History of Late Persecution
History of the Late Persecution (P. Pratt)
In Which Ten Thousand American Citizens Were Robbed,
Plundered, and Driven From the State, and Many Others
Imprisoned, Martyred, etc. for Their Religion, And
All This by Military Force, by Order of the Executive
BY P.P. PRATT,
Minister of the Gospel
Written During Eight Months Imprisonment in that State
“Great is the truth, and it will prevail.”
Price 25 cents per copy, or $16 per hundred.
DAWSON & BATES, PRINTERS
Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1839, by P.P. Pratt, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of Michigan.
History of the Late Persecution Inflicted By the State of Missouri upon the Mormons
Persecution of the Mormons Etc.
The following is a copy of a declaration, which was signed by the mob at the commencement of their operations, in 1833; and, it may be considered as their articles of agreement in conspiring against the laws of the land; and the very foundation of that awful scene which has well nigh destroyed a flourishing society of many thousands, and involved the whole state in irretrievable ruin. The goal was to destroy the Mormon Church.
“We, the undersigned, citizens of Jackson County, believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people, that have settled and are still settling in our county, styling themselves Mormons: and intending as we do to rid our society, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must: and believing as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect; deem it expedient and of the highest importance, to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose; a purpose which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature as by the law of self- preservation. It is now more than two years since the first of these fanatics or knaves, (for one or the other they undoubtedly are) made their first appearance amongst us; and pretending as they did, and now do, to hold personal communion and converse, face to face, with the most high God–to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven–to heal the sick by laying on hands–and in short, to perform all the wonder-working miracles wrought by the inspired apostles and prophets of old. We believe them deluded fanatics, or weak and designing knaves; and that they and their pretensions would soon pass away; but in this we were deceived. The arts of a few designing leaders among them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society, and since the arrival of the first of them, they have been daily increasing in numbers, and if they had been respectable citizens in society, and thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than our contempt and hatred. But from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to fear, that with very few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from whence they came–lazy, idle and vicious. This we conceive is not an idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof; for, with the few exceptions above named, they brought into our county with them, little or no property, and left less behind them; and we infer, that those only, yoked themselves to the Mormon car, who had nothing earthly or heavenly to lose by the change; and we fear that if some of the leaders among them, had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen ambassadors of the Most High, would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here, stamps their characters in their true colors. More than a year since it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves, and endeavoring to sow dissensions and to raise seditions among them. Of this, their Mormon leaders were informed; and said that they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend. But how specious are appearances.
In a late number of the Star, published in Independence, by the leaders of this sect, there is an article inviting free negroes and mulattoes from other states, to become Mormons, and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society, an injury that they knew would be to us insupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the country; for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to; to see that the introduction of such a cast among us, would corrupt our blacks, and instigate them to bloodshed.
“They openly blaspheme the most High God, and cast contempt upon his holy religion, by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven–by pretending to speak in unknown tongues by direct inspiration–and by divers pretenses derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason. They declare openly that their God hath given them this county of land, and that sooner or later, they must and will have possession of our lands for an inheritance; and in fine they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner, that we believe it a duty we owe to ourselves, to our wives and children, and to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us. We are not prepared to give up our pleasant places and goodly possessions to them; or to receive into the bosom of our families as fit companions for our wives and daughters, the degraded free negroes and mulattoes, who are now invited to settle among us. Under such a state of things, even our beautiful county would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable. We therefore agree, that after timely warning, and upon receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with then, they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them. And to that end, we severally pledge to each other, our lives, our bodily powers, fortunes, and sacred honors! We will meet at the courthouse in the town of Independence, on Saturday next, to consult of ulterior movements.”
Hundreds of signatures were signed to the foregoing, among which were the following, viz: Henry Chiles, Attorney; Russel Hicks, Attorney; Hugh L. Brazeale, Attorney; Henry [Samuel] Weston, Justice of the Peace; John Smith, Justice of the Peace; John Cook, Justice of the Peace; Lewis Franklin, jailer; Thomas Pitcher, Lt. Col. Militia and Constable; Samuel C. Owens, County Clerk; D. Lucas, Colonel of Militia, and Judge of County Court; Jones H. Flornay [James H. Flournoy], Postmaster, Moses Wilson.
Before I proceed with the Mormon history, I will briefly notice a few items of the foregoing bond of conspiracy, for I consider most of it as too barefaced to need any comment. In the first place I would inquire whether our belief as set forth in this declaration, as to gifts, miracles, revelations and tongues, is not the same that all the apostles and disciples taught, believed and practiced, and the doctrine of the New Testament?
Secondly, I would inquire when the New Testament religion ceased, and a law revealed or instituted which made blasphemy of the belief and practice of it? or what holy religion the Jackson mob were speaking of, which was thrown into contempt by the revival of the New Testament religion?
Thirdly, they complain of our society being very poor, as to property; but have they never read in the New Testament that God had chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom of God? and when did poverty become a crime known to the law?
Fourthly, concerning free negroes and mulattoes.–Do not the laws of Missouri provide abundantly for the removal from the state of all free negroes and mulattoes? (except certain privileged ones;) and also for the punishment of those who introduce or harbor them? The statement concerning our invitation to them to become Mormons, and remove to this state, and settle among us, is a wicked fabrication, as no such thing was ever published in the Star, or anywhere else, by our people, nor anything in the shadow of it; and we challenge the people of Jackson, or any other people, to produce such a publication from us.
In fact, one half dozen negroes or mulattoes, never have belonged to our society, in any part of the world, from its first organization to this day, 1839.
Fifthly, as to crime or vice, we solemnly appeal to all the records of the courts of Jackson County, and challenge the county to produce the name of any individual of our society on the list of indictments, from the time of our first settlement in the county, to the time of our expulsion, a period of more than two years.
Sixthly, as it respects the ridiculous report of our threatening that we would have their lands for a possession, it is too simple to require a notice, as the laws of the country guarantee to every man his rights, and abundantly protect him in their full enjoyment. And we hereby declare, that we settled no lands, only such as our money purchased, and that no such thing ever entered our hearts, as possessing any inheritance in any other way. And
Seventhly, we ask what public morals were in danger of being corrupted, where officers of the peace could openly violate their several oaths in the most awful manner, and join with hundreds of others in murder, treason, robbery, house burning, stealing, etc.
But to proceed with my history. Pursuant to the last clause of the bond, the mob met at the court house, on the 20th of July, and proceeded immediately to demolish the brick printing office and dwelling house of W.W. Phelps & Co., and destroyed or took possession of the press, type, books and property of the establishment; at the same time turning Mrs. Phelps and children out of doors, after which they proceeded to personal violence by a wanton assault and battery upon the bishop of the Church, Mr. Edward Partridge, and a Mr. Allen, whom they tarred and feathered, and variously abused. They then compelled Messrs. Gilbert, Whitney & Co. to close their store and pack their goods, after which they adjourned to meet again on the 23rd of July; on which day they again met, to the number of several hundred, armed with fire-arms, dirks and sticks, with red flags hoisted, and as they entered town, threatening death and destruction to the Mormons. On this day, six individuals of the Church signed an agreement to leave the county, one half by the first of January, and the other half by the first of April, 1834; hoping thereby to preserve the lives of their brethren, and their property. After this the mob dispersed, threatening destruction to the Mormons on the next New Year’s Day if they were not off by that time.
After this, an express was sent to the governor of the state, stating the facts of the outrages, and praying for some relief and protection. But none was afforded, only some advice for us to prosecute the offenders, which was accordingly undertaken. But this so enraged the mob that they began to make preparations to come out by night and recommence depredations. Having passed through the most aggravating insults and injuries without making the least resistance, a general inquiry prevailed at this time throughout the Church, as to the propriety of self-defense. Some claimed the right of defending themselves, their families and property, from destruction; while others doubted the propriety of self-defense; and as the agreement of the 23rd of July, between the two parties had been published to the world, wherein it was set forth, that the Mormons were not to leave until the 1st of January and 1st of April, 1834. It was believed by many of the Mormons that the leaders of the mob would not suffer so bare-faced a violation of the agreement before the time therein set forth; but Thursday night, the 31st of October, gave them abundant proof that no pledge, verbal or written, was longer to be regarded; for, on that night, between forty and fifty, many of whom were armed with guns, proceeded against a branch of the Church, about eight miles west of town, and unroofed and partly demolished ten dwelling houses; and in the midst of the shrieks and screams of women and children, whipped and beaten in a savage manner, several of the men; and with their horrid threats, frightened women and children into the wilderness. Such of the men as could escape, fled for their lives; for very few of them had arms, neither were they embodied; and they were threatened with death if they made any resistance. Such, therefore, as could not escape by flight, received a pelting by rocks, and a beating by guns and whips.