Urging the Building of the Temple—Tenders of Peace to Missouri—Prophet’s Discourse on Elias, Elijah, Messiah—Lyman Wight’s Proposal of a Southwest Movement for the Church.
Tuesday, March 5, 1844.—I saw Hyrum Kimball at Bryant’s store, and gave him a lecture on his resisting the ordinances of the city, by telling the captains of the steamboats they need not pay wharfage, &c.
Rode out with Emma.
At two, P.M., met with the City Council. I copy the minutes:—
Special Session of the City Council.
March 5, 1844, 2 P.M.
Names of members called. Quorum present.
Mayor stated that he had called the council, because that when the wharf-master called on the steamboats for wharfage, the officers of the boats declined paying, assigning as a reason that Hyrum Kimball and—Morrison had told them that they owned the land, and they need pay no wharfage to the city; and he called the council to know their views on the subject, as he had told Hyrum Kimball that he should see the ordinances executed; and if the boats did not pay, he should blow them up and all those who upheld them in resisting the ordinances. Every measure is taken to palsy the hands of the officers of the city; and I want to know how to remedy the evil, or whether I shall abandon the ordinances, &c.
Alderman Harris said that it was the mayor’s duty to enforce the ordinances of the city, and that no man has a right to build a wharf without leave from the city council.
Councilor Phelps suggested the propriety of licensing those who owned wharves to collect a tax for the landing of the boat.
Alderman Wells concurred.
Mayor said the land on the water’s edge was a street.
Alderman Wells suggested the propriety of having the street worked as soon as may be.
Councilor Phelps said, if Water street extended round the city, then Kimball had been constructing a nuisance.
Mayor spoke in explanation, and said that Kimball said, if the city would make a wharf, he would give up what he had done.
Councilor Orson Spencer said he wished the mayor to execute the law of the city.
Councilor Brigham Young concurred.
Councilor W. W. Phelps proposed that Water street be worked the whole length.
Councilor Taylor said, “I go in for executing the laws of the city.”
Marshal stated that Morrison said he had a bond for a deed to low water mark, and the city could not take his personal rights, and he objected to the boats paying wharfage.
Councilor Orson Pratt said, if Kimball or Morrison or any one else has built wharves since that street was laid out, they could get no damages.
Councilor Daniel Spencer considered the ordinance passed good, and it ought to be enforced.
Councilor Hyrum Smith, believed it was our duty to stand up to the ordinances.
Moved by Brigham Young that the city council instruct the Mayor to order the supervisor to open Water street from Joseph Smith’s store north to the north line of the city.
Councilor Phelps approved of the motion, that the road might be cleared from rafts, and the rafts might also pay license.
Councilor Warrington said the upper stone house was in the street.
Mayor said that was the greatest nuisance there was in the street.
Councilor Orson Spencer was in favor [i.e., of the motion to open Water street.] Motion carried unanimously.
The governor having refused to issue commissions to the aldermen-elect of the city, Councilor Whitney inquired who were aldermen.
The mayor explained that if the governor refuses to grant a commission, it does not disqualify the officer elect from acting in his office; consequently, there is no virtue in the commission, but the virtue of the office consists in the election.
Councilor Young thought they were aldermen all the time or none of the time.
Mayor said he wanted all the aldermen to be added to the city council.
Alderman Wells said he considered the election made the aldermen, and not the commission.
Mayor said if he had been elected alderman and filed his bonds, he would act as councilor and magistrate.
Packard’s Memorial to Legislature of Massachusetts
Noah Packard sent a memorial to the governor, senate, and house of representatives of Massachusetts, his native state, setting forth in detail the sufferings of the Saints in Missouri, and their expulsion from that state.
Wednesday, 6—Went to my office, and thence with Brother Phelps to Mr. Bryant’s, to see him about his uniting with Hiram Kimball and others to resist the ordinances of the city.
The Neighbor publishes the name of James Arlington Bennett as candidate for Vice-President.
Thursday, 7.—A splendid day; wind from the southwest.
Minutes of a General Meeting in the Interest of the Temple.[Reported by Elders Willard Richards and Wilford Woodruff.]
A vast assembly of Saints met at the Temple of the Lord at nine o’clock A.M., by a special appointment of President Joseph Smith, for the purpose of advancing the progress of the Temple, &c.
The Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, was present; also of the Twelve Apostles, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith; also the temple committee and about eight thousand Saints.
A hymn was sung by the choir; prayer by Elder Parley P. Pratt, when another hymn was sung.
Patriarch Hyrum Smith took the stand and said, The object of the meeting is to stir up your minds by way of remembrance. It is necessary to have a starting-point, which is to build the Temple.
With the assistance of the sisters, we expect to get the nails and glass; and with the assistance of the brethren, we expect to do the rest. I will proclaim in public and in private that the sisters bought the glass and nails by penny subscription. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.
We shall call upon this vast multitude for a donation to buy powder and fuse-ropes to blast the rocks in the quarry. We want the brethren to at least do as much as the sisters.
We do not intend to finish the Nauvoo House this season, but to take all the hands and finish the Temple this summer, or the walls of it, and get the roof on by December, and do off the inside next winter; and about a year from this spring we will dedicate it.
We can do anything we undertake. We have power, and we can do great things. In five years to come the work will progress more than it has done for ten years past.
Isaiah said we should perform a marvelous work and a wonder. I don’t wonder he said so, if he saw this vast multitude; and I think this people is abundantly able to build this temple, and much depends upon it for our endowments and sealing powers; and many blessings depend upon it.
President Joseph Smith then arrived, took the stand, arose, and, after requesting Orson Pratt to come to the stand and take his post, said:—
I do not know whether the object of the meeting has been told you or not. I apologize for not coming sooner.
I have had so much on my mind since I saw you, that I hardly know where to begin or what to say; but one of the grand objects I had in view in calling this meeting was to make a few remarks relative to the laws and ordinances of the city and the building of the temple.
The reason I want to speak of the city ordinances is that the officers have difficulty in administering them.
We are republicans, and wish to have the people rule; but they must rule in righteousness. Some would complain with what God Himself would do.
The laws or ordinances are enacted by the city council on petition of the people; and they can all be repealed, if they wish it, and petition accordingly.
At all events, the people ought not to complain of the officers; but if they are not satisfied, they should complain to the lawmakers by petition.
I am instructed by the city council to tell this people that if there is any law passed by us which you dislike. we will repeal it, for we are your servants. Those who complain of our rights and charters are wicked and corrupt, and the devil is in them.
The reason I called up this subject is, we have a gang of simple fellows here who do not know where their elbows or heads are. If you preach virtue to them, they will oppose that; or if you preach a Methodist God to them, they will oppose that; and the same if you preach anything else; and if there is any case tried by the authorities of Nauvoo, they want it appealed to Carthage to the circuit court. Mr. Orsimus F. Bostwick’s case had to go to Carthage. Our lawyers will appeal anything to the circuit court.
I want the people to speak out and say whether such men should be tolerated and supported in our midst; and I want to know if the citizens will sustain me when my hands are raised to heaven for and in behalf of the people.
From this time I design to bring such characters who act against the interests of the city before a committee of the whole; and I will have the voice of the people, which is republican, and is likely to be the voice of God; and as long as I have a tongue to speak, I will expose the iniquity of the lawyers and wicked men.
I fear not their boiling over nor the boiling over of hell, their thunders nor the lightning of their forked tongues.
If these things cannot be put a stop to, I will give such men into the hands of the Missouri mob. The hands of the officers of the city falter and are palsied by their conduct.
There is another person I will speak about. He is a Mormon—a certain man who lived here before we came here; the two first letters of his name are Hiram Kimball. When a man is baptized and becomes a member of the Church, I have a right to talk about him, and reprove him in public or private, whenever it is necessary, or he deserves it.
When the city passed an ordinance to collect wharfage from steamboats, he goes and tells the captains of the steamboats that he owned the landing, and that they need not pay wharfage.
I despise the man who will betray you with a kiss; and I am determined to use up these men, if they will not stop their operations. If this is not true, let him come forward and throw off the imputation.
When they appeal to Carthage, I will appeal to this people, which is the highest court. I despise the lawyers who haggle on lawsuits, and I would rather die a thousand deaths than appeal to Carthage,
Kimball and Morrison say they own the wharves; but the fact is, the city owns them, sixty-four feet from high water mark. From the printing office to the north limits of the city is public ground, as Water street runs along the beach, and the beach belongs to the city and not to individuals.
Another thing: I want to speak about the lawyers of this city. I have good feelings towards them; nevertheless I will reprove the lawyers and doctors anyhow. Jesus did, and every prophet has; and if I am a prophet, I shall do it: at any rate, I shall do it, for I profess to be a prophet.
The maritime laws of the United States have ceded up the right to regulate all tolls, wharfage, &c., to the respective corporations who have jurisdiction, and not to individuals.
Our lawyers have read so little that they are ignorant of this: they have never stuck their noses into a book on maritime law in their lives, and, as Pope says:—
Shallow draughts intoxicate the brain;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
Our city lawyers are fools to undertake to practice law when they know nothing about it.
I want from this time forth every fool to stay at home and let the steamboats and captains alone. No vessel could land anywhere, if subject to individual laws.
The corporation owns the streets of the city, and has as much right to tax the boats to make wharves as to tax citizens to make roads. Let every man in this city stay at home, and let the boat-captains, peace-officers and everybody alone.
How are we to keep peace in the city, defend ourselves against mobs, and keep innocent blood from being shed? By striking a blow at everything that rises up in disorder.
I will wage an eternal warfare with those that oppose me while I am laboring in behalf of the city. I will disgrace every man by publishing him on the house top, who will not be still and mind his own business. Let them entirely alone, and they will use themselves up.
I was visited by an old gentleman this morning, who told me that the spirit of mobocracy was about subsiding. A couple of merchants in this city (I will not tell their names,) have told the country people not to bring butter, eggs, &c., to Nauvoo for sale; at least, so the people abroad say.
Now, if they will not let the people bring their produce, the people will not buy their goods; and the result will be, the merchants will get a spirit of mobocracy.
Another man (I will not call his name,) has been writing to the New York Tribune, some of the most disgraceful things possible to name. He says, in that article, that there are a great many donations to the Temple which have been appropriated to other purposes.
His object evidently was to stigmatize the trustee and excite prejudice against us abroad. But I pledge myself that whoever has contributed any old shoes, harness, horses, wagons, or anything else, if he will come forward, will show that every farthing is on the book and has been appropriated for the building of the Temple.
I pledge myself that if he finds the first farthing that we cannot show where it has been appropriated, I will give him my head for a football.
He also states that the Temple cannot be built, it costs so much. Who does not know that we can put the roof on the building this season, if we have a mind to? By turning all the means from the Nauvoo House and doubling our diligence we can do it.
There are men in our midst who are trying to build up themselves at our expense, and others who are watching for iniquity, and will make a man an offender for a word. The best way for such men is to be still. If I did not love men, I would not reprove them, but would work in the darkness as they do.
As to who is the author of the article in the Tribune, read it and you will see for yourselves. He is not a lawyer; he is nearer related to a doctor—a small man. (Mr. McNeil inquired if he was the man.) No; I do not know you: you are a stranger. But I will rest myself and give way for others.
President Hyrum Smith arose and made a few remarks. He compared the lawyers to polliwogs, wigglers, and toads. He said they would dry up next fall. “Those characters, I presume, were made in gizzard making time, when it was cheaper to get gizzards than souls; for if a soul cost $5, a gizzard would cost nothing: like tree toads, they change color to suit the object they are upon. They ought to be ferreted out like rats. You could describe them as you would a hedgehog: they are in every hedge, stinking like the skunk.” 1
Charles Foster asked if Joseph meant him.
Joseph said, “I will reply by asking you a question.”
Joseph. “Yes, that is the way the Quakers do. But Jesus said, “Whose image and superscription is this? Why did you apply the remarks to yourself? Why did you ask if we meant you?
Foster. “Then I understand you meant me.
Joseph. “You said it.”
Foster. “You shall hear from me.”
Joseph. “As Mayor, I fine you $10 for that threat, and for disturbing the meeting.”
Doctor Foster spoke in palliation of his brother Charles, and asked Joseph to await, &c. He said, “He has not threatened you.” Joseph said, “He has.” Doctor Foster said: “No one has heard him threaten you,” when hundreds cried, “I have!” Doctor Foster continued to speak when the Mayor called him to order, or, said he, “I will fine you.”
William W. Phelps then read General Smith’s “Views of the Powers and Policy of the General Government of the United States;” after which, it was voted, unanimously, with one exception, to uphold General Smith for the Presidency of the United States.
An article was also read by W. W. Phelps, entitled, “A Voice of Innocence from Nauvoo,” and all the assembly said “Amen” twice.
At thirty minutes past twelve, the meeting adjourned till two P.M.
When the people assembled according to the adjournment, choir sang a hymn. Prayer by Elder Orson Pratt. Singing.
President Brigham Young addressed the congregation. He said: I wish to speak on the duty of lawyers, as they have been spoken of this morning. They were first among the children of Israel to explain the laws of Moses to the common people.
I class myself as a lawyer in Israel. My business is to make peace among the people; and when any man who calls himself a lawyer takes a course to break peace instead of making it, he is out of the line of his duty. A lawyer’s duty is to read the law well himself, then tell the people what it is, and let them act upon it, and keep peace; and let them receive pay like any laboring man.
It is desirable for justices of the peace, when men call for writs, to inquire into the merits of the case, and tell the parties how to settle it, and thus put down lawsuits. To cure lawing, let us pay attention to our business.
When we hear a story, never tell it again, and it will be a perfect cure. If your brother mistreats you, let him alone; if your enemy cheats you, let it go; cease to deal with men who abuse you. If all men had taken the straightforward course that some have, we should not have such disorderly men in our midst.
I have no objection to any man coming here, but I will have nothing to do with men who will abuse me at midnight and at noonday. Our difficulties and persecutions have always arisen from men right in our midst.
It is the lust of individuals to rob us of everything, and to take advantage of divisions that may arise among us to build themselves up. I feel that I want every man should stay and lift up holy hands without dubiety, wrath or doubting.
To the men who own land here I would say: Do not think you can sell your lands here, and then go off and spend it somewhere else in abusing the Mormons. I tell you nay; for know it, ye people, that Israel is here; and they are the head, and not the tail; and the people must learn it. All those who have gone from us have gone from the head to the tail.
The grand object before us is to build the temple this season.
We have heard the effects of slander, and we want a cure and balm; and I carry one with me all the while, and I want all of you to do the same. I will tell you what it is: it is to mind your own business, and let others alone, and suffer wrong rather than do wrong. If any take your property away, let them alone, and have nothing to do with them.
A spirit has been manifested to divide the Saints. It was manifest in the last election. It was said, if they did not look out, the Saints on the flat would beat the Saints on the hill.
Great God! how such a thing looks, that the Saints should be afraid of beating one another in the election, or being beat? I would ask, who built up this city? Would steamboats have landed here, if the Saints had not come? Or could you, even the speculators, have sold your lands for anything here, if the Saints had not come? They might have sold for a few bear and wolf skins, but not for money.
If any of you wish to know how to have your bread fall butter-side up, butter it on both sides, and then it will fall butter-side up. Oppose this work, and it will roll over you.
When did this work ever stop since it began? Never. The only thing the Saints now want to know is—what does the Lord want of us, and we are ready to do it.
Well, then, build the Temple of the Lord. Keep the law of God, ye Saints, and the hypocrite and scoundrel will flee out of your midst and tremble, for the fire of God will be too hot for them.
I expect the Saints are so anxious to work, and so ready to do right, that God has whispered to the Prophet, “Build the Temple, and let the Nauvoo House alone at present.” I would not sue a man, if he owed me five hundred or a thousand dollars, should he come to me and say he would not pay me.
Elder John Taylor remarked that it was said by some discontented persons that the municipal officers of the city were acting in an arbitrary manner, which was false. He then went to explain the principles of Democracy, until it was announced that it would be desirable to set a contribution on foot immediately to get fuse rope and blasting powder, as a boat was coming down the river, and the messenger was waiting to go down to St. Louis.
Elder Taylor paused awhile for this purpose, and a collection amounting to about sixty dollars was made. He then continued his speech: “When society was first organized they found themselves without legislature, congress, house of lords, or anything of the kind, every man was lord over his own house.
Difficulties began to arise, and the people began to contend and combine together in governments. By-and-by, some two or three requested that they might return to their original customs, and the government said they might. This was the situation of this city in the main, when we asked for a charter.
Of General Joseph Smith some are afraid, and think it doubtful about his election; and, like the ostrich, stick their heads under a bush, and leave their bodies out, so that we can all see them; and after this it will be a by-word—”That man is an ostrich who hides his head in this cause.” He spoke also on going on with the temple.
President Brigham Young said—”Those who have not paid their property tithing we shall call upon, and take dinner; and we had rather be saved that trouble, and have them come up and pay. You will want a blessing in the temple when it is done.”
President Joseph Smith remarked:—In relation to those who give in property for the temple. We want them to bring it to the proper source, and to be careful into whose hands it comes, that it may be entered into the Church books, so that those whose names are found in the Church books shall have the first claim to receive their endowments in the temple. I intend to keep the door at the dedication myself, and not a man shall pass who has not paid his bonus.
As to politics, I care but little about the presidential chair. I would not give half as much for the office of President of the United States as I would for the one I now hold as Lieutenant-General of the Nauvoo Legion.
We have as good a right to make a political party to gain power to defend ourselves, as for demagogues to make use of our religion to get power to destroy us. In other words, as the world has used the power of government to oppress and persecute us, it is right for us to use it for the protection of our rights. We will whip the mob by getting up a candidate for President.
When I get hold of the Eastern papers, and see how popular I am, I am afraid myself that I shall be elected; but if I should be, I would not say, “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”
What I have said in my views in relation to the annexation of Texas is with some unpopular; the people are opposed to it. Some of the Anti-Mormons are good fellows. I say it, however, in anticipation that they will repent. They object to Texas on account of slavery. Why, it is the very reason she ought to be received, so that we may watch over them; for, of the two evils, we should reject the greatest.
Governor Houston of Texas, says—”if you refuse to receive us into the United States, we must go to the British Government for protection.”
This would certainly be bad policy for this nation; the British are now throughout that whole country, trying to bribe all they can; and the first thing they would do, if they got possession, would be to set the negroes and the Indians to fight, and they would use us up. British officers are now running all over Texas to establish British influence in that country.
It will be more honorable for us to receive Texas and set the negroes free, and use the negroes and Indians against our foes. Don’t let Texas go, lest our mothers and the daughters of the land should laugh us in the teeth; and if these things are not so, God never spoke by any Prophet since the world began.
How much better it is for the nation to bear a little expense than to have the Indians and British upon us and destroy us all. We should grasp all the territory we can. I know much that I do not tell. I have had bribes offered me, but I have rejected them.
The government will not receive any advice or counsel from me: they are self-sufficient. But they must go to hell and work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
The South holds the balance of power. By annexing Texas, I can do away with this evil. As soon as Texas was annexed, I would liberate the slaves in two or three States, indemnifying their owners, and send the negroes to Texas, and from Texas to Mexico, where all colors are alike. And if that was not sufficient, I would call upon Canada, and annex it.
Singing by the choir. Prayer by President B. Young.
Arrival of Wm. Kay and Company of English Saints.
The barque Fanny, Captain Patterson, arrived at New Orleans with 210 souls, led by Elder William Kay. They express, [the opinion] in a letter to the Millennial Star, that no people ever had a more prosperous voyage than the Lord has favored this company with; and such a captain and crew, for kindness, could scarcely be met with, the captain frequently administering from the cabin stores unto the necessities of all who required it.
Elder John E. Page published an address to the inhabitants of Washington.
Friday, 8.—Very heavy rain all night, accompanied by thunder.
Bishop Miller arrived from the Pinery.
Jas. A. Bennett Ineligible for Vice-President of U.S.
At ten A.M., my scribe, Willard Richards, called to tell me that James Arlington Bennett was a native of Ireland, and therefore was not constitutionally eligible to be the Vice-President. He wanted to know who should be nominated for Vice-President. I told him to counsel with others upon that point, when he said he would call a council this evening.
At seven P.M., the First Presidency, the Twelve, Bishop Miller, Levi Richards, W. W. Phelps, and Lucian Woodworth assembled in the Mayor’s office, when W. W. Phelps read the following pacific communication, which I had previously dictated him to write:—
A Friendly Hint to Missouri.
One of the most pleasing scenes that can occur on earth, when a sin has been committed by one person against another, is, to forgive that sin; and then according to the sublime and perfect pattern of the Savior, pray to our Father in heaven to forgive him also.
Verily, verily, such a friendly rebuke is like the mellow zephyr of summer’s eve—it soothes, it cheers and gladdens the heart of the humane and the savage. Well might the wise man exclaim, “A soft answer turneth away wrath; “for men of sense, judgment, and observation, in all the various periods of time, have been witnesses, figuratively speaking, that water, not wood, checks the rage of fire.
Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Wherefore if the nation, a single State, community, or family ought to be grateful for anything, it is peace.
Peace, lovely child of heaven!—peace like light from the same great parent, gratifies, animates, and happifies the just and the unjust, and is the very essence of happiness below, and bliss above.
He that does not strive with all his powers of body and mind, with all his influence at home and abroad, and to cause others to do so too, to seek peace and maintain it for his own benefit and convenience, and for the honor of his State, nation, and country, has no claim on the clemency of man; nor should he be entitled to the friendship of woman or the protection of government.
He is the canker-worm to gnaw his own vitals; and the vulture to prey upon his own body; and he is, as to his own prospects and prosperity in life, a felo-de-se of his own pleasure.
A community of such beings are not far from hell on earth, and should be let alone as unfit for the smiles of the free or praise of the brave.
But the peacemaker, O give ear to him! for the words of his mouth and his doctrine drop like the rain, and distil as the dew. They are like the gentle mist upon the herbs, and as the moderate shower upon the grass.
Animation, virtue, love, contentment, philanthropy, benevolence, compassion, humanity and friendship push life into bliss: and men, a little below the angels, exercising their powers, privileges, and knowledge according to the order, rules, and regulations of revelation, by Jesus Christ, dwell together in unity; and the sweet odor that is wafted by the breath of joy and satisfaction from their righteous communion is like the rich perfume from the consecrated oil that was poured upon the head of Aaron, or like the luscious fragrance that rises from the field of Arabian spices. Yea, more, the voice of the peacemaker—
It is like the music of the spheres.
It charms our souls and calms our fears;
It turns the world to Paradise,
And men to pearls of greater price.
So much to preface this friendly hint to the state of Missouri: for, notwithstanding some of her private citizens and public officers have committed violence, robbery, and even murder upon the rights and persons of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, yet compassion, dignity, and a sense of the principles of religion among all classes, and honor and benevolence, mingled with charity by high-minded patriots, lead me to suppose that there are many worthy people in that state who will use their influence and energies to bring about a settlement of all those old difficulties, and use all consistent means to urge the State, for her honor, prosperity, and good name, to restore every person she or her citizens have expelled from her limits, to their rights, and pay them all damage, that the great body of high-minded and well-disposed Southern and Western gentlemen and ladies—the real peace-makers or a western world, will go forth—good Samaritan-like, and pour in the oil and the wine, till all that can be healed are made whole; and after repentance, they shall be forgiven; for verily the Scriptures say, “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety-and-nine just persons that need no repentance.”
Knowing the fallibility of man, considering the awful responsibility of rejecting the cries of the innocent, confident in the virtue and patriotism of the noble-minded Western men, tenacious of their character and standing, too high to stoop to disgraceful acts, and too proud to tolerate meanness in others; yea, may, I not say, without boasting that the best blood of the West, united with the honor of the illustrious fathers of freedom, will move, as the forest is moved by a mighty wind, to promote peace and friendship in every part of our wide-spread, lovely country.
Filled with a love almost unspeakable, and moved by a desire pleasant as the dew of heaven, I supplicate not only our Father above, but also the civil, the enlightened, the intelligent, the social, and the best inhabitants of Missouri—those that feel bound by principles of honor, justice, moral greatness, and national pride, to arise in the character of virtuous freemen from the disgrace and reproach that might inadvertently blur their good names, for want of self-preservation.
Now is the time to brush off the monster that, incubus-like, seems hanging upon the reputation of the whole State. A little exertion, and the infamy of the evil will blacken the guilty only, for is it not written, “The tree is known by its fruit?”
The voice of reason, the voice of humanity, the voice of the nation, and the voice of Heaven seem to say to the honest and virtuous throughout the State of Missouri, wash yourselves, make you clean, lest your negligence should be taken by the world, from the mass of facts before it, that you are guilty!
Let there be one unison of hearts for justice; and when you reflect around your own firesides, remember that fifteen thousand once among you, now not, but who are just as much entitled to the privileges and blessings you enjoy as yourselves, like the widow before the unjust judge, are fervently praying for their rights.
When you meditate upon the massacre at Haun’s mill, forget not that the Constitution of your State holds this broad truth to the world, that none shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.
And when you assemble together in towns, counties, or districts, whether to petition your legislature to pay the damage the Saints have sustained in your State, by reason of oppression and misguided zeal, or to restore them to their rights according to Republican principles and benevolent designs, reflect, and make honorable, or annihilate, such statute law as was in force in your state in 1838,—viz.: “If twelve or more persons shall combine to levy war against any part of the people of this state, or to remove [them] forcibly out of the state or from their habitations, evidenced by taking arms and assembling to accomplish such purpose, every person so offending shall be punished by imprisonment in the Penitentiary for a period not exceeding five years, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars and imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months.
Finally, if honor dignifies an honest people, if virtue exalts a community, if wisdom guides great men, if principle governs intelligent beings, if humanity spreads comfort among the needy, and if religion affords consolation by showing that charity is the first, best and sweetest token of perfect love, then, O ye good people of Missouri, like the woman in Scripture who had lost one of her ten pieces of silver, arise, search diligently till you find the lost piece, and then make a feast, and call in your friends for joy.
With due consideration, I am the friend of all good men,
Nauvoo, Ill., March 8, 1844.
St. Louis Comment on the Prophet’s Candidacy.
Brother George A. Smith brought the information that Brother Farnham had just returned from St. Louis, and said the people in that place were saying, “Things have come to a strange pass. If Joe Smith is elected President, he will raise the devil with Missouri; and if he is not elected, he will raise the devil anyhow.”
Copeland of Tennessee Considered as Candidate for Vice-President.
It was agreed that Colonel Solomon Copeland, living at Paris, Henry county, Tennessee, should be written to on the subject of the Vice-Presidency; and that Elder Wilford Woodruff should write the letter, and invite him to visit us, and see if he would suffer his name to run for that office.
Saturday, 9.—Met in the City Council, and gave my reasons in favor of the repeal of the hog law. [The subject was discussed at some length.]
Council adjourned for one hour. In the afternoon City Council rejected the petition to repeal the hog law.
Matter of Wharfage.
I proposed to license Hiram Kimball and Mr. Morrison, who own the land opposite to the wharf, to make wharves and collect wharfage; then the city can dispense with a wharf-master; that Kimball and Morrison pay a tax for the landing of every boat; and they could tax the boat, or not, as they liked.
The Female Relief Society met twice in the assembly room, and sanctioned “The Voice of Innocence From Nauvoo,” and then adjourned for one week to accommodate others who could not get into the room at either of the meetings.
Death of King Follett.
Our worthy brother, King Follett, died this morning occasioned by the accidental breaking of a rope, and the falling of a bucket of rock upon him while engaged in walling up a well, and the men above were in the act of lowering the rock to him.
King Follett Biography.
Elder Follett was one of those who bore the burden, in common with others of his brethren, in the days when men’s faith was put to the test. He was a native of Vermont and moved many years since into Cuyahoga county, Ohio.
There, for the first time, he heard the Gospel preached, united with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spring of 1831, and has been a sharer in the afflictions through which the Saints have passed from that time until the time of his death.
He shared in the violence of Missouri persecution, was cast into prison, and endured many months’ imprisonment; and, after long delay, obtained a trial on the charges preferred against him, and was honorably discharged, being acquitted of all the crimes with which a band of wicked persecutors could charge him.
All the persecutions he endured only tended to strengthen his faith and confirm his hope; and he died as he had lived, rejoicing in the hope of future felicity.
Having united with the Church in the forty-first year of his age, he filled up the prime of his life in the service of his God, and went to rest in his fifty-sixth year, being fifty-five years, seven months, and fourteen days old when he slept the sleep of death.
So the righteous pass, and so they sleep, until the mandate of Him for whom they suffer and in whom they trust shall call them forth to glory, honor, immortality and eternal life.
Sunday, 10.—Frost in the night; beautiful day. South wind.
Brother King Follett was buried this day with Masonic honors.
I attended meeting at the stand, and preached on the subject of Elias, Elijah, and Messiah. [A sketch of which was reported by Elder Wilford Woodruff, as follows]:—
Discourse of the Prophet.—Elias, Elijah, Messiah.
There is a difference between the spirit and office of Elias and Elijah. It is the spirit of Elias I wish first to speak of; and in order to come at the subject, I will bring some of the testimony from the Scripture and give my own.
In the first place, suffice it to say, I went into the woods to inquire of the Lord, by prayer, His will concerning me, and I saw an angel, and he laid his hands upon my head, and ordained me to a Priest after the order of Aaron, and to hold the keys of this Priesthood, which office was to preach repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and also to baptize. But I was informed that this office did not extend to the laying on of hands for the giving of the Holy Ghost; that that office was a greater work, and was to be given afterward; but that my ordination was a preparatory work, or a going before, which was the spirit of Elias; for the spirit of Elias was a going before to prepare the way for the greater, which was the case with John the Baptist. He came crying through the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” And they were informed, if they could receive it, it was the spirit of Elias; and John was very particular to tell the people, he was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
He told the people that his mission was to preach repentance and baptize with water; but it was He that should come after him that should baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost.
If he had been an imposter, he might have gone to work beyond his bounds, and undertook to have performed ordinances which did not belong to that office and calling, under the spirit of Elias.
The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world.
John’s mission was limited to preaching and baptizing: but what he did was legal; and when Jesus Christ came to any of John’s disciples, He baptized them with fire and the Holy Ghost.
We find the apostles endowed with greater power than John: their office was more under the spirit and power of Elijah than Elias.
In the case of Phillip when he went down to Samaria, when he was under the spirit of Elias, he baptized both men and women. When Peter and John heard of it, they went down and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost. This shows the distinction between the two powers.
When Paul came to certain disciples, he asked if they had received the Holy Ghost? They said, No. Who baptized you, then? We were baptized unto John’s baptism. No, you were not baptized unto John’s baptism, or you would have been baptized by John. And so Paul went and baptized them, for he knew what the true doctrine was, and he knew that John had not baptized them. And these principles are strange to me, that men who have read the Scriptures of the New Testament are so far from it.
What I want to impress upon your minds is the difference of power in the different parts of the Priesthood, so that when any man comes among you, saying, “I have the spirit of Elias,” you can know whether he be true or false; for any man that comes, having the spirit and power of Elias, he will not transcend his bounds.
John did not transcend his bounds, but faithfully performed that part belonging to his office; and every portion of the great building should be prepared right and assigned to its proper place; and it is necessary to know who holds the keys of power, and who does not, or we may be likely to be deceived.
That person who holds the keys of Elias hath a preparatory work. But if I spend much more time in conversing about the spirit of Elias, I shall not have time to do justice to the spirit and power of Elijah.
This is the Elias spoken of in the last days, and here is the rock upon which many split, thinking the time was past in the days of John and Christ, and no more to be. But the spirit of Elias was revealed to me, and I know it is true; therefore I speak with boldness, for I know verily my doctrine is true.
Now for Elijah. The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven.
Malachi says, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Now, what I am after is the knowledge of God, and I take my own course to obtain it. What are we to understand by this in the last days?
In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and He has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days: but before it should take place, Elijah should first come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, &c.
Now comes the point. What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children.
Now was this merely confined to the living, to settle difficulties with families on earth? By no means. It was a far greater work. Elijah! what would you do if you were here? Would you confine your work to the living alone? No; I would refer you to the Scriptures, where the subject is manifest: that is, without us, they could not be made perfect, nor we without them; the fathers without the children, nor the children without the fathers.
I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important; and if you will receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah.
Let us suppose a case. Suppose the great God who dwells in heaven should reveal Himself to Father Cutler here, by the opening heavens, and tell him, “I offer up a decree that whatsoever you seal on earth with your decree, I will seal it in heaven; you have the power then; can it be taken off? No. Then what you seal on earth, by the keys of Elijah, is sealed in heaven; and this is the power of Elijah, and this is the difference between the spirit and power of Elias and Elijah; for while the spirit of Elias is a forerunner, the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling and election sure; and the same doctrine, where we are exhorted to go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, &c.
We cannot be perfect without the fathers, &c. We must have revelation from them, and we can see that the doctrine of revelation far transcends the doctrine of no revelation; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in existence.
This spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the apostles, in delivering certain ones to the buffetings of Satan, that they might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. They were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnation of hell until the day of the Lord, or revelation of Jesus Christ.
Here is the doctrine of election that the world has quarreled so much about; but they do not know anything about it.
The doctrine that the Presbyterians and Methodists have quarreled so much about—once in grace, always in grace, or falling away from grace, I will say a word about. They are both wrong. Truth takes a road between them both, for while the Presbyterian says “once in grace, you cannot fall;” the Methodist says: “You can have grace today, fall from it tomorrow, next day have grace again; and so follow on, changing continually.” But the doctrine of the Scriptures and the spirit of Elijah would show them both false, and take a road between them both; for, according to the Scripture, if men have received the good word of God, and tasted of the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again, seeing they have crucified the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame; so there is a possibility of falling away; you could not be renewed again, and the power of Elijah cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals and power of the Priesthood.
I will make every doctrine plain that I present, and it shall stand upon a firm basis, and I am at the defiance of the world, for I will take shelter under the broad cover of the wings of the work in which I am engaged. It matters not to me if all hell boils over; I regard it only as I would the crackling of the thorns under a pot.
A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.
Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.
Peter referred to the same subject on the day of Pentecost, but the multitude did not get the endowment that Peter had; but several days after, the people asked “What shall we do?” Peter says, “I would ye had done it ignorantly,” speaking of crucifying the Lord, &c. He did not say to them, “Repent and be baptized. for the remission of your sins;” but he said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins for they had shed innocent blood.
Again: The doctrine or sealing power of Elijah is as follows:—If you have power to seal on earth and in heaven, then we should be wise. The first thing you do, go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory. * * * * * * * I will walk through the gate of heaven and claim what I seal, and those that follow me and my counsel.
The Lord once told me that what I asked for I should have. I have been afraid to ask God to kill my enemies, lest some of them should, peradventure, repent.
I asked a short time since for the Lord to deliver me out of the hands of the Governor of Missouri, and if it needs must be to accomplish it, to take him away; and the next news that came pouring down from there was, thatGovernor Reynolds had shot himself. And I would now say, “Beware, O earth, how you fight against the Saints of God and shed innocent blood; for in the days of Elijah, his enemies came upon him, and fire was called down from heaven and destroyed them.
The spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last. Elias is a forerunner to prepare the way, and the spirit and power of Elijah is to come after, holding the keys of power, building the Temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the house of Israel, and making all things ready; then Messiah comes to His Temple, which is last of all.
Messiah is above the spirit and power of Elijah, for He made the world, and was that spiritual rock unto Moses in the wilderness. Elijah was to come and prepare the way and build up the kingdom before the coming of the great day of the Lord, although the spirit of Elias might begin it.
I have asked of the Lord concerning His coming; and while asking the Lord, He gave a sign and said, “In the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign and token that in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time and harvest during that year: but whenever you see the bow withdrawn, it shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress among the nations, and that the coming of the Messiah is not far distant.
But I will take the responsibility upon myself to prophesy in the name of the Lord, that Christ will not come this year, as Father Miller has prophesied, for we have seen the bow; and I also prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that Christ will not come in forty years; and if God ever spoke by my mouth, He will not come in that length of time. Brethren, when you go home, write this down, that it may be remembered.
Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers.
There are some important things concerning the office of the Messiah in the organization of the world. which I will speak of hereafter, May God Almighty bless you and pour out His Spirit upon you, is the prayer of your unworthy servant. Amen.
At half-past three P.M., I met with the Twelve, Bishop Miller and the Temple Committee, in the Nauvoo Mansion.
The following letter from Lyman Wight and others was read:—
Letter:—Lyman Wight to the First Presidency—Preaching the Gospel to the Indians and Proposing to Migrate to Texas.
Black River Falls, Feb. 15, 1844.
To the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve of the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dear Brethren,—Through the goodness and mercy of God, the Eternal Father, and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are permitted to write and send by a special messenger a concise account of our lumbering operations, together with the apparent prospects of the introduction and spread of the Gospel among the Chippewa and Menomanee Indians, and also the projects of our hearts in regard to future operations in spreading the Gospel south in all the extent of America, and the consequences growing out of the same, all of which we beg leave to submit to your consideration that we may have your concurrence, or such views as shall be in accordance with the mind and will of the Lord, and govern ourselves in accordance therewith.
Since we have been here lumbering, we have had many difficulties to encounter; but the main hindrance to our successful operations was the feeding, clothing, and transporting a great many lazy, idle men, who have not produced anything by their pretended labor, and thus eating up all that the diligent and honest could produce by their unceasing application to labor; and we have not yet got entirely clear of such persons.
But under all these mighty clogs and hindrances, we have been able to accomplish and have in progress, so that we can deliver in Nauvoo about one million feet of lumber by the last of July next, which will be a great deal more than what is necessary to build the Temple and the Nauvoo House. Besides all this, we have made valuable improvements here,—all the result of much labor done under trying circumstances.
We have recently ascertained that the lands from the falls of Black River to its sources are the property of the Menomanee Indians, and the general government having urged them to move off the lands in the vicinity of Green Bay to their own lands. The Indians say they will, provided the Government will remove all strange Indians and trespassing white men off their lands; consequently, the agent and superintendent of Indian Affairs are taking such steps as will stop all further trespassing on the Indian lands, on the Wisconsin, Black and Chippewa rivers, under the penalties of the laws relative to the cases.
We sent Brothers Miller and Daniels, in company with the principal chief of the Menomanee Indians, overland to the Wisconsin river, to ascertain more about the matter. They saw the agent; found him a gruff, austere man, determined to stop all trespassing on Indian lands.
The Indians are willing to sell privileges to individuals for lumbering and cutting timber, as they have hitherto done; but the agent is opposed to it. Thus a difficulty arises between themselves.
Now, as regards the introduction of the Gospel of Christ among the Indians here, it will require more exertion, to all appearances, to check the enthusiastic ardor of these our red brethren, until the full principles of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shall be reasoned into their minds, than to urge them on to receive it. They have great confidence in us.
The country belonging to these northern Indians is a dreary, cold region, and to a great extent, cranberry marshes, pine barrens, and swamps, with a small amount of good lands, scarce of game, and only valuable in mill privileges and facilities for lumbering purposes.
As to mineral resources, they have not been fully developed. There is no doubt as to the abundance of iron ore, but uncertain as to quality.
Now, under all these circumstances, a few of us here have arrived at this conclusion in our minds (such as can undergo all things,)—that as the Gospel has not been fully opened in all the South and Southwestern States, as also Texas, Mexico, Brazil. &c., together with the West Indian Islands, having produced lumber enough to build the Temple and Nauvoo House,—also having an influence over the Indians, so as to induce them to sell their lands to the United States, and go to a climate southwest. (all according to the policy of the U. S. Government),—and having also become convinced that the Church at Nauvoo or in the Eastern States will not build the Nauvoo House according to the commandment, neither the Temple in a reasonable time, and that we have, so far as we have made trials, got means in the south,—we have in our minds to go to the table-lands of Texas, to a point we may find to be the most eligible, there locate, and let it be a place of gathering for all the South (they being incumbered with that unfortunate race of beings, the negroes); and for us to employ our time and talents in gathering together means to build according to the commandments of our God, and spread the Gospel to the nations according to the will of our Heavenly Father. We, therefore, our beloved brethren, send our worthy Brother Young, with a few of our thoughts, on paper, that you may take the subject-matter under consideration, and return us such instructions as may be according to the mind and will of the Lord our God.
We have thought it best to sell the mills here, if you think it expedient. We feel greatly encouraged to spend and be spent in the cause of Christ, according to the will of our Heavenly Father.
You will, therefore, after due deliberation, send us, by the hands of Brother Young, such instructions as may be the result of your deliberations.
Holding ourselves ready under all circumstances in life to try to do all things whatsoever commanded or instructed to do by those ordained to direct the officers of the Church of Jesus Christ; subscribing ourselves yours truly, while life shall endure,
Phineas R. Bird,
Select Committee to write expressly the views of the branch of the Church at Black River Falls.
Joseph Smith, P. C.,
Brigham Young, P. T.,
Willard Richards, Clerk.
Also a letter to myself from Lyman Wight and others—
Letter:—Lyman Wight to President Joseph Smith—Suggesting a Southwest Movement for the Church.
Black River Falls, Wisconsin Territory,
February 15th, 1844.
To Joseph Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to the Twelve Apostles, greeting:—
Believing a concert of action in all things in this Church to be highly important, we deem it necessary, under existing circumstances, to make you acquainted with our views, feelings, and temporal and spiritual prospects, as they now exist.
We wrote you last fall a full and complete description of this country as high as the falls on Black River, without exaggeration, giving a slight description of the Pinery.
With the exception of several renegades and false brethren, things passed smoothly until some time in the month of January, when we were visited by three different tribes of Lamanites upon the most friendly terms, receiving us as their counselors, both temporal and spiritual.
The names of those tribes are Menomanees, Chippewa, and Winnebagoes. They informed us that all the land above the falls belongs to the Menomanee tribe. and that the agents and the governor, the general agent in the northwest of all the Indian affairs, had agreed with them to remove all the lumbermen from Black River, Chippewa, and Lemanware rivers, by their request; but after a lengthy conversation with them, they felt to treat us as their friends, and not their enemies.
We dispatched two messengers—namely, George Miller and Cyrus Daniels, to go immediately to Wisconsin, where they met with the agent, who gave them to understand we could get the timber, which is already cut, at a reasonable rate, and for any future prospect we will be under the necessity of entering into a contract.
We calculate the present prospect for lumber betwixt this and the last of July next will be from eight to twelve hundred thousand feet, which we deem will be all sufficient to finish the two houses, which will accomplish the mission on which we started to this country.
We, therefore, as a branch and a member of the body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chose the following committee—namely, Lyman Wight, George Miller, Pierce Hawley, Phineas R. Bird and John Young, to correspond with your reverend council, giving you our views concerning matters and things, and requesting your counsel on the same.
This committee views it inexpedient to purchase standing timber on so rapid and unnavigable a stream for the purpose of making lumber to gain wealth.
The Lamanites owning this land, notwithstanding their great anxiety to receive the Gospel and the Book of Mormon, have a strong desire, if counseled by us so to do, to go south-west, where game is more plentiful as their only resource here for a living is the pitiful annuities and proceeds from their pine timber, which timber is the only inducement to the Government to purchase their lands.
This committee is therefore led to take a brief view of the south and western part of North America, together with the Floridas, Texas, West India Islands, and the adjacent islands to the Gulf of Mexico, together with the Lamanites bordering on the United Territories from Green Bay to the Mexican Gulf, all crying with one voice, through the medium of their chiefs, Give us an understanding of your doctrine and principles, for we perceive that your ways are equal, and your righteousness far exceeds the righteousness of all the missionaries that we have yet become acquainted with,—that your conduct with one another is like that of ours, and that all your feasts and attendant ceremonies are precisely like ours.
Your servants, the committee, have viewed the Colorado river, with all its beautiful hills and valleys and fertile soil, with deep regret, when viewing the countless thousands of inhabitants on either side thereof, without the knowledge of God or the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say in their hearts, Would it be expedient to form a mission of those true and full-blooded Ephraimites, who, from principle, and the love of the truth, have borne the most extreme burdens, fatigue, and hunger, to prosecute the mission, to procure lumber sufficient to build the two houses, to open the door to all the regions which we have named, which regions have never yet had an opportunity to hear the Gospel and to be made acquainted with the plan of salvation? or shall they continue to suffer the fatigues of hunger, wet and cold, in a rigid, inclement climate, for the pitiful sum that it shall avail them, after undergoing those hazardous perils? or shall they, like Timothy and Titus, with Paul, hazard the perils of the sea and land through the Southern States and West India Islands, and all the Lamanite world, go forth and proclaim to them the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and teach them to build up Zion?
Are there not thousands of the rich planters who would embrace the Gospel, and, if they had a place to plant their slaves, give all the proceeds of their yearly labor, if rightly taught, for building up the kingdom, being directed by the President of the whole Church to make the right application? We answer, Yes, we believe they would.
Your servants, the committee, are of the opinion that a concerted and reciprocity of action between the North and the South would greatly advance the building up of the kingdom.
The committee is well informed of the Cherokee and the Chocktaw nations who live between the state of Arkansas and the Colorado river of the Texans, owning large plantations and thousands of slaves, and that they are also very desirous to have an interview with the Elders of this Church, upon the principles of the Book of Mormon.
This committee is of the opinion that they can choose soldiers for this expedition who are as undeviating in the principles of the doctrine of Christ and the Book of Mormon as the sun in his daily course, and as indefatigable in their exertions in this cause as the earth is in its daily revolution.
This committee views it as a matter of investigation, whether would the Southerner, with his slaves and abundance of wealth, do better to take them to some slave-holding point, keep them in lively exercise according to his former customs and habits turning over his yearly proceeds into the hands of the Trustee-in-Trust for the whole Church, or to abolish slavery and settle himself in a climate uncongenial to his nature and entirely derogatory to his former occupations in life?
After having procured the lumber for those two houses, the committee is of the opinion that the preaching of the Gospel and raising funds in the south would be a far more speedy way of accomplishing the work than any other that could be introduced at the present time.
We, your servants, therefore, will wait patiently the result of your council, and submit ourselves to the same with all cheerfulness, our only object being to advance the cause and kingdom of God, stand ready to take hold wherever your wise council may consider it to be of the most advantage.
This committee view with deep regret the many different teachings this Church has received concerning the distribution of their property, such as raising funds for the printing of tracts, evidences of the Book of Mormon, and pamphlets of various descriptions, which we consider has not advanced the cause in the least degree, but has tended directly to sap the foundation of building the houses.
We therefore believe that no person embracing the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should give any part or parcel of the property without a direct counsel, written or oral, from the First Presidency of the Church.
Whereas the committee having appointed George Miller and Lyman Wight to write the views of the committee, each wrote separate and apart, having laid the same before the committee, the committee resolved that both productions be sent without alterations.
We, the committee, conclude by subscribing ourselves your friends and well-wishers in the Lord, praying a speedy answer from your worthy council, or the word of the Lord.
Phineas R. Bird,
Select Committee to write expressing the views of the branch of the Church at Black River Falls.
Joseph Smith, Sen., P. C.
Brigham Young, P. T.
William Richards, Clerk.
The brethren went into council on the subject matter of the letters during the evening.
Monday 11.—At home till nine; then spent the day in council in the lodge room over Henry Miller’s house.
Special Council Meeting on Wight and Miller Letters.
Present—Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, George A. Smith, William W. Phelps, John M. Bernhisel, Lucien Woodworth, George Miller, Alexander Badlam, Peter Haws, Erastus Snow, Reynolds Cahoon, Amos Fielding, Alpheus Cutler, Levi Richards, Newel K. Whitney, Lorenzo D. Wasson, and William Clayton, whom I organized into a special council, to take into consideration the subject matter contained in the above letters, and also the best policy for this people to adopt to obtain their rights from the nation and insure protection for themselves and children; and to secure a resting place in the mountains, or some uninhabited region, where we can enjoy the liberty of conscience guaranteed to us by the Constitution of our country, rendered doubly sacred by the precious blood of our fathers, and denied to us by the present authorities, who have smuggled themselves into power in the States and Nation.
1. Nauvoo was unfortunate in being overrun with pettifogging lawyers at this time, and it was to these, doubtless, that the disparaging remarks of both the Prophet and Hyrum, respecting lawyers referred. It is unfortunate that they did not segregate the pettifoggers from the worthy men of the profession; than whom no class of citizens, and no other profession, render more valuable service to the state.