Editorial, 16–17 February 1844, as Published in Times and Seasons

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The very candid, pacific, and highly creditable advice, which has done himself the honor to address to “the Citizens of , “Mormons and all,” and which appears in the “Warsaw Signal,” of the 14th inst. is, like the balm of Gilead, well calculated to ease the pain, which has troubled the heads and hearts of the Carthagenians, Warsawvains, and other over jealous bodies for weal and wo. It certainly must be admitted, on all hands, that has exalted himself as a mediator, patriot, lawyer, Governor, peace maker, and friend of all; not only to magnify the law and make it honorable, but also in pointing out the path of peace. Such is what the Latter Day Saints have ever sought at the hands of those in authority; and, with an approving conscience, clear as the chystal [crystal] spring: and with a laudible intention, warm as the summer zephyr; and with a charitable prayer, mellow as the morning dew, it is now our highest consolation to hope that all difficulties will cease: and give way to reason, sense, peace and good will. The saints if they will be humble and wise, can now practice what they preach and soften by good examples, rather than harden by a distant course of conduct, the hearts of the people.
For general information it may be well to say that there has never been any cause for alarm as to the Latter Day Saints. The legislature of granted a liberal charter for the city of ; and, let every honest man in the , who has any knowledge of her, say whether she has not flourished beyond the most sanguine anticipations of all; and while they witness her growing glory: let them solemnly testify whether has willfully injured the , , or a single individual one cent: With the strictest scrutiny publish the facts whether a particle of law has been evaded or broken: virtue and innocence need no artificial covering: Political views and party distinctions, never should disturb the harmony of society; and when the whole truth comes before a virtuous people: we are willing to abide the issue.
We will here refer to the three late dismissals, upon writs of habaes corpus, of Joseph Smith, when arrested under the requisitions of . The first, in June 1841, was tried at , before , of the fifth Judicial Circuit, and as no exceptions have been taken to that decision, by this or , but had previously entered a on all the old indictments against the Mormons in the difficulties of 1838, it is taken and granted that that decision was just! The second, in December, 1842, was tried at before in the U. S. Distric[t] Court, and, from that honorable discharge a[s] no exceptions from any source have been made to those proceedings, it follows as a matter o[f] course, that that decision was just!! and th[e] third, in July 1843, was tried at the city o[f] , before the Municipal Court of said city; and as no exceptions to that discharge have been taken, and as the say[s] there is “evidence on the other side to shew that the of voluntarily carried (who had Mr, Smith in custody,) to the city of , without any coercion on the part of any one,” it must be admitted that that decision was just!!!
But is any man still unconvinced of the justness of these strictures relative to the two la[st] cases, let the astounding fact go forth, tha[t] , who, swore, wa[s] the principal in his assassination, and, as acce[s] [p. 442]sary to which Mr. Smith was arrested, has returned home, “clear of that sin.” In fact there was not a witness to get up an indictment against him.
The Messrs. Averys, who were unlawfully “transported out of this ,” have returned to their families in peace, and there seems to be no ground for contention: no cause for jealousy; and no excuse for a surmise that any man, woman, or child, will suffer the least inconvenience, from General Smith; the of ; the city of ; or even any of her citizens. There is nothing for a bone of contention! even those Ordinances which appeared to excite the feeling of some people, have recently been repealed—so that, if the “intelligent” inhabitants of , want peace; want to abide by the ’s advice; want to have a character abroad grow out of their character at home; and really mean to follow the Savior’s golden rule: “To do unto others as they would wish other to do unto them,” they will be still, now, and let their own works praise them in the gates of justice, and in the eyes of the surrounding world. Wise men ought to have understanding enough to conquer men with kindness.
“A soft answer turns away wrath,” says the wise man, and it will be greatly to the credit of [t]he Latter Day Saints to shew the love of God, by now kindly treating those who may have, [i]n an unconscious moment, done them wrong: [f]or truly said Jesus: pray for thine enemies. Humanity towards all; reason and refinement [t]o enforce virtue: and good for evil, are so em[i]nently designed to cure more disorders of society than an appeal to “arms,” or even argument untempered with friendship, and the “one [t]hing needful,” that no vision for the future: guide-board for the distant; or expositor for [t]he present, need trouble any one with what [h]e ought to do. His own good, his family’s good, his neighbor’s good, his country’s good, [a]nd all good, seem to whisper to every person: [t]he has told you what to do: now do [i]t. The constitution expects every man to do [h]is duty, and when he fails the law urges him: [o]r should he do too much the same master re[b]ukes him. Should reason, liberty, law, light, [a]nd philanthrophy now gide the destinies of with as much sincerity as [h]as been manifested for her notoriety, or wel[f]are; there can be no doubt that peace, prosper[i]ty, and happiness will prevail, and that future [g]enerations as well as the present one, will call a peace maker. The Latter Day [S]aints will, at all events, and profit by the in[st]ruction: and call upon honest men to help them cherish all the love; all the friendship; all the courtesy; all the kindly feelings and all the generosity that ought to characterize clever people, in a clever neighborhood, and leave candid men to judge which tree exhibits the best fruit, the one with the most clubs and sticks thrown into its boughs, and the grass trodden down under it; or the one with no sticks in it, some dead limbs and rank grass growing under it; for by their signs ye can know their fruit; and by the fruit ye know the trees. Our motto then, is, peace with all. If we have joy in the love of God, let us try to give a reason of that joy, which all the world cannot gainsay or resist. And may be, like, as when Paul started with recommendations to Damascus, to persecute the Saints, some one who has raised his hand against us with letters to men in high places, may see a light at noon-day above the brightness of the sun, and hear the voice of Jesus saying: “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
Intelligence is sometimes the messenger of safety; and willing to aid the in his laudable endeavors to cultivate peace and honor the laws; believing that very few of the citizens of will be found in the negative of such a goodly course; and considering his views a kind of manifesto, or olive leaf, which shews that there is rest for the soles of the Saints’ feet, we give it a place in the Neighbor, wishing it God speed, and saying, God bless good men and good measures, and, as has been, so it will continue to be, a good city, affording a good market to a good country, and let those who do not mean to try the way of transgressors, say, Amen. [p. 443]