VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of www.mormonism.ca Informational Site Network Informational
Privacy
    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Illinois

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Sidney Rigdon
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reformation
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith








The Mormons were now equipped in their new home with large landed
possessions, a capital city that exhibited a phenomenal growth,
and a form of local government which made Nauvoo a little
independency of itself; their prophet wielding as much authority
and receiving as much submission as ever; a Temple under way
which would excel anything that had been designed in Ohio or
Missouri, and a stream of immigration pouring in which gave
assurance of continued numerical increase. What were the causes
of the complete overthrow of this apparent prosperity which so
speedily followed? These causes were of a twofold character,
political and social. The two were interwoven in many ways, but
we can best trace them separately.

We have seen that a Democratic organization gave the first
welcome to the Mormon refugees at Quincy. In the presidential
campaign of 1836 the vote of Illinois had been: Democratic,
17,275, Whig, 14,292; that of Hancock County, Democratic, 260,
Whig, 340. The closeness of this vote explained the welcome that
was extended to the new-comers.

It does not appear that Smith had any original party
predilections. But he was not pleased with questions which
President Van Buren asked him when he was in Washington (from
November, 1839, to February, 1840) seeking federal aid to secure
redress from Missouri, and he wrote to the High Council from that
city, "We do not say the Saints shall not vote for him, but we do
say boldly (though it need not be published in the streets of
Nauvoo, neither among the daughters of the Gentiles), that we do
not intend he shall have our votes."*

* Millennial Star, Vol. XVII, p.452.


On his return to Illinois Smith was toadied to by the workers of
both parties. He candidly told them that he had no faith in
either; but the Whigs secured his influence, and, by an
intimation that there was divine authority for their course, the
Mormon vote was cast for Harrison, giving him a majority of 752
in Hancock County. In order to keep the Democrats in good humor,
the Mormons scratched the last name on the Whig electoral ticket
(Abraham Lincoln)* and substituted that of a Democrat. This
demonstration of their political weight made the Mormons an
object of consideration at the state capital, and was the direct
cause of the success of the petition which they sent there,
signed by some thousands of names, asking for a charter for
Nauvoo. The representatives of both parties were eager to show
them favor. Bennett, in a letter to the Times and Seasons from
Springfield, spoke of the readiness of all the members to vote
for what the Mormons wanted, adding that "Lincoln had the
magnanimity to vote for our act, and came forward after the final
vote and congratulated me on its passage."

*This is mentioned in "Joab's" (Bermett's) letter, Times and
Seasons, Vol, II, p. 267.


In the gubernatorial campaign of 1841-1842 Smith swung the Mormon
vote back to the Democrats, giving them a majority of more than
one thousand in the county. This was done publicly, in a letter
addressed "To my friends in Illinois,"* dated December 20, 1841,
in which the prophet, after pointing out that no persons at the
state capital were more efficient in securing the passage of the
Nauvoo charter than the heads of the present Democratic ticket,
made this declaration:--

* Times and Seasons, Vol. III, p. 651.


"The partisans in this county who expect to divide the friends of
humanity and equal rights will find themselves mistaken. We care
not a fig for Whig or Democrat; they are both alike to us; but we
shall go for our friends, OUR TRIED FRIENDS, and the cause of
human liberty which is the cause of God . . . . Snyder and Moore
are known to be our friends . . . . We will never be justly
charged with the sin of ingratitude,--they have served us, and we
will serve them."

If Smith had been a man possessing any judgment, he would have
realized that the political course which he was pursuing, instead
of making friends in either party, would certainly soon arraign
both parties against him and his followers. The Mormons announced
themselves distinctly to be a church, and they were now
exhibiting themselves as a religious body already numerically
strong and increasing in numbers, which stood ready to obey the
political mandate of one man, or at least of one controlling
authority. The natural consequence of this soon manifested
itself.

A congressional and a county election were approaching, and a
mass meeting, made up of both Whigs and Democrats of Hancock
County, was held to place in the field a non-Mormon county
ticket. The fusion was not accomplished without heart-burnings on
the part of some unsuccessful aspirants for nominations. A few of
these went over to Smith, and the election resulted in the
success of the state Democratic and the Mormon local ticket,
legislative and county, Smith's brother William being elected to
the House. It is easy to realize that this victory did not lessen
Smith's aggressive egotism.

Some important matters were involved in the next political
contest, the congressional election of August, 1843. The Whigs
nominated Cyrus Walker, a lawyer of reputation living in
McDonough County, and the Democrats J. P. Hoge, also a lawyer,
but a weaker candidate at the polls. Every one conceded that
Smith's dictum would decide the contest.

On May 6, 1842, Governor Boggs of Missouri, while sitting near a
window in his house in Independence, was fired at, and wounded so
severely that his recovery was for some days in doubt. The crime
was naturally charged to his Mormon enemies,* and was finally
narrowed down to O. P. Rockwell,** a Mormon living in Nauvoo, as
the agent, and Joseph Smith, Jr., as the instigator. Indictments
were found against both of them in Missouri, and a requisition
for Smith's surrender was made by the governor of that state on
the governor of Illinois. Smith was arrested under the governor's
warrant. Now came an illustration of the value to him of the form
of government provided by the Nauvoo charter. Taken before his
own municipal court, he was released at once on a writ of habeas
corpus. This assumption of power by a local court aroused the
indignation of non-Mormons throughout the state. Governor Carlin
characterized it somewhat later, in a letter to Smith's wife, as
"most absurd and ridiculous; to attempt to exercise it is a gross
usurpation of power that cannot be tolerated."***


* The hatred felt toward Governor Boggs by the Mormon leaders was
not concealed. Thus, an editorial in the Times and Seasons of
January 1, 1841, headed "Lilburn W. Boggs," began, "The THING
whose name stands at the head of this article," etc. Referring to
the ending of his term of office, the article said, "Lilburn has
gone down to the dark and dreary abode of his brother and
prototype, Nero, there to associate with kindred spirits and
partake of the dainties of his father's, the devil's, table."

Bennett afterward stated that he heard Joseph Smith say, on July
10, 1842, that Governor Boggs, "the exterminator, should be
exterminated," and that the Destroying Angels (Danites) should do
it; also that in the spring of that year he heard Smith, at a
meeting of Danites, offer to pay any man $500 who would secretly
assassinate the governor. Bennett's statement is only cited for
what it may be worth; that some Mormon fired the shot is within
the limit of strict probability.


** Rockwell, who, in his latter days, was employed by General
Connor to guard stock in California, told the general that he
fired the shot at Governor Boggs, and was sorry it did not kill
him.--"Mormon Portraits," p. 255.

*** Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 23.


Notwithstanding his release, Smith thought it best to remain in
hiding for some time to escape another arrest, for which the
governor ordered a reward of $200. About the middle of August his
associates in Nauvoo concluded that the outlook for him was so
bad, notwithstanding the protection which his city court was
ready to afford, that it might be best for him to flee to the
pine woods of the North country. Smith incorporates in his
autobiography a long letter which he wrote to his wife at this
time,* giving her directions about this flight if it should
become necessary. Their goods were to be loaded on a boat manned
by twenty of the best men who could be selected, and who would
meet them at Prairie du Chien: "And from thence we will wend our
way like larks up the Mississippi, until the towering mountains
and rocks shall remind us of the places of our nativity, and
shall look like safety and home; and there we will bid defiance
to Carlin, Boggs, Bennett, and all their whorish whores and
motley clan, that follow in their wake, Missouri not excepted,
and until the damnation of Hell rolls upon them by the voice and
dread thunders and trump of the eternal God."

* Ibid., pp. 693-695.


In October Rigdon obtained from Justin Butterfield, United States
attorney for Illinois, an opinion that Smith could not be held on
a Missouri requisition for a crime committed in that state when
he was in Illinois. In December, 1842, Smith was placed under
arrest and taken before the United States District Court at
Springfield, Illinois, under a writ of habeas corpus issued by
Judge Roger B. Taney of the State Supreme Court. Butterfield, as
his counsel, secured his discharge by Judge Pope (a Whig) who
held that Smith was not a fugitive from Missouri.

While these proceedings were pending, the Nauvoo City Council
(Smith was then mayor), passed two ordinances in regard to the
habeas corpus powers of the Municipal Court, one giving that
court jurisdiction in any case where a person "shall be or stand
committed or detained for any criminal, or supposed criminal,
matter."* This was intended to make Smith secure from the
clutches of any Missouri officer so long as he was in his own
city.

* For text of these ordinances, see millennial Star, Vol. XX, p.
165.


But Smith's enemy, General Bennett (who before this date had been
cast out of the fold), was now very active, and through his
efforts another indictment against Smith on the old charges of
treason, murder, etc., was found in Missouri, in June, 1843, and
under it another demand was made on the governor of Illinois for
Smith's extradition. Governor Ford, a Democrat, who had succeeded
Carlin, issued a warrant on June 17, 1843, and it was served on
Smith while he was visiting his wife's sister in Lee County,
Illinois. An attempt to start with him at once for Missouri was
prevented by his Mormon friends, who rallied in considerable
numbers to his aid. Smith secured counsel, who began proceedings
against the Missouri agent and obtained a writ in Smith's behalf
returnable, the account in the Times and Seasons says, before the
nearest competent tribunal, which "it was ascertained was at
Nauvoo"--Smith's own Municipal Court. The prophet had a sort of
triumphal entry into Nauvoo, and the question of the jurisdiction
of the Municipal Court in his case came up at once. Both of the
candidates for Congress, Walker (who was employed as his counsel)
and Hoge, gave opinions in favor of such jurisdiction, and, after
a three hours' plea by Walker, the court ordered Smith's release.
Smith addressed the people of Nauvoo in the grove after his
return. From the report of his remarks in the journal of
Discourses (Vol. II, p. 163) the following is taken:

"Before I will bear this unhallowed persecution any longer,
before I will be dragged away again among my enemies for trial, I
will spill the last drop of blood in my veins, and will see all
my enemies in hell . . . . Deny me the writ of habeas corpus, and
I will fight with gun, sword, cannon, whirlwind, thunder, until
they are used up like the Kilkenny cats . . . . If these
[charter] powers are dangerous, then the constitutions of the
United States and of this state are dangerous. If the Legislature
has granted Nauvoo the right of determining cases of habeas
corpus, it is no more than they ought to have done, or more than
our fathers fought for."

Smith expressed his gratitude to Walker for what the latter had
accomplished in his behalf, and the Whig candidate now had no
doubt that the Mormon vote was his.

But the Missouri agent, indignant that a governor's writ should
be set aside by a city court, hurried to Springfield and demanded
that Governor Ford should call out enough state militia to secure
Smith's arrest and delivery at the Missouri boundary. The
governor, who was not a man of the firmest purpose, had no
intention of being mixed up in the pending congressional fight
and struggle for the Mormon vote; so he asked for delay and
finally decided not to call out any troops.

The Hancock County Democrats were quick to see an opportunity in
this situation, and they sent to Springfield a man named
Backenstos (who took an active part in the violent scenes
connected with the subsequent history of the Mormons in the
state) to ascertain for the Mormons just what the governor's
intentions were. Backenstos reported that the prophet need have
no fear of the Democratic governor so long as the Mormons voted
the Democratic ticket.*

* Governor Ford, in his "History of Illinois," says that such a
pledge was given by a prominent Democrat, but without his own
knowledge.

When this news was brought back to Nauvoo, a few days before the
election, a mass meeting of the Mormons was called, and Hyrum
Smith (then Patriarch, succeeding the prophet's father, who was
dead) announced the receipt of a "revelation" directing the
Mormons to vote for Hoge. William Law, an influential business
man in the Mormon circle, immediately denied the existence of any
such "revelation." The prophet alone could decide the matter. He
was brought in and made a statement to the effect that he himself
proposed to vote for Walker; that he considered it a "mean
business" to influence any man's vote by dictation, and that he
had no great faith in revelations about elections; "but brother
Hyrum was a man of truth; he had known brother Hyrum intimately
ever since he was a boy, and he had never known him to tell a
lie. If brother Hyrum said he had received such a revelation, he
had no doubt it was a fact. When the Lord speaks, let all the
earth be silent." *

* Ford's"History of Illinois," p. 318.


The election resulted in the choice of Hoge by a majority of 455!





Next: Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States

Previous: The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 1251