Presentation of the Book of Mormon to Queen Victoria—The Sealing Powers of the Priesthood—Governor Ford’s Warning to the People of Hancock County—Apostrophe to Missouri—Joseph Smith Nominated for President of the United States—His Views on the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States.
Saturday, January 20th, 1844.—Held Mayor’s Court on the case—”City of Nauvoo versus Stephen Wilkinson,” for breach of ordinance. I discharged the defendant, he paying costs.
At six, P.M., prayer-meeting in the assembly room. I was at home.
The High Council met, but, having no business, adjourned.
On the Presentation of the Book of Mormon to Queen Victoria.
By Miss E. R. Snow.
Before leaving London, Elder Lorenzo Snow presented to her Majesty Queen Victoria, and his Royal Highness Prince Albert, through the politeness of Sir Henry Wheatly, two neatly bound copies of the Book of Mormon, which had been donated by President Brigham Young, and left in the care of Elder Snow for that purpose; which circumstance suggested the following lines:—
Of all the monarchs of the earth
That wear the robes of royalty,
She has inherited by birth
The broadest wreath of majesty.
From her wide territorial wing
The sun does not withdraw its light,
While earth’s diurnal motions bring
To other nations day and night.
All earthly thrones are tottering things,
Where lights and shadows intervene;
And regal honor often brings
The scaffold or the guillotine.
But still her sceptre is approved;
All nations deck the wreath she wears:
Yet, like the youth whom Jesus loved,
One thing is lacking even there.
But lo! a prize possessing more
Of worth than gems with honor rife—
A herald of salvation bore
To her the words of endless life.
That Gift, however fools deride,
Is worthy of her royal care:
She’d better lay her crown aside
Than spurn the light reflected there.
Oh would she now her influence bend—,
The influence of royalty,
Messiah’s kingdom to extend,
And Zion’s “nursing mother” be.
Thus with the glory of her name
Inscribed on Zion’s lofty spire,
She’d win a wreath of endless fame,
To last when other wreaths expire.
Though over millions called to reign—
Herself a powerful nation’s boast,
‘Twould be her everlasting gain
To serve the King, the Lord of Hosts.
For there are crowns and thrones on high,
And kingdoms there to be conferred;
There honors wait that never die;
There fame’s immortal trump is heard.
Truth echoes—’tis Jehovah’s word;
Let kings and queens and princes hear;
In distant isles the sound is heard;
Ye heavens rejoice! O earth, give ear!
The time, the time is now at hand
To give a glorious period birth:
The son of God will take command
And rule the nations of the earth.
Nauvoo, Jan. 20, 1844.
Sunday 21.—Preached at the southeast corner of the temple to several thousand people, although the weather was somewhat unpleasant. My subject was the sealing of the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.[The following synopsis was reported by Elder Wilford Woodruff:]—
Discourse: The Sealing Power in the Priesthood.
When I consider the surrounding circumstances in which I am placed this day, standing in the open air with weak lungs, and somewhat out of health, I feel that I must have the prayers and faith of my brethren that God may strengthen me and pour out His special blessing upon me, if you get very much from me this day.
There are many people assembled here to-day, and throughout the city, and from various parts of the world, who say that they have received to a certainty a portion of the knowledge from God, by revelation, in the way that He has ordained and pointed out.
I shall take the broad ground, then, that we have received a portion of knowledge from God by immediate revelation, and from the same source we can receive all knowledge.
What shall I talk about to-day? I know what Brother Cahoon wants me to speak about. He wants me to speak about the coming of Elijah in the last days. I can see it in his eye. I will speak upon that subject then.
The Bible says, “I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Now, the word turn here should be translated bind, or seal. But what is the object of this important mission? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion.
But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah. And I would to God that this temple was now done, that we might go into it, and go to work and improve our time, and make use of the seals while they are on earth.
The Saints have not too much time to save and redeem their dead, and gather together their living relatives, that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten, and the consumption decreed falls upon the world.
I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might and gather together all their living relatives to this place, that they may be sealed and saved, that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth; and if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead, seal their posterity, and gather their living friends, and spend none of their time in behalf of the world, they would hardly get through before night would come, when no man can work; and my only trouble at the present time is concerning ourselves, that the Saints will be divided, broken up, and scattered, before we get our salvation secure; for there are so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon, it gives him the advantage oftentimes.
The question is frequently asked “Can we not be saved without going through with all these ordinances, &c.?” I would answer, No, not the fullness of salvation. Jesus said, “There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I will go and prepare a place for you.” House here named should have been translated kingdom; and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.
But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand.
I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen.
Prayer-meeting in the Assembly Room.
Monday, 22.—Rainy; wind easterly; mud very deep. Rented the Nauvoo Mansion and stables to Ebenezer Robinson for one thousand dollars per annum and board for myself and family and horses, reserving to myself three rooms in the house.
Prayer-meeting at President Young’s; ten present.
Sale of the Printing Establishment to John Taylor
Tuesday. 23.—Ebenezer Robinson took possession of the Nauvoo Mansion, to continue it as a public-house. W. W. Phelps, Newel K. Whitney and Willard Richards valued the printing office and lot at $1,500; printing apparatus, $950; bindery, $112; foundry, $270; total, $2,832. I having sold the concern to John Taylor, who in consideration was to assume the responsibility of the Lawrence estate.
There was a cotillion party in the evening at the Nauvoo Mansion. The night was clear and cold.
The ship Fanny, Captain Patterson, sailed from Liverpool with 210 Saints on board.
Wednesday, 24.—Called at my office about one o’clock. I think the appraised valuation of the printing office rather too low.
Weather very cold.
The mob party at Carthage, Warsaw, and Green Plains continued their agitation.
Thursday, 25.—At home.
Prayer-meeting at Brother Brigham’s: eight of the Twelve Apostles present. Weather extremely cold.
I approved of the doings of a general court-martial held January 13th.
Friday, 26.—I dictated to my clerk an article on the situation of the nation, referring to the President’s Message, &c.
Prayer-meeting at Brother Young’s: eight of the Twelve Apostles present. Elder Orson Hyde went to Carthage to preach. Weather clear and cool.
Saturday, 27.—Weather extremely cold and clear.
Prayer-meeting in the assembly room. High Council met, but, having no business, adjourned.
Sunday, 28.—I had some company in the evening from Warsaw. I conversed with them on politics, religion, &c. Prayer-meeting in the assembly room. Weather very cold.
I insert the following from the Millennial Star:—
Importance of Elders Keeping Journals, Case of Healing Recorded.
Mr. Editor:—The idea has frequently crossed my mind, that were the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ in this age to keep a journal of their travels and ministry, and record all the healings and miracles they had witnessed from time to time,—that should their separate journals be afterwards collected together and published in a volume, I am inclined to believe that a far greater number of manifest displays of the power of God would be therein recorded than is found in the journals of the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ in the early ages, at least so far as they are faithfully handed down to us in the New Testament Scriptures.
And although, as in days of old, we are frequently branded with the epithets of “fools, fanatics, religious enthusiasts, dupes, and vile impostors,” yet “what we have felt and seen, with confidence we tell.”
We have frequently heard from individuals on whose testimony we can rely with the greatest confidence, of extraordinary displays of the power of God in the gift of healing; such, for instance, as the blind receiving their sight, the deaf having their hearing restored, the lame man being made to “leap as an hart,” the dumb spirit being cast out, and one instance of the dead being restored to life.
Another instance of the kind last mentioned, with a heart overflowing with gratitude, I desire to record. On the afternoon of yesterday, a child of mine, a girl aged eight years, was sliding on the rails of the staircase, when on a sudden she turned over, and fell from top to bottom with a most tremendous crash, falling on her head, and being completely double when picked up by her mother,—so much so indeed, that her brother, who heard the noise, looked out of the kitchen, and seeing something lying in the passage motionless, concluded that his sister had thrown some dirty linen over the rails, and took no further notice. Her mother, on hearing the noise occasioned by her fall, hastened out of the parlor to the fatal spot, and immediately discovered it was poor Mary Jane, who lay motionless, speechless, senseless, yea, lifeless. She instantly took her up in her arms, and when she beheld her appearance, in an agony she cried out, “My child is dead! she has fallen and killed herself.”
By this time I had hastened to the horrid scene, where I beheld my lovely girl stretched on the lap of her disconsolate mother, without the slightest appearance of life. I immediately examined her, and found that she breathed not, and that her pulsation had ceased. Her eyes also were wide open, and quite fixed as in death, and there appeared to be gathering over them the film of dissolution. In fact, if it be true that Eutychus (the young man mentioned in the 20th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, who fell from an upper story,) was taken up dead, it is equally true that my daughter was taken up dead, for there was not the slightest vestige of life apparent.
At this moment, with heart uplifted to my Heavenly Father, I, in mighty faith, placed my hands upon her and ejaculated, “Lord, heal my child!” when in one moment she shewed signs of life, and attempted to speak.
I immediately gave her to drink a little cold water, and bathed her head with the same. She then sat up and vomited considerably, and she is now so far recovered as this morning to sing a verse of a hymn And walk about as usual.
During my presidency over the Liverpool Conference, which is nearly eighteen months, I have witnessed many cases of healing, but never any so very striking as the one I have just related.
If you deem the narrative worthy of a place in your pages of the Millennial Star, you are quite at liberty to insert it.
I remain, dear brother,
Yours sincerely in the Gospel of Jesus,
The Presidential Election Considered.
Monday, 29.—At ten, A.M., the Twelve Apostles, together with Brother Hyrum and John P. Greene, met at the mayor’s office, to take into consideration the proper course for this people to pursue in relation to the coming Presidential election.
The candidates for the office of President of the United States at present before the people are Martin Van Buren and Henry Clay. It is morally impossible for this people, in justice to themselves, to vote for the re-election of President Van Buren—a man who criminally neglected his duties as chief magistrate in the cold and unblushing manner which he did, when appealed to for aid in the Missouri difficulties. His heartless reply burns like a firebrand in the breast of every true friend of liberty—“Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”
As to Mr. Clay, his sentiments and cool contempt of the people’s rights are manifested in his reply—“You had better go to Oregon for redress,” which would prohibit any true lover of our constitutional privileges from supporting him at the ballot-box.
It was therefore moved by Willard Richards, and voted unanimously—
That we will have an independent electoral ticket, and that Joseph Smith be a candidate for the next Presidency; and that we use all honorable means in our power to secure his election.
The Prophet on the Campaign.
If you attempt to accomplish this, you must send every man in the city who is able to speak in public throughout the land to electioneer and make stump speeches, advocate the “Mormon” religion, purity of elections, and call upon the people to stand by the law and put down mobocracy. David Yearsly must go,—Parley P. Pratt to New York, Erastus Snow to Vermont, and Sidney Rigdon to Pennsylvania.
After the April Conference we will have General Conferences all over the nation, and I will attend as many as convenient. Tell the people we have had Whig and Democratic Presidents long enough: we want a President of the United States. If I ever get into the presidential chair, I will protect the people in their rights and liberties. I will not electioneer for myself. Hyrum, Brigham, Parley and Taylor must go. Clayton must go, or he will apostatize. The Whigs are striving for a king under the garb of Democracy. There is oratory enough in the Church to carry me into the presidential chair the first slide.
Captain White, of Quincy, was at the Mansion last night, and this morning drank a toast. * * * “May Nauvoo become the empire seat of government!”
Commencement of the Prophet’s Views on Powers and Policy of U.S.
I dictated to Brother Phelps the head of my pamphlet, entitled, “Views on the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States.”
A Millerite lecturer came into the office with Brother Clayton, about five, P.M. I had some conversation with him about the definition of the Greek word Hades, and the Hebrew word Sheol, &c. He lectured in the evening in the hall.
Prayer-meeting at Elder Brigham Young’s.
Governor Ford wrote the following expostulatory epistle to the citizens of Hancock County, through the Warsaw Signal:—
Governor Ford’s Warning to the People of Hancock County.
Springfield, January 29, 1844
Dear Sir:—I have received the copy of the proceeding and resolutions of a meeting of the citizens of Hancock County, which you did me the honor to send me.
I have observed with regret that occasions have been presented for disturbing the peace of your county; and if I knew what I could legally do to apply a corrective, I would be very ready to do it. But if you are a lawyer, or at all conversant with the law, you will know that I, as a governor, have no right to interfere in your difficulties.
As yet, I believe that there has been nothing like war among you: and I hope that all of you will have the good sense to see the necessity of preserving peace. If there is anything wrong in the Nauvoo charters, or in the mode of administering them, you will see that nothing short of legislative or judicial power is capable of enforcing a remedy.
I myself had the honor of calling the attention of the Legislature to this subject at the last session; but a large majority of both political parties in that body either did not see the evil which you complain of, or, if they did, they repeatedly refused to correct it. And yet a call is made upon me to do that which all parties refused to do at the last session.
I have also been called upon to take away the arms from the Mormons, to raise the militia to arrest a supposed fugitive, and in fact to repeal some of the ordinances of the City of Nauvoo.
Hancock County is justly famed for its intelligence; and I cannot believe that any of its citizens are so ignorant as not to know that I have no power to do these things.
The absurd and preposterous nature of these requests give some color to the charge that they are made for political effect only. I hope that this charge is untrue; for, in all candor, it would be more creditable to those concerned to have their errors attributed to ignorance than to a disposition to embroil the country in the horrors of war for the advancement of party ends.
But if there should be any truth in the charge, (which God forbid.) I affectionately entreat all the good citizens engaged in it to lay aside their designs and yield up their ears to the voice of justice, reason, and humanity. All that I can do at present is to admonish both parties to beware of carrying matters to extremity.
Let it come to this—let a state of war ensue, and I will be compelled to interfere with executive power. In that case also, I wish, in a friendly, affectionate, and candid manner, to tell the citizens of Hancock County, Mormons and all, that my interference will be against those who shall be the first transgressors.
I am bound by the laws and Constitution to regard you all as citizens of the State, possessed of equal rights and privileges, and to cherish the rights of one as dearly as the rights of another. I can know no distinction among you except that of assailant and assailed.
I hope, dear sir, you will do me the favor to publish this letter in the papers of your county, for the satisfaction of all persons concerned.
I am, with the highest respect,
Your obedient servant,
Tuesday 30.—At eleven, A.M., I went into the office with Colonel Jackson.
One, P.M., held mayor’s court at my office, on the case “City versus Thomas Coates.” Fined the defendant $25 and costs for beating John Ellison.
A Millerite preached again in the assembly room, and Elder Rigdon replied to him. There was a full house.
Prayer-meeting at Elder Brigham Young’s.
Winchester’s Mission to Warsaw.
Wednesday, 31.—Eleven, A.M., I called at the office, and told Benjamin Winchester to go to Warsaw and preach the first principles of the Gospel, get some lexicons, and return home.
Prayer-meeting at Elder Brigham Young’s in the evening. There seems to be quite a revival throughout Nauvoo, and an inquiry after the things of God, by all the quorums and the Church in general.
Rigdon’s Appeal to Pennsylvania.
Sidney Rigdon published a lengthy appeal to the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania, setting forth in pathetic style the grievances he had suffered through the persecution against the Church by the State of Missouri, which concludes as follows:—
Peroration of Rigdon’s Appeal to Pennsylvania.
In confidence of the purity and patriotism of the representatives of the people of his native state, your memorialist comes to your honorable body, through this his winged messenger, to tell you that the altar which was erected by the blood of your ancestors to civil and religious liberty, from whence ascended up the holy incense of pure patriotism and universal good will to man, into the presence of Jehovah, a savior of life, is thrown down, and the worshipers thereat have been driven away, or else they are lying slain at the place of the altar. He comes to tell your honorable body that the temple your fathers erected to freedom, whither their sons assembled to hear her precepts and cherish her doctrines in their hearts, has been desecrated—its portals closed, so that those who go up thither are forbidden to enter.
He comes to tell your honorable body that the blood of the heroes and patriots of the revolution, who have been slain by wicked hands for enjoying their religious rights, the boon of Heaven to man, has cried and is crying in the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, saying, “Redress, redress our wrongs, O Lord God of the whole earth.”
He comes to tell your honorable body that the dying groans of infant innocence and the shrieks of insulted and abused females, and many of them widows of revolutionary patriots, have ascended up into the ears of Omnipotence, and are registered in the archives of eternity, to be had in the day of retribution as a testimony against the whole nation, unless their cries and groans are heard by the representatives of the people, and ample redress made, as far as the nation can make it, or else the wrath of the almighty will come down in fury against the whole nation.
Under all these circumstances, your memorialist prays to be heard by your honorable body touching all the matters of his memorial. And as a memorial will be presented to Congress this session for redress of our grievances, he prays your honorable body will instruct the whole delegation of Pennsylvania, in both houses, to use all their influence in the national councils to have redress granted.
And, as in duty bound, your memorialist will ever pray.
Miss E. R. Snow published the following apostrophe to—
What aileth thee, O Missouri! that thy face should gather blackness? and why are thy features so terribly distorted?
Rottennesss has seized upon thy vitals, corruption is preying upon thy inward parts, and the breath of thy lips is full of destructive contagion.
What meaneth thy shaking? and why art thou terrified? Thou hast become like Belshazzar. “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin!” is indeed written against thee; but it is the work of thine own hand; the characters upon thy wall are of thine own inscription; and wherefore dost thou tremble?
Wouldst thou know the interpretation thereof? Hast thou sought for a Daniel to declare it unto thee? Verily one greater than a Daniel was in thy midst; but thou hast butchered the Saints, and hast hunted the Prophets like Ahab of old.
Thou has extinguished the light of thy own glory; thou hast plucked from thy head the crown of honor; thou hast divested thyself of the robe of respectability; thou hast thrust from thine own bosom the veins that flowed with virtue and integrity.
Thou hast violated the laws of our sacred constitution; thou hast unsheathed the sword against thy dearest national rights, by rising up against thine own citizens, and moistening thy soil with the blood of those that legally inherited it.
When thou hadst torn from helpless innocence its rightful protectors thou didst pollute the holy sanctury of female virtue, and barbarously trampled upon the most sacred gems of domestic felicity.
Therefore the daughters of Columbia count thee a reproach, and blush with indignation at the mention of thy name.
Thou hast become an ignominious stain on the escutcheon of a noble, free and independent republic; thou hast become a stink in the nostrils of the Goddess of Liberty.
Thou art fallen—thou art fallen beneath the weight of thine own unhallowed deeds, and thine iniquities are pressing as a heavy load upon thee.
But although thy glory has departed—though thou hast gone down like a star that is set forever, thy memory will not be erased; thou wilt be had in remembrance even until the Saints of God shall forget that the way to the celestial kingdom is “through great tribulation.”
Though thou shouldst be severed from the body of the Union, like a mortified member—though the lion from the thicket should devour thee, thy doings will be perpetuated; mention will be made of them by the generations to come.
Thou art already associated with Herod, Nero, and the bloody Inquisition; thy name has become synonymous with oppression, cruelty, treachery, and murder.
Thou wilt rank high with the haters of righteousness and the shedders of innocent blood: the hosts of tyrants are waiting beneath to meet thee at thy coming.
O ye wise legislators! ye executives of the nation! ye distributors of justice! ye advocates of equal rights! arise and redress the wrongs of an innocent people, and redeem the cause of insulted liberty.
Let not the contagious spirit of corruption wither the sacred wreath that encircles you, and spread a cloud of darkness over the glory of your star-spangled banner;
Lest the monarchs of the earth should have you in derision; lest you should be weighed in the balance with the heathen nations, and should be found wanting; lest the arm of the Lord should be revealed in judgment against you; lest an arrow of vengeance from the almighty should pierce the rotten fabric of a once sheltering constitution, and your boasted confidence become like an oak dismembered of its branches, whose shattered trunk is torn piecemeal by the uprising of the tempest!
For the cries of the widow and fatherless, the groans of the oppressed and the prayers of the suffering exile have come up before the God of Hosts, who brought our pilgrim fathers across the boisterous ocean, and raised up a Washington to break the yoke of foreign oppression.
Morley Settlement, January, 1844.
Thursday, February 1.—At home: weather cold.
An Appeal to Massachusetts—Phineas Richards.
Phinehas Richards published a thrilling appeal to the inhabitants of his native state of Massachusetts, to consider the wrongs sustained in the loss of lives and property, and other damages done to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member.
Elder Reuben Hedlock wrote to President Brigham Young, giving the names of those who had emigrated at the expense of the office, amounting to $2,378; which is due from the emigrants.
Friday, 2.—Dr. Willard Richards called and read Phinehas Richards’ appeal to the inhabitants of Massachusetts, for redress of Missouri grievances.
Prayer-meeting at Elder Brigham Young’s. Weather cold.
I went into the assembly room, where I found Elders Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, and W. W. Phelps, to whom I related the following dream, which Elder Willford Woodruff reported:
The Prophet’s Dream—Troubled Waters Overcome.
I was standing on a peninsula, in the midst of a vast body of water where there appeared to be a large harbor or pier built out for boats to come to. I was surrounded by my friends, and while looking at this harbor I saw a steamboat approaching the harbor. There were bridges on the pier for persons to cross, and there came up a wind and drove the steamboat under one of the bridges and upset it.
I ran up to the boat, expecting the persons would all drown; and wishing to do something to assist them, I put my hand against the side of the boat, and with one surge I shoved it under the bridge and righted it up, and then told them to take care of themselves. But it was not long before I saw them starting out into the channel or main body of the water again.
The storms were raging and the waters rough. I said to my friends that if they did not understand the signs of the times and the spirit of prophecy, they would be apt to be lost.
It was but a few moments after when we saw the waves break over the boat, and she soon foundered and went down with all on board.
The storm and waters were still very rough; yet I told my friends around me that I believed I could stem those waves and that storm, and swim in the waters better than the steamboat did; at any rate I was determined to try it. But my friends laughed at me, and told me I could not stand at all, but would be drowned.
The waters looked clear and beautiful, though exceedingly rough; and I said I believed I could swim, and I would try it anyhow. They said I would drown. I said I would have a frolic in the water first, if I did; and I drove off in the raging waves.
I had swam but a short distance when a towering wave overwhelmed me for a time; but I soon found myself on the top of it, and soon I met the second wave in the same way; and for a while I struggled hard to live in the midst of the storm and waves, and soon found I gained upon every wave, and skimmed the torrent better; and I soon had power to swim with my head out of water: so the waves did not break over me at all, and I found that I had swam a great distance; and in looking about, I saw my brother Samuel by my side.
I asked him how he liked it. He said, “First rate,” and I thought so too. I was soon enabled to swim with my head and shoulders out of water, and I could swim as fast as any steamboat.
In a little time it became calm, and I could rush through the water, and only go in to my loins, and soon I only went in to my knees, and finally could tread on the top of the water, and went almost with the speed of an arrow.
I said to Samuel, See how swift I can go! I thought it was great sport and pleasure to travel with such speed, and I awoke.
Saturday 13.—Prayer-meeting in the assembly room.
The High Council met. Did but little business.
A rather favorable article appears in Niles’ National Register of this date, noticing the correspondence between myself and John C. Calhoun, a copy of which is contained in the political department of the same number.
It also notices the correspondence between myself and James Arlington Bennett, publishing the same, with some of our city ordinances. The editor also quotes the following from the Hawk Eye:—
Atthough much complained has been made about the Mormons, we saw on our late trip evidences of improvement on our prairies which we consider highly creditable to the Mormons who made them, without whom we doubt whether they would have been made for many years to come. All those who have traveled over the large prairie between Fort Madison, Warsaw and Carthage, remember how dreary it was a few years since. Now it is studded with houses and good farms. The English, who understand hedging and ditching far better than our people, have gone upon that prairie and have enclosed extensive fields in this manner. Along the old Rock Island tract, which we traveled seven years ago, and which was then a dreary waste, we saw a field enclosed with a good sod fence, six miles long and one wide. We think such enterprise is worthy to be mentioned. As long as the Mormons are harmless, and do not interfere with the rights of our people we think they should be treated well. We shall never convince them that they are a deluded people, as far as their religious notions are concerned, in any other way.
The 144,000 Selection Begun.
Sunday 4.—I attended prayer-meeting with the quorum in the assembly room, and made some remarks respecting the hundred and forty-four thousand mentioned by John the Revelator, showing that the selection of persons to form that number had already commenced.
President Brigham Young held a meeting at Brother Chamberlain’s, in the neighborhood north of the city; and Elder Wilford Woodruff, at Thomas Kingston’s, six miles east of the city.
Monday 5.—The regular session of the Municipal Court was opened in the Mayor’s office. Present, George W. Harris, George A. Smith, and N. K. Whitney. Adjourned to the Nauvoo Mansion, on account of the severity of the weather. I presided as Chief Justice. The assessors of the different wards in the city presented their tax-lists, which occupied nearly all day. The court remitted the taxes of the widows and of the poor who were unable to pay.
Architecture of the Nauvoo Temple.
In the afternoon, Elder William Weeks (whom I had employed as architect of the Temple,) came in for instruction. I instructed him in relation to the circular windows designed to light the offices in the dead work of the arch between stories. He said that round windows in the broad side of a building were a violation of all the known rules of architecture, and contended that they should be semicircular—that the building was too low for round windows. I told him I would have the circles, if he had to make the Temple ten feet higher than it was originally calculated; that one light at the centre of each circular window would be sufficient to light the whole room; that when the whole building was thus illuminated, the effect would be remarkably grand. “I wish you to carry out my designs. I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me.”
Originality of Bank Views.
Called at my office in the evening, and revised my “Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States.” I was the first one who publicly proposed a national bank on the principles set forth in that pamphlet.
Tuesday, 6.—Very cold day.
I spent the evening with my brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and the Twelve Apostles and their wives, at Elder John Taylor’s; took supper, and had a very pleasant time.
Wednesday, 7.—An exceedingly cold day. In the evening I met with my brother Hyrum and the Twelve Apostles in my office, at their request, to devise means to promote the interests of the General Government. I completed and signed my “Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States,” which I here insert:
Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States.—Joseph Smith.
Born in a land of liberty, and breathing an air uncorrupted with the sirocco of barbarous climes, I ever feel a double anxiety for the happiness of all men, both in time and in eternity.
My cogitations, like Daniel’s have for a long time troubled me, when I viewed the condition of men throughout the world, and more especially in this boasted realm, where the Declaration of Independence “holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” but at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours; and hundreds of our own kindred for an infraction, or supposed infraction, of some over-wise statute, have to be incarcerated in dungeon gloom, or penitentiaries, while the duellist, the debauchee, and the defaulter for millions, and other criminals, take the uppermost rooms at feasts, or, like the bird of passage, find a more congenial clime by flight.
The wisdom which ought to characterize the freest, wisest, and most noble nation of the nineteenth century, should, like the sun in his meridian splendor, warm every object beneath its rays; and the main efforts of her officers, who are nothing more nor less than the servants of the people, ought to be directed to ameliorate the condition of all, black or white, bond or free; for the best of books says, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”
Our common country presents to all men the same advantages, the facilities, the same prospects, the same honors, and the same rewards; and without hypocrisy, the Constitution, when it says, “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, ands secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America,” meant just what it said without reference to color or condition, ad infinitum.
The aspirations and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of equal rights as appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated by those to whom the administration of the laws is entrusted with as much sanctity as the prayers of the Saints are treated in heaven, that love, confidence, and union, like the sun, moon, and stars, should bear witness,
“For ever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine!”
Unity is power; and when I reflect on the importance of it to the stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of persons and parties to foment discord in order to ride into power on the current of popular excitement; nor am I less surprised at the stretches of power or restrictions of right which too often appear as acts of legislators to pave the way to some favorite political scheme as destitute of intrinsic merit as a wolf’s heart is of the milk of human kindness. A Frenchman would say, “Presque tout aimer richesses et pouvoir.” (Almost all men like wealth and power.)
I must dwell on this subject longer than others; for nearly one hundred years ago that golden patriot, Benjamin Franklin, drew up a plan of union for the then colonies of Great Britain, that now are such an independent nation, which, among many wise provisions for obedient children under their father’s more rugged hand, had this:—”They have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imports, or taxes as to them shall appear most equal and just, (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several colonies,) and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the people, rather discouraging luxury than loading industry with unnecessary burthens.” Great Britain surely lacked the laudable humanity and fostering clemency to grant such a just plan of union; but the sentiment remains, like the land that honored its birth, as a pattern for wise men to study the convenience of the people more than the comfort of the cabinet.
And one of the most noble fathers of our freedom and country’s glory, great in war, great in peace, great in the estimation of the world, and great in the hearts of his countrymen, (the illustrious Washington,) said in his first inaugural address to Congress—”I behold the surest pledges that as, on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views or party animosities will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the pre-eminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world.”
Verily, here shine the virtue and wisdom of a statesman in such lucid rays, that had every succeeding Congress followed the rich instruction in all their deliberations and enactments, for the benefit and convenience of the whole community and the communities of which it is composed, no sound of a rebellion in South Carolina, no rupture in Rhode Island, no mob in Missouri expelling her citizens by Executive authority, corruption in the ballot-boxes, a border warfare between Ohio and Michigan, hard times and distress, outbreak upon outbreak in the principal cities, murder, robbery, and defalcation, scarcity of money, and a thousand other difficulties, would have torn asunder the bonds of the Union, destroyed the confidence of man with man, and left the great body of the people to mourn over misfortunes in poverty brought on by corrupt legislation in an hour of proud vanity for self-aggrandizement.
The great Washington, soon after the foregoing faithful admonition for the common welfare of his nation, further advised Congress that “among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defense will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” As the Italian would say—“Buono aviso.”
The elder Adams, in his inaugural address, give national pride such a grand turn of justification, that every honest citizen must look back upon the infancy of the United States with an approving smile, and rejoice that patriotism in their rulers, virtue in the people, and prosperity in the Union once crowded the expectations of hope, unveiled the sophistry of the hypocrite, and silenced the folly of foes. Mr. Adams said, “If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable, it is when it springs not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.”
There is no doubt such was actually the case with our young realm at the close of the last century. Peace, prosperity, and union filled the country with religious toleration, temporal enjoyment, and virtuous enterprise; and grandly, too, when the deadly winter of the “Stamp Act,” the “Tea Act,” and other close communion acts of Royalty had choked the growth of freedom of speech, liberty of the press, and liberty of conscience—did light, liberty, and loyalty flourish like the cedars of God.
The respected and venerable Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address, made more than forty years ago, shows what a beautiful prospect an innocent, virtuous nation presents to the sage’s eye, where there is space for enterprise, hands for industry, heads for heroes, and hearts for moral greatness. He said, “A rising nation spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye,—when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue and the auspices of this day. I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking.
Such a prospect was truly soul-stirring to a good man. But “since the fathers have fallen asleep,” wicked and designing men have unrobed the Government of its glory; and the people, if not in dust and ashes, or in sackcloth, have to lament in poverty her departed greatness, while demagogues build fires in the north and south, east and west, to keep up their spirits till it is better times. But year after year has left the people to hope, till the very name ofCongress or State Legislature is as horrible to the sensitive friend of his country as the house of “Bluebard” is to children, or “Crockford’s” Hell of London to meek men. 1
When the people are secure and their rights properly respected, then the four main pillars of prosperity—viz., agriculture, manufactures, navigation, and commerce, need the fostering care of Government; and in so goodly a country as ours, where the soil, the climate, the rivers, the lakes, and the sea coast, the productions, the timber, the minerals, and the inhabitants are so diversified, that a pleasing variety accommodates all tastes, trades, and calculations, it certainly is the highest point of supervision to protect the whole northern and southern, eastern and western, centre and circumference of the realm, by a judicious tariff. It is an old saying and a true one, “If you wish to be respected, respect yourselves.”
I will adopt in part the language of Mr. Madison’s inaugural address,—”To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations, having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality towards belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries, and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves, and too elevated not to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the rights of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve in their full energy the other salutary provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and of the freedom of the press,—so far as intention aids in the fulfillment of duty, are consummations too big with benefits not to captivate the energies of all honest men to achieve them, when they can be brought to pass by reciprocation, friendly alliances, wise legislation, and honorable treaties.”
The Government has once flourished under the guidance of trusty servants; and the Hon. Mr. Monroe, in his day, while speaking of the Constitution, says, “Our commerce has been wisely regulated with foreign nations and between the States. New States have been admitted into our Union. Our Territory has been enlarged by fair and honorable treaty, and with great advantage to the original States; the States respectively protected by the national Government, under a mild paternal system against foreign dangers, and enjoying within their separate spheres, by a wise partition of power, a just proportion of the sovereignty, have improved their police, extended their settlements, and attained a strength and maturity which are the best proofs of wholesome laws well administered. And if we look to the condition of individuals, what a proud spectacle does it exhibit! On whom has oppression fallen in any quarter of our Union? Who has been deprived of any right of person or property?—who restrained from offering his vows in the mode which he prefers to the Divine Author of his being? It is well know that all these blessings have been enjoyed in their fullest extent; and I add, with peculiar satisfaction, that there has been no example of a capital punishment being inflicted on any one for the crime of high treason.” What a delightful picture of power, policy, and prosperity! Truly the wise man’s proverb is just—Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
But this is not all. The same honorable statesman, after having had about forty years’ experience in the Government, under the full tide of successful experiment, gives the following commendatory assurance of the efficiency of theMagna Charta to answer its great end and aim—to protect the people in their rights. “Such, then, is the happy Government under which we live; a Government adequate to every purpose for which the social compact is formed; a Government elective in all its branches, under which every citizen may by his merit obtain the highest trust recognized by the Constitution, which contains within it no cause of discord, none to put at variance one portion of the community with another, a Government which protects every citizen in the full enjoyment of his rights, and is able to protect the nation against injustice from foreign powers.”
Again, the younger Adams, in the silver age of our country’s advancement to fame, in his inaugural address (1825), thus candidly declares the majesty of the youthful republic in its increasing greatness;—”The year of jubilee, since the first formation of our union, has just elapsed: that of the Declaration of Independence is at hand. The consummation of both was effected by this Constitution. Since that period, a population of four millions has multiplied to twelve. A Territory, bounded by the Mississippi, has been extended from sea to sea. New States have been admitted to the Union, in numbers nearly equal to those of the first confederation. Treaties of peace, amity, and commerce have been concluded with the principal dominions of the earth. The people of other nations, the inhabitants of regions acquired, not by conquest, but by compact, have been united with us in the participation of our rights and duties, of our burdens and blessings. The forest has fallen by the ax of our woodsman. The soil has been made to teem by the tillage of our farmers. Our commerce has whitened every ocean. The dominion of man over physical nature has been extended by the invention of our artists. Liberty and law have marched hand in hand. All the purposes of human association have been accomplished as effectively as under any other Government on the globe, and at a cost little exceeding, in a whole generation, the expenditures of other nations in a single year.”
In continuation of such noble sentiments, General Jackson, upon his ascension to the great chair of the chief magistracy, said, “As long as our Government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will, as long as it secures to us the rights of person and property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending; and so long as it is worth defending, a patriotic militia will cover it with an impenetrable aegis.”
General Jackson’s administration may be denominated the acme of American glory, liberty, and prosperity; for the national debt, which in 1815, on account of the late war, was $125,000,000, and being lessened gradually, was paid up in his golden day, and preparations were made to destribute the surplus revenue among the several States; and that august patriot, to use his own words in his farewell address, retired, leaving “a great people prosperous and happy, in the full enjoyment of liberty and peace, honored and respected by every nation of the world.”
At the age, then, of sixty years, our blooming Republic began to decline under the withering touch of Martin Van Buren! Disappointed ambition, thirst for power, pride, corruption, party spirit, faction, patronage, perquisites, fame, tangling alliances, priestcraft, and spiritual wickedness in high places, stuck hands and revelled in midnight splendor.
Trouble, vexation, perplexity, and contention, mingled with hope, fear, and murmuring, rumbled through the Union and agitated the whole nation, as would an earthquake at the centre of the earth, the world heaving the sea beyond its bounds and shaking the everlasting hills; so, in hopes of better times, while jealousy, hypocritical pretensions, and pompous ambition were luxuriating on the ill-gotten spoils of the people, they rose in their majesty like a tornado, and swept through the land, till General Harrison appeared as a star among the storm-clouds for better weather.
The calm came, and the language of that venerable patriot, in his inaugural address, while descanting upon the merits of the Constitution and its framers, thus expressed himself:—”There were in it features which appeared not to be in harmony with their ideas of a simple representative Democracy or Republic. And knowing the tendency of power to increase itself, particularly when executed by a single individual, predictions were made that, at no very remote period, the Government would terminate in virtual monarchy.
“It would not become me to say that the fears of these patriots have been already realized. But as I sincerely believe that the tendency of measures and of men’s opinions for some years past has been in that direction, it is, I conceive, strictly proper that I should take this occasion to repeat the assurances I have heretofore given of my determination to arrest the progress of that tendency, if it really exists, and restore the Government to its pristine health and vigor.”
This good man died before he had the opportunity of applying one balm to ease the pain of our groaning country, and I am willing the nation should be the judge, whether General Harrison, in his exalted station, upon the eve of his entrance into the world of spirits, told the truth, or not, with acting President Tyler’s three years of perplexity, and pseudo-Whig-Democrat reign to heal the breaches or show the wounds, secundum artem.
Subsequent events, all things considered, Van Buren’s downfall, Harrison’s exit, and Tyler’s self-sufficient turn to the whole, go to show— 2 * * * certainly there is a God in heaven to reveal secrets.
No honest man can doubt for a moment but the glory of American liberty is on the wane, and that calamity and confusion will sooner or later destroy the peace of the people. Speculators will urge a national bank as a savior of credit and comfort. A hireling pseudo-priesthood will plausibly push abolition doctrines and doings and “human rights” into Congress, and into every other place where conquest smells of fame, or opposition swells to popularity. Democracy, Whiggery, and cliquery will attract their elements and foment divisions among the people, to accomplish fancied schemes and accumulate power, while poverty, driven to despair, like hunger forcing its way through a wall, will break through the statues of men to save life, and mend the breach in prison glooms.
A still higher grade of what the “nobility of nations” call “great men” will dally with all rights in order to smuggle a fortune at “one fell swoop,” mortgage Texas, possess Oregon, and claim all the unsettled regions of the world for hunting and trapping; and should an humble, honest man, red, black, or white, exhibit a better title, these gentry have only to clothe the judge with richer ermine, and spangle the lawyer’s finger with finer rings, to have the judgment of his peers and the honor of his lords as a pattern of honesty, virtue, and humanity, while the motto hangs on his nation’s escutcheon—”Every man has his price!”
Now, O people! people! turn unto the Lord and live, and reform this nation. Frustrate the designs of wicked men. Reduce Congress at least two-thirds. Two Senators from a State and two members to a million of population will do more business than the army that now occupy the halls of the national Legislature. Pay them two dollars and their board per diem (except Sundays.) That is more than the farmer gets, and he lives honestly. Curtail the officers of Government in pay, number, and power; for the Philistine lords have shorn our nation of its goodly locks in the lap of Delilah.
Petition your State Legislatures to pardon every convict in their several penitentiaries, blessing them as they go, and saying to them, in the name of the Lord, Go thy way, and sin no more.
Advise your legislators, when they make laws for larceny, burglary, or any felony, to make the penalty applicable to work upon roads, public works, or any place where the culprit can be taught more wisdom and more virtue, and become more enlightened. Rigor and seclusion will never do as much to reform the propensities of men as reason and friendship. Murder only can claim confinement or death. Let the penitentiaries be turned into seminaries of learning, where intelligence, like the angels of heaven, would banish such fragments of barbarism. Imprisonment for debt is a meaner practice than the savage tolerates, with all his ferocity. “Amor vincit omnia.”
Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave States, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame.
Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress.
Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for “an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole etermity of bondage.” Abolish the practice in the army and navy of trying men by court-martial for desertion. If a soldier or marine runs away, send him his wages, with this instruction, that his country will never trust him again; he has forfeited his honor.
Make honor the standard with all men. Be sure that good is rendered for evil in all cases; and the whole nation, like a kingdom of kings and priests, will rise up in righteousness, and be respected as wise and worthy on earth, and as just and holy for heaven, by Jehovah, the Author of perfection.
More economy in the national and state governments would make less taxes among the people; more equality through the cities, towns and country, would make less distinction among the people; and more honesty and familiarity in societies would make less hypocrisy and flattery in all branches of the community; and open, frank, candid decorum to all men, in this boasted land of liberty, would beget esteem, confidence, union, and love; and the neighbor from any state or from any country, of whatever color, clime or tongue, could rejoice when he put his foot on the sacred soil of freedom, and exclaim, The very name of “American” is fraught with “friendship!” Oh, then, create confidence, restore freedom, break down slavery, banish imprisonment for debt, and be in love, fellowship and peace with all the world! Remember that honesty is not subject to law. The law was made for transgressors. Wherefore a * * * * good name is better than riches.
For the accommodation of the people in every state and territory, let Congress show their wisdom by granting a national bank, with branches in each State and Territory, where the capital stock shall be held by the nation for the Central bank, and by the states and territories for the branches; and whose officers and directors shall be elected yearly by the people, with wages at the rate of two dollars per day for services; which several banks shall never issue any more bills than the amount of capital stock in her vaults and the interest.
The net gain of the Central bank shall be applied to the national revenue, and that of the branches to the states and territories’ revenues. And the bills shall be par throughout the nation, which will mercifully cure that fatal disorder known in cities as brokerage, and leave the people’s money in their own pockets.
Give every man his constitutional freedom and the president full power to send an army to suppress mobs, and the States authority to repeal and impugn that relic of folly which makes it necessary for the governor of a state to make the demand of the President for troops, in case of invasion or rebellion.
The governor himself may be a mobber; and instead of being punished, as he should be, for murder or treason, he may destroy the very lives, rights, and property he should protect. Like the good Samaritan, send every lawyer as soon as he repents and obeys the ordinances of heaven, to preach the Gospel to the destitute, without purse or scrip, pouring in the oil and the wine. A learned Priesthood is certainly more honorable than “an hireling clergy.”
As to the contiguous territories to the United States, wisdom would direct no tangling alliance. Oregon belongs to this government honorably; and when we have the red man’s consent, let the Union spread from the east to the west sea; and if Texas petitions Congress to be adopted among the sons of liberty, give her the right hand of fellowship, and refuse not the same friendly grip to Canada and Mexico. And when the right arm of freemen is stretched out in the character of a navy for the protection of rights, commerce, and honor, let the iron eyes of power watch from Maine to Mexico, and from California to Columbia. Thus may union be strengthened, and foreign speculation prevented from opposing broadside to broadside.
Seventy years have done much for this goodly land. They have burst the chains of oppression and monarchy, and multiplied its inhabitants from two to twenty millions, with a proportionate share of knowledge keen enough to circumnavigate the globe, draw the lightning from the clouds, and cope with all the crowned heads of the world.
Then why—oh, why will a once flourishing people not arise, phoenix-like over the cinders of Martin Van Buren’s power, and over the sinking fragments of smoking ruins of other catamount politicians, and over the windfalls of Benton, Calhoun, Clay, Wright, and a caravan of other equally unfortunate law doctors, and cheerfully help to spread a plaster and bind up the burnt, bleeding wounds, of a sore but blessed country?
The Southern people are hospitable and noble. They will help to rid so free a country of every vestige of slavery, whenever they are assured of an equivalent for their property. The country will be full of money and confidence when a National Bank of twenty millions, and a State Bank in every state, with a million or more, gives a tone to monetary matters, and make a circulating medium as valuable in the purses of a whole community as in the coffers of a speculating banker or broker.
The people may have faults, but they should never be trifled with. I think Mr. Pitt’s quotation in the British Parliament of Mr. Prior’s couplet for the husband and wife, to apply to the course which the King and ministry of England should pursue to the then colonies of the now United States, might be a genuine rule of action for some of the breath-mademen in high places to use towards the posterity of this noble, daring people:—
“Be to her faults a little blind;
Be to her virtues very kind.”
We have had Democratic Presidents, Whig Presidents, a pseudo-Democratic-Whig President, and now it is time to have a President of the United States; and let the people of the whole Union, like the inflexible Romans, whenever they find a promise made by a candidate that is not practiced as an officer, hurl the miserable sycophant from his exaltation, as God did Nebuchadnezzar, to crop the grass of the field with a beast’s heart among the cattle.
Mr. Van Buren said, in his inaugural address, that he went in the Presidential chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every attempt, on the part of Congress, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, against the wishes of the slave-holding States, and also with a determination equally decided to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists.
Poor little Matty made this rhapsodical sweep with the fact before his eyes, that the State of New York, his native State, had abolished slavery without a struggle or a groan. Great God, how independent! From henceforth slavery is tolerated where it exists, constitution or no constitution, people or no people, right or wrong: Vox Matti! Vox Diaboli!And peradventure, his great “sub-treasury” scheme was a piece of the same mind. But the man and his measures have such a striking resemblance to the anecdote of the Welshman and his cart-tongue, that when the Constitution was so long that it allowed slavery at the capitol of a free people, it could not be cut off; but when it was so short that it needed a sub-treasury to save the funds of the nation, it could be spliced! Oh, granny, granny, what a long tail our puss has got. 3 * * * But his mighty whisk through the great national fire, for the presidential chestnuts, burnt the locks of his glory with the blaze of his folly!
In the United States the people are the government, and their united voice is the only sovereign that should rule, the only power that should be obeyed, and the only gentlemen that should be honored at home and abroad, on the land and on the sea. Wherefore, were I the president of the United States, by the voice of a virtuous people, I would honor the old paths of the venerated fathers of freedom; I would walk in the tracks of the illustrious patriots who carried the ark of the Government upon their shoulders with an eye single to the glory of the people, and when that people petitioned to abolish slavery in the slave states, I would use all honorable means to have their prayers granted, and, give liberty to the captive by paying the Southern gentlemen a reasonable equivalent for his property, that the whole nation might be free indeed!
When the people petitioned for a National Bank, I would use my best endeavors to have their prayers answered, and establish one on national principles to save taxes, and make them the controllers of its ways and means. And when the people petitioned to possess the territory of Oregon, or any other contiguous territory, I would lend the influence of a Chief Magistrate to grant so reasonable a request, that they might extend the mighty efforts and enterprise of a free people from the east to the west sea, and make the wilderness blossom as the rose. And when a neighboring realm petitioned to join the union of liberty’s sons, my voice would be, Come—yea, come, Texas; come Mexico, come Canada; and come, all the world: let us be brethren, let us be one great family, and let there be a universal peace. Abolish the cruel custom of prisons (except certain cases), penitentiaries, court-martials for desertion; and let reason and friendship reign over the ruins of ignorance and barbarity; yea, I would, as the universal friend of man, open the prisons, open the eyes, open the ears, and open the hearts of all people, to behold and enjoy freedom—unadulterated freedom; and God who once cleansed the violence of the earth with a flood, whose Son laid down His life for the salvation of all His Father gave him out of the world, and who has promised that He will come and purify the world again with fire in the last days, should be supplicated by me for the good of all people. With the highest esteem, I am a friend of virtue and of the people,
Nauvoo, Illinois, February 7, 1844.