[ The following is re-typed from a photocopy of the first and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor, the newspaper published by recently excommunicated LDS President William Law, and others. After this issue of the newspaper was run, Smith organized a group of Mormons to destroy all available copies of the issue, as well as the printing press upon which it was published, alleging that it was a "public nuisance." However, Smith was arrested for his actions and was still being held in connection with the incident when he was killed by an angry mob. We abhor the violence against Joseph Smith and believe that the perpetrators deserved punishment for their crimes. Nonetheless, the account below may help you to understand the anger of those who were responsible for Smith's death. ]
[ We are unable to clearly read small portions of the newspaper, and have therefore indicated those sections where the printing is unintelligible with brackets and a question mark, i.e. [ .... ? ] . Also, we have omitted the first section of the newspaper which contains primarily poetry and short anecdotes unrelated to the subject of Mormonism. ]
We give place this week to the following Preamble, Resolutions and Affidavits, of the Seceders from the Church at Nauvoo. -- The request is complied with on account of their deeming it very important that the public should know the true cause of their dissenting, as all manner of falsehood is spread abroad in relation tot he schism in the Church. In our subsequent numbers several affidavits will be published, to substantiate the facts alleged. Hereafter, no further Church proceedings will appear in our columns, except in the form of brief communications. -- ED.
It is with the greatest solicitude for the salvation of the Human Family, and of our own souls, that we have this day assembled. Feign would we have slumbered, and "like the Dove that covers and conceals the arrow that is preying upon its vitals," for the sake of avoiding the furious and turbulent storm of persecution which will gather, soon to burst upon our heads, have covered and concealed that which, for a season, has been brooding among the ruins of our peace; but we rely upon the arm of Jehovah, the Supreme Arbiter of the world, to whom we this day, and upon this occasion, appeal for the rectitude of our intentions.
If that God who gave bounds to the mighty deep, and bade the ocean cease -- if that God who organized the physical world, and gave infinity to space, be our front guard and our rear ward, it is futile and vain for man to raise his puny arm against us. God will inspire his ministers with courage and with understanding to consummate his purposes; and if it is necessary, he can snatch them from the fiery furnace, or the Lion's den as he did anciently the three Hebrews from the former, and Daniel from the latter.
As for our acquaintance with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we know, no man or set of men can be more thoroughly acquainted with its rise, its organization, and its history, than we have every reason to believe we are. We all verily believe, and many of us know of a surety, that the religion of the Latter Day Saints, as originally taught by Joseph Smith, which is contained in the Old and New Testaments, Book of Covenants, and the Book of Mormon, is verily true; and that the pure principles set forth in those books, are the immutable and eternal principles of Heaven, and speaks a language which, when spoken in truth and virtue, sinks deep into the heart of every honest man. -- Its precepts are invigorating, and in every sense of the word, tend to dignify and ennoble man's conceptions of God and his atributes (sic). It speaks a language which is heard amidst the roar of Artillery, as well as in the silence of midnight: it speaks a language understood by the incarcerated spirit, as well as he who is unfettered and free; yet to those who will not see, it is dark, mysterious, and secret as the grave.
We believe that all men, professing to be the ministers of God, should keep steadily in view, the honor and glory of God, the salvation of souls and the amelioration of man's condition: and among their cardinal virtues ought to be found those of faith, hope, virtue and charity; but with Joseph Smith, and many other official characters in the Church, they are worn without any meanings attached -- worn as ornaments; exotics nurtured [ on ? ] display; virtues which, throwing [ a... ? ] the existence of a God, the peace, happiness, welfare, and good order of society, require that they should be preserved pure, immaculate and uncorroded.
We most solemnly and sincerely declare, God this day being witness of the truth and sincerity of our designs and statements, that happy will it be with those who examine and scan Joseph Smith's pretensions to righteousness; and take counsel of human affairs, and of the experience of times gone by. Do not yield up tranquilly a superiority to that man which the reasonableness of past events, and the laws of our country declare to be pernicious and diabolical. We hope many items of doctrine, as now taught, some of which, however, are taught secretly, and denied openly, (which we know positively is the case,) and others publicly, considerate men will treat with contempt; for we declare them to be heretical and damnable in their influence, though they find many devotees. How shall he, who has drank of the poisonous draft, teach virtue? In the stead thereof, when the criminal ought to plead guilty to the court, the court is obliged to plead guilty to the criminal. We appeal to humanity and ask, what shall we do? Shall we lie supinely and suffer ourselves to be metamorphosed into beasts by the Syren tongue? We answer that our country and our God require that we should rectify the tree. We have called upon him to repent, and as soon as he shewed fruits meet for repentance, we stood ready to seize him by the hand of fellowship, and throw around him the mantle of protection; for it is the salvation of souls we desire, and not our own aggrandizement.
We are earnestly seeking to explode the vicious principles of Joseph Smith, and those who practice the same abominations and whoredoms; which we verily know and are not accordant and consonant with the principles of Jesus Christ and the Apostles; and for that purpose, and with that end in view, with an eye single to the glory of God, we have dared to gird on the armor, and with God at our head, we most solemnly and sincerely declare that the sword of truth shall not depart from the thigh, nor the buckler from the arm, until we can enjoy those glorious privileges which nature's God and our country's laws have guarantied (sic) to us -- freedom of speech, the liberty of the press, and the right to worship God as seemeth us good. -- We are aware, however, that we are hazarding every earthly blessing, particularly property, and probably life itself, in striking this blow at tyranny and oppression: yet notwithstanding, we most solemnly declare that no man, or set of men combined, shall, with impunity, violate obligations as sacred as many which have been violated, unless reason, justice and virtue have become ashamed and sought the haunts of the grave, though our lives be the forfeiture.
Many of us have sought a reformation in the church, without a public exposition of the enormities of crimes practiced by its leaders, thinking that if they would hearken to counsel, and shew fruit meet for repentance; it would be as acceptable with God, as thought they were exposed to public gaze,
"For the private path, the secret acts of men, If noble, far the noblest of their lives."
but our petitions were treated with contempt; and in many cases the petitioner spurned from their presence, and particularly by Joseph [ Smith ], who would state that if he had sinned, and was guilty of the charges we would charge him with, he would not make acknowledgment, but would rather be damned; for it would detract from his dignity, and would consequently ruin and prove the overthrow of the Church. We would ask him on the other hand, if the overthrow of the Church was that inevitable, to which he often replied that we would all go to Hell together and convert it into a heaven, by casting the Devil out; and says he, Hell is by no means the place this world of fools suppose it to be, but on the contrary, it is quite an agreeable place: to which we would now reply, he can enjoy it if he is determined not to desist from his evil ways; but as for us, and ours, we will serve the Lord our God!
It is absurd for men to assert that all is well, while wicked and corrupt men are seeking our destruction, by a perversion of sacred things; for all is not well, while whoredoms and all manner of abominations are practiced under the cloak of religion. Lo! the wolf is in the fold, arrayed in sheep's clothing, and is spreading death and devastation among the saints: and we say to the watchmen standing upon the walls, cry aloud and spare not, for the day of the Lord is at hand -- a day cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate.
It is a notorious fact, that many females in foreign climes, and in countries to us unknown, even in the most distant regions of the Eastern hemisphere, have been induced, by the sound of the gospel, to forsake friends, and embark upon a voyage across waters that lie stretched over the greater portion of the globe, as they supposed, to glorify God, that they might thereby stand acquitted in the great day of God Almighty. But what is taught them on their arrival at this place? -- They are visited by some of the Strikers, for we know not what else to call them, and are requested to hold on and be faithful, for there are great blessings awaiting the righteous; and that God has great mysteries in store for those who love the Lord, and cling to brother Joseph. They are also notified that brother Joseph will see them soon, and reveal the mysteries of Heaven to their full understanding, which seldom fails to inspire them with new confidence in the Prophet, as well as a great anxiety to know what God has laid up in store for them, in return for the great sacrifice of father and mother, of gold and silver, which they gladly left far behind, that they might be gathered into the fold, and numbered among the chosen of God. -- They are visited again, and what is the result? They are requested to meet brother Joseph [ Smith ], or some of the Twelve, at some insulated point, or at some particularly described place on the bank of the Mississippi, or at some room, which wears upon its front -- Positively NO Admittance. The harmless, inoffensive, and unsuspecting creatures, are so devoted to the Prophet and the cause of Jesus Christ, that they do not dream of the deep-laid and fatal scheme which prostrates happiness, and renders death itself desirable, but they meet him, expecting to receive through him a blessing, and learn the will of the Lord concerning them, and what awaits the faithful follower of Joseph, the Apostle and Prophet of God, when in the stead thereof, they are told, after having been sworn in one of the most solemn manners, to never divulge what is revealed to them, with a penalty of death attached, that God Almighty has revealed it to him, that she should be his (Joseph's) Spiritual wife; for it was right anciently, and God will tolerate it again: but we must keep those pleasures and blessings from the world, for until there is a change in the government, we will endanger ourselves by practicing it -- but we can enjoy the blessings of Jacob, David, and others, as well as to be deprived of them, if we do not expose ourselves to the law of the land. She is thunder-struck, faints, recovers, and refuses. The Prophet damns her if she rejects. She thinks of the great sacrifice, and of the many thousand miles she has traveled over sea and land, that she might save her soul from pending ruin, and replies, God's will be done, and not mine. The Prophet and his devotees in this way are gratified. The next step to avoid public exposition from the common course of things, they are sent away for a time, until all is well; after which they return, as from a long visit. Those whom no power of influence could seduce, except that which is wielded by some individual feigning to be a God, must realize the remarks of an able writer, when he says, "if woman's feelings are turned to ministers of sorrow, where shall she look for consolation?" Her lot is to be wooed and won; her heart is like some fortress that has been captured, sacked abandoned, and left desolate. With her, the desire of the heart has failed -- the great charm of existence is at an end; she [ ...lects ? ] all the cheerful exercises of life, which gladen (sic) the spirits, quicken the pulses, and send the tide of life in healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is broken. The sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams; dry sorrow drinks her blood, until her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury. Look for her after a little while, and you find friendship weeping over her untimely grave; and wondering that one who but so recently glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty, should so speedily be brought down to darkness and despair, you will be told of some wintry chill, of some casual indisposition that laid her low! But no one knows of the mental malady that previously sapped her strength, and made her so easy a pray (sic) to the spoiler. She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty of the grove -- graceful in its form, bright in it foliage, but with the worm praying (sic) at its heart; we find it withered when it should be most luxuriant. We see it drooping its branches to the earth, and shedding leaf by leaf until wasted and perished away, it falls in the stillness of the forest; and as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we strive in vain to recollect the blast or thunder-bolt that could have smitten it with decay. But no one knows the cause except the foul fiend who perpetrated the diabolical deed.
Our hearts have mourned and bled at the wretched and miserable condition of females in this place; many orphans have been the victims of misery and wretchedness, through the influence that has been exerted over them, under the cloak of religion and afterwards, in consequence of that jealous disposition which predominates over the minds of some, have been turned upon a wide world, fatherless and motherless, destitute of friends and fortune; and robbed of that which nothing but death can restore.
Men solace themselves by saying the facts slumber in the dark caverns of midnight. But Lo! it is sudden day, and the dark deeds of foul fiends shall be exposed from the house-tops. A departed spirit, once the resident of St. Louis, shall yet cry aloud for vengeance.
It is difficult -- perhaps impossible -- to describe the wretchedness of the females in this place, without wounding the feelings of the benevolent, or shocking the delicacy of the refined; but the truth shall come to the world. The remedy can never be applied, unless the disease is known. The sympathy, ever anxious to relieve, cannot be felt before the misery is seen. -- The charity that kindles at the tale of wo, can never act with adequate efficeiency (sic), till it is made to see the pollution and guilt of men, now buried in the death-shades of heathenism. -- Shall we then, however painful the sight, shrink from the contemplation of their real state? We answer, we will not, if permitted to live. As we have before stated, it is the vicious principles of men we are determined to explode. It is not that we have any private pique to settle, that has induced us to be thus plain; for we can respect and love the criminal, if there is any hope of reformation: but there is a point beyond which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.
The next important item which presents itself for our consideration, is the attempt at Political power and influence, which we verily believe to be preposterous and absurd. We believe it is inconsistent, and not in accordance with the christian religion. We do not believe that God ever raised up a Prophet to christianize a world by political schemes and intrigue. It is not the way God captivates the heart of the unbeliever; but on the contrary, by preaching truth n (sic) its own native simplicity, and in its own original purity, unadorned with anything except its own indigenous beauties. Joseph may plead he has been injured, abused, and his petitions treated with contempt by the general government, and that he only desires an influence of a political character that will warrant him redress of grievances; but we care not -- the faithful followers of Jesus must bear in this age as well as Christ and the Apostles did anciently; although a frowning world may have crushed him to the dust; although unpitying friends may have passed him by; although hope, the great comforter in affliction, may have burst forth and fled from his troubled bosom; yet, in Jesus there is a balsom (sic) for every wound, and a cordial to assuage an agonized mind.
Among the many items of false doctrine that are taught the Church, is the doctrine of many Gods, one of the most direful in its effects that has characterized the world for many centuries. We know not what to call it other than blasphemy, for it is most unquestionably, speaking of God in an impious and irreverent manner. -- It is contended that there are innumerable Gods as much above the God that presides over this universe, as he is above us; and if he varies from the law unto which he is subjected, he, with all his creatures, will be cast down as was Lucifer; thus holding forth a doctrine which is effectually calculated to sap the very foundation of our faith: and now, O Lord! shall we set still and be silent, while thy name is thus blasphemed, and thine honor, power and glory, brought into disrepute? See Isaiah c 43, v 10:44, 6-8; 45, 5, 6, 21, 22; and book of Covenants, page 26 and 39.
In the dark ages of Popery, when bigotry, superstition, and tyranny held universal sway over the empire of reason, there was some semblance of justice in the inquisitorial deliberations, which, however, might have been dictated by prudence, or the fear of consequences: but we are no longer forced to appeal to those states that are now situated under the influence of Popery for examples of injustice, cruelty and oppression -- we can appeal to the acts of the inquisitorial department organized in Nauvoo, by Joseph and his accomplices, for specimens of injustice of the most pernicious and diabolical character that ever stained the pages of the historian.
It was in Rome, and about the twelfth century, when Pope Innocent III, ordered father Dominic to excite the Catholic princes and people to extirpate heretics. But it is in this enlightened and intelligent nineteenth century, and in Nauvoo -- a place professing to be the nucleus of the world, that Joseph Smith has established an inquisition, which, if it is suffered to exist, will prove more formidable and terrible to those who are found opposing the iniquities of Joseph and his associates, than even the Spanish inquisition did to heretics as they termed them.
On thursday evening, the 18th of April, there was a council called, unknown to the Church, which tried, condemned, and cut off brothers Wm. Law, Wilson Law, and sister Law, (Wm's wife,) brother R. D. Foster, and one brother Smith, with whom we are unacquainted; which we contend is contrary to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, for our law condemnest no man untill (sic) he is heard. We abhor and protest against any council or tribunal in this Church, which will not suffer the accused to stand in its midst and plead their own cause. If an Agrippa would suffer a Paul, whose eloquence surpassed, as it were, the eloquence of men, to stand before him, and plead his own cause, why should Joseph, with others, refuse to hear individuals in their own defence (sic)? -- We answer, it is because the court fears the atrocity of its crimes will be exposed to public gaze. We wish the public to thoroughly understand the nature of this court, and judge of the legality of its acts as [ seemeth ? ] them good.
On Monday, the 15th of April, brother R. D. Foster had a notice served on him to appear before the High Council on Saturday following, the 20th, and answer to charges preferred against him by Joseph Smith. On Saturday, while Mr. Foster was preparing to take his witnesses, 41 in number, to the council-room, that he might make good his charges against Joseph, president Marks notified him that the trial had been on Thursday evening, before the 15th, and that he was cut off from the Church; and that same council cut off the brother Laws' (sic), sister Law, and brother Smith, and all without their knowledge. They were not notified, neither did they dream of any such thing being done, for William Law had sent Joseph and some of the Twelve, special word that he desired an investigation before the Church in General Conference, on the 6th of Ap'l. (sic). The court, however, was a tribunal possessing no power to try Wm. Law, who was called by special Revelation, to stand as counsellor to the President of the Church, (Joseph,) which was twice ratified by General Conferences, assembled at Nauvoo, for Brigham Young, one of the Twelve presided, whose duty it was not, but the President of the High Council. -- See Book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 87.
Resolved 1st, That we will not encourage the acts of any court in this church, for the trial of any of its members which will not suffer the accused to be present and plead their own cause; we therefore declare our decided disapprobation to the course pursued last Thursday evening, (the 18th inst,) (sic) in the case of William and Wilson Law, and Mrs. William Law, and R. D. Foster, as being unjust and unauthorized by the laws of the Church, and consequently null and void; for our law judgeth no man unless he be heard; and to all those who approbate a course so unwarranted unprecedented and so unjust, we would say beware lest the unjust measure you meet to your brethren, be again meted out to you.
Resolved 2nd, Inasmuch as we have for years borne with the individual follies and iniquities of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and many other official characters in the Church of Jesus Christ, (conceiving it a duty incumbent upon us so to bear,) and having labored with them repeatedly with all Christian love, meekness and humility; yet to no effect, feel as if forbearance has ceased to be a virtue, and hope of reformation vain; and inasmuch as they have introduced false and damnable doctrine into the Church, such as a plurality of Gods, above the God of this universe, and his liability to fall with all his creations; the plurality of wives, for time and eternity; the doctrine of unconditional sealing up to eternal life, against all crimes except that of sheding (sic) innocent blood, by a perversion of their priestly authority, and thereby forfeiting the holy priesthood, according to the word of Jesus: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast fort as a branch is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned," St. John, vx. 6. "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God, he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, hath both the Father and the Son; if there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he that bideth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds;" we therefore are constrained to denounce them as apostates from the pure and holy doctrines of Jesus Christ.
Resolved 3rd, That we disapprobate and discountenance every attempt to unite church and state; and that we further believe the effort now being made by Joseph Smith for political power and influence, is not commendable in the sight of God.
Resolved 4th, That the hostile spirit and conduct manifested by Joseph Smith, and many of his associates towards Missouri, and others inimical to his purposes, are decidedly at variance with the true spirit of Christianity, and should not be encouraged by any people, much less by those professing to be the ministers of the gospel of peace.
Resolved 5th, That while we disapprobate malicious persecutions and prosecutions, we hold that all church members are alike amenable to the laws of the land; and that we further discountenance any chicanery to screen them from the just demands of the same.
Resolved 6th, That we consider the religious influence exercised in financial concerns by Joseph Smith, as unjust as it is unwarranted, for the Book of Doctrine and Covenants makes it the duty of the Bishop to take charge of the financial affairs of the Church, and of all temporal matters pertaining to the same.
Resolved 7th, That we discountenance and disapprobate the attendance at houses of revelling and dancing; drain-shops and theatres; verily believing they have a tendency to lead from paths of virtue and holiness, to those of vice and debauchery.
Resolved 8th, That we look upon the pure and holy doctrines set forth in the Scriptures of Divine truth, as being the immutable doctrines of salvation; and he who abideth in them shall be saved, and he who abideth not in them can not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
Resolved 9th, That we consider the gathering in haste, and by sacrifice, to be contrary to the will of God; and that it has been taught by Joseph Smith and others for the purpose of enabling them to sell property at most exhorbitant (sic) prices, not regarding the welfare of the Church, but through their covetousness reducing those who had the means to give employment to the poor, to the necessity of seeking labor for themselves; and thus the wealth which is brought into the place is swallowed up by the one great throat, from whence there is no return, which if it had been economically disbursed amongst the whole would have rendered all comfortable.
Resolved 10th, That, notwithstanding our extensive acquaintance with the financial affairs of the Church, we do not know of any property which in reality belongs to the Church (except the Temple) and we therefore consider the injunction laid upon the saints compelling them to purchase property of the Trustee in trust for the Church, is a deception practiced upon them: and that we look upon the sending of special agents abroad to collect funds for the Temple and other purposes as a humbug practiced upon the saints by Joseph and others, to aggrandize themselves, as we do not believe that the monies and property so collected, have been applied as the donors expected, but have been used for speculative purposes, by Joseph, to [ gull ? ] the saints the better on their arrival at Nauvoo, by buying the lands in the vicinity and selling again to them at tenfold advance; and further that we verily believe the appropriations said to have been subscribed by shares for the building of the Nauvoo House to have been used by J. Smith and Lyman Wight, for other purposses (sic), as out of the mass of stock already taken, the building is far from being finished even to the base.
Resolved 11th, That we consider all secret societies, and combinations under penal oaths and obligations, (professing to be organized for religious purposes,) to be anti-Christian, hypocritical and corrupt.
Resolved 12th, That we will not acknowledge any man as king or law-giver to the church; for Christ is our only king and law-giver.
Resolved 13th, That we call upon the honest in heart, in the Church, and throughout the world, to vindicate the pure doctrines of Jesus Christ, whether set forth in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Book of Covenants: and we hereby withdraw the hand of fellowship, from all those who practice or teach doctrines contrary to the above, until they cease so to do, and show works meet for repentance.
Resolved 14th, That we hereby notify all those holding license to preach the gospel, who know they are guilty of teaching the doctrine of other Gods above the God of this creation; the plurality of wives; the unconditional sealing up against all crimes, save that of sheding (sic) innocent blood; the spoiling of the gentiles, and all other doctrines, (so called) which are contrary to the laws of God, or to the laws of our country, to cease preaching, and to come and make satisfaction, and have their licenses renewed.
Resolved 15th, That in all our controversies in defence of truth and righteousness, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God, to the pulling down of the strong holds of Satan; that our strifes are not against flesh, blood, nor bones; but against principalities and power against spiritual wickedness in high places and therefore we will not use carnal weapons save in our own defence (sic).
I hereby certify that Hyrum Smith did, (in his office,) read to me a certain written document, which he said was a revelation from God, he said that he was with Joseph when it was received. He afterwards gave us the document to read, and I took it to my house, and read it, and showed it to my wife, and returned it next day. The revelation (so called) authorized certain men to have more wives than one at a time, in this world and in the world to come. It said this was the law, and commanded Joseph to enter into the law. -- And also that he should administer to others. Several other items were in the revelations, supporting the above doctrines.
State of Illinois, } I Robert D. Foster, certify that the above certificate was sworn to
Hancock Country, } before me, as true in substance, this fourth day of May A. D. 1844.
ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P.
I certify that I read the revelation referred to in the above affidavit of my husband, it sustained in strong terms the doctrine of more wives than one at a time, in this world, and in the next, it authorized some to have to the number of ten, and set forth that those women who would not allow their husbands to have more wives than one should be under condemnation before God.
Sworn and subscribed before me this fourth day of May, A.D. 1844.
ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P.
To all whom it may Concern:
Forasmuch as the public mind hath been much agitated by a course of procedure in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by a number of persons declaring against certain doctrines and practices therein, (among whom I am one,) it is but meet that I should give my reasons, at least in part, as a cause that hath led me to declare myself. In the latter part of the summer, 1843, the Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, did in the High Council, of which I was a member, introduce what he said was a revelation given through the Prophet; that the said Hyrum Smith did essay to read the said revelation in the said Council, that according to his reading there was contained the following doctrines; 1st, the sealing up of persons to eternal life, against all sins, save that of sheding (sic) innocent blood or of consenting thereto; 2nd, the doctrine of a plurality of wives, or marrying virgins; that "David and Solomon had many wives, yet in this they sinned not save in the matter of Uriah.["] This revelation with other evidence, that the aforesaid heresies were taught and practiced in the Church; determined me to leave the office of first counsellor to the president of the Church at Nauvoo, inasmuch as I dared not teach or administer such laws. And further deponent saith not.
State of Illinois, } To whom it may concern I hereby certify that the above certificate was
Hancock Country, } ss. sworn and subscribed before me, this fourth day of May A. D. 1844.
ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P.
T H E E X P O S I T O R .
FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 1844.
SYLVESTER EMMONS, EDITOR.
In greeting our patrons with the first number of the Expositor, a remark is necessary for the expression of some views, and certain principles by which we intend to be governed in our editorial duties. Many questions and surmises are made by those who suppose we will come in conflict with some of their darling schemes of self-aggrandisement (sic). Others, more honest, desire to know whether our object is to advocate any particular religious tenets, or any favorite measures of either of the political parties of the country. To all such questions we answer in the negative. Free toleration in religious sentiments, we deem compatible with the organization of our government, and should not be abridged. On the other hand, we believe religious despotism to be incompatible with our free institutions. What we conceive to be despotism, engendered by an assumption of power in the name of religion, we shall have occasion to show hereafter. In relation to politics, whatever our own views may be upon the federal measures that now, or may, hereafter agitate the country, the Expositor will not be the exponent thereof; and all the strife and party zeal of the two great antagonistical parties for the success of their respective candidates for the Presidency, we shall remain neutral, and in an editorial capacity, inactive. Another party, however, has sprung up in our midst, the leader of which, it would seem, expects, by a flourish (sic) of Quixotic chivalry, to take, by storm, the Presidential chair, and distribute among his faithful supporters, the office of governor in all the different States, for the purpose, we presume, of more effectually consolidating the government. This party we may be disposed to treat with a little levity, but nothing more. As it respects the local questions which may arise in our own county, and the candidates for the legislature from this county, we reserve the right to expatiate upon the respective claims -- not on account of their politics -- be they whig or democrat, but on account of a combination which we believe has for its object the utter destruction of the rights of the old citizens of the county, who have borne the heat and burden of the day; who have labored hard as pioneers of the county; who have rights that should be respected by every principle of honor and good faith, and whose wishes should be consulted in the choice of officers, and not have men imposed upon them, who are obnoxious, for good and sufficient reasons. In relation to such questions, we intend to express our mind freely, as our duty dictates, regardless of consequences. If a fair and honorable course be taken by the dominant party at Nauvoo, we will have nothing to battle against; but if they do not pursue that course, we shall be prepared for the warfare. We must confess, however, if we are to judge of the future by the past, we have little to expect from that quarter: but apart from local political considerations, we have a high and more noble duty to perform. We shall spread the banner to the breeze for a radical reform in the city of Nauvoo, as the departure from moral rectitude, and the abuse of power, have become intolerable. We shall speak out, and spare not, until certain grievances are redressed or corrected; until honor, virtue, and reputation shall take their accustomed habitations, and be respected; until we teach men that no exclusive privileges can be allowed to any individual under our form of government; that the law of the land, based upon the revealed laws of heaven, are paramount to all other earthly considerations, and he who sets the laws at defiance, and evades their operation, either by direct or indirect means pursues a course subversive of the best interests of the country, and dangerous to the well-being of the social compact. That there does exist an order of things with the systematic elements of organization in our midst -- a system which, if exposed in its naked deformity, would make the virtuous mind revolt with horror; a system in the exercise of which lay prostrate all the dearest ties in our social relations -- the glorious fabric upon which human happiness is based -- ministers to the worst passions of our nature, and throws us back into the benighted regions of the dark ages, we have the greatest reason to believe.
The question is asked, will you bring a mob upon us? In answer to that, we assure all concerned, that we will be among the first to put down anything like an illegal force being used against any man or set of men. If any one has become amenable to the law, we wish to have him tried impartially by the laws of his country. We are among the number who believe that there is virtue and integrity enough in the administrators of the law, to bring every offender to justice, and to protect the innocent. If it is necessary to make a show of force, to execute legal process, it will create no sympathy in that case to cry out, we are mobbed. There is such a thing as persons being deceived into a false sympathy once, who the second time, will scrutinize very closely, to know who, or which party, are the persecutors. It is not always the first man who cries out, stop thief, that is robbed. It is the upright, honest, considerate,and moral precept [...any... ? ] that will be respected in this as any other enlightened age precepts which have for their end the good of mankind, and the establishment of [ fundamental ? ] truths. On the other hand, paradoxical dogmas, new systems of government, new codes of morals, a new administration of the laws by ignorant, unlettered, and corrupt men, must be frowned down by every lover of his country. The well-being of society demand it at our hands. Our country, by whose laws we are protected, asks us for a manifestation of that patriotism which should inspire every American citizen -- the interests of the State of Illinois require it, and as a citizen of Illinois, we intend to respond to the voice of duty, and stand the hazard of the die.
We believe that the Press should not be the medium through which the private character of any individual should be assailed, delineated, or exposed to public gaze: still, whoever acts in an official character, who sets himself up as a public teacher, and reformer of morals and religion, and as an aspirant to the highest office in the gift of the people of this glorious republic, whose institutions he publicly condemns, we assert and maintain the right of canvassing all the public acts and animadverting, with terms of the severest reproach upon all the revolutionary measures that comes to our notice, from any source. We would not be worthy of the name of an American citizen did we stand by and see, not only the laws of the State, but the laws of the United States set at defiance, the authorities insulted, fugitives from justice fleeing for refuge [asking ?] and receiving protection from the the authorities of Nauvoo, for high crimes committed against the government of the United States, the Mayor of a petty incorporated town interposing his authority, and demanding the right of trial for the fugitive on the merits of the case, by virtue of a writ of Habeas Corpus, issued by the Municipal Court [of ?] Nauvoo. It is too gross a burlesque [ ... ? ] common sense -- a subterfuge too low to indicate any thing but a corrupt motive. -- Such acts, whether committed in a private or public capacity, will be held up to public scorn. An independent Press is bound by every sense of duty, to lay before the public every attack upon their rights: we, therefore, in the exercise of our duty, expect the support and the aid of our fellow citizens in our enterprise.
We hope all those who intend subscribing for the "Expositor," will forward their names as soon as possible; Editors, Postmasters, and others, to whom the Prospectus, and paper may be sent, will confer a favor upon us, by noticing, exchanging, and circulating the same, in their respective vocations, and forwarding accordingly.
In consequence of the importance of the cause in which we have engaged, and the assurances we have received from different sources, we have concluded to issue one thousand copies of the first number of this paper, that all who wish, may be supplied, and further, that none may plead ignorance of our complaints or exonerate themselves from an interest in our behalf. We do not wish or expect, the publication of the "Expositor" to prove a matter of pecuniary profit, neither do we believe the public will suffer it to prove a loss. It is a subject in which we are all interested, more particularly the citizens of this county, and surrounding country; the case has assumed a formidable and fearful aspect, it is not the destiny of a few that is involved in case of commotion, but that of thousands, wherein necessarily the innocent and helpless would be confounded with the criminal and guilty. We have anxiously desired, and strenuously advocated a peaceable redress of the injuries that have repeatedly been inflicted upon us, and we have now the means in our hands, through which we can peaceably and honorably effect our object. For ourselves, we are firmly resolved not to quit the field, till our efforts shall be crowned with success. And we now call upon all, who prize the liberty of speech, the liberty of the press, the right of conscience, and the sacred rights of American citizenship, to assist us in this undertaking. [ ...? ] us stand up and boldly and fearlessly oppose ourselves to any and every encroachment in whatever form it may appear, whether shaped in superstitious domination or civil usurpation. The public abroad have not been informed in relation to facts as they really existed in our midst, many have supposed that all was rumor, and having no organ through which to speak, our silence has been to them sufficient proof.
The facts have been far otherwise, we have watched with painful emotion the progress of events in this city, for some time past, until we were sick with the sight; injury upon injury has been repeated, insult has been added to insult till forbearance has ceased to be virtuous, and we now have the proud privilege, we have long wished for of defending ourselves against their foul aggressions and aspersions and of informing the public of things as they really are. We intend to tell the whole tale and by all honorable means to bring to light and justice; those who have long fed and fattened upon the purse, the property, and the character of injured innocence; -- yes, we will speak, and that too in thunder tones, to the ears of those who have thus ravaged and laid waste fond hopes, bright prospects, and virtuous principles, to gratify an unhallowed ambition. We are aware of the critical position we occupy, in view of our immediate location; but we entertain no fears, our purpose is fixed and our arm is nerved for the conflict, we stand upon our rights, and we will maintain those rights, whatever may be the consequence; let no man or set of men assail us at the peril of their lives, and we hereby give notice to all parties, that we are the last in attack, but the first and foremost in defence. We would be among the last to provoke the spirit of the public abroad unnecessarily, but we have abundant [ assurances ? ] in case of emergency, that we shall be all there.
An individual, bearing the cognomen of Jeremiah Smith, who has evaded the officers for some time, has taken refuge in the city of Nauvoo. It appears he is a fugitive from justice for the offence of procuring four thousand dollars from the United States Treasury at the city of Washington, under false pretences. A bill of indictment was found in the District of Columbia against him, and a warrant issued for his arrest. The Marshal of Iowa Territory got intelligence of his being in this place, and procuring the necessary papers for his arrest, proceeded to this place in search of him, about three weeks ago. After making inquiry, and becoming satisfied that he was secreted in Nauvoo, under the immediate protection of the Prophet, he said to him (the Prophet,) that he was authorised (sic) to arrest the said J. Smith, for an offence committed by [ him ? ] against the United States government, and wished to know where he was -- to which the Prophet replied, that he knew nothing about him. The Marshal said he knew he was secreted in the city, and was determined to have him; and, unless he was given up, he would have the aid of the Dragoons to find and arrest him. Joseph Smith then replied, that was not necessary; but, if the Marshal would pledge his word and honor that he should have the benefit of a city writ of Habeas Corpus, and be tried before him, he would produce the fugitive in half an hour. After some hesitancy, the Marshal agreed to do so, when the prisoner was produced in the time specified. A writ of Habeas Corpus was issued, and the prisoner taken from the Marshal and brought before the Municipal court of Nauvoo for trial. The court adjourned until thursday, the 30th ult. (sic), when he was tried, and discharged, as a matter of course. In the interval, however, application had been made to Judge Pope, of the District court of the United States for the State of Illinois, who issued his warrant, directed to the United States Marshal, who sent his deputy to make a second arrest, in case the other officer did not succeed in taking him from the city. Smith was found by the Illinois Marshal and arrested, when it became necessary for the high corporate powers of the city again to interpose their authority. The potent writ was again issued -- the prisoner taken from the Marshal -- a trial had, during which, the attorneys for Smith relieved themselves of an insupportable burthen (sic) of legal knowledge, which completely overwhelmed the learned court, and resulted in the trimuphant (sic) acquittal of the prisoner, with a judgment for costs against the U. States.
Now we ask if the executive and judicial authorities of Illinois deem it politic to submit to such a state of things in similar cases? Can, and will the constituted authorities of the federal government be quiescent under such circumstances, and allow the paramount laws of the Union to be set at defiance, and rendered nugatory by the action of a court, having no more than co-ordinate powers, with a common justice of the peace? If such an order of things is allowed to exist, there is every reason to believe that Nauvoo will become a sink of refuge for every offender who can carry in spoils enough to buy protection. The people of the State of Illinois will, consequently, see the necessity of repealing the charter of Nauvoo, when such abuses are practised under it; and by virtue of said chartered authoritity (sic), the right of the writ of Habeas Corpus in all cases arising under the city ordinance, to give full scope to the desired jurisdiction. The city council have passed ordinances, giving the Municipal court authority to issue the writ of Habeas Corpus in all cases when the prisoner is held in custody in Nauvoo, no matter whether the offender (sic) is committed in the State of Maine, or on the continent of Europe, the prisoner being in the city under arrest. It is gravely contended by the legal luminaries of Nauvoo, that the ordinances gives them jurisdiction, not only jurisdiction to try the validity of the writ, but to enquire into the merits of the case, and allow the prisoner to swear himself clear of the charges. If his own oath is not considered sufficient to satisfy the adverse party, plenty of witnesses are ready to swear that he is to be believed on oath and that is to be considered sufficient by the court to put the quietus on all foreign testimony and the discharge of the prisoner follows, as a necessary consequence.
_______________ JOE. SMITH -- THE PRESIDENCY.
We find in the Nauvoo Neighbor of May 29th, a lengthy letter from Joseph Smith a candidate for the Presidency on his own hook, to Henry Clay, the Whig candidate for the same office. It appears to be a new rule of tactics for two rival candidates to enter into a discussion of their respective claims to that high office, just preceding an election. Smith charges Clay with shrinking from the responsibility of promising to grant whatever the Mormons might ask, if elected to the Presidency. Smith has not been troubled with any inquiries of committees as to what measures he will recommend if elected; nevertheless he has come out boldly and volunteered his views of certain measures which he is in favor of having adopted. One is for the General Government to purchase the slaves of the south and set them free, that we can understand. Another is to pass a general uniform land law, that certainly requires the spirit of interpretation to show its meaning as no explanation accompanies it. Another which no doubt will be very congenial to the candidate's nervous system, is to open all the prison doors in the country, and set the captive free. These with some other suggestions equally as enlightened, ought to be sufficient to satisfy any man that Joseph Smith is willing that his principles shall be publicly known. If however any individual voter, who has a perfect right to know a candidates (sic) principles, should not be satisfied, he may further aid his inquiries, by a reference to the record of the grand inquest of Hancock County.
Martin Van Buren is charged with non-commitalism; Henry Clay has not been the man [... ?] answer frankly the question whether he would restore to the Mormons their lands in Missouri. Joseph Smith is the only candidate now before the people whose principles are fully known; let it be remembered there are documents the highest degree of evidence before the people; a committee of twenty-four, under the solemnity of their oaths, have inquired into and reported upon his claims in due form of law. Shades of Washington and Jefferson -- Henry Clay the candidate of a powerful party, is now under bonds to keep the peace; Joseph Smith, the candidate of another "powerful" party has two indictments against him, one for fornication and adultery, another for perjury. Our readers can make their own comments.
We have received the last number of the "Warsaw Signal," it is rich with anti-Mormon matter, both editorial and communicated. Among other things it contains a lengthy letter from J. H. Jackson, giving some items in relation to his connection with the "Mormon Prophet." as also his reasons for the same. It will be perceived that many of the most dark and damnable crimes that ever darkened human character, which have hitherto been to the public, a matter of rumor and suspicion, are now reduced to indisputable facts. We have reason to believe, from our acquaintance with Mr. Jackson, and our own observation, that the statements he makes are true; and in view of these facts, we ask, in the name of heaven, where is the safety of our lives and liberties, when placed at the disposal of such heaven daring, hell deserving, God forsaken villains. Our blood boils while we refer to these blood thirsty and murderous propensities of men, or rather demons in human shape, who, not satisfied with practising their dupes upon a credulous and superstitious people, must wreak their vengeance upon any who may dare to come in contact with them. We deplore the desperate state of things to which we are necessarily brought, but, we say to our friends, "keep cool," and the whole tale will be told. We fully believe in bringing these iniquities and enormities to light, and let the majesty of violated law, and the voice of injured innocence and contemned public opinion, speak in tones of thunder to these miscreants; but in behalf of hundreds and thousands of unoffending citizens, whose only fault is religious enthusiasm, and for the honor of our own names and reputation, let us not follow their desperado measures, and thereby dishonor ourselves in revenging our own wrongs. Let our motto be, "Last in attack, but first in defence;" and the result cannot prove otherwise than honorable and satisfactory.
_______________ TO CORRESPONDENTS.
In consequence of a press of other duties in preparing our first number for the press, we have not had time to examine several communications that have been forwarded for publication. We respect the motives of our friends in the interest they manifest in carrying forward the work of reform; but we wish it to be distinctly understood, that we cannot depart from the conditions set forth in the Prospectus; that is the chart by which we intend to navigate the "Expositor," carefully avoiding any thing and every thing that may tend to diminish the interest, or tarnish the character of its columns. We already feel that we occupy an unenviable position in view of the variety of opinions that exist, but, we stand committed as to our course, and having faithfully and fearlessly adhered to those terms, without partiality to friends, or personality to foes, we shall consider ourselves honorably discharged of duty.
We offer an apology to our readers for the want of arrangement and taste in our first number on account of our materials and press not being in order; the short time we have had to get a press and materials has precluded the possibility of getting the first number out according to our wishes, and the absence of the Editor for several days preceding our first issue, renders this apology necessary. In our subsequent numbers we intend to make good the insufficiency by giving to our readers a good selection of miscellany, and an editorial of rich and interesting matter.
[ _______________ ] CIRCUIT COURT.
The May Term of the Circuit Court of this county closed on the 30th ult. (sic) after a session of ten days. We understand a large number of cases were disposed of, none, however of a very important character. The cases wherein Joseph Smith was a party, were transferred by a change of venue, to other courts; that of A. Sympson vs. J. Smith, for false imprisonment, to Adams County; that of F.M. Higbee vs. Joseph Smith, for slander and that of C. A. Foster vs. Joseph Smith, and J. W. Coolidge for false imprisonmet (sic), and that of A. Davis vs. Joseph Smith, and J. P. Green, for trespass, were all transferred to the County of McDonough. The Grand Jury found two bills against Smith,one for perjury, and another for fornication and adultery; on the first of which Smith delivered himself up for trial, but the State not being ready, material witnesses being absent, the case was deferred to the October term.
The regular session of the Municipal Court of this City came off on Monday last. The cases of R. D. Foster, C. L. Higbee, and C. A. Foster, on appeals from the Mayor's Court, wherein they had each been fined in the sum of one hundred dollars, (for the very enormous offence of refusing to assist the notorious O.P. Rockwell, and his "dignity" John P. Green, in arresting a respectable and peaceable citizen, without the regular process of papers) and of A. Spencer, wherein he was fined in the same sum on a charge of assault and battery, were all taken up and gravely discussed; after the most mature deliberation, with the assistance of the ex-tinguished (sic) City Attorney, this honorable body concluded to dismiss the suit and issue a procedendo to the lower court, which was accordingly done.
The cases referred to above, afford abundant reason both for complaint and comment. We intend as soon as our time will allow, to express our views fully and freely upon this feature of Mormon usurpation; first, enact a string of ordinances contrary to reason and common sense, and then inflict the severest penalties for not observing them.
We see that our friend the Neighbor, advocates the claims of Gen. Joseph Smith for the Presidency; we also see from the records of the grand Jury of Hancock Co. at their recent term, that the general is a candidate to represent the branch of the state government at Alton. We would respectfully suggest to the Neighbor, whether the two offices are not incompatible with each other.
_______________ NAUVOO, June 5th, 1844. CITIZENS OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
It is well known to all of you that the Augus. (sic) election is fast approaching, and with it comes the great and terrible conflict. It is destined to be a day pregnant with big events; for it will be the index to the future. -- Should we be defeated upon that occasion, our die is cast, and our fate is sealed; but if successful, alike may Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and their devoted followers, as well as their enemies, expect that justice will be meted out. The present is portentious of the great effort that is to be made upon that occasion, by Joseph for power; Hiram Smith is already in the field as a candidate for the legislature, but will you support him, that same Hyrum Smith the devoted follower and brother of Joe, who feigned a revelation from God, directing the citizens of Hancock County to vote for J. P. Hoge, in preference to Cyrus Walker, and by so doing blaspheming the name of God? Will you, gentlemen of Hancock County, support a man like that, who claims to move in a different sphere, a sphere entirely above you; one who will trifle with the things of God, and feign converse with the Divinity, for the sake of carrying an election? I will unhesitatingly assume to myself the responsibility of answering in the negative. I flatter myself you are not so depraved, and so blinded to your own interests, as to support a man totally ignorant of the laws of your country, and in every respect alienated from you and your interests.
In supporting Hyrum Smith, you, Citizens of Hancock County, are supporting Joseph Smith, for whom he (Hyrum) goes teeth and toe nails, for President of the United States. The question may arise here, in voting for Joseph Smith, for whom am I voting? You are voting for a man who contends all governments are to be put down and the one established upon its ruins. You are voting for an enemy to your government, hear Phelps to Joe in his affidavit before Judge King of Missouri: -- "Have you come to the point to resist all law?" "I have," says Joe. You are voting for a sycophant, whose attempt for power find (sic) no parallel in history. You are voting for a man who refuses to suffer criminals to be brought to justice, but in the stead thereof, rescues them from the just demands of the law, by Habeas Corpus. You are voting for a man who stands indicted, and who is now held to bail, for the crimes of adultery and perjury; two of the gravest crimes known to our laws. Query not then for whom you are voting; it is for one of the blackest and basest scoundrels that has appeared upon the stage of human existence since the days of Nero, and Caligula.
In supporting Hyrum Smith, then are you not supporting Joseph Smith, most assuredly; pause then my countrymen, and consider cooly (sic), calmly and deliberately, what you do? Support not that man who is spreading death, devastation and ruin through out your happy country like a tornado. Infinite are the gradations which mark this man's attempts for power, which if not checked soon, must not only shed a deleterious influence on the face of this county, but on the face of the adjoining counties. He is already proudly boasting that he is beyond your reach; and I regret to think I am under the painful necessity of admitting the fact. Is it not a shame and a disgrace, to think we have a man in our midst, who will defy the laws of our country; the laws which shed so gentle and nourishing an ifluence (sic) upon our fathers, which fostered and protected them in their old age from insult and aggression; shall we their sons, lie still and suffer Joseph Smith to light up the lamp of tyranny and oppression in our midst? God forbid, lest the departed spirits of our fathers, cry from the ground against us. Let us arise in the majesty of our strength and sweep the influence of tyrants and miscreants from the face of the land, as with the breath of heaven. The eagle that is now proudly borne to earth's remotest regions by every gale, will perch himself in the solitude of mid-night if we do not arouse from our lethargy.
It is the worst of absurdities for any individual to say their (sic) is a man in our midst who is above reach of violated law, and not lending a helping hand; all talk and nothing more will not accomplish that for your country and your God, which the acts of Washington did. Then gentlemen organize yourselves and prepare for the dreadful conflict in August; we go with you heart and hand, in the attempt to suppress this contaminating influence which is prostrating our fairest prospects, and spreading desolation throughout our vale. Call into the field your best men under the solemn pledge to go for the unconditional repeal of the Nauvoo Charter, and you have our support; whether they be Whig or Democrat we care not; when a friend presents us with a draught of cool water, we do not stop to inquire whether it is contained in a silver vase, a golden urn or a long handled gourd. We want no base seducer, liar and perjured representative, to represent us in Springfield, but while Murrill represents Tennessee in Nashville, Munroe Edwards, New York, in Sing Sing, Br. Joseph may have the extreme goodness to represent Illinois in Alton, if his lawyers do not succeed in quashing the indictments found against him by the Grand Jurors of Hancock County, at the May term 1844.
FRANCIS M. HIGBEE.