The Prophet Charged with Being Accesory to the Assault on Ex-governor Boggs of Missouri—Correspondence with Governer Carlin-The Character of John C. Bennett-Prophecy That the Saints Would Be Driven to the Rocky Mountains
Sunday Morning, July 17, 1842.—Attended meeting at the Grove; was sick and tarried at home the remainder of the day.
Monday, 18.—Rode out to Brother Kearns and the farm.
Tuesday 19.—Rode with Dr. Foster, Henry Kearns and others to examine some timber lands, &c.
Affidavit of Lilburn W. Boggs, Ex-Governor of Missouri.
State of Missouri, county of Jackson: This day personally appeared before me, Samuel Weston, a justice of the peace, within and for the county of Jackson, the subscriber, Lilburn W. Boggs, who being duly sworn doth depose and say that on the night of the 6th day of May, while sitting in his dwelling, in the town of Independence, in the county of Jackson, he was shot with intent to kill, and that his life was despaired of for several days, and that he believes and has good reason to believe from evidence and information now in his possession, that O. P. Rockwell, a citizen or resident of the state of Illinois, is the person who shot him on the night aforesaid, and the said deponent hereby applies to the Governor of the State of Illinois, to deliver the said O. P. Rockwell to some person authorized to receive him and convey him to the county aforesaid, there to be dealt with according to law.
Lilburn W. Boggs.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 20th day of July, 1842.
Samuel Weston, J. P.
Affidavit of the City Council anent John C. Bennett.
We, the undersigned, members of the city council, of the city of Nauvoo, testify that John C. Bennett was not under duress at the time he testified before the city council, May 19, 1842, concerning Joseph Smith’s innocence, virtue and pure teaching. His statements that he has lately made concerning this matter are false; there was no excitement at the time, nor was he in anywise threatened, menaced or intimidated His appearance at the city council was voluntary; he asked the privilege of speaking, which was granted. After speaking for some time on the city affairs, Joseph Smith asked him if he knew anything bad concerning his public or private character. He then delivered those statements contained in the testimony voluntarily, and of his own free will, and went of his own accord, as free as any member of the council. We further testify that there is no such thing as a Danite Society in the city, nor any combination, other than the Masonic Lodge of which we have any knowledge.
Wilson Law, Geo. A. Smith,
John Taylor, Geo. W. Harris,
Wilford Woodruff, Newel K. Whitney,
Vinson Knight, Brigham Young,
Heber C. Kimball, Charles C. Rich,
John P. Greene, Orson Spencer.
Subscribed and sworn to by the persons whose names appear to the foregoing affidavit, the 20th day of July, A.D. 1842, except Newel K. Whitney, who subscribed and affirmed to the foregoing this day [July 21st] before me.
Daniel H. Wells,
Justice of the peace within and for Hancock county, Illinois.
Friday, 22.—A special session of the city council was called at eight o’clock this morning; the Vice-Mayor presiding, when the following petition was written:
Petition of the Nauvoo City Council to Governor Carlin.
To His Excellency, Thomas Carlin, Governor of the State of Illinois:
We, the undersigned citizens of the State of Illinois, having heard that many reports are in circulation prejudicial to the interest, happiness, peace, well being and safety of the inhabitants of the city of Nauvoo and vicinity have thought proper to lay before your Excellency the following statement:
Whereas, the Latter-day Saints having suffered much in the state of Missouri, in time past through the hand of oppression, brought upon them by the falsehoods and misrepresentations of wicked and designing men, whose hands are yet dripping with the blood of the innocent, and whose fiendish rage has sent many a patriot to his long home, leaving in our midst many widows and orphans whose sorrows and tears even time cannot wipe away:
We would represent to your Excellency that we broke no law, violated no constitutional rights, nor trampled upon the privileges of any other people in Missouri; yet we had to suffer banishment, exile, the confiscation of our properties, and have diseases, distress and misery entailed upon us and our children, the effects of which we bear about in our bodies, and are indelibly engraven on our minds, and we appeal to your Excellency at the present time, that you will not suffer an occurrence of such heart-rending scenes to take place under your administration.
Whilst we have been in this state we have behaved as good, peaceable citizens; we have availed ourselves of no privileges but what are strictly constitutional, and such as have been guaranteed by the authority of this state; we have always held ourselves amenable to the laws of the land; we have not violated any law, nor taken from any their rights.
Your Excellency must be acquainted with the false statements and seditious designs of John Cook Bennett, with other political demagogues, pertaining to us as a people. We presume, sir, that you are acquainted with the infamous character of that individual, from certain statements made to us by yourself pertaining to him, but lest you should not be we forward to you documents pertaining to the affair, which will fully show the darkness of his character, and the infamous course that he has taken.
Concerning those statements made by him against Joseph Smith, we know that they are false. Joseph Smith has our entire confidence; we know that he has violated no law, nor has he in anywise promoted sedition or rebellion; nor has he sought the injury of any citizen of this or any other place. We are perfectly assured that he is as loyal, patriotic and virtuous a man, as there is in the state of Illinois, and we appeal to your Excellency, if in three years acquaintance with him you have seen anything to the contrary?
Inasmuch as this is the case, we your petitioners, knowing that Joseph Smith could not have justice done him in the state of Missouri—that he has suffered enough in that state unjustly already, and that if he goes there it is only to be murdered—pray your Excellency not to issue a writ for him to be given up to the authorities of Missouri; but if your Excellency thinks that he has violated any law, we request that he may be tried by the authorities of this state, for he shrinks not from investigation.
We furthermore pray that our lives and the lives of our wives and children may be precious in your sight and that we may have the privilege of following our avocations, of living on our farms, and by our own firesides in peace, and that neither said John C. Bennett, nor any other person may be able to influence your Excellency, either by intrigue or falsehood, to suffer us as a people to be injured by mob violence, but if, in the estimation of your Excellency, we have done wrong, we appeal to the laws of this state.
Having heard a report that your Excellency had called upon several companies of militia, to prepare themselves and be in readiness in case of emergency, we would further ask of your Excellency, that if the state or country should be in danger, that the Nauvoo Legion may have the privilege of showing their loyalty in the defense thereof.
We have the fullest confidence in the honor, justice and integrity of your Excellency, and feel confident that we have only to present our case before you to insure protection, believing that the cries of so many peaceable and patriotic citizens will not be disregarded by your Excellency.
We therefore ask you as the chief magistrate of this state to grant us our requests, and we, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Signed by the Vice-Mayor and City Council.
This forenoon I attended a general meeting of the citizens at the stand; Orson Spencer, Esq., presiding. The object of the meeting was to correct the public mind relative to false reports put in circulation by Bennett and others, and General Wilson Law presented the following:
Resolution of a Nauvoo Mass Meeting.
Resolved, That having heard that John C. Bennett was circulating many base falsehoods respecting a number of the citizens of Nauvoo, and especially against our worthy and respected Mayor, Joseph Smith, we do hereby manifest to the world, that so far as we are acquainted with Joseph Smith, we know him to be a good, moral, virtuous, peaceable and patriotic man, and a firm supporter of law, justice and equal rights; that he at all times upholds and keeps inviolate the constitution of this state and the United States.
This resolution was adopted unanimously by the numerous assembly.
The assembly came together in the afternoon, and about eight hundred signed the foregoing petition presented by the city council to Governor Carlin.
The “Ladies Relief Society” also drew up a petition signed by about one thousand ladies, speaking in the highest terms of the virtue, philanthropy and benevolence of Joseph Smith, begging that he might not be injured, and that they and their families might have the privilege of enjoying their peaceable rights.
A petition was also drawn up by many citizens in and near Nauvoo, who were not “Mormons” setting forth the same things. (See affidavits of Hyrum Smith and William Law Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, page 870, &c. Also certificates of Elias Higbee and Francis M. Higbee, Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, page 874.) 1
Affidavit of Hyrum Smith.
On the seventeenth day of May, 1842, having been made acquainted with some of the conduct of John C. Bennett, which was given in testimony, under oath before Alderman G. W. Harris, by several females who testified that John C. Bennett endeavored to seduce them, and accomplished his designs by saying it was right; that it was one of the mysteries of God, which was to be revealed when the people was strong enough in faith to bear such mysteries—that it was perfectly right to have illicit intercourse with females, providing no one knew it but themselves, vehemently trying them from day to day, to yield to his passions, bringing witnesses of his own clan to testify that there were such revelations and such commandments, and that they were of God; also stating that he would be responsible for their sins, if there were any, and that he would give them medicine to produce abortions, provided they should become pregnant. One of these witnesses, a married woman that he attended upon in his professional capacity whilst she was sick, stated that he made proposals to her of a similar nature; he told her that he wished her husband was dead, and that if he was dead, he would marry her and clear out with her; he also begged her permission to give him [her husband] medicine to that effect; he did try to give him medicine, but he would not take it. On interrogating her what she thought of such teaching, she replied she was sick at the time, and had to be lifted in and out of her bed like a child. Many other acts as criminal were reported to me at the time. On becoming acquainted with these facts, I was determined to prosecute him, and bring him to justice. Some person knowing my determination, having informed him of it, he sent to me William Law and Brigham Young, to request an interview with me, and to see if there could not be a reconciliation made. I told them I thought there could not be, his crimes were so heinous; but told them I was willing to see him; he immediately came to see me; he begged on me to forgive him this once, and not prosecute him and expose him; he said he was guilty, and did acknowledge the crimes that were alleged against him; he seemed to be sorry that he had committed such acts, and wept much and desired that it might not be made public for it would ruin him forever; he wished me to wait, but I was determined to bring him to justice, and declined listening to his entreaties; he then wished me to wait until he could have an interview with the Masonic fraternity; he also wanted an interview with Brother Joseph; he wished to know of me if I would forgive him, and desist from my intentions, if he could obtain their forgiveness; and requested the privilege of an interview immediately. I granted him that privilege as I was acting as master pro tem at that time; he also wished an interview first with Brother Joseph; at that time Brother Joseph was crossing the yard from the house to the store, he immediately came to the store and met Dr. Bennett on the way; he reached out his hand to Brother Joseph and said, Will you forgive me? weeping at the time; he said, Brother Joseph, I am guilty, I acknowledge it, and I beg of you not to expose me, for it will ruin me; Joseph replied, Doctor! why are you using my name to carry on your hellish wickedness? Have I ever taught you that fornication and adultery were right, or polygamy or any such practice? He said, You never did. Did I ever teach you anything that was not virtuous—that was iniquitous, either in public or private? He said, You never did. Did you ever know anything unvirtuous or unrighteous in my conduct or action at any time, either in public or private? He said, I did not. Are you willing to make oath to this before an alderman of the city? He said I am willing to do so. Joseph said, Doctor, go into my office and write what you can in conscience subscribe your name to, and I will be satisfied. I will, he said, and went into the office, and I went with him, and he requested pen, ink and paper of Mr. Clayton, who was acting clerk in that office, and was also secretary pro tem, for the Nauvoo Lodge, U. D. William Clayton gave him paper, pen and ink, and he stood at the desk and wrote the following article which was published in the 11th No. of the Wasp; sworn to and subscribed before Daniel H. Wells, Alderman, 17th day of May, A. D. 1842. He called in Brother Joseph and read it to him, and asked him if that would do; he said it would; he then swore to it as before mentioned, the article was as follows:
State Of Illinois, City Of Nauvoo.
Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, an alderman of said city of Nauvoo, John C. Bennett, who being duly sworn, according to law, deposeth and saith: 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 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 am illegal, illicit intercourse with females was, under any circumstances, justifiable, and that I never knew him so to teach others.
John C. Bennett.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 17th day of May, 1842
Daniel H. Wells,
During all this intercourse I was present with him, and there was no threats used nor harshness, everything was as pacific as could be under existing circumstances. I then immediately convened the Masonic Lodge, it being about 4 o’clock p.m. He then came into the lodge and charges of a similar nature were preferred against him. He admitted they were true, in the presence of about sixty in number. He arose and begged the privilege of speaking to the brethren; he acknowledged his wickedness; and begged for the brethren to forgive him still longer, and he called God and angels to witness that he never would be guilty of the like crimes again—he would lay his hand on the Bible and swear that he would not be guilty of such crimes. He seemed to be very penitent and wept much; his penitence excited sympathy in the minds of the brethren, and they withdrew the charge for the time being until he could be heard on other charges which had been preferred against him by members of the Pickaway Lodge of Ohio, through the communications of the Grand Master, A. Jones. After this we found him to be an expelled Mason, in consequence of his rascally conduct, from the Pickaway Lodge, in Ohio; the circumstances and documents were mentioned in the 11th number of the Wasp, signed by George Miller, Master of Nauvoo Lodge, under dispensation, and reads as follows:
To All Whom it May Concern, Greeting:
Whereas John Cook Bennett, in the organization of the Nauvoo Lodge, under dispensation, palmed himself upon the fraternity as a regular Mason in good standing; and satisfactory testimony having been produced before said Lodge, that he, said Bennett, was an expelled Mason, we therefore publish to all the Masonic world, the above facts, that he, the said Bennett may not impose himself upon the fraterns of Masons.
All editors who are friendly to the fraternity of free and accepted ancient York Masons will please insert the above.
Master of Nauvoo Lodge under dispensation.
Still after all this we found him guilty of similar crimes again, and it was found to our satisfaction that he was conspiring against the peace and safety of the citizens of this state—after learning these facts we exposed him to the public; he then immediately left the place abruptly; threatening to drink the hearts blood of many citizens of this place. Previous to this last disclosure, the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from him, May 11, 1842, by the First Presidency, six days previous to the time he pretended to withdraw from the Church, which you will see published in the Times and Seasons, June 15, 1842. I was also present at the time when he gave this testimony before the city council, as printed in the Times and Seasons, July 1, 1842, on page 841, which reads as follows:
Dr. John C. Bennett, ex-Mayor, was then called upon by the Mayor to state if he knew aught against him; when Mr. Bennett replied’ “I know what I am about, and the heads of the Church know what they are about, I expect. I have no difficulty with the heads of the Church. I publicly avow that any one who has said that I have stated that General Joseph Smith has given me authority to hold illicit intercourse with women, is a liar in the face of God, those who have said it are damned liars; they are infernal liars. He never either in public or private gave me any such authority or license, and any person who states it is a scoundrel and a liar. I have heard it said that I should become a second Avard by withdrawing from the Church, and that I was at variance with the heads and should use an influence against them because I resigned the office of mayor; this is false. I have no difficulty with the heads of the Church, and I intend 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 that my conduct may be such as to warrant my restoration—and should the time ever come that I may have an 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 either in public or private?”
General Bennett answered: “I do not; in all my intercourse with Gen. Smith, in public and in private, he has been strictly virtuous.”
Newel K. Whitney, Willard Richards,
Hiram Kimball, Wilson Law,
Orson Spencer, John Taylor,
Gust. Hills, Brigham Young,
G. W. Harris, John P. Greene,
Heber C. Kimball,
James Sloan, recorder. Wilford Woodruff,
May 19th, 1842. George A. Smith.
I know he was not under duress at the time, for his testimony was given free and voluntarily, after requesting the privilege of the council to speak (which was granted him) on matters pertaining to the city ordinances, while speaking, or before he took his seat, he was requested by the mayor of the city, Joseph Smith, to state to the council if he knew aught against him, and he replied according to the above.
I also know that he had no private intercourse with Joseph in the preparation room on the 17th day, as he stated in his letter as printed in the Sangamo Journal, for the lodge was convened on that day, and I had the keys of the doors in my possession from 7 o’clock a.m. until 6 o’clock p.m., and it was when the lodge called off for refreshment during recess, that I had the interview with him, at which time he wrote the affidavit and subscribed it in my presence, and I was with him during the whole time from his first coming to me, until he signed it and until the lodge convened again at 4 o’clock.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, July 23, 1842.
George W. Harris,
Alderman of the city of Nauvoo.
Affidavit of Wm. Law.
As John C. Bennett has become our open enemy, and is engaged in circulating falsehoods of the blackest character, I deem it a duty to make the following statement of facts:
John C. Bennett states in the Sangamo Journal that the withdrawal of the hand of fellowship by the First Presidency, and the Twelve was after he had withdrawn from the Church. I presume the notice of our withdrawal was not published till after he withdrew, but that does not prove his statement true, for I hereby testify that I signed the article in question several days before he withdrew. I believe it was on the evening of the 11th day of May, some four or five days afterwards I had some conversation with John C. Bennett and intimated to him that such a thing was concluded upon, which intimation, I presume led him to withdraw immediately. I told him we could not bear with his conduct any longer—that there were many witnesses against him, and that they stated that he gave Joseph Smith as authority for his illicit intercourse with females. John C. Bennett declared to me before God that Joseph Smith had never taught him such doctrines, and that he never told any one that he (Joseph Smith) had taught any such things, and that any one who said so told base lies; nevertheless he said he had done wrong, that he would not deny, but he would deny that he had used Joseph Smith’s name to accomplish his designs on any one; stating that he had no need of that, for that he could succeed without telling them that Joseph approbated such conduct.
These statements he made to me of his own free will, in a private conversation which we had on the subject; there was no compulsion or threats used on my part; we had always been on good terms, and I regretted exceedingly that he had taken such a course. He plead with me to intercede for him, assuring me that he would turn from his iniquity, and never would be guilty of such crimes again. He said that if he were exposed it would break his mother’s heart—that she was old, and if such things reached her ears it would bring her down with sorrow to the grave. I accordingly went to Joseph Smith and plead with him to spare Bennett from public exposure, on account of his mother. On many occasions I heard him acknowledge his guilt, and beg not to he destroyed in the eyes of the public, and that he would never act so again, so “help him God.” From such promises and oaths I was induced to bear with him longer than I should have done.
On one occasion I heard him state before the city council that Joseph Smith had never taught him any unrighteous principles, of any kind, and that if any one says that he ever said that Joseph taught such things they are base liars, or words to that effect. This statement he made voluntarily; he came into the council room about an hour after the council opened, and made the statement, not under duress, but of his own free will, as many witnesses can testify.
On a former occasion he came to me and told me that a friend of his was about to be tried by the High Council, for the crime of adultery, and that he feared his name would be brought into question. He entreated me to go to the council and prevent his name from being brought forward, as, said he, “I am not on trial, and I do not want my mother to hear of these things, for she is a good woman.”
I would further state that I do know from the amount of evidence which stands against John C. Bennett, and from his own acknowledgments, that he is a most corrupt, base, and vile man; and that he has published many base falsehoods since we withdrew the hand of fellowship from him.
About the time that John C. Bennett was brought before the Masonic Lodge he came to me and desired that I would go in company with Brigham Young to Hyrum Smith, and entreat of him to spare him—that he wished not to be exposed—that he wanted to live as a private citizen, and would cease from all his folly, etc. I advised him to go to Texas, and when he returned, if he would behave well we would reinstate him. He said he had no means to take him to Texas, and still insisted on Brigham Young and myself to intercede for him.
Sworn to, and subscribed before me a justice of the peace, within and for the county of Hancock, state of Illinois, July 20th, 1842.
Daniel H. Wells.
Certificate of Elias and Francis M. Higbee.
Sir, from a perusal of the St. Louis papers, I find from an article signed J. C. Bennett, stating that all who are friends to Mr. Joseph Smith he considers his enemies—as a matter of course, then, I must be one, for I am, and have been for a long time the personal friend of Joseph Smith; and I will here say that I have never Set seen or known anything against him that I should change my mind. It is true many reports have been and are put in circulation by his enemies for political religious effect, that upon investigation are like the dew before the morning sun, vanish away, because there is no real substance in them.
Could Dr. Bennett expect any man acquainted with all the circumstances, and matters of fact which were developed both here and from abroad, respecting his conduct and character, previous to his leaving this place, for one moment to believe him—I answer, No! he could not. And all his affidavits, that came from any person entitled to credit, (I say entitled to credit, because some there are who are not entitled to credit; as Dr. Bennett very well knows) are in amount nothing at all, when summed up, and render no person worthy of death or bonds.
Francis M. Higbee’s knowledge concerning the murder of a prisoner in Missouri, I am authorized to say, by Francis M. Higbee that he knows of no such thing—that no prisoner was ever killed in Missouri, to the best of his knowledge. And I also bear the same testimony that there never was any prisoner killed there, neither were we ever charged with any such thing, according to the best of my recollection.
July 22, 1842.
This is to certify that I do not know of the murder of any prisoner in Missouri, as above alluded to.
Francis M. Higbee.
July 22 1842.[The following is the excerpt from the Times and Seasons alluded to in the foot note at page 71:]
John C. Bennett.
In the state of Missouri we had our Hinckle, our Avard, Marsh, McLellin, and others who were the first to flee in time of danger—the first to tell of things that they never knew, and swear to things that they never before had heard of. They were more violent in their persecutions, more relentless and sanguinary in their proceedings, and sought with greater fury the destruction and overthrow of the Saints of God who had never injured them, but whose virtue made them blush for their crimes. All that were there remember that they were the stoutest and the loudest in proclaiming against oppression; they protested vehemently against mob and misrule, but were the first in robbing, spoiling, and plundering their brethren. Such things we have always expected; we know that the “net will gather together of every kind, good and bad,” that “the wheat and tares must grow together until the harvest,” and that even at the last there will be five foolish as well as five wise virgins, Daniel, in referring to the last days says, in speaking concerning the “Holy Covenant,” that many shall have indignation against it, and shall obtain information from those that forsake the Holy Covenant, “and the robbers of thy people shall seek to exalt themselves, but they shall fall.” This we have fully proven—we have seen them try to exalt themselves, and we have seen their fall. He goes on further to state, that “many shall cleave unto them by flatteries.” Such was Dr. Avard, and John C. Bennett—with the latter we have to do at the present time, and in many of the foregoing statements and prophecies we shall see his character and conduct exemplified. He professed she greatest fidelity, and eternal friendship, yet was he an adder in the path, and a viper in the bosom. He professed to be virtuous and chaste, yet did he pierce the heart of the innocent, introduce misery and infamy into families, reveled in voluptuousness and crime, and led the youth that he had influence over to tread in his unhallowed steps; he professed to fear God, yet did he desecrate His name, and prostitute his authority to the most unhallowed and diabolical purposes; even to the seduction of the virtuous, and the defiling of his neighbor’s bed. He professed indignation against Missouri, saying, “My hand shall avenge the blood of the innocent;” yet now he calls upon Missouri to come out against the Saints, and he “will lead them on to glory and to victory.”
It may asked why it was that we would countenance him so long after being apprised of his iniquities, and why he was not dealt with long ago. To this we would answer, that he has been dealt with from time to time; when he would acknowledge his iniquity, ask and pray for forgiveness, beg that he might not be exposed, on account of his mother, and other reasons, saying, he should be ruined and undone. He frequently wept like a child, and begged like a culprit for forgiveness, at the same time promising before God and angels to amend his life, if he could be forgiven. He was in this way borne with from time to time, until forbearance was no longer a virtue, and then the First Presidency, the Twelve, and the Bishops withdrew their fellowship from him, as published in the 16th number of this paper. The Church afterwards publicly withdrew their fellowship from him, and his character was published in the 17th number of this paper; since that time he has Published that the conduct of the Saints was bad—that Joseph Smith and many others were adulterers, murderers, etc., that there was a secret band of men that would kill people, etc., called Danites—that he was in duress when he gave his affidavit, and testified that Joseph Smith was a virtuous man—that we believed in and practiced polygamy, 2 that we believed in secret murders, and aimed to destroy the government, etc., etc. As he has made his statements very public, and industriously circulated them through the country, we shall content ourselves with answering his base falsehoods and misrepresentations, without giving publicity to them, as the public is generally acquainted with them already.” 3
Affidavit of Daniel H. Wells Anent John C. Bennett.
State Of Illinois, County Of Hancock.
I hereby certify that on the 17th day of May last, John C. Bennett subscribed and swore to the affidavit over my signature of that date and published in the Wasp, after writing the same in my presence, in the office where I was employed in taking depositions of witnesses. The door of the room was open and free for all, or any person to pass or repass. After signing and being qualified to the affidavit aforesaid, he requested to sneak to me at the door. I followed him out; he told me some persons had been lying about him, and showed me a writing granting him the privilege to withdraw from the Church, and remarked that the matter was perfectly understood between him and the heads of the Church; and that he had resigned the mayor’s office, and should resign the office he held in the Legion; but as there was a court-martial to be held in a few days Joseph Smith desired that he would wait until that was over.
I was in the city council on the 19th day of May last. I there heard him say what has been published concerning the teachings of Joseph Smith, and of his own course. I afterwards met him in company with Colonel Francis M. Higbee. He then stated that he was going to be the candidate, (meaning the candidate for the legislature) and Joseph and Hyrum Smith were going in for him. Said’ “You know it will be better for me not to be bothered with the mayor’s office, Legion, ‘Mormon,’ or anything else.”
During all this time, if he was under duress or fear, he must have a good faculty for concealing it, for he was at liberty to go and come when and where he pleased, so far as I am capable of judging.
I know that I saw him in different parts of the city even after he had made these statements, transacting business as usual, and said he was going to complete some business pertaining to the mayor’s office; and I think did attend to work on the streets.
I was always personally friendly with him, after I became acquainted with him. I never heard him say anything derogatory to the character of Joseph Smith, until after he had been exposed by said Smith, on the public stand in Nauvoo.
Daniel H. Wells.
July 22nd, A. D. 1842.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, a justice of the peace, in and for the city of Nauvoo, in said county, this 22nd day of July, 1842.
Gustavus Hills, [L. S.]
J. P. and Alderman.
Times and Seasons Editor’s Note.—”Daniel H. Wells, Esq., is an old resident in this place, and not a Mormon.”
Sunday, 24.—This morning at home sick. Attended meeting at the Grove in the afternoon, and spoke of Brother Miller’s having returned with the good news that Bennett would not be able to accomplish his designs.
Tuesday, 26.—Sick this morning. Rode to my farm in the afternoon.
Wednesday, 27—Attended meeting at the Grove and listened to the electioneering candidates, and spoke at the close of the meeting.
Letter of Governor Carlin to Joseph Smith, Anent the Foregoing Resolution and Petition.
Quincy, July 27, 1842.
Dear Sir:—Your communication of the 25th instant, together with the petitions of the citizens of the city of Nauvoo, both male and female, were delivered to me last evening by Brevet-Major-General Wilson Law; also a report of James Sloan, Esq., Secretary of Nauvoo Legion, of the proceedings of a Court Martial of Brevet-Major-General had upon charges preferred against Major-General John C. Bennett; upon which trial the court found the defendant guilty, and sentenced him to be cashiered; all of which have been considered.
In reply to your expressed apprehensions of “the possibility of an attack upon the peaceable inhabitants of the city of Nauvoo and vicinity, through the intrigues and false representations of John C. Bennett and others,” and your request that I would issue official orders to you to have the Nauvoo Legion in readiness to be called out at a moment’s warning in defense of the peaceable citizens, &c., I must say that I cannot conceive of the least probability, or scarcely possibility, of an attack of violence upon the citizens of Nauvoo from any quarter whatever, and as utterly impossible that such attack is contemplated by any sufficient number of persons to excite the least apprehension of danger or injury, and whilst I should consider it my imperative duty to promptly take measures to suppress and repel any invasion, by violence of the people’s rights, I nevertheless think that it is not in my province to interpose my official authority gratuitously when no such exigency exists.
From the late exposure, as made by General Bennett it is not strange that the apprehensions of the citizens of Nauvoo are excited, but so far as I can learn from the expression of public opinion, the excitement is confined to the Mormons themselves, and only extends to the community at large as a matter of curiosity and wonder.
Your obedient servant,
To General Joseph Smith.
Elder W. Woodruff started for St. Louis, to procure printing paper for the Times and Seasons.
Saturday, 30.—I wrote to Thomas Carlin, Governor of the state of Illinois as follows:
Letter of the Prophet to Governor Carlin—Satisfied with the Governor’s Attitude.
Nauvoo, July 30, 1842.
Esteemed Sir:—Your favor of the 27th instant per Brevet Major-General Wilson Law is before me. I cannot let this opportunity pass without tendering to you my warmest thanks for the friendly treatment my lady as well as those with her received at your hands during the late visit, and also for the friendly feelings breathed forth in your letter. Your Excellency may be assured that they are duly appreciated by me, and shall be reciprocated.
I am perfectly satisfied with regard to the subject under consideration, and with your remarks. I shall consider myself and our citizens secure from harm under the broad canopy of the law under your administration. We look to you for protection in the event of any violence being used towards us, knowing that our innocence with regard to all the accusations in circulation will be duly evidenced before an enlightened public.
Any service we can do the state at any time will be cheerfully done, for our ambition is to be serviceable to our country.
With sentiments of respect and esteem, I remain your humble servant,
My wife’s nephew, L. D. Wasson, who had gone out on a preaching mission, wrote us this day from Philadelphia—(seeTimes and Seasons, Vol. 3, pages 891 and 892.)
Death of Bishop Vinson Knight.
Sunday, 31.—In council with Bishops Miller and Whitney, Brigham Young, John Taylor, &c., concerning Bishop Vinson Knight’s sickness. Brother Knight has been sick about a week, and this morning he began to sink very fast until twelve o’clock when death put a period to his sufferings.
Requirements of High Priests.
The High Priests’ Quorum met in council, and instructed their clerk to publish in the Times and Seasons that it is the duty of the High Priests to have their names enrolled on the records of the quorums when they arrive at Nauvoo. The members, when they spoke in turns, were required to state whether they had any hardness with the brethren, kept the Word of Wisdom, had family prayers, &c.
An earthquake was recently felt in Dublane Cathedral, near Comrie Scotland.
Monday, August 1, 1842.—A most disgraceful riot is reported to have commenced in Philadelphia, between the colored and white people, which continued three or four days.
Wednesday, 3.—In the city transacting a variety of business in company with General James Adams, and others. Brigadier-General Wilson Law elected Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion (by a small majority over Lyman Wight) in place of John C. Bennett, cashiered.
Thursday, 4.—In company with fifteen others learning sword exercise with Colonel Brewer, and attending to a variety of business.
Friday, 5.—Engaged in a variety of business, and at six in the evening presided in the city council; Councilor Taylor brought forward a bill to regulate proceedings in the Municipal Court under habeas corpus—the bill was read the first time, and upon motion for a second reading it was referred to a select committee, namely Alderman Spencer, and Councilors Taylor and William Law, to report thereon at the next sitting of council.
Prophecy that the Saints Would be Driven to the Rocky Mountains.
Saturday, 6.—Passed over the river to Montrose, Iowa, in company with General Adams, Colonel Brewer, and others, and witnessed the installation of the officers of the Rising Sun Lodge Ancient York Masons, at Montrose, by General James Adams, Deputy Grand-Master of Illinois. While the Deputy Grand-Master was engaged in giving the requisite instructions to the Master-elect, I had a conversation with a number of brethren in the shade of the building on the subject of our persecutions in Missouri and the constant annoyance which has followed us since we were driven from that state. I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. 4
Sunday, 7.—At home through the day.
Arrest of the Prophet on a Requisition of Missouri.
Monday, 8—This forenoon I was arrested by the deputy sheriff of Adams county, and two assistants, on a warrant issued by Governor Carlin, founded on a requisition from Governor Reynolds of Missouri, upon the affidavit of ex-Governor Boggs, complaining of the said Smith as “being an accessory before the fact, to an assault with intent to kill made by one Orrin P. Rockwell on Lilburn W. Boggs,” on the night of the sixth of May, A.D. 1842. Brother Rockwell was arrested at the same time as principal. There was no evasion of the officers, though the municipal court issued a writ of habeas corpus according to the constitution of the state, Article 8, and Section 13. This writ demanded the bodies of Messrs. Smith and Rockwell to be brought before the aforesaid court; but these officers refused to do so, and finally without complying, they left us in the care of the marshal, without the original writ by which we were arrested, and by which only we could be retained, and returned to Governor Carlin for further instructions, and myself and Rockwell went about our business.
The Prophet’s Comments on His Arrest.
I have yet to learn by what rule of right I was arrested to be transported to Missouri for a trial of the kind stated. “An accessory to an assault with intent to kill,” does not come under the provision of the fugitive act, when the person charged has not been out of Illinois, &c. An accessory before the fact to manslaughter is something of an anomaly. The isolated affidavit of ex-Governor Boggs is no more than any other man’s, and the constitution says, “that no person shall be liable to be transported out of the state, for an offense committed within the same.” The whole is another Missouri farce. In fact, implied power, and constructive guilt, as a dernier resort, may answer the purpose of despotic governments, but are beneath the dignity of the sons of Liberty, and would be a blot on our judicial escutcheon.
I received a letter from the postoffice, which had been broken open, and I was grieved at the meanness of its contents.
The city council passed the following “Ordinance regulating the mode of proceeding in cases of habeas corpus before the municipal court:”
Ordinance on Habeas Corpus Procedure.
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 of process, under which such arrest was made, and if it shall appear to the court, upon sufficient testimony that said writ or process was illegal, 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.
Sec. 2. And be it further ordained that if upon investigation it shall be proven before the municipal court, that the writ or process has been issued, either through private pique, malicious intent, or religious or other persecution, falsehood or misrepresentation, contrary to the constitution of this state, or the Constitution of the United States, the said writ or process shall be quashed and considered of no force or effect, and the prisoner or prisoners shall be released and discharged therefrom.
Sec. 3. And be it also further ordained that in the absence, sickness, debility, or other circumstances disqualifying or preventing the mayor from officiating in his court, as chief justice of the municipal court, the aldermen present shall appoint one from amongst them to act as chief justice, or president pro tempore.
Sec. 4. This ordinance to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Passed August 8, 1842.
Vice-Mayor and President Pro Tempore.
James Sloan, Recorder.
A disgraceful and bloody riot occurred in Cincinnati this evening, in and about the “Sans Souci House.”
1. The matters of which these affidavits treat are of such importance in the Church History, since they establish the villainy of John C. Bennett and prove the Prophet to be innocent of those things charged against him by Bennett that it is thought proper to give them here in extenso, as also an extract from an editorial from the Times and Seasons, explaining the long forbearance with this arch-apostate and traitor.
2. A distinction here must be kept in mind between the “polygamy” charged against the saints by Bennett and plurality of wives allowed under certain restrictions by the revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage covenant. It was the vicious, promiscuous polygamous associations charged by Bennett that belief in and practice of by the saints that is here denied, not the plural relations under seal and covenant of the marriage law in the aforesaid revelation. See Bennett’s “History of the Saints,” (1842), pp. 217-260.
3. According to Bennett’s own statement concerning himself, he joined the Church for the purpose of exposing the alleged treasonable designs of the Mormon people against several of the western states. In his book, entitled “The History of the Saints,” (Leland & Whitney, Boston, 1842), he says:
“I find that it is almost universally the opinion of those who have heard of me in the eastern part of the United States, that I united myself to the Mormons from a conviction of the truth of their doctrines, and that I was, at least for some time, a convert to their pretended religion. This, however, is a very gross error. I never believed in them or their doctrines. This is, and indeed was, from the first, well known to my friends and acquaintances in the western country, who were well aware of my reasons for connecting myself with the Prophet; which reasons I will now proceed to state. My attention had been long turned towards the movements and designs of the Mormons, with whom I had become pretty well acquainted, years before, in the state of Ohio; and after the formation of their establishment at Nauvoo, in 1839, the facts and reports respecting them, which I continually heard, led me to suspect, and, indeed, believe, that their leaders had formed, and were preparing to execute, a daring and colossal scheme of rebellion and usurpation throughout the Northwestern States of the Union. It was to me evident that temporal, as well as spiritual, empire was the aim and expectation of the Prophet and his cabinet. The documents that will hereafter be introduced, will clearly show the existence of a vast and deep-laid scheme, upon their part, for conquering the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, and erecting upon the ruin of their present governments a despotic military and religious empire, the head of which, as emperor and pope, was to be Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Lord, and his ministers and viceroys, the apostles, high priests, elders, and bishops, of the Mormon Church. The fruition of this hopeful project would, of course, have been preceded by plunder, devastation, and bloodshed, and by all the countless horrors which invariably accompany civil war. American citizens could not be expected to stand quietly by, and suffer their governments to be overthrown, their religion subverted, their wives and children converted into instruments for a despot’s lust and ambition, and their property forcibly appropriated to the use and furtherance of a base imposture. The Mormons would, of course, meet with resistance as soon as their intentions became evident; and so great was already their power, and so rapidly did their numbers increase, that the most frightful consequences might naturally be expected to ensue, from an armed collision between them and the citizens who still remained faithful to the God and the laws of their fathers. These reflections continually occurred to me, as I observed the proceedings of the Mormons, and, at length, determined me to make an attempt to detect and expose the movers and machinery of the plot.
The promised documentary proofs of the alleged scheme to overthrow government in the states named, and establish on their ruins a despotic military government, etc., did not appear in the book compiled by Bennett, nor can his statement be true that he joined the Church for the purpose or exposing a secret plot on the part of Joseph Smith and his associates against government in the United States. The most probable and most charitable view in relation to Bennett’s actions and character is that expressed by the late President John Taylor in his public discussion with a number of Protestant ministers in France, 1850, who relied on Bennett’s “disclosures” concerning Joseph Smith and the Mormon people for the data of their arguments. Of Bennett, with whom he was well and intimately acquainted, the late President John Taylor said:
“Respecting John C. Bennett: I was well acquainted with him. At one time he was a good man, but fell into adultery. and was cut off from the Church for his iniquity; and so bad was his conduct, that he was also expelled from the municipal courts, of which he was a member. He then went lecturing through the country, and commenced writing pamphlets for the sake of making money, charging so much for admittance to his lectures, and selling his slanders. His remarks, however, were so bad, and his statements so obscene and disgraceful, that respectable people were disgusted.”
Elder Taylor’s opponents regarded this as an attack upon Bennett’s character, to which Elder Taylor answered: “Mr. Carter * * * tells us that it is now too late to attack John C. Bennett’s motives for joining the Church. Did I ever attack John C. Bennett’s motives for joining the Church? * * * * I stated concerning John C. Bennett, that at one time he was a good man, but that he fell into iniquity and was cut off from the church for adultery, and then commenced his persecutions. If I had my books here I could have shown an affidavit made before the city council about the time he was cut off, stating that he knew nothing evil or had of Joseph Smith, an affidavit that I heard him make himself.” (Public discussion between Reverends Cleeve, Robinson, Carter, and Elder John Taylor at Boulogne-Sur-Mer, France, 1850.)
4. It is thought important that the following statement from a biography of Anson Call, by Edward Tullidge, should be made part of the history of this prophetic incident, as doubtless the testimony of Brother Call relates to the same incident as that described in the Prophets text of the History, notwithstanding some confusion of dates that exists in the Call testimony. It will be seen that the Prophet fixes the date of his prophecy on Saturday, the 6th of August, 1842. In Whitney’s History of Utah, Vol. 4. (Biographical section of the history, p. 143), the date on which Call heard the prophecy, is given as the 8th of August, 1842. While in Tullidge’s biography of Call the date is given as the 14th of July, 1843, evidently an error. There is no entry in the Prophet’s journal for the 8th of August, 1842, and the entries for the 8th of August, 1843, and the 14th of July, 1843, relate to matters of quite a different character. Tullidge, in relating Anson Call’s recollection of the incident also says that J. C. Bennett was present on the occasion, which must also be an error, as the rupture between Bennett and the Church and its authorities occurred and he had left Nauvoo previous to the 6th of August, 1842. In the Call statement as published by Tullidge, the name of Mr. Adams, the Deputy Grand Master Mason in charge of the ceremonies, is given as George, it should be James.
Statement of Anson Call.
“On the 14th of July, 1813, with quite a number of his brethren, he crossed the Mississippi river to the town of Montrose, to be present at the installment of the Masonic Lodge of the “Rising Sun.” A block schoolhouse had been prepared with shade in front, under which was a barrel of ice water. Judge George [James] Adams was the highest masonic authority in the state of Illinois, and had been sent there to organize this lodge. He, Hyrum Smith, and J. C. Bennett, being high Masons, went into the house to perform some ceremonies which the others were not entitled to witness. These, including Joseph Smith, remained under the bowery. Joseph, as he was tasting the cold water, warned the brethren not to be too free with it. With the tumbler still in his hand he prophesied that the Saints would yet go to the Rocky Mountains; and, said he, this water tastes much like that of the crystal streams that are running from the snow-capped mountains. We will let Mr. Call describe this prophetic scene: “I had before seen him in a vision, and now saw while he was talking his countenance change to white; not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing at something at a great distance, and said: ‘I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains.’ This was followed by a vivid description of the scenery of these mountains, as I have since become acquainted with it. Pointing to Shadrach Roundy and others, he said: ‘There are some men here who shall do a great work in that land.’ Pointing to me, he said: ‘There is Anson, he shall go and shall assist in building up cities from one end of the country to the other, and you, rather extending the idea to all those he had spoken of, shall perform as great a work as has been done by man, so that the nations of the earth shall be astonished, and many of them will be gathered in that land and assist in building cities and temples, and Israel shall be made to rejoice.’
“It is impossible to represent in words this scene which is still vivid in my mind, of the grandeur of Joseph’s appearance, his beautiful descriptions of this land, and his wonderful prophetic utterances as they emanated from the glorious inspirations that overshadowed him. There was a force and power in his exclamations of which the following is but a faint echo: ‘Oh the beauty of those snow-capped mountains! The cool refreshing streams that are running down through those mountain gorges!’ Then gazing in another direction, as if there was a change of locality: ‘Oh the-scenes that this people will pass through! The dead that will lay between here and there.’ Then turning in another direction as if the scene had again changed: ‘Oh the apostasy that will take place before my brethren reach that land!’ ‘But,’ he continued, ‘The priesthood shall prevail over its enemies, triumph over the devil and be established upon the earth, never more to be thrown down!’ He then charged us with great force and power, to be faithful to those things that had been and should be committed to our charge, with the promise of all the blessings that the Priesthood could bestow. ‘Remember these things and treasure them up. Amen.'” (Tullidge’s Histories, Vol. 2. History of Northern Utah, and Southern Idaho.—Biographical Supplement, p. 271 et seq.)