, An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the Barbarities Inflicted on Them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri, second edition; i-vi, 7–60 pp.; Cincinnati, OH: Shepard and Stearns, 1840. The copy used herein is held at CHL.
A manuscript draft of this pamphlet, simply titled “To the Publick” was presented to a conference of church members at , Illinois, on 1 November 1839. The conference voted to approve the manuscript and authorized its publication on behalf of the church. The pamphlet, when published, carried the endorsement of JS, , and as “Presidents of said Church.”
and collaborated on the publication of the text, which was available in print by May 1840. Though no author is named on the title page, was acknowledged as author in an 1840 Times and Seasons newspaper article, and when the pamphlet was advertised in that church periodical in 1841. JS and held some expectation that funds from the sale of An Appeal would eventually help defray costs of their late-1839 trip to .
By July 1840, and had been authorized to produce a second, revised edition to be published by Shepard & Stearns in . Page related some of the circumstances surrounding its publication and circulation in a letter sent to JS, “. . . at [Ohio] we parted for a few days . . . Elder Hyde went to Cincinnati where in my absince he published a second Edition of the ‘Apeal to the American people’ (2000 copies)[.] when I arrived the work was about completed[.] after disposing of as many of them as posible and suplying the market about cincinnati and the adjacient country he left me with some fourteen or fifteen hundred on hand, to dispose of” (John E. Page, Philadelphia, PA, to JS et al., Nauvoo, IL, 1 Sept. 1841, JS Collection, CHL). Funds from this printing were to be for the express purpose of subsidizing Hyde and Page’s imminent mission to in Palestine.
The second edition was essentially a lightly edited reprint of the first, with a four-page “Publisher’s Preface” added. In the preface, and noted the purpose of the publication, explained the severe hardships imposed by the persecutions upon Page’s own family, provided a detailed account of a vision experienced by Hyde, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospects of the mission. The preface also contained a copy of an official letter of appointment and commendation for Hyde and Page from an April 1840 church conference at , Illinois, signed by JS, and a letter of reference from , governor of .
Although many of the events reported in both editions of ’s pamphlet can be corroborated from other sources, his chronology of events is often inaccurate. However, Rigdon’s account does contain the texts of several significant documents. Among these are JS’s September 1838 affidavit concerning the 7 August 1838 visit to and those of and regarding the massacre. Consequently, though in many respects Rigdon’s document from a historical perspective is more advocacy than history, it offers access to some important material not readily found elsewhere.
he swore that in he saw have a clock in his arms. There had been a clock found in some hazel bushes somewhere in the neighborhood of —this clock, a man in , swore to be his—it was presented to and swore positively that that was the clock he saw have in . Now, the truth is, that the clock which said had belonged to another man, who had it at that time, and has it at this, if he has not sold it; and it is now in . This, , could have proven, if he could have introduced his witnesses. For this he was bound over to appear at the county court, in the sum of one thousand dollars. Another by the name of [Andrew] Job, whose mother had gone to the house of and swore a featherbed, which was in his house was her’s After she got away, she said she never had a bed since she lived in , but she wanted one of “old ’s” beds. Her son came to the court to swear against for stealing, and accordingly swore that his mother’s bed was found in his house. The question was asked how he knew it was his mother’s bed? He said he had slept upon it, and he felt the stripes with his feet. His mother’s bed had a striped tick, and the stripes went two ways; and he felt them with his feet while lying in the bed. He was then asked if there was not a sheet on the bed under him? He said there was, but still he felt the stripes in the tick through the sheet so distinctly that he knew that they went two ways, and that it was his mother’s bed, and that was the way they found out his mother’s bed was there. proved, in the mean time, that that same bed had been in his house for many years. We give these as specimens of men’s swearing. We might multiply them to a great number, but it would swell this narrative beyond the limits allowed it—let so much suffice.
The court at last closed on the 29th of November, after a session of two weeks and three days, and during most of the time we were closely confined in chains. At the close of the court, and some few days before it closed, there were a considerable number of those who had been arrested by released. Out of that number was , Esq., who was one of the seven who had been carried to , and from thence to . They were either all released or admitted to bail, except , , , , Joseph Smith, jr., and , who were sent to , Clay county, to , to stand their trial for treason and murder. The treason for having whipped the mob out of , and taking their cannon from them; and the murder, for the man killed in the battle. Also, , Morris Phelps, , , and Norman Shearer, who were put into jail, to stand their trial for the same crimes. At this time the legislature had commenced its sessions, and a memorial* was presented to the Senate and House of Representatives to obtain a committee to investigate the whole affair pertaining to the ’s order, the operations of the mob, and the conduct and operations of the militia while at .
After much legislation, disputation, and controversy, and angry