Volume 5 Chapter 16
Attempt to Repeal Parts of the Nauvoo Charter—Gold and Silver Alone Made Legal Tender in Nauvoo—Signs in the Heavens—"The Wasp" Changed into "The Nauvoo Neighbor"—Suspicions of the Prophet against Sidney Rigdon.
Wednesday, March 1, 1843.—This morning I read and recited in German, went to my office, and reviewed my valedictory letter in the Times and seasons, No. 7, Vol. 4; after which, I went with Marshal Henry G. Sherwood to procure some provisions for Thomas Morgan and Robert Taylor, who, on petition of the inhabitants of the city, I had directed should work out their punishment on the highways of Nauvoo.
The Prophet's Cheerfulness.
Elder Orson Hyde called on me this afternoon to borrow a horse. I instructed my ostler to put the Lieutenant-General's saddle on my horse, "Joe Duncan," and let Elder Hyde ride the "governor" on the Lieutenant-General's saddle.
Signed a power of attorney, dated February 28th, to Amasa Lyman, to sell all the lands in Henderson county, Illinois, deeded to me by Mr. McQueen.
The Mississippi froze up on the 19th of November last, and still continues so. Wagons and teams constantly pass over on the ice to Montrose.
I am constantly receiving applications from abroad for elders, which were replied to in the Times and Seasons of this day—that the conference on the 6th of April next, will attend to as many of the applications as possible.
The council of the Twelve Apostles wrote to Ramus, Lima, Augusta, and other branches, as follows:—
The Twelve to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in and about Ramus, greeting:—
Beloved Brethren:—As our beloved President Joseph Smith is now relieved from his bondage and his business, temporarily, and his property, too, he has but one thing to hinder his devoting his time to the spiritual interests of the Church, to the bringing forth of the revelations, translation, and history. And what is that? He has not provision for himself and family, and is obliged to spend his time in providing therefor. His family is large and his company great, and it requires much to furnish his table. And now, brethren, we call on you for immediate relief in this matter; and we invite you to bring our President as many loads of wheat, corn, beef, pork, lard, tallow, eggs, poultry, venison, and everything eatable at your command, (not excepting unfrozen potatoes and vegetables, as soon as the weather will admit,) flour, etc., and thus give him the privilege of attending to your spiritual interest.
The measure you mete shall be measured to you again. If you give liberally to your President in temporal things, God will return to you liberally in spiritual and temporal things too. One or two good new milch cows are much needed also.
Brethren, will you do your work, and let the President do his for you before God? We wish an immediate answer by loaded teams or letter.
Your brethren in Christ, in behalf of the quorum,
Brigham Young, President.
Willard Richards, Clerk.
P.S. Brethren, we are not unmindful of the favors our President has received from you in former days. But a man will not cease to be hungry this year because he ate last year.
Some thirty inhabitants of Saratogo, New York, have died recently of a disease called the black tongue.
About this time, a slide from Mount Ida, near Troy, New York, took place, burying ten houses and killing thirty or forty persons.
Thursday, 2.—I was engaged in the court-room, sitting on the case of Charles R. Dana versus William B. Brink all day. In the evening, examining Blackstone and Phillips on evidence.
I visited with Elders Brigham Young and Orson Hyde, with their wives, at Elder Heber C. Kimball's.
The legislature of Illinois took up the bill to repeal the Nauvoo City Charter.
Nauvoo Charter in the House of the Illinois Legislature.
Mr. Davis, of Bond county, moved to take up the bill to repeal a part of the Nauvoo Charter. Objections being made by several members, it was decided in the affirmative, and placed on the orders of the day; the question being on ordering the bill to a third reading.
Mr. Simms moved the previous question.
Mr. Logan hoped the previous question would not be sustained. Some of the provisions proposed to be repealed are very innocent ones, and he thought the house would be willing to retain them. He wanted to repeal the provisions allowing the writ of habeas corpus and some others. The previous question was then lost.
Mr. Logan denied that any discussion had been had on the provision of the Charter proposed to be repealed. He wanted the gentlemen interested to have an opportunity to be heard.
Mr. Thomas B. Owen, of Hancock, went into the subject at some length. He compared the Charter of Nauvoo with any other city in the State, and showed that the bill repealed the same powers in the Nauvoo Charter which others contained and are permitted to retain. He thought this unjust, and was opposed to the principle of making such distinctions. He bore testimony to the good order and industry of the Mormons, and he had no doubt but they were much abused.
He alluded to the course of the Whigs during the canvass of the last election, and appealed to his party to sustain the Mormons, as they had so nobly carried the last election. He cautioned them against taking the other course, and predicted, if they did, that they would be the means of electing a Whig to Congress in that district, and at the next gubernatorial election would elect the governor also; that the arms of the Whigs were open to receive them [The "Mormons."]
Friday, 3.—I was again sitting on the case of Dana versus Brink until half-past ten p.m. Many witnesses were examined, many lawyers' pleas made, and much law read. It was a very tedious suit, and excited much feeling among the people. When I returned home, I found my mother's health improving. In company with Dr. Willard Richards I visited Sister Durphy, who was sick.
Bishop Newel K. Whitney returned from Ramus this evening, with five teams loaded with provisions and grain, as a present to me, which afforded me very seasonable relief. I pray the Lord to bless those who gave it abundantly; and may it be returned upon their heads an hundred fold!
Action of the House Repealing Part of the Nauvoo Charter.
Mr. William Smith, of Hancock, moved a roll call of the house (some members were leaving).
The bill passed by yeas and nays, as follows:—
Yeas—Messrs. Aldrich, Baillache, Bell, Blakeman, Bone, Brinkley, Brown (of Sangamon), Burklow, Busey, Caldwell, Cloud, Cochran, Compton, Courtright, Danner, Dollins, Douglas, Edwards, Epler, Ervin, Ewing, Ficklin, Flanders, Fowler, Glass, Gobble, Haley, Hambaugh, Hick, Hickman, Hinton, Horney, Howard, Hunsucker, Keorner, Kuykendall, Lawler, Loy, McClernand, Marshall, Menard, Mitchell. Murphy, Nesbit, Norris, Penn, Shurley, Simms, Thomson, Turner, Vance, Vinyard, Weatherford, Wheat, White, Whitten, Wilson and Woodworth—58.
Nays—Messrs. Adams, Ames, Andrus, Arnold, Brown (of Pike), Browning, Collins, Cushman, Dougherty, Dubois, Graves, Hanniford, Hanson, Harper, Hatch, Jackson (of McHenry), Jackson (of Whiteside), Jonas, Kendall, Langworthy, Lockhart, Logan, McDonald (of Calhoun), McDonald (of Joe Davis), Owen, Pickering, Smith (of Crawford), Smith (of Hancock), Spicer, Stewart, Tackerbury, Vandever, Whitcomb, and Mr. Speaker—33.
The Speaker: The bill is passed. The title of the bill:—(The Speaker recited the title of the bill).
Mr. Smith, of Hancock: I wish to amend the title of the bill. (Profound silence.)
The Speaker: The title has passed.
By several members: In time, in time.
Mr. Smith sent his amendment to the chair.
The Speaker: The amendment is not respectful, and not in order.
Great sensation. Several members called for a reading of the amendment.
The amendment was read—"A bill for an act to humbug the citizens of Nauvoo." (Profound sensation.)
Mr. Smith said he considered the amendment as perfectly describing the contents of the bill. He was anxious that things should be called by their right names.
The chair decided that the amendment was not in order.
A member: I wish a vote, to ascertain if the house does not sustain the decision of the chair.
Mr. Smith withdrew his amendment.
The title of the bill then passed.
English papers report an eruption of Mount Etna; considerable torrents of lava flowing towards Bronte, doing immense damage.
Manner of Disposing of Church Property.
Saturday, 4.—In council with Brother Benjamin F. Johnson and others from Ramus, on the subject of building a meetinghouse there, out of Church property. I told them the property of the Church should be disposed of by the direction of the Trustee-in-Trust, appointed by the voice of the whole Church, and made the following comparison:—There is a wheel; Nauvoo is the hub; we will drive the first spoke in Ramus, second in La Harpe, third Shokoquon, fourth in Lima: that is half the wheel. The other half is over the river: we will let that alone at present. We will call the Saints from Iowa to these spokes, then send elders over and convert the whole people.
I agreed to go to Ramus this day week.
At ten o'clock, I attended the city council.
The Questions of "Currency" and Blood Atonement, in the Nauvoo City Council.
Prayer by George A. Smith, when a bill regulating the currency was read; and, as the Legislature of Illinois have long been trying to repeal the charter of Nauvoo, I made some remarks (as I had frequently done on former occasions), to show the council and others that the legislature can not constitutionally repeal a charter where there is no repealing clause. After which, I read a letter from James Arlington Bennett, dated February 1, 1843, which confirms my decision.
In debate, George A. Smith said imprisonment was better than hanging.
I replied, I was opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God; and if ever I have the privilege of making a law on that subject, I will have it so.
In reply to some of the councilors, who thought it impolitic to stop circulating bank notes as currency at once, I replied, I would use a figure, and talk like some foolish fathers do to their children. If you want to kill a serpent, don't cut off his head, for fear he will bite you; but cut off his tail, piece by piece, and perhaps you won't get bit. It is the same with this bill. I say, if paper currency is an evil, put it down at once. When councilors get up here, I want them to speak sense. Great God, where is common sense and reason? Is there none on the earth? Why have the canker remaining any longer to sap our life? If you get hold of a $5 bill, you can get nothing with it. There is no one who dares to touch it, fearing it to be a counterfeit, or the note of a broken bank. I wish you had my soul long enough to know how good it feels. I say it is expedient when you strike at an enemy, to strike the most deadly blow possible.
Councilor Hyde asked me what an editor should do. I told him, advertise in your next paper to your agents to send you gold and silver, as paper will no longer be taken as pay. 1
The ordinance regulating currency in the city passed by a unanimous vote, as follows:—
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo, that, from and after the passage of this bill, gold and silver coin only can be received a lawful tender in payment of city taxes and of debts, and also of fines imposed under the ordinances of the city.
Sec. 2. That city scrip shall not hereafter be emitted as monied currency; provided, however, that nothing in this bill shall be so construed as to prevent the redemption of previous emissions.
Sec. 3. That any person passing counterfeit gold, or silver, or copper coin, or counterfeit or spurious paper currency, or aiding or abetting therein, or holding the same with intent to pass it, knowing it to be such, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or to imprisonment or hard labor in the city, for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or all these penalties at the discretion of the court.
Sec. 4. That any person passing a paper currency, or aiding and abetting therein, or holding the same with intent to pass it within the bounds of this city corporation, shall be liable to a fine of one dollar for every dollar thus offered or passed, to be recovered as in action of debt; one-half of said fine to be paid to the complainant, the other half to the said corporation.
Joseph Smith, Mayor.
I was re-elected Registrar of Deeds for the city.
Dr. Samuel Bennett was chosen Alderman, and Albert P. Rockwood. Elijah Fordham, and Charles C. Rich, Firewardens in the city.
By my suggestion, the Committee on Public Works were instructed to prepare an ordinance to provide for the erection of a city prison.
Items of Instruction.
On returning to my office after dinner, I spoke the following proverb: For a man to be great, he must not dwell on small things, though he may enjoy them; this shows that a Prophet cannot well be his own scribe, but must have some one to write for him.
The battle of Gog and Magog will be after the millennium. The remnant of all the nations that fight against Jerusalem were commanded to go up to Jerusalem to worship in the millennium.
I told Dr. Richards that there was one thing he failed in as a historian, and that was noting surrounding objects, weather, etc.
I dictated to my scribe my decision in the case of Brink versus Dana, until half-past four p.m.
Repeal of Parts of the Nauvoo Charter Defeated in the Senate.
This day, Mr. Warren, in the State Senate, moved to take from the table the bill to repeal the charter of the city of Nauvoo; but the senate refused to repeal it. Nays, 17, ayes, 16.
Orrin Porter Rockwell was taken prisoner in St. Louis by the Missourians, on an advertisement accusing him of shooting ex-Governor Boggs on the 6th day of May, 1842.
Sunday, 5.—I stayed at home all day to take care of my mother, who was still sick.
A severe shock of an earthquake felt at Memphis, Tenn.
Monday, 6.—I read, in the Boston Bee, a letter from Elder George J. Adams, and also another communication showing the progress of the truth in Boston and vicinity. At nine o'clock, called in my office, and requested Dr. Richards to write to the Bee; after which, I recited in German until dinner, and in the evening rode out to visit the sick.
The Municipal Court was in session to hear any complaints against the city assessment, but none appeared.
In the evening a grand display of burning prairie on the Iowa side of the river.
Tuesday, 7.—I was in my office at nine a.m., and reviewed my decision in the case of Brink versus Dana, and conversing with Dr. Richards on the subject of medicine. After dinner, I executed several deeds for city lots, and settled with the purchasers, assisted by William Clayton.
Brother David Manhard, of Lee county, Iowa, brought me two loads of corn and one hog; for which may the Lord bless him!
East wind through the day. Commenced raining at three p.m.
Wednesday, 8.—In office at eight a.m., and signed some documents in relation to the Nauvoo Legion, and also settling with William Ford. Rode out with Mr. John B. Cowan in the evening.
In the evening, a meeting was held in the house of Elder Heber C. Kimball, which was crowded. He preached from Jeremiah 18:2-5, on the figure of clay in the hands of the potter.
The ship Yorkshire left Liverpool, England, with eighty-three Saints on board, under the supervision of Elders Thomas Bullock and Richard Rushton.
A terrible earthquake occurred at Guadeloupe and other West India Islands. Thousands of persons buried under the ruins of the fallen houses.
Precaution against Missouri Movements against the Prophet in Iowa.
Thursday, 9.—Mr. John B. Cowan took the decision of Judge Pope in the United States District Court, on the 5th January last, and other papers relating thereto, also Mr. Butterfield's opinion, to lay before the governor of Iowa, in order to induce him to recall a writ issued on the requisition of the governor of Missouri, for my arrest, in case I should visit my friends in Iowa.
I told Brother Phelps that he should be a lawyer and understand law, and the time will come when I shall not need say to you, Thus and thus is the law; for you shall know it.
E. H. Mower wrote me from Clinton county, Indiana, that he had recently baptized thirty-two, and a great many were inquiring after the truth.
William O. Clark gave me a load of corn, and Sanford Porter gave me a hog.
Rain and sleet the whole of the day.
Friday, 10.—Clear and cold day.
I opened court at ten a.m. Messrs. Emmons and Skinner, counsel for plaintiff; and Messrs. Marr and Rigdon, counsel for defendant. Parties to the suit present and many spectators. 2 Court decided after full hearing of the case that plaintiff recover from the defendant the sum of his bill, ninety-nine dollars and cost. After I had delivered my decision, I referred to the threat of the defendant's counsel to intimidate, etc. Counsel explained satisfactorily.
I directed Lucien Woodworth to fix a room to confine the city prisoners in.
I told Theodore Turley that I had no objection to his building a brewery.
"As finest steel doth show a brighter polish
The more you rub the same,
E'en so in love rebuke will ne'er demolish
A wise man's goodly name."
I issued an execution against Dr. Brink, and a search warrant on oath of William Law, to search the house of Dial Sherwood. In the evening, the marshal brought two try squares, one padlock, one shirt; also a bit stock, smoothing-plane, and other tools, some of which were claimed as stolen property.
Signs in the Heavens.
Friday, 10.—With Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff and many others, about seven p.m., I discovered a stream of light in the southwest quarter of the heavens. Its pencil rays were in the form of a broad sword, with the hilt downward, the blade raised, pointing from the west, southwest, raised to an angle of forty-five degrees from the horizon, and extending nearly, or within two or three degrees to the zenith of the degree where the sign appeared. This sign gradually disappeared from half-past seven o'clock, and at nine had entirely disappeared. As sure as there is a God who sits enthroned in the heavens, and as sure as He ever spoke by me, so sure will there be a speedy and bloody war; and the broad sword seen this evening is the sure sign thereof.
The Prophet's Dream.
Last night I dreamed that a silver-headed old man came to me and said there was a mob force coming upon him, and he was likely to lose his life. He had heard that I was a lieutenant-general, having the command of a large force, and that I always sought to defend the oppressed, and that I was also a patriot, and disposed to protect the innocent and unoffending; and he wanted that I should protect him, and had come to hear with his own ears what I would say to him. I told him I wanted some written documents to show the facts that they [the mob] were the aggressors, and I would raise a force sufficient to protect him, and would collect the Legion. The old man turned to go from me. When he got a little distance, he suddenly turned again, and said to me, "You must call out the Legion," and he would have the papers ready when I arrived. And, said he, "I have any amount of men, which you can have under your command."
A shock of an earthquake felt in Lancashire, England, and on the Isle of Guernsey, produced considerable alarm.
The papers teem with accounts of singular phenomena. Fearful sights are seen in all parts of the world.
Saturday, 11.—Very cold last night. The water froze in the warmest rooms in the city.
At nine a.m., I started in company with Brother Brigham Young, to Ramus, and had a delightful drive Arrived at Brother McClary's at a quarter to four. Lodged with Brother Benjamin F. Johnson. In the evening, when pulling sticks, I pulled up Justus A. Morse, the strongest man in Ramus, with one hand.
It is reported in the papers that the workmen employed on the General Pratt (a steamboat which was burned and sunk last fall near Memphis in the Mississippi,) with a diving bell, on the 3rd of January, found the wreck in about twenty-four feet of water. On that night was an earthquake. Next day the wreck had disappeared, no trace could be found, and the water was from one hundred to one hundred and twenty feet deep, and for about one hundred feet no bottom; and in another place a bar was discovered where previously was deep water.
The New York Herald publishes "The Vision" in poetry, &c.; also Miss Eliza R. Snow's Festival Song—an unusual act of liberality towards the Saints, for a publisher.
The Prophet at Ramus.
Sunday, 12.—I preached to the Saints at Ramus, in the morning, taking for a text 14th chapter of John, 2nd verse:—"In my Father's house are many mansions."
I found the brethren well, and in good spirits. In the afternoon, Brother Brigham preached. Stayed at Brother Benjamin F. Johnson's all night.
Elder George J. Adams having been called to Nauvoo, twelve hundred inhabitants of Boston petitioned for Elders Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde to come and labor in that place. A similar petition was also sent from Salem, Massachusetts, by Elder Erastus Snow.
Monday, 13.—I wrestled with William Wall, the most expert wrestler in Ramus, and threw him.
In the afternoon, held a Church meeting. Almon W. Babbitt was appointed, by the vote of the people, the presiding elder of that place.
In the evening meeting twenty-seven children were blessed, nineteen of whom I blessed myself, with great fervency. Virtue went Out of me, and my strength left me, when I gave up the meeting to the brethren.
Mercury was three degrees below zero, at sunrise in Nauvoo.
Mr. Ivins arrived at Nauvoo, and stated that Orrin Porter Rockwell came with him from New Jersey to St. Louis, when Rockwell was arrested by advertisement on the 4th of March, and put in St. Louis jail.
Elder Hyde went to Quincy to preach.
Newspapers report that iron filings and sulphur have fallen in the form of a snow storm in five counties in Missouri.
The Prophet's Explanation of "Virtue Went Out of Me."
Tuesday, 14.—Elder Jedediah M. Grant enquired of me the cause of my turning pale and losing strength last night while blessing children. I told him that I saw that Lucifer would exert his influence to destroy the children that I was blessing, and I strove with all the faith and spirit that I had to seal upon them a blessing that would secure their lives upon the earth; and so much virtue went out of me into the children, that I became weak, from which I have not yet recovered; and I referred to the case of the woman touching the hem of the garment of Jesus. (Luke, 8th chapter). The virtue here referred to is the spirit of life; and a man who exercises great faith In administering to the sick, blessing little children, or confirming, is liable to become weakened.
Elder Brigham Young and myself returned from Ramus, and after a severely cold ride in a heavy snowstorm, arrived in Nauvoo about four p.m.
Mr. Wilson, the assessor for the county of Hancock, assessed a number of lots to Dr. Willard Richards, which he had previously assessed to me as trustee in trust, in order no doubt, to collect taxes twice, for the benefit of his own pocket, or to make trouble to the "Mormons;" about which the following letter was written:
Willard Richards to Mr. Bagby, Anent Taxes.
Mr. Bagby,—Sir:—I received an anonymous letter this morning, which was dated at Warsaw, requesting an immediate answer. I know not to whom to direct the answer; but as it appears to be concerning taxes, I suppose it most probable that you are the person, and direct my answer accordingly.
I received your letter from Carthage, and requested Mr. Clayton to answer it, which he did, stating the facts in the case, which, in substance, I will repeat:
In the year 1842 I had no taxable property in Illinois, real or personal. I never gave Mr. Wilson, the assessor, a list by which to assess lots to me. If ever I gave him any list, it was to assist him in the information what lots to assess to the "trustee-in-trust," and for no other purpose; which Mr. Wilson very well knew at the time, and now knows it.
You ask, "What shall I do with the lots?" I answer, "They are lots which on another part of your list, are assessed to the trustee-in-trust, or Mr. Smith; and, doubtless, it would be the most just and equitable course for the assessor to correct his error, and let the matter rest where it was originally. But if this cannot be, you must take your own course. It is not for me to advise you in your duty. But of this I can advise you—that I have not the first farthing of personal property liable to taxation in this county, or to be sold for taxes this side of eternity.
At half-past seven o'clock in the evening, the sword which had made its appearance [in the heavens] for several evenings past, moved up nearer the moon and formed itself into a large ring round the moon. Two balls immediately appeared in the ring opposite each other, something in the form of sun-dogs.
The Wasp Changed to The Nauvoo Neighbor.
Wednesday, 15.—I wrote a letter to George J. Adams, and signed several deeds. In the office most of the day Gave the following name to the Wasp, enlarged as is contemplated—The Nauvoo Neighbor, Our motto, "The Saints' Singularity is Union, Liberty, Charity." The following is an extract from the prospectus of this date:
Prospectus of the Nauvoo Neighbor.
We feel pleasure in announcing to our readers and the public generally that we have determined to enlarge the Wasp to double its size, as soon as the present volume shall be completed, which will be on the 19th of April.
It made its appearance in the world near twelve months ago, small in stature, dressed in a very humble garb, and under very inauspicious circumstances. It was then thought by many that its days would not be long in the land, and that at any rate it would not survive the sickly season. Many of its elder brethren, who thought that they had attained to the size of manhood, sneered contemptuously at the idea of their smaller and younger brother taking the field; and, like David's brethren, they thought that he was but a stripling, and that he would certainly fall by the hand of some of the great Goliaths. But, on the contrary, while some of advanced years, noble mien, and possessing a more formidable appearance, have given up the ghost, the little Wasp has held on in the even tenor of his way, the untiring, unflinching supporter of integrity, righteousness and truth, neither courting the smiles nor fearing the frowns of political demagogues, angry partisans, or fawning sycophants. Partaking so much of the nature of the industrious bee, it has gathered honey from every flower, and its pages are now read with interest by a large and respectable number of subscribers.
As the young gentleman is now nearly a year old, we propose on his birthday to put on him a new dress, and to make him double the size, that he may begin to look up to the world, and not be ashamed of associating with his older brethren. And as he has acted the part of a good Samaritan, we propose giving him a new name. Therefore his name shall no longer be called the "Wasp," but the "Neighbor."
A Prophecy as to Orrin Porter Rockwell.
I prophesied, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that Orrin Porter Rockwell would get away honorably from the Missourians. I cautioned Peter Hawes to correct his boys: for if he did not curtail them in their wickedness, they would eventually go to prison.
I dreamed last night that I was swimming in a river of pure water, clear as crystal, over a shoal of fish of the largest size I ever saw. They were directly under my belly. I was astonished, and felt afraid that they might drown me or do me injury.
The Wasp has the following editorial:—
The Nauvoo Charter—A Guaranteed Perpetual Succession.
What reliance can be placed upon a legislature that will one session grant a charter to a city, with "perpetual succession," and another session take it away? We expect, however, that this honorable body believe in the common adage—"Promises and pie-crusts are made to be broken," and we have sometimes ourselves seen boys crying for their marbles again, after they have given them away.
We suppose, however, with them, that the words "perpetual succession" do not mean what they say. The house, in the dignity of its standing, passes a bill, at the request of the people, telling them that they shall have a charter granting them several privileges, and telling them that it shall be perpetual, without any repealing clause. It is made a law, and the grand seal of state appended to it. The people, on the good faith of the state, go to work and improve under the provisions of that charter. Companies are formed, buildings are erected, and money expended; but by-and-by they find out that they have been leaning upon a broken reed, that there is no dependence to be placed in government, that they [the legislature] have broken their most sacred promises, violated their plighted faith, and wantonly and wickedly sought to injure thousands of men who relied on their promises, by an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and tyrannical law, trampling under foot the faith of the state, and virtually saying that the members of the legislature that granted the charter were all fools or knaves, and that we, the pure representatives of the people, must break the plighted faith of the state to set them right!
The New York Herald gives a list of indebtedness of the several states who refuse to pay the same, as follows:—
Indebtedness of the States.
Pennsylvania, $29,129,123; Georgia, $3,184,323; Indiana, $12,129,339; Maryland, $20,901,040; Louisiana, $21,213,000; Mississippi, $5,500,000; Illinois, $13,836,379; Alabama, $9,843,536; Arkansas, $3,900,000; Michigan, $5,611,000; Florida, $3,500,000.
A great fire at Valparaiso, unequalled heretofore in Chili. Damage $2,000,000.
Thursday, 16.—In the office, reading papers, and gave counsel to Brother Hyrum, Dr. Foster, and many others.
Friday, 17.—Part of the day in my office; the remainder at home.
Settled with Father Perry; gave him a deed for eighty acres of land and city lot, and prophesied that it would not be six months before he could sell it for cash.
At four p.m., Newel K. Whitney brought in a letter from R. S. Blennarhassett, Esq., St. Louis, dated 7th instant, concerning Orrin Porter Rockwell; which I immediately answered.
Renewal of Old Missouri Charges.
Reports reached us that new indictments had been found against myself, Brother Hyrum, and some hundred others, on the old Missouri troubles, and that John C. Bennett was making desperate threats.
The Island of Hong-Kong was ceded to Great Britain by the Emperor of China, who opened five ports to the English trade by treaty.
Saturday, 18.—I was most of the forenoon in the office, in cheerful conversation with Dr. Willard Richards and others. Finishing writing a letter to Arlington Bennett.
The Prophet "Studying Law."
About noon, I lay down on the writing table, with my head on a pile of law books, saying, "Write and tell the world I acknowledge myself a very great lawyer; I am going to study law, and this is the way I study it;" and then fell asleep.
Rode out in the afternoon with William Clayton, looking at lots for Bishop Newel K. Whitney, and afterwards played ball with the boys.
The French seized upon the Society group of Pacific Isles.
Sunday, 19.—Rode out with Emma and visited my farm; returned about eleven, a.m., and spent the remainder of the day at home.
Dimick B. Huntington started for Chicago, with a letter to Mr. Justin Butterfield, U.S. Attorney, concerning Orrin Porter Rockwell.
The Work of Elder Parley P. Pratt in England.
Received a letter from Elder Parley P. Pratt, giving a synopsis of his mission to England since August, 1839, in which I find he has published, since April, 1842, (at which time the remainder of the Twelve returned home,) 1,500 "Hymn Books," 2,500 "Voice of Warning," 3,000 Tracts, entitled "Heaven on Earth," 3,000 copies of "Elder Hyde's Mission to Jerusalem," 10,000 copies of "A Letter to the Queen," and some other works, and continued the Star monthly. He left England October 20, 1842, and, after a voyage of ten weeks, arrived in New Orleans, being ice-bound on the river; and having a dislike to the outlaws who govern Missouri, he wintered at Chester, Illinois. On the news of his arrival, he was warmly pressed to preach, which he did several times, and baptized two men in that place.
Scientists on the Comet.
Sir James South, Sir John Herschel, and other astronomers in Europe have published notices of the sword seen in the heavens on the eve of the 10th and several successive evenings. They represent it as the stray tail of a comet, as no nucleus could be discovered with the most powerful instruments. At Paris, M. Arago communicated to the Academy of Sciences, On the subject of the comet, that the observations of the astronomers were not complete, the nucleus not being discovered.
Monday, 20.—I rode out to see Hiram Kimball, with Mrs. Butterfield, about a deed for the Lawrence estate. Settled with Dr. Robert D. Foster, and gave him a note to balance all demands; and afterwards acknowledged about twenty deeds to different individuals, which occupied my time until about three p.m.
A letter appears in the Millennial Star, giving particulars of the passage of the ship Swanton, from Liverpool; and arrival at New Orleans, loaded with Saints, in which the power of the holy priesthood was manifested in the healing of the sick:—
Excerpt of Letter from Millennial Star.
The stewart of this vessel was so injured by a blow from one of the crew, that his life was despaired of; and I stood over him for some time, and thought that life was gone. The captain had administered to him all that he could think of in the way of medicine, but to no effect; and after they gave up all hopes of his recovery, at twelve o'clock at night, he sent for Elder Lorenzo Snow, 3 and by anointing him with oil, and the laying on of hands, in the name of the Lord, he was there and then raised up and perfectly healed. For this token of the divine favor we will praise the God of Israel.
Tuesday, 21.—Was in the office about nine, writing orders. About noon, started with William Clayton for Shokoquon. Dined at Brother Russel's, and then resumed our journey to Libeus T. Coon's, sixteen miles, when I returned.
Wonderful signs have been seen in the heavens during the week.
A Sign in the Heavens.
This night, about twelve o'clock, the pilot and officers of the steamer William Penn, on the Ohio river, between Aurora and the rising sun, Indiana, observed a great light in the sky, in the form of a serpent. It turned to a livid, bright red, deep and awful, and remained stationary among the stars for two or three minutes, and then in a gradual manner formed a distinct roman G: in about a minute and a half, it turned into a distinct O, and afterwards changed to a plain D, when it turned into an oblong shape, and gradually disappeared.4
Wednesday, 22.—Was spent in visiting my friends.
Elder Edwin D. Woolley writes from Westfield, Massachusetts, that he has baptized twenty and organized a branch in Little River village.
Elder James Burnham died in Richmond, Massachusetts, aged 46. He had been on a mission to England and Wales about two years, and was then on a mission in the Eastern States, and, through excessive labor and exposure, brought on quick consumption. He left a wife and several children to lament his loss.
Thursday, 23.—Spent the day in visiting my friends.
Signs in the Heavens.
At seven-and-a-half, a.m., the heavens exhibited a splendid appearance of circles, accompanied by mock suns. For further particulars, see Times and Seasons, page 151.
The sword has been seen for several nights past; also, on the opposite side of the horizon, a black streak about the size of the light one. While the one is as black as darkness, the other has considerably the appearance of the blaze of a comet; but it is not a comet, for it appears about seven o'clock, and disappears about nine.
Friday, 24.—I took a ride to Camp Creek; met Brother Clayton; returned to Libeus T. Coon's, where we warmed for an hour, and then returned home.
In the evening, two teams arrived from Lima, loaded with provisions; also one load from Augusta.
The St. Louis Republican says:—
"At Point-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe, one of the West India Islands, 2,000 persons ran together in the public square, when the earth opened and swallowed the whole mass."
The papers report that General Napier, with 3,700 English troops, gained a brilliant victory Over the Belochee army of 22,000 men, on the 17th ult.
Saturday, 25.—In the office at eight, a.m.; heard a report from Hyrum Smith concerning thieves; whereupon I issued the following
To the Citizens of Nauvoo:
Whereas it appears, by the republication of the foregoing proceedings and declaration, that I have not altered my views on the subject of stealing: And
Whereas it is reported that there now exists a band of desperadoes, bound by oaths of secrecy, under severe penalties in case any member of the combination divulges their plans of stealing and conveying properties from station to station, up and down the Mississippi and other routes: And
Whereas it is reported that the fear of the execution of the pains and penalties of their secret oath on their persons prevents some members of said secret association (who have, through falsehood and deceit, been drawn into their snares,) from divulging the same to the legally-constituted authorities of the land:
Know ye, therefore, that I, Joseph Smith, mayor of the city of Nauvoo, will grant and insure protection against all personal mob violence to each and every citizen of this city who will freely and voluntarily come before me and truly make known the names of all such abominable characters as are engaged in said secret combination for stealing, or are accessory thereto, in any manner. And I would respectfully solicit the co-operation of all ministers of justice in this and the neighboring states to ferret out a band of thievish outlaws from our midst.
Given under my hand at Nauvoo City, this 25th day of March, A.D., 1843.
Mayor of said City.
Received a letter from Grand Master A. Jonas, requesting the loan of cannon, to celebrate the organization of the new county of Marquette, which I granted.
Also received a letter from United States Senator Richard M. Young, with a bond for a quarter section of land.
I baptized Mr. Mifflin, of Philadelphia.
Issued a writ for the arrest of A. Fields, for disorderly conduct. He was brought in drunk about noon, and abused the court. I ordered him to be put in irons till he was sober.
Case of Benj. Hoyt Before High Council.
The High Council, with my brother Hyrum presiding, sat on an appeal of Benjamin Hoyt, from the decision of David Evans, bishop; which was, that Brother Hoyt cease to call certain characters witches or wizards, cease to work with the divining rod, and cease burning a board or boards to heal those whom he said were bewitched. On hearing the case, the council decided to confirm the decision of Bishop Evans.
The St. Louis Gazette reports "an awful gale" within the last six weeks. 154 vessels were wrecked on the coast of England, and 190 lives lost; on the coast of Ireland 5 vessels and 134 lives; on the coast of Scotland, 17 vessels, 39 lives; and on the coast of France, 4 vessels and 100 lives; value of vessels and cargoes, roughly estimated, $4,125,000.
The Thames Tunnel completed and opened for foot passengers, when 30,000 persons passed through the first day.
Opposition to the Work in South Wales.
Elder William Henshaw, who has encountered considerable opposition since he commenced preaching in South Wales, organized the Pen-y-darran branch, and ordained William Rees Davis, priest, who commenced preaching in the Welsh language, which caused opposition to increase and a considerable number to receive the gospel. While he established that branch of the Church, Brother Henshaw supported himself by work in the coal mines.
Sunday 26.—At home, the weather being too severe for meeting.
Monday, 27.—I dictated the following letter to Sidney Rigdon:—
Letter of Joseph Smith to Sidney Rigdon—Expressing Belief in Rigdon's Complicity in Conspiracy, with John C. Bennett et al.
Dear Sir:—It is with sensations of deep regret and poignant grief that I sit down to dictate a few lines to you this morning, to let you know what my feelings are in relation to yourself, as it is against my principles to act the part of a hypocrite or to dissemble in anywise whatever with any man. I have tried for a long time to smother my feelings and not let you know that I thought that you were secretly and underhandedly doing all you could to take the advantage of and injure me; but whether my feelings are right or wrong remains for eternity to reveal.
I cannot any longer forbear throwing off the mask and letting you know of the secret wranglings of my heart, that you may not be deceived in relation to them, and that you may be prepared, sir, to take whatever course you see proper in the premises.
I am, sir, honest, when I say that I believe and am laboring under the fullest convictions that you are actually practicing deception and wickedness against me and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and that you are in connection with John C. Bennett and George W. Robinson in the whole of their abominable practices, in seeking to destroy me and this people; and that Jared Carter is as deep in the mud as you, sir, are in the mire, in your conspiracies; and that you are in the exercise of a traitorous spirit against our lives and interests, by combining with our enemies and the murderous Missourians. My feelings, sir, have been wrought upon to a very great extent, in relation to yourself, ever since soon after the first appearance of John C. Bennett in this place. There has been something dark and mysterious hovering over our business concerns, that are not only palpable but altogether unaccountable, in relation to the post office. And, sir, from the very first of the pretensions of John C. Bennett to secure to me the post office, (which, by-the-bye, I have never desired, if I could have justice done me in that department, without my occupancy,) I have known, sir, that it was a fraud practiced upon me, and of the secret plottings and connivings between him and yourself in relation to the matter the whole time, as well as many other things which I have kept locked up in my own bosom. But I am constrained, at this time, to make known my feelings to you.
I do not write this with the intention of insulting you, or of bearing down upon you, or with a desire to take any advantage of you, or with the intention of laying even one straw in your way detrimental to your character or influence, or to suffer anything whatever that has taken place, which is within my observation or that has come to my knowledge to go abroad, betraying any confidence that has ever been placed in me. But I do assure you, most sincerely, that what I have said I verily believe; and this is the reason why I have said it—that you may know the real convictions of my heart, not because I have any malice or hatred, neither would I injure one hair of your head; and I will assure you that these convictions are attended with the deepest sorrow.
I wish to God it were not so, and that I could get rid of the achings of my heart on that subject; and I now notify you that unless something should take place to restore my mind to its former confidence in you, by some acknowledgments on your part, or some explanations that shall do away my jealousies, I must, as a conscientious man, publish my withdrawal of my fellowship from you to the Church, through the medium of the Times and Seasons, and demand of the conference a hearing concerning your case; that, on conviction of justifiable grounds, they will demand your license. I could say much more, but let the above suffice for the present.
Yours, in haste,
I sent the above communication to Elder Rigdon by Dr. Willard Richards; to which I received the following reply.
Sidney Rigdon to Joseph Smith—Denies Existence of Just Cause of the Prophet's Suspicions.
President Joseph Smith.
Dear Sir:—I received your letter by the hands of Dr. Richards a few minutes since, the contents of which are surprising to me, though I am glad that you have let me know your feelings, so as to give me a chance to reply to them.
Why it is that you have the feelings which you seem to entertain, I know not; and what caused you to think that I had any connection with John C. Bennett at any time is not within my power to say.
As to the post office, I never asked Bennett one word about it when I made application for it. If he ever wrote to the department at Washington anything about it, it was and is without my knowledge; for surely I know of no such thing being done at any time; neither did I know, at the time I applied for the office, that you intended to apply for it; nor did I know of it for some time afterwards. As far as the post office is concerned, these are the facts. I wrote myself to the department, offering myself as an applicant, and referred the department to several members of Congress to ascertain my character. This is all I ever did on the subject. I never wrote but one letter to the department on the subject; neither had I at the time any acquaintance of any amount with Bennett, nor for a very considerable time afterwards. He never was at our house but very little, and then always on business, and always in a hurry, did his business, and went off immediately. I know not that Bennett ever knew that I had applied for the office; and I am quite satisfied he did not till some time after I had written to the department on the subject; and if he ever did anything about it, it was and is to this day without my having any knowledge of it.
As to the difficulties here, I never at any time gave Bennett any countenance in relation to it, and he knows it as well as I do, and feels it keenly. He has threatened me, severely, that he could do with me as he pleased, and that if I did not cease to aid you and quit trying to save "my Prophet," as he calls you, from the punishment of the law, he would turn against me; and while at St. Louis, on his way to Upper Missouri, he, in one of his speeches, made a violent attack on myself, all predicated on the fact that I would not aid him. Such are his feelings on the subject and his threatenings.
As to Jared Carter, if there is anything in his mind unfavorably disposed to you, he has, as far as I know, kept it to himself; for he never said anything to me, nor in my hearing, from which I could draw even an inference of that kind. He was here yesterday, when you came, much dejected in spirit in relation to his temporal affairs, and commenced telling of the great injuries he had received by his son-in-law, and the great losses he had sustained by him, and seemed greatly dejected on account of it; but he never mentioned any other subject.
When I went to La Harpe on Friday, it was purely in relation to temporal matters, making arrangements for provisions for the ensuing season and to regulate some matters in relation to property only. While there, I heard the report of the new indictments; and Mr. Higbee told me, the day before I went out, that I was among the number of those who were to be demanded. In relation to this, I made such inquiry as I thought would enable me to determine the fact, but failed in the attempt. I confess I felt some considerable interest in determining this fact, and felt anxious to know if I could find out how it was.
Now, on the broad scale, I can assert in truth, that with myself and any other person on this globe there never was nor is there now existing anything privately or publicly to injure your character in any respect whatever; neither has any person spoken to me on any such subject. All that has ever been said by me has been said to your face, all of which you know as well as I.
As to your rights in the post office, you have just the same as any other man. In the new case which occurred yesterday, I have examined all the laws and rules in this office, and find but one section in relation to it, and that indirectly, but gives the postmaster no right to abate the postage, nor make any disposition of the letter or letters; but address the department, and they will give such instruction in the case as they deem correct. I have written on the subject to the department.
I can conclude by only saying that I had hoped that all former difficulties had ceased for ever. On my part they were never mentioned to any person, nor a subject of discourse at any time nor in any place, was tired hearing of them, and was in hopes that they slumbered for ever. While at La Harpe the subject was never once mentioned. The only thing was the inquiry I made myself to find out, as far as I could, whether the report made to me by Mr. Higbee was correct or no, and this in relation to myself only. If being entirely silent on the subject at all times and in all places is an error, then I am guilty. If evading the subject at all times, whenever introduced by others, be a crime, then I am guilty; for such is my uniform custom.
If this letter is not satisfactory, let me know wherein; for it is peace I want. I have been interrupted a great many times since I began to write, by people calling at the office.
P.S.—I do consider it a matter of just offense to me to hear about Bennett's assisting me to office. I shall have a lower opinion of myself than I now have when I think I need his assistance.
Opened court to try Field for drunkenness and abusing his wife. I fined him $10 and costs, and required him to find bail of $50 to keep the peace for six months.
A conference held at Hartland, Niagara county, New York. Three elders and one priest were ordained, and five added to the Church.
It is estimated that the Chinese loss, in their recent war with England, was 15,000 men, 1,500 pieces of cannon, and a great portion of their navy.
Tuesday, 28.—1 removed my office from the smoke house (which I have been obliged to occupy for some months,) to the small upper room in the new brick store. Josiah Butterfield came to my house and insulted me so outrageously that I kicked him out of the house, across the yard, and into the street.
Elder Brigham Young visited George A. Smith, who was very sick.
Wednesday, 29.—Sat with Orson Spencer on a case of debt, and gave judgment against Dr. Foster, the defendant.
Thursday, 30.—In the office, in relation to a new bond presented to me by Dr. Brink, which I rejected as informal, and told Charles Ivins he might improve my share of the ferry One year, and cautioned him that if he did not consider Brink good for heavy damages, he would be foolish to be his bondsman.
Brink afterwards took an appeal to the Municipal Court, to be tried on the 10th of April.
Elder Hyde returned from Quincy, having delivered ten lectures and baptized three persons.
The Prophet as a Justice of the Peace.
At half-past one, p.m., I was called to sit as justice of the peace, with Alderman George W. Harris, on the case of Webbv. Rigby, for forcible entry and detainer. During the trial the court fined Esquire O. C. Skinner twenty dollars for insulting a witness, and would have fined him ten dollars more for his contempt of court, but let him off on his submissive acknowledgments. The trial closed about one o'clock on Friday morning.
Friday, 31.—At ten, a.m., I opened court for trial of Amos Lower, for assaulting John H. Burghard. After hearing testimony, fined Lower $10.
Spent the afternoon at Mr. Lucian Woodworth's in company with Brother Hyrum, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff, and Brother Chase, with our wives; had a good time, and feasted on a fat turkey.
1. These remarks and the passage of the ordinance making gold and silver alone Legal Tender in Nauvoo is further evidence that the Prophet regarded Nauvoo, under her charter as a "city state"—see the subject discussed in Introduction to Vol. 4 of this History, pp. 22-25.
4. This description is condensed from an article in the Times and Seasons (Vol. 4, No. 10), quoted from a paper called the Daily Sun, but whether a New York or a local Illinois paper cannot be learned.