Joseph Smith, Jr.
Gen. Smith's Views...
(Nauvoo, Feb., 1844)
V I E W S
OF THE POWERS AND POLICY OF THE
G O V E R N M E N T
PRINTED BY JOHN TAYLOR.
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G E N E R A L S M I T H 'S V I E W S.
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Selections from Joseph Smith's 1845 book:
Note 1: This is a temporary posting only -- the selections provided here will shortly be edited, given page numbers, and moved to a new location on the web.
Note 2: The interior title page for this 64 page item reads: "The Voice of Truth, Containing General Joseph Smith's Correspondence with Gen. James Arlington Bennett; Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys; Correspondence with John C. Calhoun, Esq.; Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States; Pacific Innuendo, and Gov. Ford's Letter; A Friendly Hint to Missouri, and a Few Words of Consolation for the "Globe;" also, Correspondence with the Hon. Henry Clay. -- "The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools," -- Solomon's Proverbs. -- Nauvoo, Ill: Printed by John Taylor, 1844." Although the booklet everywhere reads "1844," it was not bound and distributed until the summer of 1845.
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In vain have we sought for redress of grievances and a restoration to our rights in the Courts and Legislature of Missouri. In vain have we sought for our rights and the remuneration for our property in the Halls of Congress, and at the hands of the President. The only consolation yet experienced from these highest tribunals and mercy seats of our bleeding country is, that our cause is just, but the government has no power to redress us.
Our arms were forcibly taken from us by those Missouri marauders; --
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and, in spite of every effort to have them returned, the State of Missouri still retains them; and the United States militia law, with this fact before the government, still compels us to military duty; and, for a lack of said arms, the law forces us to pay fines. As Shakespeare would say; "thereby hangs a tale."
Several hundred thousand dollars worth of land in Missouri was purchased at the U.S. Land Offices in that district of country: and the money without doubt, has been appropriated to strengthen the army and navy, or increase the power and glory of the nation in some other way; and notwithstanding Missouri has robbed and mobbed me and twelve or fifteen thousand innocent inhabitants murdered, and hundreds expelled, the residue, at the point of the bayonet, without law, contrary to the express language of the Constitution of the United States, and every State in the Union; and contrary to the custom and usage of civilized nations; and especially one holding up the motto: "The asylum of the oppressed;" yet the comfort we receive to raise our wounded bodies, and invigorate our troubled spirits, on account of such immense sacrifices of life, property, patience, and right; and as an equivalent for the enormous taxes we are compelled to pay to support the functionaries in a dignified manner, after we have petitioned and pleaded with tears and been showed like a caravan of foreign animals for the peculiar gratification of connoisseurs in humanity, that flare along in public life, like lamps upon lamp-posts, because they are better calculated for the schemes of the night than for the scenes of the day, is as President Van Buren said, your cause is just, but the government has no power to redress you!
No wonder, after the Pharisee's prayer, the Publican smote his breast and said, Lord be merciful to me a sinner! What must the manacled nations think of freemen's rights in the land of liberty?
Were I a Chaldean I would exclaim: Keed' nauh to-maroon lehoam elauhayaugh deyshemayaugh veh aur kau lau gnaubadoo, yabadoo ma-ar'guauoomen tehoat shemayaugh alah. (Thus shall we say unto them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.)
An Egyptian: Su-e-eh-ni; (What other persons are these?) A Grecian: Diabolas basseleuei: (The Devil reigns.) A Frenchman: Messieurs sans Dieu, (Gentlemen without Go.) A Turk: Ain shems: (The fountain of light.) A german: sie sind unferstandig. (What consumate ignorance!) A Syrian: Zaubok. (Sacrifice!) A Spaniard: Il sabio muda
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conscio, il nescio ne. (A wise man reflects, a fool does not.) A Samaritian: Saunau! (O Stranger!) An Italian: O tempa! oh diffidanza! (O the times! O the diffidence!) A Hebrew: Ajtaij aol raicu (Thou God seest me.) A Dane: Hvnd tidende! (What tidings!) A Saxon: Hwaet riht! (What right!) A Swede: Hvad skilla: (What skill!) A Polander: Nav-yen-wheo bah poa na Jesus Christus: (Blessed be the name of Jesus Christ.) A Western Indian: She-mo-kah She-mo keh ough-nepgab. (The white man, O the white man, he very uncertain.) A Roman: Procul, o procul este profani! (Be off, be off ye profane!) But as I am I will only add: when the wicked rule the people mourn.
Now, therefore, having failed in every attempt to obtain satisfaction at the tribunals where all men seek for it, according to the rules of right: -- I am compelled to appeal to the honor and patriotism of my native State: to the clemency and valor of "Green Mountain Boys;" for, throughout the various periods of the world, whenever a nation, kingdom, state, family, or individual has received an insult or an injury from a superior force, (unless satisfaction was made,) it has been the custom to call in the aid of friends to assist in obtaining redress. For proof we have only to refer to the recovery of Lot and his effects by Abraham, in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah; or to turn to the relief afforded by France and Holland for the achievement of the independence of these United States. Without bringing up the great bulk of historical facts, rules, laws, decrees, and treaties, and bible records, by which nations have been governed, to show that mutual alliance for the general benefit of mankind, to retaliate and repel foreign aggressions; to punish and prevent home wrongs, when the conservators of justice and the laws have failed to afford a remedy, are not only common and in the highest sense justifiable and wise, but they are also poorer expedients to promote the enjoyment of equal rights, the pursuit of happiness, the preservation of life, and the benefit of posterity.
With all these facts before me, and a pure desire to ameliorate the condition of the poor and unfortunate among men, and, if possible, to entice all men from evil to good, and with firm reliance that God will reward the just, I have been stimulated to call upon my native State, for a "union of all honest men;" and to appeal to the valor of the "Green Mountain Boys" by all honorable methods & means to assist me in obtaining justice from Missouri: not only for the property she has stolen and confiscated, the murders she has committed among my friends, and for our expulsion from the State, but also to humble and chastise, or
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abase her for the disgrace she has brought upon constitutional liberty, until she atones for her sins.
I appeal also to the fraternity of brethren, who are bound by kindred ties, to assist a brother in distress, in all cases where it can be done according to the rules of order, to extend the boon of benevolence and protection, in avenging the Lord of his enemies, as if a Solomon, a Hiram, a St. John, or a Washington raised his hands before a wondering world, and exclaimed: -- "My life for his!" Light, liberty, and virtue forever!
I bring this appeal before my native State, for the solemn reason that an injury has been done, and crimes have been committed, which a sovereign State, of the Federal compact, one of the great family of "E pluribus unum," refuses to compensate, by consent of parties, rules of law, customs of nations, or in any other way. I bring it also, because the national Government has fallen short of affording the necessary relief as before stated, for want of power, leaving a large body of her own free citizens, whose wealth went freely into her treasury for lands, and whose gold and silver for taxes, still fills the pockets of her dignitaries "in ermine and lace," defrauded, robbed, moved, plundered, ravished, driven, exiled, and banished from the "Independent Republic of Missouri!"
And in the appeal let me say; raise your towers, pile your monuments to the skies; build your steam frigates; spread yourselves far and wide, and open the iron eyes of your bulwarks by sea and land; and let the towering church steeples marshal the country like the "dreadful splendor" of an army with bayonets: but remember the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts; remember the handwriting upon the wall, mene, mene, teke, upharsin; remember the angels visit to Sennacherib and the 185,000 Assyrians; remember the end of the Jews and Jerusalem, and remember the Lord Almighty will avenge the blood of his Saints that now crimsons the skirts of Missouri! Shall wisdom cry aloud, and her speech not be heard?
Has the majesty of American liberty sunk into such vile servitude and oppression, that justice has fled? Have the glory and influence of a Washington, an Adams, a Jefferson, a Lafayette, and a host of others, forever departed, -- and the wrath of a Cain, a Judas, and a Nero whirled forth in the heraldry of hell, to sprinkle our garments with blood; and lighten the darkness of midnight with the blaze of our dwellings? --
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Where is the patriotism of '76? Where is the virtue of our forefathers? and where is the sacred honor of freemen?
Must we, because we believe in the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the administration of angels, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, like the prophets and apostles of old, -- must we be mobbed with impunity -- be exiled from our habitations and property without remedy; murdered without mercy, -- and government find the weapons, and pay the vagabonds for doing the jobs, and give them the plunder into the bargain? Must we, because we believe in enjoying the constitutional privilege and right of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own consciences; and because we believe in repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins; the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; the resurrection of the dead; the millennium; the day of judgment; and the Book of Mormon as the history of the aborigines of this continent, -- must we be expelled from the institutions of our country, the rights of citizenship, and the graves of our friends and brethren, and the government lock the gate of humanity, and shut the door of redress against us? -- If so, farewell freedom; adieu to personal safety, and let the red hot wrath of an offended God purify the nation of such sinks of corruption! For that realm is hurrying to ruin where vice has the power to expel virtue.
My Father, who stood several times in the battles of the American Revolution, till his companions in arms, had been shot dead, at his feet, was forced from his home in Far West, Missouri, by those civilized, or satanized savages, in the dreary season of winter, to seek a shelter in another State; and the vicissitudes and sufferings consequent to his flight brought his honored grey head to the grave, a few months after. And my youngest brother also, in the vigor and bloom of youth, from his great exposure and fatigue in endeavoring to assist his parents on their journey, (I and my brother Hyrum being in chains, in dungeons -- where they tried to feed us on human flesh -- in Missouri,) was likewise so debilitated that he found a premature grave shortly after my father. And my mother, too, though she yet lingers among us, from her extreme exposure in that dreadful tragedy, was filled with rheumatic affections and other diseases, which leave her no enjoyment of health. She is sinking in grief and pain, broken-hearted, from Missouri persecution.
O death! wilt thou not give to every honest man, a heated dart to sting those wretches while they pollute the land? and O grave! wilt thou not open the trap door to the pit of ungodly men, that they may stumble in?
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I appeal to the Green Mountain Boys of my native State, to rise in the majesty of virtuous freemen, and by all honorable means help bring Missouri to the bar of justice. If there is one whisper from the spirit of an Ethen Allen, or a gleam from the shade of a Gen. Stark, let it mingle with our sense of honor and fire our bosoms for the cause of suffering innocence, -- for the reputation of our disgraced country, and for the glory of God; and may all the earth bear me witness, if Missouri, blood-stained Missouri, -- escapes the due merit of her crimes, the vengeance she so justly deserves -- that Vermont is a hypocrite -- a coward -- and this nation the hot bed of political demagogues!
I make this appeal to the sons of liberty of my native State for help to frustrate the wicked design of sinful men; I make it to hush the violence of mobs; I make it to cope with the unhallowed influence of wicked men in high places; I make it to resent the insult and injury made to an innocent, unoffending people, by a lawless ruffian State; I make it to show our nation's escutcheon; I make it to show presidents, governors, and rulers, prudence; I make it to fill honorable men with discretion; I make it to teach senators wisdom; I make it to learn judges justice; I make it to point clergymen to the path of virtue; and I make it to turn the hearts of this nation to the truth and realities of pure and undefiled religion, that they may escape the perdition of ungodly men; and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is my Great Counsellor.
Wherefore let the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble, the poor and the needy; the bond and the free, both black and white, take heed to their ways, and cleave to the knowledge of God; and execute justice and judgment upon the earth in righteousness; and prepare to meet the judge of the quick and the dead, for the hour of his coming is nigh.
Till the wide-spreading conflict is over.
And burst thro' the curtains of tyrannic night.
Yes, I must go on to gather our race,
Till the high blazing flames of Jehovah
Illumines the globe as a triumph of right.
As a friend of equal rights to all men, and a messenger of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ,
I have the honor to be,
Your devoted servant,
Nauvoo, Ill., December, 1843.
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Nauvoo, Ill., Nov. 4th, 1843.HON. JOHN C. CALHOUN,
Dear Sir: -- As we understand you are a candidate for the Presidency at the next election; and as the Latter-day Saints (sometimes called "Mormons," who now constitute a numerous class in the school politic of this vast republic,) have been robbed of an immense amount of property, and endured nameless sufferings by the State of Missouri, and from her borders have been driven by force of arms, contrary to our national covenants; and as in vain we have sought redress by all constitutional, legal and honorable means, in her courts, her executive councils, and her legislative halls; and as we have petitioned Congress to take cognizance of our sufferings without effect, we have judged it wisdom to address you this communication, and solicit an immediate, specific, and candid reply to "What will by your rule of action relative to us as a people," should fortune favor your ascension to the chief magistracy?
Most respectfully, sir, your friend, and the friend
Of peace, good order, and constitutional rights,
In behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
HON. JOHN C. CALHOUN, Fort Hill, S. C.
Fort Hill, 2nd December, 1843.Sir: -- You ask me what would be my rule of action relative to the Mormons or Latter-day Saints, should I be elected President; to which I answer, that if I should be elected, I would strive to administer the government according to the Constitution and the laws of the Union, and that as they make no distinction between citizens of different religious creeds, I should make none. As far as it depends on the Executive department, all should have the full benefit of both, and none should be exempt from their operation.
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But as you refer to the case of Missouri, candor compels me to repeat what I said to you at Washington, that, according to my views, the case does not come within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, which is one of limited and specific powers.
With respect, I am, &c., &c.,
J. C. CALHOUN.
Mr. Joseph Smith.
January 2, 1844.
Sir: -- Your reply to my letter of last November, concerning your rule of action towards the Latter-day Saints, if elected President, is at hand; and that you and your friends of the same opinion relative to the matter in question may not be disappointed as to me or my mind upon so grave a subject, permit me, as a law-abiding man, as a well-wisher to the perpetuity of constitutional rights and liberty, and as a friend to the free worship of Almighty God by all, according to the dictates of every person's own conscience, to say I am surprised that a man or men in the highest stations of public life should have made up such a fragile "view" of a case, than which there is not one on the face of the globe fraught with so much consequence to the happiness of men in this world or the world to come.
To be sure, the first paragraph of your letter appears very complacent and fair on a white sheet of paper. And who, that is ambitious for greatness and power, would not have said the same thing? Your oath would bind you to support the Constitution and laws; and as all creeds and religions are alike tolerated, they must, of course, all be justified or condemned according to merit or demerit. But why -- tell me why are all the principal men held up for public stations so cautiously careful not to publish to the world that they will judge a righteous judgment, law or no law? for laws and opinions, like the vanes of steeples, change with the wind.
One Congress passes a law, another repeals it; and one statesman says that the Constitution means this, and another that; and who does not know that all may be wrong? The opinion and pledge, therefore, in the first paragraph of your reply to my question, like the forced steam from the engine of a steam-boat, makes the show of a bright cloud at first; but when it comes in contact with a purer atmosphere, dissolves to common air again.
Your second paragraph leaves you naked before yourself, like a likeness in a mirror, when you say that, 'according to your view, the federal
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government is one of limited and specific powers," and has no jurisdiction in the case of the "Mormons." So then a State can at any time expel any portion of her citizens with impunity, and, in the language of Mr. Van Buren, frosted over with your gracious "views of the case," though the cause is ever so just Government can do nothing for them, because it has no power.
Go on, then Missouri, after another set of inhabitants (as the Latter-day Saints did,) have entered some two or three hundred thousand dollars' worth of land, and made extensive improvements thereon. Go on, then, I say; banish the occupants or owners, or kill them, as the mobbers did many of the Latter-day Saints, and take their land and property as spoil; and let the Legislature, sa in the case of the "Mormons," appropriate a couple of hundred thousand dollars to pay the mob for doing that job; for the renowned Senator from South Carolina, Mr. J. C. Calhoun, says the powers of the Federal Government are so specific and limited that it has no jurisdiction of the case! O ye people who groan under the oppression of tyrants! -- ye exiled Poles, who have felt the iron hand of Russian grasp! -- ye poor and unfortunate among all nations! come to the asylum of the oppressed; buy ye lands of the General Government; pay in your money to the treasury to strengthen the army and navy; worship God according to the dictates of your own consciences; pay in your taxes to support the great heads of a glorious nation: but remember, a "sovereign State" is so much more powerful than the United States, the parent Government, that it can exile you at pleasure, mob you with impunity, confiscate your lands and property, have the Legislature sanction it,--yea, even murder you as an edict of an emperor, and it does no wrong; for the noble Senator of South Carolina says the power of the Federal Government is so limited and specific that it has no jurisdiction of the case! What think ye of imperium in imperio?
Ye spirits of the blessed of all ages, hark! Ye shades of departed statesmen, listen! Abraham, Moses, Homer, Socrates, Solon, Solomon, and all that ever thought of right and wrong, look down from your exaltations, if you have any, for it is said in the midst of counsellors there is safety; and when you have learned that fifteen thousand innocent citizens, after having purchased their lands of the United States, and paid for them, were expelled from a "sovereign State" by order of the Governor at the point of a bayonet, their arms taken from them by the same authority, and their rights of migration into said State denied under pain of imprisonment, whipping, robbing, mobbing, and even death, and no
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justice or recompense allowed; and from the legislature, with the Governor at the head, down to the justice of the peace, with a bottle of whisky in one hand and a bowie knife in the other, hear them all declare that there is no justice for a "Mormon" in that State, and judge ye a righteous judgment, and tell me when the virtue of the States was stolen, where the honor of the General Government lies hid, and what clothes a senator with wisdom? Oh, nullifying Carolina! Oh, little tempestuous Rhode Island! would it not be well for the great men of the nation to read the fable of the Partial Judge, and when part of the free citizens of a State had been expelled contrary to the Constitution, mobbed, robbed, plundered, and many murdered, instead of searching into the course taken with Joanna Southcott, Ann Lee, the French prophets, the Quakers of New England, and rebellious niggers in the slave States, to hear both sides and then judge, rather than have the mortification to say, "Oh, it is my bull that had killed your ox! That alters the case! I must inquire into it; and if, and if?'
If the general government has no power to reinstate expelled citizens to their rights, there is a monstrous hypocrite fed and fostered from the hard earnings of the people! A real "bull beggar" upheld by sycophants. And although you may wink to the priests to stigmatize wheedle the drunkards to swear, and raise the hue-and-cry of--"Impostor! false prophet! G-d d-n old Joe Smith!" yet remember, if the Latter-day Saints are not restored to all their rights and paid for all their losses, according to the known rules of justice and judgment, reciprocation and common honesty among men, that God will come out of his hiding-place, and vex this nation with a sore vexation: yea, the consuming wrath of an offended God shall smoke through the nation with as much distress and woe as independence has blazed through with pleasure and delight. Where is the strength of Government? Where is the patriotism of a Washington, a Warren, and Adams? And where is a spark from the watch-fire of '76, by which one candle might be lit that would glimmer upon the confines of Democracy? Well may it be said that one man is not a state, nor one state the nation.
In the days of General Jackson, when France refused the first installment for spoliations, there was power, force, and honor enough to resent injustice and insult, and the money came; and shall Missouri, filled with negro-drivers and white men stealers, go "unwhipped of justice" for ten-fold greater sins than France? No! verily, no! While I have powers of body and mind -- while water runs and grass grows -- while virtue is lovely and vice hateful, and while a stone points
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out a sacred spot where a fragment of American liberty once was, I or my posterity will plead the cause of injured innocence, until Missouri makes atonement for all her sins, and sinks disgraced, degraded, and damned to hell, "where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
Why, sir, the power not delegated to the United States and the States belong to the people, and Congress sent to do the people's business have all power; and shall fifteen thousand citizens groan in exile? O vain men! will ye not, if ye do not restore them to their rights and $2,000,000 worth of property, relinquish to them, (the Latter-day Saints,) as a body, their portion of power that belongs to them according to the Constitution? Power has its convenience as well as inconvenience. "The world was not made for Caesar alone, but for Titus too."
I will give you a parable. A certain lord had a vineyard in a goodly land, which men labored in at their pleasure. A few meek men also went and purchased with money from some of these chief men that labored at pleasure a portion of land in the vineyard, at a very remote part of it, and began to improve it and to eat and drink the fruit thereof,--when some vile persons, who regarded not man, neither feared the lord of the vineyard, rose up suddenly and robbed these meek men, and drove them from their possessions, killing many.
This barbarous act made no small stir among the men in the vineyard; and all that portion who were attached to that part of the vineyard where the men were robbed rose up in grand council, with their chief men, who had firstly ordered the deed to be done, and made a covenant not to pay for the cruel deed, but to keep the spoil, and never let those meek men set their feet on that soil again, neither recompense them for it.
Now these meek men, in their distress, wisely sought redress of those wicked men in every possible manner, and got none. They supplicated the chief men who held the vineyard at pleasure, and who had the power to sell and defend it, for redress and redemption, and those men, loving the fame and favor of the multitude more than the glory of the lord of the vineyard, answered, "Your cause is just; but we can do nothing for you, because we have no power."
Now, when the lord of the vineyard saw that virtue and innocence was not regarded, and his vineyard occupied by wicked men, he sent men and took the possession of it to himself, and destroyed these unfaithful servants, and appointed them their portion among hypocrites.
And let me say that all men who say the Congress has no power to restore and defend the rights of her citizens have not the love of the truth abiding in them. Congress has power to protect the nation against
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foreign invasion and internal broil; and whenever that body passes an act to maintain right with any power, or to restore right to any portion of her citizens, it is the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND; and should a State refuse submission, that State is guilty of insurrection or rebellion, and the President has as much power to repel it as Washington had to march against the "whisky boys at Pittsburg," or General Jackson had to send an armed force to suppress the rebellion of South Carolina.
To close, I would admonish you, before you let your "candor compel" you again to write upon a subject great as the salvation of man, consequential as the life of the Savior, broad as the principles of eternal truth, and valuable as the jewels of eternity, to read in the 8th section and 1st article of the Constitution of the United States, the first, fourteenth, and seventeenth "specific" and not very "limited powers" of the Federal Government, what can be done to protect the lives, property, and rights of a virtuous people, when the administrators of the law and law-makers are unbought by bribes, uncorrupted by patronage, untempted by gold, unawed by fear, and uncontaminated by tangling alliances--even like Caesar's wife, not only unspotted, but unsuspected! And God, who cooled the heat of a Nebuchadnezzar's furnace or shut the mouths of lions for the honor of a Daniel, will raise your mind above the narrow notion that the General Government has no power, to the sublime idea that Congress, with the President as Executor, is as almighty in its sphere as Jehovah is in His.
With great respect, I have the honor to be
Your obedient servant,
Hon. ("Mr.") J. C. CALHOUN, Fort Hill, S. C.
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Ashland, Nov. 15th, 1843.
Dear Sir: -- I have received your letter in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stating that you understand that I am a candidate for the Presidency, and inquiring what would be by rule of action relative to you as a people, should I be elected.
I am profoundly grateful for the numerous and strong expressions of the people in my behalf, as a candidate for President of the United States; but I do not so consider myself. That much depends upon future events, and upon my sense of duty.
Should I be a candidate, I can enter into no engagements, make no promises, give no pledges to any particular portion of the people of the United States. If I ever enter into that high office, I must go into it free and unfettered, with no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from my whole life, character, and conduct.
It is not inconsistent with this declaration to say that I have viewed with a lively interest the progress of the Latter-day Saints; that I have sympathized in their sufferings under injustice, as it appeared to me, which has been inflicted upon them; and that I think, in common with all other religious communities, they ought to enjoy the security and protection of the Constitution and the laws.
Your friend and obedient servant,
To JOSEPH SMITH, Esq.
Sir: -- Your answer to my inquiry, "What would be your rule of action towards the Latter-day Saints, should you be elected President of the United States?" has been under consideration since last November, in the fond expectation that you would give (for every honest citizen has a right to demand it,) to the country a manifesto of your views of the best method and means which would secure to the people, the whole people, the most freedom, the most happiness, the most union, the most wealth, the most fame, the most glory at home, and the most honor abroad, at the least expense. But I have waited in vain. So far as you have made public declarations, they have made, like your answer to the above, soft to flatter, rather than solid to feed the people. You seem to abandon all former policy which may have actuated you in the discharge of a statesman's duty, when the vigor of intellect and the force of virtue should have sought out an everlasting habitation for liberty;
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when, as a wise man, a true patriot, and a friend to mankind, you should have resolved to ameliorate the lawful condition of our bleeding country by a mighty plan of wisdom, righteousness, justice, goodness, and mercy, that would have brought back the golden days of our nation's youth, vigor, and vivacity, when prosperity crowned the efforts of a youthful republic, when the gentle aspirations of the sons of liberty were, "We are one!"
In your answer to my questions last fall, that peculiar tact of modern politicians declaring, "If you ever enter into that high office, you must go into it free and unfettered, with no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from your whole life, character, and conduct," so much resembles a lottery-vendor's sign, with the goddess of good luck sitting on the car of fortune, a-straddle of the horns of plenty, and driving the merry steeds of beatitude, without reins or bridle, that I cannot help exclaiming--O frail man, what have you done that will exalt you? Can anything be drawn from your life, character, or conduct, that is worthy of being held up to the gaze of this nation as a model of virtue, charity and wisdom? Are you not a lottery picture, with more than two blanks to a prize? Leaving many things prior to your Ghent treaty, let the world look at that, and see where is the wisdom, honor, and patriotism, which ought to have characterized the plenipotentiary of the only free nation upon the earth? A quarter of a century's negotiation to obtain our rights on the north-eastern boundary, and the motley manner in which Oregon tries to shine as American territory, coupled with your presidential race and come-by-chance secretaryship, in 1825, all go to convince the friends of freedom, the golden patriots of Jeffersonian Democracy, free trade and sailor's rights, and the protectors of persons and property, that an honorable war is better than a dishonorable peace.
But had you really wanted to have exhibited the wisdom, clemency, benevolence, and dignity of a great man in this boasted republic, when fifteen thousand free citizens were exiled from their own homes, lands, and property, in the wonderful patriotic State of Missouri, and you then upon your oath and honor occupying the exalted station of a Senator of Congress from the noble-hearted State of Kentucky why did you not show the world your loyalty to law and order, by using all honorable means to restore the innocent to their rights and property? Why, sir, the more we search into your character and conduct, the more we must exclaim from holy writ, The tree is known by its fruit.
Again: this is not all. Rather than show yourself an honest man, by
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guaranteeing to the people what you will do in case you should be elected President, "you can enter into no engagement, make no promises, and give no pledges" as to what you will do. Well, it may be that some hot-headed partisan would take such nothingarianism upon trust; but sensible men and even ladies would think themselves insulted by such an evasion of coming events! If a tempest is expected, why not prepare to meet it, and, in the language of the poet, exclaim --
"Then let the trial come, and witness thou
If terror be upon me, if I shrink
Or falter in my strength to meet the storm,
When hardest it besets me."
True greatness never wavers; but when the Missouri compromise was entered into by you, for the benefit of slavery, there was a mighty shrinkage of western honor; and from that day, sir, the sterling Yankee, the struggling Abolitionist, and the staunch Democrat, with a large number of the liberal-minded Whigs, have marked you as a blackleg in politics, begging for a chance to shuffle yourself into the presidential chair, where you might deal out the destinies of our beloved country for a game of brag, that would end in "Hark, from the tombs a doeful sound." Start not at this picture, for your "whole life, character, and conduct," have been spotted with deeds that cause a blush upon the face of a virtuous patriot. So you must be contented in your lot, while crime, cowardice, cupidity, or low cunning, have handed you down from the high tower of a statesman to the black hole of a gambler.
A man that accepts a challenge, or fights a duel, is nothing more nor less than a murderer, for the holy writ declares that "whoso sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed;" and when, in the renowned city of Washington, the notorious Henry Clay dropped from the summit of a senator to the sink of a scoundrel, to shoot at that chalk line of a Randolph, he not only disgraced his own fame, family, and friends, but he polluted the sanctum sanctorum of American glory; and the kingly backguards throughout the while world are pointing the finger of scorn at the boasted "asylum of the oppressed," and hissing at American statesmen, as gentlemen vagabonds and murderers, holding the olive branch of peace in one hand and a pistol for death in the other! Well might the Savior rebuke the heads of this nation with Wo unto you Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites, for the United States Government and Congress, with a few honorable exceptions, have gone the way of Cain, and must perish in their gainsayings, like Korah and his wicked host. And honest men of every
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clime, and the innocent, poor, and oppressed, as well as Heathens, Pagans and Indians, everywhere, who could but hope that the tree of liberty would yield some precious fruit for the hungry human race, and shed some balmy leaves for the healing of nations, have long since given up all hopes of equal rights, of justice, and judgment, and of truth and virtue, when such polluted, vain, heaven-daring, bogus patriots, are forced or flung into the front rank of government, to guide the destinies of millions. Crape the heavens with weeds of woe, gird the earth with sackcloth, and let hell mutter one melody in commemoration of fallen splendor! For the glory of America has departed, and God will set a flaming sword to guard the tree of liberty, while such mint-tithing Herods as Van Buren, Boggs, Benton, Calhoun, and Clay, are thrust out of the realms of virtue, as fit subjects for the kingdom of fallen greatness; vox reprobi, vox Diaboli!
In your late addresses to the people of South Carolina, where rebellion budded, but could not blossom, you "renounced ultraism," "high tariff,"; and almost banished your "banking systems" for the more certain standard of "public opinion." This is all very well, and marks the intention of a politician, the calculations of a demagogue, and the allowance for leeings of a shrewd manager, just as truly as the weathercock does the wind when it turns upon the spire. Hustings for the south, barbacues for the west, confidential letters for the north, and "American system" for the east.
"Lull-a-by baby upon the tree top,
And when the wind blows the cradle will rock."
Suppose you should also, taking your "whole life, character, and conduct," into consideration, and, as many hands make light work, stir up the old "Clay party," the "National Republican party," the "High Protective Tariff party," and the late "Coon Skin party," with all their paraphernalia, ultraism, ne plus ultraiam, sine qua non, which have grown with your growth, strengthened with your strength, and shrunk with your shrinkage, and ask the people of this enlightened Republic, what they think of your powers and policy as a statesman; for verily it would seem, from all past remains of parties, politics, projects, and pictures, that you are the Clay, and the people the potter; and as some vessels are marred in the hands of the potter, the natural conclusion is, that you are a vessel of dishonor.
You may complain that a close examination of your "whole life, character, and conduct" places you, as a Kentuckian would pleasantly term it, "in a bad fix." But, sir, when the nation has sunk deeper and deeper
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in the mud at every turn of the great wheels of the Union, while you have acted as one of the principal drivers, it becomes the bounden duty of the whole community, as one man, to whisper you on every point of government, to uncover every act of your life, and inquire what mighty acts you have done to benefit the nation, how much you have tithed the mint to gratify your lust, and why the fragments of your raiment hang upon the thorns by the path as signals to beware!
But your shrinkage is truly wonderful! Not only your banking system and high tariff project, have vanished from your mind, "like the baseless fabric of a vision," but the "annexation of Texas" has touched your pathetic sensibilities of national pride so acutely, that the poor Texans, your own brethren, may fall back into the ferocity of Mexico, or be sold at auction to British stock-jobbers, and all is well, for "I" the old senator from Kentucky, am fearful it would militate against my interest in the north, to enlarge the borders of the Union in the south. Truly, "a poor wise child is better than an old foolish king, who will be no longer admonished." Who ever heard of a nation that had too much territory? Was it ever bad policy to make friends? Has any people ever become too good to do good! No, never; but the ambition and vanity of some men have flown away with their wisdom and judgment, and left a croaking skeleton to occupy the place of a noble soul. Why, sir, the condition of the whole earth is lamentable. Texas dreads the teeth and toe nails of Mexico. Oregon has the rheumatism, brought on by a horrid exposure to the heat and cold of British and American trappers; Canada has caught a bad cold from extreme fatigue in the patriot war; South America has the headache, caused by bumps against the beams of Catholicity and Spanish sovereignty. Spain has the gripes from age and inquisition. France trembles and wastes under the effects of contagious diseases. England groans with the gout, and wiggles with wine. Italy and the German States are pale with consumption. Prussia, Poland, and the little contiguous dynasties, duchies, and domains, have the mumps so severely, that "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint." Russia has the cramp by lineage. Turkey has the numb palsy. Africa, from the curse of God, has lost the use of her limbs. China is ruined by the Queen's evil, and the rest of Asia fearfully exposed to the small-pox, the natural way, from British peddlers. The islands of the sea are almost dead with the scurvy. The Indians are blind and lame and the United States, which ought to be the good physician with "balm from Gilead" and an "asylum for the oppressed," has boosted and is boosting up into the council
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chamber of the Government a clique of political gamblers, to play for the old clothes and old shoes of a sick world, and "no pledge, no promise to any particular portion of the people" that the rightful heirs will ever receive a cent of their father's legacy! Away with such self-important, self-aggrandizing and self-willed demagogues! Their friendship is colder than polar ice, and their profession meaner than the damnation of hell.
O man! when such a great dilemma of the globe, such a tremendous convulsion of kingdoms shakes the earth from centre to circumference; when castles, prison-houses, and cells raise a cry to God against the cruelty of man; when the mourning of the fatherless and the widow causes anguish in heaven; when the poor among all nations cry day and night for bread, and a shelter from the heat and storm; and when the degraded black slave holds up his manacled hands to the great statesmen of the United States, and sings --
"O liberty, where are thy charms,
That sages have told me were sweet?"
And when fifteen thousand free citizens of the high-blooded republic of North America are robbed and driven from one State to another without redress or redemption, it is not only time for a candidate for the Presidency to pledge himself to execute judgment and justice in righteousness, law or no law; but it is his bounden duty as a man, for the honor of a disgraced country, and for the salvation of a once virtuous people to call for a union of all honest men, and appease the wrath of God by acts of wisdom, holiness, and virtue! "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Perhaps you may think I go too far with my strictures and innuendos, because in your concluding paragraph you say: -- "It is not inconsistent with your declarations to say, that you have viewed with a lively interest the progress of the Latter-day Saints, that you have sympathized in their sufferings, under injustice, as it appeared to you, which has been inflicted upon them; and that you think, in common with all other religious communities, they ought to enjoy the security and protection of the Constitution and the laws." If words were not wind, and imagination not a vapor, such "views" "with a lively interest" might coax out a few "Mormon" votes; such "sympathy" for their suffering under injustice might heal some of the sick, yet lingering amongst them; raise some of the dead, and recover some of their property, from Missouri; and finally, if thought was not a phantom, we might, in common with
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other religious communities, "you think," enjoy the security and protection of the Constitution and laws. But during ten years, while the Latter-day Saints have bled, been robbed, driven from their own lands, paid oceans of money into the Treasury to pay your renowned self and others for legislating and dealing out equal rights and privileges to those in common with all other religious communities, they have waited and expected in vain! If you have possessed any patriotism, it has been veiled by your popularity for fear the Saints would fall in love with its charms. Blind charity and dumb justice never to much towards alleviating the wants of the needy, but straws show which way the wind blows. It is currently rumored that your dernier resort for the Latter-day Saint is to emigrate to Oregon or California. Such cruel humanity, such noble injustice, such honorable cowardice, such foolish wisdom, and such vicious virtue, could only emanate from Clay. After the Saints have been plundered of three or four millions of land and property, by the people and powers of the sovereign State of Missouri -- after they have sought for redress and redemption from the county court to Congress, and been denied through religious prejudice and sacerdotal dignity -- after they have builded a city and two temples at an immense expense of labor and treasure -- after they have increased from hundreds to hundreds of thousands--and after they have sent missionaries to the various nations of the earth, to gather Israel, according to the predictions of all the holy prophets since the world began -- that great plenipotentiary, the renowned Secretary of State, the ignoble duellist, the gambling senator, and Whig candidate for the presidency, Henry Clay, the wise Kentucky lawyer, advises the Latter-day Saints to go to Oregon, to obtain justice, and set up a government of their own. O ye crowned heads among all nations, is not Mr. Clay a wise man, and very patriotic! Why, great God! to transport 200,000 people through a vast prairie, over the Rocky Mountains, to Oregon, a distance of nearly 2,000 miles, would cost more than four millions, or should they go by Cape Horn, in ships to California, the cost would be more than twenty millions! and all this to save the United States from inheriting the disgrace of Missouri, for murdering and robbing the Saints with impunity! Benton and Van Buren, who make no secret to say, if they get into power they will carry out Boggs' exterminating plan, to rid the country of the Latter-day Saints, are "Little nipperkins of milk," compared to "Clay's" great aquafortis jars. Why, he is a real giant in humanity! "Send the Mormons to Oregon
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and free Missouri from debt and disgrace!" Ah! sir, let this doctrine go to-and-fro throughout the whole earth -- that we, as Van Buren said, know your cause is just, but the United States Government can do nothing for you, because it has no power. "You must go to Oregon, and get justice from the Indians!"
I mourn for the depravity of the world; I despise the hypocrisy of Christendom; I hate the imbecility of American statesmen; I detest the shrinkage of candidates for office, from pledges and responsibility: I long for a day of righteousness, when He "whose right it is to reign, shall judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth," and I pray God, who hath given our fathers a promise of a perfect government in the last days, to purify the hearts of the people, and hasten the welcome day.
With the highest considerations for virtue and unadulterated freedom, I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
HON. H. CLAY, Ashland,
The following answer was received in Hancock County, Illinois, from the Vermont residents Joseph Smith, Jr. addressed in his 1843 letter to the "Green Mountain Boys":
STRAFFORD, ORANGE COUNTY
STATE OF VERMONT Feb. 15th 1844
TO THE EDITOR OF THE WARSAW MESSAGE OR WARSAW SIGNAL IF THAT HAS COMMENCED.
Sir, If you think proper to publish the following in your paper, we desire you to do so, as we have not seen any reply to Joe Smiths call upon us Green mountain boys in any of our public journals although [their] may be and we have not seen it, and not knowing your exchange paper in this State we thought we would send our views for publication near the great fountain head of the mormon clan, as we have an opportunity to send by a gentleman travelling west. We wish to address ourselves to Joe Smith in regard to his call upon us &c. Gen. Joe Smith, Lord Mayor of the holy City of Nauvoo, President of the grand high Council of the Mormon military church &c. We have read your call upon us and many of us have consulted together upon the subject and have come to the conclusion that you to the conclusion that you ought to have justice done you and several of your coadjutors strictly and without much delay, for we believe you honestly deserve it according to our sense of justice, and that is this, that you be suspended by your neck to a gallows at least fifteen cubits & a span higher than Hamans. We believe that while you was in Kirtland you made a public declaration to your followers that the government of the United Stats was rotten and that after you got to farwest you would give them a new government, that the Mormons must and should rule this continent for the Lord had told you so. After being at farwest awhile, you then and there, made your declaration of independence through your mouth piece S. Rigdon, and published it to the world, although it is couchd in ambiguous terms it is not to be misunderstood. Then and there by that declaration, you and your followers cast off all allegiance to the General or States government and assumed a new one for yourselves, and that act, we consider no less than high treason. You marshalled your followers under a flag to march, burn, rob, and murder the benevolent citizens of Missouri, which is nothing short of high treason, followed up by robbing, and murdering the enterprising, benevolent, and hospitable Citizens of Missouri whose blood will still cry from the plains of Missouri for vengeance on your unhallowed head. We fully believe that the good citizens of Missouri bore with the outragous rascality of you and your serfs as long as any honest people could or would. You say that you & your friends lost a great many thousand dollars & that thousands of your friends were slain by the Missourians, which is too base a falsehood for any person of common sense to believe, for if you ever had thousands or even hundreds, we believe you... [illegible lines]
As to loosing all the lands, every one of your clan that owned land in Missouri had time to sell, and did sell for a valuable consideration before you left there.
After you came to Illinois you published a long rigmarole of abuse against the Missourians and how you went to their camp carrying a white flag as is the custom between two civilized nations & expected the same deference paid to it as was usual between civilized nations, and you say that you was disappointed. Now what reason you had to expect any more regard paid to your white flag than a gang of pirates would if they were hard presd, and should raise a white flag we are unable to guess. We consider all your man... [illegible lines]
Now if you had actually met with some losses in the Missouri difficulties, we believe that the General government would have no right to grant you any redress, any more than it would any foreign savage tribe of Indians, should they go and fight the Missourians, and were driven off with the loss of their ponies. You call upon the states to go and help crush Missouri, to humble and abase her with a vengeance for you say if there is a whisper from the spirit of an Ethan Allen, or a gleam from the shade of a general Stark, let it mingle with our sense of honor and fire our bosoms for the cause, and may all the earth bear me witness if Missouri escapes vengeance. You call upon us to build steam frigates, to spread ourselves far and wide, and to open the iron eyes of our bulwarks by sea and land; like the dreadful splendor of an army with bayonets; and and if Missouri escapes vengeance, then Vermont is a hypocrite -- a coward -- and this nation a hot bed of political demagogues!!! (for Jesus Christ told you so, or in other words your counsillor) Now Joe why dont you call for the Spanish Armada at once, and lend a helping hand to get it on, so that you can glut your diabolical rage in a trice? Oh! what a consumate peace maker you must be!! What a messenger of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ!! You call for vengeance, blood, and Murder, and call upon death to send heated darts to sting with, the grave to open the trap door that they may stumble in. Oh! what philanthropy such a being must possess!! You call upon the masonic fraternity to assist you. We consider our obligations to our God, and our country paramount to the callsof a banditi of pirates or mormons, and furthermore we consider the masonic institution disgraced by establishing a lodge in Nauvoo at all, and we will never own as a brother of the fraternity one who we believe to be guilty of violating every law of civil society. A...
...a Hiram, a St. John or a Washington would never raise their hands before a wondering world and say my life for his, in refference to Joe Smith or any of your clan, no; not by a long way Joe -- but would say to you in true Roman style, procul. O procell este profani! (be off, be off ye profane.) go to Missouri and have your trial when you ought to go.
You have made a great ado about persecution, and your dupes have cried loud and long; but we do not believe that you have been persecuted in any shape whatever, unless keeping you and your clan from robbing and murdering can be called persecution. You say that the privilege of enjoying life & religion according to the most virtuous and enlightened customs, rules, and etiqute of the nineteenth century are to the disgrace of the United States denied you. Now Joe that is a base falsehood, unless you mean your pure and undefiled religion which we believe to consist in filching all you can from your dupes, to keep a score of Cyprian Saints and Spiritual wives, and in devising ways and means for blood and carnage and pirates might cry persecution when brought to Justice. As for your Spiritual wife system, if fiends had set themselves to work to discover a mode of most effectually destroying whatever is venerable, graceful, or permanent, in domestic life, and of obtaining at the same time an assurance that the... was their object to create should be perpetrated from one generation to another, they could not have invented a more effectual plan. As to the book of Mormon it is the silliest jumble of nonsense ever put in the form of a book. Gullivers travels, and the Hindoo...
As regards the death of your Father and brother, any one that can be brought to believe in your pretensions, must believe that you are guilty of their death yourself, for you and your pharisaical hypocrites publicly declare and have published to the world that laying on your hand or the hands of the Elders will immediately heal the Sick, and when so easy done who but a murderer would look and tamely se[e] their Father & brother die when so easy heald. Why dont you immediately remove the rheumatic affections from your Mother [Lucy Mack Smith] and not let her suffer one day longer. You say your Father stood Several times in the battles of [the] American revolution, but he was not in it neither in the last war with the british nation but if you mean the revolution you attempted in Missouri it would look a little more plausible but we dont believe it in either case. He was a great coward when in the prime of life. You have passed some encomiums upon him but appear studiously to avoid saying anything about his being too extremely fond of muton to be seen hereabouts any longer. You ought to have given his full history for you was old enough when you left here to remember a great many things about him and how he used to tel about your being born with a veil over your face, and that he intended to procure a stone for you to see all over the world with.
You must well remember his frequent declarations that the whole bible was the work of priestcraft, and that no Nation was so enlightened, but it could be made to believe in any religion however absurd it might be, if it was advocated perseveringly for fifty years, it would become the popular religion of the country, and as good as any other; that Voltaires writings were the best bible then extant, and Thomas Paines age of reason, the best commentary. It appears that he undertook to make his word good in trying a new religion and obtaining a few knaves to help start it. -- And you and your coadjutors keep it a going with a full determination to undermine the general government of our great republic. How much wisdom, prudence and virtue, our presidents Governors, and rulers will obtain by your appeal to us we leave for them to say, but one thing, they will readily discover, your eagerness for discord and civil commotions, your diabolical and treasonable object. You have given a wonderful display of your great precosity, and of your great knowledge of the languages; what learning!! Perhaps you can tel how long it would take a crew of pirates; to cry persecution, mobs, hell-hounds and such names to their pursuers, before they could make
one honest community actually believe the pirates were honest and were persecuted, and the civil citizens a mob. As for ourselves we believe you stand in the same position as the pirate does; and it has been your cry from first to last. But we have no sympathy for you but say to you remember Haman -- If you studied piracy while digging for the money your Father pretended old Bob Kidd [had] buried, you should also have studied the fate of pirates. We think the Governor, and Citizens of Illinois have shown a little imbecility, in suffering you and your banditti to take up your residence and enjoy all the privileges and immunities as citizens, the but ends broke off before you yield to such an infamous wreck as Joe or any of his merauders. We do not believe that Joe or any that was expeld from Missouri could ever have obtained a place of residence here in Vermont much less admited to vote in any case whatever in the state, and it has been a wonder to thousands of us that the Gov. of Illinois ever permited Joe to take a lodging in that state. We had designed noticing each particular subject in your call to us in detail, but for the present will write but little more. We will just add that should you cause another outbreak you will be met by more than ten thousand bayonets of the Green Mountain Boys
As you closed your appeal in lofty strains of poetry most sublime, we will put your fish ordinance into rhyme:
Fish not no more Along Nauvoo shore
For instead the trout
You may haul more of my little ones and
Again I say as I said before
Fish not near Nauvoo shore
For I am tired of hearing so many complaints
About catching the (spritual)
fruit of my cyprian saints
No Joe you may go on in the depths of disgrace
Like all of the low money diggers
But you shortly will be put in a place
Never envied by the meanest Niggers.
(original document at Yale University's Beinecke Library)