History of the Church, Volume VI (pp. 543-545)
Elder John Taylors Account of Interview With Governor Ford at Carthage.
After waiting the Governor's pleasure for some time, we had an audience--but such an audience! He was surrounded by some of the vilest and most unprincipled men in creation. Some of them had an appearance of respectability, but many of them lacked even that. Wilson, and, I believe, William Law were there, Foster. Frank and Chauncey Higbee, Mr. Marr, a lawyer from Nauvoo, a mobocratic merchant from Warsaw, Joseph H. Jackson, a number of his associates, and the Governor's secretary- in all fifteen or twenty persons, most of whom were recreant to virtue, honor, integrity and everything that is considered honorable among men. I can well remember the feelings of disgust that I had in seeing the Governor surrounded by such an infamous group, and on being introduced to men of so questionable a character; and had I been on private business, I should have turned to depart, and told the Governor that if he thought proper to associate with such questionable characters, I should beg leave to be excused; but coming, as we did, on public business, we could not of course consult our private feelings.
We then stated to the Governor that, in accordance with his request, General Joseph Smith had, in response to his call, sent us to him as a committee of conference; that we were acquainted with most of the circumstances that had transpired in and about Nauvoo lately, and were prepared to give him the information: that, moreover, we had in our possession testimony and affidavits confirmatory of what we should say, which had been forwarded to him by General Joseph Smith; that communications had been forwarded to his Excellency by Messrs. Hunter, James and others, some of which had not reached their destination, but of which we had duplicates with us. We then in brief related an outline of the difficulties, and the course we had pursued from the commencement of the troubles up to the present, and, handing him the documents, respectfully submitted the whole. During our conversation and explanations with the Governor, we were frequently rudely and impudently contradicted by the fellows he had around him. and of whom he seemed to take no notice.
He opened and read a number of the documents himself, and as he proceeded he was frequently interrupted by, "That's a lie!" "That's a G- d- d lie!" "That's an infernal falsehood!" "That's a blasted lie!" &c.
These men evidently winced on an exposure of their acts, and thus vulgarly, impudently and falsely repudiated them. One of their number, Mr. Marr, addressed himself several times to me while in conversation with the Governor. I did not notice him until after a frequent repetition of his insolence, when I informed him that my business at that time was with Governor Ford, whereupon I continued my conversation with his Excellency.
During the conversation the Governor expressed a desire that Joseph Smith and all parties concerned in passing or executing the city law in relation to the press had better come to Carthage; that however repugnant it might be to our feelings, he thought it would have a tendency to allay public excitement and prove to the people what we professed - that we wished to be governed by law.
We represented to him the course we had taken in relation to this matter, our willingness to go before another magistrate other than the Municipal Court, the illegal refusal by the constable, of our request, our dismissal by the Municipal Court, a legally constituted tribunal, our subsequent trial before Esq. Wells at the instance of Judge Thomas (the circuit judge), and our dismissal by him; that we had fulfilled the law in every particular; that it was our enemies who were breaking the law, and, having murderous designs, were only making use of this as a pretext to get us into their power.
The Governor stated that the people viewed it differently, and that, notwithstanding our opinions, he would recommend that the people should be satisfied. We then remarked to him that, should Joseph Smith comply with his request, it would be extremely unsafe, in the present excited state of the country, to come without an armed force; that we had a sufficiency of men, and were competent to defend ourselves, but that there might be danger of collision should our forces and those of our enemies be brought in such close proximity.
He strenuously advised us not to bring any arms, and pledged his faith as Governor, and the faith of the state, that we should be protected, and that he would guarantee our perfect safety.
At the termination of our interview, and previous to our withdrawal, after a long conversation and the perusal of the documents which we had brought, the Governor informed us that he would prepare a written communication for General Joseph Smith, which he desired us to wait for. We were kept waiting for this instrument some five or six hours.
About five o'clock in the afternoon we took our departure with not the most pleasant feelings. The associations of the Governor, the spirit that he manifested to compromise with these scoundrels, the length of time that he had kept us waiting, and his general deportment, together with the infernal spirit that we saw exhibited by those whom he admitted to his counsels, made the prospect anything but promising.