renewed them and compelled him to make a full confession in the presence of the Rigdon family and of other spectators. His humiliation was so abject that Bishop Miller could not restrain his emotions, and cried aloud "You must not harm the Lord's Anointed: the Lord will not suffer his Anointed to fall" (Bennett, p. 245).
It was clearly impossible that henceforth there should be anything else than hostility between Joseph and Sidney; by whatever treaties or truces their relations might be mended from time to time, anything like stable peace and cordiality were out of the question. On the very spot
Joseph began the work of defaming Sidney, and conducted it elsewhere with his accustomed skill and energy in such matters. His criticisms also extended to Mr. George W. Robinson, the son-in-law of Sidney. These two gentlemen naturally and speedily entered their protest against the numerous charges which were unceremoniously laid down at their door. On Sunday the 3d of July when Mr. Smith entered the pulpit to edify his brethren he informed the congregation that Messrs. Robinson and Rigdon had requested him to recall what he had said against them, and although he had previously given a promise that he would take that course he neglected to fulfill it, and denounced both gentlemen by name with unexampled bitterness. He disclaimed any allusion to recent occurrences, and remarked in justification of his conduct, that one continued course of rascality on the part of Rigdon and Robinson, for some time past, was the true cause of his coming out against them (Bennett, p. 45).
On all hands it was confidently expected that Robinson and Rigdon would now take up the cudgels to expose the prophet's lechery and render impossible the existence of even an appearance of further official relations (Bennett, p. 215). The former of the two promptly withdrew from the fellowship of the church (Bennett, p. 250), and wrote a couple of letters to the Sangamo Journal at Springfield for the purpose of setting forth the iniquity of the Chief of the First Presidency (Bennett, pp. 248-9). Possibly with a view to his personal safety, he also retired from Nauvoo, and took up his residence at the town of La Harpe in the adjoining county of McDonough (Bennett, p. 248).
Sidney on his part fully intended to write something for the public press in denunciation of Joseph, as soon as his health would permit him to undertake that enterprise (Bennett, p. 247); but time passed on and he finally considered it would be expedient to surrender the project. He had given hostages to fortune: he had ten children on his hands, one of whom, his third daughter, named Eliza, was just then critically ill of typhoid pneumonia (Bennett, p. 261; p. 340). His entire situation counseled the propriety of conservative action. When he chanced to receive inquiries relating to the facts of his daughter Nancy's case, he endeavored to allay the prevalent excitement, and evaded a direct answer, as far as he could do so consistently with truth, leaving the public to infer as much as it liked them (Bennett, p. 250).
It must also be remembered that Orson Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles was in the same category as Sidney. On the 29th of August 1839, Mr. Pratt had started to England on a mission leaving Sarah Pratt, the wife of his youth in the depths of poverty and temptation, to be provided for during his absence by the Bishops of the church; an arrangement that had been solemnly enacted on the 26th of April, 1839, by the famous conference which held its session on the corner stone of the temple at Far West (Kimball's Journal. p. 78).
But the church and the Bishops were for the moment in the deepest straits, and the wife of Mr. Pratt suffered alone with the balance. Under these circumstances, Joseph began to ply his arts, and desired that Mrs. Pratt should become one of his "spiritual wives" (Bennett, p. 229). His advances
were repelled with decision, but they were continued even after her husband had returned to his home (Bennett, p. 231). This insult was resented and there followed an open quarrel, in which Orson was less moderate than Sidney and fared worse. He was formally excommunicated from the church (Bennett, p. 249), and on the 20th of August 1842, Amasa Lyman was ordained in his place to be one of the Twelve Apostles (Handbook, p. 53).
It is clear to see that Joseph was here engaged in a tremendous battle, but he had never previously exhibited the fertility of his resources in a more conspicuous fashion. He hated Pratt and Rigdon with all his heart but he could ill afford to send them forth into the world with the true stories which it was in their power to tell. Every possible influence was therefore brought to bear for the purpose of reclaiming them. Their grievance was just and well founded; it would not be safe to permit them to air it in the hearing of crowded Gentile audiences. He gave to both of them offers of special favor and possibly almost any other concession which they might be disposed to require (Bennett. p. 51).
So many agents and motives were brought to bear that Joseph finally had the happiness of retaining each of these lights of his cause and church. The method by which he accomplished a much desired and helpful estrangement between the Rigdons and Francis M. Higbee, who was addressing their daughter, deserves to be described. When the latter began to speak in public of Joseph's effort against the virtue of Nancy Rigdon, the prophet replied by charging Mr. Higbee in his turn with the crime of seducing several females. Higbee immediately entered a suit for slander,
that by means of a writ of habeas corpus got itself tried before the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, in which he laid his damages at the sum of Five Thousand Dollars. Sidney, however, held the office of Attorney of the City of Nauvoo (Bennett, p. 205). Possibly he was in a measure forced to defend the prophet; at any rate he became his counsel in the pending cause. The case was first brought to a hearing on the 6th of May 1842 (Mackay, p. 166), which was only a few days after the unsuccessful effort had been made to corrupt the virtue of Miss Rigdon. It dragged its slow length along for two whole years, at the end of which the accused was discharged on the ground of the illegality of the writ, and Higbee was deprived of any pecuniary satisfaction for his wounded reputation. The part which Rigdon was likely compelled to take in this transaction did not go far to promote relations which had been hitherto exceptionally cordial, if not hopeful.
The temper of Sidney however was somewhat exasperated by an unhandsome trick which Joseph played upon him, at the period when the prophet was in his deepest embarrassment. It has been affirmed that for many months the standing of Mr. Rigdon had been a trifle uncertain. Matters had even come to such a pass that an epistolary correspondence had been opened between himself and Hyrum Smith, in which Sidney was glad to present certain explanations and protestations that were believed to be appropriate for a man in his situation.
In the course of one of his letters he observed "that there had been many idle tales and reports abroad concerning him, stating that he had denied the faith, but he would take the opportunity to state that his faith was and had been unshaken in the truth. It has also been rumored that I believed that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet: in regard to this I unequivocally state that I never thought so; but declare that I know he is a prophet of the Lord, called and chosen in this last dispensation to roll on the kingdom of God for the last time."
After every exertion had been employed in vain to induce Rigdon to open his mouth and defend Mr. Smith under these altered and distressing circumstances, recourse was had to the letter which has been mentioned, that must have been at least as much as a year old. The sentences cited above were shamelessly inserted in the "Nauvoo Wasp" about the first of August, 1842, and the impression was made that they had just now been uttered (Bennett, p. 247). Naturally a great amount of surprise was felt by persons who were aware
how keenly Mr. Rigdon resented the infamous conduct of the prophet towards his daughter. At the present moment and in the existing situation, his sentiments were the very opposite of those expressed. But it was not in his power to make any public explanation. He must be content to hold his peace; although he did find courage enough to remark to certain friends in the private circle that "drowning men catch at straws" (Bennett, p. 247).
Perceiving that Sidney had not dared to speak out in his own defence, when the above citation appeared in the "Wasp," Joseph had the impudence six weeks later, to insert this passage also in the "Times and Seasons" for the issue of September 15, 1842, and John Taylor who must have been acquainted with the facts of the case exhibited a sufficient amount of injustice to bring it forward in connection with the debate that he held at Boulogne-sur-Mer in July 1850 (Public Discussion, p. 48).
The Mormon prophet was a slippery patron; always and everywhere it was a perilous affair to place any sort of reliance upon his honesty or his decency. Sidney, however, was so entirely committed that it was almost impossible for him to draw back. When Bennett's volume on the History of Mormonism appeared in the autumn of 1842 it must have convinced him that it would be out of the question for him to declare his independence. That writer had employed unadvised freedom in making use of a secret that must have been conveyed to him under promises that were as binding as any oath. In setting forth what he knew regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon, Bennett said:
"I will remark here... that the Book of Mormon was originally written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, A. M., as a romance, and entitled the Manuscript Found, and placed by him in the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin, in the city of Pittsburgh, from whence it was taken by a conspicuous Mormon divine, and re-modled, by adding the religious portion; placed by him in Smith's possession, and then published to the world, as the testimony exemplifies. This I have from the Confederation, and of its perfect correctness there is not the shadow of a doubt. There were never any plates of the Book of Mormon, excepting what were seen by the spiritual, and not by the natural eyes of the witnesses. The story of the plates is all cimerical" (Bennett, pp. 123-4).It was hardly agreeable to have one's main secret blabbed that way out of school. Sidney could not afford to proclaim his own shame; he had too much self-respect for that. He felt that he could keep the matter in question more closely if he remained within the limits of the Mormon community than if he went abroad, especially at a time when the volume of Bennett had placed curiosity
on tiptoe and rendered uncounted multitudes of people eager to obtain the facts of the case from his own lips.
The return of Orson Pratt to the bosom of the fold did not befall until the 20th day of January 1843 (Remy and Brenchley, 1, [p.] 505), at which date the College of the Apostles had one more member than they knew what to do with. Amasa Lyman, however, who had been too hastily consecrated in the place of Orson, was quietly left out until the 12th of August 1844, when he "was admitted into the Quorum, having previously been ordained to the Apostleship" (Handbook, p. 58).
After this serious storm had blown over there was one important element of friction between Sidney and Joseph which failed to disappear with it. The head of the Theocracy came into constant conflict with the government of the United States at the Post Office. Joseph had no regard for any other law than the law of the Theocracy. In the interest of the Theocracy he was solicitous that the Nauvoo Post Office should be manipulated in such a way as that none of the letters from John C. Bennett or from other apostates should be delivered in the town (Bennett, p. 341). Had it been possible the prophet would have seized every newspaper or book or other printed matter in the mails, which in the least degree reflected upon his own integrity. But Mr. Rigdon was aware that to yield to the suggestions of his superior in that regard was a sure way to reach the penitentiary: he considered it would be safer to resist Mr. Smith than to fall into the hands of the United States. Joseph was never able to corrupt him; the mails were faithfully delivered in spite of the Theocracy.
In order to prevent that evil Joseph concluded it would be indispensable to get rid of Mr. Rigdon at least in the character of Post-Master. To accomplish this design he began to slander him by asserting that the Nauvoo mails were regularly plundered (Bennett, p. 248). He made industrious representations to the Department at Washington in opposition to him (Bennett, p. 341), but the authorities could not be moved. They were well persuaded both of his competency and his honesty; possibly they suspected that the Post Office would be nothing better than a nest of unclean birds in case of Sidney's displacement. This occasion of contention remained almost as long as Joseph remained alive. Sometimes the conflict went so far that Sidney was charged with treason against the Theocracy, and of having conspired with Governor Carlin to effect the removal of the head of it (Juv. Inst., 14, [p.] 76).
At the October Conference of the year 1843 the squabble came to a sort of crisis. Joseph there made a public attack upon his old comrade, asserting that he was dissatisfied with him and instancing a number of circumstances which had caused him to feel estranged towards Rigdon. It was not in his power, however, to cause him to be removed from the Presidential dignity (Juv. Inst., 14, [p.] 76). In 1844, on the contrary, when William Law, the Second Counselor went into apostasy, Sidney stood firm and obtained a degree of favor by reason of that conduct.
At Chagrin, which about that time had its name changed to Willoughby, he was only three miles distant from Kirtland, where Joseph and the Saints were then attracting a large degree of curiosity. Possibly the earliest opportunity that offered itself to study the Mormon community and to become personally acquainted with its leaders, was eagerly embraced by the youthful physician (Bennett, p. 34).
From Willoughby he found his way in April 1838 to Hocking City (Bennett, pp. 13-14), and in June of the same year drifted about to Fairfield in Wayne county, Illinois. Evidently something was amiss with regard to him; it was out of his power to remain long in any one place. Whether this result was due to a certain lack of perseverance, or on the other hand, his moral delinquencies may have conspired shortly to arm the prejudices of the public against him, is not fully stated; but Governor Ford affirms that he
"was probably the greatest scamp in the western country," and adds: "I have made particular inquiries concerning him, and have traced him in several places in which he had lived before he joined the Mormons in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and he was everywhere accounted the same debauched, unprincipled and profligate character" (History of Illinois. p. 263).In Wayne county Dr. Bennett acquired a sudden interest for military affairs, and on the 20th of February 1839 he got himself chosen to be Brigadier General of the Invincible Dragoons of the 2d Division of Illinois Militia (Bennett, 14). Visions of martial glory now opened before his sight; he gave his whole heart to soldiery concerns, in which he made so much progress as to obtain the appointment of Quarter-Master General of the state of Illinois on the 20th of July 1840 (Bennett, p. 15).
Shortly after this decided access to his fortunes, his thoughts appear to have reverted to Joseph and Sidney; he recalled the sorrows of "Zion's Camp," and fancied that it would now be easy for him to render a desirable service for which he might exact a desirable reward. Nothing is plainer than that he was the merest tyro in the art of war, but the pompous fool
felt no kind of doubt that he was formed to be as distinguished a captain as the elder Napoleon. The ink was scarcely well dried on the commission which Governor Thomas Carlin had the misfortune to bestow upon him, before he had opened a correspondence with Mr. Smith (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 110). During the month of August letters were industriously exchanged (Tullidge, pp. 298-9) and in the month of September 1840 he effected his removal to Nauvoo (Bennett. p. 18).
His arrival was greeted with rejoicing which was a trifle dampened by the death on the 14th of the month of Joseph Smith, sen., the Patriarch of the Church (Lucy Smith, p. 284). On the 21st of September, however, holy hands were laid upon him and a blessing pronounced by Hyrum Smith the new Patriarch in Zion (Bennett, pp. 42-4). By this process the new convert was so highly confirmed in the faith that on the 26th of the month he consented to abuse the privileges of his office by ordering a supply of artillery and small arms, which it is believed were intended for the special advantage of the faithful (Bennett, p. 15). The regular semi-annual Conference was held from the 3d to the 5th of October, and as a matter of course Dr. Bennett was much distinguished; among other commissions he received an appointment to draft a charter for the town, and to attend the next session of the Legislature at Springfield, for the purpose of superintending its passage through that body (Bennett, p. 194).
In the capital, Dr. Bennett was welcomed with extraordinary sympathy. The General Assembly convened on the 7th of December, and the
charter passed through all the forms of the somewhat tardy process of legislation, and was approved by the Governor on the 16th of December. It was the first official act that was performed: it preceded by two days the "Poetry Bill," a name given to the act authorizing each member and officer of the General Assembly to draw his warrant on the Treasurer of the state for one hundred dollars, which is commonly the earliest business of the session (Brown, History of Illinois, p. 395).
This instance of singular success was dexterously employed by Dr. Bennett to heighten his credit at Nauvoo; on the 19th of January 1841 he had the honor to be mentioned with distinguished favor in one of the prophet's revelations (D.&C., 124, 16). On the first of February 1841, his exertions were farther rewarded by being elected Mayor of Nauvoo (Bennett, P. 19), on the 3d of the same month he was made Chancellor of the University, an institution which existed chiefly on paper (Bennett, p. 24); on the 5th he was elected to the dignity of Major General of the Nauvoo Legion.
An admirable glimpse of the character and cultivation of the new General is supplied by the circumstance that he advised and procured that this latter organization should be formed as nearly as possible after the model of the ancient Roman Legion (Bennett, p. 211). Nevertheless its cohorts and other toggery of that description, it must be conceded, were an improvement upon the captains of ten and the captains of fifty, which Joseph had derived from a too literalizing construction of the Old Testament narrative. The brethren were even disposed
to take credit to themselves for the amount of self renunciation which enabled them to prefer the Roman Legion before the military organizations that were cultivated by David and Solomon. It was boasted that there was "nothing odd, or singular, or absurd about them, that they would not cast away if it interfered with their progress or power" (Bennett, p. 155).
The Saints were amusingly solicitous to "buckle fortune on his back," at this period of his career: with a view to get rid of the services and the presence of Mr. Rigdon, Bennett on the 7th of April 1842 was by the Conference "presented with the first Presidency, as Assistant President, until President Rigdon's health should be restored" (Bennett, p. 26). Better than all these in a pecuniary point of sight, on the 6th of May 1841 he was appointed by Judge Stephen A. Douglas to be Master in Chancery for Hancock county (Bennett, D. 25).
It was not long however, before his debauchery got him into trouble; it is affirmed by the Saints that his life was unclean, and it may be suspected that in more than one instance he had the misfortune to be a rival of Joseph's for the infamous distinction of corrupting the virtue of unsuspecting females. Early in the spring of 1842 it became apparent that affairs were not going smoothly, but it was not convenient to, make an issue with Bennett before the 7th of May; great preparations had been made for the annual parade of the Nauvoo Legion on that day, and without the assistance of even so poor a military genius as the Major General chanced to be, it was felt that the troops
could not reflect any credit upon themselves. A failure of this kind would have been regarded as a calamity, especially as the court adjourned at Carthage and Judge Douglas with [divers] of the lawyers had come over to witness the spectacle (Tullidge, p. 394).
Joseph was a natural coward; his suspicions against Bennett were already very keen. Accordingly he took it into his head that the latter had prepared a scheme to get quit of him by assassination on this occasion. It may be of interest to record the words in which he gives vent to his surmisings:
"If General Bennett's true feelings towards me are not made manifest to the world in a very short time, then it may be possible that the gentle breathings of that Spirit which whispered me on parade that there was mischief concealed in that sham battle, were false. A short time will determine the point. Let John C. Bennett answer at the day of judgment: why did you request me to command one of the cohorts, and also to take my position without my staff, during the sham battle on the 7th of May, 1842, where my life might have been the forfeit, and no man have known who did the deed" (Tullidge, p. 395).The smell of gun powder was distressing to the prophet even on parade. Nothing could be more ridiculous than that he should figure in the role of a Lieutenant General, or in any other martial dignity.
Ten days later, on the 17th day of May. the crisis which had been expected, was duly precipitated. Mr. Smith was afraid of Bennett, and therefore conceived that it would be unsuitable to proceed
in his case after the ordinary fashion of excommunication. If the Major General were goaded to exasperation the prophet was aware that he could tell some unpleasant secrets. Bennett was permitted to depart in peace, and was provided with the following order directed to the official Recorder of the church:
When the above paper was presented to the Recorder, he endorsed upon it the following statement:
"In accordance with the above I have permitted General Bennett to withdraw his membership from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this 17th day of May, 1842; the best of feelings subsisting between all parties.The entire proceeding has the appearance of a compromise; Joseph had consented in this way to whitewash the crimes of Bennett, and it was now the turn of the latter to whitewash the crimes of Joseph. In accordance with that agreement Bennett on the same day appeared before one of the Aldermen
and delivered himself as follows:
"Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, an Alderman of the City of Nauvoo, John C. Bennett, being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and said: That he never was taught anything in the least contrary to the strictest principles of the Gospel, or of virtue, or of the laws of God or man, under any circumstances, or upon any occasion either directly or indirectly in word or deed by Joseph Smith; and that he never knew the said Smith to countenance any improper conduct whatever, either in public or private: and that he never did teach to me in private that an illicit intercourse with females was under any circumstances justifiable: and that I never knew him so to teach others.The two parties were now about even with each other, Bennett is studious to represent that this statement was forced from him under duress (Bennett, pp. 287-90), but what he says in that relation is unworthy of any credit. The day of his honorable withdrawal from the church was also marked by the resignation of the office of Mayor on the part of General Bennett (Bennett, p. 41). On the 19th of May, when the City Council assembled for the purpose of electing another Mayor the process of whitewashing was once again resorted to. The Council passed unanimously the following vote of thanks to the ex-Mayor:
"Resolved by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that this Council tender a vote of thanks to General John C. Bennett, for his great zeal in having good and wholesome laws adopted for the government of this city, and for the faithful discharge of his duty while Mayor of the same.Manifestly there was a large amount of soiled linen on both sides of this case and it was urgently desired to avoid the washing of it before the public fate. Consequently as a kind of condition precedent to the above vote of thanks, General Bennett was required to express himself in the prophet's favor. In the presence of both branches of the Council a colloquy was held that was exclusively intended for use beyond the circle of that organization. Bennett was pleased to express himself in the following terms:
"I have no difficulty with the heads of the church, and I hope to continue with you, and hope the time may come when I may be restored to full confidence and fellowship and my former standing in the church: and my conduct may be such as to warrant my restoration: and should the time ever come that I may have the opportunity to test my faith, it will then be known whether I am a traitor or a true man. Joseph Smith then asked, 'Will you please state definitely whether you know anything against my character in public or private':
By the process which has just been described each party to the quarrel had succeeded in closing forever the mouth of the other; if Joseph said anything against Bennett, it was easily possible to hold up the honorable dismission which the latter had received from the Mormon church, and the effusive vote of thanks which had been enacted by the Council of the town of Nauvoo. If Bennett said anything against the prophet, it would be just as natural to exhibit the deposition which he had made in the presence of Esquire Wells, and the declarations which he had offered in the presence of the assembled magnates. The purpose of Bennett in adopting this singular course is sufficiently affirmed in the concessions that were pronounced in the presence of the Council; he hoped to continue with the Saints and in due course of time and obedience to be restored to full fellowship and all his former offices of trust and profit.
Two of the most important of these offices be retained, although he was in apostacy; he was still Major General of the Nauvoo Legion, and executed his duties in that character up to the first day of July 1842 (B[ennett], p. 44). In view of the circumstance that he bore the commission of one Thomas Carlin, who somewhere figured in the character of Governor of Illinois, it was considered of good uses, even on the part of the insolent Theocracy, to consult the wishes of that obscure and unnecessary official. To appearances Mr. Carlin did not get ready to relieve Dr. Bennett before the month of August. On the 4th of August 1842, notice was given for the
first time that Major General Bennett had retired from the service (Bennett, p. 150). The date has not been given upon which Judge Douglas saw fit to remove him from the position of Master in Chancery.
It is clear that the position of Bennett in Nauvoo was now entirely untenable; the enterprise of restoring himself to the favor of the faithful was so wild that none but a drowning man could have caught at it. Possibly before the month of May 1842 was quite at an end he had arranged a public debate with Joseph in which it may be supposed that each handled the other without exhibiting very discriminative charity (B[ennett], p. 237). Not many days afterwards he succeeded in getting the prophet involved in the ugly conflict with Orson Pratt on account of the attempts which had been made by the prophet upon the virtue of Mrs. Pratt (B[ennett], p. 226-232).
By the 23d of June the tongue of the Major General was going so freely that Joseph perceived the necessity of taking him in hand. Accordingly he [indited] an article for the Nauvoo Wasp in which he reminded his former associate that "unless he was determined to bring sudden destruction upon himself from the hand of the Almighty he would be silent" (B[ennett], p. 290). But Bennett did not keep silent; on the 28th of June he got Joseph humiliated in the presence of the Rigdon family for the feats that he had performed against the virtue of Miss Nancy Rigdon. In view of the certainty of his shortly quitting the place, Bennett felt a desire for allies of his own way of thinking on the outside; therefore at a political meeting held on the 26th of May, where Joseph invited him to address the assembled sovereigns,
he nominated Sidney Rigdon and Orson Pratt to be representatives of Hancock county in the Lower House of the next General Assembly (Bennett, p. 158). These nominations were unanimously concurred in by the assembly, but a few weeks afterward, when Sidney and Pratt both fell into apostacy the enterprise was neglected: Thomas H. Owen and William Smith, the latter the editor of the Nauvoo Wasp and the discredited brother of the prophet, were elected to the distinction in question.
On the 27th of June Bennett sat down and wrote his first letter to the Sangamo Journal of Springfield in denunciation of Joseph and his nefarious practices (B[ennett], p. 290). Before it should have time to appear and be read there he was careful to make his exit from Nauvoo; he quitted the place on the first day of July 1842 never to return any more (B[ennett], p. 282). From that moment the chief study of his life was revenge. On the 6th of May 1842, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, who had then retired to private life, while quietly seated in his house at Independence, Missouri, was fired upon by an assassin who stood concealed in the darkness without. For some time a degree of uncertainty rested upon the affair, but public suspicion gradually turned towards the prophet, since he was known to entertain a deadly hatred towards the man who was chiefly responsible for driving the Mormons from the borders of the state. The Quincy Whig was the first newspaper which ventured to give a voice to these surmisings. Its representations came up for discussion before the assembly of Saints which nominated Pratt and Rigdon for the state Legislature
on the 26th of May. The Quincy Whig charged that Joseph had made a prediction relating to the violent death of Governor Boggs and the assembly in question notwithstanding the fact that Bennett was both present and prominent, "unanimously concurred in the opinion that General Smith had never made such a prediction" (B[ennett], p. 158).
After his escape from Nauvoo, however, Bennett was well able to remember some facts relating to this prediction. He affirmed that it had first been made before a public congregation at Nauvoo during the year 1841 (B[ennett], p. 281). He likewise declared that he had heard Smith offer a reward of Five Hundred Dollars to any person who would secretly murder Governor Boggs; an occurrence which took place at a meeting of the Danites in the spring of 1842. Furthermore he claimed that he was in a position to recall the incident that some weeks after Mr. O. P. Rockwell had mysteriously departed from Nauvoo in the spring of 1842, he privately questioned Joseph about him and received the reply that Rockwell had "gone to fulfill prophecy" (B[ennett], p. 282). Finally the Nauvoo Wasp of the 28th of May had exulted in the attempt that had been made against the life of Boggs, and described it as "a noble deed."
All these and other points of more or less importance were pressed upon the attention of Boggs and of the authorities of Missouri. When Joseph was made aware of the work in which Bennett was employed, he sent his trustworthy friend Wilson Law to Jefferson City with a view to blast the reputation of his opponent and to prevent Mr. Reynolds who had now been chosen Governor of Missouri, from taking any steps in the business (B[ennett], p. 291).
The representations of Mr. Law were rejected with disdain: when he had sufficiently recovered from his wounds Boggs went before a Justice of the Peace on the 20th of July and made oath that he believed it was O. P. Rockwell who had shot at him, and likewise that Joseph Smith was an accessory before the fact (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 207).
Upon the faith of the above affidavit Governor Reynolds as in duty bound made a requisition upon the Governor of Illinois for the surrender of Rockwell and Smith to be sent to Missouri and put on trial for the crime which they were charged to have committed in that state. On the 6th of August Governor Carlin issued, in the customary form, a writ for the arrest of the accused. It was brought to Nauvoo, on the 8th of August by Messers King and Pitman, who immediately took the parties in charge. Joseph had recourse to the Municipal Court and to various legal arts which are not required to be recited in this place. Escaping from the hands of his captors he remained in hiding during most of the balance of the year. Governor Carlin offered a reward of three hundred dollars for the capture of the fugitive, but his administration was rapidly drawing to a close and he was not inclined to press the point with his accustomed vigor.
On the 8th of December Governor Thomas Ford was inaugurated. In his opening address he got courage enough to object to the Charter of the town of Nauvoo (Handbook of Reference, p. 54), but he almost immediately turned about and engaged in the unhappy business of aiding to defeat the ends of justice by building a bridge of legal chicanery upon which the prophet might escape from the necessity of facing
his accusers in the state of Missouri. The action of Governor Ford in that connection appears, at this distance of time, to be every way indefensible; there was ground for the exasperation which the state of Missouri felt against himself and the people of Illinois.
Far from insisting that Joseph should surrender himself to the officers of the law, he permitted the law to be trampled upon, and even aided in the process of degrading it. A scheme was concocted by means of which, instead of arresting Rockwell and Smith and dispatching them to Missouri he invited them to Springfield to be tried by the Justices of the Supreme Court of Illinois who had no color of jurisdiction in the case. This judicial farce will ever remain a blot upon the names of the persons who took any part in it. Governor Ford endeavors to lay the blame of it on the Whig Chief Justice of the Court and the Whig lawyers who managed the prophet's cause (Ford, History of Illinois, p. 314), but he was himself the principal offender. His letter to Joseph under date of the 17th of December 1842 sufficiently declares this fact (Tullidge, pp. 408-9). He suggested to Mr. Smith the device by which he might evade the laws and put them at defiance, the man who was responsible for the disgraceful farce that was enacted before the Supreme Court, through which the requisition of Missouri was pronounced illegal and insufficient, deserved that his administration should be hopelessly wrecked by the lawlessness of those to whom he was here giving lessons how to walk in the paths of lawlessness.
The government of Missouri keenly and with justice felt the insult that was
conveyed to them by the conduct of Governor Ford. Finding that they were foiled by his action they shortly determined to revive the old charges of treason, murder, arson, larceny and other crimes which there was no doubt in the world of their ability to prove anywhere in the world (Juv. Inst., 13, [p.] 260). It was not long before Governor Ford was once more permitted to hear from them through another requisition. Possibly Bennett was present to urge this renewal of the conflict but it would not have been in his power to move the authorities to adopt that line of action, if there had not been satisfactory reason to believe that the Governor of Illinois was determined as far as lay within his reach to obstruct the course of justice. He merited all the perplexity and distress which the Mormons shortly inflicted upon them.
Possibly James Arlington Bennet who always was at pains to write his name with a single "t," was a relative of the second member of this couple. This second member was none other than the distinguished James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald. James Arlington as like his namesake must have passed his best days in seedy estate. He is supposed to have obtained his livelihood by teaching the art of bookkeeping. In the year 1843 a work was published by him at the press of the Harpers, entitled "BennetÕs American System of Book Keeping." It is set down in the lists of Roorbach as having been "published by the author," but in a letter to Joseph under date of October 24th of the year indicated, he reports, "I had some time since $2000,00 paid me by the Harpers, publishers, as the first installment on the purchase of my copyright... and I expect $38,000 more in semi-annual payments from these gentlemen, within the limits of ten years" (Mackay, p. 121).
It is more than likely that not a word of truth was found in the above representation. James Arlington appeared at Nauvoo in
the winter of 1841-2, perhaps in the character of a teacher of the theory and practice of bookkeeping. He had not been long on the ground before it entered his mind to permit the New York Herald to become acquainted with the circumstances which surrounded him. Accordingly he constituted himself the correspondent of the Herald at the City of the Saints, subscribing the name Veritas at the close of his effusion (Mackay, p. 127).
Two or three letters to a newspaper will not frequently make any large figure in the world, but the letter of Veritas was rich in results. It is supposed to have appeared during the progress of January or February 1842. The exultation that it produced in Nauvoo was intense. Things even came to such a pass that the City Council took notice of the performance in the following fashion:
"Resolved by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo that the high minded and honorable editor of the New York Weekly Herald, James Gordon Bennett, Esq., is deserving of the lasting gratitude of this community, for his very liberal and unprejudiced course towards us as a people, in giving us a fair hearing in his paper, thus enabling us to reach the ears of a portion of the community, who otherwise would ever have remained ignorant of our principles and practices.
In addition to the above vote of thanks the freedom of the city was given to James Gordon Bennett, and the University of Nauvoo conferred upon him the title of LL.D. (B[ennett], p. 160). It may be worth while to examine the production which started such an uproar of satisfaction. The contents of James ArlingtonÕs epistle were very ordinary indeed; there were spiritless descriptions of the four leaders of the Hierarchy namely, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon and William Law, which contained favorable comments upon their personal appearance, and an extravagant estimate of their intellectual and spiritual consequence. The principal point, however, and the one which went far to set Joseph and Sidney crazy was a casual phrase that befell in the opening sentence describing the town of Nauvoo as "the nucleus of a western empire." It is easy to believe that this expression had been borrowed from the prophetÕs own lips, but for that reason it suited his fancy only so much the better. "A western empire" now became the central object of Mormon thought and speech.
The exultations that took place in the "nucleus of a western empire" were not quite universal. Dr. John Cooke Bennett could not forget the fact that his own name had not been mentioned by the genial instructor in bookkeeping. This neglect was keenly felt; before the day should arrive when James Arlington might find it convenient to take up his pen a second time, a wink was given to Sidney, who sat down to call the special attention of the Herald correspondent to the young Napoleon of Nauvoo (B[ennett], p. 40).
The second letter of the Herald correspondent was sent under date of the 8th of May (B[ennett], p. 155). The teacher of bookkeeping now poses in the character of an officer of the United States Artillery, and subscribes that title to his letter. During the course of it he also takes occasion to speak of himself as "Captain Bennet, late of the army of the United States" (B[ennett], p. 155). This is another instance of his atrocious capacity for dealing out falsehoods. In HamersleyÕs "Army Register of the United States for One Hundred Years" his name cannot be found anywhere in either branch of the service. Nevertheless this untruth deceived the whole of Nauvoo; it secured for James Arlington an appointment on the military staff of the Lieutenant General (B[ennett], p. 155), it even deceived Major General John Cooke Bennett, the leading authority in military subjects, who stupidly allowed himself to assert that, "General J. Arlington Bennett is one of the most talented and experienced officers in the Union" (B[ennett], p. 153).
The second epistle from Nauvoo is a more skilful document; while the writer makes pretense of being opposed to the Mormons he really flattered them to their heartsÕ content. Beginning with a description of the great parade which had befallen the day before, he inquires, "Why this exact discipline of the Mormon corps? Do they intend to conquer Missouri, Illinois, Mexico?... Perhaps a subversion of the Constitution of the United States; and if this should be considered too
great a task, foreign conquest will certainly follow. Mexico will fall into their hands, even if Texas should first take it" (B[ennett], p. 155).
Sweeter incense was never burned under the nostrils of Joseph. It is of interest to perceive that as early as May 1842, this reporter who commonly speaks the very sentiments of the prophet should have suggested a conquest of Mexico. Already it is suspected, Joseph was turning his attention to the west, where he should be out of the reach of any power that might curb and rival the Theocracy.
But perhaps the most important thing that the adventurous bookkeeper said in this letter was contained in the following assertions:
"A western empire is certain... The Mormons it is true are now peaceable, but the lion is asleep. Take care and donÕt rouse him. The city of Nauvoo contains about ten thousand souls, and it is rapidly increasing... Who will say that the Mormon prophet is not among the great spirits of the age?" (B[ennett], p. 156).Joseph was never a sane man after reading these words. Impossible schemes and conceits were constantly floating about in his brain; in brief he entirely lost his head. The editorial comments by which the above letter was preceded also went far to unsettle his reason. Possibly these were likewise composed by James Arlington of Arlington House. They set Joseph on the same level with extraordinary geniuses like Confucius, Zoroaster, Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul, Mohamed, Luther, and affirmed that "the moral and religious world will be divided between the Pope and the Catholics on one
side and Joe Smith and the Mormons on the other. The Oyster is opening, and will soon be equally divided (Bennett, p. 155).
It would have required firmer minds than any that existed at Nauvoo to resist such flattery. The heads of all alike were immediately lifted up among the clouds, and their feet were nowhere safely planted on the earth. A disaster was almost indispensable to bring them back to anything resembling sanity of mind. Their contact with the faithful was very brief, yet it must be claimed that the two Bennetts of New York, exerted a controlling influence upon the fortunes of the Smiths and their associates; but for the part they played the lunacy of leaders and subjects alike might not have been so hopeless as it fell out.
After Joseph had gotten into trouble on the score of his effort to assassinate Governor Boggs, the Bennet, whose chief solicitude in life was to subscribe his name with a single "t," appeared with a third communication, which is believed to have seen the light about the beginning of October 1842 (Tullidge, p. 408). It is printed in full in Mackay, pp. 163-5. Here James Arlington has grown beyond the business of bookkeeping, and the distinctions of an officer of artillery, and figures under the title of "counselor-at-law." Some very flattering things are declared in this third performance, but the phrase "modern Mohamed" and other nonsense which had tickled Joseph so prodigiously
was now laid aside. The policy which had been cherished for a considerable period, of removing to the far west comes to light once more. The counselor-at-law advises "the prophet to pull up stakes and take possession of the Oregon Territory in his own right, and establish an independent empire" (Mackay, p. 163).
It is vehemently suspected that James Arlington had more than once heard Joseph suggest and discuss that proposition. Who can declare that it was not broached anew in the private letter which the prophet sent to Mr. Bennet at Flatbush about the 12th of September 1842 (Bennett, p. 248). It is on record that Joseph had referred to the business before a company of the brethren when he was at Montrose, Iowa, on the 6th of August, 1842 (Tullidge, p. 398), and at this very moment every mouth in Nauvoo was full of the scheme (Bennett, p. 262).
When the requisition from his Excellency the Governor of Missouri began to be talked about, Joseph strove by every means in his power to prepare for the emergency. Among other things he sent a formal order by military express to New York City, commanding General James Arlington Bennet "to repair forthwith to the Headquarters of the Legion, and assume command, accompanied by his chief Aid-de-Camp, General James Gordon Bennett" (B[ennett], p. 150). Both of these officers failed the prophet in bitter need and James Gordon Bennett was wicked enough even to make great sport of the situation (B[ennett], p. 152). They lost their chance irrevocably on that occasion, and each of them fell away from grace.
James Arlington, however, was nothing other than a vulgar adventurer;
on the 30th day of August 1843, he actually permitted Brigham Young to immerse him in the waters of the sea not far from Flatbush, New York (Remy and Brenchley, 1, [p.] 505; cf. Mackay, p. 120). On the 24th of October 1843 he wrote the last letter to Mr. Smith which has been preserved, setting forth the fact that he had allied himself to the Saints merely for the sake of the loaves and fishes. He considered Joseph to be the American Mohamed and he desired to be his "right hand Man" (Mackay, pp. 120-1). Joseph was amused and flattered by this distinction, and sent him a lengthy and rambling reply in which he dismissed him forever from the scene (Mackay, pp. 122-127).
Fielding is particularly worthy of note in this connection. He was a Canadian Saint (Caswall, p. 134), who after going to reside in the land of Zion was successful enough to get his sister Mary married to Hyrum Smith as his second wife (Lucy Smith, p. 42). His brother-in-law Robert B. Thompson (Lucy Smith, p. 291) was also favored by being selected to succeed the apostate Warren F. Parrish in the office of scribe to the prophet. Fielding's influence at Kirtland was therefore very decided; his position was not far away from the head of the Hierarchy. His influence in England whence he had emigrated was also considerable; the fact that he had succeeded so highly in America as to get his sister married to a member of the First Presidency and his brother-in-law employed as the scribe of the prophet, reacted in his favor among those members of the household who still remained in England. Prominent among them was the Rev. James Fielding, his brother, who was pastor of a Methodist church at Preston in Lancashire (Kimball, p. 26). Joseph had cultivated an active epistolary correspondence with his brother James in the course of which he had been careful to explain all the beauties and the benefits of the ancient gospel (Kimball, pp. 18-9). The Rev. James Fielding of Preston was not merely well acquainted with the ancient gospel; he was also a convert to its tenets, and had quitted his place in the Methodist Church because of his belief in these tenets. The society which he now had collected about him appears to have been nothing else than a Mormon Conventicle (Kimball, pp. 26-7).
This Mormon Conventicle was kept diligently advertised regarding the progress of Mormon affairs; the Rev. James Fielding was pleased to assure them that he "could not place more confidence in an angel than he did in the statements of his brother" concerning the Saints. In fact the entire Conventicle are represented to have been for some time engaged in "praying for the coming of the missionaries" (Kimball, p. 19). The influence of Priest Joseph Fielding was distinctly felt in Bedford town, where resided another brother-in-law in the person of the Rev. Mr. Matthews. This person had been a clergyman in the Church of England, but Fielding had succeeded in perverting him likewise to embrace the ancient gospel. By consequence he promptly left his place and prospects in the Establishment and had already begun to proclaim the ancient order of things. He had even been fortunate enough to gather a church about him, who it may be presumed were also employed in fervent prayer for the arrival of the missionaries. Kimball affirms that these gentlemen with their congregations, were diligently contending for that faith which was once delivered to the Saints at the time we arrived, but afterwards rejected the truth. Yet notwithstanding they did not obey the gospel, the greater portion of their members received our testimony, obeyed the ordinances we taught, and are now rejoicing in the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant (Kimball, pp. 26-7). Nothing could have been more natural than that after getting a sight of the elders from Kirtland they should both
turn back and refuse to walk with them. On the contrary, one of Joseph Fielding's sisters in England destined to imitate the example of her brother James, and decided to cast in her lot with the Saints, imparting to them a half crown, which might have been her last penny in token of their welcome (Kimball, p. 18). The influence of Priest Joseph Fielding appears to have been likewise exerted at Walkerford, a village that is situated about fifteen miles from Preston (Kimball, p. 23). Here resided a certain Rev. John Richards, whose daughter Jennette appears to have been well acquainted in the congregation of the Rev. James Fielding. It is even suspected that the Fieldings might have been some way related to the Richards family. Very likely Miss Jennette was among the number of those who were fervently praying for the coming of the missionaries. When they did come she was promptly on hand and contended earnestly with Mr. G. D. Watt for the honor of being the first convert to Mormonism that was immersed in England. The contention was compromised by immersing Mr. Watt first and Miss Jennette second, and by afterwards confirming Miss Jennette first and Mr. Watt second (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 93; cf. Stenhouse, p. 573). Somewhat unexpectedly just before the missionaries set out from Kirtland in June 1837 Dr. Willard Richards was added to their number (Tullidge, Brigham Young, p. 84). It is not impossible that Jennette's devotion was quickened by receiving notice of the circumstance that the brethren in America had been so thoughtful of her as to reward her exertions with a promising young husband of her own name if not of her own family. This arrangement seems to have been
so well understood that on the day when Kimball immersed Miss Jennette he remarked to Willard Richards: "I have baptized your wife today" (Kimball, p. 98). In due season the pair were united in wedlock (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 93). From the above survey it will appear that the English Mission had been carefully prepared in advance. It is correct to say that it was also well planned and performed. Necessity required that it should be entrusted to the hands of a couple of the apostles; Kimball and Hyde stood at the head of it in virtue of their office. Willard Richards it is supposed was commissioned that he might become the husband of Miss Jennette Richards of Walkerford, and by that means gain a footing in the church over which her father John Richards presided. All of the others were Canadians (Juv. Inst., 12, p. 82), and perhaps natives of England. The mission was also fairly successful. Richards and Goodson were sent to Bedford for the purpose of immersing Mr. Matthews and his people, a feat which he was on the point of performing (Kimball, pp. 25-6), but his hopes appear to have been overthrown by the imprudence of Mr. Goodson (Kimball, p. 47), who was promptly relieved and sent home (Kimball, p. 27). Notwithstanding this disaster Richards was enabled to establish a couple of small branches at Bedford that were composed in part of those who had formerly walked with Matthews (Kimball, p. 47). The Rev. Mr. Matthews was henceforward stigmatized as "a spurious Latter Day Saint" (Kimball, p. 103).
Elder Isaac Russell had likely been brought up at Alston in Cumberland, where he had friends and kindred. He and John Snider were sent thither to labor among them, but the latter soon proving useless was compelled to return to America in the company of Goodson (Kimball, p. 47; cf. p. 27). Russell succeeded in converting about sixty persons at Alston (Kimball, p. 47). These were not very promising results but the success of Kimball, Hyde and Fielding, who had remained at Preston was much more decided; it is reported that they baptized something like five hundred people in Preston and the villages adjacent (Caswall, p. 133). With the exception of Willard Richards and of his brother Levi Richards, who had come over meanwhile perhaps to get acquainted with his new found relations at Walkerford and also to assist the cause (Kimball, p. 45), the entire missionary party returned to America on the 20th of April 1838, after having remained in the country since the 18th day of the preceding July (Kimball, p. 49; cf. p. 15). Thus were laid the foundations of the British Mission in Preston, Alston and Bedford. The chief credit of the achievement belongs to Priest Joseph Fielding, who as far as can now be declared, was never fortunate enough to obtain any sort of reward or recognition for his services. By all means he deserved to be made an Apostle, and for the balance of his life to be handed about on a silver waiter, but he was ungratefully neglected as long as he lived and even after he was dead. On the 11th day of January 1840 the Twelve Apostles began
to arrive from America for the purpose of taking up the work where it had been laid down by Hyde and Kimball in 1838. The activity and success with which they prosecuted their task is one of the marvels of Mormon annals. The most remarkable feat of the entire enterprise was accomplished by Mr. Wilford Woodruff. Getting notice of a body of six hundred Methodists who had seceded from the Wesleyan connection, and now passed under the title of United Brethren, he incontinently quitted his appointed field of labor in Staffordshire and went southward to Herefordshire in search of them. Beginning his labors among these people on the 5th of March 1840 (Leaves from My Journal, p. 79), he shortly immersed all the six hundred stray Methodists with a single exception (Leaves, p. 81), and more than twelve hundred people in addition. The work increased with so much rapidity that in September 1842 the Liverpool Albion newspaper affirmed that "upwards of five thousand people had already emigrated to Nauvoo, and that an equal number would probably leave before spring" (Caswall, p. 137). When Joseph beheld this stream of foreign believers flowing into his chief city he fancied that he had the world at his feet. Mr. Campbell never had half as much confidence in the power of his "Plea for Christian Union" to sweep all Christians of every name into the church which he had founded, as Joseph felt that the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" would shortly swallow up every other church and take possession of the earth. It only remains to inquire what might have been the secret of the decided impression which Mormon missionaries produced
in Great Britain. Allusion has been made to the fact that an amount of distress was then presiding in the manufacturing districts that was sufficient to render emigration desirable (Caswall, p. 131). Heber C. Kimball declares that on his second mission in the year 1840 his sympathies were often excited to encounter Saints who upon the occasion of his first visit in 1838 were in comfortable circumstances but were now reduced to want by being thrown out of employment (Kimball, p. 99). The same writer also insists upon the anxiety which the Saint generally felt to visit America: There is one peculiarity about the people-just as soon as they come out of the water they want to go to America (Kimball, p. 100). Much of this tendency was due to the thirst after adventure, although some of the parties may have hoped to improve their situation in the world, or at any rate to get relief from the want which pinched them. But neither the fear of want nor the love of adventure are strong enough to explain the singular movement that is under review. Mormonism took hold of the common people of England chiefly in the character of a religious movement. There is no necessity to disguise the fact that it is a Protestant cancer; almost all of its converts have been gained in countries where the Protestant religion has been held and cultivated. The cases are very rare indeed where missionaries have had the happiness to take any kind of hold upon a Catholic country or community. Burton declares what all experience
and observation will go far to confirm, when he says: Mormonism boasts of few Roman Catholic or Greek converts; the French and Italians are rare, and there is a remarkable deficiency of Germans and Irish-those wretched races without nationality or loyalty-which have overrun the Eastern American States. It is, then, to Protestantism that we must look for the origin of the New Faith (City of the Saints, p. 363). The success of Mormon missions has been largest in those sections of Protestant countries where the Bible has been most abused, and the tendency to literalism and false orthodoxy has been most recklessly promoted. The best reason in the world exists why the Saints should generally fail to gain the attention of Roman Catholics; these have very little commerce with the Scriptures, and the wiseacre proofs and shallow declamations of the new theologians all go over their heads. The stupid missionary is curtly pointed to the parish priest, whose business it is to be acquainted with such matters. But in England or Denmark or Switzerland almost every third man fancies himself to be an adept in the Scriptures, and amply able to judge for himself. In attempting this latter task thousands of Protestant Englishmen and Danes and Swiss have landed in the Mormon camp, and become fanatics of the Mormon faith. Protestant scholars are now and have always been sensible of this abuse; they do not in the least underestimate the seriousness of it, but they candidly think it is better to grant unrestricted
access to the Bible, than to suffer the immense evils that prevail in Catholic states from closing it to the eyes of the people. It has already been signified that Mr. Campbell was guilty of serious excesses in this direction. His biographer makes boast that the work of Alexander Campbell was complimentary to that of Martin Luther, The German Reformer gave to the people the opportunity of reading the Scripture. It was the part of Mr. Campbell to convince them that they could comprehend it-a truth which however plainly asserted in Protestant standards, the clergy of no prominent Paedobaptist party were at this period willing practically to concede (Richardson, vol. 2, p. 42). If he had never taught the ignoramus Sidney Rigdon that it was possible for a creature like himself to interpret the Scripture as correctly as Mr. Campbell could perform that feat there would never have arisen any such movement as Mormonism. Years after the evil had been accomplished, Mr. Campbell attempted to correct it in a measure, by laying down certain rules of interpretation (Christian System, pp. 16-8), but it was useless thus to close the door after the steed had been stolen. Wherever Mormon missionaries encountered disciples of Mr. Campbell in England they felt hopeful of capturing them. Referring to the ease with which he had secured and baptized one of the pillars of the Disciples church at Nottingham, Parley P. Pratt thought it worth his pains to send the following message:
Tell friend Campbell to go ahead and prepare the way-the Saints will follow him up and gather the fruits (Kidder, p. 218). This was more than mere bravado; it sometimes fell out to be bitter earnest.
Cutler were appointed a committee to build the same. It was also resolved that every tenth day's labor should be appropriated by the people toward the building of the House" (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 124).
It will be perceived from the above representation that the enterprise of raising a temple was wholly a matter of business; it was not in the least an affair of revelation. Joseph seldom permitted himself to obtain a revelation from the Lord without in advance carefully preparing the way before it. On the 15th of January 1841, Joseph and his two counselors, Sidney and Hyrum, issued a proclamation to the faithful in which the project was duly mentioned (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 124), and then the time was first considered ripe for a divine revelation. This document was given on the 19th of January 1841 (D.&C., 124, title). In that place the Nauvoo House first comes to sight, and what is of more significance, it appears as a part of the temple scheme. An explanation of the close connection that subsisted between the temple and the tavern is of sufficient interest to be supplied. The prophet Isaiah was always a chosen weakness of Mr. Rigdon's, and when he became settled at Nauvoo the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah must have been often in his eye and mind. Nothing could be more natural than for him to make a literalizing application of certain sentiments there displayed to Nauvoo and to the prospects of Nauvoo. He heard the Lord saying to his stricken stronghold: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee...And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; for in my
wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea those nations shall be utterly wasted." Kings were appointed to be the nursing fathers of the Saints and queens their nursing mothers.
If there was any kind of confidence to be placed in Holy Scripture it was plain that these important dignitaries should soon be as plentiful as blackbirds in the streets of Nauvoo. But what should any respectable king or queen be able to accomplish in the streets of Nauvoo without a first class hotel to stop at. A wise man foresees emergencies; it was desirable to provide in advance for this mob of princes. The tavern was indispensable; it was a portion of the temple project (D.&C., 124, 22-4). It is difficult to withhold admiration from the skill with which Joseph contrived to improve this stupid nonsense to his personal advantage by providing that himself and his posterity to the latest generation should have a comfortable berth set apart in this magnificent hostelry.
With both of these schemes in view it was natural that more weight should be laid upon the gathering of the people to Nauvoo than had been observed in any previous instance (D.&C., 124, 25-7). On the 24th of May 1841, it is reported that "Joseph wrote a short epistle in which he called upon the Saints who resided outside of Hancock county to
move into it without delay. He wished the energy and enterprise of the people concentrated to accomplish the erection of the temple and other buildings" (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 152). The Twelve Apostles likewise felt called upon frequently to exhort the brethren to the duty of the hour; the propriety of a speedy and general "gathering" is urgently mentioned in their epistle to the Saints "scattered abroad on the continent of America" which was dated on the 12th of October 1841 (Kidder, pp. 202-7). On the 15th of November 1841 a similar address was forwarded to "the Saints scattered abroad in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and the Eastern Continent" (Kidder, pp. 207-214).
A mistake had been committed in this connection which cost the prophet a deal of annoyance. When the Conference met at Nauvoo in October 1840, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight and Almon W. Babbitt were appointed a committee to organize Stakes of Zion between Nauvoo and Kirtland. The record affirms that "this action was taken in consequence of several applications having been made for the appointment of such Stakes" (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 124).
Nauvoo was shortly perceived to be one of the most unhealthy sites on the western hemisphere and there was a natural desire on the part of various persons to enjoy the benefits of the above provision and to remove their families to Kirtland. Among others that scheme was entertained by William Law, a Canadian Saint of wealth and influence who was the second counselor of the Presidency (D.&C., 124, 83); and by no less a person than Sidney Rigdon the first counselor of the Presidency (D.&C., 124, 108).
Joseph did what he could to resist this movement, which at the time threatened to deplete the resources of Nauvoo. Finally in October 1842 Hyrum Smith was directed to issue in his own name a bitter proclamation in which the entire project was reprobated (Kidder, pp. 326-8).
The various incitements which Joseph conceived for the purpose of urging his people to engage diligently in the labor of constructing the temple are worthy of attentive observation. Possibly it was during the course of his prison life at Liberty in the winter of 1838-9 that Sidney first got new light touching the meaning of First Corinthians 15, 30: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" It is singular that he should have overlooked so long this open temptation to his literalism.
In the summer of 1840 the state of opinion was so far advanced that Joseph could venture to broach the subject in private circles. Lucy Smith declares that he told his father, sometime before the death of the latter on the 14th of September 1840, that it was not the privilege of Saints to be baptized for the dead (Lucy Smith, p. 284). At the Conference which assembled on the 3d of October 1840 he for the first time permitted himself to urge it in public (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 124). At the beginning it was an unlimited privilege; persons might freely administer baptism for the dead in any quarter of the earth. But
now that he had the erection of a temple on his hands Joseph perceived that it would be easy to take advantage of baptism for the dead to promote that scheme. Consequently the right of baptizing for the dead at whatever point might suit the convenience of the parties most nearly interested was withdrawn: "after this time your baptisms for the dead by those who are scattered abroad are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord; for it is ordained that in Zion and in her Stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead" (D.&C., 124, 35-6).
The liberties enjoyed by the Saints were still a trifle too extensive for the wishes of the prophet; at the Conference which met in October 1841 Joseph again preached on the subject of baptism for the dead and at the close of his remarks announced: "there shall be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord's House" (Kidder, p. 248). By this summary process, Kirtland and Jerusalem were both cut off and the distinction in question was reserved exclusively for the temple at Nauvoo.
Furthermore, in January 1841 the revelation had prescribed that a sufficient time should be granted to the Saints to build a house unto the Lord, during which time baptisms for the dead should be acceptable unto the Lord (D.&C., 124, 31). But it will be seen that in October 1841 the prophet concluded to abridge the time he had formerly allowed and to permit no more baptisms for the dead until the font in the temple should be in order.
It is plain to see that the above was a strong incitement; the adroitness with which it was handled by Mr. Smith is worthy of remark.
Another reason why the Saints should make haste to build the temple was found in the pretended act that the baptismal font would avail for the healing of disease. According to the authority of the Twelve Apostles it was to be a place over which the heavenly messengers may watch and trouble the waters as in the days of old, so that when the sick are put therein they shall be made whole (Kidder, p. 205).
When Caswall visited Nauvoo in April 1842 he cites the fact that baptism for the healing of diseases were already performed in the font (City of the Mormons, p. 16).
A third consideration which it was hoped would operate to induce the faithful to make sacrifices for the temple was sought in the prohibition that Joseph issued in the name of the Lord at the meeting of the general Conference in October 1841 to the effect that "the church should not hold another general conference until they can meet in said house" (Kidder, p. 248).
In the next place the Endowment and other old charms which had been employed with so much effect at Kirtland were once more brought to bear (D.&C., 124, 39).
Further ordinances were promised to be revealed in the temple and things which had been concealed from before the foundation of the world (D.&C., 124, 40-42).
Joseph likewise suggested that the Lord would employ the temple to try the faithfulness of his people: "verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality and eternal life" (D.&C., 124, 55). On the other hand a threat was issued which must have shaken the nerves of the Saints and made them tremble strangely. It declared, "if you do not these things at the end of the appointment, ye shall be rejected as a church with your dead, saith the Lord God" (D.&C., 124, 32).
Whoever will attentively consider the above cited provisions in connection with the materials with which Joseph had to deal, must concede that he was a master spirit among men; he was born to hoodwink the ignorant and to lead astray the weaker portion of mankind.
Having thus set in order all the various incitements which he expected to make use of, Joseph was ready to lay hold of the work that was appointed to his hands. Before commencing it, however, he was thoughtful enough to cause himself to be constituted sole Trustee in Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That act was contrary to the letter and to the spirit of the law in that case made and provided. The law required that there should be appointed more than one Trustee (Bennett, p. 96), but Joseph did not care to have any assistant in the business that was now before him. It was desirable to enjoy all the pickings and peculations of that position without a partner, who
besides getting a portion of the plunder, upon occasion might be inclined to reveal secrets that were more comfortably concealed. It was stipulated in addition that the above sole Trustee in Trust should hold his office during life and be vested with plenary powers to receive, acquire, manage and convey property, real, personal or mixed for the sole use and benefit of the church (Bennett, p. 96).
The office of Sole Trustee in Trust was a more desirable station than membership in the infamous Order of Enoch. That Order was exceedingly unpopular in its time; it was likewise undesirable by reason of the circumstance that it had a number of members who would demand and enforce a fair division of the spoils. In due season the spoils began to flow in upon Joseph with a royal current. The Twelve Apostles, perhaps at his suggestion lent their aid to swell his exchequer. On the 13th of December 1841 they sent forth a general epistle in which they notified the brethren that, "large stores of provisions will be required to complete the work, and now is the time for securing it, while meat is plenty and can be had for one half the value that it can at other seasons of the year, and the weather is cool and suitable for packing. Let the brethren for two hundred miles around drive their fat cattle and hogs to this place, where they may be preserved and there will be a supply till another favorable season rolls round, or till the end of the labor. Now is the time to secure food. Now is the time that the Trustee is ready to receive your droves. Not the maimed, the lean, the halt
and the blind, and such as you cannot use; it is for the Lord and he wants no such offering; but if you want his blessing give him the best...All money and other property designed for tithings and consecrations to the building of the temple must hereafter be presented to the Trustee in Trust, President Joseph Smith" (Kidder, pp. 324-5).
The corner stone of the temple was laid on the 6th of April 1841; the corner stone of Nauvoo House was laid on the 2d of October 1841 (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 177). By the 15th of November 1841 the walls of the basement story of each house were nearly completed (Kidder, p. 210); by the 17th of April 1842, the walls of both had been raised to a height of eight or ten feet (Caswall, City of the Mormons, p. 8; cf. p. 17).
After the date last mentioned the work upon Nauvoo House was prosecuted somewhat more rapidly than the work upon the temple; the former was opened for occupation in the month of November 1843 (Handbook of Reference, p. 55), but it was not yet completed. In December 1844 more than five months after the death of the prophet, the walls of the temple had been carried no higher than the caps of the pilasters (Mackay, p. 190). The Times and Seasons in its issue for December 15, 1844 remarked, "The temple has progressed with greater rapidity since the death of Joseph Smith than ever it has done before" (Ferris, Utah and the Mormons, p. 137). The explanation of this unwonted activity in connection with the temple is given by John D. Lee, who says that work upon the Nauvoo House was abandoned and all hands were put to labor on the temple (Life and Confessions, p. 167).
It has been shown that the original conception was to advance the work at about the same rate upon each of the structures. When the temple was dedicated and the kings and queens of the earth should draw nigh to behold the wonders of Zion it was felt to be desirable that the hotel should also be in readiness to entertain them. But a curse had been pronounced upon the Saints in case the temple should be left unfinished; the Lord had affirmed by the mouth of Joseph that they should be rejected as a church with their dead. It was to avoid this catastrophe that the laborers were removed from Nauvoo House, which was left to its fate, and every energy was concentrated upon the House of the Lord.
But all the exertions of the faithful were unavailing. The temple was never completed. Joseph Smith the present head of the Reorganized Church, an eyewitness of its condition from the time when the Mormons quitted it in 1846 until its destruction by fire on the 19th of November 1848, says that no part of the temple was finished with the possible exception of the main assembly room of the first story, and even here the inside ornamentation was not done according to pattern. In the upper assembly room of the second story the floor was not laid, nor the doors hung nor the walls plastered. Likewise the basement in which was situated the font was incomplete (Stenhouse, pp. 224-5). Thus even upon its own showing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was rejected by the Lord. Brigham Young, however,
had a sufficient amount of thoughtfulness to affirm that the Lord graciously signified to him that the offerings of the people were accepted by him (Juv. Inst., 15, p. 141).
Doubtless these offerings were in many cases striking and painful, but the sacrifices of the Saints in erecting the temple at Nauvoo do not compare favorably with the sacrifices that were made on behalf of the temple at Kirtland. If the like energy and devotion had been exhibited the latter edifice might have been completed in half the time that was employed in prosecuting the work that was performed on it.
Ye remember that I spake unto you and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled (behold they are written; ye have them before you; therefore search them): and verily I say unto you that when they shall be fulfilled, then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel. And then shall the remnants which are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth be gathered in from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north; and they shall be brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God, who hath redeemed them (3 Nephi 20, 11-3).It is everywhere signified that the American Indians and likewise the Mormon people are the "seed of Joseph" (3 Nephi 5, 21. 23). The gathering place of the "seed of Joseph" was represented to be the continent of America which should contain the "New Jerusalem" (3 Nephi 20, 22; Ether 13, 2-4). The gathering place of ordinary Jews, on the contrary, was represented to be Jerusalem in Palestine. That city, according to the literalistic conception of Sidney,
could never with any degree of propriety be called the "New Jerusalem": "wherefore it could not be a New Jerusalem, for it had been in a time of old" (Ether 13, 5). The Book of Mormon is with every degree of firmness committed to the gathering of ordinary Jews at Jerusalem in Palestine (3 Nephi 29, 1. 8; 20, 29. 30. 33). The progress of the work in America was also bound up with the progress of the work at Jerusalem. If the gathering did not take place there it would be of no avail to press and proclaim the gathering here (3 Nephi 21, 22-29).
In the early months of the year 1841 the point began to be conceded that Nauvoo was the site of the New Jerusalem on the continent of North America. The rising prosperity of the town was hailed by the faithful with enthusiasm, but it was keenly felt that, howsoever brilliant, this good fortune would be of no avail unless the gathering at Old Jerusalem could be set in motion.
Mr. Orson Hyde was at that season in a painful condition of despondency. He had assisted to open the British Mission in the year 1837, but owing to his apostasy in the year 1838 he was not considered available to labor with the balance of the Apostles in England in 1839. These Apostles were daily sending home accounts of such triumphs as had hardly been enacted since the day of Pentecost, and it was natural that Hyde should desire to accomplish something that would bring his own merits to the favorable attention of the brethren. Most likely at the suggestion of Sidney Rigdon, the above cited passages
from the Book of Mormon became for Orson a theme of reflection. In due season just before the meeting of the general conference on the 6th of April 1841, Orson contrived to obtain a striking and appropriate dream in which he "was called of God to visit London, Amsterdam, Constantinople and Jersusalem for the accomplishment of certain great ends connected with the Latter-day Saints' enterprise" (Kidder, p. 222).
All things considered the above was a bright notion for Orson Hyde. Considerable interest was felt by orthodox Mormons in the business, and if he executed it with diligence it would go far to retrieve his fortunes. It would cost the church nothing for him to make the journey; that was still the day in which Mormon missionaries were accustomed to "speak where the Scriptures speak" by traveling everywhere "without scrip or purse." If Orson desired to make the journey to Jerusalem on such terms there was nobody to say him nay. On the 7th of April 1842 the general conference passed a vote by which Orson Hyde and John E. Page, both of them Apostles, were instructed and commissioned to journey to Jerusalem for the purpose of dedicating and consecrating the land of Palestine for the gathering of the Jews and the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Juv. Inst., 13, p. 110).
They set forward to fulfill their instructions on the 15th of April, but they made slow progress. The 29th of June found them no farther on the way than Dayton, Ohio (Kidder, pp. 317-9), where was a nest of Mormons who were levied upon for every new
scheme that was started (Kidder, pp. 317-9). Here they builded a bridge for the penitent return of the Honorable William W. Phelps to the fold, which when he had entered a second time was at pains never to quit any more.
It must have been difficult to acquire a sufficient amount of funds to defray the expenses of two several Apostles as far as Jerusalem, and apparently before taking ship from New York Mr. Page gave up the effort, leaving Mr. Hyde to prosecute the remainder of the task alone. At Rotterdam the latter fell in with a Jewish Rabbi to whom he proposed certain interrogatories, possibly with a view to get him committed in favor of Sidney's literalistic nonsense about the return of the Jews to Palestine. The good Rabbi was spared an amount of misrepresentation by the circumstance that he was not acquainted with the English language, and Orson, notwithstanding the gift of tongues was unable to tease him in any other language (Kidder, p. 223).
Quitting Rotterdam he proceeded on his painful pilgrimage and reaching Jerusalem after many trials, had the happiness to dedicate and consecrate the Holy Land on the 24th of October 1841 (Tullidge, p. 382). The prayer which he offered on that occasion with pen ink and paper from the summit of the Mount of Olives was for many years highly edifying to sincere believers. It was supposed that henceforth the work of the gathering both in America and in Palestine would march forward prosperously. But unhappily these golden anticipations were left unfulfilled. The Jews kept on their way, and
neglected to pay the slightest attention to Mr. Hyde's dedication and consecration. Finally it was felt among the Mormons themselves that there must be something amiss in connection with it. The apostasy of Orson, which was then very recent, was suspected to have impaired the efficacy of the ceremony that he had enacted. Consequently in the year 1872 it was resolved to repeat the labor of dedicating and consecrating the land of Palestine. The enterprise was committed to Apostle George A. Smith, who, in connection with a numerous company that were all much better fed and provided than poor Orson Hyde, performed it with considerable pomp and circumstance on the 2d of March 1873 (Tullidge, Brigham Young, Supplement, pp. 10-12). There are still no signs of any "gathering" at Old Jerusalem.
The provision to warrant the writ of habeas corpus was inserted in the following words into the Charter: "The Municipal Court shall have power to grant writs of Habeas Corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the city council" (Bennett, p. 197). The limiting clause is very distinct in the above statement. Perhaps that clause had to be inserted before the shameless charter could be passed without objection in the Legislature. But even with this limitation the business was unusual; Mr. Henry Brown, who was a counsellor at Law, affirms in his History of Illinois, p. 306, that power was given to no other city in the state to issue writs of Habeas Corpus.
Though the privilege of the city of Nauvoo was every way unusual, it was still unsatisfactory to those for whom it was intended. On the 8th of August 1842, Joseph Smith and O. P. Rockwell were arrested
on a charge that related to the attempt to assassinate ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri. The requisition of the Governor of Missouri and the writ of the Governor of Illinois were both composed in due form, and there was no rightful power in the world that could have prevented the delivery of the prisoners to the state of Missouri for trial. On the morning of the day in which the arrest occurred, however, the city council of Nauvoo were hastily summoned, and hastily passed an act to meet the emergency (Bennett, p. 261). That act expunged the limitation that had been so carefully set down in the Charter, and extended the power of the Municipal Court so that it might grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases whatsoever, and might fully try the merits of any case in Nauvoo, the contempt of the place where the crime was committed. Following are the leading provisions of this "Ordinance regulating the mode of proceeding in cases of Habeas Corpus before the Municipal Court."
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the city council of the city of Nauvoo, that in all cases where any person or persons shall at any time hereafter be arrested, or under arrest in this city under any writ or process, and shall be brought before the Municipal Court of this city by virtue of a writ of Habeas Corpus, the court shall in every such case have power and authority and are hereby required to examine into the origin, validity and legality of the writ or process under which said arrest was made, and if it shall appear to the court upon sufficient testimony that said writ or process was illegally or not legally issued, or did not proceed from proper authority, then the court shall discharge the prisoner from under said
arrest; but if it shall appear to the court that said writ or process had issued from proper authority and was a legal process the court shall then proceed and fully hear the merits of the case upon which said arrest was made, upon such evidence as may be produced and sworn before said court, and shall have power to adjourn the hearing and also issue process from time to time in their discretion in order to procure the attendance of witnesses, so that a fair and impartial trial and decision may be obtained in every such case.The impudence of this proceeding was indescribable; the Theocracy here challenged the civil state to conflict at a thousand points. The Sangamo Journal of September 2, 1842, justly complained that the ordinance of the Council set the laws of the United States at defiance. It further declared that the "judiciary of the state of Illinois have no right to inquire under any circumstances into anything further than the sufficiency of the writ on which the arrest is made. If this is in due form and properly served there is no power for any further tribunal
in this state to make any further inquiry. The guilt or innocence of the accused must be determined by the courts of the state from whence the requisition issued" (Bennett, p. 209).
Smith and Rockwell were unlawfully released under the above infamous ordinance, but Governor Carlin, as in duty bound, declined to recognize the proceeding; he kept the parties in hiding during the remainder of his administration. The unseemly if not unpatriotic action of the new Governor Ford, and of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Illinois in that case has been elsewhere described. Considering the fine schooling which these distinguished officials had given the prophet in the arts of lawlessness it was not surprising that he should take advantage of their instructions the next time he chanced to be in a corner.
On the 23d of June 1843 the prophet once more found himself in distress. The state of Missouri, justly exasperated by the treatment she had received at the hands of Governor Ford and the Justices of the Highest Court of Illinois, once more issued through its Governor Reynolds, a requisition for the arrest of the prophet on the old charges of treason, arson, murder and larceny. The paper was perfectly regular and Mr. Ford was compelled to send forth his writ for the arrest of the offender. This arrest could not be accomplished at Nauvoo where he was so surrounded by his theocratic mob; advantage must be taken of a visit which Joseph was making at Dixon in Lee county to perform it.
The prophet's recourse as usual was to the writ of Habeas Corpus.
One of these was issued by the Master in Chancery at Dixon on the 24th of June, to be returned before Judge Caton of the Ninth Judicial Circuit at Ottawa (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 3); but his Honor was in New York and other arrangements were required to be made. Meanwhile Mr. Cyrus H. Walker, a leading lawyer of that section, who chanced to be engaged in a canvass for a seat in the Federal House of Representatives was summoned to defend Mr. Smith. The price he required for his services was the votes of the Mormons who held the balance of power between the parties in that Congressional district. A bargain was shortly struck, by the terms of which Mr. Smith and the Mormons would quit the ranks of the Democrats and vote with the Whigs in the election which should be held on the 7th of August 1843.
Mr. Walker was therefore naturally devoted to his client; he went to work and procured from the Master in Chancery another writ of habeas corpus, on the back of which was shrewdly endorsed the following legend: "Returnable before the nearest tribunal in the Fifth Judicial District authorized to hear and determine writs of Habeas Corpus." Most likely with a view to deceive the public the party now set out ostensibly for Quincy, where they professed to be in search of Judge Douglas, before whom to return the writ. But there was no man in the state of Illinois that the prisoner and his lawyer were at that moment less eager to see; if Joseph had gone before the Democratic Judge Douglas in the keeping of Cyrus Walker and of the Whig party, there was no room to question that he would have promptly sent him forward to test the tender mercies of the people of Missouri.
The party began their journey in the direction of Quincy on the 26th of June 1843; on the 27th they were met by the advance guard of a Mormon mob which Joseph had found opportunity to summon from Nauvoo. By these the officers in charge were made prisoners and disarmed (Juv. Inst., vol. 14, p. 20). On the 29th of June the Nauvoo mobocrats had increased to the number of one hundred and forty armed men (Juv. Inst., vol. 14, p. 29). When these appeared, Joseph considered himself to be every way master of the situation. Consequently he suggested to his lawyer that Nauvoo was the nearest place where writs of habeas corpus could be heard and determined. Mr. Walker made a show of examining the subject, and as a matter of course decided that the prophet was correct, whereupon the entire cavalcade turned their steps towards Nauvoo (Juv. Inst., vol. 14, p. 29). The officers resisted with every resource that was in reach, but they were overpowered and intimidated (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 20).
Arrived in Nauvoo Joseph was received with an ovation such as had not previously been accorded to him; there were cheers and cannon shots and intense enthusiasm. The officers refused to return the writ for the arrest of Joseph to the Municipal Court which had no right to issue a writ of habeas corpus in those circumstances; but the officers were speedily forced by the Mormon mob to do the bidding of the Hon. Cyrus H. Walker, Whig candidate for Congress, who was employing this unpatriotic method to make his way to the seat which his ambition craved (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 45). It was a foregone conclusion that the lawless court of the lawless Theocracy would set the prisoner free. Walker went through the ridiculous farce of making an address
of three hours, to convince these miscreants that it was right and lawful for them to pursue that course (Ford, pp. 316-7). After it was concluded he descended to the infamy of making affidavit to the effect that no violence or threats had been made use of towards Messrs. Reynolds and Wilson, the officers who had the prophet under arrest, either on the journey or after their arrival in Nauvoo, and that they came to Nauvoo voluntarily and were in no danger of violence (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 45). Mr. Hoge, the Democratic rival of Walker, was present to care for his interests in Nauvoo, and the Theocracy took pains to get him committed as deeply as Walker; the day after the trial he was also summoned to express his opinion touching the legality of the ordinance, the text of which has been supplied above, and he gave his solemn opinion in favor of it.
Governor Ford's History of Illinois contains a specious plea in justification of the correctness of his own conduct relating to this business, but it is clear that he is an adroit advocate who may have suppressed a number of the facts. These cannot be fully known without access to the official records of the state. The people of Missouri were deeply offended by the lawless proceedings of the Theocracy, and their officer who had been so brutally handled went to Springfield to ask the Governor of Illinois for a militia force sufficient to arrest once more the prisoner whom he had been so wickedly compelled to release. Ford delayed and dallied until the election was over. He wanted to keep Joseph in suspense. If the prophet had fulfilled his promise to cast
the Mormon vote for Mr. Walker, then it is every way likely that the Democratic Governor would have summoned the militia to wreck vengeance for that offence against the Democratic party. Threats of this color were freely poured into the ears of the Mormons, but none of them could be traced directly to the Governor, who possibly for the sake of convenience absented himself on a visit to St. Louis, while his henchmen fulfilled the policy and the plans of the party (Ford, pp. 317-8). Joseph was in much embarrassment; there was a prospect of immediate destruction if he kept his promise to Walker. At the last moment a meeting was summoned in which Hyrum Smith put forth a revelation commanding the brethren to break faith with Walker and to cast their votes for Mr. Hoge (Ford, pp. 318-9). Walker was effectually checkmated and humiliated; the Mormons were suspected and hated by both parties alike. The above specimen of Theocratic lawlessness is supplied to show the operation of the scheme to obtain writs of habeas corpus. These writs were an excellent bulwark against the power and authority of the civil state. Nothing except a total surrender on the part of the town of Nauvoo could have prevented the collision between itself and the people of Illinois which had here been provoked. The people of Illinois were already considerably excited, and as neither political party had any confidence in the Saints, their situation was becoming perilous. Joseph therefore concluded that the Theocracy required an additional bulwark. Nauvoo was a
city of refuge for thieves and counterfeiters; civil officers were constantly in the place in search of these criminals, many of whom were understood to be Mormons. The next bulwark (erected in defence of these violent characters) took the shape of an ordinance of the city council that was passed on the 21st of November 1843 prescribing a fine of one hundred dollars and six months imprisonment for any officer of the state of Illinois or of the United States, who might attempt to serve a process in the city of Nauvoo, unless it be examined by, and receive the approval and signature of the mayor of said city, on the back of said process (Brown, History of Illinois, p. 398). It must have become apparent to the most patient observer after the publication of the above statute that something must be done without delay to humble the arrogance of the city of Nauvoo. On the 8th of December 1843 the above bulwark of the city of Nauvoo and the Theocracy was further strengthened by an ordinance providing especially for the safety of Joseph Smith. Here it was declared that it shall be lawful for any officer of the city, with or without process, to arrest any person who shall come to arrest Joseph Smith with process growing out of Missouri difficulties; and the person so arrested shall be tried by the Municipal Court upon testimony, and if found guilty, sentenced to imprisonment in the city prison for life (Brown, p. 398). At this point forbearance became a crime against the civil commonwealth; the insolent Theocracy could not much longer evade the penalty of its misdoings.
Joseph himself became alarmed at the attitude of the men of Illinois; it was clear that they would not endure with patience the outrageous conduct of the Theocracy. With the purpose of setting up another bulwark against their just indignation, in the month of December 1843 he induced the city council of Nauvoo to address a petition to the Congress of the United States, claiming the rights, powers, privileges and immunities of a Territory (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 1, pp. 352-3). This was a direct effort to escape from the control of the state of Illinois, and to permit the Theocracy to set up for itself in an independent fashion. By the terms of the petition it was desired that the Mayor of Nauvoo should have power to call to his aid a sufficient number of United States forces in connection with the Nauvoo Legion, to repel the invasion of mobs, keep the public peace, and protect the innocent from the unhallowed ravages of lawless banditti that escape justice on the Western frontier, and also to preserve the power and dignity of the Union. And be it further ordained that the officers of the United States Army are hereby required to obey the requisitions of this ordinance (Dickinson, New Light, pp. 111-2). Language fails to do justice to the impudence of the prophet. Of course Congress disdained to pay the slightest attention to these wild ravings, and so the third bulwark of the Theocracy proved to be of no value (Ford, p. 321).
By the 26th of March 1844 it became apparent that the scheme to establish a territory within the limits of the state of Illinois would meet with no favor. Ever since the month of August 1842, when Joseph was arrested for complicity in the attempt to assassinate ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri, the Saints had been familiar with the project of removing to the Rocky Mountains. Joseph was highly solicitous to make a preemption of the territory of Oregon and there to found an empire, where the Theocracy could take its place among the leading nations of the earth. Accordingly on the date given above he sent a petition to the Federal Congress relating to the project in question. It contained an ordinance which he desired that Congress should pass "for the protection of the citizens of the United States emigrating to the adjoining territories, and for the extension of the principles of universal liberty" (Juv. Inst., p. 214). The substance of this ordinance seems to have provided that Joseph should be the almost sovereign arbiter of the destinies of the Pacific coast, that he should levy an army of one hundred thousand volunteers to aid him in carrying out that design. There can be no question that this was a brilliant conception. Joseph sent a delegation to Washington City who should press it upon the attention of the Government. Orson Hyde who stood at the head of the delegation wrote to the prophet on the 25th of April 1844 to signify that "his proposition to go west found great favor with the leading senators, especially with Senator Stephen A. Douglas and some members of the Cabinet, but the Government feared that a misunderstanding might arise
with England. Oregon was then jointly occupied by both nations, and it was apprehended that going as the emigrants would, as something like an armed force and in such numbers, it might be regarded by England as an infraction of treaty, and so the Government declined any recognition of the proposed exodus" (Stenhouse, pp. 146-7).
A crisis was approaching; the Theocracy had summoned forth a larger troop of spirits than it could resist. If it could have procured this fourth bulwark between itself and the civil commonwealth, it might have deferred the day of reckoning for a number of years. But the fourth bulwark failed even more signally than the third, and the incurable offender was left to its fate.
With his customary alertness he concluded to improve the occasion for the purpose of executing a scheme that for years sat near his heart. Joseph had been a practical polygamist ever since the year 1831 (Handbook of Reference, p. 55). The fact that at that time he seduced a young orphan girl who resided in his family and under his protection at Kirtland has been mentioned (Bennett, p. 85), as well as the excuse that Sidney Rigdon put forward in defence of his conduct (Howe, p. 203).
The effort made at the Conference that was held at Kirtland in August 1835 to arrest the evil courses of the prophet by inserting a deliverance on the subject of marriage into the second edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants has also been described. It availed but little if anything. Joseph had got so many spouses that his situation began to be embarrassing, and to relieve the pressure that was brought to bear he got a revelation that it was "lawful and right for a man to have two wives; for as it was in the days of Abraham, so shall it be in these last days" (Bennett, p. 238).
The exact date at which this revelation was procured has not been expressed, but it is supposed to have belonged to the year 1838 when Mr. Smith's lecherous proceedings produced an amount of annoyance in Missouri (Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 311). A well informed authority declares that Hyrum Smith opposed these crimes of his brother both in private and in public (Stenhouse, p. 188). Mrs. Emma Smith also violently opposed them, notwithstanding the fact that she consented to assist her husband at a review of the Nauvoo Legion on the 6th of May 1843 at the head of twelve ladies who might have all been in illicit relations with him (Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 347). That bit of pomp and circumstance did not appease Emma Smith. She was making her arrangements to procure a divorce of some kind at the time when Joseph was arrested at Dixon. It is suspected that the journey to Dixon was undertaken for the special purpose of making arrangements for Mrs. Emma Smith and the children to reside with her sister Mrs. L. D. Wasson. Joseph had given his consent to set apart for her use a portion of the property of which he was then seized (D.&C., 132, 51. 55), and it was arranged that he should confirm the bargain by a deed of writing (D.&C., 132, 57), through which the aforesaid portion should be placed beyond his power to touch it.
Considering the situation in which he then found himself, the arrest of Joseph on the 23d of June, 1843 was a blessing in disguise; it was almost the only occurrence that would have revived the loyalty of Emma Smith and caused her to desist from her intention to obtain a divorce from her husband. Joseph was aware that
he had escaped a serious calamity. But the trouble would be renewed within a few weeks in case he neglected to employ the opportunity he now enjoyed to break down the opposition of his brother Hyrum and of his wife Emma (D.&C., 132, 52). There was no better plan to accomplish that business than to issue a revelation. The one which had previously been obtained was not written down on paper, and the parties concerned felt at liberty to question and oppose it; the revelation which he had in mind at present to procure was to be set down in black and white so that none who claimed the position of believers might dare to oppose it.
After thinking over the subject for eight or ten days, and perfecting all his preparations (for no man was more attentive to details of that sort) Joseph at length seated himself in his office on the 12th of July to produce the revelation on the "Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, Including the Plurality of Wives," which he had carefully elaborated in his thoughts and perhaps more than once elaborated on paper.
William Clayton was his scribe, according to custom on such occasions; he made sure of his brother Hyrum by summoning him to attend when the revelation was received (Juv. Inst., vol. 14, p. 88), a kind of distinction that was highly valued in Mormon circles. He tried to make sure of Emma Smith by getting Hyrum to read the revelation to her (Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 348) and to convince her that it had really come down from the skies, but his success was very indifferent (Remy and Brenchley, 2, p. 130, note).
Hyrum and Emma Smith were not the only obstacles that stood in the way of the introduction of polygamy. There
were multitudes besides them who scorned the very thought of it. When Joseph referred to the project in the pulpit one day, he pointed to President William Marks and Apostle P. P. Pratt and others who had seats in the rear of him and declared that "if he should reveal the will of God concerning them they would shed his blood" (Lee, p. 146). A violent struggle immediately began in which Sidney Rigdon stood at the head of the opposition. He had recovered from the apostasy of the year 1842, and was again in very good favor; at the trial of Joseph on the first of July 1843 he had joined Hyrum, Brigham Young, P. P. Pratt, George W. Pitkin and Lyman Wight in testifying for the advantage of Joseph (Juv. Inst., vol. 14, p. 45).
But this and other services now passed for nothing at all. The hostility to Sidney became if possible more sharp than ever before. Joseph stood up in the pulpit and told a public congregation of the Saints that "Sidney was a mass of corruption, and he would carry him no longer" (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 76). By the same authority it is further said that the tongue of slander was loosed and "it was reported that Rigdon had had interviews with Governor Thomas Carlin and others, with a view to conspire with them to have Joseph arrested and delivered into the hands of the Missourians. Rigdon denied this and said that he had never exchanged words with any living man upon that subject." The prophet was in every sense an unscrupulous adversary.
The public attack that was recited just above is supposed to have befallen in August 1843. It will be remembered that after the penitent return of Orson Pratt in January 1843 there was one more
Apostle, Amasa Lyman by name, than Joseph knew what to do with. It was desirable to provide Brother Lyman with some kind of work that should be in keeping with his dignity. Sidney the First Counselor of the First Presidency was therefore formally deprived of all power and authority and Elder Lyman was appointed to the dignity which he had held so many years (Charles Mackay, The Mormons, or Latter day Saints, 3d edition, London 1852, p. 172).
That was indeed a high-handed measure on the part of the prophet. His popularity was so extreme that he fancied he could undertake any kind of outrage with impunity, but he found that he had reckoned without the host. When the Autumnal Conference came on at the first of October he was compelled to give an account of his stewardship; Sidney's friends were on the alert and they would endure no nonsense. In extenuation of his misconduct Joseph pleaded his dissatisfaction with Sidney as a counselor; "he had not received any material benefit from his labors and counsels from the time of their escape from Missouri. He related a number of circumstances which had produced this dissatisfaction."
"Sidney Rigdon then spoke at considerable length in his own defence. He appealed to the sympathies of Joseph and his hearers and not without effect upon the latter, for they were deeply moved... Joseph's brother Hyrum pleaded for mercy, as also did Elders Almon W. Babbit and William Law, who was Joseph's other counselor. William Marks, who was then acting President of that Stake of Zion, moved that Sidney be permitted to retain his station as counselor to Joseph. This motion was carried (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 76).
In brief words here was a thorough defeat of the advocates of polygamy; that nastiness was compelled to hide its head in Zion for the rest of Joseph's natural life. There was abundance of it in private, but in public it was all denied. Sidney was the master of the situation; he had humiliated Joseph and thrust out Amasa Lyman neck and heels. The prophet bit his lips and bent before the storm. The temper of the people was so determined that he did not dare to oppose them any farther; he merely remarked: "I have thrown Sidney off my shoulders and you have again put him on me. You may carry him, but I will not."
Nevertheless he recognized that the proper moment to yield had come. The immense popularity of the month of July had been now frittered away, and Mr. Rigdon had become the rightful heir and owner of it. Sidney was in high feather. But Joseph was a dangerous adversary; he had acquired the art of preparing the minds of men; he ruled by dint to severe labor. His defeat had scarcely been recorded before he set to work covering up all signs of it. A person by the name of Sidney Hay Jacobs was employed during the winter of 1843-4 to produce a pamphlet that should contain all the citations from the Old Testament Scriptures in favor of polygamy, and on the basis of these should urge the propriety of the practice. The work appeared in due season, but Rigdon and his allies pounced upon it with so much determination that the prophet was compelled to surrender Mr. Jacob and to denounce the publication that had appeared under his name as "a bundle of trash
and nonsense" (Lee, p. 146). Verily Joseph had fallen upon a hard lot. It was impossible that he should ever truly forgive Mr. Rigdon the defeat which the latter had brought upon him.
Sidney cried aloud and spared not; and it was out of the question to attempt to offer any successful opposition against him. Joseph's revelation of the 12th of July 1843 was therefore quietly concealed if not totally denied. To show which way the wind was blowing the following announcement that appeared in the Times and Seasons newspaper for February 1844 is considered to be significant:
As we have lately been credibly informed that an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints by the name of Hyrum Brown, has been preaching polygamy and other false and corrupt doctrines in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan, this is to notify him and the Church in general that he has been cut off from the said Church for his iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the special conference on the 6th of April next to make answer to these charges.Truly the hand of Mr. Rigdon was hard to bear; he brought his master low at every step. But polygamy went forward in private just the same; Stenhouse declares that even Hyrum Smith took other wives (Rocky Mountain Saints, p. 189). If he was guilty as here charged, Hyrum presents in this particular another instance of his virtuosity in the art of sanctimonious falsifying.
He accomplished marvels in that line of endeavor when he testified for the advantage of his brother before the Municipal Court of Nauvoo on the first of July 1843, but nothing could transcend the coolness of his skill in the present connection. On the 3d of March 1844 (Stenhouse, p. 199), he sends the following letter:
To the brethren of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, living in China Creek in Hancock county, Greeting:But such things were practiced there; Brigham Young got himself a number of wives in Nauvoo, although he failed in the case of Miss Martha Brotherton; and between the month of January 1845 and February 1846 John D. Lee persuaded eight different women to enter his family in addition to the first and rightful wife of his bosom (Lee, pp. 166-71).
Everything appeared to turn in Sidney's favor during the year 1843; Joseph's stock had fallen much below par at the close of that year. William Law, a Canadian of wealth and influence, who was Joseph's Second Counselor had a beautiful wife whom the prophet coveted mightily. The Laws, however, were people of ordinary decency
whose minds revolted against an enormity of this color. The injured husband immediately exposed the prophet's iniquity, and produced a sensation which resulted in another defeat for Joseph (Lee, p. 147). Mr. Smith was in such straits that he even felt constrained to muster forty men as special policemen who were particularly devoted to his safety and commands. When these appeared before him in the city council he frankly told them, "I am exposed to far greater danger from traitors among ourselves than from enemies without" (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 124).
Mr. Law perhaps justly conceived that the special function for which these extra policemen had been summoned was to assassinate himself. Consequently he was soon in apostasy, a step which left the prophet with only a single counselor, the once rejected Sidney Rigdon, who by force of circumstances and by the very defeats which he brought upon his chief was once more almost in a state of favor. At the conference which met on the 6th of April 1844 Mr. Rigdon was treated with much respect and preached with his customary enthusiasm and billingsgate (Ferris, p. 113). The whirligig of time brings in its revenges. In the month of August 1843, Joseph being at the crest of the wave, went to the extreme of displacing Rigdon in favor of Amasa Lyman; in the month of December 1843 Joseph was glad of an alliance with Rigdon, if by that means he might retain his own position.
Nauvoo, January 23d, 1843The above must be considered in the light of formal notice to politicians of both parties that he did not expect to support the candidates that might be put forward by either party; in other words, as the sequel proved, he contemplated the propriety of setting up for himself and becoming in person a candidate for the Presidency.
Mr. Smith had well learned the art of preparing in advance the minds of men for any movement that he had in his thoughts to perform. The business
of his campaign was opened on the 4th of November 1843, at which time formal letters were addressed to each of the gentlemen whose names were mentioned in connection with the office that he desired to obtain. These were John C. Calhoun, Lewis Cass, Richard M. Johnson and Martin Van Buren of the Democratic party and Henry Clay of the Whig party (Tullidge, p. 428). Most of them considered it was beneath their dignity to pay the attention of a response to the nonsense of the prophet, but Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Clay regarded the matter in a different light, and so played very finely into his hands. On the 2d of January 1844 Joseph appeared with a silly and impudent reply to Mr. Calhoun; on the 13th of May he sent one of the same kind to Mr. Clay. These were published by the papers in all sections of the country, and Joseph procured through the process such an advertisement as would not otherwise have been accorded to him.
The wrath of the prophet and that of the Mormon people against Mr. Van Buren is every way amusing. When Sidney and Joseph visited him at the White House in the winter of 1839-40, with the story of the wrongs which the Mormons had endured in Missouri, it is reported that President Van Buren replied: Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 142).
If Mr. Van Buren every did allow himself to remark that the cause of the Mormons against the state of Missouri was a just cause, it proved nothing more than the fact that he was egregiously mistaken, as many another President has been, both before and since his time. The Theocracy was every way to blame for the war of extermination to which it challenged the
Commonwealth of Missouri, and the Mormons have reason to be grateful as long as they exist that the Commonwealth of Missouri let them off with the trifling hurts that they received on that occasion. Possibly his knowledge of the senseless hatred which the Mormons felt for him, prevented Mr. Van Buren from paying any attention to the epistle of Joseph.
The next step in Joseph's campaign for the Presidency was taken on the 28th of November 1843, when he caused the city council of Nauvoo to subscribe and send forth the "American Exiles Memorial to the Senators and Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled." This document contained a rehearsal of the grievances of the Theocracy against the state of Missouri which was intended merely for political effect. The exasperation that existed between the Mormon community and the people of Missouri was very sharp; it had caused the former to denounce the latter, in every form and in almost every section of the country, and it had caused the latter on more than one occasion to demand the return of criminals whom they had released on the condition that these would observe decent courses and keep a civil tongue.
The petition of the "American Exiles" assembled in the city council of Nauvoo was shortly supplemented, likewise for political effect exclusively, by memorials that were addressed by individual Mormons to the states in which they chanced to have been born. Only two of these have attracted any amount of attention. Joseph Smith, candidate for the Presidency, sent a memorial to the
Green Mountain Boys of Vermont. It contained little else than a reckless philippic against the state of Missouri (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 124). Sidney Rigdon, candidate for the Vice Presidency, sent a similar document "to the Honorable, The Senate and House of Representatives of Pennsylvania in Legislative capacity assembled" (Mackay, pp. 106-14).
By means of this sort the Mormons fancied that they were making capital and keeping themselves and their brace of aspirants to the highest offices prominently before the attention of the country. The time had now come round when it seemed to them appropriate that further steps should be taken. On the 29th of January 1844, a meeting was held to take into consideration the course which it would be proper for the Saints to pursue in connection with the ensuing election for President of the United States. After their objections had been duly gazetted against Mr. Clay and Mr. Van Buren, whose names at that moment were chiefly mentioned it was moved by Willard Richards:
That we will have an independent electoral ticket, and that Joseph Smith be a candidate for the next Presidency; and that we use all honorable means in our power to secure his election (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 142).It may be observed from the resolution that has just now been cited that recent Mormon historians are averse to concede the fact that Sidney Rigdon was candidate for the Vice Presidency in connection with Joseph Smith in the year 1844. But there can be no question of the correctness of that assertion; the point is admitted
by excellent authority beyond the limits of the Mormon community (Mackay, p. 140); likewise by excellent authority within the limits of that community it is allowed that Sidney's name stood in the Times and Seasons in connection with that of Joseph Smith (The Martyrs, p. 50). It would have been altogether anomalous for the Saints to put forward a candidate for one of the positions in question without at the same time putting forward a candidate for the other. But what is of more consequence is the circumstance that it would have been almost impossible to have any race for the Presidency at all without the name and consent of Sidney. In the character of a leader of the Anti-polygamists, he was at that moment the foremost influence in the town of Nauvoo. Joseph and the Polygamists had recently been totally defeated and sent to the rear, so that the prophet was afraid even to show his revelation relative to that topic or otherwise to commit himself in public. If the feelings of the Anti-polygamists had been in the slightest degree offended by any slur upon Rigdon, they could have placed so many obstacles in the way that the entire Presidential enterprise would have died in its birth. Accordingly the Times and Seasons in its impression of the first day of June 1844, bore at the masthead the following legend:
"For President, Gen. Joseph Smith, Nauvoo, Illinois:
For Vice President, Sidney Rigdon, Esq., of Pennsylvania.
In answer to the call that was made on the 29th of January, Joseph had come forward on the 7th of February with a sophomoric, high-flown manifesto entitled "Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States" (Remy and Brenchley, 1, pp. 354-71), which likewise may have procured for himself and Mr. Rigdon a deal of gratuitous advertisement.
On the 6th of April 1844 the conference assembled with a determination to keep the peace; the party in favor of polygamy and the party opposed to it had patched up a truce for the moment so that it was possible for Joseph to assert that, "those who feel desirous of sowing the seeds of discord will be disappointed on this occasion" (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 219); which being interpreted signifies that in consideration of the second place on the Presidential ticket which had been already assured to him, Sidney had struck hands with his adversary, and that both parties would endeavor to move forward to victory in the approaching month of November.
Smith and Rigdon being duly nominated for the highest offices a complete electoral ticket was sent forth to every state in the Union for the purpose of pressing their claims (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 231). This electoral ticket was composed in each instance of Apostles and Elders, who were expected to speak and to electioneer in every congressional district throughout the country. By that expedient the city of Nauvoo was emptied of all its prominent citizens, who were laboring with consuming zeal in all portions of the Republic to carry the point they now had in view.
Joseph conceived that it would better comport with his dignity to refrain from directly engaging in the work of gathering votes, declaring that without this sacrifice "there was oratory enough in the church to carry him into the Presidential chair" (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 148).
On the other hand Sidney did not in the least consider it was beneath his dignity to have a share in the campaign. Only two Apostles, Willard Richards and John Taylor, remained at Nauvoo, and Sidney scorned to rest at ease in Zion when interests of so much consequence were at stake. He took his way to his native state of Pennsylvania, from which he had been nominated for the second office in the Government and established himself and his family at Pittsburgh for the purpose of directing the canvass in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Average writers on this subject have all suffered themselves to be misled by the statements of Mormon authorities to the effect that Sidney was sulking in his tent at Pittsburgh, but there could be no greater blunder; he was at Pittsburgh for the purpose of laboring with his might to promote a consummation that was dear to the heart of every Mormon who was in sympathy with Joseph. He edited there a campaign newspaper from June 15th to July 12, 1844, that was called "The People's Organ," but it was discontinued with the third number, which reported the death of Joseph.
Strange as it may appear the Theocracy confidently expected to win in this political conflict. Joseph was as mad as any denizen of Bedlam, and so clearly fancied himself already in the White House as sometimes to speak of himself in the character of President: "The South holds the balance of power," he exclaimed; "by annexing Texas I can do away with this evil" (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 164). He actually conceived of himself as being complete autocrat of the American people, just as truly he was complete autocrat of the Mormon people. At the conference where
he was formally nominated he came forward with a new and tremendous revelation. Hitherto he had been for some time teasing the state of Missouri with the taunt that she was Zion and that he intended to employ his myrmidons to drive out the rightful owners of the soil and to take possession of that Commonwealth for the Lord. On the 7th of April, however, he makes a tremendous stride:
I want to make a proclamation to the Elders. You know very well that the Lord has led this church by revelation. I have now another revelation-a grand and glorious revelation...The whole of America is Zion itself, from north to south (Tulldige, p. 503).He expected to take complete possession of our whole land for the behoof of the Saints; the notion that he might fail of success at the polls hardly entered his head. A similar cry had gone forth in the year 1838: "America will be a Zion to all that choose to come to it (Kimball's Journal, p. 67); but it was then a cry of despair, signifying nothing more than the fact that the prophet was at a loss to tell his people where it might be well for them to "gather." At present, on the contrary, it was a cry of senseless exultation.
"The whole of America is Zion itself": the Mormons took hold of that watchword with enthusiasm, and for several years after his death the notion of taking complete possession of America was spoken of as one of "Joseph's measures." When, however, in the year 1846 they were compelled to quit Nauvoo and turn their steps for refuge to the Rocky Mountains they were in a sense cured of that stupidity. There was no pity nor any sparing in the Theocracy.
The authorities speedily perceived that they had compromised themselves by employing a church convocation for the purpose of nominating candidates for the offices of President and Vice President. Here was a union of Church and State that was very unpopular in the United States; it was probable that this occurrence would cost them a number of votes. By consequence on the 17th of May 1844 Joseph got together a wonderful National Convention in Nauvoo in which delegates from twenty seven states had seats (Tullidge, p. 475), and these once more went through the farce of nominating Smith and Rigdon. Thus they cast their banners to the breezes and went forth to take possession and control of the country in the name of one of the most relentless Theocracies that has appeared in the history of the world.
Various conditions worked together to render every one of these men formidable opponents. They were formidable in themselves. William and Wilson Law were men of wealth and cultivation. The Higbees were likewise in comfortable circumstances, and inherited one of the best names in the church. Dr. Robert D. Foster was a person of some estate and a prominent figure among the Saints.
They were formidable by reason of the position that they occupied. William Law was one of the Counselors of the First Presidency; his brother Wilson Law was Major General of the Nauvoo Legion.
They were formidable in their grievances. The grievance of William Law took the shape of an unmentionable insult to his devoted wife, Mrs. Jane Law (Lee, p. 147). The grievance of Wilson Law consisted in his removal from the command of the Nauvoo Legion upon what he regarded as trumped up charges of dishonesty. The grievance of Robert D. Foster lay in a persistent assault made by Mr. Smith upon the virtue of his wife (Mackay, pp. 166-8). The grievance of Francis M. Higbee first arose in the fact that Joseph had crossed him in his suit for the hand of Miss Rigdon, and afterwards had publicly accused him of having seduced several women (Mackay, p. 166). The suit for slander which Higbee waged against the prophet on this matter in the courts from May 1842 to May 1844 has already been mentioned. It was the most annoying process that he was ever called upon to endure, notwithstanding the circumstance that he made use of the blessed writ of habeas corpus for the purpose of removing it from the Circuit Court of Hancock county to the Municipal Court of Nauvoo.
These Anti-polygamists were likewise formidable by reason of the advantages which favored them; since at the moment under review Nauvoo had been emptied of all but two of the Twelve Apostles and by nearly all of the resolute and able friends of Joseph, most of whom were employed in the political campaign that had been inaugurated when Smith and Rigdon were nominated on the 6th day of April.
Their first public proceeding appears to have been to organize an Anti-polygamous church in the place of the Polygamous church which acknowledged
the authority of Joseph. Possibly this was accomplished on the 6th of April at the very moment when the Polygamous church was assembled in its semi-annual conference. The excommunication of the Anti-polygamous church followed on the 18th of April 1844 (Handbook of Reference, p. 55).
Their second step was to issue the Prospectus of an Anti-polygamous paper to be called the Nauvoo Expositor, an advance which was accomplished on the 10th of May. On the 21st of May they showed their hand still more plainly by causing Mr. Smith to be indited by the Grand Jury of Hancock county in session at Carthage on a charge of polygamy and adultery (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 250; cf. Remy and Brenchley, 1, p. 387).
On the 7th of June appeared the Expositor in its first, and in the town of Nauvoo, its only issue. It contained hardly anything else than attacks upon the polygamous tendencies and practices of Joseph (Juv. Inst., 14, p. 279). Copies of this number of the Expositor are still in existence and they demonstrate beyond question the existence of a revelation by Joseph Smith in favor of polygamy. The testimony of William Law and his wife Jane Law, and likewise of Austin Cowles clearly affirms the fact referred to. The left wing of the Anti-polygamists even permitted themselves to make an assault upon Mr. Rigdon who had just gone to Pittsburgh to push his chances for the Vice Presidency; they procured sixteen women to testify that "Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and others had endeavored to convert them to the "spiritual wife" doctrine and to seduce them under the plea of having especial permission from Heaven" (Mackay, p. 168).
The Polygamous church denied all these facts with passion at the moment, but at present they are hardly able to contain themselves for satisfaction at the aid and comfort which these same depositions afford them. So earnestly were they then persuaded of the necessity of concealing the actual truth of history that Joseph shortly got together the city council to pass a "Bill for Removing the Press of the Nauvoo Expositor" on the ground that it was a public nuisance (Burton, City of the Saints, p. 521). This suggestion was performed the same day by John P. Greene the Marshal of the city, and Joseph had a great crime on his hands.
But he did not in the least appreciate that any crime was committed; the press of the Expositor had been destroyed according to a regular statute of the Theocracy and the notion that all other laws were not to be abrogated at the command of the Theocracy was one that he could never find a place for in his head. The Anti-polygamists, sensible of the fact that the Theocracy had an irrepressible conflict with the civil state now appealed to the Commonwealth of Illinois to protect them against the lawless measures of their adversary.
The Anti-polygamists carried the day. The arrest of Joseph and Hiram which speedily followed and their massacre at Carthage are known to all the world and do not require to be related here. The state of Illinois which erstwhile had heaped mountains of contempt upon the state of Missouri, now learned by bitter experience that "there is nothing new under the sun." No matter where or when an arrogant
Theocracy undertakes to supersede the civil state and to swallow up all forms of human life in its capacious maw, it should be resisted and taught better manners.
But the circumstance that the death of the prophet took place through the agency of the Anti-polygamists proved the ruin of the Anti-polygamous church. The crimes of their leader were speedily forgotten by the faithful, and they almost everywhere united to bestow upon him an apotheosis. The death of Joseph produced the triumph of polygamy in the Mormon fold. The Anti-polygamists lost their standing and for many years were looked upon with aversion. Joseph's friends in the autumn of 1844 began to take unto themselves plural spouses by the dozen; in a brief season there was hardly a prominent man among them all who did not boast of two or more wives. It was only a question of time when the "Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, including Plurality of Wives" should be brought forth from the hiding place where the prophet had been so unwillingly compelled to conceal it, and formally published to the world. The blood of Joseph Smith was poured out on behalf of polygamy.
Was Mr. Rigdon afraid to return from Pittsburgh to Nauvoo? or was he merely stunned by the disaster which had just now befallen? Whatever may be true in that connection he remained many days in Pittsburgh without counsel and without action, as if he believed the church had gone to pieces.
He was waked from his stupor at last, possibly by means of a summons from William Marks, who was President of the Stake at Nauvoo. The latter gentleman may have perceived how rich were the pickings connected with the office of Trustee in Trust, and he is suspected to have fixed a longing eye upon it (Juv. Inst., 15, p. 285). If Sidney were at the head of the church Marks as the kinsman of George W. Robinson would be connected with the reigning dynasty, and might easily fill the office.
Mr. Rigdon's adversary, on the contrary, did not require to be waked up; his irresolution did not last longer than two minutes
after he was informed of the death of Joseph. This information occurred in the town of Peterboro, New Hampshire. "The first thing that I thought of," says Brigham Young, "was whether Joseph had taken the keys of the kingdom with him from the earth. Brother Orson Pratt sat on my left; we were both leaning back in our chairs. Bringing my hand down on my knee, I said the keys of the kingdom are right here with the church" (Tullidge, Brigham Young, p. 107). It is still more interesting to perceive the person in whose keeping these keys were afterwards found to be. When Brigham was in council with Sidney on the afternoon of the 7th of August in Nauvoo, he cooly remarked to him: I have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God (Juv. Inst., 15, p. 285).
Commonly, however, for the sake of policy Mr. Young schooled himself to affirm that the keys were in the hands of the Twelve Apostles (Juv. Inst., 16, pp. 16-17).
Joseph was put to death on the 27th of June 1844. Sidney did not reach Nauvoo until the 3d of August following. If he had come as early as the 10th of July it is possible he might have accomplished the feat of persuading the Saints to elect him to the position that Joseph had held. To impart force and effect to his policy and ambitions he had taken precautions beforehand to clothe them in the form of a vision of the Lord, which he represented was but a continuation of the famous vision which Joseph and himself had received at Hiram, Ohio, on the 16th of February 1832 (Juv. Inst., vol. 15, p. 285). The interest of this vision was further enhanced by the pretended circumstance that he had received it on the 27th of June, just at the time when Joseph was taking his departure from this world.
The substance of the vision was every way prejudicial to the interests of Mr. Rigdon. He declared that God had commanded him to lead the Saints away from Nauvoo into Pennsylvania (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 1, p. 411). A more unhappy suggestion could not have been proposed. The thought of quitting the temple, and all the property which they had acquired by hard labor in the town of Nauvoo, was something that the people were not in the least prepared to entertain. The Lord was believed to be uncommonly severe upon them if that was the best fate he had in store for his chastened servants.
To convince them that this was not the counsel of fear Sidney indulged in some large talk concerning the battle of Armageddon on this continent, in which the brethren would indulge the dearest revenge, after which they would visit Queen Victoria, and in case she refused to accept the "ancient gospel," Sidney would pull her Majesty's nose (Stenhouse, pp. 206-7). It is clear enough that he was a vulgar simpleton, incapable of framing a sensible policy for the direction of the Saints.
Even if it had been apparent to his mind that there was an irrepressible conflict between the Theocracy and the state of Illinois, in the progress of which it would be impossible for the Mormons to retain the city of Nauvoo, the present was an inopportune moment to present that suggestion. No sooner had it been uttered than Sidney lost the little ground which previously he might have held, and rendered his enterprise a hopeless one.
Withal it was his policy to profess much loyalty to Joseph and his memory. He did not propose to usurp the place of the dead prophet, for Joseph could have no successor. The vision of the Lord had merely suggested that Sidney should be elected to the position of "Guardian" of the church in the interest of Joseph, or more likely, in the interest of Joseph the Second, who had been blessed for noble fortune at Liberty jail, Missouri, in 1838, pointing out by unwritten revelation in 1841, and formally anointed in 1844 to be the successor of his father in the government of the church (Stenhouse, p. 204, note).
On Sunday the 4th of August Rigdon preached with his accustomed energy, and at the close of the afternoon services procured his henchman, President William Marks, to make an announcement that on Thursday the 8th of August the Saints would assemble at ten o'clock in the morning for the purpose of electing a "Guardian" for the church (Juv. Inst., 15, p. 255). There was a deal of discontent; but to the joy and relief of the faithful, Brigham Young with five others of the Apostles arrived at eight o'clock on the evening of the 6th of August. Brigham had fetched no revelations in his gripsack, but he had an amount of sense and resolution that stood him in better stead.
Nevertheless Brigham and all of the other Apostles dreaded the conflict which they were compelled to join with Rigdon. His eloquence was acknowledged and the effects of it could not always be safely calculated; it was only a few months since it had overset
one of the favorite schemes of the prophet at the conference in October 1843. Every expedient was employed to circumvent him.
At length at the hour mentioned on the 8th of August 1844 the brethren met according to appointment. The wind being unfavorable for speaking from the stand where he was accustomed to be heard, Sidney procured a wagon to be drawn up in a position opposite to it, from which he addressed the people. His harangue was lengthy, and went off so much to his satisfaction that at the close of it he was about to call a vote of the brethren to sustain him as "Guardian" of the church. But for the unwarranted interference of Brigham Young at this instant there might have resulted a very serious complication. Brigham called out from the stand and declared to the congregation: "I will manage this voting for Elder Rigdon. He does not preside here. This child (meaning himself) will manage this flock for a season" (Jacob Hamblin, pp. 19-20).
Brigham had great natural skill in the art of mimetics, and when he pronounced these words he took pains to imitate the voice and manner of Jospeh Smith. The effect proved a success; the multitude turned about to look at him and most of them protested that they beheld the spirit of Joseph "resting down" upon Young. After a few additional words he sent the congregation to their homes, directing that they should return at two o'clock in the afternoon, for the purpose of completing the work that they were engaged upon. The result of the afternoon conference was that the
Twelve Apostles were sustained as the rightful governors of the church and Sidney was left to go about his own concerns.
When it was altogether too late in the day, Sidney also ventured to affirm that he was in possession of "the keys of David" (Stenhouse, p. 207). In private assemblages of his brethren, which he had called for the purpose he began to organize his adherents (Juv. Inst., 16, p. 34), and to ordain from the number of them persons who should fulfill the office of prophet, priest and king (Mackay, p. 187). The Twelve were watching him with all their eyes, and being at last convinced that they had obtained a case against him, Brigham confronted him and brought him to bay on the 3d of September, 1844. It is asserted that Sidney equivocated when the affair was first laid before his attention, and denied that he was acting as though he were the legal successor of Joseph in ordaining men to the office that has been mentioned (Mackay, p. 187). If that was the case he speedily recovered his balance and asserted that "he had power and authority above the Twelve Apostles, and did not consider himself amenable to their counsel" (Juv. Inst., 16, p. 206).
The issue had now been fully joined. With his accustomed promptness Young called a session of the Twelve for the evening of the 3d of September. These held an interview with Mr. Rigdon in which the latter must have denied their authority and denounced their usurpation; at any rate the Apostles are said to have "found him in such a condition that they felt it to be their duty to demand his license" (Juv. Inst., 16, p. 207). No sooner had this been done than Sidney formally declared his independence, and the conflict between himself and the Twelve became a public concern.
The Twelve forthwith cited him to trial before the High Council of the Stake of Nauvoo on Sunday the 8th of September; as a matter of course he was unanimously expelled by these functionaries (Juv. Inst., 16, p. 207). They accorded him no trial nor any opportunity to defend himself against the accusations that were laid to his charge (Millennial Harbinger 1884, p. 619). On the following Sunday, the 15th of September, the whole body of the people were called to consider the question. Sidney was summoned to appear and to defend his cause; but he feigned illness and remained away. Most likely he did not recognize the authority of the people to try a case of that kind. Addresses were made in accusation of him by Brigham Young, John Taylor, Amasa Lyman and Heber Kimball (Mackay, pp. 186-8). The next day, Monday the 16th of September 1844 (Mackay, p. 188) upon motion of W. W. Phelps, Sidney Rigdon was cut off from the church a second time and handed over to the buffetings of Satan until he should repent; whereupon Brigham Young arose and formally delivered him over to the buffetings of Satan in the name of the Lord (Mackay, pp. 188-9).
Ten of his adherents in the congregation had exhibited a sufficient amount of courage to lift up their hands in favor of
Mr. Rigdon. In accordance with the old time Sandemanin custom to secure unanimity by excluding the minority, these persons were immediately dealt with. They were suspended from their fellowship with the church, until they could be brought to trial before the High Council, which did not fail in due season to excommunicate them (Mackay, p. 189).
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