Application to the Municipal Court of Nauvoo for Writ of Habeas Corpus—The Prophet’s Speech at Nauvoo—Proceedings before the Municipal Court—The Prisoner Discharged from Custody.
June 30, 1843 (continued.)—As soon as we arrived in the city, the Municipal Court came together, when I told them, “The writ of habeas corpus granted by the Master-in-Chancery at Dixon was made returnable to the nearest court having jurisdiction; and you are that court.”
A requisition was made on Reynolds to return the writ, who refused, when I signed the following petition:—
The Prophet’s Petition to the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
To the Honorable the Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo, Hancock County, and State of Illinois:—
Your petitioner, Joseph Smith, Sen., who has been arrested by and under the name of Joseph Smith, Jun., states on oath that he is now detained as a prisoner, and in the custody of Joseph H. Reynolds, in the said city of Nauvoo and state of Illinois, who claims to be the agent of the state of Missouri, and that your petitioner was arrested by one Harmon T. Wilson, by virtue of what purports to be a warrant issued by his Excellency, Thomas Ford, governor of the state of Illinois, in the county of Lee and state of Illinois, and by said Wilson, your petitioner was delivered into the custody of said Joseph H. Reynolds, at and within the county of Lee, aforesaid; that said supposed warrant so issued by his Excellency, Thomas Ford, governor as aforesaid, and the arrest thereupon and the imprisonment consequent thereupon by said Wilson, and afterwards by said Joseph H. Reynolds, is illegal and in violation of law, and without the authority of law, as he is informed and verily believes, for the following, besides other reasons, to wit—
1st. The said supposed warrant so issued by the said governor of the state of Illinois as aforesaid does not confer any authority to arrest your petitioner, for that it commands the officers therein named to arrest one Joseph Smith, Jun., whereas the name of your petitioner is Joseph Smith, Sen.; and your petitioner avers that he is not known and reputed by the name of Joseph Smith, Jun.
2nd. The said supposed warrant is defective and void, for that it does not recite that the Joseph Smith, Jun., mentioned therein, has been demanded by the executive of the state of Missouri of the executive of the state of Illinois.
3rd. Said supposed warrant is defective and void, for that it does not state that said Joseph Smith, Jun., therein named, has been indicted, or that any other legal accusation of any offense has been legally preferred, and is as pending against him in the said state of Missouri.
4th. It is defective and void, for that it does not show that any legal foundation was furnished by the executive of the state of Missouri, upon which to issue the same, and your petitioner avers that the same was issued without due authority of law.
5th. Said supposed warrant is in other respects defective and void.
6th. The said Joseph H. Reynolds has no authority to detain your petitioner in custody, for that he is not an officer of the state of Illinois, nor is he legally authorized by the said governor of the state of Illinois, or otherwise, as the agent of the state of Missouri in the state of Illinois, or in any other character and capacity, to imprison your petitioner within the said state of Illinois.
7th. Your petitioner, before the making of the said arrest upon which he is now detained and imprisoned, had been arrested for the same cause and upon a charge for the same offense for which he is now arrested and imprisoned, by virtue of a warrant issued by the governor of the said state of Illinois, upon a requisition of the executive authority of the said state of Missouri, and was discharged from said arrest and imprisonment by judgment of the circuit court of Warren county, at a court holden in the said county of Warren, in or about the month of June, A.D. 1841, in such manner as not to be liable to the said second arrest for the same cause.
8th. Your petitioner is not a fugitive from justice, and has not fled from the justice of the said state of Missouri, and he is not guilty and has not been guilty of treason in or against the state of Missouri.
9th. Your petitioner was not and has not been within the limits of the said state of Missouri for more than four years next before the making of said arrest and imprisonment whereby he is now detained, nor for or during four years before any indictment or other legal accusation was preferred against him.
10. Your petitioner avers that the said supposed warrant so issued by the said governor of the said state of Illinois, and under color of which your petitioner is now imprisoned, and the document purporting to be an authority to receive the said Joseph Smith, Jr., are wholly defective and insufficient to legally authorize the arrest and imprisonment of your petitioner; copies of which supposed warrant and the supposed authority from the executive of the state of Missouri are hereunto annexed.
Wherefore, your petitioner prays that a writ of habeas corpus may be awarded, directed to the said Joseph H. Reynolds, commanding him that he bring your petitioner forthwith and without delay before this honorable court, together with the causes of his caption and detention, in order that your petitioner may be dealt with according to law; and your petitioner, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Joseph Smith, Sen.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 30th day of June, A. D., 1843, at the city of Nauvoo, Illinois.
Clerk of the Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo.
Whereupon the court issued the following:—
State of Illinois,
City of Nauvoo. ss.
The people of the state of Illinois to the marshal of said city, greeting:—
Whereas application has been made before the Municipal Court of said city that the body of one Joseph Smith, Sen., of the said city of Nauvoo, (who is styled in the warrant by which he is held in custody, Joseph Smith, Jun.,) is in the custody of Joseph H. Reynolds: These are therefore to command the said Joseph H. Reynolds to safely have the body of the said Joseph Smith, Sen., who is styled Joseph Smith, Jun., in his custody detained, as it is said, together with the day and cause of his caption and detention, by whatsoever name the said Joseph Smith, Sen., may be known or called, before the Municipal Court of said city, forthwith, to bide such order as the said court shall make in his behalf; and further, if the said Joseph H. Reynolds, or other person or persons having said Joseph Smith, Sen., of said city of Nauvoo, in custody, shall refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this writ, you, the marshal of said city, or other person authorized to serve the same, are hereby required to arrest the person or persons so refusing or neglecting to comply as aforesaid, and bring him or them together with the person or persons in his or their custody, forthwith before the Municipal Court aforesaid, to be dealt with according to law: and herein fail not, and bring this writ with you.
Witness, James Sloan, Clerk of the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, this 30th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three.[Seal.] James Sloan, Clerk.
Which was endorsed.
I, Joseph H. Reynolds, the within named, do hereby return this writ, with the body of Joseph Smith, with the following cause of caption and detention, to wit—The within named Joseph Smith was arrested on a warrant issued by the governor of the state of Illinois, by one Harmon T. Wilson, a constable of Hancock county, in the state of Illinois, on the 23rd day of June, A.D., 1843, a copy of which warrant is hereunto annexed, and marked letter A, and delivered over to my custody as directed by said writ. The person of said Smith was, on said 23rd of June, in the county of Lee, and state of Illinois, by the said Wilson, delivered over to my custody; and that I received and detained the said Smith in my custody, by virtue of a certain warrant of attorney issued by the governor of the state of Missouri, a copy of which is hereunto annexed and marked letter B, directing me to receive the said Smith, and convey him to and deliver him to the sheriff of Daviess county, in the state of Missouri: and that the within detention referred to is the same referred to, and none other.
Joseph H. Reynolds.
Nauvoo, June 30, A.D., 1843.
City of Jefferson.
Know ye that I, Thomas Reynolds, governor of the state of Missouri, having full trust and confidence in the integrity and abilities of Joseph H. Reynolds, do hereby constitute and appoint him as the agent of the said state of Missouri, to proceed to the state of Illinois, for the purpose of receiving from the proper authorities of the state one Joseph Smith Jun., charged with treason by him committed against the state of Missouri, and as having fled from justice to the state of Illinois; and I do hereby authorize and direct said Joseph H. Reynolds to convey said Joseph Smith, Jun., from the state of Illinois, and deliver him to the custody of the sheriff of Daviess county, in the state of Missouri.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the great seal of the state of Missouri.
Done at the city of Jefferson, this 13th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three.
By the Governor,[Seal.] Thos. Reynolds.
James L. Minor, Secretary of State.
Thomas Ford, governor of the state of Illinois, to all sheriffs and constables of any county of the state, and to Harmon T. Wilson, of the county of Hancock, greeting:—
Whereas it has been made known to me by the executive authority of the state of Missouri, that one Joseph Smith, Jun., stands charged with the crime of treason against the state of Missouri, and alleged that Joseph Smith, Jun., has fled from the justice of the said state of Missouri and taken refuge in the state of Illinois.
Now, therefore, I, Thomas Ford, governor of the state of Illinois, pursuant to the constitution and laws of the United States and of this state, do hereby command you to arrest and apprehend the said Joseph Smith, Jun., if he be found within the limits of the state aforesaid, and cause him to be safely kept and delivered to the custody of Joseph H. Reynolds, Esq., who has been duly constituted the agent of the said state of Missouri to receive the said fugitive from the justice of said state, he paying all fees and charges for the arrest and apprehension of said Joseph Smith, Jun., and make due returns to the executive department of this state, of the manner in which this writ may be executed.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the great seal of the state to be affixed.
Done at the city of Springfield, this 17th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the sixty-seventh.
By the Governor,
Thomas Campbell, Secretary of State.
Mr. Reynolds refused to submit to the writ, but submitted to the attachment, and I was delivered into the hands of the marshal of the city. I told the court I had an appointment to preach to the people, and requested the privilege from the court, which they granted, and adjourned until eight o’clock tomorrow morning.
At five p.m., I went to the grove and delivered an address to the public.
The following is a brief synopsis, as reported by Dr. Willard Richard and Elder Wilford Woodruff:—
The congregation is large. I shall require attention. I discovered what the emotions of the people were on my arrival at this city, and I have come here to say “How do you do?” to all parties; and I do now at this time say to all “How do you do?” I meet you with a heart full of gratitude to Almighty God, and I presume you all feel the same. I am well—I am hearty. I hardly know how to express my feelings. I feel as strong as a giant. I pulled sticks with the men coming along, and I pulled up with one hand the strongest man that could be found. Then two men tried, but they could not pull me up, and I continued to pull, mentally, until I pulled Missouri to Nauvoo. But I will pass from that subject.
There has been great excitement in the country since Joseph H. Reynolds and Harmon T. Wilson took me; but I have been cool and dispassionate through the whole. Thank God, I am now a prisoner in the hands of the municipal court of Nauvoo, and not in the hands of Missourians.
It is not so much my object to tell of my afflictions, trials and troubles as to speak of the writ of habeas corpus, so that the minds of all may be corrected. It has been asserted by the great and wise men, lawyers and others, that our municipal powers and legal tribunals are not to be sanctioned by the authorities of the state; and accordingly they want to make it lawful to drag away innocent men from their families and friends, and have them put to death by ungodly men for their religion!
Relative to our city charter, courts, right of habeas corpus, etc., I wish you to know and publish that we have all power; and if any man from this time forth says anything to the contrary, cast it into his teeth.
There is a secret in this. If there is not power in our charter and courts, then there is not power in the state of Illinois, nor in the congress or constitution of the United States; for the United States gave unto Illinois her constitution or charter, and Illinois gave unto Nauvoo her charters, ceding unto us our vested rights, which she has no right or power to take from us. All the power there was in Illinois she gave to Nauvoo; and any man that says to the contrary is a fool.
The municipal court has all the power to issue and determine writs of habeas corpus within the limits of this city that the legislature can confer. This city has all the power that the state courts have, and was given by the same authority—the legislature.
I want you to hear and learn, O Israel, this day, what is for the happiness and peace of this city and people. If our enemies are determined to oppress us and deprive us of our constitutional rights and privileges as they have done, and if the authorities that are on the earth will not sustain us in our rights, nor give us that protection which the laws and constitution of the United States and of this state guarantee unto us, then we will claim them from a higher power—from heaven—yea, from God Almighty.
I have dragged these men here by my hand, and I will do it again; but I swear I will not deal so mildly with them again, for the time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue; and if you or I are again taken unlawfully, you are at liberty to give loose to blood and thunder. But be cool, be deliberate, be wise, act with almighty power; and when you pull, do it effectually—make a sweep-stakes for once!
My lot has always been cast among the warmest hearted people. In every time of trouble, friends, even among strangers, have been raised up unto me and assisted me.
The time is come when the vail is torn off from the state of Illinois, and its citizens have delivered me from the state of Missouri. Friends that were raised up unto me would have spilt their life’s blood to have torn me from the hands of Reynolds and Wilson, if I had asked them; but I told them no, I would be delivered by the power of God and generalship; and I have brought these men to Nauvoo, and committed them to her from whom I was torn, not as prisoners in chains, but as prisoners of kindness. I have treated them kindly. I have had the privilege of rewarding them good for evil. They took me unlawfully, treated me rigorously, strove to deprive me of my rights, and would have run with me into Missouri to have been murdered, if Providence had not interposed. But now they are in my hands; and I have taken them into my house, set them at the head of my table, and placed before them the best which my house afforded; and they were waited upon by my wife, whom they deprived of seeing me when I was taken.
I have no doubt but I shall be discharged by the municipal court. Were I before any good tribunal, I should be discharged, as the Missouri writs are illegal and good for nothing—they are “without form and void.”
But before I will bear this unhallowed persecution any longer—before I will be dragged away again among my enemies for trial, I will spill the last drop of blood in my veins, and will see all my enemies in hell! To bear it any longer would be a sin, and I will not bear it any longer. Shall we bear it any longer? [One universal “No!” ran through all the vast assembly, like a loud peal of thunder.]
I wish the lawyer who says we have no powers in Nauvoo may be choked to death with his own words. Don’t employ lawyers, or pay them money for their knowledge, for I have learned that they don’t know anything. I know more than they all.
Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel. He that believeth in our chartered rights may come here and be saved; and he that does not shall remain in ignorance. If any lawyer shall say there is more power in other places and charters with respect to habeas corpus than in Nauvoo, believe it not. I have converted this candidate for congress [pointing to Cyrus Walker, Esq.,] that the right of habeas corpus is included in our charter. If he continues converted, I will vote for him.
I have been with these lawyers and they have treated me well; but I am here in Nauvoo, and the Missourians too. I got here by a lawful writ of habeas corpus issued by the Master-in-Chancery of Lee county, and made returnable to the nearest tribunal in the fifth judicial district having jurisdiction to try and determine such writs: and here is that tribunal, just as it should be.
However indignant you may feel about the high handed oppression which has been raised against me by these men, use not the hand of violence against them, for they could not be prevailed upon to come here till I pledged my honor and my life that a hair of their heads should not be hurt. Will you all support my pledge, and thus preserve my honor? [One universal “Yes!” burst from the assembled thousands.] This is another proof of your attachment to me. I know how ready you are to do right. You have done great things, and manifested your love towards me in flying to my assistance on this occasion. I bless you, in the name of the Lord, with all the blessings of heaven and earth you are capable of enjoying.
I have learned that we have no need to suffer as we have heretofore: we can call others to our aid. I know the Almighty will bless all good men: he will bless you; and the time has come when there will be such a flocking to the standard of liberty as never has been or shall be hereafter. What an era has commenced! Our enemies have prophesied that we would establish our religion by sword. Is it true? No. But if Missouri will not stay her cruel hand in her unhallowed persecutions against us, I restrain you not any longer. I say in the name of Jesus Christ, by the authority of the holy priesthood, I this day turn the key that opens the heavens to restrain you no longer from this time forth. I will lead you to the battle; and if you are not afraid to die, and feel disposed to spill your blood in your own defense, you will not offend me. Be not the aggressor: bear until they strike you on the one cheek; then offer the other, and they will be sure to strike that; then defend yourselves, and God will bear you off, and you shall stand forth clear before his tribunal.
If any citizens of Illinois say we shall not have our rights, treat them as strangers and not friends, and let them go to hell and be damned! Some say they will mob us. Let them mob and be damned! If we have to give up our chartered rights, privileges, and freedom, which our fathers fought, bled, and died for, and which the constitution of the United States and of this state guarantee unto us, we will do it only at the point of the sword and bayonet.
Many lawyers contend for those things which are against the rights of men, and I can only excuse them because of their ignorance. Go forth and advocate the laws and rights of the people, ye lawyers. If not, don’t get into my hands, or under the lash of my tongue.
Lawyers say the powers of the Nauvoo charter are dangerous: but I ask, is the constitution of the United States or of this state dangerous? No. Neither are the charters granted to Nauvoo by the legislature of Illinois dangerous, and those who say they are fools. We have not enjoyed unmolested those rights which the constitution of the United States of America and our charters grant.
Missouri and all wicked men raise the hue-and-cry against us, and are not satisfied. Some political aspirants of this state also are raising the hue-and-cry that the powers in the charters granted unto the city of Nauvoo are dangerous; and although the general assembly have conferred them upon our city, yet the whine is raised—”Repeal them—take them away.” Like the boy who swapped off his jack-knife, and then cried, “Daddy, daddy, I have sold my jack-knife and got sick of my bargain, and I want to get it back again.”
But how are they going to help themselves? Raise mobs? And what can mobocrats do in the midst of Kirkpatrickites? No better than a hunter in the claws of a bear. If mobs come upon you any more here, dung your gardens with them. We don’t want any excitement; but after we have done all, we will rise up, Washington-like, and break off the hellish yoke that oppresses us, and we will not be mobbed.
The day before I was taken at Inlet Grove, I rode with my wife through Dixon to visit my friends, and I said to her, “here is a good people.” I felt this by the Spirit of God. The next day I was a prisoner in their midst, in the hands of Reynolds, of Missouri, and Wilson, of Carthage. As the latter drove up, he exclaimed, “ha, ha, ha! By G—, we have got the Prophet now!” He gloried much in it, but he is now our prisoner. When they came to take me, they held two cocked pistols to my head, and saluted me with—”G—d—you, I’ll shoot you! I’ll shoot you, G—d—you,”—repeating these threats nearly fifty times, from first to last. I asked them what they wanted to shoot me for. They said they would do it, if I made any resistance.
“Oh. very well,” I replied; “I have no resistance to make.” They then dragged me away, and I asked them by what authority they did these things. They said, “By a writ from the governors of Missouri and Illinois.” I then told them I wanted a writ of habeas corpus. Their reply was, “G—d—you, you shan’t have it,” I told a man to go to Dixon, and get me a writ of habeas corpus. Wilson then repeated, “G—d—you, you shan’t have it: I’ll shoot you.”
When we arrived at Dixon, I sent for a lawyer, who came; and Reynolds shut the door in his face, and would not let me speak to him, repeating, “G—d—you, I’ll shoot you.” I turned to him, opened my bosom, and told him to “shoot away. I have endured so much persecution and oppression that I am sick of life. Why, then, don’t you shoot and have done with it, instead of talking so much about it?”
This somewhat checked his insolence. I then told him that I would have counsel to consult, and eventually I obtained my wish. The lawyers came to me, and I got a writ of habeas corpus for myself, and also a writ against Reynolds and Wilson for unlawful proceedings and cruel treatment towards me. Thanks to the good citizens of Dixon, who nobly took their stand against such unwarrantable and unlawful oppression, my persecutors could not get out of the town that night, although, when they first arrived, they swore I should not remain in Dixon five minutes, and I found they had ordered horses accordingly to proceed to Rock Island. I pledged my honor to my counsel that the Nauvoo city charter conferred jurisdiction to investigate the subject; so we came to Nauvoo, where I am now a prisoner in the custody of a higher tribunal than the circuit court.
The charter says that “the city council shall have power and authority to make, ordain, establish, and execute such ordinances not repugnant to the constitution of the United States, or of this state, as they may deem necessary, for the peace, benefit, and safety of the inhabitants of said city.” And also that “the municipal court shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the city council.”
The city council have passed an ordinance “that no citizen of this city shall be taken out of this city by any writ, without the privilege of a writ of habeas corpus.” There is nothing but what we have power over, except where restricted by the constitution of the United States. “But,” says the mob, “What dangerous powers!” Yes—dangerous, because they will protect the innocent and put down mobocrats. The constitution of the United States declares that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be denied. Deny me the writ of habeas corpus, and I will fight with gun, sword, cannon, whirlwind, and thunder, until they are used up like the Kilkenny cats. We have more power than most charters confer, because we have power to go behind the writ and try the merits of the case.
If these powers are dangerous, then the constitution of the United States and of this state are dangerous; but they are not dangerous to good men: they are only so to bad men who are breakers of the laws. So with the laws of the country, and so with the ordinances of Nauvoo: they are dangerous to mobs, but not to good men who wish to keep the laws.
We do not go out of Nauvoo to disturb anybody, or any city, town. or place. Why, then, need they be troubled about us? Let them not meddle with our affairs, but let us alone. After we have been deprived of our rights and privileges of citizenship, driven from town to town, place to place, and state to state, with the sacrifice of our homes and lands, our blood has been shed, many having been murdered, and all this because of our religion—because we worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, shall we longer bear these cruelties which have been heaped upon us for the last ten years in the face of heaven, and in open violation of the constitution and law of these United States and of this state? God forbid! I will not bear it. If they take away my rights, I will fight for them manfully and righteously until I am used up. We have done nothing against the rights of others.
You speak of lawyers. I am a lawyer too; but the Almighty God has taught me the principle of law; and the true meaning and intent of the writ of habeas corpus is to defend the innocent and investigate the subject. Go behind the writ and if the form of one that is issued against an innocent man is right, he should [nevertheless] not be dragged to another state, and there be put to death, or be in jeopardy of life and limb, because of prejudice, when he is innocent. The benefits of the constitution and laws are alike for all; and the great Eloheim has given me the privilege of having the benefits of the constitution and the writ of habeas corpus; and I am bold to ask for that privilege this day, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, and all that is sacred, that I may have your lives and all your energies to carry out the freedom which is chartered to us. Will you all help me? If so make it manifest by raising the right hand (There was a unanimous response, a perfect sea of hands being elevated). Here is truly a committee of the whole.
When at Dixon, a lawyer came to me as counsel. Reynolds and Wilson said I should not speak to any man, and they would shoot any man who should dare to speak to me. An old, gray-headed man came up and said I should have counsel, and he was not afraid of their pistols.
The people of Dixon were ready to take me from my persecutors, and I could have killed them, notwithstanding their pistols; but I had no disposition to kill any man, though my worst enemy,—not even Boggs. In fact, he would have more hell to live in the reflection of his past crimes than to die. After this, I had lawyers enough, and I obtained a writ for Joseph H. Reynolds and Harmon T. Wilson, for damages, assault and battery, as well as the writ of habeas corpus.
We started for Ottawa, and arrived at Pawpaw Grove, 32 miles, where we stopped for the night. Esquire Walker sent Mr. Campbell, sheriff of Lee county, to my assistance, and he came and slept by me. In the morning, certain men wished to see me, but I was not allowed to see them. The news of my arrival had hastily circulated about the neighborhood, and very early in the morning the largest room in the hotel was filled with citizens, who were anxious to hear me preach, and requested me to address them.
Sheriff Reynolds entered the room and said, pointing to me, “I wish you to understand (his man is my prisoner, and I want you should disperse. You must not gather round here in this way.” Upon which, an aged gentleman, who was lame and carried a large hickory walking-stick, advanced towards Reynolds, bringing his hickory upon the floor and said, “You damned infernal puke! we’ll learn you to come here and interrupt gentlemen. Sit down there [pointing to a very low chair] and sit still. Don’t open your head till General Smith gets through talking. If you never learned manners in Missouri, we’ll teach you that gentlemen are not to be imposed upon by a nigger-driver. You cannot kidnap men here, if you do in Missouri; and if you attempt it here, there is a committee in this grove that will sit on your case. And, sir, it is the highest tribunal in the United States, as from its decision there is no appeal.”
Reynolds, no doubt, aware that the person addressing him was at the head of a committee who had prevented the settlers on the public domain from being imposed upon by land speculators, sat down in silence, while I addressed the assembly for an hour and a half on the subject of marriage, my visitors having requested me to give them my views of the law of God respecting marriage.
My freedom commenced from that hour. We came direct from Pawpaw Grove to Nauvoo, having got our writ directed to the nearest court having authority to try the case, which was the municipal court of this city.
It did my soul good to see your feelings and love manifested towards me. I thank God that I have the honor to lead so virtuous and honest a people—to be your leader and lawyer, as was Moses to the children of Israel. Hosannah! Hosannah! Hosannah! to Almighty God, who has delivered us thus from out of the seven troubles. I commend you to His grace; and may the blessings of heaven rest upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
President Smith then introduced Mr. Cyrus Walker to the assembled multitude, and remarked to him: “These are the greatest dupes, as a body of people, that ever lived, or I am not so big a rogue as I am reported to be. I told Mr. Warren that I would not discuss the subject of religion with you. I understand the gospel and you do not. You understand the quackery of law, and I do not.” Mr. Walker then addressed the people to the effect that, from what he had seen in the Nauvoo City Charter, it gave the power to try writs of habeas corpus, etc. After which, President Smith continued as follows:—
If the legislature have granted Nauvoo the right of determining cases of habeas corpus, it is no more than they ought to have done, or more than our fathers fought for. Furthermore, if Missouri continues her warfare, and to issue her writs against me and this people unlawfully and unjustly, as she has done, and to take away and trample upon our rights, I swear, in the name of Almighty God, and with uplifted hands to heaven, I will spill my heart’s blood in our defense. They shall not take away our rights; and if they don’t stop leading me by the nose, I will lead them by the nose; and if they don’t let me alone, I will turn up the world—I will make war. When we shake our own bushes, we want to catch our own berries. The lawyers themselves acknowledge that we have all power granted us in our charters that we could ask for—that we had more power than any other court in the state; for all other courts were restricted, while ours was not; and I thank God Almighty for it. I will not be rode down to hell by the Missourians any longer; and it is my privilege to speak in my own defense; and I appeal to your integrity and honor that you will stand by and help me, according to the covenant you have this day made.
While I was speaking, Reynolds and Wilson started for Carthage, in company with Lawyer Davis, of Carthage, threatening to raise the militia and come again and take me out of Nauvoo.
Saturday, July 1.—At eight a.m., the municipal court met in the court-room. Present: William Marks (acting chief justice), Daniel H. Wells, Newel K. Whitney, George W. Harris, Gustavus Hills, and Hiram Kimball, (associate justices,) to investigate the writ of habeas corpus.
The following witnesses were examined—namely: Hyrum Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, George W. Pitkin, Lyman Wight, and Sidney Rigdon. 1
Messrs. Walker, Patrick, Southwick, and Backman (the counsel on my behalf), then respectively addressed the court; and they exhorted the “Mormons” to stand for their rights—stand or fall, sink or swim, live or die. Mr. Mason was counselor for Reynolds.
After which the following order was made:—
Order of the Municipal Court of Nauvoo.
This day came the said Joseph Smith, Sen., in proper person; and the said Joseph H. Reynolds having made return of said writ of habeas corpus, and produced the body of said Smith, in pursuance to the mandate of said writ, and after hearing the evidence in support of said petition, it is ordered and considered by the court that the said Joseph Smith, Sen., be discharged from the said arrest and imprisonment complained of in said petition, and that the said Smith be discharged for want of substance in the warrant upon which he was arrested, as well as upon the merits of said case, and that he go hence without delay.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court, at the city of Nauvoo, this second day of July, 1843.[Seal.] James Sloan, Clerk.
A Public Meeting in Relation to the late Arrest of General Joseph Smith.
Nauvoo, Illinois, July 1st, 1843.
At a meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo, held this day in the Assembly Hall, it was
Resolved unanimously—That Messrs. Sanger and Dixon, of the town of Dixon, and the citizens of Dixon, Pawpaw Grove, and Lee county generally, in this state, receive the warmest thanks of this meeting for the firm patriotism, bold and decided stand taken against lawless outrage and the spirit of mobocracy, as manifested in the arrest or capture of General Joseph Smith, while on a visit to his friends in that district of country, by Harmon T. Wilson and Joseph H. Reynolds pretending to act under authority of a writ obtained from the governor of this state given in consequence of a pretended requisition made on him from the executive of Missouri, for the arrest and delivery of said Joseph Smith unto the authorities of Missouri. In maintaining the legal rights of persons thus arrested, and seeing the laws of Illinois maintained, and the full benefits of them enjoyed by every citizen of said state, they have shown themselves republicans, patriots, and worthy citizens of this state, and have entitled themselves not only to the thanks of this meeting, but to that of all lovers of law and good order. With such citizens as these, Illinois will long enjoy the benefits of good order and the blessings of a free people.
Resolved unanimously—That the foregoing resolution be published in the newspapers.[Signed.] Sidney Rigdon, Moderator.
Willard Richards, Clerk.
A strong wind from the north-west, with thunder and rain in the afternoon.
In consequence of Reynolds and Wilson leaving abruptly last night for Carthage, I sent Colonel Markham to learn what they were doing.
A tremendous shower at Chester, Pennsylvania. Over twenty lives were lost, fifty bridges destroyed, besides many houses and stores. Damage $250,000.
Elders Heber C. Kimball and Orson Pratt started on their mission to the east, for the purpose of attending conferences at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, where they will wait until the rest of the Twelve arrive.
1. The affidavits here alluded to, since they refer to events that happened in Missouri from 1831 to 1839, were transferred to the Missouri period of the history and will he found in the Appendix of vol. 3, pp. 403 to 466.