Revised Minutes, 17 June 1844, as Published in Nauvoo Neighbor

  • Source Note

Document Transcript

For the Neighbor.
Mr. :
In your last week’s paper I proposed giving your readers an account of the proceedings of the City Council, but time forbids any thing more than a brief SYNOPSIS of the PROCEEDINGS of the MUNICIPALITY of the City of , relative to the destruction of the press and fixtures of the “Nauvoo Expositor.”
City Council, Regular Session)
June 8th, 1844.)
In connection with other business, as stated in last weeks paper, the Mayor remarked that he believed it generally the case, that when a man goes to law, he has an unjust cause and wants to go before some one who wants business, and that he had very few cases on his docket, and referring to , editor of the Nauvoo Expositor, suggested the propriety of first purging the City Council; and referring to the character of the paper and proprietors, called up , a mechanic, who being sworn, said that the Laws, ( and ,) had brought Bogus Dies to him to fix;
Councillor , enquired what good , and his , and the Higbee’s, and Laws, had ever done; while his brother Joseph was under arrest, from the persecution, the Laws, and , would have been rode on a rail, if he had not stepped forward to prevent it, on account of their oppressing the poor.
Mayor said, while he was under arrest by writ from , , pursued him for $40,00 he was owing , and it took the last expense money he had to pay it.
Councillor , referred to ’s coming to this city, &c. Mayor said, , had offered , $500,00 to kill him.
Councillor, , continued, , told him, he (,) meant to have his daughter; and threatened him if he made any resistance. , related to him a dream; that Joseph and were opposed to him, but that he would execute his purposes; that , had laid a plan with four or five persons to kidnap his daughter, and threatened to shoot any one that should come near, after he had got her in the skiff; That , was engaged in trying to make Bogus, which was his principal business,—referred to the revelation, read to the of the , which has caused so much talk about a multiplicity of wives; that said Revelation was in answer to a question concerning things which transpired in former days, and had no reference to the present time. That when sick, , confessed to him that he had been “guilty of adultery,” and “was not fit to live,” and had “sinned against his own soul,” &c. and enquired, who was ? When he came here he had scarce two shirts to his back, but he had been dandled by the authorities of the , &c. and was now editor of the “Nauvoo Expositor,” and his right hand man , who had confessed to him that he had had the P * *.
Washington Peck, sworn, said soon after , came here, he came to witness to borrow money, which witness loaned him, and took some jewelry as security. Soon after a man from across the came after the jewelry,—, had stolen the jewelry from him. At another time wanted to get money of witness, asked witness if he would do any thing dishonorable, to get a living. Witness said he would not. , said witness was a damned fool, for he could get a living a deal easier than he was then doing by making Bogus, and some men high in the church, are engaged in the business. Witness asked if it was Joseph, No? said , I dare not tell it to Joseph, Witness understood him the Laws are engaged in it. said he would be the death of witness, if he ever went to Joseph or any one else to tell what he had said.
P. M.
Ordered by the council that, , be suspended until his case could be investigated for slandering the City Council, that the notify him of his suspension, and that his case would come up for investigation at the next regular session of the council. -[The order is in the hands of the .]-
Counciller , said that , helped to make the ordinances of the , and had never lifted his voice against them in the council, and was now trying to destroy the ordinances and the charter.
, sworn, said , told , that Bogus making was going on in the ;—but it was too damned small business. Wanted to help him to procure money, for the general, (Smith,) was afraid to go into it, and with $500 he could get an engraving for bills, on the bank of , and one on the state of , and could make money,—said many times, did not know him;—believed the General had been telling something. God damn him if he has I will kill him,—swore he would kill any man that should prove a trator to him. said if he could get a company of men to suit him, he would go into the frontiers and live by high way robbery, had got sick of the world.
Mayor suggested that the Council pass an ordinance to prevent misrepresentation and libelous publications, and conspiracies against the peace of the ; and referring to the reports that had set afloat, said he had never made any proposals to to come back to the church. proposed to come back; came to Mayor’s house and wanted a private interview; had some conversation with in the Hall, in presence of several gentlemen, on the 7th inst.; offered to meet him and have an interview in presence of friends, three or four to be selected by each party—which agreed to; and went to bring his friends for the interview, and the next notice he had of him was the following letter:
June 7th 1844
To Gen J. Smith,
Sir, I have consulted my friends in relation to your proposals of settlements, and they as well as myself are of the opinion that your conduct and that of your unworthy, unprincipled, clan is so base that it would be morally wrong & detract from the dignity of Gentlemen to hold any conference with you. the repeated insults, and abuses, I as well as my friends have suffered from your unlawful course towards us demands honorable resentment we are resolved to make this our motto, nothing on our part has been done to provoke your anger but have done all things as become men, you have trampled upon every thing we hold dear and sacred, you have set all law at defiance and profaned the name of the most high to carry out your damnable purposes—and I have nothing more to fear from you than you have already threatened, & I as well as my frie[n]ds will stay here & maintain and magnify the law as long as we stay—and we are resolved never to leave until we sell or exchange our property that we have here, the proposals made by your agent as well as the threats you sent to intimidate me, I disdain and despise as I do their unhallowed author, the right of my family and my friends, demand at my hand a refusal of all your offers, we are united in virtue and truth, and we set hell at defiance and all her agents adieu.
Gen. J. Smith
Mayor continued:—And when left his house, he went to a shoe shop on the hill and reported, that “Joseph said to him if he would come back he would give him ’s place in the church, and a hat full of specie.
, sworn, said that the conversation as stated by the Mayor was correct, was at the June 7th when rode up and enquired if Gen. Smith was at home,— went into the house— followed, was there, the Gen. and others looking at some specimens of penmanship, something was said respecting a conversation at that time, between the Gen. and —Gen. Smith observed to , if he had a conversation he would want others present. The said he would have a word with him by himself; and went into the Hall, went to the door, that he might see and hear what was passing. They still continued to talk on the subject of a conversation that they might have afterwards with others present, whom Mr. Smith might choose and might choose. left, and went for those that he said he wanted present, and would return soon with them—thinks he heard all the conversation, heard nothing about Gen. Smith’s making any offers to to settle, was present all the time. said he had seen and talked with him.
Mayor said he wished it distinctly understood that he knew nothing about going to see .
said he sent to , and Joseph knew nothing about it.
Councillor said came to him on the 7th inst. and said he had had an interview with , and thought he was about ready to come back, and a word from him to Joseph would bring it about.
Mayor said, the conduct of such men, and such papers are calculated to destroy the peace of the ; and it is not safe that such things should exist, on account of the mob spirit which they tend to produce; he had made the statements he had, and called the witnesses to prepare the council to act in the case.
was blackguarded out of , and dubbed with the title of judge (as he had understood from citizens of ) was poor, and Mayor helped him to cloth for a coat before he went away last fall, and he labored all winter to get the post office from , (as informed.)
Mayor referred to a writing from , showing that the Laws presented the communication from the ‘Female Relief Society’ in the Nauvoo Neighbor, to , as the bone of contention, and said, if God ever spake by any man, it will not be five years beforc this is in ashes and we in our graves, unless we go to , , or some other place, if the does not put down every thing which tends to mobocracy, and put down their murderers, bogus makers and scoundrels; all the sorrow he ever had in his family has arisen through the influence of .
C. spoke in relation to the Laws, Fosters, Higbees, of the Signal, &c., and of the importance of suppressing that spirit which has driven us from &c., that he would go in for an effective ordinance.
Mayor said, at the time was pursuing him with his writs, came to his house with a band of Missourians f[o]r the [p. [2]] purpose of betraying him. Came to his gate, and was prevented by , who was set to waich; came within his gate, and called Mayor, and the Mayor reproved for coming at that time of night, with a company of strangers.
, sworn, said that about 10 o’clock at night, a boat came up the with about a dozen men. came to the gate with them, on guard. stopped them. called Joseph to the door, and wanted an interview. Joseph said, you know better than to come her at this hour of the night, and; retired—next morning wrote a letter to apologize, which heard read—which was written apparently to screen himself from the censure of a conspiracy and the letter betrayed a conspiracy on the face of it.
Adjourned at half past 6, P. M., till Monday 10th at 10 o’clock A. M. Adjourned session June 10th, 10 o’clock, A. M. Presiding.
Mayor, referred to —and again read his letter of the 7th inst., (as before quoted.)
Cyrus Hills, a stranger sworn; said one day last week, believed it wednesday, a , whom witness did not know, came into the sitting room of the ‘’ and requested the Hon. Mayor to step aside—he wanted to speak with him, Mayor stepped through the door into the entry, by the foot o fthe stairs, and the Gen. (Mayor) asked him what he wished? , (as witness learned since the Gents. name.) said he wanted some conversation on some business witness did not understand at the time. the Gen. refused to go any farther, and said he would have no conversation in private, what should be said should be in public; and told if he would choose three or four men, he would meet him with the same number of men, (among whom was his bro. .) And they would have a cool and calm investigation of the subject, and by his making a proper satisfaction. things should be honorably adjusted, Witness judged from the manner in which expressed himself that he agreed to the Mayors proposals, and would meet him, the same day, in presence of friends, heard no proposals made by Mayor to . for settlement, heard nothing about any offers of dollars, or money, or any other offer except those mentioned before, nothing said about . Was within hearing of the parties at the time conversation was going on.
, sworn. Some day last week, saw ride up to the and go in, went in and found the Mayor and in conversation. Gen. Smith was naming the men he would have present, among whom was , , , and , and had leave to call an equal number of his friends, as understood, for the purpose of having an interview on some matters in conversation.
The ’s. was proposed. Gen. said he had no objections, wanted him present, started, saying he would be back shortly. Before left, the men whom Gen. Smith had named to be present, at the conversation were sent for,—cross examined went into the house as Mayor and were coming out of the Bar Room into the Hall; nothing said by the Mayor to about his coming back,—made no offer to about a settlement.
Mayor said the first thing that occurred to his mind when he stepped into the Hall with was that he wanted to assassinate him, he saw something shining below his vest; Mayor put his finger on it and said, what is that? replied it is my pistol, and immediately took out the pistol, and showed it openly, and wanted the Mayor to go with him alone. May or said he would not go alone, Mayor never saw the pistol before; had a hook on its side, to hang on his waist band.
, sworn. said that in 1839 or 40 while Joseph Smith, , , and Dr , while on their way to , called at ’ house in , Ohio, that the evening was spent very agreeably except some dissatisfaction on the part of certain females with regard to the conduct of ,—on their return from informed President Smith of s conduct, Pres. Smith said he had frequently reproved for such conduct and he had promised to do better, and told to reprove if he saw any thing out of the way. That evening refused to join the company, and walked through the town till about 8 o’clock when he came in and interrupted Pres. Smith, who was expounding some passages of scriptures, and changed the conversation. Soon after the company were invited to Mr. Brown’s at the next door. whither they all repaired, while at Mr. Browns conversation going on, and the room much crowded, and one of the ladies he had paid so much attention to before took their seats in one corner of the room, heard her state to that she supposed she had been enciente for some time back, but had been disappointed, and supposed it was on account of her weakness, and wanted to prescribe something for her, said he could do it for her, and dropped his hand to her feet, and began to raise it, she gave him a slight push and threw herself close to the wall.
He laid his hand on her knee, and whispered so low that could not hear, next morning went in while and others were at breakfast and related what he had seen, denied it, Pres. Smith told him not to deny it for he saw it himself and was ashamed of it. confessed it was true, and promised to reform.
sworn—Said that he came to before the Laws and brought considerable property; it was a short time after the had been driven out of and had arrived in this place. The families having been robbed of all in were in a starving condition. By the council of the Presidency, converted his funds to feeding the poor, bringing in meat and flour &c, and while thus engaged drew upon the Laws, who were at that time engaged in merchandise to the amount of some six hundred dollars, which, on account of expenditure for the poor, he was not able to pay, to within some 70 or 80 dollars—which they pressed him for as soon as they wanted it—although he offered them good property at considerable less than the market value, as was obliged to leave the on church business for a little season. threatened and intimidated ’ family during his absence for the pay.
made a public dinner on the 4th of July. was obliged to be absent and deposited meat, flour, &c., with , to give to the poor at that dinner, and handed it out as his own private property. carried a load of wheat to ’s mill to be ground— would not grind it only to give a certain quantity of flour in return by weight. used up the flour, promising from time to time he would refund it. As was about to start on a mission to the south, with his valise in hand, saw before his door, talking with , called on and told him he was going away, and his family wanted the flour: promised on the honor of a gentleman, and a saint, his family should have the flour when they wanted.
Councillor said he recollected the time and circumstance.
said when he returned, found his family must have starved if they had not borrowed money to get food somewhere else—could not get it of . And was preaching punctuality, punctuality, PUNCTUALITY, as the whole drift of his discourses to the saints—and abusing them himself all the time, and grinding the poor.
Mayor said if he had a city council who felt as he did, the establishment (referring to the Nauvoo Expositor) would be a nuisance before night—and he then read an editorial from the Nauvoo Expositor. He then asked who ever said a word against until he has attacked this council—or even against or the Laws, until they came out against the ? Here is a paper (Nauvoo Expositor) that is exciting our enemies abroad. has been proved a murderer before this council, and declared the paper a nuisance, a greater nuisance than a dead carcase—they make a criminality, for a man to have a wife on the earth, while he has one in heaven, according to the of the holy —and he then read a statement of ’s from the Expositor, where the truth of God was transformed into a lie concerning this thing—He then read several statements of in the Expositor concerning a private interview, and said he never had any private conversation with on these subjects—that he preached on the stand from the bible, shewing the order in ancient days, having nothing to do with the present times. What the opposition party want, is to raise a mob on us and take the spoil from us, as they did in —he said it was as much as he could do, to keep his clerk, , from publishing the proceedings of the Law’s and causing the people to rise up against them—said he would rather die to-morrow and have the thing smashed, than live and have it go on, for it was exciting the spirit of mobocracy among the people and bringing death and destruction upon us.
, recalled a circumstance, which he had forgot to mention concerning a Mr. Smith who came from and soon after died—the children had no one to protect them; there was one girl 16 or 17 years old and a younger sister— took these girls into his family out of pity. , then Major General of the , was familiar with the eldest daughter— cautioned the girl— was soon there again and went out in the evening with the girl, who when charged by the ’s wife confessed that had seduced her. told her he could not keep her—the girl wept, made much ado, and many promises— told her if she would do right, she might stay, but she did not keep her promise— came again and she went out with him— required her to leave his house.
Mayor said certain women came to complain to his —that they had caught with the girl on the floor at in the night.
Councillor proceeded to shew the falsehood of in the “Expositor,” in relation to the revelation referred to, that it was in reference to former days, and not the present time as related by .
Mayor said he had never preached the revelation in private, as he had in public—had not taught it to the anointed in the church in private, which statement many present confirmed, that on enquiring concerning the passage in the resurrection concerning “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, &c., he received for answer, men in this life must marry in view of eternity, otherwise they much remain as angels, or be single in heaven, which was the amount of the revelation referred to, and the Mayor spoke at considerable length in explanation of this principle and was willing for one to subscribe his name, to declare the “Expositor” and whole establishment a nuisance.
2 o’clock p. m.
The of the Council bore testimony of the good character and high standing of Mr. Smith and his family, whose [daughter] was seduced by , as stated by the last witness before the morning Council—that Mrs. Smith died near the mouth of the , and the father and eldest daughter died soon after their arrival in this place and that the seduction of such a youthful, fatherless, and innocent creature by such a man in high standing as the Major General of the , was one of the darkest, damndest and foulest deeds on record
Councillor concurred in the remarks made by the concerning the excellent character of Mr. Smith and his family.
Mayor said the constitution did not authorize the press to publish libels and proposed that the Council make some provision for putting down the ‘Nauvoo Expositor.’
Councillor called for a prospectus of the ‘Expositor.’
read article 8, section 1, Constitution of .
Mayor called for the charter.
The read the prospectus of the ‘Nauvoo Expositor.’
Mayor read the statements of from the ‘Expositor’ and asked, ‘is it not treasonable against all chartered rights and privileges, and against the peace and happiness of the .’
Councillor was in favor of declaring the ‘Expositor’ a nuisance.
—said no city on earth would bear such slander, and he would not bear it, and was decidedly in favor of active measures.
Mayor made a statement of what said before the City Council under oath, that he was a friend to the Mayor &c. &c. and asked if there were any present who recollected his statement when scores responded, yes!
‘was one of the grand jury,’ said stated before the grand jury that he did not say to the Council that he was Joseph’s friend.
continued— was president of this Council during the passage of many ordinances, and referred to the Records; and were members of the Council, and has never objected to any ordinance while in the Council; but has been more like a cypher, and is now become Editor of a libellous paper, and is trying to destroy our charter and ordinances; he then read from the constitution of the on the freedom of the press, and said. ‘we are willing they should publish the truth;’ but it is unlawful to publish libels; the [‘]Expositor’ is a nuisance and stinks in the nose of every honest man.
Mayor read from constitution, Article 8, Section 2, touching the responsibility of the press for its constitutional liberty.
said a nuisance was any thing that dtsturbs the peace of a community and read Blackstone on private wrongs, Vol. 2, page 4, and ‘the whole community has to rest under the stigma of these falsehoods; referring to the ‘Expositor’ and if we can prevent the issuing of any more slanderous communications, he would go in for it; it is right for this community to show a proper resentment, and he would go in for suppressing all further communications of the kind.
Councillor believed the best way was to smash the preess and ‘pi’, the type.
concurred with the councillors who had spoken.
referred to the statement of the ‘Expositor’ concerning the Municipal Court in the case of as a libel, and considered the paper a public nuisance.
considered his a peculiar situation, as he did not belong to any church or any party; though it might be considered rather harsh for the council to declare the paper a nuisance, and proposed giving a few days’ limitation and assessing a fine of $3,000 for every libel and if they would not cease publishing libels to declare it a nuisance, and said the statutes made provisions for a fine of $500.
Mayor replied that they threatened to shoot him when at and the women and others dare not go to to prosecute, and read a libel from the ‘Expositor’ concerning the imprisonment of .
Councillor spoke of the Warsaw Signal and disapprobated its libellous course.
Mayor remarked he was sorry to have one dissenting voice in declaring the ‘Expositor’ a nuisance.
did not mean to be understood to go against tne proposition; but would not be in haste in declaring it a nuisance.
Councillor referred to the mortgages and property of the proprietors of the ‘Expositor’ and thought there would be little chance of collecting damages for libels.
Aldermen considered there was but one course to pursue that the proprietors were out of the reach of the law; that our course was to put an end to the thing at once; believed by what he had heard that if the did not do it, others would.
believed it to be a nuisance; referred to the opinion of on and spoke in favor of the charter &c.; asked before the grand jury, if he was not the man he saw at Joseph’s house making professions of friendship; said he was not; -[Hundreds know this statement to be false;]- he also asked if he did not state before hundreds of people that he believed Joseph to be a prophet; ‘no’ said . They were under oath when they said it. -[Many hundreds of people are witness to this perjury.]-
accorded with the views expressed, that the “Nauvoo Expositor”, is a nuisance, did not consider it wise to give them time to trumpet a thousand lies, their property could not pay for it, if we pass only a fine or imprisonment, have we any confidence that they will desist? none at all! we have found these men covenant breakers with God! with their wives!! &c., have we any hope of their doing better? their characters have gone before them, shall they be suffered to go on, and bring a mob upon us; and murder our women and children, and burn our beautiful ? No! I had rather my blood would be spilled at once, and would like to have the press removed as soon as the ordinance wouid allow—and wish the matter might be put into the hands of the mayor, and every body stand by him, in the of his duties—and hush every murmur.
Councillor , said he had felt deeply on this subject, and concurred fully in the view General Smith had expressed of it this day, thought it unnecessary to repeat what the council perfectly understood; considered private interest as nothing in comparison with the public good:—every time a line was formed in he was there, for what? to defend it against just such scoundrels. and influence as the Nauvoo Expositor and its supporters; were directly calculated to bring against us again.—Considered the doings of the council this day of immense moment, not to this alone, but to the whole world,—would go in to put a stop to the thing at once, let it be thrown out of this , and the responsibility of countenancing such a press, be taken off our shoulders, and fall on the , if corrupt enough to sustain it.
Councillor said that he had not forgotten the transactions at , and that he recollected that his son George Spencer, then lay in the well referred to, on the day previous, without a winding-sheet, shroud, or coffin, he said he could not sit still when he saw the same spirit raging in this place; he considered the publication of the Expositor as much murderous at heart as David was before the death of Uriah, was for making a short work of it. was prepared to take his stand by the Mayor and whatever he proposes, would stand by him to the last. The quicker it is stopt the better.
had investigated the constitution, charter, and laws: the power to declare that office a nuisance is granted to us, in the charter, and a resolution declaring it a nuisance is all that is required.
John Birney sworn—said , and , declared they had commenced their operations and would carry them out, law or no law.
, sworn, said that said the interest of this is done, the moment a hand is laid on their press.
contined, and referred to in destroying the character of a child, an orphan child, who had the charge of another child.
Warren Smith sworn, said, came to him, and proposed to have him go in as a partner in making bogus money. said he would not work for a living; that witness might go in with him, if he would advance fifty dollars and shewed him (witness) a half dollar he said was made in his dies.
continued and said, he felt deeper this day than ever he felt before, and wanted to know, by yes; if there was any present, who wanted to avenge the blood of that innocent female, who had been seduced by the then Major General of the , ; when yes!! resounded from every quarter of the house; he then referred to the tea plot, at , and asked if any body’s rights were taken away with that transaction, and are we offering, or have we offered to take away the rights of any one, these two days? (No!!! resounded from every quarter) He then referred also to Law’s grinding the poor during the scarcity of grain, while the poor had nothing but themselves to grind; and spoke at great length in support of active measures to put down iniquity, and suppress the spirit of mobocracy.
spoke from the chair, and expressed his feelings that the press ou[gh]t to be demolished.
The following resolution was then read and passed unanimously, with the exception of :
Resolved By the City Council of the City of , that the printing office from whence issues the “Nauvoo Expositor” is a public nuisance, and also all of said Nauvoo Expositors, which may be, or exist in said establishment, and the Mayor is instructed to cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in such manner as he shall direct. Passed June 10th, 1844.
Prest. pro tem.
, Recorder.
6 o’clock, P. M., Council adjourned.
This certifies that the foregoing is a true and correct synopsis of the proceecings of the City Council of the City of , on the 8th and 10th days of June, 1844, [i]n relation to the Nauvoo Expositor and proprietors, as taken from the minutes of said council.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and the corporation seal, at , this 17th day of June, 1844.
Recorder and Clerk of the City Council. [p. [3]]