Mormon History, Sunday, January 12th, 1845

-- Sunday, January 12th, 1845
[Apostle John Taylor diary] I attended the Seventies Hall according to previous appointment in company with Pres. B. Young, Bro. G. A. Smith, and Bishop Whitney.

Bro. Young arose and said he wanted to make a selection of a few men to [go] out into this and the adjoining counties, to forestall our enemies in their designs to prevent the trial of the murderers of Bros. Joseph and Hyrum Smith in the spring. They intend to charge the thefts that have been committed around here, upon the Mormons; and the devil reigns in their hearts and in the hearts of all the children of disobedience; and they will continue to act devilish as long as we continue to receive revelations from God. His advice would be for the Saints to look out for thieves, he would like to catch such men. If they want a method to detect them give a ball of lead it would show who were the theives, Mormons or Anti-Mormons.

When we get power the devil loses his; those that trouble us are disembodied devils, all they want is to get a body, and to get power over men and beasts, this is the warfare we have to fight with these who seek to possess a body and when they get possession, legions of them enter as of old. [p. 24] He did not want young Elders belonging to the Seventies to go to dancing schools if they persisted in so doing, they had better come and give up their licenses; we will not bear their sins if they will not bear our scoldings. The Twelve are the scape goats that have to bear the sins, and them the Church.

He wanted to select a few men to go to the adjoining counties to preach to them, and they shall succeed in their purposes. He wanted them to go to Warsaw, Morley's Settlement, Pike County, Brown County, Adams County.

Thousands of people think we are thieves from the misrepresentations of our enemies. A man of the name of Brown that had been a Mormon, he had stolen on our credit, and had lately been put in jail; he stabbed a man of the name of Lawson a Mormon, in an attempt to take him. Men say they can do an injury to this Church what can they do? They can spill innocent blood; but after they have killed the body, there is no more that they can do, their power is limited; they attempted to take Bro. Joseph's head wen he lay by the well; but could not. I arose and said Bro. Young has spoken as I would have done. I acquiesce in the statements made by him to select men to go and instruct the Church and put them on their guard; and when those in the counties round see that we are using our influence to put these things down it will have some effect on the honest. The Anti-Mormons wish to publish the thefts and charge them to the Mormons and thus raise an excitement, and to bring ruin and de
solation upon this people. The following persons were then nominated: Chas. Bird, Jesse C. Braley, Wm. Cutler, John Eldridge, H. B. Jacobs, Thos. McKenzie, H. Eldridge, Wm. Miller, Jacob Gates, B. Wilson, Egan Holton, Danl. Browett, Truman Gillett, W. G. Wilson, Alphonzo Young, Saml. Richards, Israel Barlow, D. D. Hunt, Wm. Anderson, John Spires, D. M. Repsher, Andrew Moore, Brother Sanders, J. L. Burnham, [p. 25] There was a meeting appointed for the High Priest's Quorum, at 2 o'clock.

I arose and made a few remarks like the following. I expected Bro. Young here, he wanted to bring some business before this quorum, concerning the thefts committed by the Anti-Mormons, with the intention of bringing a stigma upon us, for the purpose of creating an excitement in the spring.

It is for the purpose of quelling these things that we have organized the police. Our object is to select men to clear up the misrepresentations of our enemies. Some men go out under the cloak of Mormonism, and steal when they have a chance, and lay it to the Mormons. Some would insinuate that these are the mysteries of the kingdom, there are not any mysteries of this kind; there are indeed mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of God; and things which it would not be prudent to reveal. When the commandment is to reveal these things then you shall hear them. Some say they will believe everything the priesthood teachers if they know it to be right; but if you knew it you would not require teaching. I wonder if these doubtful characters would not disbelieve God, how do they know but what he might lead them astray. You must therefore have confidence in your teachers if you wish to be made acquainted with the things pertaining to the kingdom. If men have confidence in one another
they will be respected and the blessings of God will be with them. There are no people under the heavens that have possession of the power we have. God gave Joseph the keys of the kingdom and he gave them to us. We live in a day that princes, prophets, and kings have desired to see. I would not exchange the office of a High Priest for the Crown of any nation. The troubles that we go through are not to be noticed in comparison with the things that are awaiting us, we should consider ourselves as princes, kings, and priests unto the most High God that will possess rule and government in this world, and in the world to come thrones, principalities, powers, and dominions.

Elder Young arose and said there were a great many High Priests came to him to see if they should go to preach now they would have an opportunity.

We want to select about fifty men a portion of them we want to make agents for the Church. When the Twelve were first sent out, they had to give $2,000 bonds for the faithful performance of their duty. Joseph done that as a precedent for us to go by, it now becomes our duty to have others enter into bonds likewise, many men have been wronged out of their property, and for this reason we have to take all precautionary measures, to prevent the saints from being imposed upon. A Natural born thief or liar will never enter the Celestial kingdom, they may try till doomsday. The following persons were then selected: Wm. Snow, David Pettigrew, Wm. Hyde, Lorenzo Snow, Chas. C. Rich, Jacob Foutz, Benjn. Brown, Wm. Perkins, Wm. Moss, Franklin D. Richards, A. H. Perkins, M. H. Peck, E. D. Wooley, David Evans, Jas. Newberry, Elisha H. Groves, Alexander Williams, J. C. Wright, Willard Snow, Wm. A. Gheen, Noah Packard, Alvah H. Tippets, Aaron Johnson, Joseph W. Johnson, E.
Fordham, Stephen Markham, Jacob G. Bigler, J. H. Hale, Evan M. Green, Dominicus Carter, Erastus Snow, Jonathan Dunham, Edmund Fisher, Winslow Far, John Pack, Lorenzo Young, Stephen Litz, Henry G. Sherwood, Elam Luddington, Jesse D. Hunter, Ezra T. Benson, David H. Redfield, Ormus E. Bates, Thos. Pearson, Pelatiah Brown, Jedediah M. Grant, Thos. Kington, [p. 27] The subject in selecting a number of the Seventies was to go forth and preach, lecture, and read documents in Hancock and the adjoining counties, that we might be enabled to frustrate the designs of our enemies, who we have been informed have entered into compacts to steal from each other and from the Mormons, in order to blame us with their evil deeds, and bring reproach upon this community, that by false statements and misrepresentations, they may be enabled to prejudice and excite the public mind, so as to prevent the execution of the law upon the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Monday, January 13th, 45. I attended the City Council at 10 o'clock, adjourned at quarter past 3 o'clock. I was appointed one of a committee to draft resolutions pertaining to the impositions practised by the Anti-Mormons, and to take precautionary measures to prevent thefts. Met also in council with the Twelve who were part of the City Council.

The Voice of Nauvoo!

Proceedings of the City Council.


It is with feelings of deep and inexpressible regret that we learn that the inhabitants of various parts of this state are seeking to accumulate all the real and supposed crimes of the whole community for the secret or ostensible purpose of raising a tide of influence against the Mormon Community that shall sweep them into irrevocable ruin. This course of conduct, originating with our mortal enemies and gathering in its wake, other men that would revolt at the idea of lending a hand to oppress a long abused people that are struggling against foes within and foes with-[p. 28]out; is at the present time almost insupportable to our feelings. We have scarcely laid by our weeds for murdered men, whom we promptly surrendered up to the State of Illinois for an equitable trial'1/2--And now we see in embryo another campaign to spill yet more blood and effect an utter extermination and massacre.

We sought to rid our city of counterfeiters and blacklegs; these together with our foes without and within, had established a printing press of unparalleled rancor and malignity. But our efforts to obtain freedom from such viscious monsters cost us much tribulation and precious blood.

The impunity thus far granted the murderers by the Senate and other authorities of the State of Illinois, has emboldened them and their apologists to set on for a series of other exciting causes that they hope will either destroy this community, or prevent their criminals from being brought to punishment. We have not so much fear that our enemies will succeed in their fiendish design against us, as we have that the peace and good order of the people of this State will be disturbed, and fearful anarchy and bloody misrule will ensue among those who listen to and countenance the fell designs of those who are stealing from quiet citizens of the State and palming upon them a spurious and false currency, and charging to the Mormons their own crimes. If they shall succeed, the citizens will be involved in continual larcenies and neighborhood broils, and crimes the end of which cannot now be foreseen. We deprecate such evils and calamities because we desire the good of all mankind,
as the gratuitous labors of the greater portion of our citizens in spreading truth throughout the world under much poverty and suffering, abundantly prove.

As for us, our course is fixed, and while we are peaceable and loyal to the constitution and laws of our country, and are ever willing to join hands with the honest, virtuous, and patriotic in suppressing crime and punishing criminals, we will leave our enemies to judge, whether it would not be better to make Nauvoo one universal burying ground, before we suffer ourselves to be driven from our hard earned and lawful homes, by such high-handed oppression, and it may yet become a question to be decided by the community, whether the Mormons will, after having witnessed their best men murdered without redress, quietly and patiently, suffer their enemies to wrench them the last shreds of their constitutional rights; and whether they will not make their city one great sepulchre, rather than be the humble devotees at the shrine of mobocracy. But for the satisfaction of all concerned, we reiterate in the following resolutions, sentiments that we have always expressed in all places
as occasion demanded: Resolved, That the greater part of the thefts which have been complained of, are not in our opinion, true in fact, but have been trumped up by inimical persons, in order to cover their aggressive doings, with plausibility, and entice honest and unwary citizens to unite with them in the same uncompromising hostility against this people.

Resolved, That we defy the world to substantiate a single instance, where we have concealed criminals, or screened them from justice; but, on the contrary, always have been, and now are, extremely anxious that they should be ferretted out and brought to justice; and to this end would esteem it a favor, that if any person should lose property, or have good and sufficient reason to suspect any place of containing apparatus for making bogus or counterfeit money, that such person would follow up, trace out, and make diligent search, for all such property and apparatus, and if [p. 30] they can trace it into this City, we pledge ourselves to assist them legally, to the extent of our abilities in so laudable an undertaking.

Resolved, that it is our opinion that very many scoundrels, such as thieves, robbers, bogus makers, couterfeiters, and murderers, have been induced from reports published in the Warsaw Signal, to flock into this county in order to carry on their evil practices, knowing that it would be immediately charged upon the Mormons, and thereby they escape'1/2--and although we think that the reports of thefts have been very much exaggerated, yet we know from dear bought experience that such things do exist, and further we doubt not there may be some such characters prowling in and about our city.

Resolved, That we are extremely anxious to ferret out bring to justice, all such persons, if any, that are within the limits of our city, and for this purpose we have authorised our Mayor to enlarge the police, to any number, not exceeding five hundred, and we also pledge ourselves to double our diligence, and call upon our citizens to assist in ridding our city and country of all such infamous characters.

Done, in Council, this 13th day of January, 1845.

D. Spencer, Mayor. W. Richards, Recorder. (1)

-- Tuesday, January 14th, 1845
[Apostle John Taylor diary] Attended a meeting at the stand at 2 o'clock, to read preamble and resolutions, and to nominate members for the City Council. the following were then nominated: Mayor, Orson Spencer; Aldermen, Danl. Spencer, N. K. Whitney, G.W. Harris, C. C. Rich; Councillors, David Fullmer, John Pack, Saml. Bent, W.W. Phelps, Geo. Miller, Phineas Richards, Jas. Sloan, Jonathan C. Wright, E. Hunter. [p. 31] Meeting of the Citizens.

At a large meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo, convened at the stand, on the 14th day of January, 1845; Daniel Spencer, Mayor of the city, was called to the chair, and James Sloan appointed secretary; and Samuel Bent, Alpheus Cutler, C. C. Rich, Phineas Richards, and David Fullmer; were appointed a committee, to draft a preamble and resolutions, expressive of the sense of this meeting on the proceedings of the City Council, and for the action of this meeting. The committee retired and in a short time, returned the following, which were adopted unanimously: Preamble.

Whereas. The city council of the city of Nauvoo, have presented to this meeting, a preamble and sundry resolutions setting forth the fact, that enemies to the people of this City, and as we believe, enemies to the common welfare of the people of this State, are attempting to get up extensive popular excitement, prejudicial to this people and the country at large; and whereas, said resolutions set forth an unqualified reprobation of all unlawful and villainous conduct whether under the false color of Mormonism, or the real guise of mobbers, blacklegs, bogus-makers, thieves, wolf-hunters; therefore, we hereby express our perfect concurrence in the said preamble and resolutions.

And whereas, The Warsaw Signal, the Alton Telegraph, and the Quincy Whig, have been as we believe industriously engaged in circulating falsehood; disseminating discord, and the principles of mobocracy; and whereas, Mormon extermination, pillage, robbery, and murder, have received both countenance and apology in these scurrilous prints, as we believe; and whereas, the pen of murderers as we believe, has occupied the columns of these papers in order to deafen the cries of innocent blood that ascends to heaven for vengeance; and whereas, a long share of the thefts spoken of and blazed abroad, are wholly without existence when traced out, as appears not only from the instance recorded in the Governor's Message concerning horse stealing, but from other similar instances, too numerous to mention; and whereas, it has been zealously reported, that much stolen goods could be traced to Nauvoo, and that no citizen could enter our city to search for thieves, and stolen goods, because t
he thief and goods would be screened from detection by the Mormon fraternity, and the person in search, would be in jeopardy of his life; and whereas, thieves and counterfeiters have in some instances fled to our city, either under the mistaken apprehension that we would screen them, or from a malignant design to palm upon us their own crimes, and thereby draw us under the lash of persecution. And whereas, it can be proved that individuals, in order to swell the list of Mormon depredations, have reported property to be stolen, which at another time they have acknowledged, they sold the same property and received pay. And whereas, bee yards have been robbed, the hives left at the Mormon doors, to palm the theft upon us, when the honey has been found in the houses of our enemies; and whereas, an innumerable number of such infamous tricks have been played upon us, by our enemies, as we believe, for the purpose of blackening our character in the eyes of honest men; and whereas,
our city is nightly infested a set of outlandish men, who we believe, visit us for no good purpose, who do not appear to have any lawful business, but rather as we believe, are endeavoring to scatter amongst us their bogus and counterfeits, prostitute the virtue of the place, deposite stolen goods, or steal from us, and by every means in their power, sow the seeds of discord, strife, confusion, mobocracy, and murder, that in the end, they uproot our beautiful city; and whereas, that in some instances, when the ministers of Justice, have visited our city, at the dark hour of midnight, for the purpose of making legal arrests, as they say; we believe what is reported to us, that they have employed runners to steal the saddles and bridles from their own horses, while in our city, for the purpose of damning us in the eyes of the community.

And whereas, the Chief Magistrate of this State, after a second and protracted visit to this city, and much pains taken to investigate the charge of promiscuous stealing, reports to the legislature as follows: 'Justice, however, requires me here to say, that I have investigated the charge of promiscuous stealing, and find it to be greatly exaggerated.

I could not ascertain that there were a greater proportion of thieves in that community, than in any other of the same number of inhabitants; and perhaps if the city of Nauvoo, were compared with St. Louis, or any other western city, the proportion would not be so great.' And whereas, the printing office of our open and avowed enemy, Dr. Foster, was set on fire, in this city by himself, or by his instruction as we believe, to fan the flame of mobocracy, which fire was only prevented by our vigilant police.

And whereas, We firmly believe, that our enemies in this city, have several times attempted to fire their own buildings and have only been prevented by the diligence of our officers.

Therefore, be it resolved, unanimously, That we will use all lawful means in our power to assist the public to prevent stealing and bogus making, and bring the offenders to justice. [p. 34] Resolved, that to prevent further depredations in our city, by lawless desperadoes from abroad, we approve the raising of 500 police by this city.

Resolved, unanimously, That we invite all honest men to watch closely their property, and all thieves; and if they shall catch a thief in the act of stealing, challenge him to stand, and if he refuses so to do, and flees, so far as the Mormons are concerned, we will be satisfied if the owners of the property shall speedily send after him a writ of Habeas Corpus sealed with lead to arrest his progress, but after all, should the thief prove to be a mobocrat, alas! alas!! O what a pity!

Resolved, unanimously, That fifty delegates be sent to the surrounding country to inform the people of the designs of our enemies now concocting in their secret and public meetings, so that the honest part of the community, may unite with us, to prevent stealing and secure peace.

Resolved, That these proceedings be published in the papers at Nauvoo, with a request that other papers copy them. Daniel Spencer, Ch'n.

James Sloan, Sec'y.

In the evening attended a meeting of the Mechanics, at Bro. Gully's Store. It had been thought advisable for the Mechanics to adopt a system of working in companies every trade separate and distinct; knowing that we had as good mechanics here as any city in the world, we thought we could manufacture articles and export them, instead of importing every thing we needed, impoverishing the city and mechanics. In consequence of this resolution we met once a week, to regulate all business connected with the associations. The following is a history of these meetings up to the present time. [p. 35] October 9th, 1844. A meeting was called for the purpose of discussing the propriety of manufacturing, instead of importing articles of common use in Nauvoo. I was appointed Chairman, and addressed the meeting, and was followed by Judge Phelps, Mayor Spencer, P. Richards, and O. Spencer Esqrs., and others, in which it manifested itself, that we possessed the power of workmen'1/2--(the e
fficient capital, labor) to produce all the dry goods, hardware, cutlery, crockery, or any other commodity, that a community needs for comfort or convenience. A general committee with special committees among the trades, to devise ways and means, was proposed; whereupon the meeting was organized by appointing W.W.

Phelps Secretary, I having been appointed Chairman.

Orson Spencer, Phineas Richards, and myself were appointed a general committee to devise plans, and confer with the special committees of the several trades.

A meeting of the several trades was appointed for Saturday, the 12th Inst., at 2 pm., at the Temple for the purpose of choosing said committees, reporting the various trades, means, and such other information as could readily be elicited, said meeting of trades was again to assemble on Monday evening at such place and time as may be agreed on, on Saturday and prepare their committees to report to the general committee, which will meet at the Masonic Hall on Tuesday the 15th Inst., at early candle light for that purpose.

On Tuesday evening the 15th Inst. The trades committees had a meeting at the Masonic Hall and I was appointed Chairman. I addressed them on the best method of carrying on business for the benefit of the whole without creating monopolies; after which there were some satisfactory reports from the different trades showing that we could manufacture cheaper than we could import. [p. 36] On Tuesday evening, November 12th/44, the Masonic Hall was filled with a meeting of the various trades of this city; and was addressed by Gen.

Young, Alderman Spencer, and myself and others. The drift of our discourses were to go ahead and carry out the prospect of sustaining and building up Nauvoo, by its own mechanical and manuel labor.

I read a letter from a gentleman of Peterboro, N. H., by the name of Livingston, relative to building a factory here; and a committee consisting of Messrs. Scovil, Repsher, and Adams, were appointed to answer said communication and make suitable arrangements for erecting a building for said factory.

Another meeting was held on Tuesday, November 19th, 1844. I was appointed to the chair. The meeting was opened by prayer by Bro.

P. Richards.

I called for the report of the committee on Factories.

Mr. Scovil gave a report from the committee of Factories, relative to the erection of a building for a manufacturing establishment, which stated that twelve hundred dollars could be obtained; that it should be built of stone; it would be finished by June so that it could be occupied at an early period.

I arose and addressed the meeting, and stated the advantages we would have over the English in the manufacture of pottery the amount of expense they have in getting material to make it, and the exchange of hands, which must necessarily make it very dear in its importation to this country, and strongly urged upon the citizens of Nauvoo to enter into the manufacture of this article, inasmuch as we have all the necessary materials and a number of hands to engage in the business.

The committee from the weavers stated that they would shortly be able to have twelve looms ready for operation: that others were engaged in making spindles. They were waiting for cotton to commence.

I stated that the Church had engaged to receive cotton and other raw material, as tithing which shall be manufactured in this place.

A motion was made and carried that a committee be appointed to investigate the best measures to be adopted, whereupon, I appointed Orson Spencer, Judge Phelps, and Edward Hunter as said committee.

A meeting was held January 7th, 1845 at Bro. Gully's store; to hear the report of the committee concerning the dam to be erected on the Mississippi river.

This report as far as was made was highly satisfactory; but it was deemed advisable to add Newel Knight to the committee, and give them further time to report; and also to confer with the Trustees in Trust &. and report at the next meeting.

There was a meeting appointed for Tuesday, January 14th, 1845. I was appointed Chairman. A committee was appointed to confer with the owners of the land near the site of the dam, and to make arrangement for lands for the erection of buildings for machinery and stone for the dam.

One thousand one hundred and fifty dollars were subscribed in shares of fifty dollars, for a commencement of the dam, it was deemed advisable that the work commence soon, if the weather continues as favorable as it now is. (1)

1 - 'The John Taylor Nauvoo journal, January 1845-September 1845,' BYU Studies 23:3 (1983) edited by Dean C. Jessee

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