Minutes, 3 February 1841, Copy

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

The City Council met at the House of at Six OClock P. M. on Wednesday the 3rd. day of February 1841.—
Esq. the Mayor, was sworn into office, by , J.P.
Meeting opened by Prayer, by Joseph Smith.
The Mayor gave Notice that had been appointed City Marshal, & requested the public to respect & obey him as such.
Aldermen, , , , & , and Counsellors, Joseph Smith, , , , , , , & , were sworn into office by the , having respectively subscribed their oath of office, & the Mayor, having duly subscribed his oath of office.
, who was Elected as the other City Colr. not being present.
was appointed City Marshal, & sworn, & to continue for two years ensuing.
appointed City Treasurer, & sworn, & to continue for two years ensuing.
appointed City Recorder, & sworn, and to continue for two years ensuing.
appointed Supervisor of Streets, not present, to continue for two years ensuing.
appointed City Assessor, & sworn, & to continue for two years.
The then addressed the Council, & Citizens, by an inaugural Speech of considerable length, and read, & [p. 1] And cited parts of the City Charter, observing as to what he considered should be done in the forthwith, &c &c.
Counsellor Joseph Smith presented a Bill to Organize the , which was read three times, the rules were dispensed with, & it passed unanimously. To wit.
An Ordinance Organizing the “Nauvoo Legion.”—
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of , that the Inhabitants of the City of , and such Citizens of as may unite by Voluntary Enrollment, be, & they are hereby organized into a Body of independent Military Men, to be called the “Nauvoo Legion,” as contemplated in the 25th. Section of “An act to incorporate the City of ,” approved December, 16th., 1840.
Sec. 2. The Legion shall be, and is hereby, divided into two Cohorts,— the Horse Troops to constitute the first Cohort, & the foot Troops to constitute the second Cohort.
Sec. 3. The General officers of the Legion shall consist of a Lieutenant General, as the Chief Commanding & reviewing officer, & president of the Court Martial, & Legion; a Major General, as the second in Command of the Legion, the Secretary of the Court Martial, & Legion, & Adjutant & Inspector General; a Brigadier General, as Commander of the first Cohort; & a Brigadier General, as Commander of the second Cohort.
Sec. 4. The Staff of the Lieutenant General shall consist of two principal Aids-de-Camp, with the Rank of Colonels of Cavalry, & a guard of twelve Aids-de-Camp, with the Rank of Captains of Infantry, & a drill officer, with the rank of Colonel of Dragoons, who shall likewise be the Chief officer of the Guard.
Sec. 5. The Staff of the Major General shall consist of an Adjutant, a Surgeon in Chief, a Cornet, a quarter Master, a Pay Master, a Commissary, & a Chaplain, with the Rank of Colonels of Infantry; a Surgeon for each [p. 2] Each Cohort, a quarter Master Sergeant, Sergeant Major, & chief Musician, with the rank of Captains of light Infantry; & two Musicians, with the rank of Captains of Infantry.
Sec. 6. The Staff of each Brigadier General shall consist of one Aid-de-Camp, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry; provided that the said Brigadiers shall have access to the Staff of the Major General when not otherwise in service.
Sec. 7. No officer shall hereafter be elected by the various Companies of the Legion, except upon the nomination of the Court Martial, & it is hereby made the duty of the Court Martial to nominate at least two Candidates for each vacant office, whenever such vacancies occur
Sec. 8. The Court Martial shall fill & supply all officers ranking between Captains & Brigadiers General by granting brevet Commissions to the most worthy Company officers of the line, who shall thereafter take rank & command according to the date of their Brevets; provided that their Original place in the line shall not thereby be vacated.
Sec. 9. The Court Martial consisting of all the Military Officers, commissioned or entitled to Commissions, within the limits of the City Corporation, shall meet at the of Joseph Smith, on Thursday the 4th. day of February 1841, at 10 o’clock A. M. & then, & there, proceed to elect the general officers of the Legion as contemplated in the 3rd. Section of this ordinance.
Sec. 10. The Court Martial shall adopt for the , as nearly as may be, & so far as applicable, the discipline, drill, Uniform, rules & regulations of the Army.
Sec. 11. This Ordinance shall take effect, & be in force from & after its Passage.
passed Feby 3rd. 1841.—
, Mayor.
, Recorder.
Colr. [p. 3]
Counsellor Joseph Smith presented a Bill to Organize the “University of the City of ,” which was read three times, the rules were dispensed with, & it passed Unanimously.
An Ordinance organizing the “University of the City of .”
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of , that the “University of the City of be, & the same is hereby organized, by the appointment of the following Board of Trustees; to wit, , Chancellor, , Registrar, & Joseph Smith, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , & Lenos M. Knight, Regents; who shall hereafter Constitute the “Chancellor & Regents of the University of the City of ,” as contemplated in the 24th. Section of “An act to incorporate the City of ,” approved December 16th., 1840.
Sec. 2. The Board named in the 1st. Section of this Ordinance shall hold its first Meeting at the of Joseph Smith, on Tuesday, the 9th. day of February 1841, at 2 oClock, P. M.
Sec. 3. This ordinance shall take effect, & be in force, from & after its passage.
<​passed 3rd. Feby 1841.​>
, Mayor.
Recorder.
Counsellor Joseph Smith presented the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted.
Resolved by the City Council of the City of , that a vote of <​the unfeigned​> thanks of this City of <​Community be respectfully​> Tendered to the Citizens of , Council of Revision, & Legislature, of the State of , as a feeble testimonial of their respect & esteem for noble, high minded, & patriotic Statesmen, [p. 4] Statesmen, & as an evidence of gratitude for the Signal powers recently conferred.— & that the Citizens of be held in everlasting remembrance for their unparalled liberality & marked kindness to our People, when in their greatest state of suffering & want.
That portion of the Message respecting a Canal, was referred to a Committee of three, namely, Colrs. , & Joseph Smith, & .
That portion of the Message respecting the vacating of the Town Plotts, & Town of , was referred to a Committee, Messrs. Joseph Smith, , & .
That Portion of the Message that relates to vending Spirituous Liquors, was referred to a select Committee, viz Joseph Smith, , & .
It was referred to a Committee of five, to prepare a Code of City Ordinances. Joseph Smith, , , , and .
It was adopted that the appointment of a Board of Health for the be referred to a Committee. to wit, Joseph Smith, , & .
It was unanimously adopted, that the inaugural Address, as also the proceedings of this Meeting, be published in the Times & Seasons.
The made some remarks concerning the powers vested in him, also respecting the Duties of the several officers.
Adjourned until Monday next, to meet at ’s at one OClock P. M.
February 3rd. 1841.
, Mayor.
, Recorder. [p. 5]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    Located in the original Commerce plat on the corner of Main and Water streets, Davis’s home and hotel served as the meeting place for the first several Nauvoo city council meetings.  

  2. 2

    In taking the oath of office, these individuals swore to “support the Constitution of the United States, and of the State of Illinois” and to perform their duties as called for in the Nauvoo charter. (Oaths, Nauvoo, IL, 3 and 8 Feb. 1841, JS Collection, CHL; Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  3. 3

    It is unknown why Sidney Rigdon was absent. He was elected as a city councilor in the municipal election held on 1 February 1841 and was sworn into office on 8 February 1841. (“Municipal Election,” Times and Seasons, 1 Feb. 1841, 2:309; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 8 Feb. 1841, 5; Oaths, Nauvoo, IL, 3 and 8 Feb. 1841, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  4. 4

    Section 19 of the Nauvoo city charter detailed the role of the city marshal: “All process issued by the Mayor, Aldermen, or Municipal Court, shall be directed to the Marshal, and in the execution thereof he shall be governed by the same laws as are, or may be, prescribed for the direction and compensation of Constables in similar cases. The Marshal shall also perform such other duties as may be required of him under the ordinances of said city, and shall be the principal ministerial officer.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  5. 5

    Section 20 of the Nauvoo city charter detailed the role of the city recorder: “It shall be the duty of the Recorder to make and keep accurate records of all ordinances made by the City Council, and of all their proceedings in their corporate capacity, which record shall at all times be open to the inspection of the electors of said city, and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by the ordinances of the City Council, and shall serve as Clerk of the Municipal Court.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  6. 6

    “City Officers,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:319.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  7. 7

    Section 26 of the Nauvoo city charter detailed the role of the supervisor of streets: “The inhabitants of the ‘City of Nauvoo,’ are hereby exempted from working on any road beyond the limits of the city, and for the purpose of keeping the streets, lanes, avenues, and alleys, in repair to require of the male inhabitants of said city, over the age of twenty one, and under fifty years, to labor on said streets, lanes, avenues, and alleys, not exceeding three days in each year; any person failing to perform such labor when duly notified by the Supervisor, shall forfeit and pay the sum of one dollar per day for each day so neglected or refused.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  8. 8

    Mayor John C. Bennett covered several topics in his inaugural address, including the power of the city relative to taxation and finances (section 13 of the charter), the suppression of intemperance, and the betterment of the city through city council ordinances. He spent the majority of the address speaking about the importance of the university (section 24 of the charter) and the organization of the legion (section 25 of the charter). Bennett also highlighted the role that the Illinois governor, Council of Revision, and state legislature played in assisting the Latter-day Saints when they arrived in the state as refugees. In contrast to those in Missouri, the governmental bodies of Illinois, Bennett stated, “should be held in everlasting remembrance by our people—they burst the chains of slavery and proclaimed us forever free!” One Illinois newspaper reported Bennett’s address as being “bombastic” but a “creditable production” with a “high moral bearing.” (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:316–318; “The Mormons,” Western World [Warsaw, IL], 24 Feb. 1841, [2]; for another regional report of the address, see “The Mormons,” North Western Gazette and Galena [IL] Advertiser, 2 Apr. 1841, [4].)  

    Western World. Warsaw, IL. 1840–1841.

    North Western Gazette and Galena Advertiser. Galena, IL. 1838–1845.

  9. 9

    JS and the First Presidency emphasized the importance of the Nauvoo Legion in a proclamation written just a few weeks earlier. The legion, the First Presidency informed the Saints, “embraces all our military power, and will enable us to perform our military duty by ourselves, and thus afford us the power, and privilege, of avoiding one of the most fruitful sources of strife, oppression, and collision with the world. It will enable us to show our attachment to the state and nation as a people, whenever the public service requires our aid—thus proving ourselves obedient to the paramount laws of the land, and ready at all times to sustain and execute them.” (Proclamation, 15 Jan. 1841.)  

  10. 10

    Section 25 of the charter gave the city council authority to “organize the inhabitants of said city, subject to military duty, into a body of independent military men to be called the ‘Nauvoo Legion,’” which would form a “Court Martial . . . with full powers and authority to make, ordain, establish, and execute, all such laws and ordinances as may be considered necessary for the benefit, government, and regulation of said Legion.” Section 25 continued: “The said Legion shall perform the same amount of military duty as is now or may be hereafter required of the regular militia of the State, and shall be at the disposal of the Mayor in executing the laws and ordinances of the City Corporation, and the laws of the State, and at the disposal of the Governor for the public defence, and the execution of the laws of the State or of the United States, and shall be entitled to their proportion of the public arms; and Provided, also, that said Legion shall be exempt from all other military duty.” (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

  11. 11

    The following day, 4 February, the Nauvoo Legion held a court-martial as its first meeting. (See Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841.)  

  12. 12

    In his inaugural address, Bennett spoke at length about the university and its goals. He indicated that the university should be practical, or “a ‘utilitarian’ institution.” “‘Knowledge is power,’” Bennett stated, proclaiming that if the Saints fostered education they would be “forever free!” JS and his counselors in the First Presidency also wrote about the practical importance of the university in a proclamation to the Saints on 15 January. “We hope,” they wrote, “to make this institution one of the great lights of the world, and by and through it, to diffuse that kind of knowledge which will be of practical utility, and for the public good, and also for private and individual happiness.” (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:317, italics in original; Proclamation, 15 Jan. 1841.)  

  13. 13

    A November 1840 Times and Seasons editorial highlighted the Saints’ feelings about Illinois governor Thomas Carlin after their arrival in Illinois: “Governor Carlin freely gave us his protection, extended to us the warm hand of friendship, bestowed liberally from his purse to supply our numerous wants, and, in fact, was one of our principal temporal saviors.” (“Gov. Carlin,” Times and Seasons, 1 Nov. 1840, 2:205.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  14. 14

    Bennett called for a “vote of thanks, couched in the strongest language possible” to the Illinois government and the citizens of Quincy, the latter of which provided refuge to the Saints when they “came from the slaughter in Missouri” in 1839. (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:318. For more information on the reception of the Saints in Quincy, see Introduction to Part 4: 24 Apr.–12 Aug. 1839; Historical Introduction to Letter from Robert B. Thompson, 13 May 1839; Letter from Edward Partridge, 5 Mar. 1839; “Proceedings in the Town of Quincy,” Quincy [IL] Argus, 16 Mar. 1839, [1]; John Taylor, Quincy, IL, to “the Editor of the Argus,” Quincy, IL, 1 May 1839, CHL; and “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Sept. 1840, 1:165.)  

    Quincy Argus. Quincy, IL. 1836–1841.

    Taylor, John. Letter, Quincy, IL, to “the Editor of the Argus,” Quincy, IL, 1 May 1839. CHL.

  15. 15

    Bennett said he would “earnestly recommend the construction of a wing-dam in the Mississippi, at the mouth of the ravine at or near the head of Main street.” A wing dam is a structure that extends into a river from each shore without connecting in the middle in order to force water into a fast-moving center channel. It was intended to “afford, at the various outlets, the most ample water power for propelling any amount of machinery for mill and manufactoring purposes, so essentially necessary to the building up of a great commercial city” and to provide a safe harbor for steamboats. (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:318.)  

  16. 16

    In the published version of Bennett’s inaugural address, there is no mention of vacating town plots or of Commerce.  

  17. 17

    JS produced a committee report and resolution for the city council two days later. (See Report of Committee, 5 Feb. 1841.)  

  18. 18

    Bennett spent much time in his speech on prohibition. Noting the public good that comes from prohibition, Bennett encouraged the city council to limit the “sales of spirituous liquors,” stating that “the liberty of selling the intoxicating cup is a false liberty—it enslaves, degrades, destroys.” The city council discussed and passed an ordinance on spirituous liquors at their 15 February 1841 meeting. (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:317, italics in original; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 15 Feb. 1841, 7–8.)  

  19. 19

    The creation of this board of health was prompted by Bennett’s inaugural address, in which he stated, “The public health requires that the low lands, bordering on the Mississippi, should be immediately drained, and the entire timber removed. This can and will be one of the most healthy cities in the west, provided you take prompt and decisive action in the premises. A Board of Health should be appointed.” (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:318)  

  20. 20

    The editors of the Times and Seasons printed the mayor’s inaugural address in the 15 February 1841 issue.  

  21. 21

    In his inaugural address, Bennett also made remarks about his role as mayor. He said, “As the Chief Magistrate of your city I am determined to execute all state laws, and city ordinances passed in pursuance to law, to the very letter. . . . The peaceful unoffending citizen shall be protected in the full exercise of all his civil, political, and religious, rights, and the guilty violater of law shall be punished, without respect to persons.” (John C. Bennett, “Inaugural Address,” Times and Seasons, 15 Feb. 1841, 2:318, italics in original.)  

  22. 22

    The city council met again, pursuant to this adjournment, on 8 February. (See Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 8 Feb. 1841, 5–7.)