The following account was first published in the Nauvoo Neighbor in its May 7 and May 14, 1845 issues. William Daniels was a key prosecution witness and the publication of his account a few weeks before Carthage Conspiracy trial was a great benefit to the defense, who used it extensively to impeach Daniels during cross-examination. The account below contains several embellishments or fantasies that are contradicted by other witnesses. (See highlighted paragraphs below.) For example, Daniels has Joseph Smith surviving his fall from the second story jail and then being shot by four men under the orders of Levi Williams. After the murder of Smith, Daniels describes a scene in which a "ruffian" draws a bowie knife and is ready to sever the head of Smith when suddenly a pillar of light "bursts from the heavens upon the bloody scene" and frightens the killers away. The account of Daniels was republished in The Martyrs: Joseph and Hyrum Smith (Lyman Omar Littlefield, editor, in 1882).
ACCOUNT OF THE MASSACRE BY ONE WHO WAS AMONG THE MOB—PROBABLE FATE OF THIS INFORMER—HOW HE HAPPENED TO BE WITH THE MOB PARTY—DETAILS OF THE MASSACRE—REFLECTIONS ON THE HORRIBLE DEED—RETURN TO HIS HOME—A DREAM—DETERMINATION TO DO WHAT HE COULD TO BRING THE MURDERERS TO JUSTICE—VISIT TO NAUVOO AND QUINCY—HUSH-MONEY OFFERED HIM—HE JOINS THE CHURCH—EFFORTS TO PUT HIM OUT OF THE WAY—BEFORE THE GRAND JURY AS A WITNESS—NINE PERSONS INDICTED—MURDERERS ALLOWED TO GO FREE.
Many of the facts connected with the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith have now been related. But the questions arise: Who committed the deed? In what manner was it accomplished?
To fully present this phase of the cruel butchery, the following statements of an eye-witness are introduced. It is an account given by Wm. M. Daniels, which was written out carefully by the author of this volume and printed in a pamphlet, at Nauvoo.
Mr. Daniels, for some time after the murder, resided in Nauvoo, where he joined the Church. In justice to him it should be here stated that he evinced the fullest sincerity while relating the incidents of his narrative. As regards the flash of light described by him, which is illustrated in our engraving, he averred most emphatically that it occurred as related. Even before the court, when the murderers were arraigned for examination as to their complicity in the bloody deed, he was confronted by the lawyers for the mob party, and there stated that all he had told was the truth.
As to the correctness of this strange exhibition of light, the author knows nothing personally; but it is given as Daniels’ testimony, among the other incidents, and he leaves the reader to draw such conclusions as may seem reasonable.
The whereabouts of Mr. Daniels has been unknown to the writer since 1846. It is not at all unlikely that some of the parties implicated in the tragedy at Carthage assassinated him for exposing them. They swore they would do so, and were hunting for him previous to the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo. On the steamboat Ocean Wave a party of them tried to get some information, as to where Daniels might be found, from, and also laid a cunning plan to entrap, the writer when the boat should land at Warsaw, for the part he took in the publication—but they failed.
The following is the statement of Daniels:
I resided in Augusta, Hancock County, Ill., eighteen miles from Carthage. On the 16th day of June, I left my home with the intention of going to St. Louis. When I arrived at Bear Creek, I found the country in a great state of excitement, in relation to the “Mormons.” I was told it would be dangerous for me to proceed farther on my way to Warsaw, as the intermediate country was mostly settled by “Mormons,” who would, in all probability, intercept me by violence. I knew nothing of the character and disposition of the “Mormon” people, never having been personally acquainted with them as a community. The tales of villainy that were related concerning them, were so horrid and shocking that I yielded to the entreaties of my advisers, and abandoned, for that day, at least, my intention of proceeding farther on my journey. I lodged that night with a Mr. Scott.
The next morning a company of men were going from that place to Carthage, for the purpose, as they said, of assisting the militia to drive the “Mormons” out of the country. Out of curiosity, as I had no particular way to spend my time, and the creeks having been rendered impassable that night by heavy rain, I went in company with them to Carthage. On our way there, they were discussing the best means to be adopted for the expulsion of the “Mormon” population. Some were for marching to Nauvoo, and laying the city in ashes, and driving the inhabitants from the limits of the State, at the point of the bayonet; others were for murdering Joseph and Hyrum Smith, while others were in favor of accomplishing both of these barbarous objects.
I noticed minutely their conversation, and it was not hard for me to discover that all their animosity and hatred of their neighbors, arose from a spirit of envy. I heard no person declaring that the “Mormons” had ever personally injured him; but they swore that “Old Joe” was getting too much power and influence in the world, and he ought to be put out of the way. His career ought to be stopped. They looked upon him as no less than a second Mahomet, who would soon spring into power, usurp the reins of government, and establish his religion by the sword. To prevent such a calamity from befalling the world, they argued that it would be doing God service to take his life, supposing that would also totally annihilate the religion called “Mormonism.”
From that hour I looked upon them as demons, not men, and determined to do all in my power to prevent so bloody and awful an occurrence. I was not attached to any religious society whatever, and was willing that all mankind should worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. I knew that the laws of my country, which I had been taught to honor and revere, granted all men that right and privilege, while they were the subjects of its government. I hoped that her institutions might be untarnished and her dignity unsullied and free from so disgraceful an event as was then in contemplation.
We arrived in Carthage, and found the Carthage Greys, and several other companies, on parade. I was told their object was to drive the “Mormons.” I would remark that a certain preacher, professing to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, was engaged in playing a drum at the head of this company.
These companies were commanded by Captains Smith, Green and others, who were greatly excited, and said they were determined to kill the “Mormons.” On hearing that the governor was on his way to Carthage, they were very much alarmed; whereupon Joseph H. Jackson, in company with Dr. Foster, F.M. Higbee, and others, declared that if the Governor, “Tom” Ford, came, and gave the Smiths–Joseph and Hyrum–a fair trial, they would be acquitted, and we will be hung as sure as there is a God in heaven. Further he observed, “I do not see why the d—-d little governor could not stay at home, and send us word, and we would do the business up in a hurry, and drive the ‘Mormons’ out of the country.”
I returned to Bear Creek that night, with the intention of leaving for St. Louis the next morning. However, on the morning of the 20th, hearing that the Governor had arrived at Carthage, and being somewhat acquainted with him, I concluded to return and see him, which I did.
When I arrived at Carthage, he was addressing the people at the Court House, in relation to the “Mormon” difficulties. He said he came there to see that the law was fully carried out. When he was done, Mr. Roosevelt, of Warsaw, went upon the public square, mounted a box, and made an inflammatory speech to the people who had collected, wherein he stated that the law was not sufficient to carry out their measures. Stretching out his arms at full length, he said, with all the energy in his power: “We have the willing minds, and God Almighty has given us strength, and we will wield the sabre and make our own laws!!” He then said he presumed that the governor meant well enough, but was too easy in his remarks to them, in saying that he wished a compliance with the laws.
Mr. Roosevelt soon gave way for Mr. Skinner, a “young limb of the law,” a tool for mobocracy, and, at the time, a candidate for the Legislature, who made a short speech, wherein he stated he was one of the delegates appointed by the people of Carthage to go to Springfield and lay before the governor their grievances. He was not so severe upon the governor as Mr. Roosevelt had been. He presumed the governor would do what was right, but his ultimate course proved him to be the most hypocritical.
The governor gave orders, which were read by Capt. Dunn, that all the people who had been promiscuously assembled in Carthage, should be consolidated in the militia, under his command, to co-operative in maintaining the supremacy of the law.
I returned to Bear Creek that evening. In the morning, I proceeded to Warsaw. On my arrival there, a force of about three hundred men was mustered upon the parade ground under the command of Captains Aldrich Grover, Elliott, and Col. Williams of Green Plains. I wished to know what their intentions were, and was informed that they were determined to drive the d—-d Mormons out of the County. I remained there five days; during which time Williams, Roosevelt, Sharp, and others, were continually beating up for volunteers, by making inflammatory speeches, exciting the populace and making false publications to the world. Col. Williams announced that he was empowered by the governor, to stop and search steamboats, at the wharf, at Warsaw. Accordingly, he stopped the steam packet Osprey. On Capt. Anderson’s refusal to let him search the boat, he ordered his men to fire upon her. The cannon was leveled upon the boat. As they were in the act of firing, a gentlemen who was standing by, being sober (for most of them were badly intoxicated) placed his hand between the match and powder, which prevented ignition. They, however, searched the boat; but did not succeed in finding but eight or nine kegs of powder, which they permitted to remain on board. That evening they fired upon two more steamboats, with their muskets, which they compelled to stop. Col. Williams informed the Captains, that he had orders to search their boats for ammunition, arms, provisions, etc. The captains consented, and search was instituted, but nothing was found which was considered contraband, and the boats resumed their course.
Relative to the governor’s giving the peopled of Warsaw orders to stop and search steamboats, I would remark that Gov. Ford informed me at Quincy, that he had not given them orders to stop any boats, with the exception of the Maid of Iowa, a boat then owned by the “Mormons,” which the people supposed might convey away Gen. Smith. Here we see a willful and arbitrary infraction of law and order, on the part of this military Nero, Col. Williams, and the mobbers of Warsaw.
All was commotion and turmoil through Warsaw and its vicinity. The scenery had become insipid and irksome to me, and I longed for relief and to be where my mind could be at rest. Passing through such continual bustle, watching the movements of the rabble who, like a horde of impetuous barbarians, seemed impelled on, by the blind infatuation of priests and shallow zealots, in hopes of booty, disgusted and sickened me and fired me with contempt. My mind reverted to the time when the dark and bloody Attila led on the ignorant Huns to conquest, plunder and extermination, applying the torch of conflagration to pleasant villages and sequestered homes.
On Tuesday, I started for Quincy. As I pursued my journey from Warsaw, my mind was uneasy and restless. When I had traveled near eight miles I enquired my way, and, through accident or design, I was placed upon a road that led me directly back to Warsaw. My mind was composed and tranquil as I came in sight of the place. My attention was attracted by a group of men, apparently in earnest conversation. I drew near and learned that the Carthage Greys had made them the proposition to come to Carthage, on the following day, and assist them in murdering Joseph and Hyrum Smith, during the absence of the governor, at Golden’s Point, where he contemplated marching with the troops. As soon as they discovered that I had learned the purpose of their conference, they became suspicious of me, fearing exposure, no doubt, and put me under guard. I was held in custody until the following morning when a company of volunteers was raised, to march to Golden’s Point, to unite with the governor. I desired to make the governor acquainted with what was contemplated against the lives of the prisoners. To effect this object, I volunteered, and drew a musket. The company was paraded in single file; roll was called and Capt. Jacob Davis, (the murderer, who was afterward screened from justice by the Senate of Illinois,) and Capt. Grover, selected ten men each from their respective companies, who were to march to Carthage, in compliance with the request of the Carthage Greys to co-operative with them in committing the murder. These twenty men were marched a short distance to one side, where they received their instructions from Col. Williams, Mark Aldrich, Capt. Jacob Davis, and Capt. Grover, and they were sent off. I do not recollect the names of any of these twenty, with the exception of two brothers—coopers in Warsaw, by the name of Stevens. One of them is about six feet three inches high, well proportioned and athletic. The other is near five feet nine inches high, with dark complexion and dark hair. When the officers were interrogated as to the object of these twenty men beings sent in advance of the troops, they evaded the truth by replying that they had been detailed for a picket guard.
The troops were marched. We arrived at the crossing of the railroad at 12 o’clock. We were there met by Sharp and others, bearing dispatches from the governor, disbanding the troops. This unexpected order threw the troops into a perfect panic. They cursed the governor for not permitting them to march through to Nauvoo. Their object in wishing to go—and this was understood with all the militia—was to burn the city and exterminate the inhabitants. These designs were baffled by the disbanding of the troops. In justice to the character of Governor Ford, I would remark that this object in disbanding the troops, was to prevent such an awful calamity.
The disbanding orders were read by Col. Levi Williams. Captains Davis, Grover and Elliott, immediately called their companies together.
Thomas C. Sharp mounted his “big bay horse,” and made an inflammatory speech to the companies, characteristic of his corrupt heart. The following is a short extract, as near as my memory will serve me:
“FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS! The crisis has arrived when it becomes our duty to rise, as freemen, and assert our rights. The law is insufficient for us; the governor will not enforce it; we must take it into our hands; we know what wrongs we suffer, and we are the best calculated to redress them. Now is the time to put a period to the mad career of the Prophet; sustained as he is by a band of fanatical military saints! We have borne his usurpations until it would be cowardice to bear them longer! My Fellow citizens! Improve the opportunity that offers; lest the opportunity pass, and the despotic Prophet will never again be in your power. All things are understood, we must hasten to Carthage and murder the Smiths, while the governor is absent at Nauvoo. Beard the lions in their den. The news will reach Nauvoo before the governor leaves. This will so enrage the “Mormons,” that they will fall upon and murder Tom Ford, and we shall then be rid of the d—-d little governor and the ‘Mormons’ too.” (Cheers.)
This speech was likely to fail of having the desired effect. None seemed willing to be the first to start. At last Capt. Grover started, and declared he would go alone, if no person would follow him. Soon one person followed, then another, until a company of eighty-four was made up. All the troops that had not volunteered in this company were told to go home. The twenty men, who had been sent forward to commit the murder, were sent for and they formed a part of the eighty-four.
Here I felt that the purpose, for which I volunteered, had been baffled. I expected to have met with the governor at Golden’s Point, and could I have done so, I entertained no doubt; I could have succeeded in putting a stop to the murder. But instead of marching to Golden’s Point as we anticipated, he marched to Nauvoo. Under these circumstances I was at a loss to know what to do. I had not time to go to Nauvoo, and raise a posse to surround the jail as a guard before this company would arrive there. I was on foot, and would have ten or twelve miles farther to travel than they. As I could do nothing better, I was determined to follow on with the company and see what they would do. Several others like myself, followed out of curiosity, without being armed. Carthage lay directly on my route home.
After we had arrived within nearly six miles of Carthage, they made a halt. Col. Williams rode three or four times backwards and forwards from the company to the Carthage Greys. He said he would have the Carthage Greys come and meet them. They marched within four miles of Carthage, when they were met by one of the Greys, bringing a note to the following import:
“Now is a delightful time to murder the Smiths. The governor has gone to Nauvoo with all the troops. The Carthage Greys are left to guard the prisoners. Five of our men will be stationed at the jail; the rest will be upon the public square. To keep up appearances, you will attack the men at the jail—a sham scuffle will ensue—their guns will be loaded with blank cartridges—they will fire in the air.”
They were also instructed by the person bearing this dispatch, to fire three guns as they advanced along the fence that led from the woods to the jail. This was to serve as a signal to the Carthage Greys that they were in readiness.
After they had received their instructions, the company followed along up the hollow that struck into the point of timber.
Here I left them, and pursued my way to the jail, where I arrived ten or fifteen minutes first. How gladly would I have informed the defenseless prisoners of the plot that was shortly to be executed against them. Had the Carthage Greys been loyal members of the militia of the country, I could have affected their escape; but it was impossible.
Soon the mob made their appearance. They advanced in single file along the fence, as they had been instructed. When they had gained about half the distance of the fence, the signal guns were fired.
Soon the jail was surrounded by the mob. They had blacked themselves with wet powder, while they were in the woods, which gave them the horrible appearance of demons. The most of them had on blue hunting shirts, with fringe around the edges.
The Carthage Greys advanced within about eight rods of the jail where they halted, in plain view of the whole transaction, until the deed was executed. They occupied a place in an eastern direction from the jail. When they halted, their commander, Capt. Smith matched in front of the mob, said “How do you do, gentlemen?” and passed through their ranks, taking a station in their rear.
Col. Williams shouted out, “Rush in!—there’s no danger boys—all is right!”
A sham encounter ensued between them and the guard. They clinched each other, and the mob threw some of them upon the ground. A few guns were fired in the air.
A rush was made in the door, at the south part of the building. This let them into a hall, or entry, from which they ascended a flight of stairs, at the head of which, turning to the right; they reached the door that led into the prisoners’ room.
To give a relation of some of the particular circumstances that transpired in the jail, I am compelled to depend, principally, upon the statements of others. My sources of information, upon these points, however, are of such a nature that the reader can regard them as strictly correct.
The spirits of the prisoners had been rather depressed all the afternoon. Why it was so they knew not. They knew the faith of the governor, and the State of Illinois, was pledged for their protection. Elder John Taylor had been singing a hymn, found on the 254th page of the English edition of the Latter-day Saints’ Hymn Book, entitled, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.”
This seemed rather applicable to their situation; it had a solemnity in it that tranquilized their minds, and at the request of Hyrum Smith, it was sung over again.
From this pleasant communion, they were aroused by curses, threats, and the heavy and fierce rush of the mob up the stairs.
Hyrum stood near the center of the room, in front of the door. The mob fired a ball through the panel of the door, which entered Hyrum’s head, at the left side of his nose. He fell upon his back with his head one or two feet from the north east corner of the room, exclaiming, as he fell, “I am a dead man!” In all, four balls entered his body. One ball (it must have been fired through the window from the outside) passed through his body with such force—entering his back—that it completely broke to pieces a watch which he wore in his vest pocket.
His death was sudden and without pain. Thus fell Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch of the Church of God, a martyr for his holy religion! In that brief moment was the Church of Jesus Christ deprived of the services of as good a man as ever had a name in its history.
A shower of balls were poured through all parts of the room, many of which lodged in the ceiling, just above the head of the fallen man.
A few hours previous to this, a friend to General Joseph Smith, put in his possession a revolving pistol with
six chambers, usually called a “pepper-box.” With this in his hand, he took a position by the wall at the left of the door.
Joseph reached his pistol through the door, which was pushed a little ajar, and fired three of the barrels; the rest missed fire. He wounded three of the assailants—two mortally—one of whom, as he rushed down out of the door, was asked if he was badly hurt. He replied, “Yes; my arm is shot all to pieces by Old Joe; but I don’t care, I’ve got revenge; I shot Hyrum!”
Elder Taylor took a position beside the door, with Elder Richards, and parried off their muskets with walking sticks as they were firing.
What must have been the feelings of General Smith, at this critical juncture! He had fired all of the barrels of his pistol that would discharge; he had therefore no further means of defense. His brother, whose life he had been so anxious to preserve, lay a corpse before him, and his assailants were filling the door with muskets and firing showers of lead into the room.
Elder Taylor continued parrying their guns, until they had got them about half the length into the room, when he found resistance vain and attempted to jump out of the window. Just then a ball from within struck him on the left thigh; hitting the bone, it glanced through to within half an inch of the other side. He fell on the window-sill and expected he would fall out, when a ball from without stuck his watch, which he carried in his vest pocket, and threw him back into the room. He was hit by two more balls; one injuring his left wrist considerably, and the other entering at the side of the bone, just below the left knee. He fell into the room, and rolled under a bed that stood at the right of the window, in the south-east corner of the room. While under the bed, he was fired at several times and was struck by one ball which tore the flesh on his left hip in a shocking manner, throwing large quantities of blood upon the wall and floor. These wounds proved very severe and painful, but he suffered without a murmur, rejoicing that he had the satisfaction to mingle his blood with that of the Prophets, and be with them in the last moments of their earthly existence. His blood, with theirs, can cry to heaven for vengeance on those who have shed the blood of innocence and slain the servants of the living God in all ages of the world. This seemed a source of high gratification and he endured his severe sufferings without a single complaint, being perfectly resigned to the providence of God.
Elder Richards was still contending with the assailants, at the door, when General Smith, seeing there was no safety in the room, and probably thinking it might save the lives of others if he could escape from the room, turned calmly from the door, dropped his pistol upon the floor, saying, “There, defend yourselves as well as you can.”
He sprang into the window; but just as he was preparing to descend, he saw such an array of bayonets below that he caught by the window casing, where he hung by his hands and feet, with his head to the north, feet to the south, and his body swinging downwards. He hung in that position three or four minutes, during which time he exclaimed, two or three times, “O, LORD, MY GOD!!!” and fell to the ground. While he was hanging in that position, Col. Williams hallooed, “Shoot him! G-d d—n him! Shoot the dam’d rascal!” However, none fired at him.
He seemed to fall easy. He struck partly on his right shoulder and back, his neck and head reaching the ground a little before his feet.
He rolled instantly on his face. From this position he was taken by a young man, who sprang to him from the other side of the fence, who held a pewter fife in his hand, was barefoot and bare-headed, having on no coat, with his pants rolled above his knees, and shirt-sleeves above his elbows. He set President Smith against the south side of the well-curb that was situated a few feet from the jail. While doing this, the savage muttered aloud, “This is Old Jo; I know him. I know you, Old Jo. Damn you: you are the man that had my daddy shot.” The object he had in talking in this way, I supposed to be this: He wished to have President Smith and the people in general, believe he was the son of Governor Boggs, which would lead to the opinion that it was the Missourians who had come over and committed the murder. This was the report that they soon caused to be circulated; but this was too palpable an absurdity to be credited.
After President Smith had fallen, I saw Elder Willard Richards come to the window and look out upon the horrid scene that spread itself below him.
I could not help noticing the striking contrast in the countenance of President Smith and the horrid, demon-like appearance of his murderers. The former was calm and tranquil, while the mob were filled with excitement and agitation.
President Smith’s exit from the room had the tendency to cause those who were firing into the room to abandon it and rush to the outside. This gave an opportunity for Elder Richards to convey Elder Taylor into the cell, which he did, and covered him with a bed, thinking he might there be secure if the mob should make another rush into the jail. While they were in the cell, some of the mob again entered the room; but finding it deserted by all but Hyrum Smith, they left the jail.
When President Smith had been set against the curb, and began to recover, from the effects of the fall, Col. Williams ordered four men to shoot him. Accordingly, four men took an eastern direction, about eight feet from the curb, Col. Williams stranding partly at their rear, and made ready to execute the order. While they were making preparations, and the muskets were raised to their faces, President Smith’s eyes rested upon them with a calm and quiet resignation. He betrayed no agitated feelings and the expression upon his countenance seemed to betoken his inly prayer to be: “O, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The fire was simultaneous. A slight cringe of the body was all the indication of pain that he betrayed when the balls struck him. He fell upon his face. One ball then entered the back part of his body. This is the ball that many people have supposed struck him about the time he was in the window. But this is a mistake. I was close by him, and I know he was not hit with a ball, until after he was seated by the well-curb.
His death was instantaneous and tranquil. He betrayed no appearance of pain. His noble form exhibited all its powers of manly strength and healthful agility, yet not a muscle seemed to move with pain, and there was no distortion of his features. His death was peaceful as the falling to sleep of an infant—no cloud of contending passion gathered upon his brown, and no malediction trembled on his lip. The reward of a righteous man seemed hovering over him, and his breath ceased with as much ease and gentleness, as if eternity was exerting an influence in his behalf and taking his spirit home to a world of “liberty, light and life.”
The ruffian, of whom I have spoken, who set him against the well-curb, now secured a bowie knife for the purpose of severing his head from his body. He raised the knife and was in the attitude of striking, when a light, so sudden and powerful, burst from the heavens upon the bloody scene, (passing its vivid chain between Joseph and his murderers,) that they were struck with terrified awe and filled with consternation. This light, in its appearance and potency, baffles all powers of description. The arm of the ruffian, that held the knife, fell powerless; the muskets of the four, who fired, fell to the ground, and they all stood like marble statues, not having power to move a single limb of their bodies.
By this time most of the men had fled in great disorder. I never saw so frightened a set of men before. Col. Williams saw the light and was also badly frightened; but he did not entirely lose the use of his limbs or speech. Seeing the condition of these men, he hallooed to some who had just commenced to retreat, for God’s sake to come and carry off these men. They came back and carried them by the main strength towards the baggage wagons. They seemed as helpless as if they were dead.
The storm had passed away. The cowardly demons had fled, and I stood a spectator, gazing on the scene. There lay Joseph Smith, the martyred leader of thousands who revered him. The man who had passed like a magic spirit through society, and in a career of a few years, ad lit up the world with wonder, astonishment and admiration, was left dead upon the ground! He lay full low; yet, in my contemplations, I regarded him as the triumphant conqueror left master of the bloody field. Eighty-four men, (fiends,) armed with United States’ muskets and other weapons, had the unparalleled heroism to murder him while a prisoner; (!!) while he had the nerve and presence of mind to contend with such unequal force, and with a pocket pistol kill and wound as many as they. In him was the spirit of dauntless bravery exemplified.
But a few days before his noble figure rode at the head of a mighty legion, numbering five thousand brave hearts and ten thousand strong arms. His presence gave them courage, his words animated their hearts and nerved their limbs; and the large heart that beat within his manly breast, entwined around it their love and affection, by the generosity and nobility of its principles.
In this situation he had the power to defend himself. How insignificant was the power of this contemptible mob, in comparison with this force, that could have borne him off triumphant, in defiance of all their resistance! From this position of power he descended—threw down the sword that could have protected him from the menace of mobs—and trusted himself to the honor and fidelity of men and the boasted majesty of American jurisprudence!
O, man! How worthless are your promises! How perfidious are your ways! He that would have died for the maintenance of his honor, fell a sacrifice to the broken faith of other men!
The murder took place at fifteen minutes past five o’clock, p. m., June 27, 1844.
…People talk about “Mormon” thieves, when they have eighty-four beings, fiends in human shape, running at large in their community, who were actually engaged in murder! The people of Illinois talk about “Mormon” usurpation, and treasonable designs in their leaders, and their senate chamber echoing with the denunciation of a fiend yet dripping with the warm blood of innocence! The legislature and governor repeal the Nauvoo City charter, for some pretended stretch of municipal power, and they welcome to their councils a being with an indictment hanging over his head for the highest crime known to the laws! They talk about the “Mormon” abuse of habeas corpus, while they pass special decrees that no member shall be subject to any process, whether civil or criminal, during the session of the senate, for the special benefit of a murderer, thereby releasing him from the custody of the sheriff, and screening him from justice! They prate about “Mormon” disloyalty, while the plighted faith of the State is broken, and her honor trampled in the dust!
Gentle reader, I have given as faithful a narrative as I possibly could. I have related scenes through which I have passed myself—scenes of danger, excitement and wickedness. My life has been hunted by day and by night; the quietude of my family has been broken up, and the villains are still determined to take my life. I have thus far eluded them; but I know not when my life may be taken as a sacrifice to atone for telling the truth in a free country. But I am at the defiance of devils and emissaries of hell, and will not shrink from duty, or cower under their menaces.