Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 4, 1 March–22 June 1844

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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6 P.M. Proph[e]sied that. <​in​> the sickly season the that sickly season sickness would enter into their houses. and sweep them & vex them until they would fain repent in dust and ashes. and they will be smitten with the scab and— &c—
7 [p.m.] recevd a writtn invitation from & 5 or 6 othe[r]s to preach to morr[o]w

Editorial Note
JS’s journal ends with the 22 June 1844 entry. A letter JS received from governor late in the evening of 22 June, along with JS’s response to that letter, clarifies JS’s situation at the close of the journal. Ford wrote that after careful examination, he felt that it could be “safely assumed, that the immediate cause of the existing excitement, is the destruction of the press and fixtures of the Nauvoo Expositor, and the subsequent refusal of the individuals accused to be accountable therefor according to the general laws of this State; and the insisting on your parts to be accountable only before your own Municipal Court, and according to the ordinances of your City.” Ford characterized the destruction of the press as “a very gross outrage upon the laws and the liberties of the people” and charged JS and his associates with violating the constitutional provisions of freedom of the press and the guarantee against being deprived of “life liberty or property” without due process of law and a jury trial. The governor also accused the City Council of assuming “more power than . . . entitled to in relation to writs of habeas” and of taking upon itself judicial power that it did not have when it declared the press a nuisance. “In no other state, county, city, Town, or Territory of the ,” Ford asserted, had the idea that a newspaper could be “legally abated or removed as a nuisance” ever been considered.
then insisted that all who were accused of destroying the Nauvoo Expositor press submit themselves “to be arrested by the same constable, by virtue of the same warrant and be tried before the same magistrate whose authority has heretofore been resisted”—referring to at . “You have made it necessary that a posse should be assembled to execute legal process,” Ford said, and he warned that he would also call out the militia to arrest the accused if necessary. “I sincerely hope that your people may do nothing which will make such a proceeding necessary,” Ford continued, as he had “great fears” that militia officers would lose control of their troops in such an event and that would be destroyed and many Latter-day Saints killed. The governor closed his letter by guaranteeing the safety of anyone who came to Carthage either for trial or as a witness for the accused.
According to , sent his letter by thirty “officers,” who told JS that they would wait until the following morning, 23 June, for JS and the others to prepare to accompany them to and that if “they were not then ready they should wait no longer but return & tell the governor they were resisted.” These thirty men may have been the posse referred to in Ford’s letter and mentioned in subsequent discussions and records. Ford, however, reported that he sent a constable and ten men to arrest JS. Whatever the number, the compilers of JS’s history reported that the posse did not arrive in until the morning of 23 June.
In his response, JS told the that rather than insisting on being accountable only to the Municipal Court, he and others pled for habeas corpus “as a last resort,” seeing it as the only means by which they could save themselves “from being thrown into the power of the mobocrats.” JS defended the city council’s authority to declare the press a nuisance, referring to the Nauvoo charter and to William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. JS also cited a legal case in that revolved around the abatement of a press for libel to demonstrate precedence for the Nauvoo City Council’s actions. Their application of habeas corpus, similarly, had been made “in accordance with the Letter of the Charter & Constitution as we confidently understood them.— and that too with the ablest counsel.” Invoking constitutional protection against double jeopardy, JS also told Thomas Ford that those who had been accused of destroying the press had been examined and discharged by justice of the peace . “But notwithstanding this,” he continued, “we would not hessitate to stand another trial according to your Excellencys wish. were it not that we are confident our lives would be in danger. We dare not come.” In addition, JS told the governor that upon receipt of his letter, martial law had been lifted from Nauvoo and that JS and others, on the advice of “legal & high minded gentlemen from abroad,” would be leaving Nauvoo immediately to lay their case before the federal government, “as the appearance of things is not only treasonable against us, but against this state on the part of .” “If any thing wrong has been done on our part, and we know of nothing,” JS closed, “we will make all things right if the government will give us the opportunity. disperse the mob and secure to us our constitutional privileges.— that our lives may not be endangered—when on trial.”
JS, , , and left during the night, crossed the , and arrived in the following morning. According to , JS left Nauvoo “rather than resist the officers & Militia or go to .” In a letter to his on 23 June, JS wrote that he did not know where he would go or what he would do, but that “if possible” he would “endeavor to get to the city of .” In an account based on reminiscent sources and clearly influenced by intervening events, compilers of JS’s history later wrote that he left Nauvoo for “the Great Basin in the Rocky Mountains” after instructing “to commence petitioning the President of the and Congress for redress of grievances, and see if they would grant the Church liberty and equal rights.”
For ’s detailed account of JS’s activities between 23 and 27 June 1844, see Appendix 3.

[p. [170]]
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6 P.M. Prophesied that. in the sickly season that sickness would enter into their houses. and & vex them until they would fain repent in dust and ashes. and they will be smitten with the scab and— &c—
7 p.m. recevd a writtn invitation from & 5 or 6 others to preach to morrow

Editorial Note
JS’s journal ends with the 22 June 1844 entry. A letter JS received from governor late in the evening of 22 June, along with JS’s response to that letter, clarifies JS’s situation at the close of the journal. Ford wrote that after careful examination, he felt that it could be “safely assumed, that the immediate cause of the existing excitement, is the destruction of the press and fixtures of the Nauvoo Expositor, and the subsequent refusal of the individuals accused to be accountable therefor according to the general laws of this State; and the insisting on your parts to be accountable only before your own Municipal Court, and according to the ordinances of your City.” Ford characterized the destruction of the press as “a very gross outrage upon the laws and the liberties of the people” and charged JS and his associates with violating the constitutional provisions of freedom of the press and the guarantee against being deprived of “life liberty or property” without due process of law and a jury trial. The governor also accused the City Council of assuming “more power than . . . entitled to in relation to writs of habeas” and of taking upon itself judicial power that it did not have when it declared the press a nuisance. “In no other state, county, city, Town, or Territory of the ,” Ford asserted, had the idea that a newspaper could be “legally abated or removed as a nuisance” ever been considered.
then insisted that all who were accused of destroying the Nauvoo Expositor press submit themselves “to be arrested by the same constable, by virtue of the same warrant and be tried before the same magistrate whose authority has heretofore been resisted”—referring to at . “You have made it necessary that a posse should be assembled to execute legal process,” Ford said, and he warned that he would also call out the militia to arrest the accused if necessary. “I sincerely hope that your people may do nothing which will make such a proceeding necessary,” Ford continued, as he had “great fears” that militia officers would lose control of their troops in such an event and that would be destroyed and many Latter-day Saints killed. The governor closed his letter by guaranteeing the safety of anyone who came to Carthage either for trial or as a witness for the accused.
According to , sent his letter by thirty “officers,” who told JS that they would wait until the following morning, 23 June, for JS and the others to prepare to accompany them to and that if “they were not then ready they should wait no longer but return & tell the governor they were resisted.” These thirty men may have been the posse referred to in Ford’s letter and mentioned in subsequent discussions and records. Ford, however, reported that he sent a constable and ten men to arrest JS. Whatever the number, the compilers of JS’s history reported that the posse did not arrive in until the morning of 23 June.
In his response, JS told the that rather than insisting on being accountable only to the Municipal Court, he and others pled for habeas corpus “as a last resort,” seeing it as the only means by which they could save themselves “from being thrown into the power of the mobocrats.” JS defended the city council’s authority to declare the press a nuisance, referring to the Nauvoo charter and to William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. JS also cited a legal case in that revolved around the abatement of a press for libel to demonstrate precedence for the Nauvoo City Council’s actions. Their application of habeas corpus, similarly, had been made “in accordance with the Letter of the Charter & Constitution as we confidently understood them.— and that too with the ablest counsel.” Invoking constitutional protection against double jeopardy, JS also told Thomas Ford that those who had been accused of destroying the press had been examined and discharged by justice of the peace . “But notwithstanding this,” he continued, “we would not hessitate to stand another trial according to your Excellencys wish. were it not that we are confident our lives would be in danger. We dare not come.” In addition, JS told the governor that upon receipt of his letter, martial law had been lifted from Nauvoo and that JS and others, on the advice of “legal & high minded gentlemen from abroad,” would be leaving Nauvoo immediately to lay their case before the federal government, “as the appearance of things is not only treasonable against us, but against this state on the part of .” “If any thing wrong has been done on our part, and we know of nothing,” JS closed, “we will make all things right if the government will give us the opportunity. disperse the mob and secure to us our constitutional privileges.— that our lives may not be endangered—when on trial.”
JS, , , and left during the night, crossed the , and arrived in the following morning. According to , JS left Nauvoo “rather than resist the officers & Militia or go to .” In a letter to his on 23 June, JS wrote that he did not know where he would go or what he would do, but that “if possible” he would “endeavor to get to the city of .” In an account based on reminiscent sources and clearly influenced by intervening events, compilers of JS’s history later wrote that he left Nauvoo for “the Great Basin in the Rocky Mountains” after instructing “to commence petitioning the President of the and Congress for redress of grievances, and see if they would grant the Church liberty and equal rights.”
For ’s detailed account of JS’s activities between 23 and 27 June 1844, see Appendix 3.

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