Petition to United States Congress, circa 29 November 1839, Draft

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the in Congress assembled:
Your Petitioners Joseph Smith and would most respectfully represent that they have been delegated, by their breth[r]en and fellow Citizens, known as “(commonly called Mormons) to prepare present to you a Statement of their wrongs and a prayer for their Relief which they now have the honor to submit to the consideration of your Honorable Body.
In the Summer of the 1831 a portion of the Church Sect above named commenced a settlement in the County of in the State of Missouri. The individuals making that settlement had emigrated from almost every state in the hence to that lovely spot in the far West by the hope of improvement improvemeng [improving] their condition [p. 1] of building homes for themselves & posterity. and of erecting temples where they & theirs might worship their Creator according to the dictates of their conscience. Through they had wandered far from the homes of their childhood, still they had been taught to believe, that a Citizen of <​born in any​> one state, in this great , might remove to another and enjoy all the rights & immunities of Citizens of the State of his adoption, That wherever waved the American flag. beneath its stars and stripes an American Citizen might look for protection, <​&​> justice and <​for​> liberty in person and in conscience. They bought farms, built houses erected churches, some tilled the earth, others bought and sold merchandize, and others again toiled in the shop of the mechanic, They were industrious and moral & they prospered and though often persecuted and villified for their difference in religious opinion from their fellow Citizens, they were hope <​happy​>, They saw their society increasing in numbers their farms teemed with plenty, and they fondly looked forward to a future big wiht [with] hope That there was prejudice against them <​they​> knew, that slanders were propagated against them they deplored, yet they felt [p. 2] that these were unjust, yet they felt and hope that time and an uprigh[t]ness of live would enable them to outlive them. From the date of their settle while this summer of peace and happiness and hope shone over the infant settlement of the saints, the cloud was gathering unseen by them, that bore in its bosom the thunderbolt of their destruction.
On the 20th. of July 1838 <​1833​> around their peaceful <​​> a mob gathered to the surprise & terror to the suprise and terror of the quiet Mormons. Why they knew not. They had broken no Law. they had harmed no man in deed or thought. Why they <​that​> were <​they​> thus threatened they knew not, soon a Committee from the Mob called upon the leading citizens <​Mormons​> of the village <​place​>. They announced, that the the and the shops must be closed and that forthwith every Mormon must leave the . The message was so terrible so unexpected, the Mormons asked time for deliberation for consultation— which being granted <​refused​> the bretheren <​h◊◊◊◊◊​> were severally asked are <​You​> willing to abandon your home? The reply was one, we will not go: Which determination being reported to the Committee of the Mob. One of them replied that he was sorry for said he the work of destruction must now begin. No sooner said than <​it was​> done, The a large two story [p. 3] <​Brick​> building was assailed by the Mob and down and with its valuable appurtanances destroyed. They next proceeded to the with a like purpose Its owner in part agreed to close it and they delayed their purposed. They then proceeded to the dwelling of the beloved of the village <​ there​> dragged him and his family to the Public Square where surrounded by hundreds they partially stripped him of his cloathing and tarred and feathered him from head to foot. A man by the name of was at the same time treated in a similar manner. The Mob <​then​> dispersed with an agreement to meet again on the next Tuesday the above outrages having been committed on Saturday Tuesday came and with it came the Mob. bearing a red flag in token of bloodThey proceeded to the houses of and others of the leading men and seizing seized <​them​>, telling them to bid their families farewell, that they would never see them again. They were then driven at the point of the bayonet to the public Square <​Jail​> and there amid the jeers and insults of the crowd they were Stripped tarred and feathered <​thrust in Prison to be kept as hostages in case any of the mob should be killed defending themselves they was to die to pay for it​> Here some two or three of the Mormons offered to surrender up their [p. 4] lives if that would satisfy the furry of the Mob. and purchase peace and security for their unoffending bretheren their helpless wives and children The reply of the Mob was that the must leave the ‘en Masse’ or that every man should be put to death. The Mormons terrified and defenceless then entered into an agreement to leave the . One Half by the first of January the other Half by the first of April next ensueing. This treaty being made & ratified the Mob dispersed— Again for a time the persecuted Mormons, enjoyed a Respite from their pe[r]secutions but not long was this repose permitted them.
Sometime in the Month of October a meeting was held at at which it was determined to remove the Mormons or die, Inflamatory speeches were made and one of the speakers swore he would remove the Mormons from the , if he had to wade up to his neck in blood. Be it remarked that up to this time the Mormons had faithfuly observed the treaty, and were guilty of no offence against the laws of the land or of society [p. 5] but were peaceably following the routine of their daily duties. Shortly after the Meeting above refered to another persecution commenced. Some of the Mormons were shot at, others were whipped, their houses were thrown down, were assaulted with brick-bats, broken open and thrown down their women & children were insulted and thus for many weeks without offence without resistance by night and by day were they harrassed insulted and oppressed. There is a point beyond which endurance ceases to be a virtue. The worm when trampled upon will turn upon its oppressor. A company of about Thirty Mormons fell in with twice that Number of the Mob, engaged in the destruction of Mormon property, when a battle ensued in which one Mormon was killed and two or three of the Mob, Acting in Concert with the Officer who commanded the Mob was Lieut. Gov.r. of the State of . When the Noise of this battle was spread abroad the public mind became much inflamed. The Militia collected in arms from all quarters and in great numbers, and inflamed to fury— They demanded, that the Mormons should surrender up all their arms and immediately quit the . Compelled [p. 6] by overpowering numbers the Mormons submitted. They surrenderd up Fifty one Guns which have never been returned or paid for. The next day parties of the Mob went from house <​to house​> threatening women and children with death if they did <​not​> immediately leave their homes. Immagination cannot paint the terror which now pervaded the Mormon Community The weather was intensely cold and women and children abandoned their homes and fled in every direction. without clothing to protect them from the piercing cold, women gave birth to children in the woods & prairies. One Hundred and twenty women and children for the space of ten days with only three or four men in company concealed themselves in the woods in hourly expectation & fear of massacre until they finally escaped into .
The after the above disturbances removed to the County of where they were kindly recieved by the inhabitants and their wants administered by their charities. In the meantime the houses of the Mormons in the County of amounting about two hundred were burned down or otherwise destroyed by the Mob. as well as much of their Crops furniture [p. 7]
[verso of p. 7 blank]
and Stocks. The Damage done to the property of the by the Mob in the County of as above related as near as they can ascertain would amount to the sum of One Hundred and seventy five Dollars Thousand Dollars. The Number of Mormons thus driven from the County of amounted to about twelve hundred souls. For the property thus destroyed they have never been paid.
After the expulsion of the Mormons out from the County of as above related they removed to and settled in the County of . They there purchased out most <​some​> of the former inhabitants and entered at the land office the wild lands <​offered​> for sale by the General Government The most of them became Freeholders owning each an Eighty or more of land The Mormons lived peaceably in the County of for about three years and all that time increasing incre[ase]d rapidly in numbers by emigration and increasing also in wealth by their industry After they had resided in that [p. 8] about three years, the Citizens not connected with them began to look upon them with Jealousy and alarms, Reports were again put in circulation against them, Public Meetings were held in the Counties of and at which violent resolutions were passed against the , and rumors of Mobs began again to spread alarm among the Mormons, At this Juncture the Mormons desirous of avoiding all conflict with their fellow Citizens, and anxious to preserve the peace and harmony of the Society around them as well as their own, deputed a Committee of their leading men to make terms of peace with their Fellow Citizens of . An interview took place between them and a Committee of Citizens, at which it was agreed that the Mormons should leave the County of and that the Citizens <​of ​> should buy their lands. These terms were complied with The Mormons removed to and settled in the County of and the Citizens <​never​> paid them <​value​> for their lands— but far from their full value <​many receivd nothing at all for their land​>— The Mormons by this removal sacrificed much, both of mon[e]y & feeling but the sacrifice was made upon the altar of duty, for the peace of the Community— [p. 9] Your memorialists would beg here to give what they believe a just explanation of the causes of the predjudice & persecutions against the related above and which will follow. That there might have been some unworthy members among them cannot be denied, but they own that as a community they were as moral as upright and as observant of the laws of the land as any body of poeple in the world, Why then this predjudice & persecution? An answer they think will be found in the fact, That they were a body of people distinct from their fellow Citizens in religious opinions, in their habits in their associations. They were numerous enough to make their numbers power of theirs numerical and moral force a matter of anxiety and dread to the political and religious parties by which they were surrounded, which arose not from what the Mormons had done but from the fear of what they might do. In Addition the Mormons either had purchased of the settler, of or of the Government or held by Pr[e]emption the best lands in all that region of the and the terms of speculation the Cupidity of many was aroused to possess More [p. 10] lands by driving off the and taking forcible possession or constraining them to sell them, through fear and coercion at a price merely nominal.
After the Mormons removed from they settled in the County of as aforesaid. Your memorialists do not deem it necessary for their purpose to detail the history of the progress, the cares & anxieties of the Mormons settlement from the time they settled in untill in the year 1836— untill the Fall of the year 1838. They would howevever [say?] that during all that time they deported themselves as good citizens obeying the laws [of the?] land and the moral and religious duties enjoined by their faith. That there might have been some faithless among the faithful is possible, they would <​not​> deny that there might have been some who were a scandal to their brethern and what society they would ask has not some unworthy Member? Where is the sect, where they community in which there cannot be found some who trample under foot the laws of God and man? [p. 11]
They believe the to have as few such as any other association religious or political. Within the above period the Mormons continued to increase in wealth and in numbers, until in the Fall of the Year 1838 they numbered as near as they can estimate about 15000 souls.
They purchased of the Government or of the Citizen almost or held by Preemption almost all the lands in the County of , and a portion of the lands of & Carrol[l]. The County of was settled almost entirely by Mormons, and mormons were rapidly filling up the Counties of and ,— When they first commenced settling in more Counties, there were but few settlements made there, the lands were wild and uncultivated In the fall of 1838 large farms had been made, and well improved and stocked— Lands had risen in value and sold for from $10 to $25 The improvement and settlement had been such that it was a Common remark that the County of would soon be the wealthiest in the — Thus stood their affairs in the Fall of 1838. when the storm [p. 12] of Persecution again raged over the heads of the , and the fierce Demon <​of the mob​> drove them forth, houseless and homeless. and penniless, upon the charities of the world, which to them thank God! have been like Angel visits, but not few or far between.
This last persecution had its origin at an election which was held in the County of on the first Monday in of August 1838 A Mormon went to the polls to vote A <​one​> Citizen <​of the mob​> standing by opposed his voting contending that a Mormon had no more right to vote, <​than a negro​> One angry word brought on another, and blows followed. They are however happy to state, that the Mormon was not the aggressor, but was on the defensive. Others interfered not one alone but many assailed the Mormon. His brethren seeming [seeing] him thus assailed by numbers, rushed to the rescue, then came others of the Citizens <​Mob​> until finally a general row commenced, The mormons were victorious—
A Rumor soon <​the same the next day​> reached the Mormons of that two of their bretheren had been killed in this fight, and that a refusal had been made to surrender their bodies for burial. Not knowing at the time that this rumor was false, they became much excited and several of them started [p. 13] for with a view of finding for the brethren whom the[y] supposed to have been killed a decent interment. Where they arrived next morning. Among the Citizens this fight produced a great excitement. They held a public meeting and resolved to drive the from the country. Individuals began also to threaten the Mormons as a body and swear that they should leave the country in three days. When the Mormons who had gone from to as aforesaid arrived there, they found this state of excitement to exist. They also heard that a large Mob was collecting against them headed by one of the Judges of the County Court of . Under these circumstances and with a view to allay the excitement they called on , and enquired of him whether the Reports they had heard in relation to him were true; Upon his denying them to be true they then requested him to give that denial in writing which he freely did. This writing they published with a view of calming the public mind & allaying the excitement [p. 14] Having done this they rested in quiet for some time hoping that their efforts would produce the desired effect.
Their supprise can under these curcumstances be easily immagined when a short time after they learned that said had gone before and made oath that he was forced to sign the instrument, by armed , and procured a warrant for the arrest of Jos Smith jr. & , which was placed in the hands of the Sheriff It was also reported that the said individuals had refused to surrender themselves and that an armed force was collecting to come and take them, Your memorialists aver that the Sheriff had never made any efforts to serve the writ, and that the said Smith and so far from making any resistance, did not know that such a writ had been issued until they learned <​it​> first by report as above related. In the meantime the rumor had run over the whole country that the Mormons, were compelling individuals to sign certain Instruments in writing. that they were resisting the process of the Law, The public mind became much [p. 15] inflamed and the Citizens <​Mob​> began to collect from all quarters and in large numbers with <​Pretensions​> the ostensible object of assisting the Sheriff to serve the process. And here let it be observed in passing that had sold the improvement and Pr[e]emption Claim on which he then resided to the , recieved his pay for the same and that through his instrumentality the Mormons were driven off and <​he​> now retains both their mon[e]y and the improvement. As soon as the above reports reached the ears of the said Smith & they determined immediately upon the cou[r]se they ough[t] to persue, which was to submit that submit to the lawes. They might <​both​> surrendered themselves up to , underwent a trial and in the abscence of all sufficient they were discharged; The[y] hoped that this voluntary submission of theirs to they law and their triumphant <​vindication​> of the charge would allay the excitement of the Community, But not so— The long desired opportunity had arrived, when the oppression & extermination of the Mormons, might be made to assume the form of legal proceeding, The Mob that had assembled with the pretended purpose of assisting the officers in the of process did not disperse upon the acquital of Smith & [p. 16] but continued embodied, with the encampments and forms of a Military force, and committing depredations upon Mormon property. The Mormons in this extremity called upon the Laws of the land and the officers of the Law for protection. After much delay. the militia under Generals & were sent to their relief. They arrived on the 13th. of Sept, and encamped between the and the Mob. The above officers made no attempt to disperse the Mob, excuseing themselves by saying, that their own men had sympathies with the Mob. After remaining thus for several days those officers adopted the following expedient of settling the difficulties. The[y] mustered the Mob, and enrolleed them with their own troops. and then disbanded the whole with orders to seek their several homes. The officers went home excepting who remained for their protection with his men. The Mob The Mormons made an agreement with the Citizens of , to buy out their lands and Pr[e]emptions rights and appointed a Committee to make the purchase, and do go on bying until they purchased to the amount of $25.000 while these purchases were going on the Citizens were heard to say that as soon as they had sold out to the Mormons [p. 17] and recieved their pay they would drive the Mormons off and keep both their lands and the money,
The Mob when disbanded <​in ​> by the Generals as aforesaid instead of repairing to their homes as aforesaid repaired <​commanded, proceed[ed]​> in a body to the adjoining County of Carrol[l] and encamped around A village built and inhabited by , while thus encamped around they sent to the County of and procured a Cannon. They wsed the place so closely. that no person could leave the town in safety, when they did so they were fired upon by the Mob. The horses of the Mormons were stolen and their cattle Killed The Citizens of , were in great extremity, worn out by want & sickness. amo[u]nting to about seventy families, In their extremity they made application to for protection and relief. but no protection no[r] relief was granted them. When reduced to the last extremity no alternative was left them but to seek protection by flight and the abandonment of their homes, Accordingly on the evening [p. 18] of the 11th. of Oct 1838. they retreated from and made their way to the Counties of and leaving <​many of​> their effects behind in the possession of the Mob. Your memorialists will not detail the horrors and sufferings of such a flight when shared with women and children. They might detail many. One Lady who had given birth to a child just before the flight commenced, died on the Road and was buried without a Coffin, Many others sick. worn out, starved deprived of medical aid died upon the Road.
The Remnant of of arrived in and and found a short relief & supply of their wants from their friends and brethren there after the abandonment of and the flight of the Mormons from Carrol. One addressed the Mob adviseing them to take their Cannon and March to the County of and drive the Mormons from that County and seize upon their lands and other property saying that the Mormons could get no benefit of the law as they had recently seen [p. 19]
They then commenced their March from Carrol to carrying with them the Cannon which they had recieved from On their way they captured two , made them ride on the Cannon and taunted them as they went along, telling them that they were going to drive the mormons from to and from to Hell and that they should find no quarters but at the Cannons Mouth, The Mob at this time was reported to number about 400 strong. The Mormons in these distresses in pursuance of the Laws of made application to the Circuit Judge of that Circuit for protection and for the aid of <​for​> the aid of the Officers of the Law to protect the Majestry. as they have been informed and believe gave an order to to call out the Militia to protect the Mormons against the fury of the Mob. thereupon gave [p. 20] orders to Brigadiers & . In pursuance of these orders issued as aforesaid, on the 18th of Oct 1838 arrived at a village in the County of , with a small company of Militia After he had been at two Days disbanded his company alledging to the Mormons as his reason for so doing that his company had the same feelings as the Mob. and that he could not rely upon them, In a short time arrived with his company at and also disbanded his company. At this time the Mob was marching from Carrol to while at the directed the Mormons to raise a Company to protect themselves telling telling them that one was raising a Mob to destroy their Town and also adviseing them to place out guards to watch the motions of the Mob. He also directed them to raise a Company and send them to to aid their brethren there against the Mob which was marching down upon them from Carrol, this the Mormons did, they mustered a Company of [p. 21] about sixty men who proceeded to . When arrived at The as aforesaid and learned that had disbanded his men he expressed great dissatisfaction. The same evening on which disbanded his company as aforesaid. he proceeded to in order to learn what the Mormons <​Mob,​> were doing there and if possible to protect the . When arrived in he found that the Mob had commenced its operations there, which was on the 20th of Oct 1838 They commenced by burning the house of a man who had gone to Tennessee on Business and left his wife at home with two small children, When the house was burned down the wife and the two small children were turned out in the snow and she had to walk three miles before she could find a shelter she carried her two children all that distance and had to wade which was three feet deep. The Mob on the same evening burned seven other houses, burning and destroying all the property that they thought proper, The [p. 22] next morning Col an Officers in the Militia, enquired of what was to be done, as he now saw the course the Mob was determined to persue,
replied, that he should take a company of men and give the Mob battle and that he would be responsible for the act, Saying that they could have no peace with the Mob until they had given them a scourging on the next Morning in obedience to his order was dispatched with one hundred men under his command in the direction as they were advancing from Carrol with directions, to protect the Citizens from the Mob and collect and bring into The such of the as we[re] scattered through the and unprotected, and that if the Mob interfered he should fight them— The Company under the command of was the same <​in part​> that had gone from The by the order of to protect the Citizens of . As went in the direct[ion] of the Mob. they fled before hime leaving their Cannon which took possession of The Mob dispersed with his men then returned to . in a few Days after returned to — It was now supposed that the difficulties were at an end— [p. 23]
But contrary to his expectation on the evening of the 23rd. of October Messengers arrived at and informed the Citizens that a body of armed men had made its appearance in the south part of the and that they were burning houses destroying property and threatning the s Citizens. with death unless the[y] left the the next morning by 10 Ocl[ock] or renounced their religion. About midnight another messenger arrived with news of the like tenor,
The next collected about sixty men and proceeded to the scene of the disturbance to protect if possible the lives and property of the Mormon Citizens, On his arrival at the neighborhood where the first disturbance had commenced he found that the Mob had gone to another neighborhood to prosecute their acts of and outrage— He marched a shor[t] distance and unexpect[ed]ly came upon the encampment of the Mob. The guards of the Mob fired upon him and killed one of his men. They continued their fire and and another of his men were killed. then charged [p. 24] the Mob and after a few fires the Mob were dispersed and fled but was killed, and another of his men. After the fight and the dispersion of the Mob. s company returned to The Report of the proceedings grated [created?] much excitement. The community were made to believe that the were in rebellion against the law. instead whereas that the above facts shew that they were injured popple. Standing up in the defence of their homes and persons and their property. <​here​> Acting from the impulse of the excitement the of the issued an order to to raise several thousand men and to march against the Mormons and to drive them from the or to exterminate them. and also collected three or four Thousand men and with this formidable forced commenced their march and arrived at . In their rear marched with another formidable force. In the meantime the Mormons had <​he​> heard not of these immense preparation and so far from expecting an armed force under the orders of the to war against [p. 25] <​them were daily expected a force from the to protect thier lives and thier property from the Mob When this formidable array first made its appearan[c]e intent upon peace the sent a White flag several miles to meet them to ascertain the reason why an armed force was marching against them and what we might expect at their hands they gave us no satisfaction but continued marching toward immediately on their arrival a man came bearing a white flag from their Camp he was interogated about his business he answered the interogations saying they wanted three persons out of before they Massacreed the rest those persons refused to go and he returnd back to the camp he was closely followed by and his whole brigad[e] marching to the City of in line of battle The Citizens also of found a line of battle in full front of s Army upon this orderd a halt and then a retreat​>
before they massacreed the rest. Night closed upon both parties without any collision. On the next day towards evening the mormons were officially informed that the of the had sent this imme[n]se force against them to Massecre them or to drive them from the . As soon as the Mormons learned that this order had the sanction of the of the , they determined to make no further resistance to submit themselves as well as they could to <​the​> authorities of the , however tyrannical and unjust soever the exercise of that authority might be.
The commanders of the Militia before sent a messinger into [p. 26] the requesting an interview in their camp with five of the principal Citizens among the , pledging their faith for their safe return on their following <​morning at 8 oclock​>
Thus invited as they supposed <​was​> to propose <​day​> <​morning at 8 oclock​> and receive terms of peace and the under the pledge of a safe conduct , Joseph Smith jr and went to<​wards​> the Camp of the Militia Instead of being They had no sooner <​before we arr before we​> arrived at the Camp them <​they​> were surrounded <​by the whole army and​> by the orders of <​put under guard and marchd to the camp as prisoners of war​> and were soon told that they were prisoners of war. A Court Martial was held that night whi and they without being heard and in the abscence of all proof condemned to be shot next morning. The of this bloody order was prevented by the manly protest of . He denounced the act as cold blooded murder and threatened to wthidraw his Brigade— This noble stance taken by prevented the murder of the Prisoners. It is here worthy of note that seventeen preachers of the Gospel were on this Court Martial and were in favor of the sentence [p. 27]
The next morning the Prisoners were marched under a strong guard to in Jackson County, and after being detained there for a week or two they were marched to where then was with his troops— Here a Court of inquiry was held before , this continued from <​the​> 11th. until the 28th. of Nov. while the five prisoners were kept in chains while about fifty other Mormons taken at were penned up in an open unfinished Court House,
In this Mock Court of inquiry the could not be prevailed upon examine any witnesses in favor of the prisoners but heard only such as was brought against them <​defendants were prevented from any testimony a their had by an armed force under at the court house they was advised by their lawyers not to bring any as they would be in danger of their lives or drove out of the country so their was no testimony examined only against them​> This Inquiry was had principally into their religious opinions which were entirely misrepresented <​a great many Questions were asked relative to religious opinions​> The conclusion of the Court of inquiry was to send the prisoners to jail upo[n] a charge of Treason. They do not deem it necessary to detail their sufferings while in Prison, The horrors of a Prison, for four long months, in darkness in want, alone, and during the cold of winter can better be concieved than expressed—— [p. 28]
In the following April the prisoners were sent to the County of for trial, They were there indicted for Treason, and a change of venue was taken to ; They prisoners were sent to the County of , and while on their way made their escape, and fled to the State of . That they were suffered to escape admits of no doubt, The truth is the State of had become ashamed of their proceedings against , and as the best means of getting out of the scrape, gave the prisoners an opportunity to escape. In proof of this the prisoners have ever since been living publicly in the State of and The of , have made no demand upon the of Can it be supposed that the Poeple of would, <​thus tamely​> submit to the Commission of Treason by a portion of their citizens and make no effort to punish the guilty when they were thus publicly living in an adjoining state? Is not this passiveness evidence they know the Mormons were innocent, and the Citizens of wrong— [p. 29]
But to return to the operations of bifore The . We need only say that the exterminating ordered of was carried into full effect. After the above named individuals were taken prisoners all the in about Five hundred in number surrendered up their arms to the militia without any resistance. The Mormons now fled in every direction, women & children through the dead of Winter marked their footsteps with blood as the[y] fled from the State of . The orders of the were that they should be driven from the or destroyed. <​about​> Fifteen Thousand souls, from <​between​> the sacki[n]g of and Spring. abandoned their homes their property. <​their all.​> hurried by the terrors. of these <​armed​> persons. in want of every necessary of life, with bleeding hearts sought refuge in the State of where they now reside.
We cannot trespass upon your time by the relation of cases of indi [p. 30][vid]ual suffering. They would fill a volume. We forbear from our regard to humanity to details the particulars of the Conduct of the Militia we could relate instances of House bu[r]nings destruction, of property, robbery, rapes and Murder, that would shame humanity. One instance as a sample of many scenes they enacted. Two hundred of the Militia came suddenly upon some families emigrating to the and then encamped at in . The Morm[on]s men women & children took refuge in an old log house which had been used as a black smith shop On seeing the militia approach, the Mormons cried for quarter but in vain, they were instantly fired upon. Eighteen fell dead, and their murderres putting the muzzls of their guns between the logs, fired indiscriminately upon women & childrn upon the Dead & Dying. One little boy whose father () had just been shot dead, cried piteously to the Militia to spare his life. [p. 31]
The reply was kill him, kill him (with an oath) he is the son of a Dam—d. . thus they shot his head all open and laid him sprawling by the side of his father. About the same time an old man by the name of came an a soldier of the Revolution came upp to them and begged his life. but they hewed him to pieces with an old scythe. They then loaded themselves with plunder and then departed.
Your Petitioners have thus given a brief outline of the history of the Mormon persecutions in — All which they can prove to be true if an opportunity be given them. It will be seen from this their brief statement that <​neither the​> Mormons as a body nor have individuals of that body been guilty of any offince against the laws of or of the , but that their only offence has been in their opposition to their religious opinions [p. 32]
The above statement will also shew that the on all occasions submitted to the laws of land, and yielded to its authority in every extremity and at every hazard, at the risque of life & property. The above statement will illustrate another truth. That wh[en]ever the Mormons made any resistance to the Mob. it was in self defence, and for their acts of self defence they always had the authority and sanction of the Officers of the law for so doing— Yet they to the amount <​number​> of <​about​> 15.000 souls have been driven from their homes in — Their property to the amount of Two millions of Dollars has been taken from them, or destroyed— Some of them have been murdered <​beaten brusied an[d] [illegible]​> and their women, have s and have all been driven forth wandering over the world without homes— without property, But the loss of property does not comprise half their sufferings— They were human beings possessed of human feelings— & human sympathies. Their agony of soul, was the bitterest drop in the cup of their sorrows. For these wrongs the Mormons ought to have some redress yet how & where shall [p. 33] they seek and obtain it:— Your Constitutions guarantees to every Citizens even the humblest the enjoyment <​of​> life liberty and property. It promises to all religious freedom, the right to all to worship God, ben[e]ath their own vine & fig tree according to the dictates of their conscience— It guarantees to all the Citizens of any one <​the several​> state<​s​> <​the right​> to become Citizens of another <​any one of the​> state<​s​>; and to enjoy all the rights and immunities of the Citizens of the State of his adoption.
Yet in all those of all these rights have the been deprived, They have without a cause been deprive without a trial been deprived of life liberty and property. They have been pe[r]secuted for their religious opinions, They have been driven from the State of at the point of the bayonet, and prevented from enjoying and exerciseing the rights of of Citizens of the state of .
It is the theory of our laws, that for the violations of every legal right, there is provided a legal remedy— What then we would respectfully ask is the remedy of the Mormons? Shall they apply to the Legislature of the State of for redress? They have done so. They have [p. 34] Petitioned, and their Petitions have been treated with silence & contempt. Shall they apply to the Courts Federal Courts? They were at the time <​of the injury​> Citizens of the State of — Shall they apply to the courts of the State of ? Whom sh◊◊◊ they s◊◊◊, The order for their destruction their extermination was granted by the Executive of the State of . Is not this a peice of justification for the acts of individuals done in pursuance of that order? If not before whom shall the institute a trial? Should they summon as Jury of the individuals who composed the Mob an appeal to them were in vain— They dare [not?] go to to institute a suit. Their lives would be in danger.
Octr. 23d
Petition to Congress for redress
(ab. 29 Nov. 1839) [p. 35]


  1. 1

    TEXT: Page damaged.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Cancelation and insertion in the handwriting probably of Robert D. Foster.  

  3. new scribe logo

    Cancelation and insertion in the handwriting probably of Robert D. Foster.  

  4. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  5. 2

    TEXT: The “sing” of “increasing” was stricken and the “a” changed to a “d”, leaving “incred”.  

  6. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting probably of Robert D. Foster.  

  7. new scribe logo

    This and the following two insertions are in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  8. new scribe logo

    Insertion and cancelation are in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  9. new scribe logo

    Insertion in unidentified handwriting.  

  10. new scribe logo

    Cancelation and insertion in the handwriting probably of Robert D. Foster.  

  11. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  12. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting probably of Robert D. Foster.  

  13. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster. This insertion was written on a separate slip of paper pasted over the top of page 26, replacing whatever text was there originally.  

  14. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  15. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  16. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  17. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  18. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  19. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock.  

  20. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock.  

  21. new scribe logo

    This and the following insertions in the rest of this paragraph are in the handwriting of Robert D. Foster.  

  22. new scribe logo

    Dockets in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock.