History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 896
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<​March 15 Petition of Joseph Smith for ​> the privileges of being examined before the Court, as the law directs; that the witnesses on the part of the were taken by force of arms, threatened with extirmination or immediate death, and were brought without subpoena or warrant, under the awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the mob or his persecutors; and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the gun, and that some of them have acknowledged since, which your Petitioners do testify, and are able to prove, that they did swear false, and that they did it in order to save their lives. And your Petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing of criminality against said Joseph Smith Junr. is false. We are personally acquainted with the circumstances, and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them, therefore we know that their testimony was false, and if he could have had a fair and impartial — — and lawful examination before the Court, and could have been allowed the privilege of introducing his witnesses, he could have disproved every thing that was against him; but the court suffered them to be intimidated— some of them in the presence of the court, and they were driven also, and hunted, and some of them driven entirely out of the . And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; that the spirit of the court was tyrannical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment during the examination was calculated to convince your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, prescribing him in the liberty of conscience, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the [HC 3:278] , and the State of , that a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the Court, purporting to be the religious sentiment of the said Joseph Smith Junr., which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it is false, and can prove also that it was false; because the witnesses testified that those sentiments were promulgated on certain days, and in the presence of large congregations; and your Petitioners can prove by those congregations, that the said Joseph Smith Junr. did not promulge such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion, as was testified of, and admitted before the Honorable ; and, at the same time, those things had no bearing in the case, that the said Joseph Smith Junr. was pretended to be charged with; and after the examination, the said Prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the State of ; whereas the said Joseph Smith Junr. did not levy war against the State of , neither did he commit any covert acts; neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the State of , during the time he is charged with having done so; and, further, your petitioners have yet to learn that the has an enemy; neither is the proof evident, nor the presumption great, in its most indignant form, upon the face of the testimony on the part of the , exparte as it is in its nature, that the said prisoner has committed the slightest degree of treason, or any other act of transgression against the laws of the State of ; and yet said prisoner has been committed to , Clay Co./ Mo./ for treason. He has continually offered bail to any amount that could be required, notwithstanding your petitioners allege that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also alledge [p. 896]
March 15 Petition of Joseph Smith for the privileges of being examined before the Court, as the law directs; that the witnesses on the part of the were taken by force of arms, threatened with extirmination or immediate death, and were brought without subpoena or warrant, under the awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the mob or his persecutors; and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the gun, and that some of them have acknowledged since, which your Petitioners do testify, and are able to prove, that they did swear false, and that they did it in order to save their lives. And your Petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing of criminality against said Joseph Smith Junr. is false. We are personally acquainted with the circumstances, and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them, therefore we know that their testimony was false, and if he could have had a fair and impartial — — and lawful examination before the Court, and could have been allowed the privilege of introducing his witnesses, he could have disproved every thing that was against him; but the court suffered them to be intimidated— some of them in the presence of the court, and they were driven also, and hunted, and some of them driven entirely out of the . And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; that the spirit of the court was tyrannical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment during the examination was calculated to convince your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, prescribing him in the liberty of conscience, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the [HC 3:278] , and the State of , that a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the Court, purporting to be the religious sentiment of the said Joseph Smith Junr., which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it is false, and can prove also that it was false; because the witnesses testified that those sentiments were promulgated on certain days, and in the presence of large congregations; and your Petitioners can prove by those congregations, that the said Joseph Smith Junr. did not promulge such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion, as was testified of, and admitted before the Honorable ; and, at the same time, those things had no bearing in the case, that the said Joseph Smith Junr. was pretended to be charged with; and after the examination, the said Prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the State of ; whereas the said Joseph Smith Junr. did not levy war against the State of , neither did he commit any covert acts; neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the State of , during the time he is charged with having done so; and, further, your petitioners have yet to learn that the has an enemy; neither is the proof evident, nor the presumption great, in its most indignant form, upon the face of the testimony on the part of the , exparte as it is in its nature, that the said prisoner has committed the slightest degree of treason, or any other act of transgression against the laws of the State of ; and yet said prisoner has been committed to , Clay Co./ Mo./ for treason. He has continually offered bail to any amount that could be required, notwithstanding your petitioners allege that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also alledge [p. 896]
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