Murder of Joe Smith and his brother Hi-ram, in the Carthage jail.
Information was received in this city on the fourth, of the murder of Joe Smith. The intelligence was communicated at first in vague and contradictory rumors, that led many at first to believe the whole affair to be a deception. But later infor-mation has confirmed the report, and there is no longer any doubt that the Mormon Prophet has come to his end ;—that he and his associates, after they had surrendered themselves to the Governor, under the pledge that they should be protected and have a fair trial, have been basely mur-dered. The most credible statement we have seen of the affair, is the following from the Springfield Times :
"Gov. Ford, who went up to Carthage at the request of a large number of the citizens of Hancock county to take some steps to allay the disturbances likely to grow out of the lawless proceedings alleg-ed against the Mormons, the most import-ant of which was, we believe, the destruc-tion of a printing-press at Nauvoo, said to have been done by order of the Nauvoo city council at the instigation of Smith, made a requisition for Smith and the other persons engaged in the outrage. Antici-pating a refusal and probable resistance on the part of Smith and the Mormons, he made a requisition for some two or three thousand troops from Hancock and two or three of the adjoining counties, which was promptly complied with. The Governor then sent a civil officer with a writ, accom-panied with several citizens, demanding the surrender of the Prophet and such others as were concerned in the destruc-tion of the press, with an assurance that if not complied with, immediate measures would be taken to enforce a compliance. The demand was refused, and the officer returned to Carthage. The Governor then at once ordered the necessary pre-paration to enforce a compliance by coer-cive measures ; but before the arrange-ments were perfected, Smith, advised, probably, of the means being adopted for an enforcement of the demand, sent a messenger to the Governor to inform him of his willingness to surrender himself and comrades upon condition of the Govern-or's assurance that their persona should be protected from illegal violence, which condition was of course complied with. Accordingly Smith, his brother Hiram, and some others, voluntarily delivered themselves into the hands of the proper officers, and were put in the jail at Car-thage, under a guard of twenty-five men, as well to prevent molestation from with-out, as to secure them from escape. The troops were then disbanded and returned to their homes, no further necessity being supposed for their detention. On Thurs-day evening about five o'clock, (Smith and his comrades having put themselves in cus-tody on the day previous, as we are in-formed,) while the guard surrounding the jail were on duty, a large company of armed men, supposed to be numbered from 150 to 200, disguised by having their faces blackened, was seen approaching the jail in single file, at but a short dis-tance, with evident intentions of an attack. The guard, supposing the men to be Mor-mons coming to the rescue of Smith and his brother, fired upon them, wounding some two or three. Smith and his broth-er, noticing the approach of the men, and also supposing them to be Mormons, hoist-ed the window of the room in which they were confined, being in the second story, with the intention, it is presumed, of pre-venting any aggression on their part, when a volley was fired from the assail-ants, resulting in an instantaneous death of the three ; the Prophet, from what we are informed took place, fell on the outside to the ground. Joe Smith’s body, it is said, was perforated with five or six ball holes—that of his brother with a greater num-ber. It is further related as soon as Joe's body reached the ground, one of the as-sailants approached it, and thrusting his bayonet through it, exclaimed, "I am now revenged for the death of my father."—This is supposed to have had reference to the death of some one in Missouri at the time of the Mormon difficulties in that State, when they were driven from it.—From this circumstance, and the fact that the assailants were disguised, it is believed that they were an organized band from Missouri, who had formed the determina-tion to assassinate Smith at all hazards—a supposition strengthened by the rumor that a number of Missourians were known to have crossed the river to the Illinois side, for the purpose of aiding in the attack up-on Nauvoo, should Smith and his adhe-rents resist to that extremity.
"No censure is attached to Gov. Ford, who, it is believed, has acted throughout in this affair, with the utmost prudence and judgment in his exertions to procure the arrest of Smith and his confederates, and to secure them from violence after the ar-rest."
Since the above was put in type, we have received the following official state-ment of the affair by Gov. Ford.
TO THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS.
I desire to make a brief but true state-ment of the recent disgraceful affair at Carthage, in regard to the Smiths, so far as circumstances have come to my knowl-edge. The Smiths, Joseph and Hiram, have been assassinated in jail, by whom is not known, but will be ascertained. I pledged myself for their safety, and upon the assurance of that pledge they surren-dered as prisoners. The Mormons sur-rendered the public arms in their posses-sion, and the Nauvoo Legion submitted to "the command of Capt. Singleton of Brown County, deputed for that purpose by me. All these things were required to satisfy the old citizens of Hancock, that the Mor-mons were peaceably disposed; and to allay jealousy and excitement in their minds. It appears, however, that the compliance of the Mormons with every requisition made upon them, failed of that purpose. The pledge of security to the Smiths, was not given upon my individual responsibility. Before I gave it, I obtain-ed a pledge of honor by a unanimous vote from the officers and men under my com-mand, to sustain me in performing it. If the assassination of the Smiths was com-mitted by any portion of these, they have added treachery to murder, and have done all they could do to disgrace the State, and sully the public honor.
On the morning of the day the deed was committed, we had proposed to march the army under my command into Nauvoo. I however discovered, the evening before, that nothing but utter destruction of the city would satisfy a portion of the troops and that if we marched into the city, pre-texts would not be wanting for commencing hostilities. The Mormons had done every thing required or which ought to have been required of them. Offensive opera-tions on our part would have been unjust and disgraceful as they would have been impolitic in the present critical season of the year, the harvest and the crops. For these reasons I decided, in a council of of-ficers, to disband the army, except three companies, two of which were retained as a guard for the jail. With the other com-pany I marched into Nauvoo to address the inhabitants there, and tell them what they might expect in case they designedly or imprudently provoked a war. I per-formed this duty, as I think, plainly and emphatically; and then set out to return to Carthage. When I had marched about three miles a messenger informed me of the occurrences at Carthage. I hastened on to that place. The guard, it is said, did their duty but were overpowered. Ma-ny of the inhabitants of Carthage had fled with their families. Others were prepar-ing to go. I apprehended danger to the settlements from the sudden fury and pas-sion of the Mormons, and sanctioned their movements in this respect.
General Deming volunteered to remain with a few troops, to observe the progress of events, to defend property against small numbers, and with orders to retreat if menaced by a superior force. I decided to proceed immediately to Quincy, to pre-pare a force, sufficient to suppress disor-ders, in case it should ensue from the fore-going transactions or from any other cause. I have hopes that the Mormons will make no further difficulties. In this I may be mistaken. The other party may not be satisfied. They may re-commence aggression. I am determined to preserve peace against all breakers of the same, at all hazards. I think, present circumstan-ces warrant the precaution of having a competent force at my disposal, in readi-ness to march at a moments warning.—My position at Quincy will enable me to get the earliest intelligence and to commu-nicate orders with greater celerity.
I have decided to issue the following general orders :
Quincy, June 29, 1844.
It is ordered that the commandants of regiments in the counties of Adams, Mar-quette, Pike, Brown, Schuyler, Morgan, Scott, Cass, Fulton, and McDonough; and the regiments composing General Strapp’s Brigade, will call their respective regi-ments and battallions together immediately upon the receipt of this order, and pro-ceed by voluntary enlistment to enrol as many men as can be armed in their re-spective regiments. They will make ar-rangements for a campaign of twelve days and will provide themselves with arms, ammunition, and provisions accord-ingly, and hold themselves in readiness immediately to march upon the receipt of further orders.
The Independent companies of Rifle-men, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery in the above named counties, and in the coun-ty of Sangamon, will hold themselves in readiness in like manner.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
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