IN April, 1833, there commenced a series of persecutions and outrages which has no parallel in the history of our country. We heartily wish we could pass these things unnoticed; but alas! they are a part of the history, and must be recorded. We are not willing to say that the Latter Day Saints always acted wisely, or that they were in every particular right. Joseph Smith acknowledged that, at the time, and doubtless many others have acknowledged the same. He wrote:—
"But to return to my subject: After having ascertained the very spot, and having the happiness of seeing quite a number of the families of my brethren comfortably situated upon the land, I took leave of them and journeyed back to Ohio, and used every influence and argument that lay in my power to get those who believe in the everlasting covenant, whose circumstances would admit and whose families were willing to remove to the place which I now designate to be the land of Zion. And thus the sound of the gathering, and of the doctrine, went abroad into the world; and many, we have reason to fear, having a zeal not according to knowledge, not understanding the pure principles of the doctrine of the church, have no doubt, in the heat of enthusiasm, taught and said many things which are derogatory to the
genuine character and principles of the church, and for these things we are heartily sorry, and would apologize if an apology would do any good." —Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, p. 180.
However, we say, and without hesitation or fear of contradiction, that there was nothing in the actions of the saints, that gave the least color of excuse for the outrages they suffered at the hands of lawless mobs, or for the treatment they often received at the hands of officers of the law. To us it seems strange, but no less strange than commendable, that they bore their persecution with as much fortitude and patience as they did. It seems evident that some influence such as mortals are not usually controlled by held them in check; and that Joseph Smith also used his influence to restrain the people from excesses.
Joseph mentions this first hostile demonstration together with events happening at Kirtland as follows:—
"In the month of April the first regular mob rushed together, in Independence (Zion), to consult upon a plan for the removal or immediate destruction of the church in Jackson County. The number of the mob was about three hundred. A few of the first elders met in secret, and prayed to Him who said to the winds, 'Be still,' to frustrate them in their wicked design. They, therefore, after spending the day in a fruitless endeavor to unite upon a general scheme for 'moving the Mormons out of their diggings' (as they asserted), and becoming a little the worse for liquor, broke up in a regular Missouri 'row,' showing a determined resolution that every man would 'carry his own head.'
"April 30 a conference of high priests assembled at the schoolroom, in Kirtland, and appointed Brother Albert Brown a committee to circulate a subscription to procure money to pay for the use of the house where meetings had been held the past season; and John P. Green was instructed to go and take charge of the branch of the church in Parkman, carrying with him an epistle to the brethren, and as soon as convenient remove his family to that place.
"On the fourth of May, 1833, a conference of high priests assembled in Kirtland, to take into consideration the necessity
of building a schoolhouse, for the accommodation of the elders, who should come together to receive instruction preparatory for their missions, and ministry, according, to a revelation on that subject, given March 8, 1833, and by unanimous voice of the conference, Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed a committee to obtain subscriptions, for the purpose of erecting such a building." —Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 754, 755.
On Tuesday, May 6, 1833, two more revelations were given. 1
In June, 1833, another revelation was received. 2
On Monday, June 3, a council met in the translating room in Kirtland, of which Joseph writes:—
"A conference of high priests convened in the translating room in Kirtland on the third of June, and the first case presented was that of Dr. P. Hurlbut, who was accused of unchristian conduct with the women, while on a mission to the East. On investigation it was decided that his commission be taken from him, and that he be no longer a member of the Church of Christ.
"The next case before the conference was to ascertain what should be the dimensions or size of the house that is to be built for a house of worship and the school of the prophets, and received a revelation on the size of the house. The word of the Lord was, that it shall be fifty-five feet wide, and sixty-five feet long, in the inner court; and the conference appointed Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams to obtain a draft or construction of the inner court of the house.
"On the fourth a similar conference assembled at the same place and took into consideration how the French farm could be disposed of. The conference could not agree who should take charge of it, but all agreed to inquire of the Lord." —Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 784.
It will be seen by the above that Dr. Hurlbut, who afterwards played so conspicuous a part in ferreting out the Spalding Romance and in striving to connect Sidney Rigdon with it, was expelled from the church for immorality.
In answer to the inquiry mentioned above, a revelation was received. 3
On Thursday, June 6, a conference was held at Kirtland, at which two very important items of business were transacted to which we wish to invite special attention; viz., the preparation for beginning the erection of a temple; and the hearing of Dr. Hurlbut's case, on appeal, and his confession of guilt. Joseph's account of it is as follows:—
"June 6. A conference of high priests assembled and chose Orson Hyde a clerk to the Presidency of the High Priesthood. This conference was more especially called to counsel the committee, who had been appointed to take the oversight of the building of the house
of the Lord. The conference voted that the committee (Reynolds Cahoon, Jared Carter, and Hyrum Smith) proceed immediately to commence building the house; or, to obtaining materials, stone, brick, lumber, etc., for the same.
Doctor Hurlbut being dissatisfied with the decision of the council on his case, presented the following appeal:—
"'I, Doctor P. Hurlbut, having been tried before the bishop's council of high priests on a charge of unchristianlike conduct with the female sex, and myself being absent at the time, and considering that strict justice was not done me, I do, by these presents, most solemnly enter my appeal unto the President's council of high priests, for a rehearing, according to the privilege guaranteed to me in the laws of the church, which council is now assembled in the schoolroom, in Kirtland, this twenty-first day of June, 1833.'
"It was voted by the council present, when this was received, that Brother Hurlbut be granted a rehearing; and after prayer (which was customary at the opening of all councils of the church), the council proceeded to ordain two high priests to make out the number (twelve) that the council or church court might be organized. Brothers John and William Smith were ordained under the hands of Elder Rigdon, by the choice of the council.
"Brother Hurlbut's case was then laid before the court, and the testimony against him given in by Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, and duly investigated. The decision of the court was that Brother Hurlbut should be forgiven because of the liberal confession which he made. This court also decided that the bishop's council decided correctly on the case, and that Bro. Hurlbut's crime was sufficient to cut him off from the church; but on his confession he was restored.
"June 23. Brother Doctor P. Hurlbut was called in question, by a general council; and Brother Gee, of Thompson, testified that Brother Hurlbut said that he deceived Joseph Smith's God, or the spirit by which he was actuated, etc. There was also corroborating testimony brought against him, by Brother Hodges, and the council cut him off from the church." —Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 785.
Monday, June 24, there was a conference of the elders held at Westfield, when the following plat of the city of Zion was adopted and ordered sent to the brethren in Zion:—
"This plat contains one mile square, all the squares, of the plat contain ten acres each, being forty rods square. You will observe that the lots are laid off alternately in the squares; in one square running from the south and north to the line through the center of the square; and in the next, the lots run from the east and west to the center line. Each lot is four perches in front, and twenty back, making one half of an acre in each lot, so that no one street will be built on, entirely through the street; but one square the houses will stand on one street, and on the next one another, except the middle range of squares, which runs north and south, in which range are the painted squares.
"The lots are laid off in these squares north and south, all of them; because these squares are forty perches by sixty, being twenty perches longer than the other, their greatest length being east and west, and by running all these squares, north and south, it makes all the lots in the city of one size.
"The painted squares in the middle are for public buildings. The one without any figures is for storehouses for the bishop, and to be devoted to his use. Figure first is for temples for the use of the Presidency; the circles inside of the square are the places for the temples. You will see it contains twelve figures, two are for the temples of the lesser priesthood. It is also to contain twelve temples. The whole plat is supposed to contain from fifteen to twenty thousand people: you will therefore see that it will require twenty-four buildings to supply them with houses of worship, schools, etc.; and none of these temples are to be smaller than the one of which we send you a draft. This temple is to be built in the square marked figure first; and to be built where the circle is, which has a cross on it; on the north and south of the plat where the line is drawn, is to be laid off for barns, stables, etc., for the use of the city; so that no barns or stables will be in the city among the
houses; the ground to be occupied by these must be laid off according to wisdom.
"On the north and south are to be laid off the farms for the agriculturist, and sufficient quantity of land to supply the whole plat; and if it cannot be laid off without going too great a distance from the city, there must also be some laid off on the east and west.
"When this square is thus laid off and supplied, lay off another in the same way, and so fill up the world in these last days; and let every man live in the city, for this is the city of Zion. All the streets are of one width, being eight perches wide. Also the space round the outer edge of the painted squares is to be eight perches between the temple and the street, on every side.
"No one lot, in this city, is to contain more than one house, and that to be built twenty-five feet back from the street, leaving a small yard in front, to be planted in a grove, according to the taste of the builder; the rest of the lot for gardens, etc.; all the houses to be built of brick and stone." —Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 786.
On June 25 the Presidency wrote a letter to W. W. Phelps and others in Zion, which contains some valuable instruction, and so we insert it:—
"Brethren:—We have received your last, containing a number of questions which you desire us to answer. This we do the more readily, as we desire with all our hearts the prosperity of Zion and the peace of her inhabitants; for we have as great an interest in the welfare of Zion as you can have:
"First, as respects getting the Book of Commandments bound, we think that it is not necessary. They will be sold well without binding, and there is no bookbinder to be had as we know of, nor are there materials to be had for binding without keeping the book too long from circulation. With regard to the Books of Mormon, which are in the hands of Brother Burket, we say to you, Get them from Brother Burket, give him a receipt for them in the name of the literary firm. Let Brother Gilbert pay Brother Chapin his money.
"We have not found the Book of Jasher, nor any of the other lost books mentioned in the Bible as yet; nor will we
obtain them at present. Respecting the Apocrypha, the Lord said to us that there are many things in it which were true, and there were many things in it that were not true, and to those who desire it, it should be given by the Spirit to know the true from the false. We have received some revelations, within a short time back, which you will obtain in due time; as soon as we can get time we will review the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, after which they will be forwarded to you.
"We commend the plan highly of your choosing a teacher to instruct the high priests, that they may be able to silence gainsayers. Concerning bishops, we recommend the following: Let Brother Isaac Morley be ordained second bishop in Zion, and let Brother John Corrill be ordained third. Let Brother Edward Partridge choose as counselors in their place, Brother Parley P. Pratt, and Brother Titus Billings, ordaining Brother Billings to the high priesthood. Let Brother Morley choose for his counselors, Brother Christian Whitmer, whom ordain to the high priesthood, and Bro. Newel Knight. Let Brother Corrill choose Brother Daniel Stanton and Brother Hezekiah Peck for his counselors; let Brother Hezekiah also be ordained to the high priesthood. . .
"The truth triumphs gloriously in the East; multitudes are embracing it. I, Sidney, who write this letter, in behalf of the Presidency, had the privilege of seeing my aged mother baptized into the faith of the gospel, a few weeks since, at the advanced age of seventy-five. She now resides with me.
"We send by this mail, a draft of the city of Zion, with explanations, and a draft of the house to be built immediately, in Zion, for the Presidency, as well as all purposes of religion and instruction.
"Kirtland, the stake of Zion, is strengthening continually. When the enemies look at her they wag their heads and march along. We anticipate the day when the enemies will have fled away and be far from us. You will remember that the power of agency must be signed by the wives as well as the husbands, and the wives must be examined separate and apart from the husbands, the same as signing a deed, and a
specification to that effect inserted at the bottom, by the justice before whom such acknowledgment is made, otherwise the power will be of none effect....
"The following errors we have found in the commandments, as printed: Fortieth chapter, tenth verse, third line, instead of corruptible, put corrupted. Fourteenth verse of the same chapter, fifth line, instead of respecter to persons, put respecter of persons. Twenty-first verse, second line of the same chapter, instead of respecter to, put respecter of. Forty-fourth chapter, twelfth verse, last line, instead of hands, put heads.
"Brother Edward Partridge; Sir:—I proceed to answer your questions, concerning the consecration of property: First, it is not right to condescend to very great particulars in taking inventories. The fact is this: a man is bound by the law of the church to consecrate to the bishop before he can be considered a legal heir to the kingdom of Zion; and this, too, without constraint; and unless he does this he cannot be acknowledged before the Lord, on the church book: therefore, to condescend to particulars, I will tell you that every man must be his own judge how much he should receive, and how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the bishop. I speak of those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and their families.
"The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties; for, to give the bishop power to say how much every man shall have, and he be obliged to comply with the bishop's judgment, is giving to the bishop more power than a king has; and, upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs, and the bishop be obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion, and make a slave of the bishops. The fact is, there must be a balance or equilibrium of power between the bishop and the people; and thus harmony and good will, be preserved among you.
"Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the bishop in Zion, and then receiving an inheritance back, must show reasonably to the bishop that he wants as much as he claims. But in case the two parties cannot come to a mutual
agreement, the bishop is to have nothing to do about receiving their consecrations; and the case must be laid before a council of twelve high priests; the bishop not being one of the council, but he is to lay the case before them....
"We are not a little surprised to hear that some of our letters of a public nature, which we sent for the good of Zion, have been kept back from the bishop. This is conduct which we highly disapprobate.
"Answers to queries in Brother Phelps' letter of June 4: First, in relation to the poor. When the bishops are appointed according to our recommendation, it will devolve upon them to see to the poor, according to the laws of the church. In regard to the printing of the New Translation; it cannot be done until we can attend to it ourselves, and this we will do as soon as the Lord permits....
"Say to the brethren, Hulets, and to all others that the Lord never authorized them to say that the Devil, nor his angels, nor the son of perdition should ever be restored, for their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed, save to those who are made partakers thereof: consequently those who teach this doctrine have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord. Truly Brother Oliver declared it to be the doctrine of devils. We, therefore, command that this doctrine be taught no more in Zion. We sanction the decision of the bishop and his council, in relation to this doctrine's being a bar of communion.
"The number of disciples in Kirtland is about one hundred and fifty. We have commenced building the house of the Lord, in this place, and it goes on rapidly. Good news from the East and South of the success of the laborers is often saluting our ears. A general time of health among us; families all well: and day and night we pray for the salvation of Zion....
"We conclude our letter by the usual salutation, in token of the new and everlasting covenant. We hasten to close because the mail is just going.
"Joseph Smith, Jr.
"F. G. Williams.
"P. S.—We feel gratified with the way which Brother
William W. Phelps is conducting the Star at present; we hope he will render it more and more interesting. In relation to the size of the bishopric: when Zion is once properly regulated there will be a bishop to each square of the size of the one we send you with this; but at present it must be done according to wisdom. It is needful, brethren, that you should be all of one heart and of one mind, in doing the will of the Lord. There should exist the greatest freedom and familiarity among the rulers in Zion. We were exceeding sorry to hear the complaint that was made in Brother Edward's letter, that the letters attending the olive leaf had been kept from him, as it is meet that he should know all things in relation to Zion, as the Lord has appointed him to be a judge in Zion. We hope, dear brethren, that the like circumstance will not take place again. When we direct letters to Zion, to any of the high priests, which pertains to the regulation thereof, we always design that they should be laid before the bishop, so as to enable him to perform his duty. We say so much hoping it will be received in kindness; and our brethren will be careful of each others feelings, and walk in love, honoring one another more than themselves, as is required of the Lord.
|"Yours as ever."|
|—Times and Seasons, vol. 6, pp. 800-802.|
|"Kirtland, July 2, 1833.|
"To the Brethren in Zion—We received your letters of June 7; one from Brothers William and Oliver, one from Brother David Whitmer, and one from Brother S. Gilbert, for which we are thankful to our heavenly Father to hear of your welfare, as well as the prosperity of Zion. Having received your letters in the mail of to-day, we hasten to answer to go with to-morrow's mail.
"We are exceedingly fatigued owing to a great press of business. We this day finished the translating of the scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our heavenly Father, and sat immediately down to answer your letters. . .
"As to the gift of tongues, all we can say is, that in this place we have received it as the ancients did. We wish you, however, to be careful, lest in this you be deceived. Guard against evils which may arise from any accounts given of women, or otherwise; be careful in all things lest any root of bitterness spring up among you and thereby many be defiled. Satan will no doubt trouble you about the gift of tongues, unless you are careful; you cannot watch him too closely, nor pray too much. May the Lord give you wisdom in all things. In a letter mailed last week, you will doubtless, before you receive this, have obtained information about the New Translation. Consign the box of the Books of Commandments, to N. K. Whitney & Co., Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio; care of Kelly & Walworth, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
"I Sidney write this in great haste, in answer to yours to Brother Joseph, as I am going off immediately, in company with Brother Frederick, to proclaim the gospel; we think of starting to-morrow. Having finished the translation of the Bible, a few hours since, and needing some recreation, we know of no way we can spend our time more to divine acceptance, than endeavoring to build up his Zion, in these last days, as we are not willing to idle any time away, which can be spent to useful purposes. Doors are open continually for proclaiming; the spirit of bitterness among the people is fast subsiding, and a spirit of inquiry is taking its place. I proclaimed last Sunday at Chardon, our county seat. I had the courthouse. There was a general turnout, good attention, and a pressing invitation for more meetings, which will be granted if the Lord will, when we return from this tour.
"Brother Joseph is going to take a tour with Brother George James. of Brownhelm, as soon as Brother George comes to this place. We hope, our brethren, that the greatest freedom and frankness will exist between you and the bishop, not withholding from each other, any information from us, but communicate with the greatest freedom, lest you should produce evils of a serious character, and the Lord become offended: for know assuredly, if we, by our
wickedness, bring evil on our own heads, the Lord will let us bear it till we get weary and hate iniquity.
"We conclude by giving our heartiest approbation to every measure calculated for the spread of the truth, in these last days; and our strongest desires, and sincerest prayers for the prosperity of Zion. Say to all the brethren and sisters in Zion, that they have our hearts, our best wishes, and the strongest desires of our spirits, for their welfare, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. And we salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen
"Joseph Smith, Jr.
"F. G. Williams."
|—Times and Seasons, vol. 6, pp. 802, 803|
Early in July the mob in Missouri again renewed their hostilities, of which Joseph Smith writes:—
"July, which once dawned upon the virtue and independence of the United States, now dawned upon the savage barbarity and mobocracy of Missouri. Most of the clergy, acting as missionaries to the Indians, or to the frontier inhabitants, were among the most prominent characters that rose up and rushed on to destroy the rights of the church, as well as the lives of her members. One Pixley, who had been sent by the Missionary Society, to civilize and christianize the heathen of the West, was a black rod in the hand of Satan, as well as a poisoned shaft in the power of our foes, to spread lies and falsehoods.
"He followed writing horrible accounts to the religious papers in the East, to sour the public mind from time to time, besides using his influence among Indians and whites to overthrow the church. On the first of July he wrote a slanderous article entitled, 'Beware of false Prophets,' which he actually carried from house to house to incense the inhabitants against the church to mob them and drive them away.
"The July number of the Evening and Morning Star pursued a mild and pacific course, the first article therein, entitled 'Beware of false Prophets,' was calculated to disabuse the honest public mind from Pixley's falsehoods; and
the caution against 'Free people of color' settling in Missouri, was sufficient to silence the fears of every sober mind, yet it was all in vain; the hour of trial must come: and. notwithstanding the Constitution of Missouri, as published in the same paper, says:—
"'Article 4. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; and that no man can be compelled to erect, support, or attend any place of worship, or to maintain any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience; that no person can ever be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious professions or sentiments, if he do not disturb others in their religious worship.
"'5. That no person, on account of his religious opinions, can be rendered ineligible to any office of trust or profit under this State; that no preference can ever be given by law to any sect or mode of worship,' yet, because the saints believed and taught differently from their neighbors, and according to the laws of heaven, in spiritual things, Satan said, 'Let there be a mob,' and a mob there was, and they drew up and published a manifesto, which will appear in its place." —Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 816.
The reader may understand the attitude of the church in Missouri regarding morals and religion, policy and politics, by referring to an epistle published in the July number of the Evening and Morning Star, entitled, "The elders stationed in Zion to the churches abroad, in love; greeting." 4 By this it will be seen that while they
admit the wrongdoing of some, they teach that all should be industrious; that all should pay just debts; that the laws of
the land should be observed; that great care should be used lest too many of the poor should be brought into the country
Governor Dunklin, in which is incorporated the resolutions passed by the citizens of Jackson County; also the reply of Governor Dunklin. Each of these documents speaks for itself, hence a lengthy comment would be superfluous:—
"To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin, Governor of the State of Missouri.
"We, the undersigned, citizens of the republic of the
United States of America, inhabitants of the State of Missouri, and residents of Jackson County, members of the Church of Christ (vulgarly called Mormons), believing in
God, and worshipping him according to his revealed will contained in the Holy Bible, and the fullness of the gospel contained in the Book of Mormon, and the revelations and
commandments of God through Jesus Christ, respectfully show:—
"That we your petitioners, having purchased lands of the United States, and of the State of Missouri, and of the inhabitants of said State, for the purpose of improving the same and peaceably enjoying our rights, privileges, immunities, and religion, according to the Constitution and laws of the State and National Governments, have suffered unjustly and unlawfully in property, in person, and in reputation, as follows: First. In the spring of 1832, some persons, in the deadly hours of the night, commenced stoning or brickbatting some of our houses and breaking in our windows, disturbing ourselves, our wives, and our children; and also, some few days after, they called a county meeting to consult measures to remove us, but after some confusion among themselves, they dispersed with doing no more than threatening, on that day. In the fall of the same year, they or some one, burned a large quantity of hay in the stack; and soon after commenced shooting into some of our houses, and at many times insulting with abusive language.
"Secondly. About the middle of July last, yea, in fact, previous, they commenced brickbatting our houses again, and breaking in our windows. At this time, July 18, the following document was in circulation:—
"'We, the undersigned, citizens of Jackson County, believing that an important crisis is at hand as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled and are still settling in our county, styling themselves Mormons, and intending as we do to rid our society "peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must," and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one against the
evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient, and of the highest importance, to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, a purpose which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self-preservation.
"'It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics or knaves (for one or the other they undoubtedly are) made their first appearance amongst us, and pretending as they did and now do to hold personal communication and converse face to face with the most high God; to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven; to heal the sick by laying on hands; and, in short, to perform all the wonder—working miracles wrought by the inspired apostles and prophets of old.
"'We believed them deluded fanatics or weak and designing knaves, and that they and their pretensions would soon pass away; but in this we were deceived. The arts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society, and since the arrival of the first of them they have been daily increasing in numbers, and if they had been respectable citizens in society, and thus deluded they would have been entitled to our pity rather than to our contempt and hatred; but from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct, since their coming among us, we have every reason to fear that with but very few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from which they came; lazy, idle, and vicious. This we conceive is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our county little or no property with them, and left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the Mormon car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to lose by the change; and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen embassadors [ambassadors] of the Most High, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colors. More than a year since it was ascertained that they had been tampering
with our slaves and endeavoring to sow dissensions and raise seditions amongst them. Of this their Mormon leaders were informed, and they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend. But how specious are appearances. In a late number of the Star, published in Independence by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inviting free negroes and mulattoes [mulattos] from other States to become Mormons and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society an injury that they know would be to us entirely insupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the county; for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a caste amongst us would corrupt our blacks and instigate them to bloodshed.
"'They openly blaspheme the most high God and cast contempt on his holy religion by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues by direct inspiration, and by diverse pretenses derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason.
"'They declare openly that their God hath given them this county of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance, and in fine they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner that we believe it a duty we owe ourselves, to our wives and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up our pleasant places and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosom of our families as fit companions for our wives and daughters the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulattoes [mulattos] that are now invited to settle among us.
"'Under such a state of things even our beautiful county would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We, therefore, agree, that after timely warning, and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us
in peace, as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.
"'We will meet at the courthouse at the town of Independence, on Saturday next, 20th inst., to consult ulterior movements.'
"Among the hundreds of names attached to the above document were: Lewis Franklin, Jailer; Samuel A. Owens, County Clerk; Russel Hicks, Deputy Clerk; R. W. Cummins, Indian Agent; Jones H. Flournoy, Post Master; S. D. Lucas, Colonel and Judge of the Court; Henry Childs, Attorney at Law; N. K. Olmstead, M. D.; John Smith, J. P.; Samuel Weston, J. P.; William Brown, Constable; Abner F. Staples, Captain; Thomas Pitcher, Deputy Constable; Moses G. Wilson, Thomas Wilson, Merchants.
"On Saturday, the 20th July last, according to the foregoing document, there assembled suddenly in the town of Independence at the courthouse between four and five hundred persons who sent Robert Johnson, James Campbell, Moses Wilson, Joel F. Childs, Richard Bristoe, Abner F. Staples, Gan Johnson, Lewis Franklin, Russell Hicks, S. D. Lucas, Thomas Wilson, James M. Hunter, and Richard Simpson, to some of your petitioners; namely, Edward Partridge, A. S. Gilbert, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps, and demanded that we should immediately stop the publication of the Evening and Morning Star, and close printing in Jackson County, and that we as elders of said church should agree to remove out of the county forthwith. We asked for three months, for consideration. They would not grant it. We asked for ten days. They would not grant it but said fifteen minutes was the longest, and refused to hear any reasons. Of course the conversation broke up.
"The four or five hundred persons, as a mob, then proceeded to demolish or raze to the ground the printing office and dwelling house of W. W. Phelps & Co. Mrs. Phelps, with a sick infant child and the rest of her children, together with the furniture in the house, were thrown out doors, the
press was broken, the type pied, the book work, furniture, apparatus, property, etc., of the office were principally destroyed and the office thrown down, whereby seven hands were thrown out of employment and three families left destitute of the means of subsistence.
"The loss of the whole office, including the stoppage of the Evening and Morning Star, a monthly paper, and the Upper Missouri Advertiser, a weekly paper, was about six thousand dollars, without the damages, which must result in consequence of their suspension.
"The mob then proceeded to demolish the storehouse and destroy the goods of Gilbert, Whitney & Co., but Mr. Gilbert assuring them that the goods should be packed by the 23d inst., they then stopped the destruction of property and proceeded to do personal violence. They took Edward Partridge, the Bishop of the Church, from his dwelling house by force, and a Mr. Allen, and stripping them of their coats, vests, and hats, or caused them to do it themselves, tarred and feathered them in the presence of the mob before the courthouse. They caught other members of the church to serve them in like manner, but they made their escape. With horrid yells and the most blasphemous epithets, they sought for other leading elders, but found them not. It being late, they adjourned until the 23d inst.
"On the 23d inst., early in the day, the mob again assembled to the number of about five hundred, many of them armed with rifles, dirks, pistols, clubs, and whips; one or two companies riding into town bearing the red flag, raising again the horrid yell. They proceeded to take some of the leading elders by force, declaring it to be their intention to whip them from fifty to five hundred lashes apiece, to demolish their dwelling houses, and let their negroes loose to go through our plantations and lay open our fields for the destruction of our crops; whereupon John Corrill, John Whitmer, W. W. Phelps, A. S. Gilbert, Edward Partridge, and Isaac Morley, made no resistance, but offered themselves a ransom for the church, willing to be scourged or die, if that would appease their anger toward the church; but being assured by the mob that every man, woman, and child would
be whipped or scourged until they were driven out of the county, as the mob declared that they or the Mormons must leave the county, or they or the Mormons must die.
"The mob then chose a new committee, consisting of Samuel A. Owens, Leonidas Oldham, G. W. Simpson, M. L Irwin, John Harris, Henry Childs, Harvey H. Younger, Hugh H. Brazeale, N. K. Olmstead, James C. Sadler, William Bowers, Benjamin Majors, Zachariah Waller, Harman Gregg, Aaron Overton, and Samuel Weston, who with Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, W. W. Phelps, A. S. Gilbert, and John Whitmer, entered into the following stipulation:—
"'Memorandum of agreement between the undersigned of the Mormon society, in Jackson County, Missouri, and a committee appointed by a public meeting of the citizens of said county, made the 23d day of July, 1833.
"'It is understood that the undersigned members of the society do give their solemn pledge each for himself, as follows; to wit:—
"'That Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, William E. McLellin, Edward Partridge, Lyman Wight, Simeon Carter, Peter and John Whitmer, and Harvey Whitlock, shall remove with their families out of this county on or before the first day of January next, and that they, as well as the two hereinafter named, use all their influence to induce all the brethren now here to remove as soon as possible—one half, say, by the first of January next, and all by the first day of April next; to advise and try all means in their power to stop any more of their sect from moving to this country; and as to those now on the road, they will use their influence to prevent their settling permanently in the county, but that they shall only make arrangements for temporary shelter, till a new location is agreed on for the society. John Corrill and A. S. Gilbert are allowed to remain as general agents to wind up the business of the society, so long as necessity shall require; and said Gilbert may sell out his merchandise now on hand, but is to make no new importations.
"'The Star is not again to be published, nor a press set up by any of the society in this county.
"'If the said Edward Partridge and W. W. Phelps move their families by the first day of January as aforesaid, that they themselves will be allowed to go and come in order to transact and wind up their business.
"'The committee pledge themselves to use all their influence to prevent any violence being used so long as a compliance with the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned.' To which agreement is subscribed the names of the above-named committee, as also those of the Mormon brethren named in the report as having been present.
"The damages, which your petitioners have sustained in consequence of this outrage and stipulation are at present incalculable. A great number of industrious inhabitants who were dependent on their labors for support have been thrown out of employment and are kept so by the threatenings of those who composed the mob. [See their resolutions as published in the Western Monitor, numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.] In estimating the damages which have resulted from the beginning to this time from those illegal and inhuman proceedings against your poor and persecuted petitioners, were they to name many thousands of dollars, it would be short of a remuneration. Most of the mechanics' shops have been closed, two pair of blacksmith's bellows have been cut in pieces. Our merchant, as you will see by the foregoing stipulation, has been forbidden to import or bring into the country any more goods, by which his business has been ruined. Soon after the above stipulation was made, some of your petitioners proceeded to make a new location in Van Buren County on the south, but the settlers in that county drew up an agreement among themselves to drive us from that county after we had commenced laboring there; they threatened to shoot our cattle and destroy our labor, and in fact, 'The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but we have not where to lay our heads'—We were obliged to return.
"Since the stipulation was entered into some of our houses have been broken open and the inmates threatened to be
shot if they stirred, and also, some of our houses have been stoned or brickbatted.
"Also, that since some publications have appeared in the Western Monitor and other papers, censuring the conduct of the mob, the leaders have begun to threaten life, declaring that if any of the Mormons attempted to seek redress by law or otherwise, for character, person, or property, they would die!
"Now therefore, for ourselves, as members of the church, we declare, with the exception of poverty, which has not yet become a crime, by the laws of the land, that the crimes charged against us (so far as we are acquainted) contained in the documents above written, and those in the proceedings of the mob, as published in the Western Monitor of August 2, are not true. In relation to inviting free people of color to emigrate to this section of country, and other matters relative to our society, see the l09th, 10th, and 11th pages of the Evening and Morning Star, and the Extra accompanying the same, dated July 16, which are annexed to this petition. Our situation is a critical one; we are located upon the western limits of the State, and of the United States—where desperadoes can commit outrages, and even murder, and escape, in a few minutes, beyond the reach of process; where the most abandoned of all classes from almost every State may too often pass to the Mexican states, or to the more remote regions of the Rocky Mountains to escape the grasp of justice; where numerous tribes of Indians, located by the general government amid the corrupting influence of midday mobs; might massacre our defenseless women and children with impunity.
"Influenced by the precepts of our beloved Savior, when we have been smitten on the one cheek we have turned the other also; when we have been sued at the law and our coat been taken, we have given them our cloak also; when they have compelled us to go with them a mile we have gone with them twain. We have borne the above outrages without murmuring, but we cannot patiently bear them any longer according to the laws of God and man we have borne enough. Believing, with all honorable men, that whenever that fatal
hour shall arrive that the poorest citizen's person, property, or rights and privileges, shall be trampled upon by a lawless mob with impunity, that moment a dagger is plunged into the heart of the Constitution, and the Union must tremble! Assuring ourselves that no republican will suffer the liberty of the press, the freedom of speech, and the liberty of conscience, to be silenced by a mob, without raising a helping hand, to save his country from disgrace, we solicit assistance to obtain our rights, holding ourselves amenable to the laws of our country whenever we transgress them.
"Knowing as we do that the threats of this mob, in most cases have been put into execution; and knowing also, that every officer, civil and military, with a very few exceptions, has pledged his life and honor to force us from the county, dead or alive; and believing that civil process cannot be served without the aid of the Executive; and not wishing to have the blood of our defenseless women and children to stain the land which has once been stained by the blood of our fathers to purchase our liberty;—we appeal to the Governor for aid; asking him by express proclamation or otherwise to raise a sufficient number of troops, who, with us, may be empowered to defend our rights, that we may sue for damages in the loss of property—for abuse, for defamation, as to ourselves, and if advisable try for treason against the government; that the law of the land may not be defied nor nullified, but peace restored to our country. And we will ever pray."
|"CITY OF JEFFERSON, Executive Department,|
|"October 19, 1833.|
"To Edward Partridge, W. W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, A. S. Gilbert, John Whitmer and others:—
"Your memorial soliciting my interposition against violence threatened you, and redresses for injuries received by a portion of the citizens of Jackson County, has been received, and its contents duly considered. I should think myself unworthy the confidence with which I have been honored by my fellow-citizens, did I not promptly employ all the means which the Constitution and laws have
placed at my disposal to avert the calamities with which you are threatened.
"Ours is a Government of laws. To them we owe all obedience, and their faithful administration is the best guarantee for the enjoyment of our rights.
"No citizen, nor number of citizens, have a right to take the redress of their grievances, whether real or imaginary, into their own hands. Such conduct strikes at the very existence of society, and subverts the foundation on which it is based. Not being willing to persuade myself that any portion of the citizens of the State of Missouri are so lost to a sense of these truths as to require the exercise of force, in order to insure a respect for them.
"After advising with the Attorney General, and exercising my best judgment, I would advise you to make a trial of the efficacy of the laws. The judge of your circuit is a conservator of the peace. If an affidavit is made before him by any of you that your lives are threatened and you believe them in danger, it would be his duty to have the offenders apprehended and bind them to keep the peace. Justices of the Peace in their respective counties have the same authority, and it is made their duty to exercise it. Take, then, this course, obtain a warrant, let it be placed in the hands of the proper officer, and the experiment will be tested whether the laws can be peaceably executed or not. In the event they cannot be, and that fact is officially notified to me, my duty will require me to take such steps as will enforce a favorable execution of them.
"With regard to the injuries you have sustained by destruction of property, etc., the law is open to redresses, I cannot permit myself to doubt that the courts will be open to you, nor that you will find difficulty in procuring legal advocates to sue for damages therein.
|"Respectfully, Your obedient servant.|
|"W. W. Phelps, Esq., Independence, Mo."|
|—Evening and Morning Star, pp. 226-231.|
As the resolutions above-quoted refer to an article in the Evening and Morning Star, we here present this article entitled,
"Free People of Color," found on pages 218 and 219 of volume 2 of the Evening and Morning Star. By carefully perusing this, all may see just how much truth, if any, there is in the statement that it invited "free negroes and mulattoes [mulattos] from other States to become Mormons and remove and settle among us":—
"To prevent any misunderstanding among the churches abroad, respecting free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri, as members of the church, we quote the following clauses from the laws of Missouri:—
"'Section 4. Be it further enacted, that hereafter no free negro or mulatto, other than a citizen of some one of the United States, shall come into or settle in this State under any pretext whatever; and upon complaint made to any justice of the peace, that such person is in his county, contrary to the provisions of this section, if it shall appear that such person is a free negro or mulatto, and that he hath come into this State after the passage of this act, and such person shall not produce a certificate, attested by the seal of some court of record in some one of the United States, evidencing that he is a citizen of such State, the justice shall command him forthwith to depart from this State; and in case such negro or mulatto shall not depart from the State within thirty days after being commanded so to do as aforesaid, any justice of the peace, upon complaint thereof to him made, may cause such person to be brought before him and may commit him to the common gaol [jail] of the county in which he may be found, until the next term of the Circuit Court to be held in such county. And the said court shall cause such person to be brought before them and examine into the cause of commitment; and if it shall appear that such person came into the State contrary to the provisions of this act, and continued therein after being commanded to depart as aforesaid, such court may sentence such person to receive ten lashes on his or her bare back, and order him to depart the State; and if he or she shall not depart, the same proceedings shall be had and punishment inflicted, as often as may be necessary, until such person shall depart the State
"'Section 5. Be it further enacted, that if any person shall, after the taking effect of this act, bring into this State any free negro or mulatto, not having in his possession a certificate of citizenship as required by this act [he or she] shall forfeit and pay, for every person so brought, the sum of five hundred dollars, to be recovered by action of debt in the name of the State, to the use of the University, in any court having competent jurisdiction; in which action the defendant may be held to bail, of right and without affidavit; and it shall be the duty of Attorney General or Circuit Attorney of the district in which any person so offending may be found, immediately upon information given of such offenses, to commence and prosecute an action as aforesaid.'
"Slaves are real estate in this and other States, and wisdom would dictate great care among the branches of the Church of Christ, on this subject. So long as we have no special rule in the church, as to people of color, let prudence guide; and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say, Shun every appearance of evil.
"While on the subject of law, it may not be amiss to quote some of the Constitution of Missouri. It shows a liberality of opinion of the great men of the West, and will vie with that of any other State. It is good; it is just, and it is the citizens' right.
"'4. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; that no man can be compelled to erect, support, or attend any place of worship, or to maintain any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience; that no person can ever be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious professions or sentiments, if he do not disturb others in their religious worship.
"'5. That no person, on account of his religious opinions can be rendered ineligible to any office of trust or profit under this State; that no preference can ever be given by law to any sect or mode of worship; and that no religious corporation can ever be established in this State."'
It is true that the saints in general were unalterably opposed to human bondage or slavery in any form, but we have seen no evidence that they ever interfered with existing legal conditions in Missouri or elsewhere. It is possible that individual members of the church spoke hastily or unwisely regarding existing evils. It would have been strange indeed if they did not. If so, however, such unwise interference was never approved by the church or her authorities.
To tell of all the outrages committed and the sufferings entailed upon the saints during that summer and autumn would be impossible, but we will here quote a few testimonies in connection with the indignities mentioned in the foregoing appeal to Governor Dunklin. Though an agreement was entered into, as appears in the petition quoted above, providing that certain parties should leave by January 1, 1834, and the remainder by April 1, 1834; and that the mob in said agreement had pledged "themselves to use all their influence to prevent any violence being used so long as a compliance with the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned," yet without waiting for the time to expire, the mob began hostilities in October; and the very men whose names were signed to the agreement participated in the outrages.
Here we will allow Parley P. Pratt, an eyewitness and a victim of these unhallowed persecutions, to tell the tale. The following is from "Persecution of the Saints," pages 31-52:—
"It was believed by many of the Mormons that the leaders of the mob would not suffer so barefaced a violation of the agreement before the time therein set forth; but Thursday night, the 31st of October, gave them abundant proof that no pledge, verbal or written, was longer to be regarded, for on that night between forty and fifty, many of whom were armed with guns, proceeded against a branch of the church, about eight miles west of town, and unroofed and partly demolished ten dwelling houses; and in the midst of the shrieks and screams of women and children, whipped and beat, in a savage manner, several of the men; and with their
horrid threats frightened women and children into the wilderness. Such of the men as could escape fled for their lives; for very few of them had arms, neither were they embodied; and they were threatened with death if they made any resistance. Such therefore as could not escape by flight received a pelting by rocks and a beating by guns and whips.
"On Friday, the first of November, women and children sallied forth from their gloomy retreats to contemplate with heart-rending anguish the ravages of a ruthless mob, in the mangled bodies of their husbands and in the destruction of their houses and furniture. Houseless, and unprotected by the arm of civil law in Jackson County, the dreary month of November staring them in the face and loudly proclaiming more inclement season at hand, the continual threats of the mob that they would drive every Mormon from the county and the inability of many to remove because of their poverty, caused an anguish of heart indescribable.
"These outrages were committed about two miles from my residence; news reached me before daylight the same morning, and I immediately repaired to the place, and was filled with anguish at the awful sights of houses in ruins, and furniture destroyed and strewed about the streets; women in different directions were weeping and mourning, while some of the men were covered with blood from the blows they had received from the enemy; others were endeavoring to collect the fragments of their scattered furniture, beds etc.
"I endeavored to collect together as many men as possible, and after consultation we concluded to embody for defense. Accordingly we collected some sixty men, armed ourselves as well as we could, and took shelter next evening in a log house. We set a guard, and sent out spies through the different parts of the settlement to watch the movements of the mob; but sometime in the night two of the enemy advanced to our guard, being armed with guns and pistols, and while they were conversing I walked near them, and one of them struck me over the head, with all his might, with his gun. I staggered back, the blood streaming down
my face, but I did not fall. As I had command of our party, I ordered our men to disarm the two ruffians and secure them, which was done; and this probably prevented a general attack of the mob that night. The next morning they were let go in peace.
"The same night (Friday) a party in Independence commenced stoning houses, breaking down doors and windows, destroying furniture, etc. This night the brick part of a dwelling house belonging to A. S. Gilbert was partly demolished, and the windows of his dwelling broken in while a gentleman lay sick in his house.
"The same night the doors of the house of Messrs. Gilbert and Whitney were split open and the goods strewed in the street, to which fact upwards of twenty witnesses can attest.
"After midnight a party of our men marched for the store, etc., and when the mob saw them approach they fled. But one of their number, a Richard McCarty, was caught in the act of throwing rocks in at the door, while the goods lay strung around him in the street. He was immediately taken before Samuel Weston, Esq., and a warrant requested, that said McCarty might be secured; but his justiceship refused to do anything in the case, and McCarty was then liberated.
"The same night many of their houses had poles and rails thrust through the shutters and sash, into the rooms of defenseless women and children, from whence their husbands and fathers had been driven by the attacks of the mob which were made by ten or twenty men upon one house at a time. On Saturday, the 2d November, all the families of these people who lived in Independence, moved out of town about one half mile west, and embodied for the preservation of themselves and property. Saturday night a party of the mob made an attack upon a settlement about six miles west of the town. Here they tore the roof from a dwelling, broke open another house, found the owner, Mr. David Bennett, sick in bed, whom they beat inhumanly, and swore they would blow his brains out, and discharging a pistol, the ball cut a deep gash across the top of his head. In this skirmish one of their men was shot in the thigh.
"On Sunday evening about sunset myself and a Mr. Marsh set out on horseback to visit the Circuit Judge at Lexington, a distance of some forty miles. We were under the necessity of going the most private paths across the country, in order to avoid our enemies; but we had a most faithful pilot, who knew every crook and turn of the country. We had rode but a few miles, when it became so extremely dark that we could not see each other. Our pilot dismounted several times and felt his way; but at length we came to a halt, and lay down upon the ground until it broke away and became some lighter, and then we were enabled to go on; but the rain began to fall in torrents, and continued all the latter part of the night; we soon became completely drenched, and every thread about us perfectly wet; but still we dare not stop for any refreshment or shelter until day dawned, when we found ourselves forty miles from home and at the door of a friend, where we breakfasted and refreshed ourselves.
"We then repaired to Lexington and made oath, before Judge Riland, of the outrages committed upon us, but were refused a warrant; the Judge advising us to fight and kill the mob whenever they came upon us. We then returned to the place where we breakfasted; and, night coming on, we retired to bed. Having been without sleep for the three previous nights, and much of the time drenched in rain, together with the severe wound I had received, I was well-nigh exhausted. No sooner had sleep enfolded me in her kind embrace, than a vision opened before me:—
"I found myself in Jackson County, heard the roar of firearms, and saw the killed and wounded lying in their blood. At this I awoke from my slumber; and awaking Brother Marsh and the family with whom we tarried, I told them what I had seen and heard in my dream, and observed to them that I was sure that a battle had just ensued. Next morning we arose and pursued our journey homeward, with feelings of anxiety and amazement which cannot be described.
"Every officer of the peace had abandoned us to our fate, and it seemed as if there was no way but for men, women, and children to be exterminated. But as we rode on,
ruminating upon these things, a man met us from Independence, who told us that there was a battle raging when he left, and how it was terminated he knew not.
"This only heightened our feelings of anxiety and suspense. We were every moment drawing nearer to where a moment would decide whether we were to find our friends alive and victorious, or whether they were slain, and we in the hands of a worse than savage enemy.
"On coming within four miles of Independence we ventured to inquire the distance, at a certain house. This we did in order to pass as strangers, and also in hopes to learn some news.
"The man seemed frightened, and inquired where we were from. We replied, 'From Lexington.' Said he, 'Have you heard what has happened?'
"We replied that we had understood there was some difficulty respecting the Mormons, but of all the particulars we had not been informed. 'Why,' said he, 'The Mormons have riz and have killed six men!' At this we seemed much surprised, and inquired if the government would not put down such an insurrection. We then passed on, and as soon as we were out of sight we left the road and rode into the woods. Taking a circuitous route through thickets of hazel, interwoven with grapevine, etc., and after some difficulty and entanglement we came in sight of Independence and advanced toward it, wishing to pass through, in order to get to a camp of our men near half a mile west of town. But seeing parties of armed men advancing towards us, we wheeled about and retreated a distance, and turned again to the woods, and struck round on the side of the town, through the wilderness, towards the tents of our brethren, rushing our horses with the greatest speed; thus we avoided being taken, and arrived safe. But what was our astonishment when we found our brethren without arms, having surrendered them to their enemies. The truth of the matter was this: on Monday eve, while I lay sleeping at our friend's, near Lexington, the same evening that I dreamed of the battle, the mob again advanced upon the settlement where they had first destroyed the ten houses, and
commenced an attack upon houses and property, and threatening women and children with immediate destruction. While some sixty of the mob were thus engaged, about thirty of our men marched near them, and a battle ensued, in which the mob were entirely routed, leaving two of their number dead on the field, together with a number of horses. Several were severely wounded on both sides, and one young man of the church died the next day; his name was Barber.
"One of the enemy who fell was an attorney by the name of Brazeale. He had been heard a short time before to say that he would wade to his knees in blood or drive the Mormons from the county.
"The same night runners were dispatched in every direction, under pretense of calling out the militia; spreading, as they went, every rumor calculated to excite the unwary; such as, that the Mormons had taken Independence, and the Indians had surrounded it, being allied together, etc. The same evening, November 4, the said McCarty, who had been detected in breaking open the store of Gilbert & Co. was suffered to take out a warrant and arrest the said Gilbert and others of the church for a pretended assault and false imprisonment of said McCarty.
"Late in the evening while the court were proceeding with the trial in the courthouse a gentleman unconnected with the court, perceiving the prisoners to be without counsel and in imminent danger, advised said Gilbert and his brethren to move for jail as the only alternative to save life; for the north door was already barred, and a mob thronged the house with a determination to beat and kill; accordingly Gilbert and four others were committed to jail, the dungeons of which must have been a palace compared to the court room where dignity and mercy were strangers, and naught but the wrath of man in horrid threats stifled the ears of the prisoners. The same night, Gilbert, Morley, and Corrill were liberated from jail, that they might have an interview with their brethren, and try to persuade them to leave the county; and on their return to jail, about two o'clock on Tuesday morning, in custody of the sheriff, an armed force of six or seven men stood near
the jail and hailed; they were answered by the sheriff, who gave his name and the names of his prisoners, crying, 'Don't fire, don't fire, the prisoners are in my charge,' etc. They, however, fired one or two guns, when Morley and Corrill retreated; Gilbert stood, with several guns pointed at him. Two, more desperate than the rest, attempted to shoot, but one of the guns flashed, and the other missed fire. Gilbert was then knocked down by Thomas Wilson. About this time a few of the inhabitants arrived, and Gilbert again entered jail; from which he and three others were liberated about sunrise, without further prosecution of the trial. The same morning, November 5, the town began to be crowded with armed men from every quarter, and it was said that the militia had been called out, under the sanction of Lieutenant Governor Boggs, and that one Colonel Pitcher had the command. Among this militia (so-called), were the most conspicuous characters of the mob. Very early on the same morning several branches of the church on hearing of the outrages in Independence, volunteered, and united their forces, and marched towards town to defend their brethren. When within one mile of town they halted and were soon informed that the militia were called out for their protection. But in this they placed little confidence; for the body congregated had every appearance of a country mob, which subsequent events verified. On application to Colonel Pitcher it was found that there was no alternative but for the church to leave the country forthwith, and to deliver up certain men to be tried for murder said to have been committed by them in the battle the previous evening. The arms of this people were also demanded by the Colonel, and among the committee appointed to receive their arms were several of the most unrelenting of the old mob committee of July, who had directed in the demolishing of the printing office, etc.; viz.: Henry Chiles, Abner Staples, and Lewis Franklin.
"Rather than have submitted to these outrageous requirements the saints would willingly have shed their blood; but they knew that if they resisted this mob the lies of the designing and the prejudice of the ignorant would construe
their resistance into a violation of law, and thus bring certain destruction upon them: therefore they surrendered their arms to the number of fifty, and agreed to leave the county forthwith. The men who were demanded as prisoners were also surrendered and imprisoned, but were dismissed in a day or two without trial. A few hours after the surrender we arrived at the camp of our brethren near Independence, on our return from Lexington, as stated in the foregoing, and when we found that the struggle was over, and our liberties completely trampled under foot, I retired into the woods and kneeled down, and wept before the Lord.
"The sun was then setting, and twelve miles separated me from my family, but I determined to reach home that night. My horse being weary, I started on foot, and walked through the wilderness in the midst of darkness, avoiding the road, lest I should fall into the hands of the enemy. I arrived home about the middle of the night, spent a few hours with my family, and arose again before day and fled to the wilderness, as the mob were driving our people and hunting them in every direction. After walking a few miles I found a brother by the name of Lowry, who was moving from the county in a covered wagon, he having a permit from the mob to pass in safety.
"This man concealed me in his wagon, and thus we passed in safety, although frequently meeting armed men who were pursuing our brethren. When night again overtook us we were on the bank of the Missouri River which divided between Jackson and Clay Counties. Here we encamped for the night, as we could not cross the ferry till morning. I left the camp and ascended the tall bluff, and finding a cavity of a rock I slept therein. But before morning I was joined by Mr. Morley and several others, who fled for their lives and brought news that the mob were driving and probably butchering men, women, and children. On hearing this news we tried to pray, but we could say but little. Next morning we crossed over the river and found ourselves once more in a land of peace. While I thus made my escape, companies of ruffians were ranging the county in
every direction, bursting into houses without fear, knowing that the arms were secured, frightening women and children, and threatening to kill them if they didn't flee immediately. At the head of one of these companies appeared the Rev. Mr. McCoy (a noted Missionary to the Indians) with a gun upon his shoulder, ordering the Mormons to leave immediately and surrender everything in the shape of arms. Other pretended preachers of the gospel took part in the persecution, calling the Mormons the common enemy of mankind, and exulting in their afflictions. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the 5th and 6th of November, women and children fled in every direction, before a merciless mob. One party of about a hundred and fifty women and children fled to the prairie, where they wandered for several days, mostly without food, and nothing but the open firmament for their shelter. Other parties fled towards the Missouri. During this dispersion of women and children, parties of the mob were hunting men, firing upon some, tying up and whipping others; and some they pursued upon horses for several miles.
"Thursday, November 7, the shore began to be lined on both sides of the ferry, with men, women, and children, goods, wagons, boxes, chests, provisions, etc., while the ferrymen were very busily employed in crossing them over; and when night again closed upon us the wilderness had much the appearance of a camp meeting. Hundreds of people were seen in every direction. Some in tents and some in the open air, around their fires, while the rain descended in torrents. Husbands were inquiring for wives, and women for their husbands, parents for children, and children for parents. Some had the good fortune to escape with their family, household goods, and some provisions; while others knew not the fate of their friends, and had lost all their goods. The scene was indescribable, and I am sure would have melted the hearts of any people upon earth, except our blind oppressors and a prejudiced and ignorant community. Next day, our company still increased, and we were chiefly engaged in felling small cottonwood trees, and erecting them into temporary cabins, so when night again came on
we had the appearance of a village of wigwams, and the night being clear, we began to enjoy some degree of comfort.
"About two o'clock the next morning we were aroused from our slumbers by the cry of 'Arise, and behold the signs in the heavens.' We arose, and to our great astonishment all heaven seemed enwrapped in a splendid fireworks, as if every star in the broad expanse had been suddenly hurled from its course and sent lawless through the wilds of ether. I can give the reader no better idea of this scene than by allusion to the shooting of a bright meteor with a long train of light following its course such as most of us have seen in a bright starlight night. Now suppose that thousands of such meteors with their fiery trains were to run lawless through the heavens for hours together, this would be a scene such as our eyes beheld on that memorable morning; and the scene only closed by giving place to the superior light and splendor of the king of day. No sooner was this scene beheld by some of our camp than the news reached every tent and aroused every one from their slumbers; every eye was lifted towards the heavens, and every heart was filled with joy at this majestic display of signs and wonders showing the near approach of the coming of the Son of God.
"In fact we looked up and lifted up our heads rejoicing, knowing that our redemption drew near. It is a singular coincidence that this wonder should happen at the very time of our dispersion. And let others think as they may, I take it as a special manifestation to fulfill the Scriptures, and to rouse our drooping spirits, by a fresh memorial, reminding us of a coming Messiah for the redemption of those who look for him; and to the destruction of their oppressors.
"After a few days I sent a lad with a horse for my wife, who escaped in safety by riding fifteen miles on horseback; leaving all our goods, which, however, I afterwards obtained at the risk of my life. But all my provisions for the winter were destroyed or plundered; and my grain left growing on the ground for our enemies to harvest. My house was afterwards
burned, and my apple trees, rails, and improvements destroyed or plundered. In short, every member of the society was driven from the county, and fields of corn were plundered and destroyed. Stacks of wheat were burned, household goods plundered, and improvements and every kind of property lost; and at length no less than TWO HUNDRED AND THREE HOUSES BURNED, according to the estimate of their own people in Jackson.
"The saints who fled took refuge in the neighboring counties—mostly in Clay County, which received them with some degree of kindness. Those who fled to the county of Van Buren were again driven, and compelled to flee; and those who fled to Lafayette County were soon expelled, or the most part of them, and had to move wherever they could find protection.
"When the news of these outrages reached the Governor of the State, courts of inquiry, both civil and military, were ordered by him; but nothing effectual was ever done to restore our rights, or to protect us in the least. It is true the Attorney General, with a military escort and our witnesses, went to Jackson County and demanded indictments, but the court and jurors refused to do anything in the case, and the military and witnesses were mobbed out of the county, and thus that matter ended. The Governor also ordered them to restore our arms which they had taken from us, but they never were restored; and even our lands in that county were robbed of their timber, and either occupied by our enemies for years, or left desolate."
Lyman Wight, one of the men especially mentioned in the agreement, who was to leave by January 1, records the following in his private journal:—
"The mob continued to commit depredations and outrages upon us until the 13th of November, 1833, such as tearing down a printing office, destroying books, unroofing houses, and thrusting rails into the windows, and whipping many of our friends in a horrible manner, and shooting others; on which day they finished the work of driving every Mormon, numbering about twelve hundred persons, from the country. Our crops became free booty to their horses, hogs, and
cattle. They also burned two hundred and three houses.'
I was chased by about sixty of these ruffians five miles. I fled to the south and my wife was driven north to Clay County, and for three weeks I knew not whether my family were dead or alive, neither did they know what was my fate. At one time I was three days without food. When I found my family I found them on the banks of the Missouri River under a rag carpet tent, short of food and raiment. In this deplorable situation, on the 27th of December, my wife bore me a son."
The reader will note that this happened in November and December, and that this man was named in the agreement as one of those to go unmolested, providing he went by January 1. We doubt not but the saints sometimes did wrong, and sometimes resisted when forbearance would have been better policy. For instance, this man Wight is said to have been one of the fighting characters; especially so in the later trials of 1838; but is it any wonder, when looking at it from a natural standpoint, that he would fight when confronted by such men as S. D. Lucas and Moses Wilson, the very men who were instrumental in heaping such hardships and indignities upon his family, while his wife was in such a critical and delicate condition, and he absent from home, fleeing for his life?
Elder Hiram Rathbun, of Lansing, Michigan, who was an eyewitness to some of these scenes, testified under oath in the famous Temple Lot suit as follows:—
"Members of the church were living here from 1831 to 1833. They left here in the month of November, 1833. The occasion of their leaving was that they had to leave. They were driven out of the country by the citizens of Independence and the vicinity. They were driven out by the people around about here.
"The cause of their being driven out, the people here became dissatisfied and displeased with the citizens here known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; that is, the citizens who did not belong to that church became dissatisfied with the citizens who did belong to it.
The church members had some peculiar sentiments that were antislavery, while those here were proslavery; and then their religious sentiments were different from those of other people here, and that excited some friction. There was a difference between the religious and political sentiments of the class of citizens that belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the citizens that did not belong to that organization, and that difference eventually led to friction, and finally the citizens who objected to the people that belonged to the church became so dissatisfied that they rose up in what we called mobs, and met together and held some meetings, and passed resolutions, and proceeded to such extremities, that finally they drove them out. They met, finally, and did a good deal of damage and mischief to the people. There were several instances of mob violence, and on one instance they stoned houses here; the houses of the people who belonged to the Latter Day Saints Church. They stoned them at night, after dark. I know that, for amongst the others that were stoned was the house of my father, and they did that, although at the time my father was away with some of the others in council. I do not know why, but our house was stoned, and the door was broken open. One stone as large as my fist struck my mother, and she screamed 'Murder,' and then they ran away at her screaming. The next morning, very early, I went through the village, and I found Mr. Phillips' house torn down, and the printing office, which was in the upper room of, I think, a brick house, with a stairway on the outside that went up to the printing office, and the printing press was broken, the type and all the furniture of the office was thrown down into what we might call a jamb, piled together, and the printing press was broken, and the little boys came around and carried off the type and other things as they saw proper; and Mr. Gilbert's store was broken into, and his goods taken out on the street, and the bolts of factory and calicoes, and cloth, etc., were unrolled. It had the appearance of having been taken by the end and running off with it until they unwound them. The streets were almost covered with these pieces of cloth that were unrolled in that manner,
and other goods scattered around. My father's shop was broken into, and his tools thrown out on the street. That was the condition of things the morning after this demonstration or outbreak. Things were in a state of great confusion, for everyone was greatly excited at the time; but things ran along for a couple of days, and then they caught some of the elders of the church here, and among them my father, and brought them up here to the square to tar and feather them. My father made his escape, but he was the only one that did escape, and the others were tarred and feathered. I know that, for I stood but a short distance away, and could see it done. If my memory serves me right there were three tarred and feathered; there was Bishop Partridge, a, man by the name of Allen, the other name I do not remember. I remember very particularly in regard to Bishop Partridge and the manner in which he went away.
"Well, finally the women and household goods of the members of the church were taken to the Temple Lot, and piled up there on the Temple Plot in the woods; and we were there, I think it was three days. I would not be positive, but I think it was about three days we were there in the woods, and they were yelling and hollering and swearing and shooting around there night and day. We could not go to sleep, and our condition was about as bad as bad could be, from almost any point of view. Finally the time came when we were to move and cross the river. We crossed the river down here about three miles,—got over on the other side. These are about the outlines of the particulars regarding the expulsion of the people, as I remember them. The people left Independence, and crossed the river through fear of violence, and to save our lives." —Plaintiff's Abstract, pp. 216, 217.
Mr. Jacob Gregg, who was Sheriff of Jackson County at the time, testified in the same suit as follows:—
"Jacob Gregg, of lawful age, being produced, sworn, and examined on the part of the Plaintiff, testified as follows:—
"My name is Jacob Gregg; I reside at Grain Valley, in Jackson County, Missouri. I have resided in this county sixty-seven years; I resided in the State of Missouri nearly
eighty years. My age is ninety or a little past. I was ninety years old the ninth day of last month.
"I have held a good many offices first and last in Jackson County. The first office was before this county was organized as a county. I was one of its executive officers, commonly called a constable. That was the first office I held; that was in 1826. I held the office of sheriff in this county in 1833. The term was two years; I was elected for two terms, and held the office four years altogether.
"During my term of office is when the Mormons were driven from Jackson County, Missouri. I was not in that affair in any way; the first movement that was made, was when they tore down the printing office of the Mormon people. When I came in town one morning I saw a crowd of men standing by the courthouse; saw that one of them had a rope in his hand. When I got up about half way to them, two men came up to meet me; said they had some business back at the tavern. They took me back in a room there, and one of them went out and locked the door after him, and left me with the other one, and I know nothing about what was going on outside until I got out of there.
"They had torn down the printing office, and dispersed before I got out to see what was being done. After I was let out of the house all was quiet; everything had quieted down, and was civil enough after I got out. I cannot say what had been done by the mob or the citizens while I was in that room. I learned afterwards that they had demolished the printing office, for they seemed to think that was the seat of trouble, and they had demolished it." —Plaintiff's Abstract, pp. 287, 288.
John Corrill, also one of the expelled citizens of Jackson County, wrote a letter in December, 1833, concerning the trouble, which is published in the Evening and Morning Star, (pages 246-250)..
|"Liberty, Clay County, Missouri,|
"Brother O Cowdery:—Inasmuch as many reports have gone abroad respecting the affairs of the church in these
parts, and not knowing whether any person has given you the particulars, I will give you a brief, correct, and impartial account as nearly as I can; but to give all the particulars would require a volume, yet I will give you as much, and that in order, as will enable you to have a general and correct understanding of the whole transaction.
"The raising and spreading many slanderous and false reports against us as a society; the coming out against us in night mobs! stoning our houses; breaking our windows, burning our hay; their meeting together and binding themselves, even in writing, to each other, in which they pledged their lives, their property, and their sacred honors, forcibly to drive us from the county, if we would not go without; the demolishing the printing office on the 20th July, tarring and feathering the bishop of the church and another member, and their meeting on the 23d to go on with the work of destruction, are facts so well known that I need not name their particulars at this time.
"It is also well known, that we, seeing that there was no other alternative for us, to save the destruction of lives and property, at that time we agreed, six of us, to leave the county, and to use our influence with the church to persuade them to leave also, one half by the first of January, and the other half by the first of April next; supposing, that before the time arrived the mob would see their error and stop their violence; or that some means might be employed so that we could stay in peace and enjoy our privileges as guaranteed in the Constitution and laws of our country. But after waiting some weeks, and seeing that their wrath did not abate, but their threatenings continually increased upon us, and losing all hopes of their withdrawing their wicked purposes, and also despairing of having the laws executed in Jackson County without assistance, we therefore thought it would be wisdom to appeal to the Governor for aid.
"We accordingly drew up a petition and circulated it in as prudent a manner as possible; for the mob threatened, that if we petitioned or prosecuted, they would massacre us in toto. But on presenting the petition to the Governor, he manifested a willingness to assist us, but said he could not,
until we had tried to enforce the law; and then if we could not he would enable us to do it.
"We therefore saw plainly that we were under the necessity of making a trial in our weak situation, in opposition to the wrath and violence of the enemy. And notwithstanding we should in so doing become exposed to death and destruction from the hands of the mob, yet we determined to magnify the laws of the land, and honor the advice of the Governor, by entering a prosecution against them. Accordingly we employed counsel for that purpose, and when the mob had learned this fact, their wrath seemed for a few days to abate; but they soon began to rage again, and to threaten to do their mischief in the night.
"Until this time we had been in a defenseless situation, perfectly so, not even pretending to use any weapons, or even standing in our own defense. But on seeing that the wrath of the mob was great, and that our lives, as well as our property, was in danger; knowing also that we had suffered as much as the law of man or of God required of us, and even more without resisting; and also being advised by good counsel, we concluded on the whole to prepare ourselves for self-defense.
"But in this we found ourselves somewhat lame; for many of us had not weapons to defend ourselves with. And again, a question arose in our minds to what extent we might go in defending ourselves; but on inquiry we found that a man was justified in defending his own person, his family, and his house. But again, another difficulty arose, which was this: one man in his house alone could not defend it against many. We again asked counsel, and found that inasmuch as the mob gathered together to destroy us, we were justified in gathering together to defend ourselves.
"We then came to the conclusion, that inasmuch as they should embody and come against us, we would embody to defend ourselves; although we knew that in this we should labor under great disadvantages; yet we supposed that if we prepared ourselves as well as we could for self-defense, that this would have a tendency to stop the enemy from coming on us; but in this we were disappointed.
"They proceeded to stone our houses in Independence in the night time, and to threaten the lives of individuals; but did no great damage until Tuesday night, October 31, when about forty or fifty in number, many of whom were armed with guns, proceeded against the branch above, or west of the Blue, sometimes called the Whitmer settlement, and unroofed and partly demolished ten houses; and also whipped and pounded several persons in a shocking manner, and diligently sought for others who fled for safety.
"Now, the brethren at that time, were not collected together for defense, supposing that they had not a perfect right to assemble until the mob had; they therefore neglected this until the mob was upon them; and then they had no time. And although some of them had guns, yet being alone, and seeing the mob also had guns and threatened their lives, if they resisted, found it of no use to undertake to defend themselves. However, they dispersed after committing such depredations as they thought proper at that time, (without being resisted,) after having threatened to come again in a more violent manner than ever.
"This news was soon spread abroad, and none but the sufferers themselves can imagine the feelings that it produced. To have their houses pulled down over their heads; their women and children exposed to the storms and blasts of a cold and dreary winter; and after laboring hard to lay up provisions for the winter, then to be driven from it and have it destroyed, and no means of obtaining more; and in addition to this, to be hunted and beaten in an unmerciful manner, was asking more of us than we felt willing to submit to. But the question was, What shall be done? We were in a scattered situation, and could not embody immediately; and if we gathered the brethren to defend one part, the mob would fall upon another. Our neighbors who felt to pity us, though very few in number, dare not lift a finger in our behalf for fear of sharing the same fate. We could see no relief from any quarter; our only strength was within our own body, trusting in God: but something must be done; night was approaching in which we expected more or less of us to suffer.
"We concluded at all hazards to try for a peace warrant against certain head ones of the mob. We accordingly went to a magistrate and applied for one, but to no purpose; he refused to grant one on our oath. We then read to him the Governor's letter, which directed us to proceed in that way, but he disregarded it, and said he cared nothing about it.
"Having no time to lose we concluded to advise each branch of the church to gather into bodies the best way they could for their own preservation. Threatenings were heard from the mob in different quarters. Night came on, and a party of their men proceeded to the branch on the prairie, sometimes called the Colesville branch. Two of their number were sent out as spies, well armed with two guns and three pistols: they were discovered by some of our brethren, with whom they held some conversation; and after one of them had struck one of our men over the head with the breech of his gun, they were taken by our brethren, their guns and pistols taken from them, and they kept till morning; their guns and pistols were then given to them and they let go without injury. It being dark, and the rest of the mob not showing themselves, were only heard by some of the brethren in the adjoining woods to inquire why their spies did not return.
"The same night (Friday, November l) another party commenced stoning our houses in Independence, breaking down our doors and windows, and destroying furniture, etc. A number of us were gathered together about a half a mile west of Independence from whence we could distinctly hear them; but we concluded that unless they did something more than stone and brickbat our houses, we would not meddle with them. But on sending some to discover what they were about, we learned that they had commenced pulling down the dwelling house of Brother A. S. Gilbert.
"We then thought it best, and accordingly proceeded in order into town, and as we drew near the store of Brother Gilbert, we saw a number of men sending stones and brickbats against the same; but as soon as they saw us they fled. However, we were successful in taking one of them in the act, who appeared to be much frightened. And we found
that they had broken down the store doors, and scattered some of the goods in the streets. Then Brother G. on seeing this, took the man whom we had taken in spoiling the store, and in company with two or three others went with him to the magistrate, and entered a complaint against him in order to get a warrant and have him secured; but the magistrate refused to do anything about it, and therefore, we were obliged to let him go again. We then went home and there was no more done that night as I know of.
"The next day (Saturday, November 2) we knew not what to do for our safety; we talked some of the propriety of bringing our families and effects into one place; and this we knew would be attended with great inconvenience: for we had no houses nor shelters for our families, nor fodder for our cattle; and as the mob was upon us night after night, we had no time to do it; therefore we must do the best we could. However, all the families in town removed as much together as they could, about half a mile west of town, and we concluded to send men to the circuit judge, who lived about forty miles off, to get a peace warrant.
"A party of the mob gathered that night and went against the branch at the Blue; and after tearing the roof from one house and doing some injury to the furniture, they divided their company, and one party went to pulling the roof from one dwelling house, while the other party went to another; they broke open the house, and found the owner in bed, whom they took and beat unmercifully. But here they were met by a party of the brethren who had been wise enough to prepare for them; a firing of guns commenced, they say, by our men, but our men say, by them upon us; but as near as I can learn from those who were there, it can be easily proven that it commenced by them.
"However, while they were in the act of pounding the brother whom they found in bed, one of them drew a pistol and swore he would blow out his brains: but as the Lord would have it, the ball, instead of going through his head only cut a gash on the top of it. All was confusion: our women and children crying and screaming with terror, were mixed in the crowd; and in the skirmish, a young man of
the mob was shot through the thigh, and this stopped the affray that night.
"The next day (Sunday, November 3) we dispatched four men to the circuit judge, to obtain a peace warrant. At the same time our enemies were busily engaged in gathering all the force they could to come against us, and we saw that they were terribly enraged: we were told that they were going to get a six ponder and come against us openly the next day; and we were also told by those who professed to be our friends, that we would certainly all be massacred. We saw that they were increasing their numbers, and we had nothing to expect but a terrible work of destruction to commence the next day, and we warned our brethren to be prepared for it as well as they could; therefore, two or three branches west of the Blue gathered together as well as they could, leaving their houses and property to the ravages of the mob.
"Next day came on (Monday, November 4), and a large party of the mob gathered above the Blue, took the ferryboat, and threatened some lives, etc.. and for some cause they abandoned their purpose at that time, and returned to Wilson's about a mile west of the Blue. However, word had gone to our brethren, who had assembled themselves together at the Colesville branch west of the Blue, that the mob were doing damage on the east side of the Blue, and that the brethren there wanted help.
"Accordingly nineteen of our men volunteered and started to go to their assistance, but when they had proceeded a part of the way they learned that the mob were not doing mischief at that time, but were at Wilson's store, so they turned about to go home, when the mob by some means found out that a party of our men were on the road west of them, and a party of them, thirty or forty, started on horseback with guns to fall upon our men; and after riding two or two and a half miles they overtook them; and as soon as the brethren saw them, they dispersed and fled; and some ran immediately to the main body of our brethren to let them know that the mob were upon them.
"But the mob not being willing to give up the brethren
without injuring them, pursued after, and hunted in order to find them. They searched in the cornfield of Christian Whitmer, and fed their horses freely upon his corn. They also took him and pointed their guns at him, threatening to kill him if he did not tell them where the brethren were. They also got upon the top of his house, and threatened some women and children.
"Thus they were employed in hunting and threatening the brethren until one of our men returned with assistance from the main body, which was about three miles off. And when the mob saw our men they fired upon them, and our men immediately fired in return. The mob immediately fled, and the brethren followed them a few rods and let them go. Two of the mob and some of their horses were killed on the ground, and others badly wounded. Several of our brethren were wounded, one mortally, who died the next day. The others are likely to recover. Brother Dibble was shot in the bowels, and he says, by the first gun that was fired.
"The same day at Independence, Brother A. S. Gilbert, Wm. E. McLellin, I. Morley, myself, and three or four others were taken for an assault and battery, and false imprisonment, by the man whom we had taken the Friday night previous in the act of stoning the store. Although we could not obtain a warrant against him for breaking open the store, yet he had gotten one for us, for catching him at it. We were prisoners in the courthouse when news came to town of the battle last mentioned. But instead of coming correctly, it was stated, that the Mormons had gone into the house of Wilson and shot his son.' This greatly enraged the people; and the courthouse being filled, a rush was made upon us by some to kill us; but the court esteeming it too dishonorable to have us killed while in their hands, on our request shut us up in the jail to save our lives.
"The people had become desperate, and were busily employed in getting guns and ammunition, and preparing themselves for a general massacre of our people the next day. And we were frequently told that night, while in the
jail, and that too by men of note, that without any doubt many lives would be lost the next day; for now, not only the mob, but the whole county were engaged and greatly enraged against us, and that nothing would stop them short of our leaving the county forthwith; and they thought that they were so enraged that even this would not stop them from taking our lives.
"We accordingly sent word that night to our brethren that they might not expect anything the next day but a general slaughter of our people, and that they must take care of themselves the best way they could. However, we at the same time came to the conclusion, on seeing the rage of the people, that it would be wisdom for us to leave the county immediately, rather than to have so many lives lost as probably would be. The sheriff and two others took us out of the jail and went with us to see our brethren upon this subject. Our brethren agreed to it; and as we were returning to the jail about one o'clock at night, we were hailed by a party of men with guns, who intended no doubt to kill us. I wheeled and left them, they fired a rifle at me; Brother Morley also left them; but Bro. Gilbert stood his ground. They came up to him; presented two guns in order to kill him, but as Providence would, one snapped and the other flashed in the pan. He was then knocked down by one of them, but his life was preserved and he not materially hurt.
"Our agreement to leave the county not being known to only a few, the people in their wrath collected together in the morning, well armed for war, and Col. Pitcher called out the militia, as he said, to quell the mob: but it would have been difficult for one to have distinguished between the militia and the mob, for all the most conspicuous characters engaged in the riot were found in his ranks. Our proposals to leave the county, however, were laid before the people, and we were told that it was with much difficulty that they were constrained to let us go, but seemed determined on taking our lives.
"At the same time our brethren west of Independence, not knowing that we had agreed to leave the county, and supposing that nothing but death awaited them, gathered together
and marched towards town, and arrived within one mile of the place by eight or nine o'clock in the morning (Tuesday, November 5), with a determination to make a stand about half a mile west of town, at the spot where the brethren at Independence branch had collected together, and there maintain the ground or die upon it, if the mob fell upon them. But on being told that we had agreed to leave the county, and also that the militia had been called out to make peace, they turned aside into the woods, and concluded to disperse and go home. But some persons on seeing them in the morning marching toward town, had carried news that our people were on the march toward the place, no doubt, 'they supposed, with an intention to do mischief.'
"On hearing this the militia became enraged, and Col. Pitcher would not give us peace only on the conditions that we should deliver up those men who were engaged in the battle the day before, to have them tried for murder; and also, that we must deliver up our arms, and then, he said, we should be safely protected out of the county.
"This being the only alternative for us, we accordingly agreed to it, and delivered up our arms, there being forty-nine guns and one pistol. We also delivered up the prisoners who had been demanded by them, and began to prepare to leave the county. They kept the prisoners whom we delivered up to be tried for murder, a day and a night, and after threatening them much, and bringing them to a trial, let them go for an old watch.
"We plainly saw that the militia of the county with Col. Pitcher at their head, had taken from us our arms when we were using them only for self-defense against an outrageous mob. And instead of quelling the mob, he left them in full power to come upon us when they pleased, and promised us no protection against them, only while we were fleeing from our houses and homes with our women and children, to seek a shelter in the open air the best way we could.
"Thus we were obliged, not only by the mob, but also by the militia, to leave the county of Jackson. And on reflection the next morning, we concluded to go south into Van Buren County and there make another settlement about
forty or fifty miles off. But the people, on hearing this, although it was agreed to by some half a dozen of the leading men in Jackson County, rose up against it, and said we should not go, if we did, they would follow us.
"The same day (Wednesday, November 6) a part of the mob, between fifty and eighty in number, supposing that Col. Pitcher had not done his duty as faithfully as he ought, mounted their horses with their guns on their shoulders, went to visit the brethren and frighten the members of the church: some they fired at, others they whipped, and some they chased upon horses for several miles; others they sought for diligently, as they said to kill them; and they burst open doors in an abrupt manner, and searched houses for guns and other weapons of war. As they passed through the branch at the Blue, they swore that if the people were not off by the time they returned at night, they would massacre the whole of them.
"Accordingly, some started for Clay County, and about one hundred and thirty women and children, with six men, started without goods or furniture, and the most of them on foot, and wandered several days on the prairie, not knowing where to go, supposing that it was not their privilege to return and take their goods. Some have since returned and taken some of their things, and others I have not heard from particularly. But the more part of the church waited to take some or the principal part of their goods.
"When we found that we could not go south peaceably, we came across the Missouri River into Clay County, where we found the inhabitants as accommodating as we could reasonably expect. Many of us have obtained houses and shelters for our families, and others have built huts in the woods, while some who have lately come over are yet in tents, or in the open air.
"Some few of the brethren thought that they could remain after the others had come away, but on Saturday, November 23, the mob held another meeting and appointed a committee to warn off those families that remained. Accordingly, on Sunday and Monday following, the brethren that remained were ordered off with many threatenings if they did not go
immediately. They have, since that time, been getting away as fast as possible. Some few families, I learn, have gone south to Grand River, and some others have gone east. Great sacrifices have been made: some being destitute of money, have sold their cattle and other effects at a very low rate.
"Much property that was left behind has been destroyed, and other property that yet remains probably will be before it can be taken care of. Some families are as it were entirely destitute, and must unavoidably suffer unless God interposes in their behalf. This is the present condition of the church.
"And now, the question is, What can be done? The Governor has manifested a willingness to restore us back, and will if we request it; but this will be of little use unless he could leave a force there to help protect us, for the mob say, that three months shall not pass before they will drive us again. And he cannot leave a force without calling a special legislature for that purpose, unless the President should see fit to place a company of rangers here with power to assist us in time of need.
"To enter a criminal prosecution against them would be of little or no use; for I am satisfied that a grand jury cannot be had in Jackson County at present that would indict them for their crimes; and the law, I am informed, requires that criminals shall be tried in their own county. And if the heads of the mob should be taken and put into jail, it undoubtedly would be torn down and they liberated.
"If we could be placed back, and become organized into independent companies, and armed with power and liberty to stand in our own defense, it would be much better for us. But then, as their numbers are double ours, this would be paving the way or laying the foundation for another scene of murder and bloodshed.
"What can or will be done I know not; but I think that the State of Missouri is brought to the test, whether it can and will protect the persons and rights of its own citizens or not; or whether it will suffer its government and laws to be trodden down and trampled under the feet of a lawless banditti, without bringing them to justice.
"As it respects the charges and crimes which they accuse us of being guilty, I think that they are not worthy of notice; for the law is open and they hold the execution of it in their own hands; and if we were guilty of crimes they certainly would have brought us to an account for them. But their not doing this, is clearly an evidence that we are innocent.
"And again, in their declaration or memorial, published after they tore down the printing office, they, as nearly as I can recollect, say, that the thing or crime for which they proceeded against us, was that that could not have been foreseen by any legislature: therefore no law has been enacted against it. This is plainly acknowledging that we are guilty of no crime for which the law could take any hold of us.
Bishop Partridge's testimony concerning the mobbing of himself at the beginning of these difficulties may be of interest here. This testimony was published immediately after the occurrence, in July (1833) extra of Evening and Morning Star, when, if ever, he would have been embittered, and filled with the spirit of resentment and revenge; hence it is valuable as showing the spirit of Christ-like meekness exhibited by church leaders in this trying hour.
This testimony will be found in the history of Joseph Smith as stated in Times and Seasons, volume 6, pages 818 and 819, continued on pages 832, 881, 882, 896-898.
"On the 20th the mob collected, and demanded the discontinuance of the printing in Jackson County, a closing of the store, and a cessation of all mechanical labors. The brethren refused compliance, and the consequence was that the house of W. W. Phelps, which contained the printing establishment, was thrown down, the materials taken possession of by the mob, many papers destroyed, and the family and furniture thrown out doors.
"The mob then proceeded to violence towards Edward Partridge, the Bishop of the Church, as he relates in his autobiography: 'I was taken from my house by the mob,
George Simpson being their leader, who escorted me about half a mile, on to the courthouse, the public square in Independence; and then and there, a few rods from said courthouse, surrounded by hundreds of the mob, I was stripped of my hat, coat, and vest, and daubed with tar from head to foot, and then had a quantity of feathers put upon me; and all this because I would not agree to leave the county, my home where I had lived two years.
"'Before tarring and feathering me, I was permitted to speak. I told them that the saints had had to suffer persecution in all ages of the world, that I had done nothing which ought to offend anyone. That if they abused me, they would abuse an innocent person. That I was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ; but, to leave the country I was not then willing to consent to it. By this time the multitude made so much noise that I could not be heard: some were cursing and swearing, saying, "Call upon your Jesus," etc.; others were equally noisy in trying to still the rest, that they might be enabled to hear what I was saying.
"Until after I had spoken, I knew not what they intended to do with me, whether to kill me, to whip me, or what else I knew not. I bore my abuse with so much resignation and meekness that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to retire in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched as I thought; and, as to myself, I was so filled with the Spirit and love of God, that I had no hatred towards my persecutors, or anyone else.'
"Charles Allen was next stripped and tarred and feathered, because he would not agree to leave the county, or deny the Book of Mormon.
"Others were brought up to be served likewise or whipped, but from some cause the mob ceased operations and adjourned until Tuesday the 23d. Elder Gilbert, the keeper of the store, agreed to close that; and that may have been one reason why the work of destruction was suddenly stopped for two days.
"In the course of this day's wicked outrageous and unlawful proceedings, many solemn realities of human degradation,
as well as thrilling incidents, were presented to the saints. An armed and well-organized mob in a government professing to be governed by law, with the Lieutenant Governor, (Lilburn W. Boggs,) the second officer in the State, calmly looking on, and secretly aiding every movement, saying to the saints, 'You now know what our Jackson boys can do, and you must leave the country,' and all the justices, judges, constables, sheriffs, and military officers, headed by such western missionaries and clergymen as the Reverends McCoy, Kavanaugh, Hunter, Fitzhugh, Pixley, Likens, Lovelady, and Bogard, consisting of Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and all the different sects of religionists that inhabited that country; with that great moral reformer, and Register of the Land Office at Lexington, forty miles east, known as the head and father of the Cumberland Presbyterians, even the Reverend Finis Ewing, publicly publishing that the 'Mormons were the common enemies of mankind, and ought to be destroyed;' all these solemn realities were enough to melt the heart of a savage; while there was not a solitary offense on record, or proof that a saint had broken the law of the land.
"And when Bishop Partridge, who was without guile, and Elder Charles Allen, walked off, amid the horrid yells of an infuriated mob, coated like some unnamed, unknown biped, and one of the sisters cried aloud; 'while you, who have done this wicked deed, must suffer the vengeance of God; they, having endured persecution, can rejoice, for henceforth, for them, is laid up a crown, eternal in the heavens;' surely there was a time of awful reflection, that man, unrestrained, like the brute beast, may torment the body; but God, in return, will punish the soul.
"After the mob had ceased yelling, and retired; and while evening was spreading her dark mantle over the unblushing scenery, as if to hide it from the gaze of day; men, women, and children, who had been driven or frightened from their homes by yells and threats, began to return from their hiding places, in thickets, cornfields, woods, and groves, and view with heavy hearts the scenery of desolation and woe; and while they mourned over fallen man, they rejoiced with
joy unspeakable that they were accounted worthy to suffer in the glorious cause of their divine Master.
"There lay the printing office a heap of ruins; Elder Phelp's furniture strewed over the garden as common plunder; the revelations, bookwork, papers, and press in the hands of the mob as the booty of highway robbers; there was Bishop Partridge in the midst of his family, with a few friends, endeavoring to scrape off the 'tar,' which, from eating his flesh, seemed to have been prepared with lime, pearlash, acid, or some flesh-eating commodity, to destroy him; and there was Charles Allen in the same awful condition. As the heart sickens at the recital, how much more at the picture! More than once, those people, in this boasted land of liberty, were brought into jeopardy, and threatened with expulsion or death because they wished to worship God according to the revelations of heaven, the Constitution of their country, and the dictates of their own consciences. Oh liberty, how art thou fallen! Alas! clergymen! where is thy charity? In the smoke that ascendeth up forever and ever.
"Early in the morning of the 23d of July, the mob again assembled, armed with weapons of war, and bearing a red flag. Whereupon the elders, led by the Spirit of God, and in order to save time, and stop the effusion of blood, entered into a treaty with the mobbers to leave the county within a certain time, which treaty, with accompanying documents, will appear in its proper place. The execution of this treaty presented an opportunity for the brethren in Zion to confer with the presidency in Kirtland concerning their situation, which they improved by dispatching Elder O. Cowdery, a special messenger, after a delay of two or three days.
"Thursday night, the 31st of October, gave the saints in Zion abundant proof that no pledge, written or verbal, was longer to be regarded; for on that night, between forty and fifty in number, many of whom were armed with guns, proceeded against a branch of the church west of Big Blue, and unroofed and partly demolished ten dwelling houses, and in the midst of the shrieks and screams of women and children
whipped and beat in a savage and brutal manner several of the men, and with their horrid threats frightened women and children into the wilderness. Such of the men as could escape fled for their lives, for very few of them had arms, neither were they embodied, and they were threatened with death if they made any resistance. Such therefore as could not escape by flight received a pelting by rocks and a beating with guns, sticks, etc.
"On Friday, the 1st of November, women and children sallied forth from their gloomy retreats to contemplate with heartrending anguish the ravages of a ruthless mob, in the mangled bodies of their husbands and in the destruction of their houses and some of their furniture. Houseless and unprotected by the arm of the civil law in Jackson County, the dreary month of November staring them in the face and loudly proclaiming an inclement season at hand, the continual threats of the mob that they would drive out every Mormon from the county, and the inability of many to remove, because of their poverty, caused an anguish of heart indescribable.
"On Friday night, the 1st of November, a party of the mob proceeded to attack a branch of the church at the prairie, about twelve or fourteen miles from the village. Two of their number were sent in advance as spies; viz., Robert Johnson and one Harris, armed with two guns and three pistols. They were discovered by some of the saints, and without the least injury being done to them, said (mob) Johnson struck Parley P. Pratt with the breech of his gun over the head, after which they were taken and detained till morning, which, it was believed, prevented a general attack of the mob that night. In the morning they were liberated without receiving the least injury.
"The same night (Friday) another party in Independence commenced stoning houses, breaking down doors and windows, destroying furniture, etc. This night the brick part attached to the dwelling house of A. S. Gilbert was partly pulled down and the windows of his dwelling broken in with brickbats and rocks, while a gentleman stranger lay sick with a fever in his house.
"The same night three doors of the store of Messrs. Gilbert and Whitney were split open, and after midnight the goods lay scattered in the streets, such as calicoes, handkerchiefs, shawls, cambrics, etc. An express came from the village after midnight to a party of their men who had embodied about half a mile from the village for the safety of their lives, stating that the mob were tearing down houses and scattering the goods of the store in the streets. The main body of the mob fled at the approach of this company. One Richard McCarty was caught in the act of throwing rocks and brickbats into the doors, while the goods lay strung around him in the streets, and was immediately taken before Samuel Weston, Esq., and a complaint was then made to said Weston and a warrant requested that said McCarty might be secured; but said Weston refused to do anything in the case at that time. Said McCarty was then liberated.
"The same night some of their houses in the village had long poles thrust through the shutters and sash into the rooms of defenseless women and children, from whence their husbands and fathers had been driven by the dastardly attacks of the mob which were made by ten, fifteen, or twenty men upon a house at a time.
"Saturday, the 2d of November, all the families of the saints in the village moved about half a mile out, with most of their goods, and embodied to the number of thirty for the preservation of life and personal effects. This night a party from the village met a party from the west of the Blue and made an attack upon a branch of the church located at the Blue, about six miles from the village. Here they tore the roof from one dwelling, and broke open another house, found the owner David Bennett sick in bed, whom they beat most inhumanly, swearing they would blow out his brains, and discharged a pistol the ball of which cut a deep gash across the top of his head. In this skirmish a young man of the mob was shot in the thigh, but by which party remains yet to be determined.
"The next day, Sunday, November 3, four of the church; viz., Joshua Lewis, Hiram Page, and two others were dispatched for Lexington to see the circuit judge and obtain a
peace warrant. Two called on Esquire Silvers, who refused to issue one, on account, as he has declared, of his fears of the mob. This day many of the citizens, professing friendship, advised the saints to clear from the county as speedily as possible, for the Saturday night affray had enraged the whole county and they were determined to come out on Monday and massacre indiscriminately. And, in short, it was proverbial among the mob that 'Monday would be a bloody day.'
"Monday came, and a large party of the mob gathered at the Blue, took the ferry boat belonging to the church, threatened lives, etc. But they soon abandoned the ferry and went to Wilson's store about one mile west of the Blue. Word had previously gone to a branch of the church several miles west of the Blue, that the mob were destroying property on the east side of the Blue and the sufferers there wanted help to preserve their lives and property. Nineteen men volunteered and started for their assistance; but discovering that fifty or sixty of the mob had gathered at said Wilson's, they turned back.
"At this time two small boys passed on their way to Wilson's, who gave information to the mob that the Mormons were on the road west of them. Between forty and fifty of the mob immediately started with guns in pursuit. After riding about two or two and a half miles they discovered them, when the said company of nineteen immediately dispersed and fled in different directions. The mob hunted them, turning their horses into a cornfield belonging to the saints, searching their cornfields and houses, threatening women and children that they would pull down their houses and kill them if they did not tell where the men had fled.
"Thus they were employed hunting the men and threatening the women, until a company of thirty of the saints from the prairie, armed with seventeen guns, made their appearance.
"The former company of nineteen had dispersed and fled and but one or two of them had returned to take part in the subsequent battle. On the approach of the latter company of thirty men, some of the mob cried, 'fire, God damn ye, fire.' Two or three guns were then fired by the mob, which
were returned by the other party without loss of time. This company is the same that is represented by the mob as having gone forth in the evening of the battle bearing the olive branch of peace. The mob retreated early after the first fire, leaving some of their horses in Whitmer's cornfield, and two of their number, Hugh L. Brazeale and Thomas Linvill, dead on the ground. Thus fell H. L. Brazeale, one who had been heard to say, 'with ten fellows, I will wade to my knees in blood, but that I will drive the Mormons from Jackson County.' The next morning the corpse of said Brazeale was discovered on the battle ground with a gun by his side. Several were wounded on both sides, but none mortally except one Barber, on the part of the saints, who expired the next day. This battle was fought about sunset, Monday, November 4; and the same night runners were dispatched in every direction under pretense of calling out the militia; spreading as they went every rumor calculated to alarm and excite the unwary, such as that the Mormons had taken Independence, and the Indians had surrounded it, being colleagued together, etc.
"The same evening, November 4, not being satisfied with breaking open the store of Gilbert and Whitney, and demolishing a part of the dwelling house of said Gilbert, the Friday night previous, they permitted the said McCarty, who was detected on Friday night as one of the breakers of the store doors, to take out a warrant and arrest the said Gilbert and others of the church for a pretended assault and false imprisonment of the said McCarty. Late in the evening, while the court was proceeding with their trial in the courthouse, a gentleman unconnected with the court, as was believed, perceiving the prisoners to be without counsel and in imminent danger, advised said Gilbert and his brethren to go to jail as the only alternative to save life, for the north door was already barred, and an infuriated mob thronged the house with a determination to beat and kill; but through the interposition of this gentleman (Samuel A. Owens, Clerk of the County Court, whose name will appear more fully hereafter), said Gilbert and four of his brethren were committed to the county jail of Jackson County, the dungeon of
which must have been a palace, compared to a court room where dignity and mercy were strangers, and naught but the wrath of man in horrid threats stifled the ears of the prisoners.
"The same night the prisoners, Gilbert, Morley, and Corrill were liberated from jail that they might have an interview with their brethren, and try to negotiate some measures for peace, and on their return to jail about two o'clock Tuesday morning, in custody of the deputy sheriff, an armed force of six or seven men stood near the jail and hailed them. They were answered by the Sheriff, who gave his name, and the names of his prisoners, crying, 'Don't fire, don't fire, the prisoners are in my charge, etc.' They however fired one or two guns, when Morley and Corrill retreated; but Gilbert stood with several guns presented at him, firmly held by the sheriff. Two, more desperate than the rest, attempted to shoot; but one of their guns flashed, and the other missed fire. Gilbert was then knocked down by Thomas Wilson, a grocer in the village. About this time a few of the inhabitants arrived, and Gilbert again entered jail, from which he, with three of his brethren, were liberated about sunrise without further prosecution of the trial. William E. McLellin was one of the prisoners.
"On the morning of the 5th of November the village began to be crowded with individuals from different parts of the county, with guns, etc., and report said the militia had been called out under the sanction or instigation of Lieutenant Governor Boggs, and that one Colonel Pitcher had the command. Among this militia (so-called) were embodied the most conspicuous characters of the mob, and it may truly be said that the appearance of the ranks of this body was well calculated to excite suspicions of their horrible designs. Very early on the same morning several branches of the church received intelligence that a number of their brethren were in prison, and the determination of the mob was to kill them; and that the branch of the church near the village of Independence was in imminent danger, as the main body of the mob were gathered at that place.
"In this critical situation, about one hundred of the saints
from different branches volunteered for the protection of their brethren near Independence, and proceeded on the road towards Independence and halted about one mile west of the village, where they awaited further information concerning the movements of the mob. They soon learned that the prisoners were not massacred, and that the mob had not fallen upon the branch of the church near Independence, as was expected. They were also informed that the militia had been called out for their protection; but in this they placed but little confidence, for the body congregated had every appearance of a county mob, which subsequent events fully verified in a majority of said body.
"On application to Colonel Pitcher it was found that there was no alternative but for the church to leave the county forthwith and deliver into his hands certain men, to be tried for murder said to have been committed by them in the battle the evening before. The arms of the saints were also demanded by Colonel Pitcher. Among the committee appointed to receive the arms of the church were several of the most unrelenting of the old July mob committee who had directed in the demolishing of the printing office and the personal injuries of that day; viz., Henry Chiles, Abner Staples, and Lewis Franklin, who have not ceased to pursue the saints from the first to the last with feelings of the most hostile kind. These unexpected requisitions of the Colonel made him appear like one standing at the head of civil and military law, taking a stretch beyond the constitutional limits of our republic.
"Rather than have submitted to these unreasonable requirements, the saints would have cheerfully shed their blood in defense of their rights, the liberties of their country, and of their wives and children; but the fear of violating law in resisting this pretended militia, and the flattering assurances of protection and honorable usage promised by Lieut. Governor Boggs, in whom they had reposed confidence up to this period, induced them to submit, believing that he did not tolerate so gross a violation of all law as has been practiced in Jackson County. But the great change that may appear to some. in the views, designs, and craft of this
man to rob an innocent people of their arms by stratagem and leave more than one thousand defenseless men, women, and children to be driven from their homes, among strangers in a strange land of, to appearances, barbarians, to seek a shelter from the stormy blast of winter's cold embrace, is so glaringly exposed in the sequel that all earth and hell cannot deny that a baser knave, a greater traitor, and a more wholesale butcher or murderer of mankind never went untried, unpunished, and unhung; as hanging is the popular method of execution among the Gentiles, in all countries professing Christianity, instead of blood for blood according to the law of heaven.
"The conduct of Colonels Lucas and Pitcher, had long proven them to be open and avowed enemies. Both of these men had their names attached to the mob circular as early as July last, the object of which was to drive the saints from Jackson County. With assurances from the Lieutenant Governor and others that the object was to disarm the combatants on both sides, and that peace would be the result, the brethren surrendered their arms to the number of fifty or upwards; and the men present, who were accused of being in the battle the evening before, gave themselves up for trial. After detaining them one day and a night on a pretended trial for murder, in which time they were threatened, brickbatted, etc., Colonel Pitcher, after receiving a watch of one of the prisoners to satisfy costs, etc., took them into a cornfield and said to them, 'Clear.'
"After the surrender of their arms, which were used only in self-defense, the neighboring tribes of Indians in time of war let loose upon the women and children could not have appeared more hideous and terrific than did the companies of ruffians who went in various directions well armed, on foot and on horseback, bursting into houses without fear, knowing the arms were secured, frightening distracted women with what they would do to their husbands if they could catch them, warning women and children to flee immediately or they would tear their houses down over their heads and massacre them before night. At the head of one of these companies appeared the Reverend Isaac McCoy, with a gun
upon his shoulder, ordering the saints to leave the county forthwith and surrender what arms they had. Other pretended preachers of the gospel took a conspicuous part in the persecution, calling the 'Mormons' the 'common enemy of mankind,' and exulting in their afflictions.
"On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the 5th and 6th of November, women and children fled in every direction before the merciless mob. One party of about one hundred and fifty women and children fled to the prairie, where they wandered for several days, under the broad canopy of heaven, with about six men to protect them. Other parties fled to the Missouri River and took lodgings for the night where they could find it. One Mr. Bennett opened his house for a night's shelter to a wandering company of distressed women and children who were fleeing to the river. During this dispersion of the women and children parties of the mob were hunting the men, firing upon some, tying up and whipping others, and some they pursued upon horses for several miles.
"On the 5th, Elders Phelps, Gilbert, and McLellin went to Clay County and made an affidavit similar to the foregoing sketch, and forwarded the same to the Governor by express; and the Governor immediately upon the reception thereof ordered a court of inquiry to be held in Clay County for the purpose of investigating the whole affair and meting out justice to all; but alas! corruption, wickedness, and power have
|"Left the wretched unwhipt of justice,|
|And innocence mourns in tears unwiped.|
"Thursday, November 7. The shore began to be lined on both sides of the ferry with men, women, and children, goods, wagons, boxes, chests, provisions, etc., while the ferrymen were busily employed in crossing them over; and when night again closed upon the saints the wilderness had much the appearance of a camp meeting. Hundreds of people were seen in every direction. some in tents, and some in the open air around their fires, while the rain descended in torrents. Husbands were inquiring for their wives, and women for their husbands; parents for children, and children for
parents. Some had the good fortune to escape with their family, household goods, and some provisions; while others knew not the fate of their friends and had lost all their goods. The scene was indescribable, and would have melted the hearts of any people upon earth except the blind oppressor and prejudiced and ignorant bigot. Next day the company increased, and they were chiefly engaged in felling small cottonwood trees and erecting them into temporary cabins, so that when night came on they had the appearance of a village of wigwams, and the night being clear, the occupants began to enjoy some degree of comfort.
"Lieutenant Governor Boggs presented a curious external appearance; yet he was evidently the head and front of the mob; for, as may easily be seen by what follows, no important move was made without his sanction. He certainly was the secret spring of the [proceedings of the] 20th and 23d of July, and, as will appear in the sequel, by his authority the mob was molded into militia, to effect by stratagem what he knew, as well as his hellish host, could not be done by legal force. As Lieutenant Governor he had only to wink, and the mob went from maltreatment to murder. The horrid calculations of this second Nero were often developed in a way that could not be mistaken. Early on the morning of the 5th, say at one o'clock a. m., he came to Phelps, Gilbert, and Partridge, and told them to flee for their lives. Now, unless he had given the order so to do, no one would have attempted to murder, after the church had agreed to go away. His conscience vacillated on its rocky moorings and gave the secret alarm to these men.
"The saints who fled took refuge in the neighboring counties, mostly in Clay County, which received them with some degree of kindness. Those who fled to the county of Van Buren were again driven and compelled to flee, and those who fled to Lafayette County were soon expelled, or the most of them, and had to move wherever they could find protection.
"November 13. About four o'clock a. m. I was awakened by Brother Davis knocking at my door, and calling on me to arise and behold the signs in the heavens. I arose, and to
my great joy, beheld the stars fall from heaven like a shower of hailstones; a literal fulfillment of the word of God as recorded in the Holy Scriptures as a sure sign that the coming of Christ is close at hand. In the midst of this shower of fire I was led to exclaim, How marvelous are thy works O Lord! I thank thee for thy mercy unto thy servant, save me in thy kingdom for Christ's sake: Amen!
"The appearance of these signs varied in different sections of the country; In Zion, all heaven seemed enwrapped in splendid fireworks, as if every star in the broad expanse had been suddenly hurled from its course and sent lawless through the wilds of ether. Some at times appeared like bright shooting meteors with long trains of light following in their course, and in numbers resembled large drops of rain in sunshine. Some of the long trains of light following the meteoric stars were visible for some seconds; those streaks would cut and twist up like serpents writhing. The appearance was beautiful, grand, and sublime beyond description, as though all the artillery and fireworks of eternity were set in motion to enchant and entertain the saints, and terrify and awe the sinners on the earth. Beautiful and terrific as was the scenery, which might be compared to the falling figs or fruit when the tree is shaken by a mighty wind, yet it will not fully compare with the time when the sun shall become black like sackcloth of hair, the moon like blood (Rev. 6:12); and the stars fall to the earth, as these appeared to vanish when they fell behind the trees, or came near the ground."
We might fill a volume with such testimonies concerning these difficulties, but the foregoing are doubtless sufficient to make the reader acquainted with the history of this trouble and its causes.
We will, in conclusion, simply quote letters from Attorney General Wells, Judge Ryland, and A. S. Gilbert, and the indorsement [endorsement] by Attorney Amos Reese, as found on pages 912, 913, volume 6, Times and Seasons.
"CITY OF JEFFERSON, NOV. 21, 1833.
"Gentlemen:—From conversation I have had with the Governor, I believe I am warranted in saying to you, and through you
to the Mormons, that if they desire to be replaced in their property, that is, their houses in Jackson County, an adequate force will be sent forthwith to effect that object. Perhaps a direct application had better be made to him for that purpose, if they wish thus to be repossessed. The militia have been ordered to hold themselves in readiness.
"If the Mormons will organize themselves into regular companies, or a regular company of militia, either volunteers or otherwise, they will, I have no doubt, be supplied with public arms. This must be upon application, therefore, as a volunteer company must be accepted by the Colonel, and that is a matter in his discretion. Perhaps the best way would be to organize and elect officers as is done in ordinary cases—not volunteers; you could give them the necessary directions on these points. If the Colonel should refuse to order an election of company officers, after they have reported themselves to him for that purpose, he would I presume, be court martialled therefor, on a representation to the Governor of the facts. As only a certain quantity of public arms can be distributed in each county, those who first apply will be most likely to receive them. The less, therefore, that is said upon the subject, the better.
|"I am with great respect your obedient servant,|
|(Signed)||R. W. WELLS."|
|"Lexington, Nov. 24, 1833.|
"Dear Sir:—I have been requested by the Governor to inform him about the outrageous acts of unparalleled violence that have lately happened in Jackson County, and have also been requested to examine into these outrages and take steps to punish the guilty and screen the innocent.
"I cannot proceed unless some person shall be willing to make the proper information before me. I now request you to inform me whether the Mormons are willing to take legal steps against the citizens of Jackson County; whether they wish to return there or not; and let me know all the matters connected with this unhappy affair. It will be necessary for you to see the persons injured, and be informed
of their desires and intentions. The military force will repair to Jackson County, to aid the execution of any order I make on this subject. Be particular in your information to me. I am willing to go any time to Jackson County, for the purpose of holding a court of inquiry and binding over to keep the peace such persons as I shall think ought to be restrained.
"It is a disgrace to the State for such acts to happen within its limits, and the disgrace will attach to our official characters if we neglect to take proper means to insure the punishment due such offenders.
"I wish to know whether Joshua Lewis and Hiram Page handed the writ to the sheriff of Jackson County that I made and issued on their affidavit against some of the ringleaders of the mob in Jackson County, dated the sixth of this month.
"I will know why he refused to execute the writ, if it ever came to his hands. Inquire into this subject and let me know. I should be glad to see you and agree upon what course to take. After you have sufficiently informed yourself, come down and see me; as you live near the scene of these outrages you are better able to receive all information necessary and prepare for future action than I am.
"Write me as soon as you are properly informed, and state when you can come down and see me on this business. Keep copies of all the letters you write on this subject.
|"(Signed)||John F. Ryland.|
|"(Confidential.)||Liberty, Clay County, November 29, 1833.|
"Dear Sir:—Yesterday I saw Mr. Doniphan, an attorney of this place, who informed me that he saw the Attorney General, Mr. Wells, in Saline County, last Saturday week, and that Mr. Wells had acquainted him with your intention of ordering a court of inquiry to be held in Jackson County, in relation to the late riotous proceedings in that county. Mr. Doniphan is of opinion from the conversation he had with Mr. Wells that said order will be suspended till a communication is received from our people, or their counsel. This is therefore to acquaint your excellency that most of the heads of our church had an interview yesterday
on the subject of an immediate court of inquiry to be held in Jackson County, and by their request to me I hasten to lay before your excellency serious difficulties attending our people on an immediate court of inquiry being called.
"Our church is at this time scattered in every direction; some in the new county of Van Buren, a part in this county, and a part in Lafayette, Ray, etc. Some of our principal witnesses would be women and children, and while the rage of the mob continues it would be impossible to gather them in safety at Independence. And that your excellency may know of the unabating fury with which the last remnant of our people remaining in that county are pursued at this time, I here state that a few families, perhaps fifteen to twenty, who settled themselves more than two years ago on the prairie about fifteen miles from the county seat of Jackson County, had hoped from the obscurity of their location that they might escape the vengeance of the enemy through the winter; consequently they remained on their plantations, receiving occasionally a few individual threats, till last Sunday, when a mob made their appearance among them, some with pistols cocked and presented to their breasts, commanding them to leave the county in three days or they would tear their houses down over their heads, etc., etc.
"Two expresses arrived here from said neighborhood last Monday morning for advice, and the council advised their speedy removal for the preservation of life and their personal effects. I suppose these families will be out of the county of Jackson this week. In this distressed situation, in behalf of my brethren I pray your excellency to await a further communication, which will soon follow this, setting forth among other things the importance of our people being restored to their possessions, that they may have an equal chance with their enemies in producing important testimony before the court, which the enemy are now determined to deprive them of. Trusting that your excellency will perceive the agitation and consternation that must necessarily prevail among most of our people at this day from the unparalleled usage they have received, and many of them wandering at this time destitute of shelter. that an immediate
court of inquiry called while our people are thus situated would give our enemies a decided advantage in point of testimony, while they are in possession of their own homes, and ours also, with no enemy in the county to molest or make them afraid.
|"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,|
|"A. S. Gilbert.|
"To His Excellency Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, Missouri:—
"I have seen and read the above letter, and on reflection, I concur entirely in the opinion therein expressed. I also think that at the next regular term of the court, an examination of the criminal matter cannot be gone into, without a guard for the court and witnesses.
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1 1. Verily, thus saith the Lord, It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh their sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face, and know that I am, and that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that I am in the Father and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one; the Father because he gave me of his fullness; and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest; and John saw and bore record of the fullness of my glory; and the fullness of John's record is hereafter to be revealed. And he bore record saying, I saw his glory that he was in the beginning before the world was; therefore, in the beginning the Word was; for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation, the light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world because the world was made by him; and in him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by him. Men were made by him. All things were made by him, and through him, and of him. And I, John, bare record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; even the Spirit of truth which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
2. And I, John, saw that he received not of the fullness at the first, but received grace for grace; and he received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness; and thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fullness at the first. And I, John, bare record, and lo, the heavens were opened and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying, This is my beloved Son. And I, John, bare record that he received a fullness of the glory of the Father; and he received all power, both in heaven and on earth; and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
3. And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful, you shall receive the fullness of the record of John. I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fullness, for if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fullness and be glorified in me as I am in the Father: therefore, I say unto you You shall receive grace for grace.
4. And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; and all those who are begotten through me, are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth; and truth is knowledge of things as
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they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; and whatsoever is more or less than this, is the spirit of that wicked one, who was a liar from the beginning. The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth. And John bore record of me, saying, He received a fullness of truth; yea, even of all truth, and no man receiveth a fullness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments, receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth, and knoweth all things.
5. Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also, otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man, because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation, for man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receiveth a fullness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fullness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.
6. The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth; light and truth forsaketh that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning, and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again in their infant state, innocent before God. And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth; but verily I say unto you, my servant Frederick G. Williams, You have continued under this condemnation; you have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments, and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction. And now a commandment I give unto you, if you will be delivered: you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house.
7. Verily I say unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, that in some things he hath not kept the commandments, concerning his children; therefore, firstly set in order thy house.
8. Verily I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., or, in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me. I called you servants for the world's sake, and ye are their servants for my sake; and now verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jr., you have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord. Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed unto your sayings, or be removed out of their place. What I say unto one I say unto all: Pray always, lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place.
9 My servant Newel K. Whitney, also a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place.
10. Now I say unto you, my friends, Let my servant Sidney Rigdon go his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance, and by your prayer of faith with one consent, I will uphold him.
11. And let my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., and Frederick G Williams, make haste also, and it shall be given them even according to the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you keep my sayings, you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.
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12. And verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.
1. And again, verily 1 say unto you, my friends, A commandment I give unto you, that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of the city of the stake of Zion, here in the land of Kirtland, beginning at my house; and, behold, it must be done according to the pattern which I have given unto you. And let the first lot on the south be consecrated unto me for the building of an house for the presidency, for the work of the presidency, in obtaining revelations, and for the work of the ministry of the presidency, in all things pertaining to the church and kingdom.
2. Verily I say unto you, that it shall be built fifty-five by sixty-five feet in the width thereof, and in the length thereof, in the inner court; and there shall be a lower court, and an higher court, according to the pattern which shall be given unto you hereafter; and it shall be dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, according to the order of the priesthood, according to the pattern which shall be given unto you hereafter; and it shall be wholly dedicated unto the Lord for the work of the presidency. And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come in unto it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there; but if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there, and my presence shall not come into it.
3. And again, verily I say unto you, The second lot on the south shall be dedicated unto me, for the building of an house unto me, for the work of the printing of the translation of my scriptures, and all things whatsoever I shall command you; and it shall be fifty-five by sixty-five feet in the width thereof, and the length thereof, in the inner court; and there shall be a lower and a higher court; and this house shall be wholly dedicated unto the Lord, from the foundation thereof, for the work of the printing, in all things whatsoever I shall command you, to be holy undefiled, according to the pattern, in all things, as it shall be given unto you.
4. And on the third lot shall my servant Hyrum Smith receive his inheritance. And on the first and second lots, on the north, shall my servants Reynolds Cahoon and Jared Carter receive their inheritance that they may do the work which I have appointed unto them, to be a committee to build mine houses, according to the commandment which I, the Lord God, have given unto you. These two houses are not to be built until I give unto you a commandment concerning them.
5. And now I give unto you no more at this time. Amen.
2 1. Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten, that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance, in all things, out of temptation; and I have loved you: Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened, and stand rebuked before my face, for ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you, concerning the building of mine house, for the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my strange act, that I may pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. But, behold, verily I say unto you, There are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called, but few of them are chosen: they who are not
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chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noonday; and for this cause, I gave unto you a commandment, that you should call your solemn assembly; that your fastings and your mourning might come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, which is, by interpretation, The Creator of the first day; the beginning and the end.
2. Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment, that you should build an house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high, for this is the promise of the Father unto you; therefore, I commanded you to tarry, even as mine apostles at Jerusalem; nevertheless my servants sinned a very grievous sin; and contentions arose in the school of the prophets, which was very grievous unto me, saith your Lord; therefore I sent them forth to be chastened.
3. Verily I say unto you, It is my will that you should build an house; if you keep my commandments, you shall have power to build it; if you keep not my commandments the love of the Father shall not continue with you; therefore you shall walk in darkness. Now here is wisdom and the mind of the Lord: let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you, that ye shall live after the manner of the world, therefore let it be built after the manner which I shall show unto three of you, whom ye shall appoint and ordain unto this power. And the size thereof shall be fifty and five feet in width, and let it be sixty-five feet in length, in the inner court thereof; and let the lower part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for your sacrament offering, and for your preaching; and your fasting, and your praying, and the offering up your most holy desires unto me, saith your Lord. And let the higher part of the inner court, be dedicated unto me for the school of mine apostles, saith Son Ahman; or, in other words, Alphus; or, in other words, Omegus; even Jesus Christ your Lord. Amen.
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3 1. Behold, I say unto you, Here is wisdom whereby ye may know how to act concerning this matter, for it is expedient in me that this stake that I have set for the strength of Zion, should be made strong therefore, let my servant Ahashdah take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house; and again let it be divided into lots, according to wisdom, for the benefit of those who seek inheritances, as it shall be determined in council among you. Therefore, take heed that ye see to this matter, and that portion that is necessary to benefit mine order, for the purpose of bringing forth my word to the children of men, for, behold, verily I say unto you, This is the most expedient in me, that my word should go forth unto the children of men, for the purpose of subduing the hearts of the children of men, for your good. Even so. Amen.
2. And again, verily I say unto you, It is wisdom, and expedient in me, that my servant Zombre, whose offering I have accepted, and whose prayers I have heard, unto whom I give a promise of eternal life, inasmuch as he keepeth my commandments from henceforth; for he is a descendant of Seth, and a partaker of the blessings of the promise made unto his fathers. Verily I say unto you, It is expedient in me that he should become a member of the order, that he may assist in bringing forth my word unto the children of men; therefore ye shall ordain him unto this blessing; and he shall seek diligently to take away incumbrances [encumbrances], that are upon the house named among you, that he may dwell therein. Even so. Amen.
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4Dear Brethren:—One year having passed since we addressed the churches abroad on the situation of Zion and the state of the gathering it seems to be our duty to again address the saints on the same subjects. Although you frequently learn through the medium of the Star our situation and progress, yet we indulge a hope that a circular from us particularly setting these things forth at this time, will be received by you in fellowship.
We have abundant reason to thank the Lord for his goodness and mercy manifested unto us since we were planted in this land.
With the exception of the winter season, the gathering has continued slowly. At present we have not the exact number of the disciples, but suppose that there are near seven hundred. Include these, with their
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children, and those who belong to families, and the number will probably amount to more than twelve hundred souls.
Many have been planted upon their inheritances, where, blessed with a fruitful soil and a healthy climate, they are beginning to enjoy some of the comforts of life, in connection with peace and satisfaction of pure and undefiled religion, which is to visit the widow and the fatherless in their afflictions and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This brings down the blessings of peace and love from our Father, and confirms our faith in the promise that we shall see him in the flesh, when he comes to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.
Here let us remark that our duty urges us to notice a few letters which have been sent from this place by persons seeking the loaves and fishes, or by such as have lost their standing among men of character in the world. In the letters alluded to are some facts, but the most of them are false.
It is said that women go out to work. This is a fact, and not only women, but men too; for in the Church of Christ all that are able have to work to fulfill the commandments of the Lord; and the situation in which many have come up here has brought them under the necessity of seeking employment from those who do not belong to the church; yet we can say as far as our knowledge extends, that they have been honorably compensated. And we are willing that the decree concerning mankind, thou shalt eat thy bread by the sweat of thy brow, should be fulfilled. Members of the church have, or will have, "deeds" in their own name.
One Bates from New London, Ohio, who subscribed fifty dollars for the purpose of purchasing lands and the necessaries for the saints, after his arrival here sued Edward Partridge and obtained a judgment for the same. Bates shortly after denied the faith and ran away on Sunday, leaving debts unpaid. We do not mention this to cast reflections, but to give a sample of his work manifested since he came to this land.
No man that has consecrated property to the Lord, for the benefit of the poor and the needy, by a deed of gift according to the laws of the land, has thought of suing for it, any more than the men of the world, who give or donate to build meetinghouses, or colleges, or to send missionaries to India or the Cape of Good Hope.
Every saint that has come to this land to escape the desolations which await the wicked, and prepare for the coming of the Lord, is well satisfied with the country and the order of the kingdom of our God; and we are happy to say that the inhabitants of Zion are growing in grace and in the knowledge of those things which lead to peace and eternal glory. And our hearts are filled with thanksgiving for the privilege of bearing this testimony concerning our brethren on this land.
One object in writing this epistle is to give some instructions to those who come up to the land of Zion. Through a mistaken idea many of the brethren abroad that had property have given some away, and sacrificed some, they hardly know how. This is not right, nor according to the commandments.
We would advise in the first place that every disciple, if in his power, pay his just debts, so as to owe no man, and then if he has any property left, let him be careful of it; and he can help the poor by consecrating some for their inheritances; for as yet there has not been enough consecrated to plant the poor in inheritances according to the regulation of the church and the desire of the faithful.
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This might have been done had such as had property been prudent. It seems as though a notion was prevalent in Babylon that the Church of Christ was a common stock concern. This ought not so to be, for it is not the case. When a disciple comes to Zion for an inheritance it is his duty, if he has anything to consecrate to the Lord, for the benefit of the poor and the needy, or to purchase lands, to consecrate it according to the law of the Lord, and also according to the law of the land; and the Lord has said that in keeping his law we have no need to break the laws of the land. And we have abundant reason to be thankful that we are permitted to establish ourselves under the protection of a government that knows no exceptions to sect or society, but gives all its citizens a privilege of worshipping God according to their own desire.
Again, while in the world, it is not the duty of a disciple to exhaust all his means in bringing the poor to Zion; and this because, if all should do so, there would be nothing to put in the storehouse in Zion, for the purpose which the Lord has commanded.
Do not think brethren by this that we would advise or direct that the poor be neglected in the least; this is not the desire of our hearts; for we are mindful of the word of our Father, which informs us that in his bosom it is decreed that the poor and meek of the earth shall possess it.
The welfare of the poor has always a place in our hearts; yet we are confident that our experience, even had we nothing else to prompt us to advise on this point, and that wholly for the good of the cause in which we labor, would be sufficient in the minds of our brethren abroad to excuse a plainness on this important part of our subject.
To see numbers of disciples come to this land destitute of means to procure an inheritance, and much less the necessaries of life, awakens a sympathy in our bosoms of no ordinary feeling; and we should do injustice to the saints were we to remain silent, when, perhaps, a few words by way of advice may be the means of instructing them that hereafter great difficulties may be avoided.
For the disciples to suppose that they can come to this land without aught [ought] to eat, or to drink, or to wear, or anything to purchase these necessaries with, is a vain thought. For them to suppose that their clothes and shoes will not wear out upon the journey, when the whole of it lies through a country where there are thousands of sheep from which wool in abundance can be procured to make them garments, and cattle upon a thousand hills to afford leather for shoes, is just as vain.
The circumstances of the saints in gathering to the land of Zion in these last days are very different from those of the children of Israel after they despised the promised rest of the Lord, after they were brought out of the land of Egypt. Previous to that the Lord promised them, if they would obey his voice and keep his commandments, that he would send the hornet before them and drive out those nations which then inhabited the promised land, so that they might have peaceable possession of the same, without the shedding of blood. But in consequence of their unbelief and rebellion they were compelled to obtain it by the sword, with the sacrifice of many lives.
But to suppose that we can come up here and take possession of this land by the shedding of blood, would be setting at nought the law of the glorious gospel, and also the word of our great Redeemer; and to suppose that we can take possession of this country, without making regular purchases of the same according to the laws of our nation, would be
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reproaching this great republic, in which the most of us were born, and under whose auspices we all have protection.
We feel as though enough was said on this point, knowing that a word to the wise is sufficient, and that all our brethren are aware of the fact that all the tithes cannot be gathered into the storehouse of the Lord, that the windows of heaven may be opened and a blessing poured out that there is not room enough to contain it, if all the means of the saints are exhausted before they reach the place where they can have a privilege of so doing.
Do not conclude from these remarks brethren that we doubt in the least that the Lord will fail to provide for his saints in these last days, or that we would extend our hands to steady his ark; for this is not the case. We know that the saints have the unchangeable word of God that they shall be provided for; yet we know if any are imprudent, or lavish, or negligent, or indolent in taking that proper care and making that proper use of what the Lord has made them stewards over, which is their duty to, they are not counted wise; for a strict account of every one's stewardship is required, not only in time, but will be in eternity.
Neither do we apprehend that we shall be considered as putting out our hands to steady the ark of God by giving advice to our brethren upon important points relative to their coming to Zion, when the experience of almost two years' gathering has taught us to revere that sacred word from heaven, "Let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you."
Then brethren we would advise that where there are many poor in a church, that the elders counsel together and make preparations to send a part at one time and a part at another. And let the poor rejoice in that they are exalted, but the rich in that they are made low, for there is no respect of persons in the sight of the Lord.
The disciples of Christ, blessed with immediate revelations from him, should be wise and not take the way of the world nor build air castles but consider that when they have been gathered to Zion, means will be needed to purchase their inheritances, and means will be needed to purchase food and raiment for at least one year; or, at any rate, food; and where disciples or churches are blessed with means to do as much as this, they would be better off in Zion than in the world, troubled as it is, and will shortly be, with plagues, famines, pestilences, and utter destructions upon the ungodly.
On the subject of false reports which are put in circulation by evil minded men, to ridicule the idea of the gathering of Israel in these last days, we would say to our brethren abroad, believe them not: The Evening and the Morning Star was established expressly to publish the truth and the word of the Lord, that the saints might not be deceived by such as make broad the borders of their garments and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, yea, by such as bind heavy burdens which are grievous to be borne, and lay them upon men's shoulders, but will not move them with their fingers. Yea, we give this caution that the disciples may not give heed to the gainsaying of those who seek the honor of this world and the glory of the same, rather than seek the honor of God and his glory; nor those who have turned away from the Church of Christ and denied the faith delivered to his saints in these last days.
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Brethren, the Lord has begun to gather his children, even Israel, that they may prepare to enter into and enjoy his rest when he comes in his glory, and he will do it. No matter what our ideas and notions may be upon the subject; no matter what foolish report the wicked may circulate to gratify an evil disposition, the Lord will continue to gather the righteous, and destroy the wicked, till the sound goes forth, "It is finished."
It ought to be known abroad that much improvement is needed in the cattle, sheep, and hogs, in this part of the country. For the sake of comfort and convenience, as cows here are worth from ten to fifteen dollars, our brethren would do well, and we would advise them, to purchase before they arrive in this region.
In fact, if they journey according to the commandments of the Lord pitching their tents by the way, like Israel in days of old, it would be no more than right to drive cows enough to supply every family, or company, with milk on the way.
They would then have them when they arrived here, and if they selected of the best breeds, they would lay a foundation for improvement, a thing of which all our brethren who are acquainted with raising stock will at once see the propriety.
The sheep of this State are large, but as their wool is coarse, the breed would soon be improved if our brethren would drive with them some Merinos or Saxony. As soon as wool and flax are had among the brethren, sufficient for the purpose, they will manufacture cloth for their own use in the church.
The swine in this country are not good, being the old-fashioned shack breed, and much inferior to the large white grass breed of the Eastern States. If any could introduce this breed into the church in Zion, what little pork might be wanted in the winter would be much better, and easier raised.
It is a matter of some surprise to us that our brethren should come up to the land of Zion, as many do, without bringing garden seeds, and even seeds of all kinds. The Jaredites and Nephites took with them of all kinds; and the Jaredites all kinds of animals. And although the Lord has said that it was his business to provide for his saints, yet he has not said that he would do it unless they kept his commandments.
And notwithstanding the fullness of the earth is for the saints, they can never expect it unless they use the means put into their hands to obtain the same in the manner provided by our Lord. When you flee to Zion we enjoin the word, Prepare all things that you may be ready to labor for a living, for the Lord has promised to take the curse off the land of Zion in his own due time, and the willing and the obedient will eat the good of the same; not the idle, for they are to be had in remembrance before the Lord.
One very important requisition for the saints that come up to the land
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of Zion is, that before they start they procure a certificate from three elders of the church, or from the bishop in Ohio, according to the commandments; and when they arrive to present it to the bishop in Zion, otherwise they are not considered wise stewards, and cannot be received into fellowship with the church till they prove themselves by their own goodness.
Some of our brethren may at the first instant think, perhaps, that this is useless and formal; but a few reflections will be sufficient for them to see the propriety of it, and more especially when they learn that it is a commandment given us of our Lord.
Our brethren will find an extract of the law of this State relative to free people of color on another page of this paper. Great care should be taken on this point. The saints must shun every appearance of evil. As to slaves, we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age much is doing towards abolishing slavery and colonizing the blacks in Africa.
The foregoing remarks have been addressed to our brethren abroad considered as one general body, and have been designed as general information to all. We cannot close this epistle compatible with our duty without particularly addressing ourselves to our brethren, the elders, to whom is intrusted the preaching the everlasting gospel, the glad tidings of salvation to Israel, and to all the gentiles, if they will listen to the invitation.
Brethren, we are aware of your many afflictions, or at least in part some of us having been eyewitnesses to the things of God, and having been called to bear testimony of the same from the first since this gospel has been proclaimed in these last days. The desire of our hearts for your prosperity we can truly say is inexpressible, for when you are prospered we are, and when you are blessed we are blessed also. The afflictions which you are necessarily called to undergo in these days of tribulation and vengeance upon the wicked call forth from our hearts unceasing prayers to our common Parent in your behalf, that you may be enabled to deliver his message in the demonstration of his Spirit, and call together his elect from the ends of the earth to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, even to Mount Zion.
By those few expressions you will see, brethren, how important we view your callings. We do not consider that it is our duty to direct you in your missions, but we will give you in few words what we have reason to expect relative to the gathering of the saints, according to the revelations of the Lord.
By the authority of your callings and ordinances you no doubt will admit that it will be expected that you will know your duty, and at all times and in all places teach the disciples theirs; but we are sorry to say that in some instances some of our brethren have failed to do so.
We would remind our brethren of a clause in the Covenants which informs us that all who are ordained in this church are to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one who ordains them. We would also remind them of one valuable caution recorded in Pauls first letter to Timothy, which says, "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins."
Those cautions, however, are particularly addressed to our young brethren in the ministry. We know that many of our brethren are wise
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in these important parts of their labors, and have rid their garments of the blood of this generation, and are approved before the Lord.
We will proceed further brethren to notice some particular items immediately connected with your duties and what, as we said before, we have reason to expect from you, according to the revelations. In one given December 4, 1831, we learn that it is the duty of the elders of the church in the East, to render an account of their stewardship unto the bishop appointed unto the church in that part of the Lord's vineyard.
The Lord says: "And now, verily I say unto you, that as every elder in this part of the vineyard [the East], must give an account of his stewardship unto the bishop in this part of the vineyard, a certificate from the judge or bishop in this part of the vineyard, unto the bishop in Zion rendereth every man acceptable, and answereth all things for an inheritance, and to be received as a wise steward, and as a faithful laborer; otherwise he shall not be accepted of the bishop in Zion.
"And now, verily I say unto you, let every elder who shall give an account unto the bishop of the church, in this part of the vineyard [the East], be recommended by the church or churches, in which he labors, that he may render himself and his accounts approved in all things."
We hope brethren that you will be particular to teach the disciples abroad prudence and economy in all things. Teach them in plainness, that without regular recommends they cannot be received in fellowship with the church in Zion until after they have proven themselves worthy by their godly walk. And those who are recommended by you, we expect, will be such as are personally known to you to be disciples indeed, and worthy the confidence of all saints.
Viewing the quotation relative to your obtaining a certificate from the bishop in the East concerning your worthiness, you cannot blame us brethren, if we are strict on this point. It may be understood therefore by our brethren, the elders, who come from the East, and do not bring a regular certificate showing that their labors have been accepted there that they cannot be accepted in Zion. We do not set ourselves up as judges in this; we have only a desire to see the order of our Redeemer's kingdom observed in all things; for his commandments are precious with us: we have them in our hands, and they are sacred to our hearts
Our brethren who labor in the churches a distance to the west of the residence of the bishop in the East, who do not render their accounts to him, should be particular to bring recommends from the churches in which they do labor, and present them, with the accounts of their labors to the bishop immediately after their arrival here. And those elders who labor continually in preaching the gospel to the world, should also be particular to render their accounts of the same, that they may show themselves approved in all things, and be known to be worthy of the high office in which they stand in the Church of Christ.
Having said considerable concerning those particular points which are necessary to be observed by our brethren who journey to this land, and also a few words to the elders, we deem it a privilege before we conclude to say something more to the church at large. In the previous remarks however, we presume our brethren may make many improvements, and perhaps discover some errors; if so, we can say, that the best of motives have prompted us to write to our brethren; and if some small errors are to be found, we are certain that the general ideas are correct, and will
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be a means of doing good, if those who are immediately interested in the same, give heed to them.
Dear brethren in the new covenant, accept this as a token for a salutation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, from your brethren in Zion. While we are permitted to witness the great things which are continually taking place in fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the last days, as the children of God are gathered home to prepare themselves for the supper of the Lamb, our language, that is, the English tongue, fails to express our joy.—Evening and Morning Star, pp. 219-222.