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UPON receiving the assurance of Governor Ford that they would receive the protection of the militia, Joseph and Hyrum Smith returned from their retirement, went to Carthage, and delivered themselves up to Constable Bettisworth.
They then appeared before Justice R. F. Smith, of Carthage, Illinois, and captain of the Carthage Greys, and "voluntarily entered into recognizance in the sum of five hundred dollars each, with unexceptionable security, for their appearance at the next term of the Circuit Court."
On the same day they were arrested on a charge of "treason against the State of Illinois." On this charge and against the protest of their counsel, they were committed to jail, without examination; where they met their tragic death.
The history of this affair, together with facts in the case, written by their counsel and others, were published in the Times and Seasons for July 1, 1844. These accounts will tell the story better than we can tell it, and we reproduce them for the reader's examination:-
"AWFUL ASSASSINATION OF JOSEPH AND HYRUM SMITH!
THE PLEDGED FAITH OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
STAINED WITH INNOCENT BLOOD BY A MOB!
"On Monday the 24th inst., after Governor Ford had sent word that those eighteen persons demanded on a warrant,
among whom were Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, should be protected by the militia of the State, they in company with some ten or twelve others started for Carthage. Four miles from that place they were met by Captain Dunn with a company of cavalry, who had an order from the Governor for the 'State arms.' General Smith indorsed [endorsed] his acceptance of the same, and both parties returned to Nauvoo to obtain said arms. After the arms were obtained, both parties took up the line of march for Carthage, where they arrived about five minutes before twelve o'clock at night. Captain Dunn nobly acquitting himself, landed us safely at Hamilton's Hotel.
"In the morning we saw the Governor, and he pledged the faith of the State that we should be protected. General Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested by a warrant founded upon the oaths of H. O. Norton and Augustine Spencer, for treason. Knowing the threats from several persons, that the two Smiths should never leave Carthage alive, we all began to be alarmed for their personal safety. The Governor and General Deming conducted them before the McDonough troops and introduced them as General Joseph Smith and General Hyrum Smith. This maneuver came near raising a mutiny among the 'Carthage Greys,' but the Governor quelled it.
"In the afternoon, after great exertions on the part of our counsel, we dispensed with an investigation, and voluntarily gave bail for our appearance to the Circuit Court, to answer in the case of abating the Nauvoo Expositor as a nuisance.
"At evening the justice made out a mittimus, without an investigation, and committed the two Generals Smith to prison until discharged by due course of law, and they were safely guarded to jail. In the morning the Governor went to the jail and had an interview with these men, and to every appearance all things were explained on both sides.
"The constable then went to take these men from the jail, before the justice for examination, but the jailer refused to let them go, as they were under his direction 'till discharged by due course of law;' but the Governor's troops, to the amount of one or two hundred, took them to the courthouse, when
the hearing was continued till Saturday the 29th, and they were remanded to jail. Several of our citizens had permits from the Governor to lodge with them, and visit them in jail.
"It now began to be rumored by several men, whose names will be forthcoming in time, that there was nothing against these men; the law could not reach them, but powder and ball would! The Governor was made acquainted with these facts, but on the morning of the 27th he disbanded the McDonough troops and sent them home, took Captain Dunn's company of cavalry and proceeded to Nauvoo, leaving these two men and three or four friends to be guarded by eight men at the jail; and a company in town of sixty men, eighty or one hundred rods from the jail as a corps in reserve.
"About six o'clock in the afternoon the guard was surprised by an armed mob of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty, painted red, black, and yellow, which surrounded the jail, forced in-poured a shower of bullets into the room where these unfortunate men were held, 'in durance vile,' to answer to the laws of Illinois; under the solemn pledge of the faith of the State, by Governor Ford, that they should be protected! but the mob ruled!! They fell as martyrs amid this tornado of lead, each receiving four bullets! John Taylor was wounded by four bullets in his limbs, but not seriously. Thus perishes the hope of law; thus vanishes the plighted faith of the State; thus the blood of innocence stains the constituted authorities of the United States; and thus have two among the most noble martyrs since the slaughter of Abel sealed the truth of their divine mission, by being shot by a mob for their religion!
"Messengers were dispatched to Nauvoo, but did not reach there till morning. The following was one of the letters:-
"Twelve o'clock at night, 27th June,
''CARTHAGE, Hamilton's Tavern.
"To Mrs. Emma Smith, and Major-General Dunham, etc.:-The Governor has just arrived; says all things shall be inquired into, and all right measures taken.
"I say to all the citizens of Nauvoo, my brethren, Be still, and know that God reigns. Don't rush out of the city-don t rush to Carthage; stay at home, and be prepared for an attack
from Missouri mobbers. The Governor will render every assistance possible-has sent out orders for troops. Joseph and Hyrum are dead, but not by the Carthage people; the guards were true as I believe.
"We will prepare to move the bodies as soon as possible.
"The people of the county are greatly excited, and fear the Mormons will come out and take vengeance. I have pledged my word the Mormons will stay at home as soon as they can be informed, and no violence will be on their part. And say to my brethren in Nauvoo, in the name of the Lord, Be still; be patient; only let such friends as choose come here to see the bodies. Mr. Taylor's wounds are dressed and not serious; I am sound.
"SAMUEL H. SMITH.
"Defend yourselves until protection can be furnished necessary. June 27, 1844.
"Governor and Commander in Chief.
"Mr. Orson Spencer; Dear Sir:-Please deliberate on this matter; prudence may obviate material destruction. I was at my residence when this horrible crime was committed. It will be condemned by three fourths of the citizens of the county. Be quiet or you will be attacked from Missouri.
"M. R. DEMING.
"The Governor, as well as the citizens of Carthage, was thunderstruck! and fled.
"The legion in Nauvoo was called out at ten a. m. and addressed by Judge Phelps, Colonel Buckmaster, of Alton, the Governor's aid, and others; and all excitement and fury allayed, and preparations were made to receive the bodies of the noble martyrs. About three o'clock they were met by a great assemblage of people, east of the temple on Mulholland Street, under the direction of the city marshal, followed by Samuel H. Smith, the brother of the deceased, Doctor Richards, and Mr. Hamilton, of Carthage. The wagons were guarded by eight men. The procession that followed in Nauvoo, was the City Council, the Lieutenant-General's staff, the Major-General and staff, the Brigadier-General and staff, commanders
and officers of the legion, and citizens generally, which numbered several thousands, amid the most solemn lamentations and wailings that ever ascended into the ears of the Lord of Hosts to be avenged of our enemies!
"When the procession arrived the bodies were both taken into the 'Nauvoo Mansion'; the scene at the mansion cannot be described: the audience was addressed by Doctor Richards, Judge Phelps, Woods and Reid, Esqs., of Iowa, and Colonel Markham. It was a vast assemblage of some eight or ten thousand persons, and with one united voice resolved to trust to the law for a remedy of such a high-handed assassination, and when that failed, to call upon God to avenge us of our wrongs! Oh, widows and orphans! Oh, Americans! weep, for the glory of freedom has departed!
"STATEMENT OF FACTS !
"At the request of many persons who wish that the truth may go forth to the world in relation to the late murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, by a band of lawless assassins, I have consented to make a statement of the facts so far as they have come to my knowledge, in an authentic shape, as one of the attorneys employed to defend the said Smiths against the charges brought against them and other persons at Carthage, in the State of Illinois.
"On Monday the 24th inst., at the request of General Joseph Smith I left Fort Madison, in the Territory of Iowa, and arrived at Carthage, where I expected to meet the General, his brother Hyrum, and the other persons implicated with them; they arrived at Carthage late at night, and next morning voluntarily surrendered themselves to the constable, Mr. Bettisworth, who held the writ against them on a charge of riot for destroying the press, type, and fixtures of the Nauvoo Expositor, the property of William and Wilson Law, and other dissenters, charged to have been destroyed on the 10th inst.
"Great excitement prevailed in the county of Hancock, and had extended to many of the surrounding counties. A large number of the militia of several counties were under arms at Carthage, the headquarters of the commanding General Deming; and many other troops were under arms at
Warsaw and other places in the neighborhood. The Governor was at headquarters in person, for the purpose of seeing that the laws of the land were executed, and had pledged his own faith and the faith of the State of Illinois, that the Smiths and the other persons concerned with them should be protected from personal violence, if they would surrender themselves to be dealt with according to law. During the two succeeding days his Excellency repeatedly expressed to the legal counselors of the Smiths his determination to protect the prisoners, and to see that they should have a fair and impartial examination, so far as depended on the Executive of the State. On Tuesday morning, soon after the surrender of the prisoners on the charge of riot, General Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were both arrested on a charge of treason against the State of Illinois. The affidavits upon which the writs issued were made by Henry O. Norton and Augustine Spencer.
"On Tuesday afternoon the two Smiths and other persons on the charge of riot appeared before R. F. Smith, a justice of the peace residing at Carthage; and by advice of counsel, in order to prevent if possible any increase of excitement, voluntarily entered into recognizance in the sum of five hundred dollars each with unexceptionable security, for their appearance at the next term of the Circuit Court for said county. The whole number of persons recognized is fifteen, most if not all of them leading men in the Mormon Church.
"Making out the bonds and justifying bail necessarily consumed considerable time, and when this was done it was near night, and the justice adjourned his court over without calling on the Smiths to answer to the charge of treason, or even intimating to their counsel or the prisoners that they were expected to enter into the examination that night. In less than an hour after the adjournment of the court, Constable Bettisworth, who had arrested the prisoners in the morning, appeared at Hamilton's Hotel, at the lodgings of the prisoners and their counsel, and insisted that the Smiths should go to jail. Mr. Woods, of Burlington, Iowa, and myself, as counsel for the prisoners, insisted that they were entitled to be brought before the justice for examination,
before they could be sent to jail. The constable to our surprise thereupon exhibited a mittimus from said justice as follows:-
"STATE OF ILLINOIS}
"The people of the State of Illinois, to the keeper of the jail of the said county Greeting:-
"Whereas Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith of the county aforesaid have been arrested upon the oath of Augustine Spencer and Henry O. Norton, for the crime of treason, and has been brought before me as a justice of the peace in and for said county, for trial at the seat of justice thereof, which trial has been necessarily postponed by reason of the absence of material witnesses; to wit: Francis M. Higbee and others; therefore I command you in the name of the people to receive the said Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith into your custody in the jail of the county aforesaid, there to remain until discharged by due course of law.
"Given under my hand and seal this 25th day of June, A. D. 1844.
"R. F. SMITH, J. P. [L. S.]
"His Excellency did not think it within the sphere of his duty to interfere, and the prisoners were removed from their lodgings to jail. The recitals of the mittimus so far as they relate to the prisoners having been brought before the justice for trial, and it there appearing that the necessary witnesses of the prosecution were absent, is wholly untrue, unless the prisoners could have appeared before the justice without being present in person or by counsel; nor is there any law of Illinois within my knowledge which permits a justice to commit persons charged with crimes, to jail without examination as to the probability of their guilt.
"On Wednesday forenoon the Governor in company with one of his friends visited the prisoners at the jail, and again assured them that they should be protected from violence, and told them that if the troops marched the next morning to Nauvoo as his Excellency then expected, they should be taken along in order to insure their personal safety.
"On the same morning some one or more of the counsel
for the prosecution expressed their wish to me that the prisoners should be brought out of jail for examination. They were answered that the prisoners had already been committed, and that the justice and constable had no further control of the prisoners; and that if the prosecutors wished the prisoners brought out of jail, they should bring them out on a writ of habeas corpus or some other due course of law. The constable after this conversation went to the jail with the following order to the jailer:-
"STATE OF ILLINOIS}
"To David Bettisworth, constable of said county--
"You are commanded to bring the bodies of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith from the jail of said county, forthwith, before me at my office, for an examination on the charge of treason, they having been committed for safe keeping until trial could be had on such examination and the State now being ready for such examination.
"Given under my hand and seal this 26th day of June, 1844.
"(Signed,) R. F. SMITH, J. P. [L. S.]
And demanded the prisoners, but as the jailer could find no law authorizing a justice of the peace to demand prisoners committed to his charge, he refused to give them up until discharged from his custody by due course of law. Upon the refusal to give up the prisoners, the company of Carthage Greys marched to the jail, by whose orders I know not, and compelled the jailer against his will and conviction of duty to deliver the prisoners to the constable, who forthwith took them before Justice Smith, the captain of the Carthage Greys. The counsel for prisoners then appeared and asked for subpnas for witnesses on the part of the prisoners, and expressed their wish to go into the examination, as the witnesses could be brought from Nauvoo to Carthage. The justice thereupon fixed the examination for twelve o'clock on Thursday the 27th inst.; whereupon the prisoners were remanded to prison.
"Soon after a council of the military officers was called by the Governor, and it was determined to march on the next morning, the 27th inst, to Nauvoo, with all the troops,
except one company which was to be selected by the Governor from the troops whose fidelity was more to be relied on to guard the prisoners whom it was determined should be left at Carthage.
"On Thursday morning another consultation of officers took place, and the former orders for marching to Nauvoo with the whole army were countermanded. One company were ordered to accompany the Governor to Nauvoo; the Carthage Greys, who had but two days before been under arrest for insulting the commanding General, and whose conduct had been more hostile to the prisoners than that of any other company, were selected to guard the prisoners, and the other troops, including those rendezvoused at Golden's Point, from Warsaw, and who had been promised that they should be marched to Nauvoo, were disbanded. A guard of only eight men was stationed at the jail, whilst the rest of the Greys were in camp at a quarter of a mile's distance, and whilst his Excellency was haranguing the peaceable citizens of Nauvoo, and asking them to give up all their own arms, the assassins were murdering the prisoners in jail, whom the Governor had pledged himself and the faith of the State to protect.
"H T. REID."
Mr. Reid's associate attorney, James W. Woods, of Burlington, Iowa, also made a statement, in harmony with the foregoing; which was also published in the Times and Seasons, following that of Mr. Reid's.
"To the People of the State of Illinois:-
"I desire to make a brief but true statement of the recent disgraceful affair at Carthage, in regard to the Smiths, so far as circumstances have come to my knowledge. The Smiths, Joseph and Hyrum, have been assassinated in jail, by whom it is not known, but will be ascertained. I pledged myself for their safety, and upon the assurance of that pledge they surrendered as prisoners. The Mormons surrendered the public arms in their possession, and the Nauvoo Legion submitted to the command of Captain Singleton, of Brown County, deputed for that purpose by me. All these things were required to satisfy the old citizens of
Hancock that the Mormons were peaceably disposed, and to allay jealousy and excitement in their minds. It appears however that the compliance of the Mormons with every requisition made upon them failed of that purpose. The pledge of security to the Smiths was not given upon my individual responsibility. Before I gave it I obtained a pledge of honor, by an unanimous vote from the officers and men under my command to sustain me in performing it. If the assassination of the Smiths was committed by any portion of these, they have added treachery to murder, and have done all they could to disgrace the State and sully the public honor.
"On the morning of the day the deed was committed, we had proposed to march the army under my command into Nauvoo. I had, however, discovered on the evening before, that nothing but utter destruction of the city would satisfy a portion of the troops; and that if we marched into the city, pretexts would not be wanting for commencing hostilities. The Mormons had done everything required or which ought to have been required of them. Offensive operations on our part would have been as unjust and disgraceful as they would have been impolitic, in the present critical season of the year, the harvest, and the crops. For these reasons I decided, in a council of officers, to disband the army, except three companies, two of which were reserved as a guard for the jail. With the other company I marched into Nauvoo, to address the inhabitants there, and tell them what they might expect in case they designedly or imprudently provoked a war. I performed this duty, as I think plainly and emphatically, and then set out to return to Carthage. When I had marched about three miles a messenger informed me of the occurrences at Carthage. I hastened on to that place. The guard, it is said, did their duty, but were overpowered. Many of the inhabitants of Carthage had fled with their families. Others were preparing to go. I apprehended danger to the settlements from the sudden fury and passion of the Mormons, and sanctioned their movements in this respect.
"General Deming volunteered to remain with a few troops,
to observe the progress of events, to defend property against small numbers, and with orders to retreat if menaced by a superior force. I decided to proceed immediately to Quincy, to prepare a force sufficient to suppress disorders, in case it should ensue from the foregoing transactions or from any other cause. I have hopes that the Mormons will make no further difficulties. In this I may be mistaken. The other party may not be satisfied. They may recommence aggression. I am determined to preserve the peace against all breakers of the same, at all hazards. I think present circumstances warrant the precaution of having competent force at my disposal in readiness to march at a moment's warning. My position at Quincy will enable me to get the earliest intelligence, and to communicate orders with greater celerity.
"I have decided to issue the following general orders:-
"Headquarters, QUINCY, June 29, 1844.
"It is ordered that the commandants of regiments in the counties of Adams. Marquette, Pike, Brown, Schuyler, Morgan, Scott, Cass, Fulton, and McDonough, and the regiments composing General Stapp's brigade, will call their respective regiments and battalions together immediately upon the receipt of this order, and proceed by voluntary enlistment to enroll as many men as can be armed in their respective regiments. They will make arrangements for a campaign of twelve days, and will provide themselves with arms, ammunition, and provisions accordingly, and hold themselves in readiness immediately to march upon the receipt of further orders.
"The independent companies of riflemen, infantry, cavalry, and artillery in the above-named counties and in the county of Sangamon will hold themselves in readiness in like manner.
"Governor and Commander in Chief.
"SIGNS OF PEACE!
"Colonel Fellows and Captain Jonas are requested to proceed by the first boat to Nauvoo and ascertain what is the
feeling, disposition, and determination of the people there, in reference to the late disturbances; ascertain whether any of them propose in any manner to revenge themselves, whether any threats have been used, and what is proposed generally to be done by them. They are also requested to return to Warsaw and make similar inquiries there; ascertain how far false rumors have been put afloat for the purpose of raising forces; what is the purpose of the militia assembled, whether any attack is intended on Nauvoo. Ascertain also whether any persons from Missouri or Iowa intend to take part in the matter, and in my name forbid any such interference, without my request, on pain of being demanded for punishment.
"(Signed) THOMAS FORD.
"June 30, 1844.
"NAUVOO, July 1, 1844.
"TO THE CITY COUNCIL OF NAUVOO;
"Gentlemen:-With this you will receive a copy of instructions, from Governor Ford to us. You will understand from them what we desire from you in action on your part,-as the only authorities of your city now known to the country, of such a character as will pacify the public mind, and satisfy the Governor of your determination to sustain the supremacy of the laws, will, we are sure, be gratifying to him, and as much so to
"At a meeting of the City Council, held in the council room in the city of Nauvoo, on the first day of July, 1844, having received instructions from Governor Ford, through the agency of A. Jonas, Esq., and Colonel Fellows, it was unanimously
"Resolved, for the purpose of insuring peace and promoting the welfare of the county of Hancock and surrounding country, that we will rigidly sustain the laws, and the Governor of the State, so long as they and he sustain us in all our constitutional rights.
"Resolved, secondly, that to carry the foregoing resolutions into complete effect, that inasmuch as the Governor has taken from us the public arms, that we solicit of him to do the same with all the rest of the public arms of the State.
"Resolved, thirdly, to further secure the peace, friendship, and happiness of the people, and allay the excitement that now exists, we will reprobate private revenge on the assassinators of General Joseph Smith, and General Hyrum Smith, by any of the Latter Day Saints. That instead of 'an appeal to arms,' we appeal to the majesty of the law, and will be content with whatever judgment it shall award; and should the law fail, we leave the matter with God.
"Resolved, unanimously, that this City Council, pledge themselves for the city of Nauvoo, that no aggressions by the citizens of said city shall be made on the citizens of the surrounding country, but we invite them, as friends and neighbors to use the Savior's golden rule, and 'do unto others as they would have others do unto them,' and we will do likewise.
"Resolved, lastly, that we highly approve of the present public pacific course of the Governor to allay excitement and restore peace among the citizens of the country, and while he does so, and will use his influence to stop all vexatious proceedings in law, until confidence is restored, so that the citizens of Nauvoo can go to Carthage or any other place for trial, without exposing themselves to the violence of assassins, we will uphold him and the law by all honorable means.
"GEORGE W. HARRIS, President pro tem.
"WILLARD RICHARDS, Recorder.
"A. Jonas, Esq., and Col. Fellows:-
"Messrs:-In reply to your communication to the City Council of the city of Nauvoo, on behalf of his Excellency Governor Ford, I have been instructed by the council to communicate the foregoing resolutions, for which I respectfully solicit your consideration, and at the same time would inform you that a public meeting of our citizens will take
place at the stand east of the temple, at four p. m., and solicit your attendance.
"Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
"At a meeting of a large portion of citizens of Nauvoo, convened at the stand, in the afternoon of July 1, 1844, after hearing the above instructions and resolutions of the City Council read, and being addressed by A. Jonas, Esq., and others, the meeting responded to the same with a hearty amen! The citizens then passed a vote of thanks to the Governor's agents for their kindly interference in favor of peace among the citizens of Hancock County and elsewhere around us. They also passed a vote of thanks to Messrs. Wood and Reid, the counsel for the Generals Smith for their great exertions to have evenhanded justice meted to the Latter Day Saints: and they also passed a vote of thanks to Messrs. Chambers and Field, the former one of the editors of the Missouri Republican. and the latter one of the editors of the Reveille of St. Louis, for their honorable course of coming to Nauvoo for facts, instead of spreading rumors, concerning the Latter Day Saints. Mr. Chambers made a very appropriate speech containing innuendoes for the benefit of our citizens, that appeared as the wise man said: 'Like apples of gold in pictures of silver.' They also passed a vote of thanks to Messrs. Wood and Conyers, mayor and ex-mayor of Quincy, for their friendly disposition in establishing peace in this region, and we are happy to say that all appears to be peace at Nauvoo.
"Headquarters, QUINCY, June 30, 1844.
"Sir:-It is my present opinion that the Mormons will not commit any further outbreak, and that no further alarm need be apprehended. I regret to learn that the party in Hancock who are in favor of violent measures have circulated a thousand false rumors of danger, for the purpose of getting men together without my authority, hoping that when assembled they may be ready to join in their violent
councils; this is a fraud upon the country and must not be endured.
"I am afraid the people of Hancock are fast depriving themselves of the sympathy of their fellow citizens, and of the world. I strictly order and enjoin on you that you permit no attack on Nauvoo, or any of the people without my authority. I think it would be best to disband your forces, unless it should be necessary to retain them to suppress violence on either side, of this you must be the judge at present.
"I direct that you immediately order all persons from Missouri and Iowa to leave the camp and return to their respective houses without delay.
"I direct also that you cause all mutinous persons and all persons who advise tumultuous proceedings to be arrested; and that you take energetic measures to stop the practice of spreading false reports put in circulation to inflame the public mind.
"(Signed) THOMAS FORD, Commander in Chief.
"To Brigadier-General Deming, Carthage. Illinois."
The foregoing quotations, beginning with the account headed, "Awful Assassination," etc., are taken from the Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 560-567.
In the editorial column of the same issue of that paper a pacific and commendable statement was published over the signatures of W W. Phelps, W. Richards, and John Taylor. 1
1 TO THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS.
Deeply impressed for the welfare of all, while mourning the great loss of President Joseph Smith, our "prophet and seer," and President Hyrum Smith, our "patriarch," we have considered the occasion demanded of us a word of consolation. As has been the case in all ages, these saints have fallen martyrs for the truth's sake, and their escape from the persecution of a wicked world, in blood to bliss, only strengthens our faith, and confirms our religion, as pure and holy. We, therefore, as servants of the Most High God, having the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, together with thousands of witnesses for Jesus Christ, would beseech the Latter Day Saints in Nauvoo, and elsewhere, to hold fast to the faith that has been delivered to them in the last days, abiding in the perfect law of the gospel. Be peaceable, quiet citizens, doing the works of righteousness, and as soon as the "Twelve" and other authorities can assemble, or a majority of them, the onward course to the great gathering of Israel, and the final consummation of the dispensation
In September or October, 1844, at the instance of the Governor, Murray McConnell, a noted attorney of Jacksonville, Illinois, was sent into Hancock County to investigate. The result of this inquiry was that writs were issued by Aaron Johnson, a justice of the peace at Nauvoo, for the arrest of Levi Williams, Thomas C. Sharp, Joseph H. Jackson, William Law, Wilson Law, Robert D. Foster, and Charles A. Foster. The writs were duly served on all of them, except Williams. Those served refused to go to Nauvoo for a hearing, and no attempt was made to take them there.
At the October term of the Hancock Circuit Court the grand jury brought in two bills of indictment against nine persons, one for the murder of Joseph Smith, and one for the murder of Hyrum Smith. The names of those indicted were Levi Williams, Jacob C. Davis, Mark Aldrich, Thomas C. Sharp, William Voras, John Wills, William N. Grover, -Gallaher, and -Allen.
The trial of these cases occurred before Hon. Richard M. Young, judge, and lasted from May 9, 1845, to May 30, when a verdict of "not guilty," was returned in each case. There is but little doubt of the guilt of each one of these parties. The above account is extracted from '"The Prophet of Palmyra," by Gregg. 2
of the fullness of times, will be pointed out; so that the murder of Abel, the assassination of hundreds, the righteous blood of all the holy prophets, from Abel to Joseph, sprinkled with the best blood of the Son of God, as the crimson sign of remission, only carries conviction to the business and bosoms of all flesh, that the cause is just and will continue; and blessed are they that hold out faithful to the end, while apostates, consenting to the shedding of innocent blood, have no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come. Union is peace, brethren, and eternal life is the greatest gift of God. Rejoice then, that you are found worthy to live and die for God: men may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul, and wisdom shall be justified of her children: Amen.
W. W. PHELPS.
July 1, l844.
2An extract from Judge Young's charge to the jury is significant:-
"That when the evidence is circumstantial, admitting all to be proven which the evidence tends to prove, if then the jury can make any supposition consistent with the facts, by which the murder might have been committed without the agency of the defendants, it will be their duty to make that supposition, and find the defendants not guilty.
It is but fair to Governor Ford to give his account of these events. His account also contains some items of historical value.
It is as follows:-
"On the 23d or 24th day of June, Joseph Smith, the Mayor of Nauvoo, together with his brother Hyrum, and all the members of the council, and all others demanded, came into Carthage and surrendered themselves prisoners to the constable, on the charge of riot. They all voluntarily entered into a recognizance before the justice of the peace for their appearance at court to answer the charge. And all of them were discharged from custody, except Joseph and Hyrum Smith, against whom the magistrate had issued a new writ, on a complaint for treason. They were immediately arrested by the constable, on this new charge, and retained in his custody, to answer it.
"The overt act of treason charged against them consisted in the alleged levying of war against the State by declaring martial law in Nauvoo, and in ordering out the legion to resist the posse comitatus. Their actual guiltiness of the charge would depend upon circumstances. If their opponents had been seeking to put the law in force in good faith, and nothing more, then an array of a military force in open resistance to the posse comitatus and the militia of the State, most probably would have amounted to treason. But if those opponents merely intended to use the process of the law, the militia of the State, and the posse comitatus, as catspaws to compass the possession of their persons for the purpose of murdering them afterwards, as the sequel demonstrated the fact to be, it might well be doubted whether they were guilty of treason.
"Soon after the surrender of the Smiths, at their request
"That, in making up their verdict, they will exclude from their consideration all that was testified by Daniels, Brackenbury, and Miss Graham (witnesses).
"That, whenever the probability is of a definite and limited nature, whether in the proportion of one hundred to one, or of one thousand to one, or any ratio, is immaterial, it cannot be safely made the ground of conviction; for to act upon it in any case, would be to decide that for the sake of convicting many criminals the life of an innocent man might be sacrificed. (Starkie. 508)"-Gregg, pp. 300, 301.
I dispatched Captain Singleton with his company from Brown County, to Nauvoo, to guard the town; and I authorized him to take command of the legion. He reported to me afterwards that he called out the legion for inspection, and that upon two hours' notice two thousand of them assembled, all of them armed; and this after the public arms had been taken away from them. So it appears that they have a sufficiency of private arms for any reasonable purpose.
"After the Smiths had been arrested on the new charge of treason, the justice of the peace postponed the examination, because neither of the parties were prepared with their witnesses for trial. In the meantime he committed them to the jail of the county, for greater security.
"In all this matter the justice of the peace and constable, though humble in office, were acting in a high and independent capacity, far beyond any legal power in me to control. I considered that the executive power could only be called in to assist, and not to dictate or control their action; that in the humble sphere of their duties they were as independent, and clothed with as high authority by the law, as the Executive department; and that my province was, simply, to aid them with the force of the State. It is true, that so far as I could prevail on them by advice, I endeavored to do so. The prisoners were not in military custody, or prisoners of war; and I could no more legally control these officers than I could the superior courts of justice.
"Some persons have supposed that I ought to have had them sent to some more distant and friendly part of the State for confinement and trial, and that I ought to have searched them for concealed arms; but these surmises and suppositions are readily disposed of by the fact that they were not my prisoners, but were the prisoners of the constable and jailor [jailer], under the direction of the justice of the peace.
"The jail in which they were confined is a considerable stone building; containing a residence for the jailer, cells for the close and secure confinement of prisoners, and one larger room, not so strong, but more airy and comfortable than the cells. They were put into the cells by the jailer;
but upon their remonstrance and request, and by my advice, they were transferred to the larger room; and there they remained until the final catastrophe. Neither they nor I seriously apprehended an attack on the jail through the guard stationed to protect it. Nor did I apprehend the least danger on their part to escape; for I was very sure that any such an attempt would have been the signal of their immediate death. Indeed if they had escaped, it would have been fortunate for the purposes of those who were anxious for the expulsion of the Mormon population; for the great body of that people would most assuredly have followed their prophet and principal leaders, as they did in their flight from Missouri. Since their death, no one has arisen of influence enough to lead them in a similar manner.
"The force assembled at Carthage amounted to about twelve or thirteen hundred men; and it was calculated that four or five hundred more were assembled at Warsaw. Nearly all that portion resident in Hancock were anxious to be marched into Nauvoo. This measure was supposed to be necessary, to search for counterfeit money, and the apparatus to make it; and also to strike a salutary terror into the Mormon people, by an exhibition of the force of the State; and thereby prevent future outrages, murders, robberies, burnings and the like, apprehended as the effect of Mormon vengeance, on those who had taken a part against them. On my part, at one time this arrangement was agreed to. The morning of the 27th day of June was appointed for the march; and Golden's point, near the Mississippi River, and about equidistant from Nauvoo and Warsaw, was selected as the place of rendezvous. I had determined to prevail on the justice to bring out his prisoners, and take them along. A council of officers, however, determined that this would be highly inexpedient and dangerous; and offered such substantial reasons for their opinions as induced me to change my resolution.
"Two or three days' preparations had been made for this expedition. I observed that some of the people became more and more excited and inflammatory, the further the preparations were advanced. Occasional threats came to
my ears, of destroying the city and murdering or expelling the inhabitants.
"I had no objection to ease the terrors of the people by such a display of force; and was most anxious also to search for the alleged apparatus for making counterfeit money; and in fact to inquire into all the charges against that people, if I could have been assured of my command against mutiny and insubordination. But I gradually learned to my entire satisfaction that there was a plan to get the troops into Nauvoo, and then to begin the war, probably by some of our own party, or some of the seceding Mormons, taking advantage of the night, to fire on our own force, and then laying it on the Mormons. I was satisfied that there were those amongst us fully capable of such an act; hoping that in the alarm, bustle, and confusion of a militia camp, the truth could not be discovered, and that it might lead to the desired collision.
"I had many objections to be made the dupe of any such or similar artifice. I was openly and boldly opposed to any attack on the city, unless it should become necessary, to arrest prisoners legally charged and demanded. Indeed if anyone will reflect upon the number of women, inoffensive young persons, and innocent children, which must be contained in such a city, of twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants, it would seem to me his heart would relent and rebel against such violent resolutions. Nothing but the most blinded and obdurate fury could incite a person, even if he had the power, to the willingness of driving such persons, bare and houseless, onto the prairies, to starve, suffer, and even steal, as they must have done for subsistence. No one who has children of his own, could think of it for a moment.
"Besides this, if we had been ever so much disposed to commit such an act of wickedness, we evidently had not the power to do it. I was well assured that the Mormons, at a short notice, could muster as many as two or three thousand well-armed men. We had not more than seventeen hundred; with three pieces of cannon and about twelve hundred stand of small arms. We had provisions for two days only; and would be compelled to disband at the end of that time. To
think of beginning a war under such circumstances, was a plain absurdity. If the Mormons had succeeded in repulsing our attack, as most likely would have been the case, the country must necessarily be given up to their ravages until a new force could be assembled, and provisions made for its subsistence. Or if we should have succeeded in driving them from their city, they would have scattered over the country; and being justly incensed at our barbarity, and suffering with privation and hunger, would have spread desolation all over the country, without any possibility on our part, with the force we then had, of preventing it. Again, they would have had the advantage of being able to subsist their force in the field, by plundering their enemies.
"All these considerations were duly urged by me upon the attention of a council of officers convened on the morning of the 27th of June. I also urged upon the council that such wanton and unprovoked barbarity on their part would turn the sympathy of the people in the surrounding counties in favor of the Mormons; and thereafter, it would be impossible to raise a volunteer militia force, to protect such a people against them. Many of the officers admitted that there might be danger of collision. But such was the blind fury prevailing at the time, though not showing itself by much visible excitement, that a small majority of the council adhered to the first resolution of marching into Nauvoo; most of the officers of the Schuyler and McDonough militia, voting against it, and most of those of the county of Hancock voting in its favor.
"A very responsible duty now devolved upon me, to determine whether I would, as Commander in Chief, be governed by the advice of this majority. I had no hesitation in deciding that I would not; but on the contrary, I ordered the troops to be disbanded, both at Carthage and Warsaw, with the exception of three companies, two of which were retained as a guard to the jail, and the other was retained to accompany me to Nauvoo.
"The officers insisted much in council upon the necessity of marching to that place to search for apparatus to make counterfeit money, and more particularly to terrify the Mormons
from attempting any open or secret measures of vengeance against the citizens of the county who had taken a part against them or their leaders. To ease their terrors on this head I proposed to them that I would myself proceed to the city, accompanied by a small force, make the proposed search, and deliver an address to the Mormons, and tell them plainly what degree of excitement and hatred prevailed against them in the minds of the whole people; and that if any open or secret violence should be committed on the persons or property of those who had taken part against them, that no one would doubt but that it had been perpetrated by them; and that it would be the sure and certain means of the destruction of their city and the extermination of their people.
"I ordered two companies under the command of Captain R. F. Smith, of the Carthage Greys, to guard the jail. In selecting these companies, and particularly the company of the Carthage Greys, for this service, I have been subjected to some censure. It has been said that this company had already been guilty of mutiny and had been ordered to be arrested, whilst in the encampment at Carthage; and that they and their officers were the deadly enemies of the prisoners. Indeed it would have been difficult to find friends of the prisoners, under my command, unless I had called in the Mormons as a guard; and this, I was satisfied, would have led to the immediate war and the sure death of the prisoners.
"It is true that this company had behaved badly towards the Brigadier-General in command, on the occasion when the prisoners were shown along the line of the McDonough militia. This company had been ordered as a guard. They were under the belief that the prisoners who were arrested for a capital offense were shown to the troops in a kind of triumph, and that they had been called on as a triumphal escort to grace the procession. They also entertained a very bad feeling towards the Brigadier-General who commanded their service on the occasion. The truth is, however, that this company was never ordered to be arrested; that the Smiths were not shown to the McDonough troops as a mark of honor and triumph, but were shown to them at the urgent request of the troops themselves, to gratify their curiosity
in beholding persons who had made themselves so notorious in the country.
"When the Carthage Greys ascertained what was the true motive in showing the prisoners to the troops they were perfectly satisfied. All due atonement was made on their part for their conduct to the Brigadier-General, and they cheerfully returned to their duty.
"Although I knew that this company were the enemies of the Smiths, yet I had confidence in their loyalty and integrity, because their captain was universally spoken of as a most respectable citizen and honorable man. The company itself was an old independent company, well armed, uniformed, and drilled; and the members of it were the elite of the militia of the country. I relied upon this company especially, because it was an independent company, for a long time instructed and practiced in military discipline and subordination. I also had their word and honor, officers and men, to do their duty according to law. Besides all this the officers and most of the men resided in Carthage, in the near vicinity of Nauvoo; and, as I thought, must know that they would make themselves and their property convenient and conspicuous marks of Mormon vengeance in case they were guilty of treachery.
"I had at first intended to select a guard from the county of McDonough; but the militia of that county were very much dissatisfied to remain; their crops were suffering at home; they were in a perfect fever to be discharged; and I was destitute of provisions to supply them for more than a few days. They were far from home, where they could not supply themselves; whilst the Carthage company could board at their own houses and would be put to little inconvenience in comparison.
"What gave me greater confidence in the selection of this company as a prudent measure was that the selection was first suggested and urged by the Brigadier-General in command, who was well known to be utterly hostile to all mobocracy and violence towards the prisoners, and who was openly charged by the violent party with being on the side of the Mormons. At any rate. I knew that the jail would
have to be guarded as long as the prisoners were confined; that an imprisonment for treason might last the whole summer and the greater part of the autumn, before a trial could be had in the Circuit Court; that it would be utterly impossible in the circumstances of the country to keep a force there from a foreign county for so long a time; and that a time must surely come when the duty of guarding the jail would necessarily devolve on the citizens of the county.
"It is true, also, that at this time I had not believed or suspected that any attack was to be made upon the prisoners in jail. It is true that I was aware that a great deal of hatred existed against them, and that there were those who would do them an injury if they could. I had heard of some threats being made, but none of an attack upon the prisoners whilst in jail. These threats seemed to be made by individuals, not acting in concert. They were no more than the bluster which might have been expected, and furnished no indication of numbers combining for this or any other purpose.
"I must here be permitted to say also that frequent appeals had been made to me to make a clean and thorough work of the matter by exterminating the Mormons or expelling them from the State. An opinion seemed generally to prevail that the sanction of Executive authority would legalize the act; and all persons of any influence, authority, or note who conversed with me on the subject frequently and repeatedly stated their total unwillingness to act without my direction, or in any mode except according to law.
"This was a circumstance well calculated to conceal from me the secret machinations on foot. I had constantly contended against violent measures, and so had the Brigadier-General in command; and I am convinced that unusual pains were taken to conceal from both of us the secret measures resolved upon. It has been said, however, that some person named Williams, in a public speech at Carthage, called for volunteers to murder the Smiths, and that I ought to have had him arrested. Whether such a speech was really made or not, is yet unknown to me. I have heard the report of it for the first time within the last few weeks.
"Having ordered the guard, and discharged the residue of the militia, I immediately departed for Nauvoo, eighteen miles distant, accompanied by Colonel Buckmaster, Quartermaster-General, and Captain Dunn's company of dragoons.
"After we had proceeded four miles Colonel Buckmaster intimated to me a suspicion that an attack would be made on the jail. He stated the matter as a mere suspicion, arising from having seen two persons converse together at Carthage with some air of mystery. I myself entertained no suspicion of such an attack; at any rate none before the next day, in the afternoon, because it was notorious that we had departed from Carthage with the declared intention of being absent at least two days. I could not believe that any person would attack the jail whilst we were in Nauvoo, and thereby expose my life and the lives of my companions to the sudden vengeance of the Mormons, upon hearing of the death of their leaders. Nevertheless, acting upon the principle of providing against mere possibilities, I sent back one of the company, with a special order to Captain Smith to guard the jail strictly and at the peril of his life, until my return.
"We proceeded on our journey four miles further. By this time I had convinced myself that no attack would be made on the jail that day or night. I supposed that a regard for my safety and the safety of my companions would prevent an attack until those to be engaged in it could be assured of our departure from Nauvoo. I still think that this ought to have appeared to me to be a reasonable supposition.
"I therefore determined at this point to omit making the search for counterfeit money in Nauvoo, and defer an examination of all the other abominations charged on that people, in order to return to Carthage that same night, that I might be on the ground in person, in time to prevent an attack on the jail, if any had been meditated. To this end we called a halt; the baggage wagons were ordered to remain where they were until towards evening, and then return to Carthage.
"Having made these arrangements, we proceeded on our march and arrived at Nauvoo about four o'clock of the afternoon
of the 27th day of June. As soon as notice could be given a crowd of the citizens assembled to hear an address which I proposed to deliver them. The number present has been variously estimated from one to five thousand.
"In this address I stated to them how and in what their functionaries had violated the laws; also the many scandalous reports in circulation against them, and that these reports, whether true or false, were generally believed by the people. I distinctly stated to them the amount of hatred and prejudice which prevailed everywhere against them, and the causes of it, at length.
"I also told them plainly and emphatically that if any vengeance should be attempted openly or secretly against the persons or property of the citizens who had taken part against their leaders, that the public hatred and excitement was such that thousands would assemble for the total destruction of their city and the extermination of their people; and that no power in the State would be able to prevent it. During this address some impatience and resentment were manifested by the Mormons at the recital of the various reports enumerated concerning them, which they strenuously and indignantly denied to be true. They claimed to be law-abiding people, and insisted that as they looked to the law alone for their protection, so were they careful themselves to observe its provisions. Upon the conclusion of this address I proposed to take a vote on the question, whether they would strictly observe the laws, even in opposition to their prophet and leaders. The vote was unanimous in favor of this proposition.
"A short time before sundown we departed on our return to Carthage. When we had proceeded two miles we met two individuals, one of them a Mormon, who informed us that the Smiths had been assassinated in jail about five or six o'clock of that day. The intelligence seemed to strike everyone with a kind of dumbness. As to myself, it was perfectly astounding, and I anticipated the very worst consequences from it. The Mormons had been represented to me as a law-less, infatuated, and fanatical people, not governed by the ordinary motives which influence the majority of mankind.
If so, most likely an exterminating war would ensue, and the whole land would be covered with desolation.
"Acting upon this supposition it was my duty to provide as well as I could for the event. I therefore ordered the two messengers into custody, and to be returned with us to Carthage. This was done to get time to make such arrangement as could be made, and to prevent any sudden explosion of Mormon excitement before they could be written to, by their friends at Carthage. I also dispatched messengers to Warsaw to advise the citizens of the event. But the people there knew all about the matter before my messengers arrived. They, like myself, anticipated a general attack all over the country. The women and children were removed across the river and a committee was dispatched that night to Quincy for assistance. The next morning by daylight the ringing of all the bells in the city announced a public meeting. The people assembled in great numbers at an early hour. The Warsaw committee stated to the meeting that a party of Mormons had attempted to rescue the Smiths out of jail; that a party of Missourians and others had killed the prisoners to prevent their escape; that the Governor and his party were at Nauvoo at the time when intelligence of the fact was brought there; that they had been attacked by the Nauvoo Legion, and had retreated to a house, where they were then closely besieged; that the Governor had sent out word that he could maintain his position for two days, and would be certain to be massacred if assistance did not arrive by the end of that time. It is unnecessary to say that this entire story was a fabrication. It was of a piece with the other reports put into circulation by the Anti-Mormon party, to influence the public mind, and call the people to their assistance. The effect of it, however, was that by ten o'clock on the 28th of June, between two and three hundred men from Quincy, under the command of Major Flood, embarked on board of a steamboat for Nauvoo, to assist in raising the siege, as they honestly believed."-Governor Ford's Message of December 23, 1844.
By the foregoing it will be seen that according to Governor Ford's opinion the Smiths were not guilty of treason.
Of subsequent events connected with this trouble, Governor Ford in this same message wrote as follows:-
"I omit to say anything of the manner of the murder of the Smiths; or of the persons by whom the murder was committed, because several persons are under indictment for their supposed share in the act; and it is not proper that I should say anything which might possibly prejudice a fair and impartial trial.
"It has always appeared to me, however, that the persons who committed the deed ought to be made to answer for their crime. The honor of the State and the supremacy of the laws seemed to be compromitted; a trial ought to be insisted on, exactly as in other cases; and if the accused have all the matters of defense and justification on their side, which they claim, they will be able to show them to the court.
"During the latter part of August and first of September last I observed that the anti-Mormon paper, in Hancock County, renewed its attacks on the Mormons; every number of which groaned with charges of larcenies and robberies and meditated outrages. By this fact, connected with my previous information, I was certain that the time was approaching when a new attempt was to be made to expel the Mormons. In a short time afterwards I ascertained that the officers of the militia in Hancock County had appointed a grand military parade at Warsaw to come off on the 26th day of October. Circulars were printed, signed by these officers, and extensively circulated in Iowa Territory, in the State of Missouri, and in the neighboring counties, inviting the militia in all those parts to attend the parade, and to come prepared for a six days' encampment.
"It was also extensively given out that there was to be a grand wolf hunt; and that the Mormons and Jack-Mormons, were the wolves to be hunted. A large number engaged in getting up this movement openly stated that the object of it was to make war on the Mormons.
"I could not hesitate as to what duty required. The State had already been in danger of disgrace by a treacherous and cowardly murder. The Mormons had been peaceable, submissive, and quiet ever since the death of the
Smiths; and contrary to general expectation, instead of attempting to avenge themselves, either openly or secretly, had quietly and patiently submitted to the slow operation of the laws to redress their grievances.
"They were human beings, and citizens of the State. They had not been disfranchised by law, and were constitutionally entitled to protection.
"From respect to the prejudices of my fellow citizens I declined to authorize the legion to be called out, to suppress disturbances; but immediately issued a call for volunteers from the State militia.
"The call was answered by four or five hundred men. I requested General Hardin to take the command. He did so with alacrity, thereby exhibiting a patriotic devotion in maintaining the supremacy of the law, even against the advice of many of his personal and political friends.
"We marched with as much alacrity as possible and arrived in Hancock County on the 25th day of October. The malcontents abandoned their design, and I believe all the leaders of it fled to Missouri. The Carthage Greys fled almost in a body; and every one fled who, from his previous conduct, supposed himself obnoxious as a leader.
"During our presence in the county writs were taken out against three persons charged with the murder of the Smiths. They also fled to Missouri. As for myself, although I was determined from the first, for the honor of the State, that this murder should be fully inquired into, and some of the guilty brought to trial, yet I was never anxious to proceed with the full rigor of the law. I always insisted that the prosecutions should be limited to a few individuals, and I was utterly opposed to all such unnecessary harshness as would excite sympathy in their favor.
"For this reason I consented to advise the prosecuting attorney to admit them to bail and to agree to a continuance of the cause, if desired by the defendants. Upon this arrangement being made, to which I was also advised by General Hardin and Colonel Baker, the persons accused surrendered themselves to the sheriff.
"The militia were disbanded next morning and returned
home, after a campaign of about thirteen days."-Governor Ford's Message of December 23,1844, pp. 19, 20.
By the above it will be seen that the officers of militia were aiders and abettors of the mob; that the murderers found an asylum in Missouri, and that the Carthage Greys betrayed their guilt by fleeing at the approach of the militia.
Of the trial Governor Ford states:-
"During the progress of these trials the judge was compelled to permit the courthouse to be filled and surrounded by armed bands, who attended court to browbeat and overawe the administration of justice. The judge himself was in a duress, and informed me that he did not consider his life secure any part of the time. The consequence was that the crowd had everything their own way; the lawyers for the defense defended their clients by a long and elaborate attack on the Governor; the armed mob stamped with their feet and yelled their approbation at every sarcastic and smart thing that was said; and the judge was not only forced to hear it, but to lend it a kind of approval. Josiah Lambourn was attorney for the prosecution, and O. H. Browning, O. C. Skinner, Calvin A. Warren, and William A. Richardson were for the defense."-Ford's History of Illinois, p. 368.
On June 23,1844, four days before his death, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to his wife, which is of historical importance, as it shows he had not then decided where he should go, and hence had not decided to go west, though some have since reported that he had. 3
3 Safety, June 23
Emma Smith:-Brother Lewis has some money of mine. H. C. Kimball has $1,000 in his hands of mine. Bro. Neff, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, $400. You may sell the Quincy property or any property that belongs to me you can find anything about, for your support and children and Mother. Do not despair. If God ever opens a door that is possible for me I will see you again. I do not know where I shall, go or what 1 shall do, but shall if possible endeavor to get to the city of Washington.
May God Almighty bless you, and the children, and Mother, and all my friends. My heart bleeds. No more at present. If you conclude to go to Kirtland, Cincinnati, or any other place, I wish you would contrive to inform me this evening.
P. S.-If in your power I want you should help Dr. Richards' family.
This letter is in our possession in his own handwriting.
Again he wrote her on the 27th, the very day of his death. The letter contains instruction which shows he was in favor of being submissive to the authorities of the State. 4
On June 27, he wrote Lawyer Browning, of Quincy, requesting his service on the 29th. 5
On the 28th the bodies of the murdered men were brought to Nauvoo, where the funeral services were held, and they were buried from the Mansion House.
4CARTHAGE JAIL, June 27, 1844, 20 past 8 a. m.
Dear Emma:-The Governor continues his courtesies and permits us to see our friends. We hear this morning that the Governor will not go down with his troops today (to Nauvoo) as was anticipated last evening but if he does come down with his troops you will be protected; and I want you to tell Bro. Dunham to instruct the people to stay at home and attend to their own business, and let there be no groups or gathering together, unless by permission of the Governor they are called together to receive communications from the Governor, which would please our people. But let the Governor direct. Bro. Dunham, of course, will obey the orders of the government officers and render them the assistance they require. There is no danger of any "exterminating order." Should there be a mutiny among the troops, (which we do not anticipate -excitement is abating,) a part will remain loyal and stand for the defense of the State and our rights. There is one principle which is eternal-it is the duty of all men to protect their lives and the lives of their households whenever necessity requires, and no power has a right to forbid it, should the last extreme arrive;-but I anticipate no such extreme. But caution is the parent of safety.
P. S-Dear Emma:-I am very much resigned to my lot, knowing I am justified and have done the best that could be done. Give my love to the children and all my friends, Mr. Brower and all who inquire after me; and as for treason, I know that I have not committed any, and they cannot prove one appearance of anything of the kind, so you need not have any fears that any harm can happen to us on that score. May God bless you all. Amen. JOSEPH SMITH.
P. S.-Twenty minutes to ten.-I just learn that the Governor is about to disband his troops.-all but a guard to protect us and the peace,-and come himself to Nauvoo and deliver a speech to the people. This is right, as I suppose
This letter we have. The signature and first postscript in Joseph's handwriting.
5CARTHAGE JAIL, June 27, 1844
Lawyer Browning; Sir:-Myself and brother Hyrum are in jail On charge of treason, to come up for examination on Saturday morning 29th inst., and we request your professional services at that time on our defense, without fail.
Most respectfully, your servant,
N. B.-There is no cause of action, for we have not been guilty of any crime, neither is there any just cause of suspicion against us; but certain circumstances make your attendance very necessary. J. S.
Of this sad event we will allow their mother to speak:-
"Their bodies were attended home by only two persons, save those that went from this place. These were Brother Willard Richards and a Mr. Hamilton; Brother John Taylor having been shot in prison, and nearly killed, he could not be moved until some time afterwards.
"After the corpses were washed and dressed in their burial clothes, we were allowed to see them. I had for a long time braced every nerve, roused every energy of my soul, and called upon God to strengthen me; but when I entered the room, and saw my murdered sons extended both at once before my eyes, and heard the sobs and groans of my family, and the cries of 'Father! Husband! Brothers!' from the lips of their wives, children, brothers, and sisters, it was too much. I sank back, crying to the Lord, in the agony of my soul, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!'
"A voice replied, 'I have taken them to myself, that they might have rest.'
"Emma was carried back to her room almost in a state of insensibility.
"Her oldest son approached the corpse, and dropped upon his knees, and laying his cheek against his father's, and kissing him, exclaimed, 'Oh, my father, my father!'
"As for myself, I was swallowed up in the depth of my afflictions; and though my soul was filled with horror past imagination, yet I was dumb, until I arose again to contemplate the spectacle before me. Oh! at that moment how my mind flew through every scene of sorrow and distress which we had passed together, in which they had shown the innocence and sympathy which filled their guileless hearts!
"As I looked upon their peaceful, smiling countenances, I seemed almost to hear them say,-'Mother, weep not for us, we have overcome the world by love; we carried to them the gospel, that their souls might be saved; they slew us for our testimony, and thus placed us beyond their power; their ascendancy is for a moment, ours is an eternal triumph.' . . .
"I left the scene and returned to my room, to ponder upon the calamities of my family. Soon after this, Samuel said,
"Mother, I have had a dreadful distress in my side ever since I was chased by the mob, and I think I have received some injury which is going to make me sick.'
"And indeed he was then not able to sit up, as he had been broken of his rest, besides being dreadfully fatigued in the chase, which, joined to the shock occasioned by the death of his brothers, brought on a disease that never was removed.
"On the following day the funeral rites of the murdered ones were attended to, in the midst of terror and alarm, for the mob had made their arrangements to burn the city that night, but by the diligence of the brethren, they were kept at bay until they became discouraged, and returned to their homes.
"In a short time Samuel, who continued unwell, was confined to his bed and, lingering till the 30th of July, his spirit forsook its earthly tabernacle and went to join his brothers and the ancient martyrs, in the Paradise of God."-Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors, pp. 298, 299.
Sad as this is of itself, the enormity of it is intensified when we consider that Governor Ford had pledged his own honor, and the faith of the State of Illinois, that they should be protected, and that then in a weak and vacillating way he sacrificed his own honor, and betrayed the faith of the people he represented; and that all concerned in this disgraceful crime went unwhipped of justice. Thus the spirit of murder and anarchy was fostered and encouraged. This spirit has since borne bitter fruit, not only in Illinois, but in the nation, where two of our noblest and most honored Presidents have fallen victims to it.
Thus died Joseph Smith, the Prophet, one of the most remarkable men of his time, and Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, a great and good man. Joseph's family was left surrounded by a hostile foe; and in consequence of their resistance to usurpation and corruption, their former friends became their most bitter enemies. They had to fly from their home, but afterward returned, and made Nauvoo their permanent abode.
On December 27, 1847, his widow became the wife of Major
Lewis C. Bidamon, with whom she lived until her death, which occurred at Nauvoo, April 30, 1879.
Joseph's children were as follows:-
1. A son born at Harmony, Pennsylvania, in July, 1828, who died at birth.
2 and 3. A pair of twins born early in 1831, at Kirtland, Ohio, who also died at birth. In place of these they adopted the motherless twins of Elder John Murdock. One of these died from exposure, as related on page 243, volume 1, of this history. The other (Julia) lived to womanhood. She was first married to Mr. Elisha Dixon, who was killed in a steamboat explosion on Red River, Texas. She subsequently married Mr. John Middleton. She died near Nauvoo in 1880.
4. Joseph; born November 6,1832, at Kirtland, Ohio; who is now President of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
5. Frederick G. W. ; born at Kirtland, Ohio, June 20,1836, and died at Nauvoo, Illinois, April 13, 1862.
6 Alexander H.; born at Far West, Missouri, June 2, 1838; who is now Patriarch of the church and Counselor of the President of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
7. Don Carlos; born June 13, 1840, at Nauvoo, Illinois, and died at the same place, August 15, 1841.
8. David H.; born after his father's death, November 18, 1844, at Nauvoo, Illinois; was for a time Counselor to the President of the church, but on account of disability is now inactive.
Hyrum's family accompanied the Utah faction, and some of his sons have been and are prominently connected with that body.
As a fitting close to this chapter we quote the testimony of Lyman Wight, who was intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith from January, 1831, to the time of his death. Elder Wight knew the Prophet well, in his private and public life, in his official and social relations, and was his companion in bonds when incarcerated in Missouri's dungeon for the gospel's sake. In an address written
December 17, 1851, the manuscript of which is now before us, he writes of Joseph Smith as follows:-
"He was greatly beloved and revered by the members of different churches, as also by all his acquaintances with the exception of the various denominations. His soundness in the belief of the doctrine to which he gave heed; his firm, sound, candid mind, and unshaken disposition to do the will of heaven as he was instructed, caused him to have many enemies among the denominations of the day, as also many in his own society. The greatest difficulty originated from his not giving up his own faith and believing in that of others. As many, very many, have grossly mistaken his character, I, having been acquainted with him for at least fourteen years previous to his death, take the liberty to say: That no man can draw any inference of his religion or character from Salt Lake or Beaver Island. Any person or persons drawing inference of his true character, or of the tenets of his doctrine, from these two histories, would do him great injustice, and do a great injury to themselves. . . .
"Joseph Smith, the 'author and proprietor' of the Book of Mormon, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was six feet two inches high, of a form and figure difficult to surpass among the human family. He was a man possessed of a great share of good humor. As great a lover of his country as could be found among men. Often spoke of the government as being the most admirable on earth. Wept over the mob of Missouri and Philadelphia 6 alike. He often wept that mobs should arise under the glorious institutions of the United States. Always spoke highly of our chief magistrates and those who administered the laws."
6Referring doubtless to the uprising in 1838 against the anti-slavery societies, when Pennsylvania Hall was burned by a mob: or to riots in 1844. when there existed hostilities between Roman Catholics, and "Native Americans," resulting in the burning of two Catholic churches.
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