Minutes, 22 July 1842, as Published in Times and Seasons
Minutes, , Hancock Co., IL, 22 July 1842. Featured version published in Times and Seasons, 1 Aug. 1842, vol. 3, no. 19, 869. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
On 22 July 1842, approximately a thousand citizens in , Illinois, held a meeting where nearly all expressed their belief that JS, the city’s mayor, was a moral, virtuous, and upstanding citizen who had been unfairly maligned by . Over the course of the previous two weeks, the Sangamo Journal had published three letters wherein Bennett accused JS of various misdeeds, including being a liar, a blasphemer, and an “arch-imposter” and attempting to seduce “hundreds of single and married females.” In addition to Bennett’s charges, some newspapers in the region had implied that JS was connected to the attempted assassination of former governor , which occurred in early May 1842 in , Missouri. These allegations, coupled with Bennett’s vow that he would do all in his power to “deliver him [JS] up to justice,” fed growing fears among Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo that JS would be extradited to Missouri for trial. JS had also heard rumors that and were conspiring with Bennett to encourage mobs to attack Nauvoo.In the face of these anxieties, JS sent and to consult with governor and governor about JS’s possible extradition. The first of these consultations, which occurred in early July, convinced Miller and Derby that “could do nothing.” However, on 20 July, swore out an affidavit claiming that JS was an “Accessary before the fact” of his “intended Murder” and asked Reynolds to demand JS’s extradition. Accordingly, on 22 July, the very day of the public meeting in , Reynolds issued a request to Carlin for JS’s extradition from Illinois to Missouri.Meanwhile, JS was experiencing additional difficulties with as a result of ’s accusations that JS had proposed marriage to Pratt’s wife, . At the 22 July meeting, which had both morning and afternoon sessions, Orson refused to support the resolution attesting to JS’s good moral character and gave a lengthy speech providing “reasons for his negative vote.” JS and other leaders responded by countering Bennett’s claims and questioning Bennett’s character.The meeting also considered a petition drawn up by a committee appointed by the City Council that expressed support of JS and defended his character. The petition was to be presented to to dissuade him from complying with any request for JS’s extradition. Approximately eight hundred people signed the petition at the meeting. Two other petitions, both mentioned in an appendage to the minutes of the meeting, were prepared in support of JS—one from the and one from citizens in the area who were not members of the church. Although these petitions are mentioned in the minutes, it is unclear whether they were formally presented at this meeting., who was appointed clerk of the meeting, evidently took minutes, which were then published in the 23 July 1842 issue of the Wasp and the 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons. Because the Times and Seasons version seems to be a more complete record of the meeting, it is presented as the featured text. Differences from the Wasp version are noted.