The James Emmett Company Officially Visited—April Conference of 1845—Municipal Corporations under General State Law—Western Movement Proposed by Governor Ford
“Saturday, March 15, 1845.—Attended council at the Trustees’ Office: present—a quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Presidency of the Seventies, Temple Committee, Trustees and Architect. We decided to put all our help on the Temple—build a drain for the font——a wall on the south side of the Temple block—keep three cranes going, and stop building the dam in the Mississippi till next winter.
Afternoon, I attended the high council in company with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and John E. Page.
Elders Amasa M. Lyman and Daniel Spencer returned from their visit to Emmett’s company.
Lyman and Spencer’s Report of Emmett’s Company.
At five p. m,, the Twelve and Trustees repaired to the Mansion and heard Elder Lyman give an account of his late mission to Emmett’s company. He found them on the Iowa river one hundred and fifty miles west of the settlements in a deplorable condition, caused chiefly by the rigid enforcement of Emmett’s measures; he having limited their food to three gills of corn each per day. The company were much distressed and in all probability many would soon return to Nauvoo.
The Twelve and Trustees partook of supper provided by Brother John Pack at the Mansion; after which the band discoursed sweet music,
Mr. Brackenbury and company returned from Augusta; he had not been brought to trial, the party prosecuting alleging they were not ready; Brackenbury offered to admit the charge, and give bonds for his appearance at next court, which was all the justice of the peace could require, if the trial had proceeded and the charge had been sustained; but the justice would not do it, so determined were the mob to annoy Brackenbury and get an opportunity to do him personal violence. Mr. Brackenbury was arrested for perjury; but the real intention of the mob was to get him into their hands to murder him, to prevent his being a witness against the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
Sunday, 16.—Elder Amasa M. Lyman preached at the stand. He spoke as follows:
Amasa Lyman’s Further Report on the Emmett Company’s Conditions.
‘I have been in the woods and have seen those people who have gone into the wilderness to get their endowment. They have suffered much—have been reduced in their rations to three gills of corn per day, and latterly to two gills, hence you will not be surprised when I tell you that they have grown very poor. This is the way they live in the wilderness, still they profess to abide the counsel of the Twelve. Emmett is trustee-in-trust and Butler is second in command. Their countenances brightened up when they saw Brother Spencer and me, and found they were not all entirely cut off. The majority of them were under the impression that their movement was directed by the orders of the Twelve.
Brother Emmett did not manifest any disposition to follow the counsel of the Twelve, he said if the Twelve would live among the Gentiles longer he had no objections, but that he had endured the driving from Missouri with patience, and that he was clear from the blood of the Gentiles. He seemed determined to go ahead against the advice of God, man or the devil. He got his company to consecrate wife, children, clothing and everything they had, and place all their property under the control of the bishop; there is not one who can control a second suit of clothes. Brother Hilmer wanted to come away. Emmett said to him, ‘Did not you covenant to stand by us? If you want to be a covenant-breaker you can go.’ They have more arms than men. More than one-half of the party were for stopping. Orders were given for the arms to be brought in and piled. Those who declared their determination to go ahead took the arms and the others were commanded to stand and have their tents searched. The suffering they have endured is too bad to talk about. Once in a while their cattle die; they have not the trouble of killing them; they then go to work and eat them. I stayed one night, my heart was sick; I left and wrote to them.’
Remarks of Brigham Young on Emmett’s Company and Sundry Topics
I [Brigham Young] also addressed the meeting and said: ‘I will give a few of my own ideas in short. Living poor, being in the wilderness, etc., is nothing to me when I am called to endure it, but people who run headlong into misery and bring upon themselves suffering, do not arrive at anything but darkness and despair. There is not one of Emmett’s company that can claim the protection of heaven or any blessing of the everlasting gospel; their sufferings add nothing to their exaltation, but if the Lord had called them to pass through trials, they would have visions, revelations and faith (if necessity required) to cause him to feed them like the children of Israel. We told James Emmett, if he went, he would get into trouble: this congregation can be led by a thread. Religion is one thing and fanaticism is another.
Spring is here; we covenanted to labor on the Temple until it was finished and do all we could towards its completion; but we have not done it; if the brethren had continued, they might have worked on those walls four days a week. The stonecutters and joiners have been at work; the joiners have far exceeded our expectations this winter. The timber holds out, we keep using and there is enough left; there will be no lack of timber. If the brethren will go to work now, there will be no lack of provisions. We want the brethren to pay up their tithing. If you will haul wood, timber, etc., and help on the Temple you will find that it will be made up to you in your crops.
Since N. K. Whitney and George Miller have taken charge of the business, no man has needed anything but what has been supplied. I can call scores of men around me, who would sooner sacrifice every dollar they have, than the work on the Temple should stop. We can set four hundred men to work on the Temple. I do not want any man to go to preach till he is sent. If the world want to hear preaching let them come here, and if they really want the gospel, let them clean [up] Carthage jail.
I have proposed to the leading men of the Water Power Company, to put their work on the Temple. I will call the stockholders together, and give my reasons to them. We want to press forward the work on the Temple. I now proclaim to all saints who control means, to go to the Trustees and see if they want means to procure provisions, etc., for the hands; and I ask you to use all your influence to strengthen the hands of the Trustees.
I swear by the God of heaven that we will not spend money in feeing lawyers. All the lawsuits that have been got up against the saints, have been hatched up to fee lawyers, tavernkeepers, etc. I would rather have a six-shooter than all the lawyers in Illinois. I am sworn not to pay lawyers, but to pay our debts, and it will relieve us from an immense tax. Do not let there be a lot laying vacant in this town, join fences, for there is land enough in this city without going on to the prairie. I am going to drop the name Nauvoo and call this the ‘City of Joseph’. Tomorrow evening we want the bishops at the Masonic Hall, and we will organize them according to our notion of things. We have no police; the legislature has repealed our charter, and we mean to have the ‘City of Joseph’ organized. The streets shall be kept clear; and the poor cared for.
Departure of Wm. Marks from Nauvoo.
Brother Wm. Marks has gone without being ‘whittled’ out. He would hire a man for twenty-five cents a day and would make a man work two days in the harvest field for one bushel of wheat, which is one of the most low, dishonest, mean things a person can do.’
Elder Heber C. Kimball preached at Brother Luce’s on the occasion of the death of Brother Moses Horn.
Monday, 17.—One hundred and five extra laborers and about thirty teams commenced work at the Temple this morning in obedience to the call of yesterday to hasten its completion.
Tuesday, 18.—I met with General Council all day.
Wednesday, 19.—Colonel Hosea Stout, who was on duty this evening at my house [i. e. as watchman] called upon me and I had some conversation with him in regard to the saints settling the country near the headwaters of the Colorado of the west.
Thursday, 20.—Elder Heber C. Kimball and I called on Elder Richards and found him and his clerks engaged on the history: we proceeded to the Temple.
Evening, attended prayer meeting at Brother Joseph B. Noble’s.
Movement as to Brackenbury.
Friday, 21.—In company with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, John E. Page and A. W. Babbitt, I went to the Trustees’ Office and consulted in relation to the best course for Mr. Brackenbury to pursue. We agreed that he should sue out a writ of habeas corpus returnable before Judge Young at Quincy, and that Brother Babbitt should accompany him thither.
Evening, attended prayer meeting at Brother Joseph B. Noble’s.
Saturday, 22.—I attended the General Council. The subject of the western mission was considered and occupied the most of the day: the Nauvoo House, Printing Office, Church History and organization of the city were also matters of consideration.
Sunday, 23.—Elder Heber C. Kimball preached in the Music Hall on the building of the Temple.
Elder Wilford Woodruff attended a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland; four hundred and nine members were represented.
Monday, 24.—In company with the Twelve Apostles I attended a meeting at the Concert Hall in the evening. We ordained bishops who were directed to set apart deacons in their wards to attend to all things needful and especially to watch; being without any city organization, we deemed it prudent to organize the priesthood more strictly that the peace and good order hitherto sustained by the city might still be preserved.
Tuesday, 25.—I attended council with the Twelve and prayer meeting in the evening.
Arrival of English Saints.
Wednesday, 26.—Elder Amos Fielding with about fifty saints arrived this evening, being a portion of the company who left Liverpool, England, on the ship Palmyra; many of the company were unable to get further than St. Louis. At nine p.m., I rode to the upper landing and welcomed the saints, and directed the schoolhouse to be opened for the use of the company during the night.
Brother Perkins from Macedonia, brought word that the mob were making active preparations to make a break upon us about court time, which is the third Monday in May: they were collecting artillery and organizing themselves for a general raid.
Thursday, 27.—I attended council with the Twelve, the Trustees, the Temple Committee and Brother Amos Fielding at Father Cutler’s. Church matters and the plans of the mob were canvassed.
At three p.m., Brother Wm. W. Player finished setting the last trumpet stone on the capitals of the pilasters of the Temple. All the capitals and trumpet stones are now safe on the walls, which is a matter of rejoicing to all who love to witness the prosperity of the work. The weather has been sometimes very cold and at other times very windy, so that it has been impossible for the hands to continue on the walls, much of the time of late.
Friday, 28.—I attended a party at the Mansion; most of the Twelve and their families and about one hundred and forty others were present: the brass band performed some good pieces.
Saturday, 29.—Elder Kimball and I called on Elder Richards at the Historian’s Office; thence we proceeded to the Temple.
Elder Orson Hyde preached at the stand on the occasion of a Masonic funeral.
Sunday, 30.—I preached to the saints. It was very windy. It rained in the afternoon.
Monday, 31.—Elder Wilford Woodruff attended a conference at Liverpool, England: twelve branches were represented containing six hundred and seventy-six members.
Advice Sought From Governor Ford.
I wrote to Governor Ford asking his counsel in relation to the reorganization of the militia of the city of Nauvoo, as the Legion was dissolved by a repeal of the charter, and soliciting his vie on the great western measure: and also whether it would be the best policy to organize Nauvoo under the act for organizing towns.
Tuesday, April 1, 1845.—I commenced revising the History of Joseph Smith at Brother Richards’ office: Elder Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith were with me. President Joseph Smith had corrected forty-two pages before his massacre. It afforded us great satisfaction to hear Brother Richards read the history of the infancy of the church. Adjourned at eleven p.m. having read one hundred and forty pages in Book ‘A’.
Wednesday, 2.—Engaged at Elder Richards’ office with Elders Kimball and Smith revising Church History.
Brother Jesse D. Hunter returned from his mission having visited the branches in the state of Tennessee since January last, and received two hundred and thirty dollars on tithing and offerings for the Temple mostly in property.
Thursday, 3.—Accompanied by Elders Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards and George A. Smith, I went to the Temple.
Evening, the brethren of the Twelve and others met at Elder Richards’ office and prayed; we remembered our enemies and prayed that their designs against Zion might fail; we felt the power of God.
Friday, 4.—I visited Brother Moore, who had been accidentally shot. Dr. Bernhisel decided that the wound was mortal; but by the blessing of God he recovered.
Elder Benjamin L. Clapp reported that he left Nauvoo on the twenty-third day of October, 1844, on a special mission to collect tithing throughout the southern states. He returned about this date, having held many meetings, baptized fifteen persons and collected one thousand and forty-seven dollars which he delivered to the Trustee-in-Trust.
The mob left notice with Sheriff Backenstos of Carthage to leave by three p.m. today. The Jack-Mormons (the name attached to those friendly to Mormonism), say they will defend him and are gathering a company for that purpose. Backenstos says he will not be driven, but will stand his ground: report says the mob are divided among themselves.
Brother William W. Major exhibited a painting of the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith by the mob at Carthage.
Sunday, 6.——The following Conference Minutes are extracted from the Times and Seasons;
‘Special conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo, April 6, 1845; it being the first day of the sixteenth year (i. e. of the organization of the church).
The choir sang ‘Hark the Jubilee’ at quarter past ten o’clock, while the assembly was collecting.
Present—President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde. Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, John Taylor, John E. Page, Willard Richards, and Amasa M. Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve—Father John Smith, president of the stake—Bishops Whitney and Miller—the high council—and about twenty-two thousand person: (in attendance) .
Elder Kimball called the meeting to order at half past ten a.m.; and the choir sang the thirty-first hymn; followed by prayer by Elder Kimball; the choir then sang ‘Come All Ye Sons of Zion’.
The morning was spent in teaching, on the baptism for the dead, by President Young.
Conference adjourned until two o’clock.
Two o’clock p.m.—Conference met pursuant to adjournment; the forepart of which was taken up by the blessing of children, but owing to the immense number it was found impossible to complete the whole, when it was accordingly dispensed with, and the remainder of the afternoon was occupied in exhortation from the stand, by Elder Page and President Young and the conference adjourned until tomorrow at ten o’clock a.m.
Monday, April 7, 1845, ten o’clock a.m.—Conference met pursuant to adjournment; after the conference was seated, in consequence of the high wind, it was thought best to remove into the valley, a little south; and the whole of this immense congregation was removed, and comfortably seated in the short space of about forty minutes. The choir sang ‘The Heavenly Vision’, and was followed by prayer, by Elder John Taylor, after which the choir sang another hymn. Elder Kimball then arose and stated to the congregation some of the items of business which would be necessary to attend to during the day, viz.: the building of the Temple, and the Nauvoo House; also, to take into consideration all old obligations against the church, which are pouring in like a torrent, also to ascertain the feelings of the people, in regard to sustaining the authorities of the church under the present organization.
The Saints Satisfied with Joseph Smith as a Prophet.
President Brigham Young then arose, and said he would now present the first item of business, which would be to present the authorities of the church for the approval or disapproval of the conference. He also said he wanted to know if the saints are satisfied that Joseph Smith lived and died as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to this church.
Whereupon Elder Phelps moved that we accept the labors of Joseph Smith as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the nineteenth century; and that we are satisfied that he lived according to his profession, and died a martyr to the truth. Carried unanimously.
Elder Phelps moved that we accept the labors of Hyrum Smith, believing that he lived according to his profession, and died a martyr to the truth. Carried unanimously.
Elder Phelps moved that this conference accept the Twelve as the First Presidency and leaders of this church. Carried unanimously. [After which each of the Twelve was sustained separately by unanimous vote].
* * *
The chairman then observed, concerning the course of Lyman Wight, his feelings are, that we should let him remain for the present, probably hereafter there may be a time that he will hearken to counsel, and do much good which he is capable of—for he is a noble-minded man.
The chairman then stated that the next item of business would be, to present to the conference, the presidency of the stake; moved and seconded that Patriarch John Smith continue in his office, as president of this stake, and that he be sustained in his office. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Charles C. Rich be continued and sustained in his office of counselor to Father Smith. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that George Miller be continued and sustained in his office, as president of the high priests’ quorum. Carried unanimously,
Moved and seconded that William Snow and Noah Packard be continued and sustained in their office as counselors to President Miller. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Samuel Bent, be continued and sustained in his office as president of the high council. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that George W. Harris, Alpheus Cutler, William Huntington Sen., James Allred, Henry G. Sherwood, Thomas Grover, Newel Knight, Lewis D. Wilson, David Fullmer, Ezra T. Benson, and Aaron Johnson be continued and sustained in their office as members of the high council. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Joseph Young be continued and sustained as President of the First Presidency of the Seventy. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Levi W. Hancock, Henry Harriman, Zerah Pulsipher, Jedediah M. Grant, and Daniel S. Miles be continued and sustained in their office, as Associate Presidents to President Joseph Young. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that if Roger Orton will reform and become a good man, he be received and ordained as a member of this presidency. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Samuel Williams be continued and sustained in his office as the president of the elders’ quorum. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Jesse Baker, and Joshua Smith be continued, and sustained as counselors to President Williams. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Newel K. Whitney and George Miller be continued and sustained in their offices as Bishops and Trustees-in-Trust, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Carried unanimously.
Moved and seconded that Alpheus Cutler and Reynolds Cahoon be continued and sustained as Temple Committee. Carried unanimously.
On the subject of the old church debts coming, it was moved and seconded that the debts of Kirtland, and Missouri, and the debts that are said to be accrued in consequence of purchasing the Galland tract in Iowa territory, be dropt, and come up no more, and the Trustees shall be dunned for them no more forever;—neither shall they be sold into the hands of the Gentiles. Carried unanimously.
Conference then adjourned until 2 o’clock.
Two o’clock p.m.—Conference met pursuant to adjournment,
The choir sang a hymn, which was followed by prayer from Elder Orson Pratt; after which the choir sang another hymn. By request of President Young, Elder Orson Pratt read the revelation, given January 19th, 1841, concerning the building of the Temple, Nauvoo House, etc. After which he read an extract from the Law of the Lord, page 240.
The chairman then stated that he wanted to lay before the conference, the subject of completing the Nauvoo House, whereupon—
Elder Phelps moved ‘that we fulfill the revelation, by completing the Nauvoo House, as soon as possible.’ Carried unanimously.
The chairman called for a show of hands from all those who could, and would, take one share of stock in the Nauvoo House, there were so many hands uplifted that they could not possibly be counted.
He next called for a show of hands from those who could and would, take two shares; quite a large number of hands were shown.
He then called for a show of hands from all, both male and female, who, after they had done all they could to finish the Temple are willing to sacrifice their all, to finish the Nauvoo House, rather than not have it done. Every hand was raised in the congregation.
The President then proclaimed to the conference, that on next Monday, the books for the Nauvoo House Association would be opened in the upper part of the brick store on Water Street.
The conference then adjourned until tomorrow at 10 o’clock a.m.
Tuesday, April 8, 1845.—Conference met pursuant to adjournment at 10 a.m. and was addressed by Elders Kimball and Young, upon the propriety of the saints staying in Hancock county, and in the afternoon Elders Young, Page, and Hyde addressed the assembly.
Perfect union and harmony prevailed throughout the conference and there was but one dissenting vote in the entire congregation.
Nauvoo becomes City of Joseph.
It was moved by the President, [Brigham Young] that henceforth and forever, this city shall be called ‘The City of Joseph’. [Carried unanimously.]
Great praise is due to ex-Marshal A. P. Rockwood, and his associates for their unwearied exertion, to arrange and seat the numberless assembly, for the most perfect order was maintained by them throughout the whole city and the conference—and to the saints universally for seconding their movements.
On motion conference adjourned until the 6th of October next.[Signed] Brigham Young, President.
Clerks of Conference.
Comments on the Conference
‘Elder George D. Watt, whose valuable services to this church as Professor of Phonography, are highly appreciated; has taken down the speeches delivered on this occasion, and they will appear from time to time as circumstances will allow.
Never have we seen the time before when the people were more willing to receive and listen to counsel than now. The high council have only had one case in about seven weeks. Our magistrates have nothing to do. We have little or no use for charter or law. Every man is doing his best to cultivate the ground, and all are anxious to provide things honestly in the sight of all men—to honor our God, our country and its laws. Whenever a dispute or difficulty arises, a word from the proper source puts all to right, and no resort to law. May God ever save us from this snare of men, this drainer of the purse, and this fruitful source of contention and strife.’ 1
Monday, April 7, 1845.—The stockholders of the Nauvoo House Association met. Elders George A. Smith and Amasa. M. Lyman were appointed trustees in the place of Lyman Wight and John Snider; L. R. Foster was appointed clerk.
Tuesday, 8.—I had a conversation with Dr. W. G. Goforth on the principles of the gospel and baptized him, and in company with Brothers Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith confirmed him a member of the church and ordained him a high priest.
Brother Elijah Fordham returned from New York and brought twelve hundred and sixty-three dollars for the Temple.
Wednesday, 9.—I met in council with the Twelve and bishops at the Trustees’ Office. We agreed to advise Peter Maughan and Jacob Peart to return from Rock river whither they had been to work a coal mine; Reuben McBride to put the Kirtland property in the best state possible, without paying out money and to come to Nauvoo bye and bye. The bishops were instructed to sell the steamboat Maid of Iowa for what they could get for it.
Elder Lorenzo Snow returned to Nauvoo and brought some money and property and a six-pounder cannon on tithing.
Nauvoo to Become the Public Center of the Church.
Thursday, 10.—I met in council with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Willard Richards and Amasa M. Lyman. We decided to print our own works at Nauvoo; remove the printing office into the Masonic Hall, and print the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, Hymn Book and History as soon as possible.
A resolution was passed to disfellowship George J. Adams and Sam Brannan, and a letter was written to Elder Parley P. Pratt on the subject.
The trustees of the Nauvoo House Association met and examined their books.
Evening, the Twelve and bishops met at the Historian’s Office and prayed for rain; an abundant harvest; deliverance from our enemies and blessings on the saints.
Friday, 11.—I met with the General Council at the Masonic Hall.
Saturday, 12.—The trustees of the Nauvoo House Association met.
The old police invited the Twelve and their families to a party at the Masonic Hall, when a comfortable repast was partaken of. The police performed a new piece entitled, ‘Father Marks’ Return to Mormonism’. Evening, the U. S. deputy marshal for the district of Illinois arrived in town with writs for myself and others.
Sunday, 13.—Meeting at the stand. Elders Heber C. Kimball and John Taylor preached. Several officers attended meeting. Elder Taylor gave them to understand that if they made an attempt to serve writs on him it would cost them their lives, and said, if they wished to magnify the law and make it honorable they should bring to justice the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum, two of our best men, who were treacherously butchered while in the custody of officers pledged for their safety; and that he would not submit any more to such outrages on our lives and liberties, for under present circumstances the law is only powerful to hold men still while the lawless massacre them.
I attended the high priests’ quorum meeting and gave much counsel.
The following letter from the governor was read:
Letter of Governor Ford on the Organization of Town Government within Nauvoo
‘Springfield, April 8, 1 845.
General Brigham Young:
I have received your letter of March the 31st and have attentively considered its contents until this time. It is a matter of much delicacy and importance to answer in the best manner the inquiries contained in it. A town corporation under the general law, will evidently be insufficient for such a place as Nauvoo. The general law does not extend your limits over a mile square. This however may be remedied in some degree by making a number of corporations to include the whole territory of the city. In this case however you will be liable to a want of united action; and so many governments though less efficient must be more expensive than a city government.
I make no doubt also that you stand in need of a local court which however you cannot have higher than that of a justice of the peace under the present law. I would advise that you incorporate as many towns, one mile square as will cover the city; and I make no doubt but that your peaceable and orderly conduct, if continued, will be duly appreciated by the next session of the legislature. By that time the storm of passion produced by recent events will have subsided and I make no doubt a new charter will be granted.
The powers under your town charters will be but limited it is true. They are to make and execute ordinances not inconsistent with law and the Constitution; to prevent and remove nuisances; to restrain and prohibit gaming and disorderly conduct; to prevent the indecent exhibition of horses; to license public shows; to sink and repair public wells; to open and repair the streets and alleys and make pavements and sidewalks, and to provide means to protect the town from injuries by fires, and to levy a tax on real estate for town purposes. These powers are somewhat better than none; and will give you some protection and provide somewhat for the advancement and comfort of your city. And I would advise the people to avail themselves of them until they can do better at another session. As to a want of legal united action, on the part of so many corporations in any common design for the good of the city; that must be supplied at present by their voluntary concurrence, which can be brought about by the influence of your leading citizens. There is no other way to do it that I can think of. Whether you have that spirit of unity amongst you which will enable them to do so, you know better than I can know,
As to your military affairs I have already written to the Hon. A. W. Babbitt concerning that subject and I refer you to that letter for my opinions at length as to your military organization. Since I wrote that letter I have been advised of the movement at Carthage in relation to the Hon. J. B. Backenstos, and also of the proceedings of the Carthagenians in removing the cannon from McComb. As yet I am ignorant of their design in this latter movement. Whether they intend it as a mere bravado, to keep up agitation and excitement, until after the trials; or whether there is to be a general move and renewal of the designs of last summer and fall I am not aware. I have seen the Warsaw Signal which again preached expulsion but beyond this I have seen nothing and know nothing of their designs. I have on Saturday last dispatched a bold and trusty man to demand the arms and cannon at Carthage and Warsaw. These events may for aught I know point to a new war against you. If they do you cannot be organized as a part of the state militia too soon.
I am aware that under such an organization there must be many persons exempt from military duty; but in case of danger no doubt they will voluntarily enroll themselves; there is no law to forbid their service; their exemption is not a disqualification to serve, but a privilege not to serve if they choose.
In case a mob should be raised against you it will be your privilege and one of your highest duties to society and yourselves to resist it. But you know your condition as a people. You know the prejudices which exist; and the disposition of the public mind to believe evil of you. You will therefore have to be cautious. Do nothing which will allow your opponents to say that you have begun a war. Place them clearly in the wrong and keep them so.
As to the great western measure if congress would grant you the land, I think it would be good policy for your people to move to some far distant country. Your religion is new and it surprises the people as any great novelty in religion generally does. They cannot rise above the prejudices excited by such novelty. However truly and sincerely your own people may believe in it; the impression on the public mind everywhere is that your leading men are impostors and rogues and that the others are dupes and fools. This impression in the minds of the great mass is sufficient to warrant them in considering and treating you as enemies and outcasts; as men to be cherished and trusted in nothing, because in their estimation some of you are deluded, and others designing in matters of religion. If you can get off by yourselves you may enjoy peace; but surrounded by such neighbors I confess that I do not foresee the time when you will be permitted to enjoy quiet. I was informed by General Joseph Smith last summer that he contemplated a removal west; and from what I learned from him and others at that time I think if he had lived he would have begun to move in the matter before this time. I would be willing to exert all my feeble abilities and influence to further your views in this respect if it was the wish of your people.
Western Movement of the Saints Suggested
I would suggest a matter in confidence, California now offers a field for the prettiest enterprise that has been undertaken in modern time. It is but sparsely inhabited and by none but the Indian or imbecile Mexican Spaniard. I have not inquired enough to know how strong it is in men and means. But this we know that if conquered from Mexico that country is so physically weak and morally distracted that she could never send a force there to conquer it. Why would it not be a pretty operation for your people to go out there, take possession of and conquer a portion of the vacant country, and establish an independent government of your own subject only to the laws of nations. [?] You would remain there a long time before you would be disturbed by the proximity of other settlements. If you conclude to do this your design ought not to be known or otherwise it would become the duty of the United States to prevent your emigration. But if you once cross the line of the United States territories you would be in no danger of being interfered with.
I am very respectfully
Your obedient Servant,[Signed] Thomas Ford.’ 2
Sunday 13, (continued).—At four p.m., I met with the Quorum of the Twelve.
Evening, in company with several brethren I visited the U. S. deputy marshal at the Mansion; he was very polite.”