Volume 3 Chapter 23


Settlement At Commerce, Illinois.

[Page 341]

Seeking a New Location.

The committee continued to look at the different locations which were presented in Lee county, Iowa, and about Commerce, in Hancock county, Illinois.

Wednesday, May 1.—The following letter was communicated to the Quincy Argus, a weekly newspaper, published at Quincy:

Elder Taylor’s Warning to the People of Quincy Against Impostors.

To the Editor of the Argus:

Sir:—In consequence of so great an influx of strangers arriving in this place daily, owing to their late expulsion from the State of Missouri, there must of necessity be, and we wish to state to the citizens of Quincy and the vicinity, through the medium of your columns, that there are many individuals amongst the number who have already arrived, as well as among those who are now on their way here, who never did belong to our Church, and others who once did, but who, for various reasons, have been expelled from our fellowship. Amongst these there are some who have contracted habits which are at variance with the principles of moral rectitude, (such as swearing, dram-drinking, etc.,) which immoralities the Church of Latter-day Saints is liable to be charged with, owing to our amalgamation [with them] under our late existing circumstances. And as we as a people do not wish to lie under any such imputation, we would also state, that such individuals do not hold a name nor a place amongst us; that we altogether discountenance everything of the kind; that every person belonging to our community, contracting or persisting in such immoral habits, has hitherto been expelled from our society; and that we will hold no communion with all such as we may hereafter be informed of, but will withdraw our fellowship from them.

We wish further to state, that we feel ourselves laid under peculiar obligations to the citizens of this place, for the patriotic feeling which has been manifested, and for the hand of liberality and friendship which has been extended to us in our late difficulties; and should feel sorry to see that philanthropy and benevolence abused by wicked and designing people, who under pretense of poverty and distress, would try to work upon the feelings of the charitable and humane, get into their debt without any prospect or intention of paying, and finally, perhaps, we as a people be charged with dishonesty.

[Page 342]

We say that we altogether disapprove of such practices, and we warn the citizens of Quincy against such individuals, who may pretend to belong to our community.

By inserting this in your columns, you, sir, will confer upon us a very peculiar favor.

Written and signed in behalf of the Church of Latter-day Saints, by your very humble servant,

John Taylor.

Land Purchases.

I this day purchased, in connection with others of the committee, a farm of Hugh White, consisting of one hundred and thirty-five acres, for the sum of five thousand dollars; also a farm of Dr. Isaac Galland, lying west of the White purchase, for the sum of nine thousand dollars; both of which were to be deeded to Alanson Ripley, according to the counsel of the committee; but Sidney Rigdon declared that “no committee should control any property which he had anything to do with;” consequently the Galland purchase was deeded to George W. Robinson, Rigdon’s son-in-law, with the express understanding that he should deed it to the Church, when the Church had paid for it according to their obligation in the contract.

The English Saints Warned against Isaac Russell.

A letter was received by the Presidency of the Church in England, then at Preston, from President Heber C. Kimball, stating that Isaac Russell had apostatized, any styled himself the Prophet; and that Joseph had fallen. Elder Kimball said the Spirit signified to him that Russell was secretly trying to lead away the Church at Alston, England, and wished the Elders to see to it. The Spirit had manifested the same thing to Elder Richards, and he was deputed by a council of the Presidency to visit the Alston branch.

[Page 343]

Friday, 3.—I returned to Quincy.

Elder Richards left Preston for Alston.

Saturday, 4.—Elder Richards arrived at Alston and discovered by stratagem that a letter had been received from Isaac Russell, as follows:

Isaac Russell’s Letter to the Saints in England.

Far West, January 30, 1839.

To the Faithful Brethren and Sisters of the Church of Latter-day Saints in Alston:

Dear Brethren:—Inasmuch as wisdom is only to be spoken amongst those who are wise, I charge you to read this letter to none but those who enter into a covenant with you to keep those things that are revealed in this letter from all the world, and from all the churches, except the churches to whom I myself have ministered, viz.—the church in Alston and the branches round about, to whom I ministered, and to none else; and to none but the faithful amongst you; and wo be to the man or woman that breaketh this covenant.

Now the Indians, who are the children of the Nephites and the Lamanites, who are spoken of in the Book of Mormon, have all been driven to the western boundaries of the States of America, by the Gentiles, as I told you; they have now to be visited by the gospel, for the day of their redemption is come, and the Gentiles have now well nigh filled up the measure of their wickedness, and will soon be cut off, for they have slain many of the people of the Lord, and scattered the rest; and for the sins of God’s people, the Gentiles will now be suffered to scourge them from city to city, and from place to place, and few of all the thousands of the Church of Latter-day Saints will stand to receive an inheritance in the land of promise, which is now in the hands of our enemies. But a few will remain and be purified as gold seven times refined; and they will return to Zion with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the old waste places that are now left desolate.

Now the thing that I have to reveal to you is sacred, and must be kept with care; for I am not suffered to reveal it at all to the churches in this land, because of their wickedness and unbelief—for they have almost cast me out from amongst them, because I have testified of their sins to them, and warned them of the judgments that have yet to come upon them; and this thing that I now tell you, will not come to the knowledge of the churches until they are purified.

Now the thing is as follows—The Lord has directed me, with a few others, whose hearts the Lord has touched, to go into the wilderness, where we shall be fed and directed by the hand of the Lord until we are purified and prepared to minister to the Lamanites, and with us the Lord will send those three who are spoken of in the Book of Mormon, who were with Jesus after His resurrection, and have tarried on the earth to minister to their brethren in the last days.

[Page 344]

Thus God is sending us before to prepare a place for you and for the remnant who will survive the judgments which are now coming on the Church of Latter-day Saints, to purify them, for we are sent to prepare a Zion, (as Joseph was before sent into Egypt), a city of Peace, a place of Refuge, that you may hide yourselves with us and all the Saints in the due time of the Lord, before His indignation shall sweep away the nations.

These things are marvelous in our eyes, for great is the work of the Lord that He is going to accomplish. All this land will be redeemed by the hands of the Lamanites, and room made for you, when you hear again from me. Abide where you are, and be subject to the powers that be amongst you in the church. Keep diligently the things I taught you, and when you read this, be comforted concerning me, for though you may not see me for some few years, yet as many of you as continue faithful, will see me again, and it will be in the day of your deliverance. Pray for me always, and be assured that I will not forget you. To the grace of God I commend you in Christ. Amen.

Isaac Russell.

P. S.—We have not yet gone in the wilderness, but we shall go when the Lord appoints the time. If you should hear that I have apostatized, believe it not, for I am doing the work of the Lord.

I. R.

Russell’s Efforts Counteracted.

Elder Richards being led by the Spirit of God, soon unfolded the sophistry and falsehood of this letter to the convincing of the Saints at Alston and Brampton, so as to entirely destroy their confidence in the apostate Russell, although they had loved him as a father.

Minutes of a General Conference of the Church Held near Quincy, Illinois, May 4th, 5th and 6th, 1839.

Minutes of a general conference held by the Church of Latter-day Saints at the Presbyterian camp ground, near Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, on Saturday, the 4th of May, 1839.

At a quarter past eleven o’clock meeting was called to order and President Joseph Smith, Jun., appointed chairman.

[Page 345]

A hymn was then sung, when President Smith made a few observations on the state of his peculiar feelings, after having been separated from the brethren so long, etc.. and then proceeded to open the meeting by prayer.

After some preliminary observations by Elder J. P. Greene and President Rigdon, concerning a certain purchase of land in the Iowa Territory, made for the Church by the Presidency, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

Resolved 1st: That Almon W. Babbitt, Erastus Snow and Robert B. Thompson be appointed a traveling committee to gather up and obtain all the libelous reports and publications which have been circulated against our Church, as well as other historical matter connected with said Church, that they possibly can obtain.

Resolved 2nd: That Bishop Vinson Knight be appointed, or received into the Church in full bishopric.

Resolved 3rd: That this conference do entirely sanction the purchase lately made for the Church in the Iowa Territory, and also the agency thereof.

Resolved 4th: That Elder Grainger be appointed to go to Kirtland and take the charge and oversight of the House of the Lord, and preside over the general affairs of the Church in that place.

Resolved 5th: That the advice of this conference to the brethren living in the Eastern States is, for them to move to Kirtland and the vicinity thereof, and again settle that place as a Stake of Zion; provided they feel so inclined, in preference to their moving farther west.

Resolved 6th: That George A. Smith be acknowledged one of the Twelve Apostles.

Resolved 7th: That this conference are entirely satisfied with, and give their sanction to the proceedings of the conference of the Twelve and their friends, held on the Temple site at Far West, Missouri, on Friday, the 26th of April last.

Resolved 8th: That they also sanction the act of the council held the same date and same place, in cutting off from the communion of said Church, certain persons mentioned in the minutes thereof.

Resolved 9th: That Elders Orson Hyde and William Smith be allowed the privilege of appearing personally before the next general conference of the Church, to give an account of their conduct; and that in the meantime they be both suspended from exercising the functions of their office.

Resolved 10th: That the conference do sanction the mission intended for the Twelve to Europe, and that they will do all in their power to enable them to go.

[Page 346]

Resolved 11th: That the subject of Elder Rigdon’s going to Washington be adjourned until tomorrow.

Resolved 12th: That the next general conference be held on the first Saturday in October next, at Commerce, at the house of Elder Rigdon.

Resolved 13th: That we now adjourn until tomorrow at ten o’clock a. m.

Joseph Smith, Jun., President.

J. Mulholland, Clerk.

Certificate of Appointment.

This is to certify that at a general conference held at Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Saturday, the 4th day of May, 1839, President Joseph Smith, Jun., presiding, it was resolved: That Almon W. Babbitt, Erastus Snow, and Robert B. Thompson be appointed a traveling committee to gather up and obtain all the libelous reports and publications which have been circulated against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as other historical matter connected with said Church, which they can possibly obtain.

Joseph Smith, Jun., President.

James Mulholland, Clerk.

Minutes of the 5th.

Sunday, 5th, 10 a. m.—Conference opened pursuant to adjournment as usual, by prayer and singing; when it was unanimously resolved: That this conference send a delegate to the City of Washington, to lay our case before the General Government; and that President Rigdon be the delegate.

Resolved 2nd: That Almon W. Babbitt be sent to Springfield, Illinois, clothed with authority, and required to set to rights the Church in that place in every way which may become necessary according to the order of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Resolved 3rd: That Colonel Lyman Wight be appointed to receive the affidavits which are to be sent to the City of Washington; after which the afternoon was spent in receiving instructions from the Presidency and those of the Twelve who were present.

At 5 o’clock p. m. conference adjourned.

Joseph Smith, Jun., President.

James Mulholland, Clerk.

Minutes of the 6th.

Monday, 6th.—At a conference held at Quincy, Illinois, on the 6th of May, 1839, President Joseph Smith, Jun., presiding, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to:

[Page 347]

Resolved 1st: That the families of Elder Marks, Elder Grainger, and Bishop N. K. Whitney, be kept here amongst us for the time being.

Resolved 2nd: That Elder Marks be hereby appointed to preside over the Church at Commerce, Illinois.

Resolved 3rd: That Bishop Whitney also go to Commerce, and there act in unison with the other Bishops of the Church.

Resolved 4th: That Brother Turley’s gunsmith tools shall remain for the general use of the Church, until his return from Europe.

Resolved 5th: That the following of the Seventies have the sanction of this council that they accompany the Twelve to Europe, namely. Theodore Turley, George Pitkin, Joseph Bates Noble, Charles Hubbard, John Scott, Lorenzo D. Young, Samuel Mulliner, Willard Snow, John Snider, William Burton, Lorenzo D. Barnes, Milton Holmes, Abram O. Smoot, Elias Smith; also the following High Priests: Henry G. Sherwood, John Murdock, Winslow Farr, William Snow, Hiram Clark.

Resolved 6th: That it be observed as a general rule, that those of the Seventies who have not yet preached, shall not for the future be sent on foreign missions.

Resolved 7th: That Elder John P. Greene be appointed to go to the City of New York and preside over the churches there and in the regions round about.

I also gave the following letter to John P. Greene:

John P. Greene’s Letter of Appointment.

At a conference meeting held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the town of Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, on Monday, the 6th day of May, 1839, Joseph Smith, Jun., presiding, it was unanimously resolved: That Elder John P. Greene be appointed to go to the City of New York, and preside over the Saints in that place and in the regions round about, and regulate the affairs of the Church according to the laws and doctrines of said Church; and he is fully authorized to receive donations by the liberality of the Saints for the assistance of the poor among us, who have been persecuted and driven from their homes in the State of Missouri; and from our long acquaintance with Elder Greene, and with his experience and knowledge of the laws of the Kingdom of God, we do not hesitate to recommend him to the Saints as one in whom they may place the fullest confidence, both as to their spiritual welfare, as well as to the strictest integrity in all temporal concerns with which he may be entrusted. And we beseech the brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to receive this brother in behalf of the poor with readiness, and to abound unto him in a liberal manner; for “inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.”

[Page 348]

Yours in the bonds of the everlasting Gospel, though no longer a prisoner in the hands of the Missourians, and still faithful with the Saints.

Joseph Smith, Jun., Chairman.

Tuesday, 7.—I was in council with the Twelve and others at Quincy.

Wednesday, 8.—I was preparing to remove to Commerce, and engaged in counseling the brethren, etc.

Letter of Recommendation to Elder John P. Greene from Certain Citizens of Quincy.

Quincy, Illinois, May 8, 1839.

To All Whom it May Concern:

The undersigned citizens of Quincy, Illinois, take great pleasure in recommending to the favorable notice of the public, the bearer of this, John P. Greene. Mr. Greene is connected with the Church of “Mormons” or “Latter-day Saints,” and makes a tour to the east for the purpose of raising means to relieve the sufferings of this unfortunate people, stripped as they have been of their all, and now scattered throughout this part of the state.

We say to the charitable and benevolent, you need have no fear but your contributions in aid of humanity will be properly applied if entrusted to the hands of Mr. Greene. He is authorized by his Church to act in the premises; and we most cordially bear testimony to his piety and worth as a citizen.

Very respectfully yours,

Samuel Holmes, Merchant.

I. N. Morris, Attorney at Law, and Editor of Argus.

Thomas Carlin, Governor State of Illinois.

Richard M. Young, U. S. Senator.

L. V. Ralston, M. D.

Samuel Leach, Receiver of Public Moneys

Hiram Rogers, M. D.

J. T. Holmes. Merchant.

Nicholas Wren, County Clerk.

C. M. Woods, Clerk of Circuit Court, Adams Co., Ill.

[Page 349]

Sidney Rigdon’s Letter of Introduction to the President of the United States, et al.

Quincy, Illinois, May 8, 1839.

To his Excellency the President of the United States, the Heads of Departments, and all to whom this may be shown:

The undersigned citizens of Quincy, Illinois, beg leave to introduce to you the bearer, Rev. Sidney Rigdon. Mr. Rigdon is a divine, connected with the Church of Latter-day Saints, and having enjoyed his acquaintance for some time past, we take great pleasure in recommending him to your favorable notice as a man of piety and a valuable citizen.

Any representation he may make, touching the object of his mission to your city, may be implicitly relied on.

Very respectfully yours,

Samuel Holmes,

Thomas Carlin,

Richard M. Young,

I. N. Morris,

Hiram Rogers,

J. T. Holmes,

Nicholas Wren,

C. M. Woods.

The Prophet Settles at Commerce.

Thursday, 9.—I started with my family for Commerce, Hancock county, and stayed this night at Uncle John Smith’s, at Green Plains, where we were most cordially received.

Friday, 10.—I arrived with my family at the White purchase and took up my residence in a small log house on the bank of the river, about one mile south of Commerce City, hoping that I and my friends may here find a resting place for a little season at least.

Sidney Rigdon’s General Letter of Introduction.

Quincy, Illinois, 10th May, 1839.

The bearer, Rev. Sidney Rigdon, is a member of a society of people called “Mormons,” or “Latter-day Saints,” who have been driven from the State of Missouri, by order of the executive of that state, and who have taken up their residence in and about this place in large numbers. I have no hesitation in saying that this people have been most shamefully persecuted and cruelly treated by the people of Missouri.

[Page 350]

Mr. Rigdon has resided in and near this place for three or four months, during which time his conduct has been that of a gentleman and a moral and worthy citizen.

Samuel Leech.

Monday, May 13.—I was engaged in general business at home and in transacting a variety of business with Brother Oliver Granger, and gave him the following letter:

A Letter of Recommendation to Oliver Granger from the First Presidency.

Commerce, Illinois, 13th May, 1839.

Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith, presiding Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby certify and solemnly declare unto all the Saints scattered abroad, and send unto them greeting. That we have always found President Oliver Granger to be a man of the most strict integrity and moral virtue; and in fine, to be a man of God.

We have had long experience and acquaintance with Brother Granger. We have entrusted vast business concerns to him, which have been managed skillfully to the support of our characters and interest as well as that of the Church; and he is now authorized by a general conference to go forth and engage in vast and important concerns as an agent for the Church, that he may fill a station of usefulness in obedience to the commandment of God, which was given unto him July 8, 1838, which says, “Let him (meaning Brother Granger) contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church, saith the Lord.”

We earnestly solicit the Saints scattered abroad to strengthen his hands with all their might, and to put such means into his hands as shall enable him to accomplish his lawful designs and purposes, according to the commandments, and according to the instructions which he shall give unto them. And that they entrust him with moneys, lands, chattels, and goods, to assist him in this work; and it shall redound greatly to the interest and welfare, peace and satisfaction of my Saints, saith the Lord God, for this is an honorable agency which I have appointed unto him, saith the Lord. And again, verily, thus saith the Lord, I will lift up my servant Oliver, and beget for him a great name on the earth, and among my people, because of the integrity of his soul: therefore, let all my Saints abound unto him, with all liberality and long suffering, and it shall be a blessing on their heads.

We would say unto the saints abroad, let our hearts abound with grateful acknowledgements unto God our Heavenly Father, who hath called us unto His holy calling by the revelation of Jesus Christ, in these last days, and has so mercifully stood by us, and delivered us out of the seventh trouble, which happened unto us in the State of Missouri. May God reward our enemies according to their works. We request the prayers of all the Saints, subscribing ourselves their humble brethren in tribulations, in the bonds of the everlasting Gospel.

[Page 351]

Joseph Smith, Jun.,

Sidney Rigdon,

Hyrum Smith.

Letter of R. B. Thompson to the First Presidency Complaining of the Conduct of Lyman Wight.

To the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Greeting:

I beg leave to call your attention to a subject of considerable importance to our Church, and which if not attended to is calculated (in my humble opinion) to raise a prejudice in a considerable portion of the community, and destroy those benevolent and philanthropic feelings which have been manifested towards us as a people by a large portion of this community: I have reference to the letters of Brother Lyman Wight, which have been inserted in the Quincy Whig. I am aware that upon a cursory view of these, nothing very objectionable may appear; yet, if they are attentively considered, there will be found very great objections to them indeed; for instance, in condemning the Democracy of Missouri, why condemn that of the whole Union? and why use such epithets as “Demagogue” to Thomas H. Benton, for not answering his letter, when it is very probable that he had not received it?

Yesterday I was waited on by Mr. Morris, who asked me what was intended by such publications, and why we should come out against the Democracy of the nation, when they were doing all in their power to assist us; it was something which he could not understand, and wished to know if we as a people countenanced such proceedings. I told him for my part I was sorry that these letters had ever made their appearance, and believed that such a course was at variance with the sentiments of the greater part of our people.

Yesterday I brought the subject before the authorities of the Church who are here, where it was manifest that his conduct was not fellowshiped, and the brethren wished to disavow all connection with such proceedings, and appointed a committee to wait on Brother Wight, to beg of him not to persist in the course, which, if not nipped in the bud, will probably bring persecution with all its horrors upon an innocent people, by the folly and imprudence of one individual.

From information I understand that the feelings of the governor are very much hurt by the course which is pursued. I think he ought to correct the public mind on this subject, and, as a Church; disavow all connection with politics. By such a procedure we may in some measure counteract the baneful influence which his letters have occasioned. But if such a course which he (Brother Wight) has adopted, be continued, (as I understand that he intends to do), it will block up our way, and we can have no reasonable prospect of obtaining justice from the authorities of the Union, whom we wantonly condemn before we have made application. The same feelings are beginning to be manifested in Springfield by those who have been our friends there.

[Page 352]

The Whigs are glad of such weapons, and make the most of them. You will probably think I am a little too officious, but I feel impressed with the subject; I feel for my brethren. The tears of widows, the cries of orphans, and the moans of the distressed, are continually present in my mind; and I want to adopt and continue a course which shall be beneficial to us; but if through the imprudence and conduct of isolated individuals, three, four, or five years hence, our altars should be thrown down, our houses destroyed, our brethren slain, our wives widowed, and our children made orphans, your unworthy brother wishes to lift up his hands before God and appeal to Him and say, Thou who knowest all things, knowest that I am innocent in this matter.

I am with great respect, gentlemen, yours in the bonds of Christ,

R. B. Thompson.

P. S.—If you do not intend to be in Quincy this week, would you favor us with your opinion on this subject?

R. B. Thompson

Quincy, Monday morning, 13th May, 1839.

Letter of Elder Parley P. Pratt to Judge Austin A. King.

State Of Missouri, Richmond,

Ray County, May 13, 1839.

To the Honorable Austin A. King, Judge of the Court of this and the adjoining counties:

HONORABLE Sir:—Having been confined in prison near seven months, and the time having now arrived when a change of venue can be taken in order for the further prosecution of our trials, and the time having come when I can speak my mind freely, without endangering the lives of any but myself, I now take the liberty of seriously objecting to trial anywhere within the bounds of the state, and of earnestly paying to your honor and to all the authorities, civil and military, that my case may come within the law of banishment, which has been so rigorously enforced upon near ten thousand of our society, including my wife and little ones, with all my witnesses and friends.

[Page 353]

My reasons are obvious, and founded upon notorious facts, which are known to you, sir, and to the people in general of this Republic, and therefore need no proof. They are as follows: First, I have never received any protection by law, either of my person, property, or family, while residing in this state, to which I first emigrated in 1831. Secondly, I was driven by force of arms from Jackson county, wounded and bleeding, in 1833, while my house was burned, my crops and provision, robbed from me or destroyed, and my land kept from me until now, while my family was driven out without shelter, at the approach of winter. Thirdly, these crimes still go unpunished, notwithstanding I made oath before the Honorable Judge Ryland, then Circuit Judge of that district, to the foregoing outrages; and I also applied in person to His Excellency Daniel Dunklin, then Governor of the state, for redress and protection, and a restoration of myself and about 1,200 of my fellow-sufferers, to our rights—but all in vain.

Fourthly, my wife and children have now been driven from our home and improvements in Caldwell county, and banished from the state on pain of death, together with about ten thousand of our society, including all my friends and witnesses; and this by the express orders of His Excellency Lilburn W. Boggs, Governor of the state of Missouri, and by the vigorous execution of his order, by Generals Lucas and Clark, and followed up by murders, rapes, plunderings, thefts and robberies of the most inhuman character by a lawless mob, who have from time to time for more than five years past, trampled upon all law and authority, and upon all the rights of man.

Fifthly, all these inhuman outrages and crimes go unpunished, and are unnoticed by you, sir, and by all the authorities of the state.

Sixthly, the legislature of the state has approved of and sanctioned this act of banishment, with all the crimes connected with it, by voting same two hundred thousand dollars for the payment of troops engaged in this unlawful, unconstitutional, and treasonable enterprise. In monarchial governments the banishment of criminals after their trial and legal condemnation, has been frequently resorted to—but the banishment of innocent women and children from house and home and country, to wander in a land of strangers, unprotected and unprovided for, while their husbands and fathers are retained in dungeons, to be tried by some other law, is an act unknown in the annals of history, except in this single instance in the nineteenth century, when it has actually transpired in a republican state, where the Constitution guarantees to every man the protection of life and property, and the rights of trial by jury. These are outrages which would put monarchy to the blush, and from which the most despotic tyrants of the dark ages would turn away with shame and disgust. In these proceedings, Missouri has enrolled her name on the list of immortal fame—her transactions will be handed down the stream of time to the latest posterity, who will read with wonder and astonishment the history of proceedings which are without a parallel in the annals of time. Why should the authorities of the state strain at a gnat and swallow a camel? Why be so strictly legal as to compel me to go through all the forms of a slow and legal prosecution previous to my enlargement, [being set free] out of a pretense of respect to laws of the state, which have been openly trampled upon and disregarded towards us from the first to the last? Why not include me in the general wholesale banishment of our society, that I may support my family which are now reduced to beggary, in a land of strangers? But when the authorities of the state shall redress all these wrongs; shall punish the guilty according to law; and shall restore my family and friends to all the rights of which we have been unlawfully deprived, both in Jackson and all other counties; and shall pay all the damages which we as a people have sustained; then I shall believe them sincere in their professed zeal for law and justice; then shall I be convinced that I can have a fair trial in the state. But until then, I hereby solemnly protest against being tried in this state, with the full and conscientious conviction that I have no just grounds to expect a fair and impartial trial.

[Page 354]

I therefore most sincerely pray your honor, and all the authorities of the state, to either banish me without further prosecution; or I freely consent to a trial before a judiciary of the United States.

With sentiments of high consideration and due respect, I have the honor to subscribe myself, your honor’s most humble and obedient; etc.

Parley P. Pratt.

To Austin A. King.

Tuesday, May 14.—I returned to Quincy.

Wednesday and Thursday, 15th and 16th. Was engaged in a variety of business relating to the general welfare of the Church.

Letter of the First Presidency to the Quincy Whig, Disclaiming the Attitude of Lyman Wight.

Commerce, May 17, 1839.

To the Editors of the Quincy Whig:

Gentlemen:—Some letters in your paper have appeared over the signature of Lyman Wight in relation to our affairs with Missouri. We consider it is Mr. Wight’s privilege to express his opinion in relation to political or religious matters, and we profess no authority in the case whatever, but we have thought, and do still thing, that it is not doing our cause justice to make a political question of it in any manner whatever.

[Page 355]

We have not at any time thought there was any political party, as such, chargeable with the Missouri barbarities, neither any religious society, as such. They were committed by a mob composed of all parties, regardless of all differences of opinion either political or religious.

The determined stand in this state, and by the people of Quincy in particular, made against the lawless outrages of the Missouri mobbers by all parties in politics and religion, have entitled them equally to our thanks and our profoundest regards, and such, gentlemen, we hope they will always receive from us. Favors of this kind ought to be engraven on the rock, to last forever.

We wish to say to the public, through your paper, that we disclaim any intention of making a political question of our difficulties with Missouri, believing that we are not justified in so doing.

We ask the aid of all parties, both in politics and religion, to have justice done us and obtain redress. We think, gentlemen, in so saying, we have the feelings of [i. e. represent] our people generally, however, individuals may differ; and we wish you to consider the letters of Lyman Wight as the feelings and views of an individual, but not of the society as such. We are satisfied that our people as a body disclaim all such sentiments and feel themselves equally bound to both parties in this state, as far as kindness is concerned, and good will; and also believe that all political parties in Missouri are equally guilty.

Should this note meet the public eye through the medium of your paper, it will much oblige your humble servants.

Joseph Smith, Jun.,

Sidney Rigdon,

Hyrum Smith.

Share This With Someone