Mormon History, Mar 7, 1844

-- Mar 7, 1844
A public meeting votes unanimously, with one exception, to accept Joseph Smith's U.S. presidential candidacy and his published political platform. This includes a provision for freeing America's slaves by government purchase with money obtained through the sale of federal lands to settlers. (1)

[Joseph Smith Diary] Thursday, March 7th 1844 9 A.M. I /Joseph/ presented to the meeting the proceedings of O. F. Bostwick and the Lawyers &c. [in which Bostwick was fined for saying that Hyrum Smith and the leading women of Nauvoo were promiscuous, and asked] for the people to speak out, say[ing] whether such men should be tolerated and supported in our midst. "From this time I design to bring such characters before the committee of the whole and if these things cannot be put a stop to, I will give them in to the hands of the mob. The hands of the officers of the /city/ falter, and are palsied by the conduct of such men.

"There is another I will speak about. He is a Mormon. A certain man who lived here before we come here. The two first letters of his name are Hiram Kimball. When the city had passed an ordinance to tax steam boats, he goes and tells the captains of the steam boats that he owned the landing and they need not to pay tax and I am determined to use up such men if they will not stop their efforts. If this is not true, let him come forward and throw of[f] the imputation. When they appeal to Carthage I will appeal to this people, the highest court. I despise the Lawyers who lag on their Law suits. Kimball and Morrison say they own the wharfs, but the city own[s] the wharf, 64 feet from high water mark from printing office to the northern limits of the city.

"Another thing I want to speak about the Lawyers of this city. I have good feelings and I will reprove them and the prophets always did say wo unto you ye lawyers. The Maratim[e] laws of the U[nited] S[tates] have ced[ed] up the tolls, wharfage, &c. to the respective corporation[s] who have jurisdiction &c.

"Shallow drafts intoxicate the brain &c. Look at the reason. No vessel could land any where if subject to individual[s'] laws. [The] Corporation owns the streets of the city and have a right to tax the Boats to make wharfs. The same as to tax citizens to make roads. [I] Want every man in this city to stay at home and let the Boat Captains, peace officers, and every body alone.

"Ho[w] are we to keep peace in this city, and defend our selves against mobs, [unless I] disgrace every man by preaching him on the house top, who will not be still, and mind their own business. Let them alone to use themselves up.

"A couple of [dishonest] merchants in this city. I was told by an old gentleman this morning /who told me/ that the spirit of Mobocracy was almost subsiding. [But] These [local] mobocrats have as the people abroad say, told the people that they need not bring butter, eggs &c. /to Nauvoo/ [I] will not tell their names. If they will not let the people bring in their produce, the people will not buy their [the merchants'] goods.

"Another man, [I] will not call his name, has been writing to New York Tribune some of the most disgraceful things possible to name. He has stated in that article that there are a great many appropriations to the Temple applied some where else &c. To stigmatize the Trustees and turn prejudice against us abroad. If any man who has appointed any thing [to be applied to the construction of the temple—an] old harness horses waggon &c. /let him come forward [and I will show that there is not]/ the first farthing and we cannot show where it has been appropriated, [or] I will give him my head for a foot ball.

"He also states that the Temple cannot be built [because] it costs so much. Who don't know that we can put the roof on this building this season? By turning all the means of the N[auvoo] House and doubling our diligence we can do it.

"The best way for such men is to be still. If I did not love men I would not reprove them, but [would] work in the dark as they do. Read the Tribune and you see for yourself.

"[I will not say who wrote the article, but I will say that] He is not a lawyer, he is nearer related to a Doctor, a small man—'Mr. McNiel—enquired if he was the man.' No did not know you. You are a stranger." Joseph rested.

Pres[iden]t Hyrum spoke saying he wanted to make some observations of a romantic turn. The character of such men ought to be noted by every man[. If he] had a[n] old country [gift for metaphor, he would say he would] ferret them out like rats &c. You could describe them as you would a Hedgehog, in every hedge [you find them. An ambitious man is always] turning /himself/ [around, changing colors like a tree toad and stinking] like the skunk, like pollywogs running about with tail[s], drop[ping them] off [to become] toads &c. [A] soul [worth] $5.00 [is cheaper than a] gizzard.

Cha[rle]s Foster asked if Joseph meant him. Joseph said I will ask you a question[. Foster:] that is no way [to answer]. [Smith:] Yes, that is this way the Quakers do. Why did you denominate yourself. Jesus said whose image and superscription is it. [Foster:] Did you mean me. [Smith:] Why did you denominate yourself. [Foster:] /Then I understand/ you meant me. [Smith:] You said it. [Foster:] You shall hear from me. [Smith: As] Mayor I fine you $10.00 for that threat and disturbing the meeting. Doctor Foster[, his brother,] spoke to palliate and exhort him to await &c. Doctor said he has not threatened you. Joseph says he has. Doctor[:] no one has heard him threaten you, and hundreds cried I have. Doctor continued to speak and Mayor said stop /order/ or I will fine you [as well].

W[illiam] W. Phelps read Gen[eral] Smith's views of the powers and policies of the Gen[eral] Government, after which it was voted unanimously with one exception, to uphold Gen[eral] Smith for the Presidency.

"A voice of Innocence from Nauvoo" [in response to Bostwick's allegations] was then read by W[illiam] W. Phelps and all the people [in the] assembly said Amen. Twice.

Doctor Foster read a letter from Thomas Ford Governor. 30 minutes past 12. Adjourned till 2 P.M.

2 P.M. assembled according to adjournment. Singing and Prayer by O[rson] Pratt. Singing.

President B[righam] Young addressed the congregation to give his views on the Lawyers who first arose among the children of Israel to explain [God's law] to the common people. I am a Lawyer in Israel. My business is to make peace among the people, and men who takes any other course is out of the line of his duty. A Lawyer's duty is [to] tell what the Law is and then let the people go and act upon it and let them receive pay like any laboring man.

It is desirable for justices of the peace, when men call for writs to inquire into the case and tell them how to settle, and thus put down law suits. To cure lawing, let us pay attention to our own business, when we hear a story never tell it again and it will be a perfect cure.

If your bro[ther] mistreats you let him alone. If your enemy cheats you let it go. Cease to deal with men who abuse. If all men had taken the course that some have we should not have such men in our midst. I have no objections to any mans coming here, but then I will have nothing to do with men who will stone me at midnight and at noon day &c.

Our difficulties and persecutions have always arisen from men right in our midst. It is the lust of individuals to rob us of every thing and build themselves up in our division.

I feel that I want that every man should stay and lift holy hands without wrath or dubiety to the men who own land here, do not think you can sell your lands here and then go off and spend it in abusing the Mormons. Israel is the head and not the tale.

I expect the saints are so anxious to work and so ready to do right that God has whispered to the prophet, build the temple, and let the N[auvoo] House alone at present. I would not sue a man if he owed me 500 [dollars] or a thousand $ [dollars] and he come to me and told me he would not pay. [I would simply not do business with him again until he paid me.]

Bro[ther] Taylor said that it was said by some that the Municipal offices of the city were acting in an arbitrary manner, and which was false &c. and went on to explain the principles of democracy.

Stopped awhile for a contribution to get fuse and powder. A boat was coming down and the messenger was waiting to go to St. Louis. Collected 50 or 60 dollars.

Bro[ther] Taylor continued his speech. When society was first organized they found themselves without Legislature Congress House of Lord or anything of the kind, every man was Lord over his own house.

Difficulties began to contend and combine together in governments bye and bye. Soon 2 or three requested they might return to their original customs and the government said they might. This is the situation of this city, in the main, [and why we] worked for a charter &c.

Of Gen[eral] Smith some are afraid. Think it doubtful about his election and like the ostrich stick their heads under a bush and leave their bodies out, and we can all see them and after this it will [be] a bye word that [that] man is an Ostrich who hides his head in this corner. Spoke also on the going on with the Temple.

Pres[iden]t Young spoke. Men who have not paid their property tithing [should know] we shall call on them and take dinner and we had rather be saved that trouble and have them come up and pay.

Elder Cahoon said if any one had any doubt about the state of the temple, let them call and see the Books and where they have paid their tithing show it entered on the book paid in full for /the/ year &c.

Joseph said in relation to those who give property on the Temple, be careful into /whose/ hands it come into that it may be entered into the Church books. That those whose names are found in the Church books shall have the first claim in that house. "I intend to keep the door at dedication myself and not a man shall pass who had not paid his bonus.

"I do not care 1/2 so much about the Pres[idential] election as I do the office I have got. We have as good a right to make political party to gain power to defend ourselves as for demagogues to make use of our religion to get power to destroy ourselves. We will whip the mob by getting up a President. When I look into the Eastern papers and see how popular I am I am afraid I shall be President.

"On the annexation of Texas, some object. The anti-Mormons are good fellows. I say it in anticipation they will repent. Object to Texas on account of slavery. Tis the very reason why she should be received.

"Houston says, 'Gentleman, if you refuse to receive us we must go to the British' and the first thing they will do will be to set the negroes and indians [against us] and they will use us up. British officers running all over Texas to pick a quarrel with us[. It would be] more honorable for us [as a nation] to receive them and set the negroes free and use the negro and indians against our foes.

"Don't let Texas go lest our Mother and the daughters of the land will laugh us in the teeth. If these things are not so God never spoke by any prophet since the world began. I have been [... [discreet about what I know]] [ . . . [In the struggle between the north and the]] south, [if the south] held the balance of power &c. by annexing Texas[, this could still be remedied]. I can do away [with] this evil [and] liberate [the slaves in] 2 or 3 states and if that was not sufficient, call in Canada [to be annexed].

Send the negroes to Texas [and] from Texas to Mexico where all colors are alike. Notice was given for the Relief Society to meet Saturday 2 P.M. to adopt "the voice of Innocence from Nauvoo"

/Joseph stated the Mormon Zion has endured all animus.[- - - - - - - - - -]

/Singing and prayer by B[righam] Young. (2)

1 - Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 7: Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47,
2 - Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1844,

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