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AS MENTIONED in a former chapter, efforts were made in the early part of the year 1834 to compromise the differences which existed between the Jackson County people and the saints. Col. J. Thornton wrote a letter to Governor Dunklin with a view to accomplishing this, which was indorsed [endorsed] by Messrs. Reese, Atchison, and Doniphan, attorneys for the saints; to which the Governor replied as follows:-
"From the Missouri Enquirer of June 25.
"Copy of a letter from Daniel Dunklin, Governor of the State of Missouri, to Colonel J. Thornton, dated
"'CITY OF JEFFERSON, June 6, 1834.
"'Dear Sir:-I was pleased at the receipt of your letter, concurred in by Messrs. Reese, Atchison, and Doniphan, on the subject of the Mormon difficulties. I should be gratified indeed, if the parties could compromise on the terms you suggest, or, indeed, upon any other terms satisfactory to themselves. But I should travel out of the line of my strict duty, as chief Executive officer of the Government, were I to take upon myself the task of effecting a compromise between the parties. Had I not supposed it possible, yes, probable, that I should, as Executive of the State, have to act, I should before now have interfered individually, in the way you suggest, or in some other way, in order if possible to effect a compromise. Uncommitted, as I am, to either party, I shall feel no embarrassment in doing my duty; though it may be done with the most extreme regret. My duty in the relation
in which I now stand to the parties is plain and straightforward. By an official interposition, I might embarrass my course, and urge a measure for the purpose of effecting a compromise, and it should fail, and in the end, should I find it my duty to act contrary to the advice I had given, it might be said that I either advised wrong, or that I was partial to one side or the other, in giving advice that I would not, as an officer, follow. A more clear and indisputable right does not exist, that the Mormon people, who were expelled from their homes in Jackson County, to return and live on their lands, and if they cannot be persuaded as a matter of policy to give up that right, or to qualify it, my course, as the chief Executive officer of the State, is a plain one. The Constitution of the United States declares, "That the citizens of each State be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States." Then we cannot interdict any people who have a political franchise in the United States from emigrating to this State, nor from choosing what part of the State they will settle in, provided they do not trespass on the property or rights of others. Our State Constitution declares that the people's "right to bear arms, in defense of themselves, and of State, cannot be questioned." Then it is their constitutional right to arm themselves. Indeed, our militia law makes it the duty of every man, not exempted by law, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, to arm himself with a musket, rifle, or some firelock, with a certain quantity of ammunition, etc. And again, our constitution says, "that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences." I am fully persuaded that the eccentricity of the religious opinions and practices of the Mormons, is at the bottom of the outrages committed against them.
"They have the right constitutionally guaranteed to them, and it is indefeasible, to believe and worship Jo Smith as a man, an angel, or even as the only true and living God, and to call their habitation Zion, the Holy Land, or even heaven itself. Indeed there is nothing so absurd or ridiculous, that they have not a right to adopt their religion, so
that in its exercise, they do not interfere with the rights of others.
"It is not long since an impostor assumed the character of Jesus Christ, and attempted to minister as such; but I never heard of any combination to deprive him of his rights.
"I consider it the duty of every good citizen of Jackson and the adjoining counties to exert themselves to effect a compromise of these difficulties, and were I assured that I would not have to act in my official capacity in the affair, I would visit the parties in person and exert myself to the utmost to settle it. My first advice would be to the Mormons, to sell out their lands in Jackson County and to settle somewhere else, where they could live in peace, if they could get a fair price for them, and reasonable damages for injuries received. If this failed I would try the citizens and advise them to meet and rescind their illegal resolves of last summer; and agree to conform to the laws in every particular, in respect to the Mormons. If both these failed, I would then advise the plan you have suggested, for each party to take separate territory and confine their members within their respective limits, with the exception of the public right of egress and regress upon the highway. If all these failed, then the simple question of legal right would have to settle it. It is this last that I am afraid I shall have to conform my action to in the end; and hence the necessity of keeping myself in the best situation to do my duty impartially.
"Rumor says that each party are preparing themselves with cannon. That would be illegal. It is not necessary to self-defense, as guaranteed by the Constitution. And as there are no artillery companies organized in this State, nor field pieces provided by the public, any preparation of that kind will be considered as without right; and, in the present state of things, would be understood to be with a criminal intent. I am told that the people of Jackson County expect assistance from the adjoining counties, to oppose the Mormons in taking or keeping possession of their lands. I should regret it extremely if any should be so imprudent as to do so; it would give a different aspect to the affair.
"The citizens of Jackson County have a right to arm
themselves and parade for military duty in their own county, independent of the commander in chief; but if citizens march there in arms from other counties, without order from the commander in chief, or some one authorized by him, it would produce a very different state of things. Indeed the Mormons have no right to march to Jackson County in arms, unless by the order or permission of the commander in chief. Men must not "levy war" in taking possession of their rights, any more than others should in opposing them in taking possession.
"'As you have manifested a deep interest in a peaceable compromise of this important affair, I presume you will not be unwilling to be placed in a situation, in which perhaps, you can be more serviceable to these parties. I have therefore taken the liberty of appointing you an aid to the commander in chief, and hope it will be agreeable to you to accept. In this situation you can give your propositions all the influence they would have, were they to emanate from the Executive without committing yourself or the commander in chief in the event of a failure.
"'I should be glad if you or some of the other gentlemen who joined you in your communication, would keep a close correspondence with these parties, and by each mail write to me.
"'The character of the State has been injured in consequence of this unfortunate affair; and I sincerely hope it may not be disgraced by it in the end.
"'With high respect, your obedient servant,
(Signed) DANIEL DUNKLIN.'"
-Evening and Morning Star, pp. 349, 350.
About the same time Governor Dunklin issued a second order (addressed to W. W. Phelps and others) for the restoration of the arms of the saints, by which it appears that Colonel Lucas resigned his commission to avoid delivering the same. The letter accompanying, and the order, read as follows:-
"CITY OF JEFFERSON, June 9, l834.
"Herewith you have a second order for the delivery of your arms now in the possession of the militia of Jackson
County. Colonel Lucas has resigned his command, he informs me. If Lieutenant Colonel Pitcher shall be arrested before you receive this, you will please hold up the order until I am informed who may be appointed to the command of the regiment. Respectfully,
"(Signed) DANIEL DUNKLIN.
"Thomas Pitcher, Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the 33d Regiment; Sir.-On the 2d day of last May I issued an order to Colonel Lucas to deliver the fifty-two guns and one pistol which you received from the Mormons on the fifth day of November last, and reported to him on the third day of the succeeding December to W. W. Phelps, E. Partridge, John Corrill, John Whitmer, and A. S. Gilbert, or their order. On the 24th ult. Colonel Lucas wrote and informed me that he had resigned his commission and left the county of Jackson. You as commandant of said regiment are therefore commanded to collect the said arms, if they are not already in your possession, and deliver them to the aforesaid gentlemen or their order.
"Commander in Chief."
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1088.
Judge Ryland also wrote to the saints as follows:-
"RICHMOND, June 10, 1834.
"Mr. A. S. Gilbert; Sir:-Deeply impressed with a desire to do all in my power to settle or allay the disturbances between the 'Mormons' and the citizens of Jackson County, I have concluded that it might have some tendency to effectuate this object by having the Mormons called together at Liberty next Monday, and there explaining to them my notions and views of their present situation, and the circumstances attendant. I therefore request you, Sir, to use all your influence with your brethren, to get them to meet me next Monday in Liberty. I much fear and dread the consequences that are yet to ensue, unless I should succeed in my wishes to restore peace. It is the duty of all good men to use all proper and laudable means to restore peace. I expect a deputation of some of the most respectable citizens of Jackson County will meet me on Monday
next at Liberty. I call upon you in the name of humanity, therefore, to leave no efforts untried to collect your brethren at Liberty as requested. Should my efforts to make peace fail of success, there can at least be no wrong, Sir, in the attempt, and I shall enjoy the consolation of having done my duty as a man, as well as a Christian.
"I hope, Sir, you will duly appreciate the motive which prompts me to address this letter to you, and will aid me with all your influence with your brethren, in the prosecution of an object so much to be desired by all good men and citizens.
Yours very respectfully,
"John F. Ryland."
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1088.
A meeting was called, and the following reply was agreed to and sent to their attorneys for indorsement [endorsement], and for presentation to the Judge:-
Near Liberty, June 14, 1834.
"Hon. J. F. Ryland; Dear Sir:-Your communication of the 9th inst. from Richmond was duly received, and at a public meeting of our society this day its contents made known. Our brethren unanimously tender their thanks for the laudable disposition manifested on your part to effect peace between our society and the inhabitants of Jackson County, and as many as conveniently can will be present on Monday next. Entertaining some fears that your honor in his zeal for peace might unwarily recommend a sale of our lands in Jackson County, we have thought it expedient to give seasonable notice that no such proposition could possibly be acceded to by our society.
"We have not heard that it was the intention of your honor to urge any such measure, but our enemies in Jackson County have long been trying to effect this object. In a letter from the Governor to us, he says, 'I have been requested to advise the Mormons to sell out and move away, but believing that it could have no good effect I have withheld my advice.' We give this quotation from the Governor's letter to disprove the statement made in the Upper Missouri Enquirer of last Wednesday, and conclude by adding that 'home is home,' and that we want possession of our homes, from
which we have been wickedly expelled, and those rights which belong to us as native freeborn citizens of the United States.
We are respectfully,
"Your friends and servants,
"John Corrill, Chairman.
"A. S. GILBERT, Secretary.
"Gentlemen-Will you be so good as to read the inclosed [enclosed] , then seal and hand to the Judge. We have given him an early hint, fearing that he might be induced by the solicitations of our enemies to propose a sale of our lands, which you well know would be like selling our children into slavery, and the urging of such a measure would avail nothing, unless to produce an excitement against us in this county. As requested last Thursday, we hope you will be present on Monday.
Your friends and servants,
"A. S. Gilbert.
"To Messrs. Doniphan and Atchison."
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1089.
On Monday, June 16, 1834, the meeting referred to was held at the courthouse in Liberty, of which Joseph Smith in his history gives the following account:-
"Monday, June 16. The citizens of Clay County (to the number of eight hundred or a thousand, among whom were the brethren,) assembled at the courthouse in Liberty, agreeably to the request of Judge Ryland, and a deputation from Jackson who presented the following:-
"'PROPOSITIONS OF THE PEOPLE OF JACKSON COUNTY
TO THE MORMONS.
"'The undersigned committee, being fully authorized by the people of Jackson County, hereby propose to the Mormons, that they will buy all the land that the said Mormons own in the county of Jackson; and also all the improvements which the said Mormons had on any of the public lands in said county of Jackson, as they existed before the first disturbance between the people of Jackson and the Mormons, and for such as they have made since. They further propose that the valuation of said land and improvements shall be ascertained by three disinterested arbitrators to be chosen
and agreed to by both parties. They further propose, that should the parties disagree in the choice of arbitrators, -- --then is to choose them. They further propose, that twelve of the Mormons shall be permitted to go along with the arbitrators to show them their land and improvements while valuing the same, and such other of the Mormons as the arbitrators shall wish to do so, to give them information; and the people of Jackson hereby guarantee their entire safety while doing so. They further propose, that when the arbitrators report the value of the land and improvements, as aforesaid, the people of Jackson will pay the valuation, with one hundred per cent added thereon, to the Mormons, within thirty days thereafter. They further propose, that the Mormons are not to make any effort, ever after, to settle, either collectively or individually, within the limits of Jackson County. The Mormons are to enter into bonds to insure the conveyance of their land in Jackson County, according to the above terms, when the payment shall be made; and the committee will enter into a like bond, with such security as may be deemed sufficient, for the payment of the money, according to the above proposition. While the arbitrators are investigating and deciding upon the matters referred to them, the Mormons are not to attempt to enter into Jackson County, or to settle there, except such as are by the foregoing propositions permitted to go there. They further propose, that the people of Jackson will sell all their lands, and improvements on public lands, in Jackson County, to the Mormons,-the valuation to be obtained in the same manner,-the same per cent, in addition to be paid, and the time the money is to be paid is the same, as the above set forth in our propositions to buy, the Mormons to give good security for the payment of the money, and the undersigned will give security that the land will be conveyed to the Mormons. They further propose, that all parties are to remain as they are till the payment is made, at which time the people of Jackson will give possession.
(Signed) "SAMUEL C OWENS.
"THOMAS HAYTON, SR.
"'ABRAHAM M. CLELAN.
"'S. K. NOLAND.'
"On presentation of the foregoing, Samuel C. Owens made a flaming war speech, and General Doniphan replied on the side of peace. The Rev. M. Riley, a Baptist priest, made a hot speech against the Mormons, and said, 'The Mormons have lived long enough in Clay County; and they must either clear out, or be cleared out.' Turnham, the moderator of the meeting, answered in a masterly manner, saying, 'Let us be republicans; let us honor our country, and not disgrace it like Jackson County. For God's sake don't disfranchise or drive away the Mormons. They are better citizens than many of the old inhabitants.'
"General Doniphan exclaimed, 'That's a fact, and as the Mormons have armed themselves, if they don't fight they are cowards. I love to hear that they have brethren coming to their assistance. Greater love can no man show than he who lays down his life for his brethren.'
"At this critical instant the cocking of pistols and jingle of implements of death denoted desperation. One motioned to 'adjourn;' another said, 'Go on,' and in the midst of this awful crisis a person bawled into the door, 'A man stabbed.' The mass instantly rushed out to the spot, in hopes, as some said, that 'one damn'd Mormon had got killed.' But as good luck would have it, only one Missourian had dirked another. (One Calbert, a blacksmith, had stabbed one Wales, who had previously whipped one Mormon nearly to death, and boasted of having whipped many more.) The wound was dangerous, and as if the Lord was there, it seemed as though the occurrence was necessary to break up the meeting without further bloodshed, and give the saints a chance to consult what would be most advisable in such a critical instant, and they immediately penned the following answer to the propositions from Jackson County, presented by Owens, etc.:-
"Gentlemen:-Your propositions for an adjustment of the difficulties between the citizens of Jackson County and the Mormons is before us; and, as explained to you in the courthouse this day, we are not authorized to say to you that our brethren will submit to your proposals; but we agree to spread general notice, and call a meeting of our people in all, the present week, and lay before you an answer as soon as Saturday or Monday next. We can say for ourselves, and in behalf of our brethren, that peace is what we desire and what we are disposed to cultivate with all men; and to effect peace we feel disposed to use all our influence, as far as would be required at our hands, as freeborn citizens of these United States. And as fears have been expressed that we designed hostilities against the inhabitants of Jackson County, we hereby pledge ourselves to them, and to the hospitable citizens of Clay County, that we will not, and neither have designed, as a people, to commence hostilities against the aforesaid citizens of Jackson County or any other people.
"Our answer shall be handed to Judge Turnham, the chairman of the meeting, even earlier than the time before stated, if possible.
'(Signed) "'W. W. PHELPS.
"'WM. E. MCLELLIN.
"'A. S. GILBERT.
"'N. B.-As we are informed that a large number of our people are on their way to Jackson County, we agree to use our influence immediately to prevent said company from entering into Jackson County, until you shall receive an answer to the propositions aforenamed.'
"It may be thought, at first view, that the mob committee made a fair proposition to the saints, in offering to buy their lands at one hundred per cent, in thirty days, and offering theirs on the same terms. But when it is understood that the mob held possession of a much larger quantity of land than the saints, and that they only offered thirty days for the payment, having previously robbed them of nearly everything, it will be readily seen that they were only making a sham to cover their previous unlawful conduct. But the
tempest of an immediate conflict seemed to be checked, and the Jackson mob to the number of about fifteen, with Samuel C. Owens and James Campbell at their head, started for Independence, Jackson County, to raise an army sufficient to meet me, before I could get into Clay County. Campbell swore, as he adjusted his pistols in his holsters, 'The eagles and turkey buzzards shall eat my flesh if I do not fix Joe Smith and his army so that their skins will not hold shucks, before two days are passed.'
"They went to the ferry and undertook to cross the Missouri River, after dusk, and the angel of God saw fit to sink the boat, about the middle of the river, and seven out of twelve that attempted to cross were drowned. Thus suddenly, and justly, went they to their own place by water. Campbell was among the missing. He floated down the river some four or five miles, and lodged upon a pile of driftwood, where the eagles, buzzards, ravens, crows, and wild animals ate his flesh from his bones, to fulfill his own words, and left him a horrible looking skeleton of God's vengeance; which was discovered about three weeks after, by one Mr. Purtle.
"Owens saved his life only, after floating four miles down the stream, where he lodged upon an island, 'swam off naked about daylight, borrowed a mantle to hide his shame, and slipped home rather shy of the vengeance of God.'"-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, pp. 1089-1091.
On Saturday, June 21, in accordance with agreement, a letter was written to the Jackson County Committee, as follows:-
Clay County, 21st June, 1834.
"Gentlemen:-Your propositions of Monday last have been generally made known to our people, and we are instructed to inform you that they cannot be acceded to.
"Honorable propositions to you are now making on our part, and we think we shall be enabled to deliver the same to you the early part of next week. We are happy to have it in our power to give you assurances that our brethren here, together with those who have arrived from the East, are unanimously disposed to make
every sacrifice for an honorable adjustment of our differences that could be required of free citizens of the United States.
"Negotiations at the camp are now going on between some gentlemen of this county and our brethren, which are calculated to allay the great excitement in your county. We are informed that the citizens of Jackson entertain fears that our people intend to invade their territory in a hostile manner. We assure you that their fears are groundless; such is not and never was our intention.
(Signed) "W. W. PHELPS
"A. S. GILBERT.
"W. E. MCLELLIN.
"To S. C. Owens, and others of the Jackson committee."-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1092.
On June 23, a proposition was made to the Jackson County committee as follows:-
"We the undersigned committee, having full power and authority to settle and adjust all matters and differences existing between our people or society and the inhabitants of Jackson County, upon honorable and constitutional principles; therefore, if the said inhabitants of Jackson County will not let us return to our lands in peace, we are willing to propose, firstly; that twelve disinterested men, six to be chosen by our people, and six by the inhabitants of Jackson County; and these twelve men shall say what the lands of those men are worth in that county who cannot consent to live with us, and they shall receive their money for the same in one year from the time the treaty is made, and none of our people shall enter the county to reside till the money is paid. The said twelve men shall have power also to say what the damages shall be for the injuries we have sustained in the destruction of property and in being driven from our possessions, which amount of damages shall be deducted from the amount for their lands. Our object is peace, and an early answer will be expected.
(Signed) "W. W. PHELPS.
"A. S. GILBERT."
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1106.
On June 26, 1834, the following communication was sent to the Governor:-
"Sir-A company of our people, exceeding two hundred men, arrived in this county the l9th inst. and encamped about twelve miles from Liberty, where they were met by several gentlemen from this and Ray County, who went by request of the people, to ascertain the motives and designs of our people in approaching this county; and as the deputation was composed of gentlemen who appeared to possess humane and republican feelings, our people were rejoiced at the opportunity of an interchange of feeling and an open and frank avowal of all their views and intentions in emigrating to this country with their arms. A full explanation having been given in a public address by our Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., which produced great satisfaction, the same in substance was afterwards reduced in writing and handed to the aforesaid gentlemen that it might be made public, as the shedding of blood is, and ever has been, foreign and revolting to our feelings. For this reason we have patiently endured the greatest indignities that free men of this republic have ever been called to suffer, and we still continue to bear with heartrending feelings a deprivation of our rights, having commenced negotiations with the inhabitants of Jackson for a compromise wherein proposals, on our part, have been made, which have been acknowledged by every disinterested man to be highly honorable and liberal. An answer to our propositions has not yet been received from Jackson.
"If we fail in this attempt, we intend to make another effort, and go all lengths that would be required by human or divine law. As our proposals and correspondence with the inhabitants of Jackson will doubtless hereafter be published, we think it unnecessary to detail the same in this communication. Our right to our soil in Jackson County we shall forever claim, and to obtain peaceful possession we are willing to make great sacrifices. To allay excitement in the
county, the aforesaid company of emigrants have dispersed, to await the final end of all negotiations that can be made with the said county of Jackson.
"Within the last week one of our men, being near the ferry, was seized by some Jackson citizens, while in this county, threatened with death if he made resistance, and carried over the river prisoner to Independence, where he was put under guard one day, and after hearing many threats, was liberated. The houses of several of our brethren in this county have been forcibly entered by some of the inhabitants of Jackson, and a number of guns and small arms taken therefrom. Where the men were absent from their houses, loaded guns were presented to the females and their lives threatened if they made resistance, as we have been informed, and have no doubt of the fact.
"Your second order for the restoration of our arms was received last mail. We have not yet done anything with it. Hoping that the influence of the inhabitants of Jackson County will materially lessen in the surrounding counties, and the people become more tranquil, we think it wisdom to defer petitioning for a guard while there exists a hope of a compromise, etc.
"We believe that the President would render us assistance in obtaining possession of our lands, if aided by the Executive of this State in a petition, and thereby put an end to serious evils that are growing out of the Jackson outrage. In a letter from Your Excellency, of April 20, we had a word on the subject of petitioning. We should be pleased to hear further, and would here observe that no communication from the Executive, giving his opinion or advice, will be made public, if requested not to do so.
"We are respectfully, and with great regard,
"Your obedient servants,
"A S GILBERT.
"W. W. PHELPS.
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1107.
This was the last public act of A. S. Gilbert. 1
1 The drafting and signing of the above was the last public act of the keeper of the Lord's storehouse, Algernon S. Gilbert; for he was attacked
On the same day the chairman of the Jackson County mob wrote Mr. Reese, attorney for the saints, as follows:-
"Independence, Missouri, June 26, 1834.
"Mr. Amos Reese; Dear Sir:-Since my return from Liberty I have been busily engaged in conversing with the most influential men of our county, endeavoring to find out, if possible, what kind of a compromise will suit with the Mormons on their part. The people here, en masse, I find out, will do nothing like according to their last proposition. We will have a meeting, if possible, on Monday next, at which time the proposals of the Mormons will be answered. In the meantime I would be glad that they, the Mormons, would cast an eye back of Clinton and see if that is not a country calculated for them.
"S. C. Owens"
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1108.
From the foregoing records it will appear that the saints had but two propositions open to them, the compliance with which would bring peace; namely: To sell their possessions in Jackson County, or to buy the whole county at double its value. The first they were religiously opposed to doing, and the second they were financially unable to do. While they were suing for peace and making every possible effort to obtain justice, always declaring allegiance to law and order, the mob were continuing their lawless deeds whenever and wherever opportunity offered. As already mentioned in the letter to the Governor, the mob crossed over into Clay County, intimidating defenseless women, and otherwise maltreating members of the church. One instance is related by Joseph Smith, that transpired on March 31, that can scarcely be too severely condemned. 2
with the cholera the same day and died In a few hours, according to his own words that he "would rather die than go forth to preach the gospel to the gentiles."-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1107
2This day, also, Ira I Willis, a young man who had been in the church for some time, and who was driven from Jackson County into Clay, returned thither to look for a stray cow; and while at the house of Esquire Manship's, a Justice of the Peace, (where he had called with Bro. John
On July 3, 1834, the High Council of Zion was organized, of which and other items connected with it, Joseph wrote:-
"On the third of July the high priests of Zion assembled in Clay County, and I proceeded to organize a High Council, agreeably to revelation given at Kirtland, for the purpose of settling important business that might come before them, which could not be settled by the bishop and his council. David Whitmer was elected president, and W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer assistant presidents. The following high priests; viz., Christian Whitmer, Newel Knight, Lyman Wight, Calvin Beebe, William E McLellin, Solomon Hancock, Thomas B. Marsh, Simeon Carter, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John Murdock, Levi Jackman, were appointed councilors, and the council adjourned to Monday.
"Frederick G. Williams was clerk of the meeting.
"From this time I continued to give instruction to the members of the High Council, elders, those who had traveled in the camp with me, and such others as desired information, until the 7th, when the council assembled according to adjournment at the house of Elder Lyman Wight; present fifteen high priests, eight elders, four priests, eight teachers, three deacons, and members.
"After singing and prayer I gave the council such instructions in relation to their high calling as would enable them to proceed to minister in their office agreeably to the pattern heretofore given; read the revelation on the subject, and told them that if I should now be taken away, I had accomplished the great work the Lord had laid before me, and that which I had desired of the Lord; and that I had done my duty in organizing the High Council, through which council the will of the Lord might be known on all important occasions in the building up of Zion and establishing truth in the earth.
Follet, to prove his title to the cow,) was caught by that unhung landpirate and inhuman monster, Moses Wilson, and whipped in a most cruel and savage manner, while surrounded by some half dozen of the old mobbers. This was an unpardonable act; all that know Mr. Willis can bear testimony that he is a young man, honest, peaceable, and unoffending, working righteousness and molesting no one. May God reward Moses Wilson according to his works.-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1028.
"It was voted that those who were appointed on the third should be confirmed in their appointments. I then ordained David Whitmer, president, and W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer assistants, and their twelve councilors. The twelve councilors then proceeded to cast lots, to know who should speak first, and the order of speaking, which resulted as follows; viz.:-
Simeon Carter 1, Parley P. Pratt 2,
Wm. E. McLellin 3, Calvin Beebe 4,
Levi Jackman 5, Solomon Hankcock 6,
Christian Whitmer 7, Newel Knight 8,
Orson Pratt 9, Lyman Wight 10,
Thomas B. Marsh 11, John Murdock 12.
"Father Whitmer came forward and blessed his three sons, David, John, and Christian Whitmer, in the name of the Lord. Also Father Knight blessed his son, Newel. Bishop Partridge stated to the council that a greater responsibility rested upon him than before their organization, as it was not his privilege to counsel with any of them except the president, and his own councilors, and desired their prayers that he might be enabled to act in righteousness.
"I next presented the case of W. W. Phelps to the council, to have their decision whether he should take his family to Kirtland, and if so, when he shall start, as it had been deemed necessary for him to assist in the printing establishment. It was motioned and carried that four of the councilors speak on the subject, two on each side; viz., Simeon Carter and Wm. E. McLellin for the plaintiff; and Parley P. Pratt and Calvin Beebe for the church. After hearing the pleas the president decided that it was the duty of W. W. Phelps to go to Kirtland to assist in printing, and that his family remain in the region where they were, and that he have an honorable discharge from his station in Zion for a season (as soon as he can accomplish his business). Signed by the president and clerk.
"It was then proposed by W. W. Phelps that David Whitmer, the president of the church in Zion, should go to Kirtland and assist in promoting the cause of Christ, as being one of the three witnesses. This case was argued by Levi Jackman and Christian Whitmer on behalf of the plaintiffs,
and Solomon Hancock and Newel Knight for the church; after which it was decided, as before, that Bro. David Whitmer go to the East and assist in the great work of the gathering and be his own judge as to leaving his family or taking them with him. It was also decided that John Whitmer and Wm. E. McLellin go east, as soon as convenient.
"The high priests, elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members present then covenanted with hands uplifted to heaven that you [they] would uphold Bro. David Whitmer, as president in Zion, in my absence, and John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps as assistant presidents or councilors, and myself as first president of the church, and one another by faith and prayer.
"Previous to entering into this covenant, and in pursuance of the revelation to the saints to sue for and proclaim peace to the ends of the earth, the following appeal was written, and sanctioned by the High Council and First Presidency of the church, at the foregoing sitting.
"President Whitmer closed the council by prayer.
"F. G. WILLIAMS, Clerk."
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, pp. 1109, 1110.
The "Appeal" here referred to as being indorsed [endorsed] by the High Council of Zion is quite lengthy, but we bespeak for it a careful reading, and we recommend its lofty and sublime sentiment, its patriotic devotion to law and country, its pacific attitude towards the enemy, and its adherence to principles of truth. It is as follows:-
"Whereas the Church of Christ, recently styled the Church of the Latter Day Saints, contumeliously called Mormons or Mormonites, has suffered many privations, afflictions, persecutions, and losses on account of the religious belief and faith of its members, which belief and faith are founded in the revealed word of God, as recorded in the Holy Bible, or the Book of Mormon, the revelations and commandments of our Savior, Jesus Christ; and whereas the said church, by revelation, commenced removing to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, where lands were purchased of the
Government, and where it was calculated to purchase of those who were unwilling to reside with the church as a society, all lands that could be bought, for the purpose of building up a holy city unto God, a New Jerusalem, a place which we were desirous to call Zion, as we believe a place of refuge from the scourges and plagues which are so often mentioned in the Bible by the prophets and apostles, that should be poured out upon the earth in the last days; and whereas the inhabitants of Jackson County, Missouri, have leagued and combined against said church, and have driven the saints from their lands, and taken their arms from them, and burned down many of their houses, without any provocation; and whereas we have petitioned the Governor of this State, and the President of the United States, for redress of wrongs (the law being put to defiance in Jackson County), and for redemption of rights, that we might be legally repossessed of our lands and property; and whereas the said inhabitants of Jackson County have not only bound themselves to keep us out of that county, but have armed themselves, cap-a-pie, and even with cannon for war; and whereas our people, residing in the Upper Missouri, have recently armed themselves for military duty and self-defense, seeing their arms taken from them by the inhabitants of Jackson County, were purposely kept from them; and whereas a number of the members of the church in the East have emigrated to this region of country to settle and join their brethren, with arms to answer the military law, which has created some excitement among the inhabitants of the upper counties of this State; whereupon, to show that our object was only the peaceable possession of our rights and property, and to purchase more land in the regions round about, we met a committee from Jackson County for compromise; and our emigrating brethren met some gentlemen from Clay and other counties to satisfy them that their motives were good, and their object peace, which they did; and whereas the propositions of the Jackson committee could not be accepted on our part, because they proposed to 'buy or sell,' and to sell our land would amount to a denial of our faith, as the land is the place where the Zion of God shall stand, according
to our faith and belief in the revelations of God, and upon which Israel shall be gathered according to the prophets; and secondly, the propositions were unfair, notwithstanding they offered double price for our lands, in thirty days, or sell theirs at the same rate, for this plain reason, that the whole large county of Jackson would be as thirty to one, or nearly so, in comparison with the matter in question, and, in supposition, for one thousand dollars, two thousand dollars to our people, was asking for three hundred thousand dollars the exorbitant sum of six hundred thousand dollars, taking the land rich and poor, in thirty days! with the reproachable, vicious, un-American, and unconstitutional proviso that the committee on our part bind themselves 'that no Mormon should ever settle in Jackson County;' and whereas our committee proposed to the said Jackson committee, (if they would not grant us our rights otherwise,) that our people would buy the land of those that were unwilling to live among our people, in that county, and pay them in one year, they allowing the damage we have sustained in the loss of a printing office, apparatus and book work, houses, property, etc., to come out of the purchase money, but no answer returned; and whereas, to show our honest intentions, and awaken the friends of virtue, humanity, and equal rights, it becomes our duty to lay our case before the world, to be weighed in the balances of public opinion:-
"Now therefore, as citizens of the United States, and leading elders in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, residing in the State of Missouri, in behalf of the church, we, the undersigned, do make this solemn APPEAL to the people and constituted authorities of this nation, and to the ends of the earth, for PEACE: that we may have the privilege of enjoying our religious rights and immunities and worship God according to the dictates of our own consciences, as guaranteed to every citizen by the constitutions of the National and State Governments. That, although the laws have been broken, and are defied in Jackson County, we may be enabled to regain and enjoy our rights and property, agreeable to law in this boasted land of liberty.
"Since the disgraceful combination of the inhabitants of
Jackson County has set the law at defiance, and put all hopes of criminal prosecution, against them, in that vicinage, beyond the reach of judge and jury, and left us but a distant expectation of civil remuneration for the great amount of damage we have sustained, necessity compels us to complain to the world. And if our case and calamity are not sufficient to excite the commiseration of the humane, and open the hearts of the generous, and fire the spirits of the patriotic, then has sympathy lost herself in the wilderness, and justice fled from power; then has the dignity of the ermine shrunk at the gigantic front of a mob, and the sacred mantle of freedom been caught up to heaven where the weary are at rest and the wicked cannot come.
"To be obedient to the commandments of our Lord and Savior, some of the heads of the church commenced purchasing lands in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, according to the revelation of God, for the city of Zion; in doing which no law was evaded, no rights infringed, nor no principle of religion neglected, but the laudable foundation of a glorious work begun, for the salvation of mankind, in the last days, agreeable to our faith, and according to the promises in the sacred Scriptures of God,
"We verily believed, knowing that the National and State Constitutions, and the statute laws of the land, and the commandments of the Lord, allowed all men to worship as they pleased, that we should be protected, not only by all the law of a free republic, but by every republican throughout the realms of freedom.
"The holy prophets had declared, 'that it should come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house should be established in the top of the mountains, and should be exalted above the hills, and all nations should flow unto it. And many people should go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' And again it was said by Joel, seemingly to strengthen the faith of the Latter Day Saints in the above, 'that whosoever should call on the
name of the Lord should be delivered, for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem, shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.' The Book of Mormon, which we hold equally sacred with the Bible, says, 'that a New Jerusalem should be built up on this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for the which things there has been a type.' In fact all the prophets from Moses to John the revelator have spoken concerning these things, and in all good faith, by direct revelation from the Lord, as in days of old, we commenced the glorious work, that a holy city, a New Jerusalem, even Zion, might be built up, and a temple reared in this generation, whereunto, as saith the Lord, all nations should be invited. Firstly the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble; and after that cometh the day of his power; but the inhabitants of Jackson County arrayed themselves against us, because of our faith and belief, and destroyed our printing establishment, to prevent the spread of the work, and drove men, women, and children from their lands, houses and homes, to perish in the approaching winter; while every blast carried the wailing of women and the shrieks of children across the widespread prairies, sufficiently horrible to draw tears from the savage, or melt a heart of stone!
"Now, that the world may know that our faith in the work and word of the Lord is firm and unshaken, and to show all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people that our object is good, for the good of all, we come before the great family of mankind for peace, and ask their hospitality and assistance for our comfort, and the preservation of our persons and property, and solicit their charity for the great cause of God. We are well aware that many slanderous reports and ridiculous stories are in circulation against our religion and society; but as wise men will hear both sides and then judge, we sincerely hope and trust that the still small voice of truth will be heard, and our great revelations read and candidly compared with the prophecies of the Bible, that the great cause of our Redeemer may be supported by a liberal share of public opinion, as well as the unseen power of God.
"It will be seen by a reference to the Book of Commandments,
page 135, that the Lord has said to the church, and we mean to live by his words, 'Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land' [Doctrine and Covenants 58:5]; therefore, as the people of God, we come before the world and claim protection, by law, from the common officers of justice, in every neighborhood where our people may be: we claim the same at the hands of the Governors of the several States, and of the President of the United States, and of the friends of humanity and justice, in every clime and country on the globe.
"By the desperate acts of the inhabitants of Jackson County, many hundreds of American citizens are deprived of their lands and rights: and it is reported that we mean to regain our possessions, and even Jackson County, 'by the shedding of blood.' But if any man will take the pains to read the one hundred and fifty-third page of the Book of Commandments, he will find it there said, 'Wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase, or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you. And if by purchase, behold you are blessed: and if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and you shall be scourged from city to city and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance' [Doctrine and Covenants 63:8]. So we declare that we have ever meant and now mean, to purchase the land of our inheritance, like all other honest men, of the Government, and of those who would rather sell their farms than live in our society. And, as thousands have done before us, we solicit the aid of the children of men, and of government, to help us obtain our rights in Jackson County, and the land whereon the Zion of God, according to our faith, shall stand in the last days, for the salvation and gathering of Israel.
"Let no man be alarmed because our society has commenced gathering to build a city and a house for the Lord, as a refuge from present evils and coming calamities. Our forefathers came to the goodly land of America, to shun persecution and enjoy their religious opinions and rights, as
they thought proper; and the Lord, after much tribulation, blessed them, and has said that we should continue to importune for redress and redemption by the hands of those who are placed as rulers, and are in authority over us, according to the laws and Constitution of the people, which he has suffered to be established and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and in principle, pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which he has given unto them; that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. And for this purpose he has established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom he raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
"Now we seek peace, and ask our rights, even redress and redemption, at the hands of the rulers of this nation: not only our lands and property in Jackson County, but for free trade with all men, and unmolested emigration to any part of the Union, and for our inherent right to worship God as we please. We ask the restoration of these rights because they have been taken from us, or abridged by the violence and usurpation of the inhabitants of Jackson County. As a people we hold ourselves amenable to the laws of the land, and while the government remains as it is, the right to emigrate from State to State, from territory to territory, from county to county, and from vicinity to vicinity, is open to all men of whatever trade or creed, without hindrance or molestation; and as long as we are justifiable and honest in the eyes of the law, we claim it, whether we remove by single families, or in bodies of hundreds, with that of carrying the necessary arms and accouterments for military duty. And we believe that all honest men, who love their country and their country's glory, and have a wish to see the law magnified and made honorable, will not only help perpetuate the great legacy of freedom, that came unimpaired from the hands of our venerable fathers, to us, but they will also protect us from insult and injury, and aid the work of God, that they may reap a reward in the regions of bliss, when all men receive according to their works.
"In relation to our distress, from the want of our lands in Jackson County, and for the want of the property destroyed by fire and waste, rather than do any act contrary to law, we solemnly appeal to the people with whom we tarry, for protection from insult and harm, and for the comforts of life by labor or otherwise, while we seek peace and satisfaction of our enemies through every possible and honorable means which humanity can dictate, or philanthropy urge, or religion require. We are citizens of this republic, and we ask our rights as republicans, not merely in our restoration to our lands and property in Jackson County, Missouri; but in being considered honest in our faith, honest in our deal, and honest before God, till, by due course of law we may be proved otherwise; reserving the right of every man's being held amenable to the proper authority for his own crimes and sins.
"'Crowns won by blood, by blood must be maintained,' and to avoid blood and strife, and more fully satisfy the world that our object is peace and good will to all mankind, we hereby APPEAL for peace to the ends of the earth, and ask the protection of all people, while we use every fair means in our power to obtain our rights and immunities without force: setting an example for all true believers, that we will not yield our faith and principles for any earthly consideration, whereby a precedent might be established, that a majority may crush any religious sect with impunity; knowing that if we give up our rights in Jackson County, farewell to society! farewell to religion! farewell to right! farewell to property! farewell to life! The fate of our church now, might become the fate of the Methodists next week; the Catholics next month, and the overthrow of all societies next year; leaving nation after nation a wide waste where reason and friendship once were!
"Another and the great object which we mean to help accomplish, is the salvation of the souls of men. And to bring to pass such a glorious work, like many other religious denominations, in all ages, we shall license elders to preach the everlasting gospel to all nations, according to the great commandment of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as recorded
in St. Matthew: 'Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.'
"Thus we shall send laborers into the Lord's vineyard to gather the wheat, and prepare the earth against the day when desolations shall be poured out without measure; and as it now is, and ever has been considered one of the most honorable and glorious employments of men, to carry good tidings to the nations, so we shall expect the clemency of all men, while we go forth, for the last time, to gather Israel for the glory of God, that he may suddenly come to his temple; that all nations may come and worship in his presence, when there shall be none to molest or make afraid, but the earth shall be filled with his knowledge and glory.
"We live in an age of fearful imagination. With all the sincerity that common men are endowed with, the saints have labored, without pay, to instruct the people of the United States, that the gathering had commenced in the western boundaries of Missouri, to build a holy city. . . .
"The faith and religion of the Latter Day Saints are founded upon the old Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, and direct revelation from God; and while every event that transpires around us is evidence of the truth of them, and an index that the great and terrible day of the Lord is near, we entreat the philanthropist, the moralist, and the honorable men of all creeds and sects to read our publications, to examine the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Commandments, and listen to the fullness of the gospel, and judge whether we are entitled to the credit of the world, for honest motives and pure principles.
"A cloud of bad omen seems to hang over this generation. Men start up at the impulse of the moment and defy and outstrip all law, while the destroyer is also abroad in the earth wasting flesh without measure, and none can stay his course. In the midst of such portentous times, we feel an anxious desire to prepare, and help others prepare, for coming events; and we candidly believe that no honest man will
put forth his hand to stop the work of the Lord or persecute the saints. In the name of Jesus we entreat the people of this nation to pause before they reject the words of the Lord, or his servants: These, like all flesh, may be imperfect; but God is pure, hear ye Him!
"While we ask peace and protection for the saints, wherever they may be, we also solicit the charity and benevolence of all the worthy on earth, to purchase the righteous a holy home, a place of rest, and a land of peace, believing that no man who knows he has a soul will keep back his mite, but cast it in for the benefit of Zion; thus, when time is no longer, he, with all the ransomed of the Lord, may stand, in the fullness of joy, and view the grand pillar of heaven, which was built by the faith and charity of the saints, beginning at Adam, with this motto in the base: 'Repent and live;' surrounded with a beautiful circle sign, supported by a cross, about midway up its lofty column, staring the world in letters of blood: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand,' and finished with a plain top, towering up in the midst of the celestial world, around which is written, by the finger of Jehovah: 'Eternal life is the greatest gift of God.'
"Although we may fail to show all men the truth of the fullness of the gospel, yet we hope to be able to convince some that we are neither deluded nor fanatics, but, like other men, have a claim on the world for land, and for a living, as good and as great as our venerable fathers had for Independence and liberty: That though the world has been made to believe, by false reports and vague stories, that the saints (called Mormons) were meaner than the savages, still God has been our help in time of trouble, and has provided for us in due season; and to use the language of Pope, he has let the work 'spread undivided,' and 'operate unspent.'
"For the honor of our beloved country and the continuation of its free Government, we appeal for peace; for an example of forbearance, and the diffusion of the everlasting gospel, we appeal to the humanity of all nations; and for the glory of God, before whom we must all answer for the deeds done in life, and for the hope of holiness hereafter, we mean to remain faithful to the end, continuing to pray to the Lord
to spare us, and the people, from whatever is evil, and not calculated to humble us, and prepare us for his presence and glory: at the same time beseeching him, in the name of Jesus, to extend his blessings to whom he will, and his mercy to all, till, by righteousness, the kingdoms of this world become fair as the sun and clear as the moon.
"W. W. PHELPS.
"PARLEY P. PRATT.
"THOMAS B. MARSH.
"Missouri (United States,) July, 1834."
-Evening and Morning Star, vol. 2, pp. 361-366.
Lyman Wight writes of this organization and the remarks of President Smith, as follows:-
"Our next business was to organize a council for the benefit of the church; and accordingly, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps were set apart and ordained to preside over the council, and the following named persons were chosen as councilors: Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Christian Whitmer, Newel Knight, Simeon Carter, John Murdock, Thomas B. Marsh, Solomon Hancock, Calvin Beebe, Levi Jackman, William E. McLellin, and myself. We then organized and ordained several according to our calling. Brother Joseph Smith then arose and addressed us at some length upon the all-important obligations which we were under to execute justice to our brethren according to the law of God, saying that he had lived to see the Church of Jesus Christ established on earth according to the order of heaven; and should he now be taken from this body of people, the work of the Lord would roll on, and the gathering of the house of Israel take place in spite of earth and hell And he further said that he was now willing to return home, that he was fully satisfied that he had done the
will of God, and that the Lord had accepted our sacrifice and offering, even as he had Abraham's when he offered his son Isaac; and in his benediction asked the heavenly Father to bless us with eternal life and salvation. The day passed off with gratitude to our heavenly Father who so kindly bestows his Holy Spirit upon all who seek him with an honest heart."
On Sunday, June 8, 1834, Joseph went to the eastern part of Clay County and held a meeting at night.
On Monday the 9th he started for Kirtland by wagon in company with Hyrum Smith, F G. Williams, W. E. McLellin, and others.
On the 12th Elder John Corrill wrote Samuel C. Owens, inclosing [enclosing] a letter to Colonel Pitcher. The letters were as follows:-
"Sir:-The last time I saw you in Liberty you said that an answer to our proposals you thought would be forwarded soon. But it has not been done. We are anxiously waiting to have a compromise effected if possible. Respecting our wheat in Jackson County, can it be secured so that we can receive the avails of it or not, seeing we are at present prohibited the privilege?
"P. S.-Please hand the following to Colonel Pitcher."
"Liberty, July 10, 1834.
"Colonel Thomas Pitcher; Sir:-The following is a true copy of an order from the Governor for our arms. Have the goodness to return an answer as soon as possible, that we may know whether we can have the arms upon said order or not, also when. Send where we can receive them, and we will appoint an agent to receive and receipt the same. Be assured we do not wish to obtain them from any hostile intentions, but merely because the right of property is ours. If I remember right there is one gun and a sword more than the order calls for.
-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1123.
Joseph arrived at Kirtland about August 1, 1834, having been absent three months. He writes:-
"About this time I arrived at Kirtland, after a tedious journey, from the midst of enemies, mobs, cholera, and excessively hot weather, having parted from those whom I started with on the 9th ult., at different points of the journey."
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