Letter to Thomas Ford, 21 August 1843

  • Source Note
Page 3
the officers of law, who will trample upon the form of Justice, the laws of the country, and bid open defiance to both, in the manner that informs us that you acted with him after his arrest of the Mormon Prophet. That the state courts have a right, upon a writ of Habeas Corpus, to investigate the legality of all imprison— within their respective chartered limits, whether such imprisonment is by the authority of the or of a State, no sound lawyer perhaps will doubt, but it is equally certain that no court upon such writ, has any right to go beyond the forms, & the “prima facie” evidence of the case— If the officers of courts and the community are so corrupt as to disregard their own laws and trample them under their feet & liberate their criminals in defiance of law, then it appears to me that the power of self government is extinct. If by her own authority cannot capture the prophet, it will be but a small matter to raise volunteers enough here to raze the city of to the ground— If fails to deliver up Jo Smith, there will be something serious between the two states. will have Jo Smith for trial or impose as powerful restrictions as the constitution will allow upon the intercourse of the citizens of in . If the of is so imbecile as to allow his warrant to be disregarded by the Mormons &. permit the Prophet. to go at large, then let him be impeached and a more honorable & energetic man be placed in his stead. I have it from a high source that will hold the whole responsible for the treatment of our messenger and for the delivery of the prophet. Had you liberated the prophet by a regular writ of the “Habeas corpus” without mistreating our , I should have gloried in my acquaintance with you, but to have done it it in the manner it was done, reflects no honor either on yourself, your people or your government, The Mormons are only a lawless bandittie & I fear the pestilence has contaminated the whole community, & if opinion be correct, yourself amongst the rest, Holy Jo was not afraid of the “injustice of our people.” It is the just punishment and their violated laws that he fears, I will now give you an impartial opinion of the prejudices again[s]t , here, and my opinion of his guilt,— There is not a man in this community but believes him guilty, There is a chain of circumstances against him so strong that no rational man can doubt his guilt.— I was at house two minutes after the deed it is in sight of mine, & &, the insidiousness of the offence renders it difficult to restrain the citizens from hanging him up without Judge or jury. So far however we have succeeded in quelling it. But should he be discharged upon trial the power of man cannot save him,” (more tomorrow)”
By the foregoing copy <​enclosed letter of—​> of Mr Hall's (forwarded me by whose letter I also enclose) letter, your is apprized of the feelings of a part of ; How far such is the case in all the , I know not, and care not, for the “mormons” are not very apprehensive that a company of “volunteers” will come to “raze to the ground” for some time; But as this letter comes from a high source, and refers to a still higher source, that the state of will hold the State of responsible for their treatment of and the delivery of the prophet,— It was thought adviseable to give your the privilege of seeing and knowing for himself. Our people are <​as​> patriots, feel bound to maintain your honor and reputation, as well as that of the , in company with that of their own; and when any danger actually threatens, if your send the necessary order, we will endeavor to defend the honor of the , of the , as and of , [p. 3]
the officers of law, who will trample upon the form of Justice, the laws of the country, and bid open defiance to both, in the manner that informs us that you acted with him after his arrest of the Mormon Prophet. That the state courts have a right, upon a writ of Habeas Corpus, to investigate the legality of all imprison— within their respective chartered limits, whether such imprisonment is by the authority of the or of a State, no sound lawyer perhaps will doubt, but it is equally certain that no court upon such writ, has any right to go beyond the forms, & the “prima facie” evidence of the case— If the officers of courts and the community are so corrupt as to disregard their own laws and trample them under their feet & liberate their criminals in defiance of law, then it appears to me that the power of self government is extinct. If by her own authority cannot capture the prophet, it will be but a small matter to raise volunteers enough here to raze the city of to the ground— If fails to deliver up Jo Smith, there will be something serious between the two states. will have Jo Smith for trial or impose as powerful restrictions as the constitution will allow upon the intercourse of the citizens of in . If the of is so imbecile as to allow his warrant to be disregarded by the Mormons &. permit the Prophet. to go at large, then let him be impeached and a more honorable & energetic man be placed in his stead. I have it from a high source that will hold the whole responsible for the treatment of our messenger and for the delivery of the prophet. Had you liberated the prophet by a regular writ of the “Habeas corpus” without mistreating our , I should have gloried in my acquaintance with you, but to have done it it in the manner it was done, reflects no honor either on yourself, your people or your government, The Mormons are only a lawless banditti & I fear the pestilence has contaminated the whole community, & if opinion be correct, yourself amongst the rest, Holy Jo was not afraid of the “injustice of our people.” It is the just punishment and their violated laws that he fears, I will now give you an impartial opinion of the prejudices against , here, and my opinion of his guilt,— There is not a man in this community but believes him guilty, There is a chain of circumstances against him so strong that no rational man can doubt his guilt.— I was at house two minutes after the deed it is in sight of mine, & &, the insidiousness of the offence renders it difficult to restrain the citizens from hanging him up without Judge or jury. So far however we have succeeded in quelling it. But should he be discharged upon trial the power of man cannot save him,” (more tomorrow)”
By the enclosed letter — of Mr Hall' (forwarded me by whose letter I also enclose) , your is apprized of the feelings of a part of ; How far such is the case in all the , I know not, and care not, for the “mormons” are not very apprehensive that a company of “volunteers” will come to “raze to the ground” for some time; But as this letter comes from a high source, and refers to a still higher source, that the state of will hold the State of responsible for their treatment of and the delivery of the prophet,— It was thought adviseable to give your the privilege of seeing and knowing for himself. Our people as patriots, feel bound to maintain your honor and reputation, as well as that of the , in company with that of their own; and when any danger actually threatens, if your send the necessary order, we will endeavor to defend the honor of the , of the , and of , [p. 3]
Page 3