Facts Relative Expulsion Section H

Facts Relative to the Expulsion

(Section 8)


State of Missouri,
Clay County.

Personally appeared before me, Abraham Shafer, Lyman Wight, and maketh oath and saith, that the facts stated in the foregoing petition are true, as far as stated from his own knowledge, and as far as stated from the information of others he believes to be true. Given under my hand this 15th day of March, A. D. 1839.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for Clay County, in the state of Missouri, this 15th day of March 1839.


Copy of Joseph Smith, Jr’s Petition.

To the honorable Judge Tompkins, or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court for the State of Missouri.

Your petitioners, Alanson Ripley, Heber C. Kimball, Joseph B. Noble, William Huntington, and Joseph Smith, junior, beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor, that Joseph Smith, junior, is now unlawfully confined and restrained of his liberty, in Liberty jail, Clay County, (Missouri,) that he has been restrained of his liberty near five months. Your petitioners claim that the whole transaction which has been the cause of his confinement is unlawful from the first to the last. He was taken from his home by a fraud being practiced upon him by a man by the name of George M. Hinkle, and one or two others, thereby, your petitioners respectfully show, that he was forced, contrary to his wishes, and without knowing the cause, into the camp which was commanded by General Lucas, of Jackson County, and from thence to Ray County, sleeping on the ground, and suffering many insults and injuries, and deprivations, which were calculated in their nature to break down the spirits and constitution of the most robust and hardy of mankind.

He was put in chains immediately on his being landed at Richmond, and there underwent a long and tedious exparte examination; not only was it exparte, but your petitioners solemnly declare that it was a mock examination; that there was not the least shadow of honor, or justice, or law, administered toward him, but sheer prejudice, and the spirit of persecution and malice, and prepossession against him on account of his religion; that the whole examination was an inquisitory examination. Your petitioners show that the said Joseph Smith, junior, was deprived of the privileges of being examined before the court, as the law directs; that the witnesses on the part of the state were taken by force of arms, threatened with extermination or immediate death, and were brought without subpoena or warrant, under this awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the mob, or his persecutors; and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the gun, and that some of them have acknowledged since, which your petitioners do testify, and are able to prove, that they did swear false, and that they did it in order to save their lives. And your petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing or criminality against said Joseph Smith, Junior, is false. We are personally acquainted with the circumstances, and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them, therefore we know that their testimony was false, and if he could have had a fair and impartial and lawful examination before that court, and could have been allowed the privilege of introducing his witnesses, he could have disproved every thing that was against him; but the court suffered them to be intimidated-some of them in the presence of the court, and they were driven also, and hunted, and some of them entirely driven out of the state.

And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; that the spirit of the court was tyrannical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment during the examination was calculated to convince your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, prescribing him in the liberty of conscience, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States, and the state of Missouri; that a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the court, purporting to be the religious sentiment of the said Joseph Smith, junior, which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it was false, and can prove also, that it was false; because the witnesses testified that these sentiments were promulgated on certain days, and in the presence of large congregations; and your petitioners can prove by those congregations, that the said Joseph Smith, junior, did not promulge such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion, as was testified of, and admitted before the Honorable Austin A. King; and, at the same time, those things had no bearing on the case, that the said Joseph Smith, junior, was pretended to be charged with; and, after the examination, the said prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the state of Missouri; whereas, the said Joseph Smith, junior, did not levy war against the state of Missouri, neither did he commit any covert acts; neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the state of Missouri during the time that he is charged with having done so; and, farther, your petitioners have yet to learn that the state has an enemy; neither is the proof evident, nor the presumption great, in its most indignant form, upon the face of the testimony on the part of the state, exparte as it is in its nature, that the said prisoner has committed the slightest degree of treason, or any other act of transgression against the laws of the state of Missouri; and yet said prisoner has been committed to Liberty jail, Clay County, (Mo.,) for treason.

He has continually offered bail to any amount that could be required, notwithstanding your petitioners allege that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also allege that the commitment was an illegal commitment, for the law requires that a copy of the testimony should be put in the hands of the jailer, which was not done. Your petitioners allege that the prisoner has been denied the privilege of the law in a writ of Habeas Corpus, by the judges of this county. Whether they have prejudged the case of the prisoner, or whether they are not willing to administer law and justice to the prisoner, or that they are intimidated by the high office of Judge King, who only acted in the case of the prisoners as a committing magistrate, a conservator of the peace, or by the threats of a lawless mob, your petitioners are not able to say but it is a fact that they do not come forward boldly and administer the law to the relief of the prisoner; and, farther, your petitioners allege that immediately after the prisoner was taken, his family was frightened and driven out of their house, and that, too, by the witnesses on the part of the state, and plundered of their goods; that the prisoner was robbed of a very fine horse, saddle, and bridle, and other property of considerable amount; that they, (the witnesses,) in connection with the mob, have finally succeeded, by vile threatening and foul abuse, in driving the family of the prisoner out of the state, with little or no means, and without a protector, and their very subsistence depends on the liberty of the prisoner. And your petitioners allege that he is not guilty of any crime whereby he should be restrained of his liberty, from a personal knowledge, having been with him, and being personally acquainted with the whole of the difficulties between the Mormons and their persecutors; and, that he has never acted, at any time only in his own defense, and that, too, on his own ground, property, and possessions; that the prisoner has never commanded any military company, nor held any military authority, neither any other office, real or pretended, in the state of Missouri, except that of a religious teacher; that he never has born arms in the military rank, and in all such cases has acted as a private character, and as an individual.

How, then, your petitioners would ask, can it be possible, that the prisoner has committed treason. The prisoner has had nothing to do in Daviess County, only on his own business as an individual. The testimony of Doctor Avard concerning a council held at James Sloan’s, was false. Your petitioners do solemnly declare, that there was no such council; that your petitioners were with the prisoner, and there was no such vote nor conversation as Doctor Avard swore to; that Doctor Avard also swore false concerning a constitution, as he said, was introduced among the Danites; that the prisoner had nothing to do with burning in Daviess County; that the prisoner made public proclamation against such things; that the prisoner did oppose Doctor Avard and George M. Hinkle against vile measures with the mob, but was threatened by them if he did not let them alone; that the prisoner did not have anything to do with what is called Bogart’s battle, for he knew nothing of it until it was over-that he was at home, in the bosom of his own family during the time of that whole transaction; and, in fine, your petitioners allege that he is held in confinement without cause, and under an unlawful and tyrannical oppression, and that his health, and constitution, and life, depends on being liberated from his confinement.

Your petitioners aver that they can disprove every item of testimony that has any tendency of criminality against the prisoner, for they know it themselves, and can bring many others also to prove the same. Therefore, your petitioners pray your honor to grant to him the state’s writ of habeas corpus, directed to the jailer of Clay County, (Missouri) commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of the prisoner, so that his case may be heard before your honor, and the situation of the prisoner be considered and adjusted according to law and justice, as it shall be presented before your honor, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

And, further, your petitioners testify that the said Joseph Smith, Junior, did make a public proclamation in Far West, in favor of the militia of the state of Missouri, and of its laws, and, also, of the constitution of the United States; that he has ever been a warm friend to his country, and did use all his influence for peace; that he is a peaceable and quiet citizen, and is not worthy of death, of stripes, bonds, or imprisonment.

The above-mentioned speech was delivered on the day before the surrender of Far West.


State of Missouri, ss. County of Clay,

This day personally appeared before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for the aforesaid county-Alanson Ripley, Heber C. Kimball, William Huntington, Joseph B. Noble, and Joseph Smith, Jun., who, being duly sworn, doth depose and say that the matters and things set forth in the foregoing petition, upon their own knowledge, are true in substance and in fact, and so far as set forth upon the information of others, they believe to be true.


Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 15th day of March, 1839.


We, the undersigned, being many of us personally acquainted with the said Joseph Smith, jun., and the circumstances connected with his imprisonment, do concur in the petition and testimony of the above-named individuals, as most of the transactions therein mentioned we know from personal knowledge, to be correctly set forth, and from information of others, believe the remainder to be true.


Copy of Alexander McRea’s petition.

To the Honorable Judge Tompkins, of the Supreme Court for the State of Missouri.

Your petitioner, Alexander McRae, would beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor, that he has been confined and restrained of his liberty near five months, part of the time in chains; that your petitioner alleges his confinement to be unlawful and unjust, for the following reasons: In the first place, your petitioner is confined on the charge of treason against the state, which crime, according to the constitution of the state, as well as of the United States, can consist only in levying war and committing overt acts, or in adhering to the enemies of the same, which your petitioner declares he has never done, for he has yet to learn that the state has an enemy; that your petitioner on the examination was not allowed the privileges of the law in being examined before the court; that he was threatened and intimidated and was not allowed the liberty of speech and the rights of conscience; that the examination on the part of the court was tyrannical and overbearing towards your petitioner, such as was not lawful and warrantable in a free government; that the witnesses of your petitioner were intimidated by an armed force that had been for a length of time harassing and driving the Mormons from their homes and possessions, and this fact was known by the court, and yet the court employed this same armed force as a pretended guard to guard your petitioner, and suffered them to practice many abuses upon the witnesses of your petitioner, and participated largely himself in the same spirit of persecution; therefore, the witnesses of your petitioner were driven out of the place and some of them out of the state.

Copyright © 2022 Mormon History. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit churchofjesuschrist.org or comeuntochrist.org.

Pin It on Pinterest