Orson Pratt Sent to Washington as Agent of Nauvoo—Amos Fielding to England, Ditto—Comment on the Candidacy of Joseph Smith for President of the U.S.—Conspiracies of the Laws, Higbees, Fosters, et al. against Joseph Smith—The Prophet’s Memorial to Congress—Occupation of the West Contemplated.
Tuesday, March 12, 1844.—At home in the morning. At eleven A.M., I told Brother Cole I wanted the room over the store for more important purposes, and wished him to remove the school to Henry Miller’s house immediately; which he did.
The brethren who were in council with me yesterday assembled there in the afternoon and evening. Gave the following recommend to Elder Orson Pratt.
Credentials of Orson Pratt as Agent for the City of Nauvoo.
City of Nauvoo, Illinois, March 12, 1844.
To Whom It May Concern:—
We, the mayor and recorder of said city, do hereby certify that Orson Pratt, Esq., the bearer, a councilor in city council of said city, is sent as an agent by the authorities of said city or corporation to transact such business as he may deem expedient and beneficial for the community which he represents; and as such agent and gentleman of principle and character, he by us is recommended to the due consideration of all the executive officers of the government, both houses of Congress, and gentlemen generally of the United States.
In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and affixed the seal of said corporation at the time and place aforesaid.[Corporation Seal.]
Joseph Smith, Mayor,
Willard Richards, Recorder.
A dull cloudy day.
Co-operative Store Planned.
A meeting of the inhabitants of the Tenth ward was held this evening at the schoolhouse on the hill, in Parley street, to take into consideration the propriety of establishing a store on the principle of co-operation or reciprocity. The subject was fully investigated, and the benefits of such an institution clearly pointed out.
The plan proposed for carrying out the object of the meeting was by shares of five dollars each.
The leading feature of the institution was to give employment to our own mechanics, by supplying the raw material, and manufacturing all sorts of domestic goods, and furnishing the necessaries and comforts of life on the lowest possible terms.
A committee was appointed to draft a plan for the government of said institute, to be submitted for adoption or amendment at their next meeting; after which an adjournment took place till next Tuesday evening, at half-past: six o’clock, at the same place.
Wednesday, 13.—In special council from nine to twelve A.M. Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff and James Emmett were present, in addition to those of the preceding day. Willard Richards was appointed historian, and William Clayton clerk of the council.
It was decided that Amos Fielding should return to England, when I and my brother Hyrum gave him the following letter of attorney:—
Credentials of Elder Amos Fielding on Departing for England.
“This is to certify that the bearer thereof, our worthy brother Elder Amos Fielding, hath been appointed by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our agent, to transact such business as may be deemed necessary for the benefit of said Church, and such as he shall see proper throughout the island of Great Britain.
He is hereby authorized to receive moneys for the Temple in Nauvoo, the poor, or for the Church; and the brethren will be safe should they deposit money in his hands for any purpose pertaining to the Church business in this place.
In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and placed the corporation seal of City of Nauvoo this 13th day of March, A. D. 1844.[Corporation Seal.]
Presiding Elders of the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thursday, 14.—In special council over the store from nine till one.
At two, went to see Brother John Wilkie. He had sent to me to come and see him. He wanted to know what he should do. I told him of the order of tithing, &c., and he wanted I should come again.
At four, went to assembly room again. Lucien Woodworth sent on a mission to Texas. At seven, adjourned to next Tuesday, at nine, A.M.
Friday 15.—Dull, cloudy day, north wind. Frosty night. Spent the day in council.
Being in a strait to raise money to assist the hands in the Pine country, I sent Elders Brigham and Willard Richards to borrow some money from Mr. Orme, who, it is believed, had a large sum of money lying idle, but they did not get any.
I copy from the Law of the Lord:—
John Wilkie. The Blessing of the Prophet upon Him.
“This day President Joseph Smith rode over to Brother John Wilkie’s at his special request, to give him some instructions relative to his duty in regard to tithing and consecration.
Brother Wilkie has for a long time back been struggling with his feelings, designing to do right. but laboring under many fears and prejudices, in consequence of having in some degree given way to believe the base reports circulated by individuals for the purpose of injuring the authorities of the Church, and also from various other causes. His faithful companion has persevered diligently, and with fervent prayer has called upon God in his behalf, until she has realized her utmost wishes.
Brother Wilkie now feels anxious to do right in all things, and especially to pay his tithing to the full. President Joseph showed him the principles of consecration and the means whereby he might realize the fullness of the blessings of the celestial kingdom; and as an evidence that he desired to do right, he paid over to the Trustee-in-Trust the sum of three hundred dollars in gold and silver for the benefit of the Temple, and which is now recorded on consecration.
He also signified his intention of paying more as soon as he could get matters properly arranged. The president then pronounced a blessing upon him and his companion, that they should have the blessing of God to attend them in their basket and in their store—that they should have the blessing of health and salvation and long life, inasmuch as they would continue to walk in obedience to the commandments of God.
May the Lord grant his Spirit and peace to abide upon Brother Wilkie and his companion through the remainder of their days; may their hearts expand and become enlarged to receive the fullness of the blessings of the kingdom of heaven; may they have the light of eternal truth continually springing up in them like a well of living water; may they be shielded from the powers of Satan and the influence of designing men, and their faith increase from day to day until they shall have power to lay hold on the blessings of God and the gifts of the Spirit until they are satisfied; and, finally, may they live to a good old age; and when they have lived while they desire life, may they die in peace and be received into the mansions of eternal life, and enjoy a celestial glory forever and ever! Even so, amen.
The editors of the Times and Seasons published a short account of “Our City and the Present Aspect of Affairs,” which we insert.
Status of Nauvoo in the Spring of 1844.
Believing that our patrons and friends are pleased to hear of our prosperity, we feel happy in apprising them of the same, through the columns of our paper.
Owing to the scarcity of provision and the pressure in the money market during the past winter, commercial business has been somewhat dull; consequently, those who were not previously prepared have been obliged to employ the principal portion of their time in obtaining the necessary means for the sustenance of their families: therefore little improvement has been made. But old Boreas is now on his receding march, and spring has commenced its return with all its pleasantness.
Navigation is open, and steamboats are almost continually plying up and down our majestic river. They have already brought several families of emigrants to this place, who have cordially joined with their friends and brethren in the great work of the upbuilding of Zion and the rolling forth of the kingdom of God.
The work of improvement is now actively begun, and in every direction may be heard the sound of the mason’s trowel, the carpenter’s hammer, the teamster’s voice, or, in other words, the hum of industry and the voice of merriment. Indeed, to judge from the present appearance, a greater amount of improvement will be done the ensuing summer than in the preceding one.
Almost every stranger that enters our city is excited with astonishment that so much has been done in so short a time; but we flatter ourselves, from the known industry, perseverance, and diligence of the Saints, that by the return of another winter so much more will be accomplished, that his astonishment will be increased to wonder and admiration.
Quite extensive preparations are being made by the farmers in this vicinity for the cultivation of land; and should the season prove favorable, we doubt not that nearly, if not a sufficient amount of produce will be raised to supply the wants of the city and adjacent country.
We are also pleased that we can inform our friends abroad that the Saints here of late have taken hold of the work on the Temple with the zeal and energy that in no small degree excites our admiration. Their united efforts certainly speak to us that it is their determination that this spacious edifice shall be enclosed, if not finished, this season.
And a word we would say to the Saints abroad, which is, that the Temple is being built in compliance with a special commandment of God not to a few individuals, but to all. Therefore we sincerely hope you will contribute of your means as liberally as your circumstances will allow, that the burden of the work may not rest upon a few, but proportionately upon all.
Where is the true-hearted Saint that does not with joy and delight contemplate the endowment of the servants of God and the blessings He has promised to His people on condition that they speedily build the Temple? Certainly you cannot reasonably expect to enjoy these blessings if you refuse to contribute your share towards its erection.
It is a thing of importance, and much depends upon its accomplishment: therefore we wish to forcibly impress the matter upon your minds, hoping you will become aroused to a sense or your duty—that every company of Saints, every Elder that comes here, and every mail may bring money and other property for this important work,—which, when completed, will stand, in one sense of the word, as a firm pillar in Zion, and which will greatly facilitate the prosperity of the great cause of truth which we all are actively engaged in.
Saturday, 16.—At home. At one P.M., I sat in council with Willard Richards, Orrin P. Rockwell, and Bishop George Miller.
The Female Relief Society had two meetings in the assembly room, as it would not hold all at once, and sanctioned the “Voice of Innocence from Nauvoo.”
Wind Storm at Nauvoo.
Sunday, 17.—Last night, Nauvoo was visited by a very strong wind from the west. It blew down a portion of the west wall of the new hall (28 by 40 feet on the ground,) which the Seventies had commenced on Bain street, and they had raised for the roof.
The wind continued very strong all day. In the evening, had a smart snowstorm, which covered the ground, was succeeded by a frosty night.
Attended prayer meeting.
Monday, 18.—The frost of last night was so severe as to form ice inside the houses.
I stayed at home to recite German with Brother Neibaur.
Tuesday, 19.—Met in council in the assembly room. Elder Samuel Bent, Uriah Brown, Samuel James, John D. Parker, Orrin P. Rockwell, Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, and Orson Spencer met in council, in addition to the former names.
In the afternoon, heavy, driving rain. Northwest wind. Dull, cold day.
Wednesday, 20.—Severely cold northwest wind, with a snow and hail storm until ten A.M. Afternoon dull. West wind.
Spent the morning and afternoon in the assembly room, studying the languages.
Col. Copeland and the Vice-Presidency.
Elder Woodruff read me a letter which he had written to Colonel Solomon Copeland concerning his nomination to be a candidate for the Vice-President of the United States.
The Illinois Springfield Register has the following:—
General Joseph Smith a Candidate for President.
It appears by the Nauvoo papers that the Mormon Prophet is actually a candidate for the presidency. He has sent us his pamphlet, containing an extract of his principles, from which it appears that he is up to the hub for a United States bank and a protective tariff. On these points he is much more explicit than Mr. Clay, who will not say that he is for a bank, but talks all the time of restoring a national currency. Nor will Mr. Clay say what kind of a tariff he is for. He says to the south that he has not sufficiently examined the present tariff, but thinks very likely it could be amended.
General Smith possesses no such fastidious delicacy. He comes right out in favor of a bank and a tariff, taking the true Whig ground, and ought to be regarded as the real Whig candidate for President, until Mr. Clay can so far recover from his shuffling and dodging as to declare his sentiments like a man.
At present we can form no opinion of Clay’s principles, except as they are professed by his friends in these parts.
Clay himself has adopted the notion which was once entertained by an eminent grammarian, who denied that language was intended as a means to express one’s ideas, but insisted that it was invented on purpose to aid us in concealing them.
The Iowa Democrat publishes the following:—
A New Candidate in the Field.
We see from the Nauvoo Neighbor that General Joseph Smith, the great Mormon Prophet, has become a candidate for the next presidency. We do not know whether he intends to submit his claims to the National Convention, or not; but, judging from the language of his own organ, we conclude that he considers himself a full team for all of them.
All that we have to say on this point is, that if superior talent, genius, and intelligence, combined with virtue, integrity, and enlarged views, are any guarantee to General Smith’s being elected, we think that he will be a “full team of himself.”
The Missouri Republican believes that it will be death to Van Buren, and all agree that it must be injurious to the Democratic ranks, inasmuch as it will throw the Mormon vote out of the field.
A traveler, having visited Nauvoo for a few days, wrote to the Times and Seasons—
“Mr. Editor,—Before I take my departure, permit me to express my views relative to the leading men of your city, where I have been these few days.
I have been conversant with the great men of the age: and, last of all I feel that I have met with the greatest, in the presence of your esteemed Prophet, General Joseph Smith. From many reports, I had reason to believe him a bigoted religionist, as ignorant of politics as the savages; but, to my utter astonishment, on the short acquaintance, I have found him as familiar in the cabinet of nations as with his Bible and in the knowledge of that book I have not met with his equal in Europe or America. Although I should beg leave to differ with him in some items of faith, his nobleness of soul will not permit him to take offense at me. No, sir; I find him open, frank, and generous,—as willing others should enjoy their opinions as to enjoy his own.
The General appears perfectly at home on every subject, and his familiarity with many languages affords him ample means to become informed concerning all nations and principles, which with his familiar and dignified deportment towards all must secure to his interest the affections of every intelligent and virtuous man that may chance to fall in his way, and I am astonished that so little is known abroad concerning him.
Van Buren was my favorite, and I was astonished to see General Smith’s name as a competitor; but, since my late acquaintance, Mr. Van Buren can never re-seat himself in the Presidential chair on my vote while General Smith is in the field. Forming my opinions alone of the talents of the two, and from what I have seen, I have no reason to doubt but General Smith’s integrity is equal to any other individual; and I am satisfied he cannot easily be made the pliant tool of any political party. I take him to be a man who stands far aloof from little caucus quibblings and squabblings, while nations, governments, and realms are wielded in his hand as familiarly as the top and hoop in the hands of their little masters.
Free from all bigotry and superstition, he dives into every subject, and it seems as though the world was not large enough to satisfy his capacious soul, and from his conversation one might suppose him as well acquainted with other worlds as this.
So far as I can discover, General Smith is the nation’s man, and the man who will exalt the nation, if the people will give him the opportunity; and all parties will find a friend in him so far as right is concerned.
General Smith’s movements are perfectly anomalous in the estimation of the public. All other great men have been considered wise in drawing around them wise men; but I have frequently heard the General called a fool because he has gathered the wisest of men to his cabinet, who direct his movements; but this subject is too ridiculous to dwell upon. Suffice it to say, so far as I have seen, he has wise men at his side—superlatively wise, and more capable of managing the affairs of a State than most men now engaged therein, which I consider much to his credit, though I would by no means speak diminutively of my old friend.
From my brief acquaintance, I consider General Smith (independent of his peculiar religious views, in which by-the-by, I have discovered neither vanity nor folly,) the sine qua non of the age to our nation’s prosperity. He has learned the all-important lesson “to profit by the experience of those who have gone before;” so that, in short, General Smith begins where other men leave off. I am aware this will appear a bold assertion to some; but I would say to such, call, and form your acquaintance, as I have done; then judge.
Thus, sir, you have a few leading items of my views of General Smith, formed from personal acquaintance, which you are at liberty to dispose of as you think proper. I anticipate the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with your citizens at a future day.
A writer in the Quincy Herald reflects very strongly upon the conduct of the Quincy Whig, New York Tribune, and other newspapers, for publishing slanderous falsehoods against the Saints.
Ten, P.M., commenced snowing again.
Origin of Memorial to Congress.
Thursday, 21.—A cold snow-storm through the night. In council in the assembly room, discussing the propriety of petitioning Congress for the privilege of raising troops to protect the making of setments in the uncivilized portions of our continent.
Willard Richards was appointed a committee to draw up a memorial to Congress.
Friday, 22.—Snow on the ground; cold, bleak north wind; cloudy.
At ten A.M., held Mayor’s court, and afterwards read German in the reading room.
In the afternoon, met with the Twelve in prayer at President Brigham Young’s house.
The Seventies’ Hall, Instructions on Rebuilding.
I advised the Seventies to pull down the remainder of the walls and rebuild the Seventies’ hall on a permanent basis from the foundation and not erect for themselves a trap, but build one two stories high. and strong enough to stand for a generation.
Saturday, 23.—Day warmer. Rode out with Clayton to endeavor to raise money to furnish the hands in the Pinery with supplies. Visited the Temple and public works.
Also called with William Clayton and Alexander Neibaur at Dr. Foster’s. He was gone to Appanoose, and Mrs. Foster was at Mr. Gilman’s.
I here extract from William Clayton’s journal:—
President Smith’s Interview With Mrs. Foster.
We went down there and saw her, [Mrs. Foster]. President Joseph asked Sister Foster if she ever in her life knew him guilty of an immoral or indecent act. She answered, “No.” He then explained his reasons for asking; which were, he had been informed that Dr. Foster had stated that Joseph made propositions to his wife calculated to lead her astray from the path of virtue; and then asked if ever he had used any indecent or insulting language to her. She answered, “Never.” He further asked if he ever preached anything like the “plurality of wife” doctrine to her other than what he had preached in public? She said, “No.” He asked her if he ever proposed to have illicit intercourse with her, and especially when he took dinner during the doctor’s absence. She said, “No.” After some further conversation on the subject, we left. Mrs. Gillman was present all the time. President Joseph and Neibaur then went on foot to the farm.
Sunday, 24.—At ten, A.M., met at the stand near the Temple. [The following very brief outline of the speeches is from the journal of Wilford Woodruff]:—
Discourse of President Smith—Conspiracies in Nauvoo.
“President Joseph Smith addressed the people. The following is the substance of what I heard him say:—
I have been informed by two gentlemen that a conspiracy is got up in this place for the purpose of taking the life of President Joseph Smith, his family, and all the Smith family, and the heads of the Church. One of the gentlemen will give his name to the public, and the other wishes it to be hid for the present: they will both testify to it on oath, and make an affidavit upon it. The names of the persons revealed at the head of the conspiracy are as follows:—Chancey L. Higbee, Dr. Robert D. Foster, Mr. Joseph H. Jackson, William and Wilson Law. And the lies that C. L. Higbee has hatched up as a foundation to work upon are—he says that I had men’s heads cut off in Missouri, and that I had a sword run through the hearts of the people that I wanted to kill and put out of the way. I won’t swear out a warrant against them, for I don’t fear any of them: they would not scare off an old setting hen. I intend to publish all the iniquity that I know of them. If I am guilty, I am ready to bear it. There is sometimes honor among enemies. I am willing to do anything for the good of the people. I will give the name of one of the gentlemen who have divulged the plot: his name is M. G. Eaton. He will swear to it: he is a bold fellow. Joseph H. Jackson said a Smith should not be alive in two weeks,—not over two months anyhow. Concerning the character of these men, I will say nothing about it now; but if I hear anything more from them on this subject, I will tell what I know about them.
Elder Orson Spencer addressed the people as follows:—
While listening to President Smith’s remarks, I thought of a figure, 1.e., if a physician was going to dissect a body, he would not be likely to begin at the limbs but cut the head off first. So the adversary of the Saints has laid a plan to cut off the head of the Church with the intention of scattering and destroying the whole body. It was so in the days of Jesus Christ; the enemies of the truth sought to kill Him, that the body might be destroyed; which was also the case in the days of Elijah, Daniel, and many of the ancients.
I once heard a man say, who was opposed to this work, “That it might be true, but it gave Joseph Smith power.” True, said I; but if his power be subordinate to the power of God, it is right. If a man set up a kingdom by the power of God, then let others seek power from the same source. God sets up kingdoms and pulls down kingdoms: this makes men mad who will not submit to the kingdom of God. We all know the result of the power of Moses, who was the representative of God.
Judging from what is past, how will it be when God sets up His kingdom in the last days? Whether there is a conspiracy now, or not, I don’t know; but no doubt there will be, if not now, for it has always been so. In the days of the Nephites, they had their Gadianton robbers. I have not any doubt but that the apostates will join with the other wicked powers to try to put down the power of God, and I am glad to have the power of the kingdom of God tested; I care not what sacrifice I am called to make for such a kingdom. If it is friends, wealth, or even life, at the purchase of such a kingdom, it is cheap. Did the ancient Apostles, Prophets, or Saints who died pay too much for that kingdom? They did not. It is necessary that men be put in possession of the knowledge and mysteries of the kingdom of God, in order to sin as far as they wish, that they may go to the highest pitch. How often men lay down their lives for their country and other purposes. How much better, then, to die for the cause of Zion! Good and righteous men will administer justice and rebuke evil. The Church should be cleansed from bad men, and the Lord will take His own way to cleanse the Church.
We should lift up our voice against wickedness of all kinds. But will the rulers of our land do it? No, they will not; they will be cowards until there is no man to fight, and then be brave. When Government will not do it, some man should take the helm of government that will do it. Will it be called treason, if the God of heaven should set up a kingdom? May the Lord give you more and more of His Spirit, light and intelligence, until you are cemented together in union and love. Amen.
Elder Sidney Rigdon addressed the meeting.
President Joseph Smith again arose and said—In relation to the power over the minds of mankind which I hold, I would say, It is in consequence of the power of truth in the doctrines which I have been an instrument in the hands of God of presenting unto them, and not because of any compulsion on my part. I wish to ask if ever I got any of it unfairly? If I have not reproved you in the gate? I ask, Did I ever exercise any compulsion over any man? Did I not give him the liberty of disbelieving any doctrine I have preached, if he saw fit? Why do not my enemies strike a blow at the doctrine? They cannot do it: it is truth, and I defy all men to upset it. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Repent ye of your sins and prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man; for the kingdom of God has come unto you, and henceforth the ax is laid unto the root of the tree; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, God Almighty (and not Joe Smith) shall hew it down and cast it into the fire.”
After meeting, I rode out with Emma. The trees begin to bud forth.
In the evening, held a conversation with a large company of friends at my door.
Elder R. H. Kinnamon writes that during the last 22 months he has baptized over 100 persons while on a mission in Virginia and North Carolina, organized two branches in Virginia, and calls are continually made for preaching in every direction.
Progress on Memorial to Congress.
Monday, 25.—At home in the morning. After dinner rode up to the upper landing to see the St. Louis Oak steamer. Learned that a company of emigrants from England were expected soon.
Called at my office on returning, and heard read the draft of a memorial to Congress which my clerk had been writing, as a committee appointed by the council on Thursday last, and was pleased with the instrument.
Millions of wild pigeons flying north, and millions of gnats dancing in the air. Dull day. At night thunder, lightning and rain.
Tuesday, 26.—Dull day. From nine to twelve, noon, in council; also from two to five P.M.
The memorial drawn up by Dr. Richards was read, discussed, and approved by the general council.
Started this morning to go to Ramus with Brother Amasa Lyman. Rode as far as the Temple, and found it so muddy that we turned back.
Issued a warrant on the complaint of Vernon H. Bruce, against Ianthus Rolfe, for stealing two stone-cutter’s tools.
I wrote the following:—
The Prophet’s Memorial to Congress.
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress Assembled:
Your memorialist, a tree-born citizen or these United States, respectfully showeth that from his infancy his soul has been filled with the most intense and philanthropic interest for the welfare of his native country; and being fired with an ardor which floods cannot quench, crowns cannot conquer, nor diplomatic intrigue corrupt, to see those principles which emanated from the bosoms of the fathers of seventy-six, and which cost the noblest talents and richest blood of the nation, maintained inviolate and perpetuated to future generations; and the proud eagle of American freedom soar triumphant over every party prejudice and local sinistry, and spread her golden pinions over every member of the human family, who shall stretch forth their hands for succor from the lion’s paw or the oppressor’s grasp; and firmly trusting in the God of liberty, that He has designed universal peace and goodwill, union, and brotherly love to all the great family of man, your memorialist asks your honorable body to pass the following:—
An Ordinance for the Protection of the Citizens of the United States Emigrating to the Territories, and for the Extension of the Principles of Universal Liberty.
Whereas, many of the citizens of these United States have migrated and are migrating to Texas, Oregon, and other lands contiguous to this nation; and whereas, Texas has declared herself free and independent, without the necessary power to protect her rights and liberties; and whereas Oregon is without any organized government, and those who emigrate thither are exposed to foreign invasion and domestic feuds; and whereas the Oregon, by geographical location and discovery more rightfully belongs to these United States than any other general government; and whereas it is necessary that the emigrants of that newly settling territory should receive protection;and whereas the Texan Government has petitioned the United States to be received into our Union, but yet retains her national existence; and whereas the United States remember with gratitude the seasonable support they received in alike situation from a LaFayette; and whereas the United States desire to see the principles of her free institutions extended to all men, especially where it can be done without the loss of blood and treasure to the nation; and whereas there is an almost boundless extent of territory on the west and south of these United States, where exists little or no organization of protective Government; and whereas the lands thus unknown; unowned, or unoccupied, are among some of the richest and most fertile of the continent; and whereas many of the inhabitants of the Union would gladly embrace the opportunity of extending their researches and acquirements so soon as they can receive protection in their enterprise, thereby adding strength, durability, and wealth to the nation; and whereasthe red man, the robber, and the desperado have frequently interrupted such research and acquisition without justifiable cause; and whereas Joseph Smith has offered and does hereby offer these United States, to show his loyalty to our Confederate Union and the Constitution of our Republic; to prevent quarrel and bloodshed our frontiers; to extend the arm of deliverance to Texas; to on protect the inhabitants of Oregon from foreign aggressions and domestic broils; to prevent the crowned nations from encircling us as a nation on our western and southern borders, and save the eagle’s talon from the lion’s paw; to still the tongue of slander, and show the world that a Republic can be, and not be ungrateful; to open the vast regions of the unpeopled west and south to our enlightened and enterprising yeomanry; to protect them in their researches; to secure them in their locations, and thus strengthen the Government and enlarge her borders; to extend her influence; to inspire the nations with the spirit of freedom and win them to her standard; to promote intelligence; to cultivate and establish peace among all with whom we may have intercourse as neighbors; to settle all existing difficulties among those not organized into an acknowledged government bordering upon the United States and Territories; to save the national revenue in the nation’s coffers; to supercede the necessity of a standing army on our western and southern frontiers; to create and maintain the principles of peace and suppress mobs, insurrections, and oppression in Oregon and all the lands bordering upon the United States and not incorporated into any acknowledged national government; to explore the unexplored regions of our continent; to open new fields for enterprise to our citizens, and protect them therein; to search out the antiquities of the land, and thereby promote the arts and sciences, and general information; to amalgamate the feelings of all with whom he may have intercourse on the principles of equity, liberty, justice, humanity and benevolence; to break down tyranny and oppression and exalt the standard of universal peace, provided he shall be protected in those rights and privileges which constitutionally belong to every citizen of this Republic; therefore, that the said memorialist may have the privilege, and that no citizen of the United States shall obstruct, or attempt to obstruct or hinder, so good, so great, so noble an enterprise to carry out those plans and principles as set forth in this preamble, and be shielded from every opposition by evil and designing men.
Section 1. Be it ordained by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress Assembled, that Joseph Smith, of the city of Nauvoo, in the State of Illinois, is hereby authorized and empowered to raise a company of one hundred thousand armed volunteers in the United States and Territories, at such times, and places and in such numbers, as he shall find necessary and convenient for the purposes specified in the foregoing preamble, and to execute the same.
Sec. 2. And be it further ordained that if any person or persons shall hinder or attempt to hinder or molest the said Joseph Smith from executing his designs in raising said volunteers, and marching and transporting the same to the borders of the United States and Territories, he, or they so hindering, molesting, or offending, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars each for every offense, or by hard labor on some public work not exceeding two years, or both, at the discretion of the nearest District Court of the United States, where the hindrance or offense shall be committed, having jurisdiction.
Sec. 3. And be it further ordained, the more fully to remove all obstructions and hindrances to the raising, enlisting, and marching the volunteers as aforesaid, the said Joseph Smith is hereby constituted a member of the army of these United States, and is authorized to act as such in the United States and Territories, and on all lands bordering upon the United States and Territories, for the purposes specified in the foregoing preamble, provided said land shall not be within the acknowledged jurisdiction of any acknowledged national government.
Sec. 4. And be it further ordained that nothing in this ordinance shall be so construed by any individual or nation to consider the volunteers aforesaid as constituting any part of the army of the United States; neither shall the said Joseph Smith, as a member of the United States army, disturb the peace of any nation or government acknowledged as such, break the faith of treaties between the United States and any other nation, or violate any known law of nations, thereby endangering the peace of the United States.
Sec. 5. And be it further ordained, that the said Joseph Smith shall confine his operations to those principles of action specified in the preamble to this ordinance, the perpetuity of which shall be commensurate with the circumstances and specifications which have originated it.
And your memorialist will ever pray, &c.
City of Nauvoo, Illinois, March 26, 1844.
Dr. Willard Richards wrote to the Saints at Augusta, Lee County, Iowa, requesting a brief history of the settling of that branch, and also asking a donation of lumber for his house.
In the afternoon, Abiathar B. Williams made the following affidavit before Daniel H. Wells, Esq:—
Affidavit of Abiathar B. Williams, Concerning a Conspiracy against the Prophet.
State of Illinois,
Hancock County. ss.
Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, Acting Justice of the Peace in and for the said county, Abiathar B. Williams, who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith that on or about the 15th day of March, A. D., 1844, Joseph H. Jackson came to my house and requested me to walk with him; which I did. During the time we were walking, said Joseph H. Jackson said that he was then coming direct from Mr. Law’s; that there was going to be a secret meeting in the city of Nauvoo, probably tomorrow evening: but, as it was not decided, he could not say positively as to the time; but he would inform me in season. The said Joseph H. Jackson said that Doctor Foster, Chauncey L. Higbee, and the Laws were red hot for a conspiracy, and he should not be surprised if in two weeks there should not be one of the Smith family left alive in Nauvoo. After we arrived at Mr. Loomis’, near the Masonic hall, in the city of Nauvoo, he related some things which he stated that Dr. Foster had said relative to his family. This he did in the presence of Mr. Eaton and myself, and strongly solicited myself and Mr. Eaton to attend the secret meeting and join them in their intentions. The said Joseph H. Jackson further said that Chauncey Higbee had said that he, the said Chauncey Higbee, had seen men tied hand and foot, and run through the heart with a sword, and their heads taken off, and then buried; and he durst not say a word. This the said Jackson said in Mr. Loomis’ room. And further this deponent saith not.
A. B. Williams.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27th day of March, A. D. 1844.[L. S.]
Daniel H. Wells, J. P.
Also M. G. Eaton made affidavit as follows:—
Affidavit of M. G. Eaton—A conspiracy Against Joseph Smith.
State of Illinois,
Hancock County. ss.
Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, an acting Justice of the Peace, in and for the said county, M. G. Eaton, who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith that on or about the fifteenth day of March, A. D. 1844, Joseph H. Jackson came to me several times and requested me to go on the hill with him. I finally consented went with him to the Keystone Store, in the city of Nauvoo. Dr. Foster and one of the Higbees (I think Chauncey L. Higbee) were in the store. The said Joseph H. Jackson, together with the said R. D. Foster and said Higbee, went into the back room of the store. They appeared to enter into private council. Soon after they went into the said room, the said Joseph H. Jackson invited me into the room where they were sitting. I immediately complied.
Soon after I went in, the said Higbee commenced talking about the spiritual wife system. He said he had no doubt but some of the Elders had ten or twelve apiece. He said they married them, whether the females were living or not; and they did it by recording the marriage in a large book, which book was sealed up after the record was made, and was not to be opened for a long time,—probably not till many of the husbands of those who were thus married were dead. They would then open the book and break the seals in the presence of those females, and when they saw their names recorded in that book they would believe that the doctrine was true and they must submit. He said this book was kept at Mr. Hyrum Smith’s. I asked the Chauncey L Higbee.* * * * * *[Here follows some expressions too indecent for insertion.]
The aforesaid R. D. Foster then asked me what I would think, if, during my absence from home, a carriage should drive up to my house, a person alight, and the carriage then drive off again; this person should then go into my house and begin to tell my wife a great many things against me to prejudice her mind against me, and use every possible means to do this, and finally would introduce and preach the spiritual wife doctrine to her, and make an attempt to seduce her; and further, this person should sit down to dine with my wife, bless the victuals, &c.; and while they were thus engaged, I should come home and find them thus associated, this person should rise up and say, “How do you do?” and bless me in a very polite manner, &c.; and also if, upon these appearances, I should feel jealous that something was wrong, and when the person was gone I would ask my wife what had been the conversation between her and this person, but she would refuse to tell me; I then draw a pistol and present it to her head and threaten to shoot her if she did not tell me all, but she would still refuse: I then would give her a double-barrelled pistol, and say to her, “Defend yourself; for if you don’t tell me, either you or I would shoot” she would then faint away through fear and excitement, and when she came to again, she would begin and tell how this person had been trying to poison your wife’s mind against you, and, by preaching the spiritual wife system to her, had endeavored to seduce her. I replied, I should think he was a rascal: but who has had such a trial as that? The said R. D. Foster answered that he was the man who had had that trial, and who had been thus abused.
The said Dr. Foster, Higbee, and Joseph H. Jackson then remarked that they were about to hold a secret meeting to oppose and try to put a stop to such things. The said Joseph H. Jackson also said that if any person undertook to arrest him, he should begin to cut them.
The said R. D. Foster further said he was afraid of his life, and dared not be out at nights.
The said Higbee said he had not a doubt but there had been men killed in Missouri who had secrets that they were afraid they would divulge. He said he was afraid of his life.
The said Jackson further said he should not be surprised if there should be a real muss and an insurrection in the city in less than two months; and that if a disturbance should take place, the Carthagenians and others would come and help them.
He mentioned some names of persons who would come from Carthage, which names I do not remember. The same day, when in Mr. Loomis’ room, I heard the said Jackson say that the Laws were ready to enter into a secret conspiracy, tooth and nails.
The said Higbee also said, while at the Keystone Store, that if ever he was brought before the Mayor’s court again, and the Mayor told him to hold his tongue, he should get up and tell him he had a right to speak, and should do so; and then if any man attempted to put him out of court, he would shoot him through. And further this deponent saith not.
M. G. Eaton.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 27th day of March, A. D., 1844.[L. S.]
Daniel H. Wells, J. P. 1
This evening, Dr. Reynolds, of Iowa City, lectured on astronomy in the assembly room.
Thursday, 28.—Dull day, drizzling rain, cold north-east wind.
Transferred the trial of Ianthus Rolfe to Aaron Johnson, J. P.
This afternoon, had the assembly room and office plastered where the same had been knocked off, &c.
Friday, 29.—Night boisterous: about eight, A.M., hailstorm, northeast wind, nipping frost; frost, hail, and strong wind all day.
Spent the day at home.
The Robbery at Rollasson’s Store in Nauvoo.
Saturday, 30.—This morning I heard there was some disturbance on the hill; I rode up and found it reported that a robbery had been committed at the Keystone Store, kept by Mr. Rollasson, of some $400 or $500, and some goods, and they were suspicious of a certain black man. I issued a search-warrant and returned to my office, where I found the black man,———Chism, with his back lacerated from his shoulders to his hips, with twenty or more lashes. My clerk, Dr. Richards, kept him secreted, and called Aaron Johnson, a justice of the peace, who issued a warrant for————, a Missourian, who had boarded at my house a few days, and on testimony fined him $5 and costs for whipping——Chism. One Easton, a witness, said he could not testify without implicating himself, and he was apprehended and held in custody. W. H. J. Marr, Esq., refused to testify, because he was counsel.
Memorial to the President of the United States.
I got prepared a memorial to his Excellency John Tyler, the President of the United States, embodying in it the same sentiments as are in my Petition to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, dated 26th March, 1844, asking the privilege of raising 100,000 men to extend protection to persons wishing to settle Oregon and other portions of the territory of the United States, and extend protection to the people in Texas.
Sunday, 31.—Cold, fine day.
At home this morning until nine, when I went over to my reading-room, again heard read and signed my memorial to Congress for the privilege of raising 100,000 volunteers to protect Texas, Oregon, &c., dated 26th instant; and also a memorial to the President for the same purpose, if the other fail.
Also signed an introductory letter to Elder Orson Hyde, who is going to carry the memorials 2 to Washington as follows:—
“Credentials of Orson Hyde, Agent to Present the Prophet’s Memorial to Congress.
City of Nauvoo, Illinois, March 30, 1844.
To whom it may concern: We, the Mayor and Recorder of said city, do certify that Orson Hyde, Esq. the bearer, a Councilor in the City Council of said city, is sent as our agent, by the authorities of said city, to transact such business as he may deem expedient and beneficial for the party whom he represents: and such agent and gentleman of principle and character, he by us is recommended to the due consideration of all the executive officers of the Government, both houses of Congress, and gentlemen generally of the United States.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and affixed the seal of said corporation at the time and place aforesaid.[Corporation Seal.]
Joseph Smith, Mayor.
Willard Richards, Recorder.
About this time, Brother Alexander Mills, one of the police, informed me that Chauncey L. Higbee drew a pistol on him the night before, and threatened to shoot him. I instructed him to make complaint to Esquire Wells, and have him apprehended.
1. In addition to these affidavits the Prophet was apprised by two young men Denison L. Harris and Robert Scott, the latter living in the family of William Law; of a secret movement then on foot to take his life, and the lives of several other leading men in the Church, among them the Prophet’s brother, Hyrum. These young men were invited to the secret meetings by the conspirators, but before going conferred with the Prophet, who told them to go, but to take no part in the proceedings of these wicked men against himself. They carried out his instructions, and at the risk of their lives attended the secret meetings three times, and brought to President Smith a report of what they had witnessed. A full account of this conspiracy written by Horace Cummings—the narrative being detailed to him by Dennison L. Harris—was published in the Contributor, for April, 1884.
2. President Smith’s memorial to Congress, of the 28th of March, asking to be appointed “a member of the army of these United States,” to be authorized “to raise 100,000 armed volunteers” to police the inter-mountain and Pacific slope west, was presented to the House of Representatives by Mr. John Wentworth, of Chicago, where the following occurred with reference to it:
“Mr. Wentworth asked permission to present a memorial from Gen. Joseph Smith, the head of the Mormons, and required that it might be read by the clerk for the information of the House.
“The clerk commenced the reading of the memorial.
“Before the reading was concluded.
“Mr. J. R. Ingersoll interposed, and objected a the reception at first, and still objected.
“Mr. Weber observed that if memorials of this kind were to be read, he was entrusted with the presentation of one of a peculiar character, from certain city of Frederick county, Md.
“Mr. Wentworth said he would move a suspension of the rules to enable him to have the paper read; and he wished a inquire of the chair whether it would be in order for him to assign him reasons for making such a motion.
“Mr. Duncan observed, if the gentleman would yield him the floor, he would move to suspend the rules, to go into committee of the whole on the Oregon Bill.
“Mr. Wentworth said that, as he had the floor, he would make the motion. Mr. Wentworth then moved that the rules be suspended, for the purpose of going into committee of the whole on the Oregon Bill.
“The Speaker said that the question would be put on suspending the rules to go into committee of the whole. If that motion prevailed, the gentleman could move to take up any bill he pleased.
“Mr. Vance called for the yeas and nays on the question; which were ordered.
“Mr. McKay inquired if the House should refuse to go into committee of the whole, if it could by postponement of the previous orders, take up the naval appropriation bill which had been reported from the committee of the whole.
“The speaker said a motion to that effect would require a vote of two-thirds.”
“The question was put on suspending the rules and rejected—yeas 79, nays 86.” “Congressional Globe” for May 25th, 1844. Vol. 13, No. 39, p. 624.)