|Kirjallisuus > Story of the Mormons|
The state of Missouri, to which the story of the Mormons is now transferred, was, at the time of its admission to the Union, in 1821, called "a promontory of civilization into an ocean of savagery." Wild Indian tribes occupied the practically unexplored region beyond its western boundary, and its own western counties were thinly settled. Jackson County, which in 1900 had 195,193 inhabitants, had a population of 2823 by the census of 1830, and neighboring counties not so many. It was not until 1830 that the first cabin of a white man was built in Daviess County. All this territory had been released from Indian ownership by treaty only a few years when the first Mormons arrived there.
The white settler's house was a log hut, generally with a dirt floor, a mudplastered chimney, and a window without glass, a board or quilt serving to close it in time of storm or severe cold. A fireplace, with a skillet and kettle, supplied the place of a well-equipped stove. Corn was the principal grain food, and wild game supplied most of the meat. The wild animals furnished clothing as well as food; for the pioneers could not afford to pay from 15 to 25 cents a yard for calico, and from 25 to 75 cents for gingham.* Some persons indulged in homespun cloth for Sunday and festal occasions, but the common outside garments were made of dressed deerskins. Parley P. Pratt, in his autobiography, speaks of passing through a settlement where "some families were entirely dressed in skins, without any other clothing, including ladies young and old."
* "When the merchants sold a calico or gingham dress pattern they threw in their profit by giving a spool of thread (two hundred yards), hooks and eyes and lining. In the thread business, however, it was only a few years after that thirty and fifty yard spools took the place of the two hundred yards."--"History of Daviess County", p. 161.
The pioneer agriculturist of those days not only lacked the transportation facilities and improved agricultural appliances which have assisted the developers of the Northwest, but they did not even understand the nature and capability of the soil. The newcomers in western Missouri looked on the rich prairie land as worthless, and they almost invariably directed their course to the timber, where the soil was more easily broken up, and material for buildings was available. The first attempts to plough the prairie sod were very primitive. David Dailey made the first trial in Jackson County with what was called a "barshear plough" (drawn by from four to eight yokes of oxen), the "shear" of which was fastened to the beam. This cut the sod in one direction pretty well, but when he began to cross-furrow, the sod piled up in front of the plough and stopped his progress. Determined to see what the soil would grow, he cut holes in the sod with an axe, and in these dropped his seed. The first sod was broken in Daviess County in 1834, with a plough made to order, "to see what the prairies amounted to in the way of raising a crop." Such was the country toward which the first Mormon missionaries turned their faces.
We have seen that the first intimation in the Mormon records of a movement to the West was found in Smith's order to Oliver Cowdery in 1830 to go and establish the church among the Lamanites (Indians), and that Rigdon expected that the church would remain in Ohio, when he wrote to his flock from Palmyra. The four original missionaries--Cowdery, P. P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, and Peterson--did not stop long in Kirtland, but, taking with them Frederick G. Williams, they pushed on westward to Sandusky, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, preaching to some Indians on the way, until they reached Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, early in 1831. That county forms a part of the western border of the state, and from 1832, until the railroad took the place of wagon trains, Independence was the eastern terminus of the famous Santa Fe trail, and the point of departure for many companies destined both for Oregon and California. Pratt, describing their journey west of St. Louis, says: "We travelled on foot some three hundred miles, through vast prairies and through trackless wilds of snow; no beaten road, houses few and far between. We travelled for whole days, from morning till night, without a house or fire. We carried on our backs our changes of clothing, several books, and corn bread and raw pork."*
* "Autobiography of P. P. Pratt," p. 54.
The sole idea of these pioneers seemed to be to preach to the Indians. Arriving at Independence, Whitmer and Peterson went to work to support themselves as tailors, while Cowdery and Pratt crossed the border into the Indian country. The latter, however, were at once pronounced by the federal officers there to be violators of the law which forbade the settlement of white men among the Indians, and they returned to Independence, and preached thereabout during the winter. Early in February the four decided that Pratt should return to Kirtland and make a report, and he did so, travelling partly on foot, partly on horseback, and partly by steamer.
As early as March, 1830, Smith had conceived the idea (or some one else for him) of a gathering of the elect "unto one place" to prepare for the day of desolation (Sec. 29). In October, 1830, the four pioneers were commanded to start "into the wilderness among the Lamanites," and on January 2, 1831, while Rigdon was visiting Smith in New York State, another "revelation" (Sec. 38) described the land of promise as "a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh." This land they and their children were to possess, both "while the earth shall stand, and again in eternity." A "revelation" (Sec. 45), dated March 7, 1831, at Kirtland, called on the faithful to assemble and visit the Western countries, where they were promised an inheritance, to be called "the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of most High God." These things they were to "keep from going abroad into the world" for the present.
The manner in which the elect were told by "revelation" that they should possess their land of promise has a most important bearing on the justification of the opposition which the Missourians soon manifested toward their new neighbors. In one of these "revelations," dated Kirtland, February, 1831 (Sec. 42), Christ is represented as saying, "I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles unto my people which are of the house of Israel." Another, in the following June (Sec. 52), which directed Smith's and Rigdon's trip, promised the elect, "If ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land in Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, WHICH IS NOW THE LAND OF YOUR ENEMIES." Another, given while Smith was in Missouri, in August, 1831 (Sec. 59), promised to those "who have come up into this land with an eye single to My glory," that "they shall inherit the earth," and "shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth." On the same date the Saints were told that they should "open their hearts even to purchase the whole region of country as soon as time will permit,...lest they receive none inheritance save it be by the shedding of blood." It seems to have been thought wise to add to this last statement, after the return of the party to Ohio, and a "revelation" dated August, 1831 (Sec. 63), was given out, stating that the land of Zion could be obtained only "by purchase or by blood," and "as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city."
* Tullidge, in his "History of Salt Lake City" (1886), defining the early Mormon view of their land rights, after quoting Brigham Young's declaration to the first arrivals in Salt Lake Valley, that he (or the church) had "no land to sell," but "every man should have his land measured out to him for city and family purposes," says: "Young could with absolute propriety give the above utterances on the land question. In the early days of the church they applied to land not only owned by the United States, but within the boundaries of states of the Union." After quoting from the above-cited "revelation" the words "save they be by the shedding of blood," he explains, "The latter clause of the quotation signifies that the Mormon prophet foresaw that, unless his disciples purchased this whole region of country' of the unpopulated Far West of that period, the land question held between them and anti-Mormons would lead to the shedding of blood, and that they would be in jeopardy of losing their inheritance; and this was realized."
As to their obligation to pay for any of the "good things" purchased of their enemies, a "revelation" dated September 11, 1831 (the month after the return from Missouri), gave this advice:--
"Behold it is said in my laws, or forbidden, to get in debt to thine enemies;
"But behold it is not said at any time, that the Lord should not take when he pleased, and pay as seemeth him good.
"Wherefore as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord's errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord, it is the Lord's business, and it is the Lord's business to provide for his Saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion."--"Book of Commandments," Chap. 65.
In the modern version of this "revelation" to be found in Sec. 64 of the "Doctrine and Covenants," the latter part of this declaration is changed to read, "And he hath set you to provide for his saints in these last days," etc.
So eager were the Saints to occupy their land of Zion, when the movement started, that the word of "revelation" was employed to give warning against a hasty rush to the new possessions, and to establish a certain supervision of the emigration by the Bishop and other agents of the church. Notwithstanding this, the rush soon became embarrassing to the church authorities in Missouri, and a modified view of the Lord's promise was thus stated in the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1832, "Although the Lord has said that it is his business to provide for the Saints in these last days, he is not BOUND to do so unless we observe his sayings and keep them." Saints in the East were warned against giving away their property before moving, and urged not to come to Missouri without some means, and to bring with them cattle and improved breeds of sheep and hogs, with necessary seeds.
On June 7, 1831, a "revelation" was given out (Sec. 52) announcing that the next conference would be held in the promised land in Missouri, and directing Smith and Rigdon to go thither, and naming some thirty elders, including John Corrill, David Whitmer, P. P. and Orson Pratt, Martin Harris, and Edward Partridge, who should also make the trip, two by two, preaching by the way. Booth says: "Only about two weeks were allowed them to make preparations for the journey, and most of them left what business they had to be closed by others. Some left large families, with the crops upon the ground."*
* Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled."
Smith's party left Kirtland on June 19, and arrived at Independence in the following month, journeying on foot after reaching St. Louis, a distance of about three hundred miles. Smith was delighted with the new country, with "its beautiful rolling prairies, spread out like real meadows; the varied timber of the bottoms; the plums and grapes and persimmons and the flowers; the rich soil, the horses, cattle, and hogs, and the wild game.... The season is mild and delightful nearly three quarters of the year, and as the land of Zion is situated at about equal distances from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as from the Alleghany and Rocky Mountains, it bids fair to become one of the most blessed places on the earth."* The town of Independence then consisted of a brick courthouse, two or three stores, and fifteen or twenty houses, mostly of logs.
* Smith's "Autobiography," Millennial Star, Vol. XIV.
The usual "revelation" came first (Sec. 57), announcing that "this is the land of promise and the place for the City of Zion," with Independence as its centre, and the site of the Temple a lot near the courthouse. It was also declared that the land should be purchased by the Saints, "and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile" (whatever that might mean), "and also every tract bordering by the prairies." Sidney Gilbert was ordered to "plant himself" there, and establish a store, "that he might sell goods without fraud," to obtain money for the purchase of land. Edward Partridge was "to divide the Saints their inheritance," and W. W. Phelps* and Cowdery were to be printers to the church.
* Phelps came from Canandaigua, New York, where, Howe says, he was an avowed infidel. He had been prominent in politics and had edited a party newspaper. Disappointed in his political ambition, he threw in his lot with the new church.
Marvellous stories were at once circulated of the grandeur that was to characterize the new city, of the wealth that would be gathered there by the faithful who would survive the speedy destruction of the wicked, and of the coming of the lost tribes of Israel, who had been located near the north pole, where they had become very rich. While not tracing these declarations to Smith himself, Booth, who was one of the party, says that they were told by persons in daily intercourse with him. It is doing the prophet no injustice to say that they bear his imprint.
The laying of the foundation of the City of Zion was next in order. Rigdon delivered an address in consecrating the ground, in which he enjoined them to obey all of Smith's commands. A small scrub oak tree was then cut down and trimmed, and twelve men, representing the Apostles, conveyed it to a designated place. Cowdery sought out the best stone he could find for a corner-stone, removed a little earth, and placed the stone in the excavation, delivering an address. One end of the oak tree was laid on this stone, "and there," says Booth, "was laid down the first stone and stick which are to form an essential part of the splendid City of Zion."
The next day the site of the Temple was consecrated, Smith laying the cornerstone. When the ceremonies were over, the spot was merely marked by a sapling, from two sides of which the bark was stripped, one side being marked with a "T" for Temple, and the other with "ZOM," which Smith stated stood for "Zomas," the original of Zion. At the foot of this sapling lay the corner-stone--"a small stone, covered over with bushes."
Such ceremonies might have been viewed with indulgence if conducted in some suburb of Kirtland. But when men had travelled hundreds of miles at Smith's command, suffering personal privations as well as submitting to pecuniary sacrifices, it was a severe test of their faith to have two small trees and t wo round stones in the wilderness offered to them as the only tangible indications of a land of plenty. Rigdon expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome, as we have seen; Booth left the church as soon as he got back to Ohio; members of the party called Cowdery and Smith imperious, and the prophet and Rigdon incurred the charge of "excessive cowardice" on the way.
Smith made a second trip to Independence, leaving Ohio on April 2, 1832, and arriving there on his return the following June. His stay in Missouri this time was marked by nothing more important than his acknowledgment as President of the high priesthood by a council of the church there, and a "revelation" which declared that Zion's "borders must be enlarged, her Stakes must be strengthened."
The efforts of the church leaders to check too precipitate an emigration to the new Zion were not entirely successful, and, according to the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1833, the Mormons with their families then numbered more than twelve hundred, or about one-third of the total population of the county. The elders had been pushing their proselyting work throughout the States and in Canada, and the idea of a land of plenty appealed powerfully to the new believers, and especially to those of little means. The branch of the church established at Colesville, New York, numbering about sixty members, emigrated in a body and settled twelve miles from Independence. Other settlements were made in the rural districts, and the non-Mormons began to be seriously exercised over the situation. The Saints boasted openly of their future possession of the land, without making clear their idea of the means by which they would obtain title to it. An open defiance in the name of the church appeared in an article in the Evening and Morning Star for July, 1833, which contained this declaration:--
"No matter what our ideas or notions may be on the subject; no matter what foolish report the wicked may circulate to gratify an evil disposition; the Lord will continue to gather the righteous and destroy the wicked, till the sound goes forth, IT IS FINISHED."
With even greater fatuity came the determination to publish the prophet's "revelations" in the form of the "Book of Commandments." Of the effect of this publication David Whitmer says, "The main reason why the printing press [at Independence] was destroyed, was because they published the Book of Commandments.' It fell into the hands of the world, and the people of Jackson County saw from the revelations that they were considered intruders upon the Land of Zion, as enemies of the church, and that they should be cut off out of the Land of Zion and sent away."*
* "Address to All Believers in Christ," p. 54.
Corrill says of the causes of friction between the Mormons and their neighbors:--*
* Corrill's" Brief History of the Church," p. 19.
"The church got crazy to go up to Zion, as it was then called. The rich were afraid to send up their money to purchase lands, and the poor crowded up in numbers, without having any places provided, contrary to the advice of the Bishop and others, until the old citizens began to be highly displeased. They saw their country filling up with emigrants, principally poor. They disliked their religion, and saw also that, if let alone, they would in a short time become a majority, and of course rule the county. The church kept increasing, and the old citizens became more and more dissatisfied, and from time to time offered to sell their farms and possessions, but the Mormons, though desirous, were too poor to purchase them."*
* After the survey of Jackson County, Congress granted to the state of Missouri a large tract of land, the sale of which should be made for educational purposes, and the Mormons took title to several thousand acres of this, west of Independence.
The active manifestation of hostility toward the new-comers by the residents of Jackson County first took shape in the spring of 1832, in the stoning of Mormon houses at night and the breaking of windows. Soon afterward a county meeting was called to take measures to secure the removal of the Mormons from that county, but nothing definite was done. The burning of haystacks, shooting into houses, etc., continued until July, 1833, when the Mormon opponents circulated a statement of their complaints, closing with a call for a meeting in the courthouse at Independence, on Saturday, July 20. The text of this manifesto, which is important as showing the spirit as well as the precise grounds of the opposition, is as follows:--
"We, the undersigned, citizens of Jackson County, believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled, and are still settling, in our county, styling themselves Mormons, and intending, as we do, to rid our society, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must; and believing as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least, a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing, by the said religious sect, we deem it expedient and of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose--a purpose, which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self preservation.
"It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics, or knaves, (for one or the other they undoubtedly are,) made their first appearance amongst us, and, pretending as they did, and now do, to hold personal communication and converse face to face with the Most High God; to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven; to heal the sick by laying on hands; and, in short, to perform all the wonder-working miracles wrought by the inspired Apostles and Prophets of old.
"We believed them deluded fanatics, or weak and designing knaves, and that they and their pretensions would soon pass away; but in this we were deceived. The arts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society; and, since the arrival of the first of them, they have been daily increasing in numbers; and if they had been respectable citizens in society, and thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than our contempt and hatred; but from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to fear that, with but few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from which they came, lazy, idle, and vicious. This we conceive is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our county little or no property with them, and left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the Mormon car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to lose by the change; and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen ambassadors of the Most High, they would have been inmates of solitary cells.
"But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colors. More than a year since, it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves, and endeavoring to rouse dissension and raise seditions amongst them. Of this their Mormon leaders were informed, and they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend. But how specious are appearances. In a late number of the Star, published in Independence by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inviting free negroes and mulattoes from other states to become Mormons, and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society an injury, that they knew would be to us entirely insupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the county; for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a caste amongst us would corrupt our blacks, and instigate them to bloodshed.
"They openly blaspheme the Most High God, and cast contempt on His holy religion, by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues by direct inspirations, and by divers pretences derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason.
"They declare openly that their God hath given them this county of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance; and, in fine, they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner that we believe it a duty we owe to ourselves, our wives, and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up our pleasant places and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosom of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters, the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulattoes that are now invited to settle among us.
"Under such a state of things, even our beautiful county would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We, therefore, agree that, if after timely warning, and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace, as they found us--we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.
"We will meet at the court-house, at the Town of Independence, on Saturday next, the 20th inst., to consult ulterior movements."*
* Evening and Morning Star, p. 227; Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 516.
Some hundreds of names were signed to this call, and the meeting of July 20 was attended by nearly five hundred persons. There is no doubt that it was a representative county gathering. P. P. Pratt says that the anti-Mormon organization, which he calls "outlaws," was "composed of lawyers, magistrates, county officers, civil and military, religious ministers, and a great number of the ignorant and uninformed portion of the population."* The language of the address adopted shows that skilled pens were not wanting in its preparation.
* "Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 103.
The first business of the meeting was the appointment of a committee to prepare an address stating the grievances of the people with somewhat greater fulness than the manifesto above quoted. Like the latter, it conceded at the start that there was no law under which the object in view could be obtained. It characterized the Mormons as but little above the negroes as regards property or education; charged them with having exerted a "corrupting influence" on the slaves;* asserted that even the more intelligent boasted daily to the Gentiles that the Mormons would appropriate their lands for an inheritance, and that their newspaper organ taught them that the lands were to be taken by the sword. Noting the rapid increase in the immigration of members of the new church, the address, looking to a near day when they would be in a majority in the county, asked: "What would be the state of our lives and property in the hands of jurors and witnesses who do not blush to declare, and would not upon occasion hesitate to swear, that they have wrought miracles, and have been the subjects of miraculous and supernatural cures, have conversed with God and his angels, and possess and exercise the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, and are fired with the prospect of obtaining inheritances without money and without price, may be better imagined than described." That this apprehension was not without grounds will be seen when we come to the administration of justice in Nauvoo and in Salt Lake City.
* The Mormons never hesitated to change their position on the slavery question. An elder's address, published in the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1833, said: "As to slaves, we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing toward abolishing slavery and colonizing the blacks in Africa." Three years later, in April, 1836 the Messenger and Advocate published a strong proslavery article, denying the right of the people of the North to interfere with the institution, and picturing the happy condition of the slaves. Orson Hyde, in the Frontier Guardian in 1850 (quoted in the Millennial Star, Vol. XIII, p. 63), said: "When a man in the Southern states embraces our faith and is the owner of slaves, the church says to him, If your slaves wish to remain with you, and to go with you, put them not away; but if they choose to leave you, and are not satisfied to remain with you, it is for you to sell them or to let them go free, as your own conscience may direct you. The church on this point assumes not the responsibility to direct.'" Horace Greeley quoted Brigham Young as saying to him in Salt Lake City, "We consider slavery of divine institution and not to be abolished until the curse pronounced on Ham shall have been removed from his descendants" ("Overland journey," p. 211).
The address closed with these demands:--
"That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county.
"That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice.
"That the editor of the Star (W. W. Phelps) be required forthwith to close his office and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and, as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration; and, upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same.
"That the Mormon leaders here are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above regulations.
"That those who fail to comply with the requisitions be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them"*
* Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, pp. 487-489.
A recess of two hours was taken in which to permit a committee of twelve to call on Bishop Partridge, Phelps, and Gilbert, and present these terms. This committee reported that these men "declined giving any direct answer to the requisitions made of them, and wished an unreasonable time for consultation, not only with their brethren here, but in Ohio." The meeting thereupon voted unanimously that the Star printing-office should be razed to the ground, and the type and press be "secured."
A report of the action of this meeting and its result was prepared by the chairman and two secretaries, and printed over their signatures in the Western Monitor of Fayette, Missouri, on August 2, 1833, and it is transferred to Smith's autobiography. It agrees with the Mormon account set forth in their later petition to Governor Dunklin. It particularized, however, that the Mormon leaders asked the committee first for three months, and then for ten days, in which to consider the demands, and were told that they could have only fifteen minutes.
What happened next is thus set forth in the, chairman's report:--
"Which resolution (for the razing of the Star office) was with the utmost order and the least noise and disturbance possible, forthwith carried into execution, AS ALSO SOME OTHER STEPS OF A SIMILAR TENDENCY; but no blood was spilled nor any blows inflicted."
Mobs do not generally act with the "utmost order," and this one was not an exception to the rule, as an explanation of the "other steps" will make clear. The first object of attack was the printing office, a two-story brick building. This was demolished, causing a loss of $6000, according to the Mormon claims. The mob next visited the store kept by Gilbert, but refrained from attacking it on receiving a pledge that the goods would be packed for removal by the following Tuesday. They then called at the houses of some of the leading Mormons, and conducted Bishop Partridge and a man named Allen to the public square. Partridge told his captors that the saints had been subjected to persecution in all ages; that he was willing to suffer for Christ's sake, but that he would not consent to leave the country. Allen refused either to agree to depart or to deny the inspiration of the Mormon Bible. Both men were then relieved of their hats, coats, and vests, daubed with tar, and decorated with feathers. This ended the proceedings of that day, and an adjournment as announced until the following Tuesday.
On Tuesday, July 23 (the date of the laying of the corner-stone of the Kirtland Temple), the Missourians gathered again in the town, carrying a red flag and bearing arms. The Mormon statement to Governor Dunklin says, "They proceeded to take some of the leading elders by force, declaring it to be their intention to whip them from fifty to five hundred lashes apiece, to demolish their dwelling houses, and let their negroes loose to go through our plantations and lay open our fields for the destruction of our crops."* The official report of the officers of the meeting** says that, when the chairman had taken his seat, a committee was appointed to wait on the Mormons at the request of the latter.
* Greene, in his "Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons from the State of Missouri (1839), says that the mob seized a number of Mormons and, at the muzzle of their guns, compelled them to confess that the Mormon Bible was a fraud.
** Millennial Star Vol. XIV, p. 500.
As a result of a conference with this committee, a written agreement was entered into, signed by the committee and the Mormons named in it, to this effect: That Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, W. E. McLellin, Edward Partridge, John Wright, Simeon Carter, Peter and John Whitmer, and Harvey Whitlock, with their families, should move from the county by January 1 next, and use their influence to induce their fellow-Mormons in the county to do likewise--one half by January 1 and all by April 1--and to prevent further immigration of the brethren; John Corrill and A. S. Gilbert to remain as agents to wind up the business of the society, Gilbert to be allowed to sell out his goods on hand; no Mormon paper to be published in the county; Partridge and Phelps to be allowed to go and come after January 1, in winding up their business, if their families were removed by that time; the committee pledging themselves to use their influence to prevent further violence, and assuring Phelps that "whenever he was ready to move, the amount of all his losses in the printing house should be paid to him by the citizens." In view of this arrangement there was no further trouble for more than two months.
The Mormon leaders had, however, no intention of carrying out their part of this undertaking. Corrill, in a letter to Oliver Cowdery written in December, 1833, said that the agreement was made, "supposing that before the time arrived the mob would see their error and stop the violence, or that some means might be employed so that we could stay in peace."* Oliver Cowdery was sent at once to Kirtland to advise with the church officers there. On his arrival, early in August, a council was convened, and it was decided that legal measures should be taken to establish the rights of the Saints in Missouri. Smith directed that they should neither sell their lands nor move out of Jackson County, save those who had signed the agreement.** It was also decided to send Orson Hyde and John Gould to Missouri "with advice to the Saints in their unfortunate situation through the late outrage of the mob."***
* Evening and Morning Star, January, 1834
** Elder Williams's Letter, Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 519.
*** Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 504.
To strengthen the courage of the flock in Missouri, Smith gave forth at Kirtland, under date of August 2, 1833, a "revelation" (Sec. 97), "in answer to our correspondence with the prophet," says P. P. Pratt,* in which the Lord was represented as saying, "Surely, Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fail, NEITHER BE MOVED OUT OF HER PLACE; for God is there, and the hand of God is there, and he has sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower." The same "revelation" directed that the Temple should be built speedily by means of tithing, and threatened Zion with pestilence, plague, sword, vengeance, and devouring fire unless she obeyed the Lord's commands.
*Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 100,
The outcome of all the deliberations at Kirtland was the sending of W. W. Phelps and Orson Hyde to Jefferson City with a long petition to Governor Dunklin, setting forth the charges of the Missourians against the Mormons, and the action of the two meetings at Independence, and making a direct appeal to him for assistance, asking him to employ troops in their defence, in order that they might sue for damages, "and, if advisable, try for treason against the government."
The governor sent them a written reply under date of October 19, in which, after expressing sympathy with them in their troubles, he said: "I should think myself unworthy the confidence with which I have been honored by my fellow citizens did I not promptly employ all the means which the constitution and laws have placed at my disposal to avert the calamities with which you are threatened.... No citizen, or number of citizens, have a right to take the redress of their grievances, whether real or imaginary, into their own hands. Such conduct strikes at the very existence of society." He advised the Mormons to invoke the laws in their behalf; to secure a warrant from a justice of the peace, and so test the question "whether the law can be peaceably executed or not"; if not, it would be his duty to take steps to execute it.
The Mormons and their neighbors were thus brought face to face in a manner which admitted of no compromise. The situation naturally seemed rather a simple one to the governor, who was probably ignorant of the intentions and ambition of the Mormons. If he had understood the nature and weight of the objections to them, he would have understood also that he could protect them in their possessions only by maintaining a military force.
His letter gave the Mormons of Jackson County new courage. They had been maintaining a waiting attitude since the meeting of July 23, but now they resumed their occupations, and began to erect more houses, and to improve their places as if for a permanent stay, and meanwhile there was no cessation of the immigration of new members from the East. Their leaders consulted four lawyers in Clay County, and arranged with them to look after their legal interests.
This evident repudiation by the Mormons of their part of their agreement with the committee incensed the Jackson County people, and hostilities were resumed. On the night of October 31, a mob attacked a Mormon settlement called Big Blue, some ten miles west of Independence, damaged a number of houses, whipped some of the men, and frightened women and children so badly that they fled to the outlying country for hiding-places. On the night of November 1, Mormon houses were stoned in Independence, and the church store was broken into and its goods scattered in the street. The Mormons thereupon showed the governor's letter to a justice of the peace, and asked him for a warrant, but their accounts say that he refused one. When they took before the same officer a man whom they caught in the act of destroying their property, the justice not only refused to hold him, but granted a warrant in his behalf against Gilbert, Corrill, and two other Mormons for false imprisonment, and they were locked up.* Thrown on their own resources for defence, the Mormons now armed themselves as well as they could, and established a night picket service throughout their part of the county. On Saturday night, November 2, a second attack was made by the mob on Big Blue and, the Mormons resisting, the first "battle" of this campaign took place. A sick woman received a pistolshot wound in the head, and one of the Mormons a wound in the thigh. Parley P. Pratt and others were then sent to Lexington to procure a warrant from Circuit Judge Ryland, but, according to Pratt, he refused to grant one, and "advised us to fight and kill the outlaws whenever they came upon us."**
* Corrill's letter, Evening and Morning Star, January, 1834.
** Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 105.
On Monday evening, November 4, a body of Missourians who had been visiting some of the Mormon settlements came in contact with a company of Mormons who had assembled for defence, and an exchange of shots ensued, by which a number on both sides were wounded, one of the Mormons dying the next day.
These conflicts increased the excitement, and the Mormons, knowing how they were outnumbered, now realized that they could not stay in Jackson County any longer, and they arranged to move. At first they decided to make their new settlement only fifty miles south of Independence, in Van Buren County, but to this the Jackson County people would not consent. They therefore agreed to move north into Clay County, between which and Jackson County the Missouri River, which there runs east, formed the boundary. Most of them went to Clay County, but others scattered throughout the other nearby counties, whose inhabitants soon let them know that their presence was not agreeable.
The hasty removal of these people so late in the season was accompanied by great personal hardships and considerable pecuniary loss. The Mormons have stated the number of persons driven out at fifteen hundred, and the number of houses burned; before and after their departure, at from two hundred to three hundred. Cattle and household effects that could not be moved were sold for what they would bring, and those who took with them sufficient provisions for their immediate wants considered themselves fortunate. One party of six men and about one hundred and fifty women and children, panic-stricken by the action of the mob, wandered for several days over the prairie without even sufficient food. The banks of the Missouri River where the fugitives were ferried across presented a strange spectacle. In a pouring rain the big company were encamped there on November 7, some with tents and some without any cover, their household goods piled up around them. Children were born in this camp, and the sick had to put up with such protection as could be provided. So determined were the Jackson County people that not a Mormon should remain among them, that on November 23 they drove out a little settlement of some twenty families living about fifteen miles from Independence, compelling women and children to depart on immediate notice.
The Mormons made further efforts through legal proceedings to assert their rights in Jackson County, but unsuccessfully. The governor declared that the situation did not warrant him in calling out the militia, and referred them to the courts for redress for civil injuries. In later years they appealed more than once to the federal authorities at Washington for assistance in reestablishing themselves in Jackson County,* but were informed that the matter rested with the state of Missouri. Their future bitterness toward the federal government was explained on the ground of this refusal to come to their aid.
* James Hutchins, a resident of Wisconsin, addressed a long appeal "for justice" to President Grant in 1876, asking him to reinstate the Mormons in the homes from which they had been driven.
Meanwhile Smith had been preparing to use the authority at his command to make good his predictions about the permanency of the church in the Missouri Zion. On December 6, 1833, he gave out a long "revelation" at Kirtland (Sec. 101), which created a great sensation among his followers. Beginning with the declaration that "I, the Lord," have suffered affliction to come on the brethren in Missouri "in consequence of their transgressions, envyings and stripes, and lustful and covetous desires," it went on to promise them as follows:--
"Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.... And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints, until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them."
The "revelation" then stated the Lord's will "concerning the redemption of Zion" in the form of a long parable which contained these instructions:--
"And go ye straightway into the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard, for it is mine, I have bought it with money.
"Therefore get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower and scatter their watchmen;
"And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land."
This "revelation" was industriously circulated in printed form among the churches of Ohio and the East, and so great was the demand for copies that they sold for one dollar each. The only construction to be placed upon it was that Smith proposed to make good his predictions by means of an armed force led against the people of Missouri. This view soon had confirmation.
The arrival of P. P. Pratt and Lyman Wight in Kirtland in February, 1834, was followed by a "revelation" (Sec. 103) promising an outpouring of God's wrath on those who had expelled the brethren from their Missouri possessions, and declaring that "the redemption of Zion must needs come by power," and that Smith was to lead them, as Moses led the children of Israel.
In obedience to this direction there was assembled a military organization, known in church history as "The Army of Zion." Recruiters, led by Smith and Rigdon, visited the Eastern states, and by May 1 some two hundred men had assembled at Kirtland ready to march to Missouri to aid their brethren.*
* There are three detailed accounts of this expedition, one in Smith's autobiography, another in H. C. Kimball's journal in Times and Seasons, Vol. 6, and another in Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," procured from one of the accompanying sharpshooters.
The Army of Zion, as it called itself, was not an impressive one in appearance. Military experience was not required of the recruits; but no one seems to have been accepted who was not in possession of a weapon and at least $5 in cash. The weapons ranged from butcher knives and rusty swords to pistols, muskets, and rifles. Smith himself carried a fine sword, a brace of pistols (purchased on six months' credit), and a rifle, and had four horses allotted to him. He had himself elected treasurer of the expedition, and to him was intrusted all the money of the men, to be disbursed as his judgment dictated.
According to his own account, they were constantly threatened by enemies during their march; but they paid no attention to them, knowing that angels accompanied them as protectors, "for we saw them."
As they approached Clay County a committee from Ray County called on them to inquire about their intention, and, when a few miles from Liberty, in Clay County, General Atchison and other Missourians met them and warned them not to defy popular feeling by entering that town. Accepting this advice, they took a circuitous route and camped on Rush Creek, whence Smith on June 25 sent a letter to General Atchison's committee saying that, in the interest of peace, "we have concluded that our company shall be immediately dispersed."
The night before this letter was sent, cholera broke out in the camp. Smith at once attempted to perform miraculous cures of the victims, but he found actual cholera patients very different to deal with from old women with imaginary ailments, or, as he puts it, "I quickly learned by painful experience that, when the great Jehovah decrees destruction upon any people, and makes known his determination, man must not attempt to stay his hand."* There were thirteen deaths in camp, among the victims being Sidney Gilbert.
* "Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 86.
Of course, some explanation was necessary to reconcile the prophet's surrender without a battle with the "revelation" which directed the army to march and promised a victory. This came in the shape of another "revelation" (Sec. 105) which declared that the immediate redemption of the people must be delayed because of their disobedience and lack of union (especially excepting himself from this censure); that the Lord did not "require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion"; that a large enough force had not assembled at the Lord's command, and that those who had made the journey were "brought thus far for a trial of their faith." The brethren were directed not to make boasts of the judgment to come on the Missourians, but to keep quiet, and "gather together, as much in one region as can be, consistently with the feelings of the people"; to purchase all the lands in Jackson County they could, and then "I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their monies, and of throwing down the powers of mine enemies." But first the Lord's army was to become very great.
It seems incredible that any set of followers could retain faith in "revelations" at once so conflicting and so nonsensical.
Meanwhile, the Mormons in Clay County, with the assent of the natives there, had opened a factory for the manufacture of arms "to pay the Jackson mob in their own way,"* and it was rumored that both sides were supplying themselves with cannon, to make the coming contest the more determined. Governor Dunklin, fearing a further injury to the good name of the state, wrote to Colonel J. Thornton urging a compromise, and on June 10 Judge Ryland sent a communication to A. S. Gilbert, asking him to call a meeting of Mormons in Liberty for a discussion of the situation.
* Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 68.
This meeting was held on June 16, and a committee from Jackson County presented the following proposition: "That the value of the lands, and the improvements thereon, of the Mormons in Jackson County, be ascertained by three disinterested appraisers, representatives of the Mormons to be allowed freely to point out the lands claimed and the improvements; that the people of Jackson County would agree to pay the Mormons the valuation fixed by the appraisers, WITH ONE HUNDRED PER CENT ADDED, within thirty days of the award; or, the Jackson County citizens would agree to sell out their lands in that county to the Mormons on the same terms." The Mormon leaders agreed to call a meeting of their people to consider this proposition.
The fifteen Jackson County committeemen, it may be mentioned, in crossing the river on their way home, were upset, and seven of them were drowned, including their chairman, J. Campbell, who was reported to have made threats against Smith. The latter thus reports the accident in his autobiography, "The angel of God saw fit to sink the boat about the middle of the river, and seven, out of the twelve that attempted to cross were drowned, thus suddenly and justly went they to their own place by water."
On June 21 the Mormons gave written notice to the Jackson County people that the terms proposed were rejected, and that they were framing "honorable propositions" on their own part, which they would soon submit, adding a denial of a rumor that they intended a hostile invasion. Their objection to the terms proposed was thus stated in an editorial in the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1834, "When it is understood that the mob hold possession of a large quantity of land more than our friends, and that they only offer thirty days for the payment of the same, it will be seen that they are only making a sham to cover their past unlawful conduct." This explanation ignores entirely the offer of the Missourians to buy out the Mormons at a valuation double that fixed by the appraisers, and simply shows that they intended to hold to the idea that their promised Zion was in Jackson County, and that they would not give it up.*
* The idea of returning to a Zion in Jackson County has never been abandoned by the Mormon church. Bishop Partridge took title to the Temple lot in Independence in his own name. In 1839, when the Mormons were expelled from the state, still believing that this was to be the site of the New Jerusalem, he deeded sixty-three acres of land in Jackson County, including this lot, to three small children of Oliver Cowdery. In 1848, seven years after Partridge's death, and when all the Cowdery grantees were dead, a man named Poole got a deed for this land from the heirs of the grantees, and subsequent conveyances were made under Poole's deed. In 1851 a branch of the church, under a title Church of Christ, known as Hendrickites, from Grandville Hendrick, its originator, was organized in Illinois, with a basis of belief which rejects most of the innovations introduced since 1835. Hendrick in 1864 was favored with a "revelation" which ordered the removal of his church to Jackson County. On arriving there different members quietly bought parts of the old Temple lot. In 1887 the sole surviving sister and heir of the Cowdery children executed a quit claim deed of the lot to Bishop Blakeslee of the Reorganized Church in Iowa, and that church at once began legal proceedings to establish their title. Judge Philips, of the United States Circuit Court for the Western Division of Missouri, decided the case in March, 1894, in favor of the Reorganized Church, but the United States Court of Appeals reversed this decision on the ground that the respondents had title through undisputed possession ("United States Court of Appeals Reports," Vol. XVII, p. 387). The Hendrickites in this suit were actively aided by the Utah Mormons, President Woodruff being among their witnesses. This Church of Christ has now a membership of less than two hundred.
Two Mormon elders, describing their visit to Independence in 1888, said that they went to the Temple lot and prayed as follows: "O Lord, remember thy words, and let not Zion suffer forever. Hasten her redemption, and let thy name be glorified in the victory of truth and righteousness over sin and iniquity. Confound the enemies of the people and let Zion be free:' --"Infancy of the Church," Salt Lake City, 1889.
On June 23 (the date of Smith's last quoted "revelation"), the Mormons presented their counter proposition in writing. It was that a board of six Mormons and six Jackson County non-Mormons should decide on the value of lands in that county belonging to "those men who cannot consent to live with us," and that they should receive this sum within a year, less the amount of damage suffered by the Mormons, the latter to be determined by the same persons. The Jackson County people replied that they would "do nothing like according to their last proposition," and expressed a hope that the Mormons "would cast an eye back of Clinton, to see if that is not a county calculated for them." Clinton was the county next north of Clay.
Governor Dunklin, in his annual message to the legislature that year, expressed the opinion that "conviction for any violence committed against a Mormon cannot be had in Jackson County," and told the lawmakers it was for them to determine what amendments were necessary "to guard against such acts of violence for the future." The Mormons sent a petition in their own behalf to the legislature, which was presented by Corrill, but no action was taken.
The counties in which the Mormons settled after leaving Jackson County were thinly populated at that time, Clay County having only 5338 inhabitants, according to the census of 1830, and Caldwell, Carroll, and Daviess counties together having only 6617 inhabitants by the census of 1840. County rivalry is always a characteristic of our newly settled states and territories, and the Clay County people welcomed the Mormons as an addition to their number, notwithstanding the ill favor in which they stood with their southern neighbors. The new-comers at first occupied what vacant cabins they could find in the southern part of the county, until they could erect houses of their own, while the men obtained such employment as was offered, and many of the women sought places as domestic servants and school-teachers. The Jackson County people were not pleased with this friendly spirit, and they not only tried to excite trouble between the new neighbors, but styled the Clay County residents "Jack Mormons," a name applied in later years in other places to non-Mormons who were supposed to have Mormon sympathies.
Peace was maintained, however, for about three years. But the Mormons grew in numbers, and, as the natives realized their growth, they showed no more disposition to be in the minority than did their southern neighbors. The Mormons, too, were without tact, and they did not conceal the intention of the church to possess the land. Proof of their responsibility for what followed is found in a remark of W. W. Phelps, in a letter from Clay County to Ohio in December, 1833, that "our people fare very well, and, when they are discreet, little or no persecution is felt."*
* Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 646.
The irritation kept on increasing, and by the spring of 1836 Clay County had become as hostile to the Mormons as Jackson County had ever been. In June, the course adopted in Jackson County to get rid of the new-comers was imitated, and a public meeting in the court house at Liberty adopted resolutions* setting forth that civil war was threatened by the rapid immigration of Mormons; that when the latter were received, in pity and kindness, after their expulsion across the river, it was understood that they would leave "whenever a respectable portion of the citizens of this county should require it," and that that time had now come. The reasons for this demand included Mormon declarations that the county was destined by Heaven to be theirs, opposition to slavery, teaching the Indians that they were to possess the land with the Saints, and their religious tenets, which, it was said, "always will excite deep prejudices against them in any populous country where they may locate." In explanations of the anti-Mormon feeling in Missouri frequent allusion is made to polygamous practices. This was not charged in any of the formal statements against them, and Corrill declares that they had done nothing there that would incriminate them under the law. The Mormons were urged to seek a new abiding-place, the territory of Wisconsin being recommended for their investigation. The resolutions confessed that "we do not contend that we have the least right, under the constitution and laws of the country, to expel them by force"; but gave as an excuse for the action taken the certainty of an armed conflict if the Mormons remained. Newly arrived immigrants were advised to leave immediately, non-landowners to follow as soon as they could gather their crops and settle up their business, and owners of forty acres to remain indefinitely, until they could dispose of their real estate without loss.
* Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 763.
The Mormons, on July 1, adopted resolutions denying the charges against them, but agreeing to leave the county. The Missourians then appointed a committee to raise money to assist the needy Saints to move. Smith and his associates in Ohio had not at that time the same interest in a Zion in Missouri that they had three years earlier, and they only expressed sorrow over the new troubles, and advised the fugitives to stop short of Wisconsin if they could. An appeal was again made by the Missouri Mormons to the governor of that state, but he now replied that if they could not convince their neighbors of their innocence, "all I can say to you is that in this republic the vox populi is the vox dei."
The Mormons selected that part of Ray County from which Caldwell County was formed (just northeast of Clay County) for their new abode, and on their petition the legislature framed the new county for their occupancy. This was then almost unsettled territory, and the few inhabitants made no objection to the coming of their new neighbors. They secured a good deal of land, some by purchase, and some by entry on government sections, and began its improvement. Many of them were so poor that they had to seek work in the neighboring counties for the support of their families. Some of their most intelligent members afterward attributed their future troubles in that state to their failure to keep within their own county boundaries.
As the county seat they founded a town which they named Far West, and which soon presented quite a collection of houses, both log and frame, schools, and shops. Phelps wrote in the summer of 1837, "Land cannot be had around town now much less than $10 per acre."* There were practically no inhabitants but Mormons within fifteen or twenty miles of the town,** and the Saints were allowed entire political freedom. Of the county officers, two judges, thirteen magistrates, the county clerk, and all the militia officers were of their sect. They had credit enough to make necessary loans, and, says Corrill, "friendship began to be restored between them and their neighbors, the old prejudices were fast dying away, and they were doing well, until the summer of 1838."
* Messenger and Advocate, July, 1837.
** Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 53.
It was in January, 1838, that Smith fled from Kirtland. He arrived in Far West in the following March; Rigdon was detained in Illinois a short time by the illness of a daughter. Smith's family went with him, and they were followed by many devoted adherents of the church, who, in order to pay church debts in Ohio and the East, had given up their property in exchange for orders on the Bishop at Far West. In other words, they were penniless.
The business scandals in Ohio had not affected the reputation of the church leaders with their followers in Missouri (where the bank bills had not circulated and Smith and Rigdon received a hearty welcome, their coming being accepted as a big step forward in the realization of their prophesied Zion. It proved, however, to be the cause of the expulsion of their followers from the state.
While the church, in a material sense, might have been as prosperous as Corrill pictured, Smith, on his arrival, found it in the throes of serious internal discord. The month before he reached Far West, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, of the Presidency there, had been tried before a general assembly of the church,* and almost unanimously deposed on several charges, the principal one being a claim on their part to $2000 of the church funds which they had bound the Bishop to pay to them. Whitmer was also accused of persisting in the use of tea, coffee, and tobacco. T. B. Marsh, one of the Presidents pro tem. selected in their places, in a letter to the prophet on this subject, said:--
* For the minutes of this General Assembly, and text of Marsh's letter, see Elders' Journal, July, 1838.
"Had we not taken the above measures, we think that nothing could have prevented a rebellion against the whole High Council and Bishop; so great was the disaffection against the Presidents that the people began to be jealous that the whole authorities were inclined to uphold these men in wickedness, and in a little time the church undoubtedly would have gone every man his own way, like sheep without a shepherd."
On April 11, Elder Bronson presented nine charges against Oliver Cowdery to the High Council, which promptly found him guilty of six of them, viz. urging vexatious lawsuits against the brethren, accusing the prophet of adultery, not attending meeting, returning to the practice of law "for the sake of filthy lucre," "disgracing the church by being connected with the bogus [counterfeiting] business, retaining notes after they had been paid," and generally "forsaking the cause of God." On this finding he was expelled from the church. Two days later David Whitmer was found guilty of unchristianlike conduct and defaming the prophet, and was expelled, and Lyman E. Johnson met the same fate.* Smith soon announced a "revelation" (Sec. 114), directing the places of the expelled to be filled by others.
* For minutes of these councils, see Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, pp. 130-134.
It was in the June following that the paper drawn up by Rigdon and signed by eighty-three prominent members of the church was presented to the recalcitrants, ordering them to leave the county, and painting their characters in the blackest hues.* This radical action did not meet the approval of the more conservative element, which included men like Corrill, and he soon announced that he was no longer a Mormon. Not long afterward Thomas B. Marsh, one of the original members of the High Council of Twelve in Missouri, and now President of the Twelve, and Orson Hyde, one of the original Apostles, also seceded, and both gave testimony about the Mormon schemes in Caldwell and Daviess Counties. Cowdery and Whitmer considered their lives in such danger that they fled on horseback at night, leaving their families, and after riding till daylight in a storm, reached the house of a friend, where they found refuge until their families could join them.
* See p. 81 ante. For the full text of Rigdon's paper, see the "Correspondence, Orders, etc., in Relation to the Mormon Disturbances in Missouri," published by order of the Missouri legislature (1841).
The most important event that followed the expulsion of leading members from the church by the High Council was the formation of that organization which has been almost ever since known as the Danites, whose dark deeds in Nauvoo were scarcely more than hinted at,* but which, under Brigham Young's authority in Utah, became a band of murderers, ready to carry out the most radical suggestion which might be made by any higher authority of the church.
* Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 158.
Corrill, an active member of the church in Missouri, writing in 1839 with the events fresh in his memory, said* that the members of the Danite society entered into solemn covenants to stand by one another when in difficulty, whether right or wrong, and to correct each other's wrongs among themselves, accepting strictly the mandates of the Presidency as standing next to God. He explains that "many were opposed to this society, but such was their determination and also their threatenings, that those opposed dare not speak their minds on the subject . . . . It began to be taught that the church, instead of God, or, rather, the church in the hands of God, was to bring about these things (judgments on the wicked), and I was told, but I cannot vouch for the truth of it, that some of them went so far as to contrive plans how they might scatter poison, pestilence, and disease among the inhabitants, and make them think it was judgments sent from God. I accused Smith and Rigdon of it, but they both denied it promptly."
* "Brief History of the Church," pp. 31, 32.
Robinson, in his reminiscences in the Return in later years, gave the same date of the organization of the Danites, and said that their first manifesto was the one directed against Cowdery, Whitmer, and others.
We must look for the actual origin of this organization, however, to some of the prophet's instructions while still at Kirtland. In his "revelation" of August 6, 1833 (Sec. 98), he thus defined the treatment that the Saints might bestow upon their enemies: "I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands, and then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; . . . nevertheless thine enemy is in thine hands, and if thou reward him according to his works thou art justified, if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified."
What such a license would mean to a following like Smith's can easily be understood.
The next step in the same direction was taken during the exercises which,accompanied the opening of the Kirtland Temple. Three days after the dedicatory services, all the high officers of the church, and the official members of the stake, to the number of about three hundred, met in the Temple by appointment to perform the washing of feet. While this was going on (following Smith's own account),* "the brethren began to prophesy blessings upon each other's heads, and cursings upon the enemies of Christ who inhabit Jackson County, Missouri, and continued prophesying and blessing and sealing them, with hosannah and amen, until nearly seven o'clock P. M. The bread and wine were then brought in. While waiting, I made the following remarks, I want to enter into the following covenant, that if any more of our brethren are slain or driven from their lands in Missouri by the mob, we will give ourselves no rest until we are avenged of our enemies to the uttermost.' This covenant was sealed unanimously, with a hosannah and an amen." **
* Millennial Star, Vol. XV, pp. 727-728.
* "The spirit of that covenant evidently bore fruit in the Fourth of July oration of 1838 and the Mountain Meadow Massacre."--The Return, Vol. II, p. 271.
The original name chosen for the Danites was "Daughters of Zion," suggested by the text Micah iv. 13: "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thine hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate thy gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth." "Daughters" of anybody was soon decided to be an inappropriate designation for such a band, and they were next called "Destroying (or Flying) Angels," a title still in use in Utah days; then the "Big Fan," suggested by Jeremiah xv. 7, or Luke iii. 17; then "Brothers of Gideon," and finally "Sons of Dan" (whence the name Danites,) from Genesis xlix. 17: "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward."*
* Hyde's "Mormonism Exposed," pp. 104-105.
Avard presented the text of the constitution to the court at Richmond, Missouri, during the inquiry before Judge King in November, 1838* It begins with a preamble setting forth the agreement of the members "to regulate ourselves under such laws as in righteousness shall be deemed necessary for the preservation of our holy religion, and of our most sacred rights, and the rights of our wives and children," and declaring that, "not having the privileges of others allowed to us, we have determined, like unto our fathers, to resist tyranny, whether it be in kings or in the people. It is all alike to us. Our rights we must have, and our rights we shall have, in the name of Israel's God." The President of the church and his counsellors were to hold the "executive power," and also, along with the generals and colonels of the society, to hold the "legislative powers"; this legislature to "have power to make all laws regulating the society, and regulating punishments to be administered to the guilty in accordance with the offence." Thus was furnished machinery for carrying out any decree of the officers of the church against either life or property.
* Missouri "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," pp. 101-102.
The Danite oath as it was administered in Nauvoo was as follows:-- "In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself ever to regard the Prophet and the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as the supreme head of the church on earth, and to obey them in all things, the same as the supreme God; that I will stand by my brethren in danger or difficulty, and will uphold the Presidency, right or wrong; and that I will ever conceal, and never reveal, the secret purposes of this society, called Daughters of Zion. Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture, in a caldron of boiling oil."*
* Bennett's "History of the Saints," p. 267.
John D. Lee, who was a member of the organization, explaining their secret signs, says,* "The sign or token of distress is made by placing the right hand on the right side of the face, with the points of the fingers upward, shoving the hand upward until the ear is snug up between the thumb and forefinger."
*Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 57.
It has always been the policy of the Mormon church to deny to the outside world that any such organization as the Danites existed, or at least that it received the countenance of the authorities. Smith's City Council in Nauvoo made an affidavit that there was no such society there, and Utah Mormons have professed similar ignorance. Brigham Young, himself, however, gave testimony to the contrary in the days when he was supreme in Salt Lake City. In one of his discourses which will be found reported in the Deseret News (Vol. VII, p. 143) he said: "If men come here and do not behave themselves, they will not only find the Danites, whom they talk so much about, biting the horses' heels, but the scoundrels will find something biting THEIR heels. In my plain remarks I merely call things by their own names." It need only be added that the church authority has been powerful enough at any time in the history of the church to crush out such an organization if it so desired.
A second organization formed about the same time, at a fully attended meeting of the Mormons of Daviess County, was called "The Host of Israel." It was presided over by captains of tens, of fifties, and of hundreds, and, according to Lee, "God commanded Joseph Smith to place the Host of Israel in a situation for defence against the enemies of God and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
Another important feature of the church rule that was established at this time was the tithing system, announced in a "revelation" (Sec. 119), which is dated July 8, 1838. This required the flock to put all their "surplus property" into the hands of the Bishop for the building of the Temple and the payment of the debts of the Presidency, and that, after that, "those who have thus been tithed, shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever."
Ebenezer Robinson gives an interesting explanation of the origin of tithing. *In May, 1838, the High Council at Far West, after hearing a statement by Rigdon that it was absolutely necessary for the church to make some provision for the support of the families of all those who gave their entire time to church affairs, instructed the Bishop to deed to Smith and Rigdon an eighty-acre lot belonging to the church, and appointed a committee of three to confer with the Presidency concerning their salary for that year. Smith and Rigdon thought that $1100 would be a proper sum, and the committee reported in favor of a salary, but left the amount blank. The council voted the salaries, but this action caused such a protest from the church members that at the next meeting the resolution was rescinded. Only a few days later came this "revelation" requiring the payment of tithes, in which there was no mention of using any of the money for the poor, as was directed in the Ohio "revelation" about the consecration of property to the Bishop.
* The Return, Vol. 1, p. 136.
This tithing system has provided ever since the principal revenue of the church. By means of it the Temple was built at Nauvoo, and under it vast sums have been contributed in Utah. By 1878 the income of the church by this source was placed at $1,000,000 a year,* and during Brigham Young's administration the total receipts were estimated at $13,000,000. We shall see that Young made practically no report of the expenditure of this vast sum that passed into his control. To Horace Greeley's question, "What is done with the proceeds of this tithing?" Young replied, "Part of it is devoted to building temples and other places of worship, part to helping the poor and needy converts on their way to this country, and the largest portion to the support of the poor among the Saints."
* Salt Lake Tribune, June 25, 1879.
As the authority of the church over its members increased, the regulation about the payment of tithes was made plainer and more severe. Parley P. Pratt, in addressing the General Conference in Salt Lake City in October, 1849, said, "To fulfil the law of tithing, a man should make out and lay before the Bishop a schedule of all his property, and pay him one-tenth of it. When he hath tithed his principal once, he has no occasion to tithe again; but the next year he must pay one-tenth of his increase, and one-tenth of his time, of his cattle, money, goods, and trade; and, whatever use we put it to, it is still our own, for the Lord does not carry it away with him to heaven."* * Millennial Star, Vol. XII, p. 134.
The Seventh General Epistle to the church (September, 1851) made this statement, "It is time that the Saints understood that the paying of their tithing is a prominent portion of the labor which is allotted to them, by which they are to secure a futureresidence in the heaven they are seeking after."* This view was constantly presented to the converts abroad.
* Ibid., Vol. XIV, p. 18.
At the General Conference in Salt Lake City on September 8, 1850, Brigham Young made clear his radical view of tithing--a duty, he declared, that few had lived up to. Taking the case of a supposed Mr. A, engaged in various pursuits (to represent the community), starting with a capital of $100,000 he must surrender $10,000 of this as tithing. With his remaining $90,000 he gains $410,000; $41,000 of this gain must be given into the storehouse of the Lord. Next he works nine days with his team; the tenth day's work is for the church, as is one-tenth of the wheat he raises, one-tenth of his sheep, and one-tenth of his eggs.*
* Ibid., Vol. XIII, p. 21.
Under date of July 18, came another "revelation" (Sec. 120), declaring that the tithings "shall be disposed of by a Council, composed of the First Presidency of my church, and of the Bishop and his council, and by my High Council." The first meeting of this body decided "that the First Presidency should keep all their property that they could dispose of to advantage for their support, and the remainder be put into the hands of the Bishop, according to the commandments."* The coolness of this proceeding in excepting Smith and Rigdon from the obligation to pay a tithe is worthy of admiration.
* Ibid., Vol. XVI, p. 204.
Smith had shown his dominating spirit as soon as he arrived at Far West. In April, 1838, he announced a "revelation" (Sec. 115), commanding the building of a house of worship there, the work to begin on July 4, the speedy building up of that city, and the establishment of Stakes in the regions round about. This last requirement showed once more Smith's lack of judgment, and it became a source of irritation to the non-Mormons, as it was thought to foreshadow a design to control the neighboring counties. Hyde says that Smith and Rigdon deliberately planned the scattering of the Saints beyond the borders of Clay County with a view to political power.*
* Hyde's "Mormonism," p. 203.
In accordance with this scheme, a "revelation" of May 19 (Sec. 116), directed the founding of a town on Grand River in Daviess County, twenty-five miles northwest of Far West. This settlement was to be called "Adam-ondi-Ahman," "because it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the Prophet." The "revelation" further explains that, three years before his death, Adamcalled a number of high priests and all of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there blessed them. Lee (who, following the common pronunciation, writes the name "Adam-on-Diamond") expresses the belief, which Smith instilled into his followers, that it "was at the point where Adam came and settled and blessed his posterity, after being driven from the Garden of Eden. There Adam and Eve tarried for several years, and engaged in tilling the soil." By order of the Presidency, another town was started in Carroll County, where the Saints had been living in peace. Immediately the new settlement was looked upon as a possible rival of Gallatin, the county seat, and the non-Mormons made known their objections.
* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 91.
With Smith and Rigdon on the ground, if these men had had any tact, or any purpose except to enforce Mormon supremacy in whatever part of Missouri they chose to call Zion, the troubles now foreshadowed might easily have been prevented. Every step they took, however, was in the nature of a defiance. The sermons preached to the Mormons that summer taught them that they would be able to withstand, not only the opposition of the Missourians, but of the United States, if this should be put to the test.*
* Corrill's "Brief History of the Church," p. 29.
The flock in and around Far West were under the influence of such advice when they met on July 4 to lay the corner-stone of the third Temple, whose building Smith had revealed, and to celebrate the day. There was a procession, with a flagpole raising, and Smith embraced the occasion to make public announcement of the tithing "revelation" (although it bears a later date).
The chief feature of the day, and the one that had most influence on the fortunes of the church, was a sermon by Sidney Rigdon, known ever since as the "salt sermon," from the text Matt. v. 13: "If the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." He first applied these words to the men who had made trouble in the church, declaring that they ought to be trodden under foot until their bowels gushed out, citing as a precedent that "the apostles threw Judas Iscariot down and trampled out his bowels, and that Peter stabbed Ananias and Sapphira." It was what followed, however, which made the serious trouble, a defiance to their Missouri opponents in these words: "It is not because we cannot, if we were so disposed, enjoy both the honors and flatteries of the world, but we have voluntarily offered them in sacrifice, and the riches of the world also, for a more durable substance. Our God has promised a reward of eternal inheritance, and we have believed his promise, and, though we wade through great tribulations, we are in nothing discouraged, for we know he that has promised is faithful. The promise is sure, and the reward is certain. It is because of this that we have taken the spoiling of our goods. Our cheeks have been given to the smiters, and our heads to those who have plucked off the hair. We have not only, when smitten on one cheek, turned the other, but we have done it again and again, until we are weary of being smitten, and tired of being trampled upon. We have proved the world with kindness; we have suffered their abuse, without cause, with patience, and have endured without resentment, until this day, and still their persecution and violence does not cease. But from this day and this hour, we will suffer it no more.
"We take God and all the holy angels to witness this day, that we warn all men, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come on us no more for ever, for, from this hour, we will bear it no more. Our rights shall no more be trampled on with impunity. The man, or set of men, who attempt it, DOES IT AT THE EXPENSE OF THEIR LIVES. And that mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them A WAR OF EXTERMINATION, FOR WE WILL FOLLOW THEM TO THE LAST DROP OF THEIR BLOOD IS SPILLED, OR ELSE THEY WILL HAVE TO EXTERMINATE US; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the other SHALL BE UTTERLY DESTROYED. Remember it then, all men.
"We will never be aggressors; we will infringe on rights of no people; but shall stand for our own until death. We claim our own rights, and are willing that all shall enjoy theirs.
"No man shall be at liberty to come in our streets, to threaten us with mobs, for if he does, he shall atone for it before he leaves the place; neither shall he be at liberty to vilify or slander any of us, for suffer it we will not in this place.
"We therefore take all men to record this day, as did our fathers. And we pledge this day to one another, our fortunes, our lives, and our sacred honors, to be delivered from the persecutions which we have had to endure for the last nine years, or nearly that. Neither will we indulge any man, or set of men, in instituting vexatious lawsuits against us to cheat us out of our just rights. If they attempt it we say, woe be unto them. We this day then proclaim ourselves free, with a purpose and a determination that never can be broken, no never, NO NEVER, NO NEVER."
Ebenezer Robinson in The Return (Vol I, p. 170) says:--
"Let it be distinctly understood that President Rigdon was not alone responsible for the sentiment expressed in his oration, as that was a carefully prepared document previously written, and well understood by the First Presidency; but Elder Rigdon was the mouthpiece to deliver it, as he was a natural orator, and his delivery was powerful and effective.
"Several Missouri gentlemen of note, from other counties, were present on the speaker's stand at its delivery, with Joseph Smith, Jr., President, and Hyrum Smith, Vice President of the day; and at the conclusion of the oration, when the president of the day led off with a shout of Hosannah, Hosannah, Hosannah,' and joined in the shout by the vast multitude, these Missouri gentlemen began to shout hurrah,' but they soon saw that did not time with the other, and they ceased shouting. A copy of the oration was furnished the editor, and printed in the Far West, a weekly newspaper printed in Liberty, the county seat of Clay county. It was also printed in pamphlet form, by the writer of this, in the printing office of the Elders' Journal, in the city of Far West, a copy of which we have preserved.
"This oration, and the stand taken by the church in endorsing it, and its publication, undoubtedly exerted a powerful influence in arousing the people of the whole upper Missouri country."
At the trial of Rigdon, when he was cast out at Nauvoo, Young and others held him alone responsible for this sermon, and declared that it was principally instrumental in stirring up the hostilities that ensued.
A state election was to be held in Missouri early in August, and there was a good deal of political feeling. Daviess County was pretty equally divided between Whigs and Democrats, and the vote of the Mormons was sought by the leaders of both parties. In Caldwell County the Saints were classed as almost solidly Democratic. When election day came, the Danites in the latter county distributed tickets on which the Presidency had agreed, but this resulted in nothing more serious than some criticism of this interference of the church in politics. But in Daviess County trouble occurred.
The Mormons there were warned by the Democrats that the Whigs would attempt to prevent their voting at Gallatin. Of the ten houses in that town at the time, three were saloons, and the material for an election-day row was at hand. It began with an attack on a Mormon preacher, and ended in a general fight, in which there were many broken heads, but no loss of life; after which, says Lee, who took part in it, "the Mormons all voted."*
* Smith's autobiography says, "Very few of the brethren voted."
Exaggerated reports of this melee reached Far West, and Dr. Avard, collecting a force of 150 volunteers, and accompanied by Smith and Rigdon, started for Daviess County for the support of their brethren. They came across no mob, but they made a tactical mistake. Instead of disbanding and returning to their homes, they, the next morning (following Smith's own account)* "rode out to view the situation." Their ride took them to the house of a justice of the peace, named Adam Black, who had joined a band whose object was the expulsion of the Mormons. Smith could not neglect the opportunity to remind the justice of his violation of his oath, and to require of him some satisfaction, "so that we might know whether he was our friend or enemy." With this view they compelled him to sign what they called "an agreement of peace," which the justice drew up in this shape:--
* Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 229.
"I, Adam Black, A Justice of the Peace of Davies County, do hereby Sertify to the people called Mormin that he is bound to suport the constitution of this state and of the United States, and he is not attached to any mob, nor will not attach himself to any such people, and so long as they will not molest me I will not molest them. This the 8th day of August, 1838.
"ADAM BLACK, J.P"
When the Mormon force returned to Far West, the Daviess people secured warrants for the arrest of Smith, L. Wight, and others, charging them with violating the law by entering another county armed, and compelling a justice of the peace to obey their mandate, Black having made an affidavit that he was compelled to sign the paper in order to save his life. Wight threatened to resist arrest, and this caused such a gathering of Missourians that Smith became alarmed and sent for two lawyers, General D. R. Atchison and General Doniphan, to come to Far West as his legal advisers.* Acting on their advice, the accused surrendered themselves, and were bound over to court in $500 bail for a hearing on September 7.
* General Atchison was the major general in command of that division of the state militia. His early reports to the governor must be read in the light of his association with Smith as counsel. General Douiphan afterward won fame at Chihuahua in the Mexican War.
CHAPTER VIII. A STATE OF CIVIL WAR
All peaceable occupations were now at an end in Daviess County. General Atchison reported to the governor that, on arriving there on September 17, he found the county practically deserted, the Gentiles being gathered in one camp and the Mormons in another. A justice of the peace, in a statement to the governor, declared, "The Mormons are so numerous and so well armed [in Daviess and Caldwell counties] that the judicial power of the counties is wholly unable to execute any civil or criminal process within the limits of either of the said counties against a Mormon or Mormons, as they each and every one of them act in concert and outnumber the other citizens." Lee says that an order had been issued by the church authorities, commanding all the Mormons to gather in two fortified camps, at Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman. The men were poorly armed, but demanded to be led against their foes, being "confident that God was going to deliver the enemy into our hands."*
* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 78.
Both parties now stood on the defensive, posting sentinels, and making other preparations for a fight. Actual hostilities soon ensued. The Mormons captured some arms which their opponents had obtained, and took them, with three prisoners, to Far West. "This was a glorious day, indeed," says Smith.* Citizens of Daviess and Livingston counties sent a petition to Governor Boggs (who had succeeded Dunklin), dated September 12, declaring that they believed their lives, liberty, and property to be "in the most imminent danger of being sacrificed by the hands of those impostorous rebels," and asking for protection. The governor had already directed General Atchison to raise immediately four hundred mounted men in view of indications of Indian disturbances on our immediate frontier, and the recent civil disturbances in the counties of Caldwell, Daviess, and Carroll." The calling out of the militia followed, and General Doniphan found himself in command of about one thousand militiamen. He seems to have used tact, and to have employed his force only as peace preservers. On September 20 he reported to Governor Boggs that he had discharged all his troops but two companies, and that he did not think the services of these would be required more than twenty days. He estimated the Mormon forces in the disturbed counties at from thirteen hundred to fifteen hundred men, most of them carrying a rifle, a brace of pistols, and a broadsword; "so that," he added, "from their position, and their fanaticism, and their unalterable determination not to be driven, much blood will be spilt and much suffering endured if a blow is at once struck, without the interposition of your excellency."
* Smith's autobiography, at this point, says: "President Rigdon and I commenced this day the study of law under the instruction of Generals Atchison and Doniphan. They think by diligent application we can be admitted to the bar in twelve months." Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 246.
The people of Carroll County began now to hold meetings whose object was the expulsion of the Mormons from their boundaries, and some hundreds of them assembled in hostile attitude around the little settlement of Dewitt. The Mormons there prepared for defence, and sent an appeal to Far West for aid. Accordingly, one hundred Mormons, including Smith and Rigdon, started to assist them, and two companies of militia, under General Parks, were hurried to the spot. General Parks reported to General Atchison on October 7 that, on arriving there the day before, he found the place besieged by two hundred or three hundred Missourians, under a Dr. Austin, with a field-piece, and defended by two hundred or three hundred Mormons under G. M. Hinckle, "who says he will die before he is driven from thence." Austin expected speedy reenforcements that would enable him to take the place by assault. A petition addressed by the Mormons of Dewitt to the governor, as early as September 22, having been ignored, and finding themselves outnumbered, they agreed to abandon their settlement on receiving pay for their improvements, and some fifty wagons conveyed them and their effects to Far West.
A period of absolute lawlessness in all that section of the state followed. Smith declared that civil war existed, and that, as the state would not protect them, they must look out for themselves. He and his associates made no concealment of their purpose to "make clean work of it" in driving the non-Mormons from both Daviess and Caldwell counties. When warned that this course would array the whole state against them, Smith replied that the "mob" (as the opponents of the Mormons were always styled) were a small minority of the state, and would yield to armed opposition; the Mormons would defeat one band after another, and so proceed across the state, until they reached St. Louis, where the Mormon army would spend the winter. This calculation is a fair illustration of Smith's judgment.
Armed bands of both parties now rode over the country, paying absolutely no respect to property rights, and ready for a "brush" with any opponents. At Smith's suggestion, a band of men, under the name of the "Fur Company," was formed to "commandeer" food, teams, and men for the Mormon campaign. This practical license to steal let loose the worst element in the church organization, glad of any method of revenge on those whom they considered their persecutors. "Men of former quiet," says Lee, who was among the active raiders, "became perfect demons in their efforts to spoil and waste away the enemies of the church."* Cattle and hogs that could not be driven off were killed.** Houses were burned, not only in the outlying country, but in the towns. A night attack by a band of eighty men was made on Gallatin, where some of the houses were set on fire, and two stores as well as private houses were robbed. The house of one McBride, who, Lee says, had been a good friend to him and to other Mormons, did not escape: "Every article of moveable property was taken by the troops; he was utterly ruined." "It appeared to me," says Corrill, "that the love of pillage grew upon them very fast, for they plundered every kind of property they could get hold of, and burnt many cabins in Daviess, some say 80, and some say 150." ***
* Lee naively remarks, "In justice to Joseph Smith I cannot say that I ever heard him teach, or even encourage, men to pilfer or steal little things."--"Mormonism Unveiled," p. 90.
** W. Harris's "Mormonism Portrayed," p. 30.
*** "Brief History of the Church," p. 38.
The Missourians retaliated in kind. Mormons were seized and whipped, and their houses were burned. A lawless company (Pratt calls them banditti), led by one Gilliam, embraced the opportunity to make raids in the Mormon territory. It was soon found necessary to collect the outlying Mormons at Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman, where they were used for purposes both of offence and defence. The movements of the Missourians were closely watched, and preparations were made to burn any place from which a force set out to attack the Saints.
One of the Missouri officers, Captain Bogart, on October 23, warned some Mormons to leave the county, and, with his company of thirty or forty men, announced his intention to "give Far West thunder and lightning." When this news reached Far West, Judge Higbee, of the county court, ordered Lieutenant Colonel Hinckle to go out with a company, disperse the "mob," and retake some prisoners. The Mormons assembled at midnight, and about seventy-five volunteers started at once, under command of Captain Patton, the Danite leader, whose nickname was "Fear Not," all on horseback. When they approached Crooked River, on which Bogart's force was encamped, fifteen men were sent in advance on foot to locate the enemy. Just at dawn a rifle shot sounded, and a young Mormon, named O'Barrion, fell mortally wounded. Captain Patton ordered a charge, and led his men at a gallop down a hill to the river, under the bank of which the Missourians were drawn up. The latter had an advantage, as they were in the shade, and the Mormons were between them and the east, which the dawn was just lighting. Exchanges of volleys occurred, and then Captain Patton ordered his men to rush on with drawn swords--they had no bayonets. This put the Missourians to flight, but just as they fled Captain Patton received a mortal wound. Three Mormons in all were killed as a result of this battle, and seven wounded, while Captain Bogart reported the death of one man.*
* Ebenezer Robinson's account in The Return, p. 191.
The death of "Fear Not" was considered by the Mormons a great loss. He was buried with the honors of war, says Robinson, "and at his grave a solemn convention was made to avenge his death." Smith, in the funeral sermon, reverted to his old tactics, attributing the Mormon losses to the Lord's anger against his people, because of their unbelief and their unwillingness to devote their worldly treasures to the church.
The rout of Captain Bogart's force, which was a part of the state militia, increased the animosity against the Mormons, and the wiser of the latter believed that they would suffer a dire vengeance.*
* Corrill's "Brief History of the Church," p. 38.
This vengeance first made itself felt at a settlement called Hawn's Mill (of which there are various spellings), some miles from Far West, where there were a flour mill, blacksmith shop, and other buildings. The Mormons there were advised, the day after the fight on Crooked River, to move into Far West for protection, but the owners of the buildings, knowing that these would be burned as soon as deserted, decided to remain and defend their property.
On October 30 a mounted force of Missourians appeared before the place. The Mormons ran into the log blacksmith shop, which they thought would serve them as a blockhouse, but it proved to be a slaughter-pen. The Missourians surrounded it, and, sticking their rifles into every hole and crack, poured in a deadly fire, killing, some reports say eighteen, and some thirty-one, of the Mormons. The only persons in the town who escaped found shelter in the woods. The Missourians did not lose a man. When the firing ceased, they still showed no mercy, shooting a small boy in the leg after dragging him out from under the bellows, and hacking to death with a corn cutter an old man while he begged for his life. Dead and wounded were thrown into a well, and some of the wounded, taken out by rescuers from Far West, recovered. "I heard one of the militia tell General Clark," says Corrill, "that a well twenty or thirty feet deep was filled with their dead bodies to within three feet of the top."*
* Details of this massacre will be found in Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 78-80; in the Missouri "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 82; the Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 507, and in Greene's "Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri," pp. 21-24.
The Mormons have always considered this "massacre," as they called it, the crowning outrage of their treatment in Missouri, and for many years were especially bitter toward all participants in it. A letter from two Mormons in the Frontier Guardian, dated October, 1849, describing the disinterred human bones seen on their journey across the plains, said that they recognized on the rude tombstone the names of some of their Missouri persecutors: "Among others, we noted at the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains the grave of one E. Dodd of Gallatin, Missouri. The wolves had completely disinterred him. It is believed that he was the same Dodd that took an active part as a prominent mobocrat in the murder of the Saints at Hawn's Mill, Missouri; if so, it is a righteous retribution." Two Mormon elders, describing a visit in 1889 to the scenes of the Mormon troubles in Missouri, said, "The notorious Colonel W. O. Jennings, who commanded the mob at the [Hawn's Mill] massacre, was assaulted in Chillicothe, Missouri, on the evening of January 20, 1862, by an unknown person, who shot him on the street with a revolver or musket, as the Colonel was going home after dark." * They are silent as to the avenger.
* "Infancy of the Church" (pamphlet).
Governor Boggs now began to realize the seriousness of the situation that he was called to meet, and on October 26 he directed General John B. Clark (who was not the ranking general) to raise, for the protection of the citizens of Daviess County, four hundred mounted men. This order he followed the next day with the following, which has become the most famous of the orders issued during this campaign, under the designation "the order of extermination":--
"HEADQUARTERS OF THE MILITIA, "CITY OF JEFFERSON, Oct. 27, 1838. "GEN. JOHN B. CLARK,
"Sir:--Since the order of this morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your Division, I have received by Amos Rees, Esq., of Ray County and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this state. Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operations with all possible speed.
"The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace--their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj. Gen. Willock, of Marion County, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express; you can also communicate with them if you find it necessary.
"Instead therefore of proceeding, as at first directed, to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond and then operate against the Mormons. Brig. Gen. Parks, of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.
"I am very respectfully, "Your ob't serv't, "L. W. Boggs, Commander-in-chief."
The "appalling information" received by the governor from his aids was contained in a letter dated October 25, which stated that the Mormons were "destroying all before them"; that they had burned Gallatin and Mill Pond, and almost every house between these places, plundered the whole country, and defeated Captain Bogart's company, and had determined to burn Richmond that night. "These creatures," said the letter, "will never stop until they are stopped by the strong hand of force, and something must be done, and that speedily."*
* For text of letter, see "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 59.
The language of Governor Boggs's letter to General Clark cannot be defended. The Mormons have always made great capital of his declaration that the Mormons "must be exterminated," and a man of judicial temperament would have selected other words, no matter how necessary he deemed it, for political reasons, to show his sympathy with the popular cause. But, on the other hand, the governor was only accepting the challenge given by Rigdon in his recent Fourth of July address, when the latter declared that if a mob disturbed the Mormons, "it shall be between us and them a war of extermination, for we will follow them till the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us." What compromise there could have been between a band of fanatics obeying men like Smith and Rigdon, and the class of settlers who made up the early Missouri population, it is impossible to conceive. The Mormons were simply impossible as neighbors, and it had become evident that they could no more remain peaceably in the state than they could a few years previously in Jackson County.
General Atchison, of Smith's counsel, was not called on by the governor in these latest movements, because, as the governor explained in a letter to General Clark, "there was much dissatisfaction manifested toward him by the people opposed to the Mormons." But he had seen his mistake, and he united with General Lucas in a letter to the governor under date of October 28, in which they said, "from late outrages committed by the Mormons, civil war is inevitable," and urged the governor's presence in the disturbed district. Governor Boggs excused himself from complying with this request because of the near approach of the meeting of the legislature.
General Lucas, acting under his interpretation of the governor's order, had set out on October 28 for Far West from near Richmond, with a force large enough to alarm the Mormon leaders. Robinson, speaking of the outlook from their standpoint at this time, says, "We looked for warm work, as there were large numbers of armed men gathering in Daviess County, with avowed determination of driving the Mormons from the county, and we began to feel as determined that the Missourians should be expelled from the county."* The Mormons did not hear of the approach of General Lucas's force until it was near the town. Then the southern boundary was hastily protected with a barricade of wagons and logs, and the night of October 30-31 was employed by all the inhabitants in securing their possessions for flight, in anticipation of a battle the next day.
* The Return, Vol. I, p. 189.
At eight o'clock the next morning the commander of the militia sent a flag of truce to the Mormons which Colonel Hinckle, for the Mormons, met. General Lucas submitted the following terms, as necessary to carry out the governor's orders:
1. To give up their leaders to be tried and punished.
2. To make an appropriation of their property, all who have taken up arms, to the payment of their debts and indemnity for damage done by them.
3. That the balance should leave the State, and be protected out by the militia, but be permitted to remain under protection until further orders were received by the commander-in-chief.
4. To give up the arms of every description, to be receipted for.
While these propositions were under consideration, General Lucas asked that Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, P. P. Pratt, and G. W. Robinson be given up as hostages, and this was done. Contemporary Mormon accounts imputed treachery to Colonel Hinckle in this matter, and said that Smith and his associates were lured into the militia camp by a ruse. General Lucas's report to the governor says that the proposition for a conference came from Hinckle. Hyrum Smith, in an account of the trial of the prisoners, printed some years later in the Times and Seasons, said that all the men who surrendered were that night condemned by a court-martial to be shot, but were saved by General Doniphan's interference. Lee's account agrees with this, but says that Smith surrendered voluntarily, to save the lives of his followers.
General Lucas received the surrender of Far West, on the terms named, in advance of the arrival of General Clark, who was making forced marches. After the surrender, General Lucas disbanded the main body of his force, and set out with his prisoners for Independence, the original site of Zion. General Clark, learning of this, ordered him to transfer the prisoners to Richmond, which was done.
Hearing that the guard left by General Lucas at Far West were committing outrages, General Clark rode to that place accompanied by his field officers. He found no disorder,* but instituted a military court of inquiry, which resulted in the arrest of forty-six additional Mormons, who were sent to Richmond for trial. The facts on which these arrests were made were obtained principally from Dr. Avard, the Danite, who was captured by a militia officer. "No one," General Clark says, "disclosed any useful matter until he was captured."
* "Much property was destroyed by the troops in town during their stay there, such as burning house logs, rails, corn cribs, boards, etc., the using of corn and hay, the plundering of houses, the killing of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and also the taking of horses not their own."--"Mormon Memorial to Missouri Legislature," December 10, 1838.
After these arrests had been made, General Clark called the other Mormons at Far West together, and addressed them, telling them that they could now go to their fields for corn, wood, etc., but that the terms of the surrender must be strictly lived up to. Their leading men had been given up, their arms surrendered, and their property assigned as stipulated, but it now remained for them to leave the state forthwith. On that subject the general said:--
"The character of this state has suffered almost beyond redemption, from the character, conduct, and influence that you have exerted; and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character to its former standing among the states by every proper means. The orders of the governor to me were that you should be exterminated and not allowed to remain in the state. And had not your leaders been given up, and the terms of the treaty complied with, before this time you and your families would have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes. There is a discretionary power vested in my hands, which, considering your circumstances, I shall exercise for a season. You are indebted to me for this clemency.
"I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting in crops, for the moment you do this the citizens will be upon you; and if I am called here again, in a case of a non-compliance of a treaty made, do not think that I shall do as I have done now. You need not expect any mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the governor's orders shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not think, do not imagine for a moment, do not let it enter into your mind, that they will be delivered and restored to you again, for their fate is fixed, their die is cast, their doom is sealed.
"I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so many apparently intelligent men found in the situation you are; and O ! if I could invoke the great spirit, the unknown God, to rest upon and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound, that you no longer do homage to a man. I would advise you to scatter abroad, and never organize yourselves with bishops, presidents, etc., lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you. You have always been the aggressors: you have brought upon yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule. And my advice is that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin."
General Clark then marched with his prisoners to Richmond, where the trial of all the accused began on November 12, before Judge A. A, King. By November 29 the called-out militia had been disbanded, and on that date General Clark made his final report to the governor. In this he asserted that the militia under him had conducted themselves as honorable citizen soldiers, and enclosed a certificate signed by five Mormons, including W. W. Phelps, Colonel Hinckle, and John Corrill, confirming this statement, and saying, "We have no hesitation in saying that the course taken by General Clark with the Mormons was necessary for the public peace, and that the Mormons are generally satisfied with his course."
In his summing up of the results of the campaign, General Clark said:
"It [the Mormon insurrection] had for its object Dominion, the ultimate subjugation of this State and the Union to the laws of a few men called the Presidency. Their church was to be built up at any rate, peaceably if they could, forcibly if necessary. These people had banded themselves together in societies, the object of which was to first drive from their society such as refused to join them in their unholy purposes, and then to plunder the surrounding country, and ultimately to subject the state to their rule."
"The whole number of the Mormons killed through the whole difficulty, so far as I can ascertain, are about forty, and several wounded. There has been one citizen killed, and about fifteen badly wounded."*
* "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 92.
Brigadier General R. Wilson was sent with his command to settle the Mormon question in Daviess County. Finding the town of Adamondi-Ahman unguarded, he placed guards around it, and gathered in the Mormons of the neighborhood, to the number of about two hundred. Most of these, he explained in his report, were late comers from Canada and the northern border of the United States, and were living mostly in tents, without any adequate provision for the winter. Those against whom criminal charges had been made were placed under arrest, and the others were informed that General Wilson would protect them for ten days, and would guarantee their safety to Caldwell County or out of the state. "This appeared to me," said General Wilson, in his report to General Clark, "to be the only course to prevent a general massacre." In this report General Wilson presented the following picture of the situation there as he found it: "It is perfectly impossible for me to convey to you anything like the awful state of things which exists here--language is inadequate to the task. The citizens of a whole county first plundered, and then their houses and other buildings burnt to ashes; without houses, beds, furniture, or even clothing in many instances, to meet the inclemency of the weather. I confess that my feelings have been shocked with the gross brutality of these Mormons, who have acted more like demons from the infernal regions than human beings. Under these circumstances, you will readily perceive that it would be perfectly impossible for me to protect the Mormons against the just indignation of the citizens . . . . The Mormons themselves appeared pleased with the idea of getting away from their enemies and a justly insulted people, and I believe all have applied and received permits to leave the county; and I suppose about fifty families have left, and others are hourly leaving, and at the end of ten days Mormonism will not be known in Daviess county. This appeared to me to be the only course left to prevent a general massacre."*
* "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 78.
The Mormons began to depart at once, and in ten days nearly all had left. Lee, who acted as guide to General Wilson, and whose wife and babe were at Adamondi-Ahman, says:
"Every house in Adamondi-Ahman was searched by the troops for stolen property. They succeeded in finding very much of the Gentile property that had been captured by the Saints in the various raids they made through the country. Bedding of every kind and in large quantities was found and reclaimed by the owners. Even spinning wheels, soap barrels, and other articles were recovered. Each house where stolen property was found was certain to receive a Missouri blessing from the troops. The men who had been most active in gathering plunder had fled to Illinois to escape the vengeance of the people, leaving their families to suffer for the sins of the believing Saints."*
* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 89.
We may now follow the fortunes of the Mormon prisoners. On arriving at Richmond, they were confined in the unfinished brick court-house. The only inside work on this building that was completed was a partly laid floor, and to this the prisoners were restricted by a railing, with a guard inside and out. "Two three-pail iron kettles for boiling our meat, and two or more iron bake kettles, or Dutch ovens, were furnished us," says Robinson, "together with sacks of corn meal and meat in bulk. We did our own cooking. This arrangement suited us very well, and we enjoyed ourselves as well as men could under such circumstances."*
* The Return, Vol. I, p. 234.
Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and A. McRea were soon transferred to the jail at Liberty. The others were then put into the debtor's room of Richmond jail, a two-story log structure which was not well warmed, but they were released on light bail in a few days.
A report of the testimony given at the hearing of the Mormon prisoners before judge King will be found in the "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," published by order of the Missouri legislature, pp. 97-149. Among the Mormons who gave evidence against the prisoners were Avard, the Danite, John Whitmer, W. W. Phelps, John Corrill, and Colonel Hinckle. There were thirty-seven witnesses for the state and seven for the defence. As showing the character of the testimony, the following selections will suffice.
Avard told the story of the origin of the Danites, and said that he considered Joseph Smith their organizer; that the constitution was approved by Smith and his counsellors at Rigdon's house, and that the members felt themselves as much bound to obey the heads of the church as to obey God. Just previous to the arrival of General Lucas at Far West, Smith had assembled his force, and told them that, for every one they lacked in numbers as compared with their opponents, the Lord would send angels to fight for them. He presented the text of the indictment against Cowdery, Whitmer, and others, drawn up by Rigdon.
John Corrill testified about the effect of Rigdon's "salt sermon," and also that he had attended meetings of the Danites, and had expressed disapproval of the doctrine that, if one brother got into difficulty, it was the duty of the others to help him out, right or wrong; that Smith and Rigdon attended one of these meetings, and that he had heard Smith declare at a meeting, "if the people would let us alone, we would preach the Gospel to them in peace, but if they came on us to molest us, we would establish our religion by the sword, and that he would become to this generation a second Mohammed"; just after the expulsion of the Mormons from Dewitt, Smith declared hostilities against their opponents in Caldwell and Daviess counties, and had a resolution passed, looking to the confiscation of the property of the brethren who would not join him in the march; and on a Sunday he advised the people that they might at times take property which at other times it would be wrong to take, citing David's eating of the shew bread, and the Saviour's plucking ears of corn.* Reed Peck testified to the same effect.
* Corrill, Avard, Hinckle, Marsh, and others were formally excommunicated at a council held at Quincy, Illinois, on March 17, 1839, over which Brigham Young presided.
John Clemison testified to the presence of Smith at the early meetings of the Danites; that Rigdon and Smith had advised that those who were backward in joining his fighting force should be placed in the front ranks at the point of pitchforks; that a great deal of Gentile property was brought into Mormon camps, and that "it was frequently observed among the troops that the time had come when the riches of the Gentiles should be consecrated to the state."
W. W. Phelps testified that in the previous April he had heard Rigdon say, at a meeting in Far West, that they had borne persecution and lawsuits long enough, and that, if a sheriff came with writs against them, they would kill him, and that Smith approved his words. Phelps said that the character of Rigdon's "salt sermon" was known and discussed in advance of its delivery.
John Whitmer testified that, soon after the preaching of the "salt sermon," a leading Mormon told him that they did not intend to regard any longer "the niceties of the law of the land," as "the kingdom spoken of by the Prophet Daniel had been set up."
The testimony concerning the Danite organization and Smith's threats against the Missourians received confirmation in an affidavit by no less a person than Thomas B. Marsh, the First President of the twelve Apostles, before a justice of the peace in Ray County, in October, 1838. In this Marsh said:--
"The plan of said Smith, the Prophet, is to take this state; and he professes to his people to intend taking the United States and ultimately the whole world. The Prophet inculcates the notion, and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith's prophecies are superior to the law of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; that, if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean."
This affidavit was accompanied by an affidavit by Orson Hyde, who was afterward so prominent in the councils of the church, stating that he knew most of Marsh's statements to be true, and believed the others to be true also.
Of the witnesses for the defence, two women and one man gave testimony to establish an alibi for Lyman Wight at the time of the last Mormon expedition to Daviess County; Rigdon's daughter Nancy testified that she had heard Avard say that he would swear to a lie to accomplish an object; and J. W. Barlow gave testimony to show that Smith and Rigdon were not with the men who took part in the battle on Crooked Creek.
Rigdon, in an "Appeal to the American People," which he wrote soon after, declared that this trial was a compound between an inquisition and a criminal court, and that the testimony of Avard was given to save his own life. "A part of an armed body of men," he says, "stood in the presence of the court to see that the witnesses swore right, and another part was scouring the country to drive out of it every witness they could hear of whose testimony would be favorable to the defendants. If a witness did not swear to please the court, he or she would be threatened to be cast into prison . . . . A man by the name of Allen began to tell the story of Bogart's burning houses in the south part of Caldwell; he was kicked out of the house, and three men put after him with loaded guns, and he hardly escaped with his life. Finally, our lawyers, General Doniphan and Amos Rees, told us not to bring our witnesses there at all, for if we did, there would not be one of them left for the final trial . . . . As to making any impression on King, if a cohort of angels were to come down and declare we were clear, Doniphan said it would be all the same, for he had determined from the beginning to cast us into prison. Smith alleged that judge King was biased against them because his brother-in-law had been killed during the early conflicts in Jackson County.
Several of the defendants were discharged during or after the close of the hearing. Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and three others were ordered committed to the Clay County jail at Liberty on a charge of treason; Parley P. Pratt and four others to the Ray County jail on a charge of murder; and twenty-three others were ordered to give bail on a charge of arson, burglary, robbery, and larceny, and all but eight of these were locked up in default of bail. The prisoners confined at Liberty secured a writ of habeas corpus soon after, but only Rigdon was ordered released, and he thought it best for his safety to go back to the jail. He afterward, with the connivance of the sheriff and jailer, made his escape at night, and reached Quincy, Illinois, in February, 1839.
P. P. Pratt, in his "Late Persecution," says that the prisoners were kept in chains most of the time, and that Riodon, although ill, "was compelled to sleep on the floor, with a chain and padlock round his ankle, and fastened to six others." Hyrum Smith, in a "Communication to the Saints" printed a year later, says; "We suffered much from want of proper food, and from the nauseous cell in which I was confined."
Joseph Smith remained in the Liberty jail until April, 1839. At one time all the prisoners nearly made their escape, "but unfortunately for us, the timber of the wall being very hard, our augur handles gave out, which hindered us longer than we expected," and the plan was discovered.
The prophet employed a good deal of his time in jail in writing long epistles to the church. He gave out from there also three "revelations," the chief direction of which was that the brethren should gather up all possible information about their persecutions, and make out a careful statement of their property losses. His letters reveal the character of the man as it had already been exhibited --headlong in his purposes, vindictive toward any enemy. He says in his biography that he paid his lawyers about $50,000 "in cash, lands, etc." (a pretty good sum for the refugee from Ohio to amass so soon), but got little practical assistance from them, "for sometimes they were afraid to act on account of the mob, and sometimes they were so drunk as to incapacitate them for business." In one of his letters to the church he thus speaks of some of his recent allies," This poor man [W. W. Phelps] who professes to be much of a prophet, has no other dumb ass to ride but David Whitmer, or to forbid his madness when he goes up to curse Israel; but this not being of the same kind as Balaam's, therefore, notwithstanding the angel appeared unto him, yet he could not sufficiently penetrate his understanding but that he brays out cursings instead of blessings." *
* Times and Seasons, Vol. I, p. 82.
On April 6, Smith and his fellow-prisoners were taken to Daviess County for trial. The judge and jury before whom their cases came were, according to his account, all drunk. Smith and four others were promptly indicted for "murder, treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing." They at once secured a change of venue to Boone County, 120 miles east, and set out for that place on April 15, but they never reached there. Smith says they were enabled to escape because their guard got drunk. In a newspaper interview printed many years later, General Doniphan is quoted as saying that he had it on good authority that Smith paid the sheriff and his guards $1100 to allow the prisoners to escape. Ebenezer Robinson says that Joseph and Hyrum were allowed to ride away on two fine horses, and that, a few Weeks later, he saw the sheriff at Quincy making Joseph a friendly visit, at which time he received pay for the animals.* The party arrived at Quincy, Illinois, on April 22, and were warmly welcomed by the brethren who had preceded them. Among these was Brigham Young, who was among those who had found it necessary to flee the state before the final surrender was arranged. The Missouri authorities, as we shall see, for a long time continued their efforts to secure the extradition of Smith, but he never returned to Missouri.
As the Mormons had tried to set aside their original agreement with the Jackson County people, so, while their leaders were in jail, they endeavored to find means to break their treaty with General Lucas. Their counsel, General Atchison, was a member of the legislature, and he warmly espoused their cause. They sent in a petition,* which John Corrill presented, giving a statement in detail of the opposition they had encountered in the state, and asking for the enactment of a law "rescinding the order of the governor to drive us from the state, and also giving us the sanction of the legislature to inherit our lands in peace"; as well as disapproving of the "deed of trust," as they called the second section of the Lucas treaty. The petition was laid on the table. An effort for an investigation of the whole trouble by a legislative committee was made, and an act to that effect was passed in 1839, but nothing practical came of it. When the Mormon memorial was called up, its further consideration was postponed until July, and then the Mormons knew that they had no alternative except to leave the state.
* For full text, see Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, pp. 586-589.
While the prisoners were in jail, things had not quieted down in the Mormon counties. The decisive action of the state authorities had given the local Missourians to understand that the law of the land was on their side, and when the militia withdrew they took advantage of their opportunity. Mormon property was not respected, and what was left to those people in the way of horses, cattle, hogs, and even household belongings was taken by the bands of men who rode at pleasure,* and who claimed that they were only regaining what the Mormons had stolen from them. The legislature appropriated $2000 for the relief of such sufferers.
* See M. Arthur's letter, "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 94.
Facing the necessity of moving entirely out of the state, the Mormons, as they had reached the western border line of civilization, now turned their face eastward to Quincy, Illinois, where some of their members were already established. Not until April 20 did the last of them leave Far West. The migration was attended with much suffering, as could not in such circumstances be avoided. The people of the counties through which they passed were, however, not hostile, and Mormon writers have testified that they received invitations to stop and settle. These were declined, and they pressed on to the banks of the Mississippi, where, in February and March, there were at one time more than 130 families, waiting for the moving ice to enable them to cross, many of them without food, and the best sheltered depending on tents made of their bedclothing.*
* Green's "Facts Relative to the Expulsion."
What the total of the pecuniary losses of the Mormons in Missouri was cannot be accurately estimated. They asserted that in Jackson County alone, $120,000 worth of their property was destroyed, and that fifteen thousand of their number fled from the state. Smith, in a statement of his losses made after his arrival in Illinois, placed them at $1,000,000. In a memorial presented to Congress at this time the losses in Jackson County were placed at $175,000, and in the state of Missouri at $2,000,000. The efforts of the Mormons to secure redress were long continued. Not only was Congress appealed to, but legislatures of other states were urged to petition in their behalf. The Senate committee at Washington reported that the matter was entirely within the jurisdiction of the state of Missouri. One of the latest appeals was addressed by Smith at Nauvoo in December, 1843, to his native state, Vermont, calling on the Green Mountain boys, not only to assist him in attaining justice in Missouri, "but also to humble and chastise or abase her for the disgraces she has brought upon constitutional liberty, until she atones for her sin."
The final act of the Mormon authorities in Missouri was somewhat dramatic. Smith in his "revelation" of April 8, 1838, directing the building of a Temple at Far West, had (the Lord speaking) ordered the beginning to be made on the following Fourth of July, adding, "in one year from this day let them recommence laying the foundation of my house." The anniversary found the latest Missouri Zion deserted, and its occupants fugitives; but the command of the Lord must be obeyed. Accordingly, the twelve Apostles journeyed secretly to Far West, arriving there about midnight of April 26, 1839. A conference was at once held, and, after transacting some miscellaneous business, including the expulsion of certain seceding members, all adjourned to the selected site of the Temple, where, after the singing of a hymn, the foundation was relaid by rolling a large stone to one corner.* The Apostles then returned to Illinois as quietly as possible. The leader of this expedition was Brigham Young, who had succeeded T. B. Marsh as President of the Twelve.
* The modern post-office name of Far West is Kerr. All the Mormon houses there have disappeared. Traces of the foundation of the Temple, which in places was built to a height of three or four feet, are still discernible.
Thus ended the early history of the Mormon church in Missouri.
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