Letter from John C. Bennett, 8 March 1842

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Mayor’s Office, City of ,
Illinois, March 8th, A. D. 1842.
Esteemed Friend:—
Yours of the 7th Inst. has been received, and I proceed to reply, without undue emotion, or perturbation. You ask “When will these things cease to be, and the Constitution and the Laws again bear rule?” I reply—once that noble bird of Jove, our grand national emblem, soared aloft, bearing in her proud beak the words “Liberty and Law,” and that man that had the temerity to ruffle her feathers was made to feel the power of her talons; but a wily archer came, and with his venomed arrow dipped in Upas’ richest sap, shot the flowing label from the Eagle’s bill—it fell inverted, and the bird was sick, and is,—the label soon was trampled in the dust—the eagle bound and caged. The picture is now before you in bold relief. “What think you should be done?” The master spirits of the age must rise and break the cage, re [p. 724]store the label, unbind the bird, and let her tower unfettered in the air—then will the nation have repose, and the present minions of power hide their faces in the dust. Many of ’s noble sons detest her acts of cruelty and crime, and gladly would they wipe them from the escutcheon of her fame, and will; yes, they will lend a helping hand—and all must help, for the time is at hand,—and if man, rebellious, cowardly, faltering man, will not do the work, the thunderings of Sinai will wind up the scene—the blood of the murdered Mormons cries aloud for help, and the restoration of the inheritances of the saints; and God has heard the cry—and if the moral battle must be fought, and the victory won, he who answers by fire will cause sword and flame to do their office, and again make the Constitution and the Laws paramount to every other consideration—and I swear by the Lord God of Israel, that the sword shall not depart from my thigh, nor the buckler from my arm, until the trust is consummated, and the hydra-headed, fiery dragon slain. This done, the proud southron will no longer boast of ill-gotten gain, or wash his hands in the blood of the innocent, or immure the freemen of the within ’s sullied, poisoned, deathly prison walls. Let us always take refuge under the broad folds of the Constitution and the Laws, and fear no danger, for the day of vengence will assuredly come when the Omnipotent hand of the Great God will effect the restitution of the trophies of the brigand victories of , and again place the saints on high.
Yours, Respectfully,
General Joseph Smith. [p. 725]