(Nauvoo City Council action in response to the first issue of the Nauvoo Expositor (June 10, 1844))
History of the Church, Volume VI (pp.433-434)
Whereas the Saints in all ages of the world have suffered persecution and death by wicked and corrupt men under the garb of a more holy appearance of religion; and whereas the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, from the moment that its first truth sprang out of the earth till now, has been persecuted with death, destruction, and extermination; and, whereas men to fulfill the Scriptures that a man's enemies are they of his own household, have turned traitors in the Church, and combined and leagued with the most corrupt scoundrels and villains that disgrace the earth unhung, for the Heaven-daring and damnable purpose of revenge on account of disappointed lust, disappointed projects of speculation, fraud. and unlawful designs to rob and plunder mankind with impunity; and, whereas such wicked and corrupt men have greatly facilitated their unlawful designs, horrid intentions, and murderous plans by polluting, degrading and converting the blessings and utility of the press to the sin-smoking and blood-stained ruin of innocent communities-by publishing lies, false statements, coloring the truth, slandering men, women, children, societies, and countries - by polishing the characters of blacklegs, highwaymen, and murderers as virtuous; and whereas a horrid, bloody, secret plan, upheld, sanctioned and largely patronized by men in Nauvoo and out of it, who boast that all they want for the word go, to exterminate or ruin the Latter day Saints, is for them to do one unlawful act, and the work shall be done, is now fostered, cherished, and maturing in Nauvoo - by men, too, who helped to obtain the very charter they would break, and some of them drew up and voted for the very ordinances they are striving to use as a scarecrow to frighten the surrounding country in rebellion, mobbing, and war; and whereas, while the blood of our brethren from wells, holes and naked prairies, and the ravishment of female virtue from Missouri, and the smoke from the altars of infamy, prostituted by John C. Bennett, and continued in the full tide of experiment and disgraceful damnation by the very self-called fragments of a body of degraded men that have got up a press in Nauvoo to destroy the charter of the city-to destroy Mormonism, men, women, and children as Missouri did; by force of arms-by fostering laws that emanate from corruption and betray with a kiss; wherefore to honor the State of Illinois, and those patriots who gave the charter, and for the benefit, convenience, health, and happiness of said city: -
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of Nauvoo that if any person or persons shall write or publish in said city any false statement or libel any or the citizens, for the purpose of exciting the public mind against the chartered privileges, peace, and good order of said city, or shall slander (according to the definition of slander or libel by Blackstone or Kent, or the act in the statute of' Illinois,) any portion of the inhabitants of said city, or bribe any portion of the citizens of said city for malicious purposes, or in any manner or form excite the prejudice of the community against any portion of the citizens of said city, for evil purpose, he, she, or they shall be deemed disturbers of the peace; and, upon conviction before the Mayor or Municipal Court, shall be fined in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisoned six months, or both, at the discretion of said Mayor or court.
Sec. 2. Be it further ordained that nothing in the foregoing section shall be so construed as to interfere with the right of any person to be tried by a jury of his vicinage, with the freedom of speech or the liberty of the press, according to the most liberal meaning of the Constitution, the dignity of freemen, the voice of truth, and the rules of virtue.
Sec. 3. And be it further ordained that this ordinance shall be in force from and after its passage.
Passed June 10th, 1844.
GEO. W. HARRIS, President, pro tem.
W. RICHARDS, Recorder.