Volume 4 Chapter 19 | BYU Studies

Volume 4 Chapter 19


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Chapter 19

Organization of the Nauvoo Legion—Notable Persons at Nauvoo—The Prophet's Sermon on Individual Responsibility for Sin and the Doctrine of Election.

The Twelve Embark for Home.

Tuesday, 20.—Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith and Willard Richards and family, went on board of the ship Rochester, at Liverpool, Captain Woodhouse (who delayed his sailing two days, to accommodate the Elders), bound for New York with a company of 130 Saints.

Elder Parley P. Pratt tarried in England to preside over the Church, and continue the publication of the Millennial Star, and Elder Hyde to pursue his mission to Jerusalem.

Mr. James Robinson, Assessor for the City of Nauvoo, died, aged 30. He had resided in this county many years, and for his business habits and kind disposition, he was highly respected.

Wednesday, 21.—The Rochester sailed.

Changes in the Iowa Stake.

Saturday, 24.—The High Council of Iowa selected David Pettigrew and Moses Nickerson Counselors to President John Smith, in place of Reynolds Cahoon and Lyman Wight, removed by appointment; James Emmett in the place of David Pettigrew in the High Council, Joseph C. Kingsbury in place of George W. Pitkin, removed to Nauvoo, and William Clayton in place of Erastus Snow, absent.

Monday, 26.—I attended the City Council. Several members being absent, I moved that the Marshall be ordered to enforce the attendance of Aldermen and Councillors, at one o'clock on Saturday next, and Council adjourned.

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Wednesday, 28.—The ship Rochester encountered a tempest, shipped a heavy sea, Wilford Woodruff got thoroughly drenched; Willard Richards escaped under the bulwarks.

Saturday, May 1.—Elder Robert B. Thompson became associate editor of the Times and Seasons.

Organization of the Legion.

The first Regiment, first cohort of the Nauvoo Legion, consisting of four companies, was organized, and Captain George Miller was elected colonel; Captain Stephen Markham, lieutenant-colonel, and Captain William Wightman, major.

The first regiment, second cohort, consisting of four companies, was also organized, and Captain Charles C. Rich was elected colonel, Captain Titus Billings, lieutenant-colonel, and Captain John Scott, major.

Also the second regiment, second cohort, consisting of four companies, was organized, and Captain Francis M. Higbee was elected colonel; Captain Nelson Higgins, lieutenant-colonel, and Aaron H. Golden, major.

I attended the City Council, and moved that the sympathies of the Council be tendered to the relatives of James Robinson, deceased, the late assessor and collector for the city, which was carried.

New Burying Ground for Nauvoo.

I also moved that a new burying ground be procured, outside the city limits, and purchased at the expense of the corporation; which was carried; and Alderman Daniel H. Wells, and councillors Wilson Law and John T. Barnett were appointed a committee, and ten acres were ordered to be purchased.

I spoke at length on the rights and privileges of the owners of the ferry, showing that the City Council has no right to take away ferry privileges, once granted, without damages being paid to the proprietor; and also moved that an ordinance be passed to protect citizens killing dogs running at large, which were set upon cattle or hogs, or molest individuals. And also spoke on other subjects before the council.

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Sunday, 2.—The Teachers' quorum was organized in Nauvoo, Elisha Averett, President, James Hendricks and James W. Huntsman, Counselors.

Tuesday, 4.

Nauvoo Legion Affairs.

Headquarters, Nauvoo Legion, City of

Nauvoo, Illinois, May 4, 1841.

General Orders. Pursuant to an act of the Court Martial, the troops attached or belonging to the Legion will parade at the place of general rendezvous, in the City of Nauvoo, for drill, review and inspection, on Saturday, the 3rd day of July, at half-past nine o'clock a.m., armed and equipped according to law. At ten o'clock the line will be formed and the general officers conducted to their posts, under a fire of artillery. The commandants of the 1st and 2nd companies, 2nd battalion, 1st regiment, 2nd cohort, are directed to enroll every man residing within the bounds of their respective commands, and not attached to any other company of the Legion, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, and notify them of their attachment to the service, and their legal liabilities.

As will be seen by the following legal opinion of Judge Douglas, of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, than whom no man stands more deservedly high in the public estimation, as an able and profound jurist, politician and statesman; the officers and privates, belonging to the Legion, are exempt from all military duty, not required by the legally constituted authorities thereof. They are, therefore, expressly inhibited from performing any military services, not ordered by the general officers, or directed by the court martial:

City Of Nauvoo, Illinois, May 3, 1841.

General Bennett:

Dear Sir.—In reply to your request, I have examined so much of the Nauvoo City Charter, and Legislative Acts, as relate to the "Nauvoo Legion," and am clearly of opinion, that any citizen of Hancock county, who may attach himself to the Nauvoo Legion, has all the privileges that appertain to which independent military body, and is exempt from all other military duty, as provided in the 25th section of the City Charter; and cannot, therefore, be fined any military or civil court, for neglecting or refusing to parade with any other military body, or under the command of any officers who are not attached to said Legion. The language of the laws upon this subject, is so plain and specific as to admit of no doubt as to its true meaning and intent. I do not consider it necessary, therefore, to enter into an argument to prove a position which is evident from an inspection of the laws themselves.

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I am very respectfully, your friend,

S. A. Douglas.

The Legion is not, as has been falsely represented by its enemies, exclusively a "Mormon" military association, but a body of citizen soldiers, organized (without regard to political preferences or religious sentiments) for the public defense, the general good, and the preservation of law and order—to save the innocent, unoffending citizens from the iron grasp of the oppressor and perpetuate and sustain our free institutions against misrule, anarchy, and mob violence; no other views are entertained or tolerated. The general parades of the Legion will be in the City of Nauvoo, but all other musters will be within the bounds of the respective companies, battalions, regiments and cohorts.

The 8th section of "An Act for the Organization and Government of the Militia of this State," in force July 2, 1833, provides that "when any person shall enroll himself in a volunteer company, he shall forthwith give notice in writing to the commanding officer of the company in which he was enrolled," &c., and that the commanding officer of a regiment or battalion, may, in a certain contingency, "dissolve such company and some of the petty, ignorant, and imprudent militia officers maintain that such is still the law; but those blind leaders of the blind are informed that the 11th section of "An Act Encouraging Volunteer Companies," approved March 2, 1837, reads as follows: "So much of the 8th section of an Act entitled, "An Act for the Organization and Government of the Militia of this State," in force July 2, 1833, as requires a volunteer to give notice in writing to the commanding officer of the company in which he was enrolled, and authorizes commandants of regiments to disband independent companies, be and the same is hereby repealed."

If officers act upon the obsolete laws of the "little book" which have been repealed, years since, it will be sweet to the taste, but "make the belly bitter;" and should any civil or military officer attempt to enforce the collection of any military fines upon the members of the Legion, excepting when such fines are assessed by the court martial of the Legion, such persons are directed to apply to the master in chancery, for Hancock county, for an injunction to stay the illegal proceedings.

The militia companies of Hancock county, and citizens generally, are respectfully invited to unite with the Legion, and partake of its privileges.

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All officers are required to enforce the most rigid discipline on all days of public parade.

Persons holding enrolling orders are directed to act with energy; consummate their trust, and make prompt returns to the office of the Major-General.

The Lieutenant-General desires that all his friends should attach themselves to some company, either in the first or second cohort. This will enable them to receive correct military instruction, under the teachings of experienced officers, according to the drill and discipline of the United States army—and qualify them for efficient service in the cause of their beloved country and state, in the hour of peril.

The eleven companies of minute men will, at all times, hold themselves in readiness to execute the laws, as originally instructed by the general officers.

The officers and troops of the Legion are directed to treat with proper respect and decorum, all other officers and troops in the service of this state, or of the United States.

Officers are ordered to treat their troops with marked respect: And, while they discharge their duties with promptitude and boldness as officers, they must not forget or neglect to observe the requisites of gentlemen.

The second company (light infantry), 1st battalion, 1st regiment, 2nd cohort; and the 1st company (lancers), 1st battalion, 3rd regiment, 2nd cohort of the Legion, will act as an escort for the reception of such visiting companies from Illinois and Iowa, as may be present. Should the Governor be present, it will be announced by a fire of artillery, by the 1st and 2nd companies, 1st battalion, 1st regiment, 1st cohort, and the 1st company, 1st battalion, 1st regiment, 2nd cohort, when he will be received by the entire Legion, with the honors due so conspicuous a personage as the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of the state.

Officers, receiving copies of these orders, will promulgate the same without delay, throughout the bounds of their respective commands.

Joseph Smith, Lieutenant-General.

Letter of the Prophet to the "Times and Seasons"—Visit of Notable Persons to Nauvoo.

City Of Nauvoo, May 6, 1841.

To the Editors of the "Times and Seasons:"

Gentlemen:—I wish, through the medium of your paper, to make known that, on Sunday last, I had the honor of receiving a visit from the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, Justice of the Supreme Court, and Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the state of Illinois, and Cyrus Walker Esq., of Macomb, who expressed great pleasure in visiting our city, and were astonished at the improvements which were made. They were officially introduced to the congregation who had assembled on the meeting ground, by the mayor; and they severally addressed the assembly.

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Judge Douglas expressed his satisfaction of what he had seen and heard respecting our people, and took that opportunity of returning thanks to the citizens of Nauvoo, for conferring upon him the freedom of the city; stating that he was not aware of rendering us any service sufficiently important to deserve such marked honor; and likewise spoke in high terms of our location and the improvements we had made, and that our enterprise and industry were highly creditable to us, indeed.

Mr. Walker spoke much in favor of the place, the industry of the citizens, &c., and hoped they would continue to enjoy all the blessings and privileges of our free and glorious Constitution, and, as a patriot and a freeman, he was willing, at all times, to stand boldly in defense of liberty, and law.

It must indeed be satisfactory to this community to know that kind and generous feelings exist in the hearts of men of such high reputation and moral and intellectual worth.

Judge Douglas has ever proved himself friendly to this people, and interested himself to obtain for us our several chartes, holding at that time the office of Secretary of State.

Mr. Walker also ranks high, and has long held a standing at the bar, which few attain, and is considered one of the most able and profound jurists in the state.

The sentiments they expressed on the occasion were highly honorable to them as American citizens, and as gentlemen. How different their conduct from that of the official characters in the state of Missouri, whose minds were prejudiced to such an extent that, instead of mingling in our midst and ascertaining for themselves our character, kept entirely aloof, but were ready, at all times, to listen to those who had the "poison of adders under their tongues," and who sought our overthrow.

Let every person who may have imbibed sentiments prejudicial to us, imitate the honorable example of our distinguished visitors (Douglas and Walker), and I believe they will find much less to condemn than they anticipated, and probably a great deal to commend.

What makes the late visit more pleasing, is the fact that Messrs. Douglas and Walker have long been held in high estimation as politicians, being champions of the two great parties that exist in the state; but laying aside all party strife, like brothers, citizens, and friends, they mingle with us, mutually disposed to extend to us that courtesy, respect, and friendship, which I hope we shall ever be proud to reciprocate.

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I am, very respectfully, yours, &c.,

Joseph Smith.

Saturday, 8.—Brother William Smith is preaching in Pennsylvania.

Accounts of the progress of the Gospel from the Elders abroad are very encouraging.

A magazine of 300 barrels of gunpowder, at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, exploded, blowing the fort, seven other buildings, and forty persons to atoms.

Wednesday, 12.—The Rochester, with the Elders, came in sight of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia.

Saturday, 15.—Good news has recently reached us from Tennessee, New York, Upper Canada, and New Orleans. The Elders are baptizing in all directions.

Sunday, 16.—I addressed the Saints. The following is a sketch of my sermon by the editor of the Times and Seasons:

The Prophet's Discourse.

At 10 o'clock A.M., a large concourse of the Saints assembled on the meeting ground, and were addressed by President Joseph Smith, who spoke at considerable length.

He commenced his observations by remarking that the kindness of our Heavenly Father called for our heartfelt gratitude. He then observed that Satan was generally blamed for the evils which we did, but if he was the cause of all our wickedness, men could not be condemned. The devil could not compel mankind to do evil; all was voluntary. Those who resisted the Spirit of God, would be liable to be led into temptation, and then the association of heaven would be withdrawn from those who refused to be made partakers of such great glory. God would not exert any compulsory means, and the devil could not; and such ideas as were entertained [on these subjects] by many were absurd. The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but Christ subjected the same in hope—all are subjected to vanity while they travel through the crooked paths and difficulties which surround them. Where is the man that is free from vanity? None ever were perfect but Jesus; and why was He perfect? Because He was the Son of God, and had the fullness of the Spirit, and greater power than any man. But notwithstanding their vanity, men look forward with hope (because they are "subjected in hope") to the time of their deliverance.

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The speaker then made some observations on the first principles of the Gospel, observing, that many of the Saints who had come from different states and nations had only a very superficial knowledge of these principles, not having heard them fully investigated.

He then briefly stated the principles of faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, these were believed by some of the righteous societies of the day, but the doctrine of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost was discarded by them.

The speaker then referred to the 6th chapter of Hebrews, 1st and 2nd verses. "Not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works," &c, but of the doctrines of baptisms, laying on of hands, the resurrection, and eternal judgment, &c. That the doctrine of eternal judgment was perfectly understood by the Apostles, is evident from several passages of Scripture. Peter preached repentance and baptism for the remission of sins to the Jews who had been led to acts of violence and blood by their leaders; but to the rulers he said, "I would that through ignorance ye did it, as did also those ye ruled." "Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing (redemption) shall come from the presence of the Lord, for He shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you," &c. The time of redemption here had reference to the time when Christ should come; then, and not till then, would their sins be blotted out. Why? Because they were murderers, and no murderer hath eternal life. Even David must wait for those times of refreshing, before he can come forth and his sins be blotted out. For Peter, speaking of him says, "David hath not yet ascended into heaven, for his sepulchre is with us to this day." His remains were then in the tomb. Now, we read that many bodies of the Saints arose at Christ's resurrection, probably all the Saints, but it seems that David did not. Why? Because he had been a murderer. If the ministers of religion had a proper understanding of the doctrine of eternal judgment, they would not be found attending the man who forfeited his life to the injured laws of his country, by shedding innocent blood; for such characters cannot be forgiven, until they have paid the last farthing. The prayers of all the ministers in the world can never close the gates of hell against a murderer.

He then spoke on the subject of election, and read the 9th chapter of Romans, from which it was evident that the election there spoken of was pertaining to the flesh, and had reference to the seed of Abraham, according to the promise God made to Abraham, saying, "In thee, and in thy seed, all the families of the earth shall be blessed." To them belonged the adoption and the covenants, &c. Paul said, when he saw their unbelief, "I wish myself accursed"—according to the flesh—not according to the spirit. Why did God say to Pharaoh, "For this cause have I raised thee up"? Because Pharaoh was a fit instrument—a wicked man, and had committed acts of cruelty of the most atrocious nature. The election of the promised seed still continues, and in the last day, they shall have the Priesthood restored unto them, and they shall be the "saviors on Mount Zion," the ministers of our God; if it were not for the remnant which was left, then might men now be as Sodom and Gomorrah. The whole of the chapter had reference to the Priesthood and the house of Israel; and unconditional election of individuals to eternal life was not taught by the Apostles. God did elect or predestinate, that all those who would be saved, should be saved in Christ Jesus, and through obedience to the Gospel; but He passes over no man's sins, but visits them with correction, and if His children will not repent of their sins He will discard them.

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This is an imperfect sketch of a very interesting discourse, which occupied more than two hours in delivery, and was listened to with marked attention, by the vast assembly present.

In the afternoon the assembly was addressed by President Hyrum Smith.

Minutes of a Conference in London.

Conference met in London pursuant to adjournment.

Elder Orson Hyde (of the Twelve Apostles) Lorenzo Snow, George J. Adams (High Priest), two Elders, several Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, with a respectable company of members present.

Elder Snow represented the London branch, consisting of 74 members, and good prospect for increase. The branch at Bedford, represented by George J. Adams, consisted of 68 member, 8 Priests, 1 Teacher. John Griffith, Priest, represented the branch at Woolwich, consisted of 6 members. Elder John Bourne, who was sent to labor at Ipswich, was obliged to leave, there being no prospect of success, and the brethren refusing to entertain him, so that he had to sleep on the ground. In consequence of this the conference passed a resolution condemnatory of their conduct.

Arrival of Rochester at New York.

Wednesday, 19.—The Rochester arrived at quarantine ground, New York, after a toilsome passage. At one time they were beset with head winds and a tedious storm, when the Twelve Apostles united in prayer, the storm abated, the sea became calm, and they went on their way rejoicing.

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The following is copied from the Times and Seasons:

The Healing of one who was Deaf.

Batavia, N. Y., May 19, 1841.

To the Saints scattered abroad, and to all whom it may concern, greeting:

Be it known that on or about the first of December last, we, J. Shamp and Margaret Shamp, of the town of Batavia, Gennesee county, N. Y., had a daughter that had been deaf and dumb four and a half years, and was restored to her hearing, the time aforesaid, by the laying on of the hands of the Elders (Nathan R. Knight and Charles Thompson) of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons, through the power of Almighty God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as believed and practiced by them in these last days.

[Signed]

J. Shamp

M. Shamp.

Several other instances of healing are mentioned by Brother Shamp; and such things are common in the Church at this day, according to the faith of the Saints.

Rowdyism in New York Harbor.

Thursday, 20.—The Twelve Apostles arrived at the dock in New York about four o'clock p.m., but were prevented from landing by the carters and rowdies, until late in the evening. Such is the confusion in New York on the arrival of a ship, steamboat, or coach, that strangers may well suppose the city is without mayor, marshal, police, or any other officer, to keep the peace.

Mob Violence in England.

Elder A. Cordon attempted to speak several times at Swan Village, near Birmingham, England, but was interrupted by a mob. Several of the Saints were struck with stones, but none of them seriously hurt.

Friday, 21.—I attended City Council, and moved that Parley Street be opened and improved to the state road.

Conference in Kirtland.

Saturday, 22.—A conference was held at Kirtland, Ohio, Elder Almon W. Babbitt presiding. Elder Babbitt was elected president of that stake, and Lester Brooks and Zebedee Coltrin his counselors. Thomas Burdick was elected Bishop of Kirtland, and Hiram Winters and Reuben McBride his counselors. Hiram Kellogg was elected president of the High Priests' quorum, and Amos Babcock, president of the Elders' quorum. By-laws were adopted for the preservation of the Lord's House.

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Sunday, 23.—The Twelve addressed the Saints at the Columbian Hall, Grand Street, New York.

Monday, 24.

Letter of the Presidency to the Saints—Concentration at Nauvoo.

To the Saints abroad

The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, anxious to promote the prosperity of said Church, feel it their duty to call upon the Saints who reside out of this county [Hancock], to make preparations to come in without delay. This is important, and should be attended to by all who feel an interest in the prosperity of this corner-stone of Zion. Here the Temple must be raised, the University built, and other edifices erected which are necessary for the great work of the last days, and which can only be done by a concentration of energy and enterprise. Let it, therefore, be understood, that all the stakes, excepting those in this county, and in Lee county, Iowa, are discontinued, and the Saints instructed to settle in this county as soon as circumstances will permit.

Joseph Smith, President.

City of Nauvoo, Hancock county,

Illinois, May 24, 1841.

Tuesday, 25.

Legion Affairs.

Headquarters Nauvoo Legion,

City Of Nauvoo, Illinois, May 25, 1841.

General Orders—The 1st company (riflemen) 1st battalion, 2nd regiment, 2nd cohort, will be attached to the escort, contemplated in the general orders of the 4th inst., for the 3rd of July next. See p. 354.

In forming the Legion, the adjutant will observe the rank of companies in the order they are named, to-wit—1st cohort; flying artillery lancers, visiting companies of dragoons, cavalry, lancers, riflemen. Second cohort: artillery, lancers, riflemen, light infantry, infantry. Visiting companies in their appropriate places on the right of the troops of their own grade.

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The ranking company of the 1st cohort will be formed on the right of said cohort; and the ranking company of the 2nd cohort will be formed on the left of said cohort; the next on the left of the right, the next on the right of the left, and so on to the center.

The escort will be formed on the right of the forces.

Joseph Smith, Lieutenant-General.

Wednesday, 26.—Elder Lorenzo Snow writes from London, that the Church there numbers 74 members, having baptized 18 since his return from Manchester conference, and that Elder Orson Hyde was at the London conference on the 16th instant.

Elder Joseph Fielding was at the Isle of Man.

Thursday, 27.—Elders Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and John M. Bernhisel visited the shipping and principal buildings in New York.

Sir Hugh Gough being about to storm Canton with the British forces, the Chinese agreed to pay a ransom of $6,000,000.

Monday, 31.—Elder Brigham Young visited the Saints on Long Island.