Joe Smith and his people, saints though they call themselves, appear to hold in very slight regard the injunction of the Apostle, "submit yourselves to the higher powers;" or perhaps they arrogate the "higher power" to themselves, as well as the saintship. Here are some strange proceedings in which they have lately been engaged—nullifying the general law of the land, and making one for their own use, by virtue whereof they propose to imprison for life any officer of justice who shall come among them and attempt to execute legal process.
From the "Nauvoo Weightier" of Dec. 13.
At a meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo, held near the temple on the 7th day of December, 1843, W. W. Phelps, Reynolds Cohoon and Hasen Stout were appointed to draft a preamble and resolutions, expressive of the sentiments of the people of the city of Nauvoo, relative to the repeated unlawful demands by the state of Missouri for the body of Gen. Joseph Smith, as well as the common cruel practice of kidnapping citizens of Illinois and forcing them across the Mississippi river, and then incarcerating them in the dungeons or prisons in Missouri; and after a few minutes absence, they returned with the following :—
WHEREAS, the state of Missouri, with the Governor at the head, continues to make demands upon the Executive of Illinois for the body of General Joseph Smith, as we verily believe, to keep up a system of persecution against the church of the Latter-Day Saints, for the purpose of justifying the said state of Missouri in her diabolical, unheard of, cruel and unconstitutional warfare against said church of Latter-Day Saints, which she has practised during the last twelve years, whereby many have been murdered, mobbed and ravished, and the whole community expelled from the state; and also to heave dust in the eyes of the nation and the world, while she, as a state, with the government to back her, continues to slip over the river and steal the property of the Latter-Day Saints and kidnap the members of said church, to glut their vengeance, malice, revenge, and avarice, or to make slaves of the said captives, or murder them: therefore,
Resolved, unanimously, as we do know that Joseph Smith is not guilty of any charge made against him by the said state of Missouri, but is a good, industrious, well meaning and worthy citizen of lllinois, and an officer that does faithfully and impartially administer the laws of the state, that we, as citizens of Illinois, crave the protection of the constitution and laws of the country as an aegis to shield him, the said General Joseph Smith, from such cruel persecutions, beseeching the Governor of Illinois not to issue any more writs against the said General Joseph Smith, or the Latter-Day Saints (unless they are guilty,) but to let the Latter-Day Saints "breathe awhile like other men," and enjoy the liberty guaranteed to every honest citizen by the Magna Charta of our common country.
An extra ordinance for the extra case of Joseph Smith and others.
WHEREAS, Joseph Smith has been three times arrested and three times acquitted upon writs founded upon supposed crimes or charges preferred by the state of Missouri; which acquittals were made from investigations upon writs of habeas corpus, namely: one in the United States Court for the district of Illinois; one in the Circuit Court of the state of Illinois; and one in the Municipal Court of Nauvoo; and wheras a nolle proseq ui has once been entered in the Courts of Missouri, against Joseph Smith and others; and whereas there appears to be a determined resolu, tion by the state of Missouri to continue these unjust-illegal and murderous demands for the body of General Joseph Smith; and whereas, it has become intolerable to be thus continually harassed and robbed of our money to defray the expenses of these prosecutions ; and whereas, according to the constitution of the state of Illinois," men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights; among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, and of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness;" and whereas, it is our bounden duty, by all common means, if possible, to put a stop to such vexatious law suits and save expense. Therefore,
SEC. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo according to the intent and meaning of the charter for the "benefit and convenience" of Nauvoo, that hereafter, if any person or persons shall come with process, demand or requisition, founded upon the aforesaid Missouri difficulties, to arrest said Joseph Smith, he or they shall be subject to be arrested by any officer of the city, with or without process, and tried by the Municipal Court, upon testimony, and if found guilty, sentenced to imprisonment in the city prison for life, which convict or convicts can only be pardoned by the Governor with the consent of the Mayor of said city.
SEC. 2. And be it farther ordained, that the preceding section shall apply to the case of every and all persons that may be arrested, demanded or required, upon any charge founded in the aforesaid difficulties.
SEC. 3. And be it farther ordained, that the jury that makes the presentment, in any case above specified, shall not, nor either of them, act as jurors on the final trial, but the trial shall be conducted according to the fifth and sixth articles of the amendment to the constitution of the United States. Passed, December 8, 1843. JOSEPH SMITH, Mayor.
WILLARD RICHARDS, Recorder.
At a meeting "held at a more recent period, it is said that "after some pertinent remarks by Mr. Taylor, General Joseph Smith briefly addressed the meeting; he dissented entirely from the opinion of the attorney generals, and observed that it was stated in the charter that the Legion was a part of the militia of Illinois, and that his commission declared that he (General Smith) was the Lieut. General of the Nauvoo Legion, and of the militia of the state of Illinois, and as such, it was not only his duty to enforce the city ordinances, but the laws of the state when called on by the Governor. He also stated that he had been informed that the chief magistrate of Missouri had it in contemplation to make another requisition on the Governor of lllinois for him, Joseph Smith."
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.