Memorial of City Council to Congress Anent Missouri Affairs—Rockwell’s Return to Nauvoo—Recital of His Adventures—Avery’s Acquittal by Missouri’s Courts—Nauvoo’s Police Force Increased—Publications on Mormonism, Pro et Con—1843.
Thursday, December 21, 1843.—About one o’clock in the morning I was alarmed by the firing of a gun, got up, and went down to the river bank to see the guard, and inquire the cause of it. To my surprise, they had not heard it, although I felt sure it was fired in Montrose. The morning proved it to be correct, some rowdies in Montrose had been firing in the night.
At noon met with the City Council which voted that Councilor Orson Pratt present the Memorial and Ordinance to Congress.
Passed “An ordinance to prevent unlawful search or seizure of person or property by foreign [i.e. outside] process in the city of Nauvoo.”
Heber C. Kimball resigned his office as city auctioneer and Charles Warner was re-elected.
John P. Greene was duly elected city marshal, in the room of Henry G. Sherwood, who expects to leave soon.
The Prophet for a Clean, Orderly City.
I gave instructions to the marshal and policemen to see that all carrion is removed out of the city, and all houses kept in order,—to stop the boys when fighting in the streets, and prevent children from floating off on the ice, and correct anything out of order, like fathers; and I offered to build the city jail, if it was left to my dictation, which the Council authorized me to do.
I insert the Memorial from the City Council to the Congress of the United States for redress of grievances and protection from further persecution, which was signed by them:—
Memorial of the City Council to Congress.
“To the Honorable Senators and Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
We, the undersigned members of the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, citizens of Hancock County, Illinois, and exiles from the State of Missouri, being in council assembled, unanimously and respectfully, for ourselves, and in behalf of many thousands of other exiles, memorialize the honorable Senators and Representatives of our nation upon the subject of the unparalleled persecutions and cruelties inflicted upon us and upon our constituents by the constituted authorities of the State of Missouri, and likewise upon the subject of the present unfortunate circumstances in which we are placed in the land of our exile. As a history of the Missouri outrages has been extensively published, both in this country and in Europe, it is deemed unnecessary to particularize all of the wrongs and grievances inflicted upon us in this memorial. As there is an abundance of well-attested documents to which your honorable body can at any time refer, hence we only embody the following important items for your consideration.
First:—Your memorialists, as freeborn citizens of this great republic, relying with the utmost confidence upon the sacred “articles of the Constitution,” by which the several States are bound together, and considering ourselves entitled to all the privileges and immunities of free citizens in what State soever we desired to locate ourselves, commenced a settlement in the county of Jackson, on the western frontiers of the State of Missouri, in the summer of 1831.
There we purchased lands from the Government, erected several hundred houses, made extensive improvements, and shortly the wild and lonely prairies and stately forests were converted into well cultivated and fruitful fields. There we expected to spend our days in the enjoyment of all the rights and liberties bequeathed to us by the sufferings and blood of our noble ancestors. But alas! our expectations were vain.
Two years had scarcely elapsed before we were unlawfully and unconstitutionally assaulted by an organized mob, consisting of the highest officers in the county, both civil and military, who openly and boldly avowed their determination in a written circular to drive us from said county.
As a specimen of their treasonable and cruel designs, your honorable body are referred to said circular, of which the following is but a short extract,—namely: “We the undersigned citizens of Jackson county, believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled and are still settling in our county, styling themselves Mormons, and intending as we do to rid our society, ‘peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must;’ and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient and of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose.”
This document was closed in the following words—”We therefore agree that, after timely warning, and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace, as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them; and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.”
To this unconstitutional document were attached the names of nearly every officer in the county, together with the names of hundreds of others.
It was by this band of murderers that your memorialists, in the year 1833, were plundered of their property and robbed of their peaceable homes. It was by them that their fields were laid waste, their houses burned, and their men, women, and children, to the number of about twelve hundred persons, banished as exiles from the county, while others were cruelly murdered by their hands.
Second: After our expulsion from Jackson county, we settled in Clay county, on the opposite side of the Missouri river, where we purchased lands both from the old settlers and from the [U. S.] Land Office: but soon we were again violently threatened by mobs, and obliged to leave our homes, and seek out a new location.
Third: Our next settlement was in Caldwell county, where we purchased the most of the land in said county, beside a part of the lands in Daviess and Carroll counties. These counties were almost entirely in a wild and uncultivated state; but, by the persevering industry of our citizens, large and extensive farms were opened in every direction, well stocked with numerous flocks and herds. We also commenced settlements in several other counties of the state, and once more confidently hoped to enjoy the hard-earned fruits of our labor unmolested.
But our hopes were soon blasted. The cruel and murderous spirit which first began to manifest itself in the constituted authorities and inhabitants of Jackson county, and afterwards in Clay and the surrounding counties, receiving no check either from the civil or military power of the state, had in the meantime taken courage, and boldly and fearlessly spread its contaminating and treasonable influence into every department of the government of said state. Lieutenant-Governor Boggs, a resident of Jackson county, who acted a conspicuous part in our expulsion from said county, instead of being tried for treason and rebellion against the Constitution, and suffering the just penalty of his crimes, was actually elected governor; and placed in the executive chair.
Thus the inhabitants of the State were greatly encouraged to renew with redoubled fury, their unlawful attacks upon our defenseless settlements. Men, women, and children were driven away in every direction before their merciless persecutors, robbed of their possessions, their property, their provisions, and their all, cast forth upon the bleak, snowy prairies, houseless and unprotected. Many sank down and expired under their accumulated sufferings, while others, after enduring hunger and the severities of the season, suffering all but death, arrived in Caldwell county, to which place they were driven from all the surrounding counties, only to witness a still more heart-rending scene.
In vain had we appealed to the constituted authorities of Missouri for protection and redress of our former grievances. In vain we now stretched out our hands and appealed as the citizens of this great republic to the sympathies, to the justice, and magnanimity of those in power. In vain we implored again and again at the feet of Governor Boggs, our former persecutor, for aid and protection against the ravages and murders now inflicted upon our defenseless and unoffending citizens. The cry of American citizens, already twice driven and deprived of liberty, could not penetrate their adamantine hearts.
The Governor, instead of sending us aid, issued a proclamation for our extermination and banishment, ordered out the forces of the State, placed them under the command of General Clark, who, to execute these exterminating orders, marched several thousand troops into our settlements in Caldwell county, where, unrestrained by fear of law or justice, and urged on by the highest authority of the state, they laid waste our fields of corn, shot down our cattle and hogs for sport, burned our dwellings, inhumanly butchered some eighteen or twenty defenseless citizens, dragged from their hiding-places little children, and placing the muzzles of their guns to their heads, shot them [such acts being accompanied] with the most horrid oaths and imprecations.
An aged hero and patriot of the Revolution, who served under General Washington, while in the act of pleading for quarter, was cruelly murdered and hewed in pieces with an old corn cutter; and in addition to all these savage acts of barbarity, they forcibly dragged virtuous and inoffensive females from their dwellings, bound them upon benches used for public worship, where they in great numbers ravished them in the most brutal manner.
Some fifty or sixty of the citizens were thrust into prisons and dungeons, where, bound in chains, they were fed on human flesh, while their families and some fifteen thousand others were at the point of the bayonet, forcibly expelled from the State.
In the meantime, to pay the expenses of these horrid outrages, they confiscated our property, and robbed us of all our possessions.
Before our final expulsion, with a faint and lingering hope we petitioned the State legislature then in session, unwilling to believe that the virtue and patriotism of the venerable fathers of the Revolution had fled from the bosoms of their illustrious descendants—unwilling to believe that American citizens could appeal in vain for a restoration of liberty cruelly wrested from them by cruel tyrants. But in the language of our noble ancestors, “our repeated petitions were only answered by repeated injuries.”
The legislature, instead of hearing the cries of 15,000 suffering, bleeding, unoffending citizens, sanctioned and sealed the unconstitutional acts of the governor and his troops, by appropriating 200,000 dollars to defray the expenses of exterminating us from the State. No friendly arm was stretched out to protect us. The last ray of hope for redress in that State was now entirely extinguished. We saw no other alternative but to bow down our necks and wear the cruel yoke of oppression, and quietly and submissively suffer ourselves to be banished as exiles from our possessions, our property, and our sacred homes, or otherwise see our wives and children coldly butchered and murdered by tyrants in power.
Fourth. Our next permanent settlement was in the land of our exile, the State of Illinois, in the spring of 1839; but even here we are not secure from our relentless persecutor, the State of Missouri. Not satisfied in having drenched her soil in the blood of innocence, and expelling us from her borders, she pursues her unfortunate victims into banishment, seizing upon and kidnapping them in their defenseless moments, dragging them across the Mississippi river, upon their inhospitable shores, there they are tortured, whipped, immured in dungeons, and finally hung [as a means of torture, but not unto death] by the neck without any legal process what ever.
We have memorialized the former Executive of this State, Governor Carlin, upon these lawless outrages committed upon our citizens; but he rendered us no protection. Missouri, receiving no check in her murderous career, continues her depredations, again and again kidnapping our citizens and robbing us of our property; while others, who fortunately survived the execution of her bloody edicts, are again and again demanded by the Executive of that State, on pretense of some crime said to have been committed by them during the exterminating expedition against our people.
As an instance, General Joseph Smith, one of your memorialists, has been three times demanded, tried, and acquitted by the courts of this State, upon investigation under writs of habeas corpus, once by the United States Court for the District of Illinois, again by the Circuit Court of the State of Illinois, and lastly by the Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo, when at the same time a nolle prosequi had been entered by the courts of Missouri upon all the cases of that State against Joseph Smith and others.
Thus the said Joseph Smith has been several times tried for the same alleged offense, put in jeopardy of life and limb, contrary to the fifth article of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States; and thus we have been continually harassed and robbed of our money to defray the expenses of these vexatious prosecutions. And what at the present time seems to be still more alarming, is the hostility manifested by some of the authorities and citizens of this State [Illinois.] Conventions have been called, inflammatory speeches made, and many unlawful and unconstitutional resolutions adopted to deprive us of our rights, our liberties, and the peaceable enjoyment of our possessions.
From the present hostile aspect, and from bitter experience in the State of Missouri, it is greatly feared lest the barbarous scenes acted in that State will be re-acted in this. If Missouri goes unpunished, others will be greatly encouraged to follow her murderous examples.
The afflictions of your memorialists have already been overwhelming—too much for humanity, too much for American citizens to endure without complaint. We have groaned under the iron hand of tyranny and oppression these many years. We have been robbed of our property to the amount of two millions of dollars. We have been hunted as wild beasts of the forest. We have seen our aged fathers who fought in the Revolution and our innocent children alike slaughtered by our persecutors; we have seen the fair daughters of American citizens insulted and abused in the most inhuman manner; and finally we have seen fifteen thousand souls—men, women and children, driven by force of arms during the severities of the winter from their sacred homes and firesides, penniless and unprotected, to a land of strangers.
Under all these afflicting circumstances, we imploringly stretch forth our hands towards the highest councils of our nation, and humbly appeal to the illustrious Senators and Representatives of a great and free people for redress and protection.
Hear, O hear the petitioning voice of many thousands of American citizens, who now groan in exile on Columbia’s free soil! Hear, O hear the weeping and bitter lamentations of widows and orphans, whose husbands and fathers have been cruelly martyred in the land where the proud eagle exulting soars! Let it not be recorded in the archives of the nations that Columbia’s exiles sought protection and redress at your hands, but sought it in vain. It is in your power to save us, our wives, and our children from a repetition of the bloodthirsty scenes of Missouri, and greatly relieve the fears of a persecuted and injured people, by ordaining for their protection the following ordinance, namely—
For the protection of the people styled the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, residing on the western borders of the State of Illinois.
Whereas the State of Missouri at sundry times has unconstitutionally deprived a certain portion of her citizens (called “Mormons,”) of their rights, property, lands, and even of their lives:
And whereas, in the years 1838 and 1839 the said State of Missouri with impunity did illegally and inhumanly exile and banish for ever from her limits and jurisdiction all the said citizens (called “Mormons,”) that remained alive.
And whereas, after being hospitably received by the citizens of Illinois, the said State of Illinois did grant, enact, and charter for the benefit and convenience of the said exiled “Mormons” as follows:—[Here in the original document is inserted the city charter of Nauvoo already published, Vol. 4, pp 239-249.]
And whereas, by the 10th article of the Constitution of the United States as amended—”Art. 10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;” and whereas, according to the fourth article and section second, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States:” and whereas, according to the second paragraph of the third section of said Constitution, “The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make the needful rules and regulations respecting territory;” and whereas the said Congress has the power to protect each state against invasion and insurrection: and whereas most of the inhabitants of the city of Nauvoo are exiles from the State of Missouri: and whereas most of the lands owned in the State of Missouri were purchased from the United States, and patented by the United States to the amount of more than $200,000 worth: and whereas the United States are bound to clear the title and protect it: and whereas the said exiles or expelled “Mormons” have lost in property and damages about two millions of dollars: and whereas the said State of Missouri continues her ravages, persecutions, and plunderings, by kidnapping said exiles from Illinois, and by other depredations:
Now, therefore, to show the fatherly care of the United States, to ratify the said charter, to protect the said exiles from mob violence, and shield them in their rights:—
Section 1. Be it ordained by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that all the rights, powers, privileges, and immunities belonging to Territories, and not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, are hereby granted and secured to the inhabitants of the city of Nauvoo, in addition to the spirit, letter, meaning, and provisions of the afore-mentioned charter, or act of incorporation from the State of Illinois, until the State of Missouri restores to those exiled citizens the lands, rights, privileges, property, and damage for all losses.
Section 2. And be it further ordained, in order to effect the object and further intention of this ordinance, and for the peace, security, happiness, convenience, benefit, and prosperity of the said city of Nauvoo, and for the common weal and honor of our country, that the mayor of Nauvoo be, and he is hereby empowered by this consent of the President of the United States; whenever the actual necessity of the case and the public safety shall require it, to call to his aid a sufficient number of United States forces, in connection with the Nauvoo Legion, to repel the invasion of mobs, keep the public peace, and protect the innocent from the unhallowed ravages of lawless banditti that escape justice on the western frontier; and also to preserve the power and dignity of the Union.
Section 3. And be it further ordained that the officers of the United States army are hereby required to obey the requisitions of this ordinance.
Section 4. And be it further ordained that, for all services rendered in quelling mobs and preserving the public peace the said Nauvoo Legion shall be under the same regulations, rules, and laws of pay as the troops of the United States.
City of Nauvoo, Illinois, December 21st, 1843.
Hyrum Smith, Benjamin Warrington,
John Taylor, Daniel Spencer,
Orson Pratt, Brigham Young,
W. W. Phelps, Orson Hyde,
Heber C. Kimball,
Daniel H. Wells,
Geo. A. Smith,
Geo. W. Harris,
Joseph Smith, Mayor;
Willard Richards, Recorder;
John P. Greene, Marshal. 1
Two letters came into the post-office from the sheriff of Clark County, Missouri. From them it appears that that State wishes to continue the old game of seizing witnesses and making prisoners of them, to cover up her mobocracy and kidnapping under a legal form. The following answer was written:—
Letter: W. W. Phelps to J. White, Esq., Anent Avery Affair.
City of Nauvoo, Ill., Dec. 21, 1843.
Sir,—Two letters were put into my hands this morning relative to the witnesses of Mr. Avery’s innocence as to being accessory to horse stealing some four years since. In the first place, Mr. Avery was abducted from this State without process, contrary to law. In the second place, the principal for felony by the law of Missouri should be indicted within three years, &c. Again, the revised statutes of Missouri have a wise provision in such cases as Mr. Avery’s. If Mr. Avery, therefore, will sue out a commission according to the law concerning depositions, (R. S., page 219 to 222,) directed to Alderman Geo. W. Harris, an acting justice of the peace for the city of Nauvoo, and county of Hancock, the necessary testimony to establish Mr. Avery’s innocence will be taken according to law, and forwarded to the proper officer in due time.
W. W. Phelps.
J. White, Esq., Dep. Sheriff,
Clark Co., Waterloo, Mo.
P.S. You will have the politeness to show this to Mr. Avery.
In the evening I was visited by several strangers, and had considerable conversation with them.
Friday, 22.—At home at nine o’clock, A.M., reading a magazine to my children.
Attitude of Prophet on Mobocracy and Politics.
A little after twelve went into the store-room occupied by Butler and Lewis, and commenced a conversation with Dr. John F. Charles, to convince him that mobocracy is not justifiable, and that I did not deal in politics.
David Holman, living about two miles from Ramus, went out in the evening with his family visiting. About ten o’clock he discovered his house on fire. The neighbors had inquired how long he would be gone. A man rode to Carthage. A company went up, secured the provisions to themselves, and fired the house.
Warm and pleasant weather.
Saturday, 23.—At home, counseling the brethren who called on me, and attending to my domestic duties, making preparations for a Christmas dinner party.
Prayer meeting in the Assembly Room.
Sunday, 24.—At home. Received a visit from Mr. Richardson, one of the men who assisted in kidnapping Avery. He manifested some repentance and sorrow for his part in that transaction, and promised to use what influence he had with the Missourians to have Avery set at liberty.
A Christmas Serenade.
Monday, 25.—This morning, about one o’clock, I was aroused by an English sister, Lettice Rushton, widow of Richard Rushton, Senior, (who, ten years ago, lost her sight,) accompanied by three of her sons, with their wives, and her two daughters, with their husbands, and several of her neighbors, singing, “Mortals, awake! with angels join,” &c., which caused a thrill of pleasure to run through my soul. All of my family and boarders arose to hear the serenade, and I felt to thank my Heavenly Father for their visit, and blessed them in the name of the Lord. They also visited my brother Hyrum, who was awakened from his sleep. He arose and went out of doors. He shook hands with and blessed each one of them in the name of the Lord, and said that he thought at first that a cohort of angels had come to visit him, it was such heavenly music to him.
At home all day. About noon, gave counsel to some brethren who called on me from Morley Settlement, and told them to keep law on their side, and they would come out well enough.
At two o’clock, about fifty couples sat down at my table to dine. While I was eating, my scribe called, requesting me to solemnize the marriage of his brother, Dr. Levi Richards, and Sara Griffiths; but as I could not leave, I referred him to President Brigham Young, who married them.
Rockwell’s Return to Nauvoo.
A large party supped at my house, and spent the evening in music, dancing, &c., in a most cheerful and friendly manner. During the festivities, a man with his hair long and falling over his shoulders, and apparently drunk, came in and acted like a Missourian. I requested the captain of the police to put him out of doors. A scuffle ensued, and I had an opportunity to look him full in the face, when, to my great surprise and joy untold, I discovered it was my long-tried, warm, but cruelly persecuted friend, Orrin Porter Rockwell, just arrived from nearly a year’s imprisonment, without conviction, in Missouri.
The following is his statement of his experience and sufferings by that people:—
Rockwell’s Experience in Missouri.
I, Orrin Porter Rockwell, was on my way from New Jersey to Nauvoo; and while at St. Louis, on the 4th March, 1843, was arrested by a Mr. Fox, on oath of Elias Parker, who swore I was the O. P. Rockwell advertised in the papers as having attempted to assassinate Lilburn W. Boggs, and was taken before a magistrate in St. Louis.
I was then put into the St. Louis county jail, and kept two days with a pair of iron hobbles on my ankles. About midnight, was taken into the stage coach in charge of Fox, and started for Jefferson City. There were nine passengers, two of them women. I sat on the middle seat. One of the men behind me commenced gouging me in the back. I spoke to him, and told him that it was dark, and I could not see him, but that he was no gentleman. One of the ladies whispered to him, and he ceased the operation.
The next night, the driver, being drunk, ran against a tree, and broke the king bolt; and not knowing what to do, ironed as I was, I crawled into the boot, and found an extra bolt, and in the dark fixed the coach, got it off the tree, and we started on. Soon after, ran against a bank, and could not move. I was asleep at the time, but the bustle awake me, when I told them, if they would take off my irons, I would get off and drive, as the driver was too drunk to manage the horses. They refused. I, however, got hold of the lines, and, by the help of other passengers lifting at the wheels, got it righted, and I drove to the next stand, near the Osage river. The roads were very bad, and the load heavy; so we got along slowly.
There was an officer of the U. S. army in the coach. We were two days and two nights from St. Louis in reaching Jefferson City, where I was lodged in the jail two days and two nights. The U. S. officer went on.
Started on for Independence, still in charge of Fox. At Boonville, overtook the U.S. officer. We three were all that were in the coach all the way from Boonville to Independence. Sheriff Reynolds told me afterwards that when he looked into the stage he took me for the guard, and the officer for the prisoner, for he looked like the guilty one.
Was about four days going to Independence: arrived there just at night. A large crowd gathered around, making many remarks. Some were for hanging me at once. I was then placed in the jail. In two or three days, underwent a sham trial before a justice of the peace. The courthouse was crowded, and the men were armed with hickory clubs. They set on boys from ten to twelve years of age to kick and punch me, which they did repeatedly. While in court, Fox was the main witness introduced, and he swore falsely.
Fox swore that I had stated to him that I had not been in the county for five years. I informed the court that Fox swore falsely, in proof thereof that the people of Independence knew that I had traveled through Independence several times during that time, for the people were all well aware of my having visited this place, which fact alone should satisfy them that Fox was swearing for money, which I afterwards learned that he obtained and divided with Parker.
The magistrate committed me to prison for my safe preservation, as he was afraid the people would kill me; but he could find no crime against me. This I was told by the officer who conveyed me to prison.
I was re-committed to jail, still wearing the iron hobbles, and was kept in the upper part in the day-time, and in the dungeon at night, with a little dirty straw for a bed, without any bedding, no fire, and very cold weather. For eighteen days I was not free from shaking with cold. I then got permission to buy 1.5 bushels of charcoal, which I put into an old kettle, and kept a little fire. When that was gone, I could not obtain any more.
After I was arrested at St. Louis, I was visited by Joseph Wood, an apostate “Mormon,” who professed to be a lawyer. He was accompanied by Mr. Blanerhasset, who told me that everything I had would be taken from me, and proposed to take charge, keep, and return to me any property I might have with me. I let him have a pair of pistols, a bowie knife, and watch, which he never returned to me.
After the weather got a little warmer, they furnished me with a few old newspapers to read. A family lived at the corner of the jail. The women once in a while used to send out a little negro girl with a small basket of victuals. She handed up to the grate a big Missouri whip-stock, with a piece of twine, which I tied to the pole and drew up the basket, and let it down again.
I made a pin-hook and tied to the twine, and baited with a chunk of corn-dodger hard enough to knock a negro down with, and stuck it out of the grated window and fished for pukes. When passers-by came along, they would stop and gawk at me awhile, and pass on.
A preacher who had a family of girls lived on the opposite side of the street. The girls would watch and laugh at them, and call out and ask me if I got any bites. I replied, No, but some glorious nibbles.
Numbers were put into the jail with me at different times, and taken out again. One of them, who was charged with a fraudulent issue of U. S. Treasury notes, was allowed to have his saddle-bags with him They contained some fire-steels, gun-flints, and articles of Indian trade. I sawed the irons nearly off with one of the fire-steels. He got the negro girl to get him a knife, and I finished cutting the fetters with it. He would frequently call for a good supper and pay for it, which was allowed him, but not allowed me. He was very anxious to escape, and urged me to undertake it with him. He ordered a good supper, and he ate very heartily. I would not eat, telling him that he could not run if he ate so much. Nearly dusk, as the jailer came in to get the dishes, we sprang to the door, and I locked him in, and threw the key into the garden. In coming down stairs, we met the jailer’s wife. I told her that her husband was unharmed; I had only locked him up. We had a board fence to climb over, which was about twelve feet high. I climbed it and ran about twenty rods, when he called me to come and help him over, which I did. If I had not, I should have escaped. The pure air had so great an effect upon me, that I gave out and slacked my pace, The populace of the place came up, and I told them to run; they would soon catch him; and that I had given out and could not run. They soon returned with him. I fell into the crowd and walked back to the jail yard.
Sheriff J. H. Reynolds laid his hand upon my shoulder, he being the first to approach me. Asked where the key was. I told him, In the garden.
Smallwood Nowlin was the first who proposed to hang me on the spot, when Reynolds gave me a push towards the crowd, and said, “There he is, G—d—n him! Do what you damn please with him.” Nowlin’s son in-law (by marrying one of his mulatto wenches), a Mexican, stepped up to me to lay hold of me, when I told him to stand off, or I would mash his face. He stepped back.
I then walked up stairs into the jail. Was followed by Reynolds and others, until the room and stairs were full. Reynolds asked me what I had cut my irons off with. I went to the saddle-bags and handed him the knife and fire-steel. While feeling for them, I got hold of a piece of buckskin that had some three or four pounds of bullets tied up in it which I intended to use in mashing in the head of any one that should attempt to put a rope on my neck. A rope was passed along over the heads of the people into the room to a bald-headed man. About this time pistols could be heard cocking in every part of the room, and bowie-knives were produced as if for fight. In a few minutes the room was clear of all but three or four persons.
I was then put into the dungeon, my feet ironed together, my right hand to my left foot, so close that I could not half straighten myself. The irons, when put on my wrists, were so small that they would hardly go on, and swelled them; but in eighteen days I could slip them up and turn them around my arm at the elbow. I was fed on cold corndodger and meat of the poorest description; and if I did not eat it all up, it was returned the next time.
About a month after the court sat, my irons were taken off, and I was so weak that I had to be led to the court room by the officer. I was notified that a bill was found against me for breaking jail, and that the grand jury had failed to find a bill against me on the charge of shooting Boggs, as charged in the advertisement offering a reward for my apprehension.
I was taken into court, and was asked by the judge if I had any counsel. I told him I had not. He asked if I had any means to employ a counsel. I answered that I had none with me that I could control. He then said, Here are a number of counselors: if I was acquainted with any of them, I could take my choice. I told him I would make choice of Mr. Doniphan, who arose and made a speech, saying he was crowded with business, but that here are plenty of young lawyers who could plead for me as well as he could. The judge heard his plea, and then told me he did not consider that a sufficient excuse, and I could consider Mr. Doniphan my counsel.
I was then ordered back to jail, and ironed again in the same way. Mr. Doniphan asked for and obtained a change of venue to Clay County, which is in another district.
When the officers came to Independence jail for me, they requested me to get ready in a hurry, as they feared the mob would kill me. I told them I wanted to put on a clean shirt, if it cost me my life, as I had not been permitted to enjoy the luxury of a change of linen since I had boarded at the expense of Jackson County. While I was changing my shirt, the officers several times told me to hurry, or the mob would be on me and kill me.
When I got ready to start, the officers furnished me a very hard-trotting horse, with a miserable poor saddle, tied my feet under the horse with ropes, and my hands behind my back, and started off at a good round trot, in charge of two officers. In a short time a strange gentleman fell into our company, who was also on horseback. It was six miles to the ferry, where we could cross the Missouri river. When we got there, we saw the boat land on the opposite side, when several men got off the boat, and took a course to the woods, through which the road ran. The boat returned. This stranger asked—”Where are those men going?” and was answered—”They are going to the woods to hew timber.”
We then crossed, and took our way for Liberty. When we left the boat, we saw no signs of people, nor heard any sound of axes. After traveling some two or three miles, the woods became dense and brushy: we heard the crackling of brush, and the noise of men traveling through it. The officers and stranger appeared frightened, and urged speed, keeping close watch. We came to an opening in the woods, when the noise of crackling of brush ceased. We traveled safely to Liberty, where this stranger told his friends that he overheard several men in Independence planning to waylay me in the thick timber on the Missouri bottom, at the place where we heard the noises; but his being in company counteracted their plot. I was then lodged in Liberty jail. In a few days afterwards I learned that the men who went into the brush told it, that they went into the woods according to agreement to waylay me; but when they saw this stranger, it frustrated their plans.
In about ten days, on pretext of informality in the papers, I was remanded back to Independence jail. It was rumored that I was again going to be waylaid, when the two officers from Clay county took me by a different road, and so I escaped the second time.
When I was put in Independence jail, I was again ironed hand and foot, and put in the dungeon, in which condition I remained about two months. During this time, Joseph H. Reynolds, the sheriff, told me he was going to arrest Joseph Smith, and they had received letters from Nauvoo which satisfied them that Joseph Smith had unlimited confidence in me, that I was capable of toting him in a carriage or on horseback anywhere that I pleased; and if I would only tote him out by riding or any other way, so that they could apprehend him, I might please myself whether I stayed in Illinois or came back to Missouri; they would protect me, and any pile that I would name the citizens of Jackson county would donate, club together, and raise, and that I should never suffer for want afterwards: “you only deliver Joe Smith into our hands, and name your pile.” I replied—”I will see you all damned first, and then I won’t.”
About the time that Joseph was arrested by Reynolds at Dixon, I knew that they were after him, and [yet had] no means under heaven of giving him any information. My anxiety became so intense upon the subject, knowing their determination to kill him, that my flesh twitched on my bones. I could not help it; twitch it would. While undergoing this sensation, I heard a dove alight on the window in the upper room of the jail, and commence cooing, and then went off. In a short time, he came back to the window, where a pane was broken: he crept through between the bars of iron, which were about two and-a-half inches apart. I saw it fly round the trap-door several times: it did not alight, but continued cooing until it crept through the bars again, and flew out through the broken window.
I relate this, as it was the only occurrence of the kind that happened during my long and weary imprisonment; but it proved a comfort to me: the twitching of my flesh ceased, and I was fully satisfied from that moment that they would not get Joseph into Missouri, and that I should regain my freedom. From the best estimates that can be made, this incident occurred about the time when Joseph was in the custody of Reynolds.
In a few days afterwards, Sheriff Reynolds came into the jail and told me that he had made a failure in the arrest of Joseph.
After the lawyers had been about two months making out fresh papers, I was again conveyed to Liberty jail on a miserable horse, with feet and hands tied as before, but [by] a different road.
In a few days afterwards, my mother found where I was, and she came to see me and brought me $100, whereby I was enabled to fee Mr. Doniphan for his services as counsel.
The time of trial being continually delayed, I began to be uneasy. I was handcuffed in the dungeon, which is the basement story of the prison, and is about nine feet high. I took down the stove-pipe, pushed my clothes up through the stove-pipe hole, and then crawled through the hole in the floor, which was made of logs about fourteen inches thick, into the upper room. The hole was so small that it scratched my flesh, and made me bleed from many wounds. I then examined the inside door, and with the bail of the water pail I unbolted it; but finding I could not get through the outside door, I returned to my dungeon through the same narrow pass.
The following night I made another attempt through the same way; but, failing to get through the outside door, I lay down on the upper floor, where the boys who were bringing my food next morning found me. They made an alarm, when five or six men came and again conveyed me down into the dungeon. It caused quite an excitement.
My mother, learning that Mr. Doniphan had returned home, went to him, and prevailed on him to come and speak to me at the dungeon grate. While he was talking to me, a little boy, the son of a poor widow, about five or six years old, who had previously been to see me, finding I had no fire, had run home and brought some fire and chips to the grate. Mr. Doniphan said—”You little devil you, what are you doing here with this fire?” He replied, “I am going to give it to Mr. Rockwell, so that he can warm him.” Doniphan then said—”You little devil you, take this fire and leave;” when the little urchin replied (looking him in the face)—”Mr. Doniphan, you go to hell:” I am going to give Mr. Rockwell this fire, so that he can warm him;” and he pushed it through the grate, gave me the chips, and continued to supply my daily wants of chips and fire while I continued in the dungeon.
From Mr. Doniphan I learned that a special term of court was called, and my trial would come on in about fifteen days. The night following this visit, some men came to the grates of my dungeon, and asked if I wanted to get out. I told them, No, as I had been informed that day that I should have a trial in a fortnight. They replied—”Honor bright: if you wish to get out, we’ll let you out in a few minutes.” I replied that I would rather remain, as my trial would come on so soon. Next morning one of the men came, put some money in the cleft of a stick, and put it through the hole to me. He refused to tell his name; but I knew by his voice that he was one of the men who came to me in the night.
The trial came on according to my last notification. I was tried for breaking Independence jail; and although the law of Missouri reads that, in order to break jail, a man must break a lock, a door, or a wall, still Judge King ruled that it was breaking jail to walk out when the door is open; and under this ruling the jury brought in a verdict of “five minutes’ imprisonment in the county jail;” but I was kept there four or five hours, during which time several attempts were made to get up some other charge against me.
About 8 P.M. on December 13th, General Doniphan took me out and told me I must take across the country on foot, and not walk on any traveled road, unless it was during the night, as they would be apt to follow and again take me, as they did not care on what grounds, so they could make me trouble.
I accordingly started, accompanied by my mother, and went to the house of a widow, where I obtained my first supper in freedom for more than nine months. We then traveled two miles and obtained $4.
I then took through the woods to the road, where I heard two men riding on horseback. I hid behind a shady tree, and overheard one of them say, “He has not been gone many minutes: we shall soon overtake him.”
I went round the houses and traveled in the fields by the side of the road. The moon was in its first quarter, and I traveled during the night about twenty-five miles. I carried a little food with me, and next day traveled on the road, and walked past Crooked River to a Mr. Taylor’s, with all the skin off my feet.
A neighbor offered to take me in for the night, if I would go back two miles. I did so, found his wife very cross with her husband, who said, “Stranger, you see my wife is very cross. I have got some whisky; let’s drink: my wife will soon have something to eat.” When supper was eaten, she became good tempered. I stayed in peace through the night. Next morning I ate breakfast with them, and gave them fifty cents, when the man brought out a horse, and sent a little boy with me fourteen miles, which was a very great relief to my weary feet.
The next night I stopped near where the Haun’s Mill massacre took place.
The third day I walked till noon, and then hired a man to carry me the remainder of the day for seventy-five cents. Stayed at a house where I was well acquainted; but the people did not recognize me, and I did not make myself known. Paid fifty cents for supper, lodging, breakfast, and being sent twelve miles on horseback the next morning.
I then continued my journey about thirty miles, where I rested three days to recruit my feet. I was then carried twenty-five miles on horseback, and walked the same day twenty-five miles. The day following I walked forty miles, and then waited another day and engaged a man to carry me to Montrose, to which place I was three days in going. I immediately crossed the river to Nauvoo in a small boat, and came straight to the Mansion.
Release of Daniel Avery.
Daniel Avery was liberated from his imprisonment in Missouri by habeas corpus. This was, no doubt, on account of our vigilance in communicating with the Governor, and endeavoring to prosecute the kidnappers, and continually making public the conduct of Missouri.
Warm day; rain in the evening.
A Plan For Women’s Subscriptions to the Temple.
(From the Millenial Star.)
We have much pleasure in publishing and recommending the following plan to be adopted amongst the sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England. We believe that the completion of the Temple is as near the hearts of the sisters as to the hearts of the brethren, and that the following proposed [plan] will be responded to on the part of the English sisters in a manner that shall reflect honor upon themselves, and be materially instrumental in forwarding the great work.
Nauvoo, Dec. 25, 1843.
To the Sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ in England, Greeting:—
Dear Sisters:—This is to inform you that we have here entered into a small weekly subscription for the benefit of the Temple funds. One thousand have already joined it, while many more are expected, by which we trust to help forward the great work very much. The amount is only one cent or a halfpenny per week.
As Brother Amos Fielding is waiting for this, I cannot enlarge more than to say that myself and Sister Thompson are engaged in collecting the same.
Your affectionate sisters in Christ,
M. R. Thompson.
Nauvoo, Dec. 25, 1843.
The ladies’ subscription for the Temple, of one cent per week, is fully sanctioned by the First Presidency.
We feel much to encourage this plan, and trust that the sisters in England will manifest that they will not be behind the sisters in Nauvoo in this laudable work. One thing in connection with this work we would mention, and request that it be attended to with the strictest accuracy; that is, that the name of each individual be recorded, and the amount which they subscribe, in order that such names may be transmitted to Nauvoo, where they will have to be entered in the books of the Lord’s House. The sisters or others who may collect the subscriptions will please to be very particular on this point.
Prophet’s Joy at the Return of Rockwell and Avery.
Tuesday, 26.—At home. I rejoiced that Rockwell had returned from the clutches of Missouri, and that God had delivered him out of their hands. Brother Daniel Avery also arrived about dusk this evening; and the Missourians have no longer the pleasure of exulting over any Mormon victims for the present; but their blood-thirstiness will not long be satisfied unless they seek out another victim on whom to glut their malice and vengeance.
Wednesday, 27:—Cold: a little ice in the river, which has been clear for some time past.
I received letters from General Lewis Cass, of Michigan, and Hon. John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, in answer to mine of Nov. 4.
Mr. Keith gave a lecture and concert of music in the assembly room this evening.
(Editorial from the Neighbor.)
The name of this individual is, no doubt, familiar to most of our readers. He has obtained some celebrity in the world also, not for his reputed virtue, but for his supposed crimes.
It will be recollected that he is the person who was basely and falsely implicated, along with Joseph Smith, as the reputed [would be] murderer of ex-Governor Boggs, while Mr. Smith was charged with being accessory before the fact. A vexatious lawsuit was instituted against Joseph Smith, wherein he was charged with the above-named crime; and finally, after many attempts of the governor of Missouri to get him into his power, was acquitted by the United States Court for the district of Illinois,
Stories of murder and blood were circulated from Maine to Missouri; they were iterated and reiterated by the newspapers of the whole Union, and painted in the most glowing colors that human ingenuity could invent. Mr. Rockwell was branded as a murderer, and Joseph Smith as accessory before the fact, without any other evidence than a story fabricated by some of our generous politicians, engendered in falsehood by hearts as dark as Erebus for religious and political effect.
This demagoguery and political corruption has caused an innocent man to be immolated in a Missouri dungeon for upwards of eight months, without the slightest evidence of his guilt, or even the most remote evidence of crime leading to his committal. He was taken without process, and committed to jail upon mere supposition, and finally acquitted without any shadow of proof having been adduced from beginning to end. This is the way that Missouri treats free-born American citizens, and they can obtain no redress.
Mr. Rockwell arrived here on Monday night, and has given us some of the details of his history since he was first taken in Missouri to the present time; and we can assure our readers that it will “a tale unfold” relative to that state, which even many of those who have been driven therefrom will find it difficult to believe that there did exist such monsters in human shape.
Thursday, 28.—At home. Elder Orson Hyde returned from Adams county, having obtained quite a number of signatures to the Memorial to Congress, and made an affidavit of what he learned in Warsaw concerning the mob.
Affidavit of Orson Hyde—Disclosing Plan to Drive the Saints.
State of Illinois,
City of Nauvoo. ss.
On the 28th day of December, 1843, came Orson Hyde before me, Joseph Smith, mayor of said city; and after being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that on the 26th instant, as he was passing from Lima to Nauvoo, through that part of Hancock county where Colonel Levi Williams resides, he was credibly informed that on Saturday previous the anti-Mormons held a meeting, drew up an article, and passed several resolutions, among which were these:—”We will revere and hold sacred and inviolate the Constitution of the United States, and also the Constitution of this State. We will visit the Mormons residing in our vicinity and require them to give up their guns; and such as do it shall dwell here in peace; but those who will not do it may have thirteen days to leave in; and if they are not off in that time, we will drive them.” The above is the substance, but perhaps not the very words. They also swear that the Mormons shall never raise another crop in that region, &c.; &c., and further this deponent saith not.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 28th of December, 1843.
W. W. Phelps, Clerk, M. C.
Daniel Avery having made affidavit of the cruel treatment he had recently received at the hands of Missourians, I here insert it:—
Affidavit of Daniel Avery—His Treatment in Missouri.
State of Illinois,
City of Nauvoo. ss.
On the 28th day of December, 1843, came Daniel Avery before me, Joseph Smith, mayor of the city aforesaid, and after being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that on the second day of December, 1843, he was unlawfully arrested by force and arms, and kidnapped at Doty’s Mill in Bear Creek precinct, Hancock county, and State aforesaid, by Colonel Levi Williams, his son John Williams, of Hancock county; John Elliott, a schoolmaster, from four-and-a-half miles below Warsaw; William Middleton and Joseph McCoy, of Clark county, Missouri, and four others. Colonel Williams held his bowie-knife to his breast. Six of the others stood with their pistols cocked and their fingers upon the triggers, muzzles presented at his body, ready to fire; and two stood with clubs, and amidst the most horrid oaths and imprecations, took and bound with silk handkerchiefs your said affiant, and led him away between two men, one holding a savage bowie-knife on one side, and the other a cocked pistol on the other side, (having taken away your said affiant’s weapons while binding him in the mill,) and led your affiant about a mile. Your affiant refused to walk any further, and they put him upon a horse, and tied his legs under the horse; and John Elliott, the aforesaid schoolmaster, led the horse as fast as he could make his way, through a thicket and by-way to the house of the aforesaid Colonel Williams. Here the kidnappers ate and drank; and after they had unbound me, (for they had bound me so tight that I was in great pain,) I was also suffered to partake.
They then put me upon the horse again, and bound me, and started for the river, the said schoolmaster Elliott leading the horse. When we came near a schoolhouse where there was a meeting, they came to a halt, sent messengers to the meeting, and in the course of half an hour they returned with an armed mob, with rifles and other weapons, sufficient to make the whole company number about twenty. Being all on horseback, they formed a circle, with your affiant in the center, (who up to that time had acquainted every man he saw that they were kidnapping him,and marched in that order to a house on a point below Warsaw; and as I was very cold from being bound, they took me into the house to warm. I now called for a trial, as I had told them all the way that I never resisted legal authority. They said they were hunting a magistrate. Said I, “I understand you; you mean to force me into Missouri.” McCoy returned, and said, “We are ready.” It was about midnight. We went about three hundred yards up the river to a skiff. I refused to cross as they had promised me a trial. They forced me into a skiff and bound me, and five men put me across. Their names, so far as I could ascertain, are William Middleton, William Clark, Joseph McCoy, John Elliott, and Charles Coolidge. They landed at the tavern on the south side of the Des Moines, and took me into a back room, threw down a buffalo robe for my bed; but as my arms were bound so tight that I could not rest, I complained; told Middleton that was not the way he was used at my house. They felt at my arms and exclaimed, “By God, they are not too tight!” I begged to have one arm liberated, and finally they untied both, and I slept (under guard) on the buffalo robe before the fire.
About noon they got ready and started with me, guarded upon a horse, for McCoy’s in Clark county, Missouri, about twelve miles distant. It being night when we arrived, and I unwell through fatigue and confinement and the abuses before received, I went to bed. They had sent runners ahead; and after I had been in bed awhile, the sheriff came up from Waterloo, the county seat, a distance of about two miles, to arrest me and take me before a magistrate that night; but Middleton and McCoy objected, as I was sick. The sheriff, however, executed his writ, and left me in their care till morning. It being late before we breakfasted, he came in the morning and made the second scope of his authority and took me. He quizzed me the night before, to draw something out for testimony; but as innocence cannot be affected by truth, he was as wise at one end of the story as the other.
At Waterloo I was examined by a magistrate, who committed me upon the substance of an affidavit made by my son in duress with a bowie-knife at his breast, and upon a promise that he should be liberated from Monticello jail, where he was confined after being kidnapped some three or four weeks previous. My bonds were fixed at $1000; and as I had no bail in such a strange place, I was started for Palmyra jail, in Marion county. The deputy sheriff took me to Musgrove, the sheriff, a distance of ten miles. Here I sued out a writ of habeas corpus, but the judge remanded me to prison.
At Monticello my chains were taken off, and I was at liberty in the midst of a strong guard to view the town. Here a lawyer agreed to take me and my son through court (as the Missourians say,) for a horse. Saw my son in the prison; said he was forced at the point of a bowie-knife to make an affidavit against me; but he knew I was innocent.
I tried to be left with him in jail; but no, I was compelled to go to Palmyra, where I arrived the next evening. The sheriff thrust me into the dungeon without waiting to eat, warm, or anything else. The next morning the blacksmith came into the jail and ironed me to the middle of a great chain that was fast to the floor, where I remained in the horrid gloom of a Missouri prison two weeks.
From thence the deputy sheriff started, with me chained upon the horse in this wise. He then chained my right leg, and then passed the chain up to my left hand. In this way I traveled nine miles, when we stopped, and he changed the chain from my hand to the horse’s neck. We arrived at Monticello, and I was chained all night.
The next day I was conveyed to Waterloo, and delivered into the custody of the sheriff of Clark county. I was kept under a strong guard by day, and at night chained to one of the guards or to the bedpost.
I was informed that Middleton and McCoy procured an indictment against me, by giving bonds to the amount of some two or three hundred dollars, that they would hunt up testimony to the point for next court, there being nothing against me but the affidavit of my son before alluded to; and so the grand jury found a bill.
Ellison, my lawyer, deceived me, and put over my case for six months, because, as I suppose, I, being kidnapped, had no fees for him. I objected to having my trial put off for six months. I did not fancy the dungeon of Palmyra prison. The court concluded to let me to bail under bonds of $1000, but this I could not obtain. Subsequently it was reduced to $500, but all in vain, for I was unacquainted with the people.
This was on Saturday, and I was thus left to meditate on the mischief that may be made out of a little matter by meddlesome men.
On Monday I sued out a writ of habeas corpus; and after a fair hearing of the matter, I received the following order:—
State of Missouri,
County of Clark. ss.
December, 25, 1843.
Ordered by the Clark County Court that Samuel Musgrove, sheriff of Clark county, discharge Daniel Avery from imprisonment, on an indictment found against him for the alleged crime of stealing a mare of Joseph McCoy.[L. S.]
By order of Court.
Witness—Willis Curd, Clerk of said court, and seal of office this 25th of December, 1843.
Done at office in Waterloo, date above.
Willis Curd, Clerk.
Hons. John W. Dewellin,
Very early on Tuesday morning your affiant started for Nauvoo and arrived the same evening about sundown, a distance of nearly twenty miles so crippled from the iron bondage and hard usage of Missouri, that he is hardly able to walk. To those who assisted your said affiant to obtain his release from bondage, he tenders his grateful acknowledgements; and further your affiant saith not.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 28th day of December, 1843.
W. W. Phelps, Clerk, M. C.
Joseph H. Jackson—Prophet’s Inverview with.
Friday, 29.—At home. In the forenoon, W. W. Phelps called and gave us a lesson on eloquence, and read my Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys, and also a New Year’s hymn without rhyme. Three P.M., I related to Dr. Bernhisel and Joseph H. Jackson 2 my commencement in receiving revelations. Mr. Jackson said he was almost persuaded to be one with me. I replied, I would that he were not only almost, but altogether.
At four P.M., I met with the city council.
Police Force of Nauvoo Increased
Having selected forty men to act as city policemen, they met with the Council, and were sworn into office to support the Constitution of the United States and the State of Illinois, and obey the ordinances of this city and the instructions of the Mayor, according to the best of their ability.
Names of police called by Captain Jonathan Dunham:
Jonathan Dunham, High Policeman, Charles C. Rich, 1st Lieutenant,
Hosea Stout, 2nd Lieutenant, Shadrack Roundy, 3rd Lieut.,
John Pack, Ensign, Jesse P. Harmon, Orderly Sergt.,
John D. Lee, 2nd Sergeant, Daniel Carn, 3rd Sergeant,
Josiah Arnold, 4th Sergeant, James Emmett, 1st Corporal,
Alexander Mills, 2nd Corporal Steven H. Goddard, 3rd Corporal,
William Pace, 4th Corporal, Abraham C. Hodge, Pioneer,
Levi W. Hancock, Fifer, Daniel M. Repsher, Fifer,
Richard D. Sprague, Drummer, Samuel Billings, Drummer,
Abraham O. Smoot, Dwight Harding,
John Lytle, Simeon A. Dunn,
Andrew Lytle. Appleton M. Harmon,
Howard Egan, James Pace,
Benjamin Boyce, Francis M. Edwards,
Lorenzo Clark, William H. Edwards,
Davies McOlney, Moses M. Sanders,
Abram Palmer, Warren A. Smith,
Isaac C. Haight, George W. Clyde,
John L. Butler, Vernon H. Bruce,
Elbridge Tufts, Armsted Moffet,
Truman R. Barlow, Azra Adams.
The Mayor said—
Address of the Mayor to the Nauvoo Police.
It is expected that a part will be on duty while others rest. It might be expected that thieves had crept into the Church for the purpose of concealing their wickedness under the garb of sanctity.
It is an abominable thing to set a thief to catch a thief; and I would look with the utmost contempt upon men who do this as guilty of a mean or cowardly act.
Some city councils have taken thieves out of their prisons, and employed them as policemen, under the old and foolish adage—”Set a rogue to catch a rogue,” which is decidedly wrong, and is corrupt in policy.
You will act under the direction of Jonathan Dunham—we will call him High Policeman. In reality he is the captain of the police: but as men are apt to be frightened at a military title, we will use s civil title, as these policemen are all civil officers of the city.
Captain Dunham is the man to send after a thief. He will not come back, after following him a mile, to ask if he may shoot him, if he resists. Some men have strange ears and changeable hearts: they become transformed from their original purity and integrity, and become altogether different from what they were.
If the bloodthirsty hell-hounds of Missouri continue their persecution, we will be forbearing, until we are compelled to strike; then do it decently and in good order, and break the yoke effectually, so that it cannot be mended. The mob have been so repulsed in their last attempt at kidnapping, they may stand in fear, at least for a short time.
We will be in peace with all men, so long as they will mind their own business and let us alone. Even “Peace with Missouri” shall be the motto of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from this time forth, if they will stop their persecution and oppressive warfare against us. Let them alone, for they stink in the nostrils of the Almighty: let them alone. Porter Rockwell has come home clear. A Missouri grand jury could not find a bill against him even in Jackson county; and that proves me clear of the charge of being accessory of shooting Lilburn W. Boggs. Many of our difficulties from the State of Missouri are hurled upon us through the influence of some of our near neighbors.
Governor Ford has boasted of being a law-abiding man. A governor certainly should be law-abiding. It is therefore our best policy to acquaint the Executive, by affidavits, of every violation of our rights, so that when the onset comes, he will be obliged by law to send the militia to our support. Let us keep cool as a cucumber on a frosty morning. Do not be excited. Say nothing about Missouri’s oppression. “A soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger,” therefore we “poor pussy” this generation.
Keep a strict account of the time you serve as policemen. Have the ordinances of the city always in your possession, and study them, sad ferret out all grogshops, gambling-houses, brothels, and disorderly conduct; and if a transgressor resists, cuff his ears. If anyone lifts a weapon or presents a pistol at you, take his life, if need be, to preserve your own; but enforce the ordinances, and preserve the peace of the city, and take care of your own lives. Let no horses be taken away out of the city, or anything else stolen, if you can help it.
Let Missouri alone. Keep out of her territory. Don’t go over there on any business whatever. Any of this people would be subject to cruel abuse, if found in that State, in the same manner that Porter Rockwell has been. He was seized in St. Louis while attending to his lawful business, picked up and ironed, and thrown in jail without any form of law, conveyed to Independence in the custody of a ruffian who swore falsely in the hope of getting a reward, kept in irons all the way, lodged in Independence jail without even the form of an inquiry, chained double in a filthy, damp, unventilated dungeon,—chained hand and foot, so that he could not straighten for months, till his body was reduced to a mere skeleton, and he unable to walk when the irons were taken off, and he had to be led,—half fed on the refuse of what dogs would not eat: his case presented to a Jackson county grand jury, and not evidence enough to warrant them in even finding an indictment. After which, the Missouri court, in the plenitude of their justice, transmitted the innocent and unindicted man back to the dungeon, without fire, provisions, or any other comfort,—hoping by this torture, no doubt, to produce death, or force him to accede to an infamous proposition, “that whether Jo Smith was guilty or innocent, only come out against him, you shall have your liberty, and receive a liberal reward.” After months have passed away, without any shadow of law, the door is opened, and he is told to “slip off privately, or the people will hang you.” Keep out of Missouri, if you don’t want such treatment as this; for the Averys, Rockwell, and many others have been thankful to get away with their lives.
If any man attempts to bribe you in any way whatever, or persuade you to neglect your duty, tell the same to me. Let us have a reformation.
There are speculators in this State who are wanting to sell revolving pistols to us, in order to fight the Missourians, and at the same time inciting the Missourians to fight us. Don’t buy: it would be better to buy ploughshares and raise corn with them.
My life is more in danger from some little dough-head of a fool in this city than from all my numerous and inveterate enemies abroad. I am exposed to far greater danger from traitors among ourselves than from enemies without, although my life has been sought for many years by the civil and military authorities, priests, and people of Missouri; and if I can escape from the ungrateful treachery of assassins, I can live as Caesar might have lived, were it not for a right-hand Brutus. I have had pretended friends betray me. All the enemies upon the face of the earth may roar and exert all their power to bring about my death, but they can accomplish nothing, unless some who are among us and enjoy our society, have been with us in our councils, participated in our confidence, taken us by the hand, called us brother, saluted us with a kiss, join with our enemies, turn our virtues into faults, and, by falsehood and deceit, stir up their wrath and indignation against us, and bring their united vengeance upon our heads. All the hue-and-cry of the chief priests and elders against the Savior, could not bring down the wrath of the Jewish nation upon His head, and thereby cause the crucifixion of the Son of God, until Judas said unto them, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, he is the man; hold him fast.” Judas was one of the Twelve Apostles, even their treasurer, and dipt with their Master in the dish, and through his treachery, the crucifixion was brought about; and we have a Judas in our midst.
The Mayor blesses the Police.
It shall be said in time to come, Where are our old policemen? Let us have one of the old policemen, to stand at our window, guard our interest, and protect our families, and we shall be safe.
If you will magnify your office, the full confidence of Israel shall be the blessing that shall be conferred on you in time to come.
Counselor Hyrum Smith spoke of the importance of the police office.
The Mayor said that if any one offered a bribe to a policeman, the city will pay that policeman twice the amount offered for the information, when reported to the Mayor.
Friday, 29.—My clerk made copies of five affidavits made yesterday by Elder Orson Hyde, Mr. Daniel Avery, and others, and sent the same to the Governor, with the following letter:—
Letter to Governor Ford—Accompanying Affidavits.
Nauvoo, December 30, 1843.
Sir:—I forward to your Excellency a number of affidavits relative to the late kidnapping of the Averys, and upon other matters. When the mob made efforts to resist the laws, Joseph Smith, as Mayor, gave notice to Major-General Law to hold a portion of the Nauvoo Legion in readiness; and Aaron Johnson, Esq., called for some troops to maintain the laws: but I am happy to say, none were ordered to march, as it was deemed most advisable to let Colonel Levi Williams and his mob flourish until indictments could be made at the Circuit Court of Hancock county.
We shall continue to keep your Excellency informed upon all matters of moment touching the premises.
Saturday, 30.—At nine, A.M., held Mayor’s court. Two boys, Roswell and Evander White, were brought up for stealing six hens and a rooster. They were sentenced to pay for the fowls, and to ten days’ hard labor each on the streets.
In the afternoon, met in the assembly room with the quorum. William Law and wife were not present. Warm and rainy.
Sunday, 31st.—At home.
In the afternoon, called with Elder Parley P. Pratt to see his wife.
At early candle-light, went to prayer-meeting; administered the sacrament; after which I retired. At midnight, about fifty musicians and singers sang Phelps’ New Year’s Hymn under my window.
Warm and rainy. No ice to be seen.
The subjoined list shows a few of the publications for and against the Saints during the year.
Pro et con Mormonism, publications for the year 1843.
The Alton Telegraph published several very severe articles against the Church.
Edward Brotherton published a scurrilous pamphlet at Manchester, England, entitled “Mormonism—its Rise and Progress, and the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
The Richmond Palladium published an amusing and favorable article on “Mormonism.”
The Boston Bee published a series of articles favorable to the Saints, which had a beneficial effect in putting down prejudice and this representation.
A favorable account of a visit to Nauvoo was published by Samuel A. Prior, Methodist minister.
The Morning Star, a Freewill Baptist paper, published a long and bitter article against the Latter-day Saints, entitled “Mormon Perversion.”
A favorable article, entitled “Nauvoo and Mormonism,” was published by a Traveler.
The Quincy Whig published several bitter articles against me.
The Warsaw Message, and subsequently the Warsaw Signal, published a continual tirade of abuse, misrepresentation, and lies against the Saints.
The New Haven (Con.) Herald published a favorable account of the “Mormons” in Nauvoo.
2. This man afterwards was discovered to be an adventurer and a most desperate character. Gregg in his Prophet of Palmyra, Chapter 30, speaks of him as “an adventurer of fine appearance and gentlemanly manners, who appeared in the county (Hancock) during the troubles; went to Nauvoo, and became intimate with Smith and the leaders; afterwards turned against them—went to Warsaw and issued a pamphlet—claiming to be an expose of Mormonism and the evil purposes and practices of the Prophet * * * He was an entire stranger to the county and its people; no one knew whence he came or what became of him afterwards, when the excitement was all over. Hence it is just to say, that the equivocal position in which he stood very justly tended to lessen confidence of the public in his statements, and his little book made slight impression. The Mormons charged that he was an adventurer of the worst class—himself a counterfeiter, etc., and that he quarreled with the Prophet and the authorities because he was detected and exposed.” Gregg also says that this “Expose was much of the same character as that of General Bennett’s.” (Ibid).