Mormon History

Illinois Politicians Using the Mormons - 1840

Western World September 16, 1840

To the Editor of "Western World":

                        Quincy, Monday evening Sept. 7.

MR. WHITE -- Having a few leisure moments, I sit down for the purpose of dropping you a line, that you may not be altogether uninformed of what is passing in our city.

Well, then, first: as to the Mormons, you will recollect that just previous to our August election, outrages were committed at Tully, Mo., upon citizens of Nauvoo, Ill., called Mormons; -- and that Gov. Carlin, in obedience to the request of that people, pledged himself to demand of the Governor of Missouri the authors of the outrage. I always believed that Gov. Carlin made use of the Tully affair to influence the August election in this county, and this belief is strengthened from the numerous reports which came into the city immediately after the election. It was discovered that the Mormons of this county (unexpectedly to the Whigs) very generally, took sides with the Governor, and voted the Van Buren ticket. It has not yet transpired, what the Governor did actually do or say to mislead them, but it is generally believed that he caused a report to be circulated among them to the effect that if the Whigs carried this county he would resign, but that if the Locos carried it, he would use his authority to protect them, and punish the authors of the outrage at Tully. This report gained credit from the fact, that a day or two previous to the election, the Governor, as if intending to fulfill his part of the contract, despatched an agent to Missouri, for the purpose of demanding for punishment, of Gov. Boggs, the authors of the outrage aforesaid. This gent was a mere boy -- one who has hardly come to years of discretion -- but who is noted for the noise he makes on election days. The appointment surprised every body -- to think that he would confer so important a trust upon a hair-brained youth of his character was enough to surprise every one -- and has been the cause of much ridicule and laughter among our citizens. Well, on Saturday last, this ambassador extraordinary to Missouri, returned -- and boasted that his mission had been successful, and that the rioters at Tully would be given up. Upon the heels of this -- on Sunday -- two envoys from Missouri appeared in our city, with full power [from] Gov. Boggs, of Missouri, to demand of Gov. Carlin, Joseph Smith Jr., and Sydney Rigdon, of Nauvoo, as runaway criminals from that State. The envoys and the Governor met on Sunday afternoon, in a little bed-room of the Land Office Hotel in this city, for the purpose of talking the matter over.

How well the Executive of our state respects the Sabbath! does he not set a fine example? There is not days enough in the week, but that he must select the Sabbath for the transaction of his official business. The result of the confab has not yet been made public -- whether the Governor will or will not give up Messrs. Smith and Rigdon -- but the belief is general among our citizens, that the mission of Governor Boggs' ambassadors was successful also. Meanwhile, early on Monday last, (this morning) a Mormon left this city for Nauvoo, doubtless with the intention of informing Messrs. Smith and Rigdon of what had transpired here, that they may cross over the Mississippi, and be beyond the jurisdiction of our laws, before the Governor's writ overtakes them. In view of all these circumstances, is there not strong grounds to believe that this Mormon who left the city this morning for Nauvoo, has enjoyed the benefit of an interview with the Governor or some of his individual friends, and that he bears to Messrs. Smith and Rigdon the message -- "Keep out of the way, for, I will send a writ for you," The Governor fears that if he takes decisive means in the matter, the mormon votes and influence will be against Mr. Van Buren in November, and by pursuing this undignified course he will place them under such obligations to his party that they will all vote the Van Buren ticket. Now recollect, I make no charges -- I only draw inferences. You may depend upon it, There is a scheme on foot between those two locofoco Governors of Missouri and Illinois, to deceive the people of Nauvoo. Carlin is none too good to descend to any [work] or device to carry his ends and the goals of his party. But I hope and trust, that the Mormon people can see through [it all]. They must know that Carlin divested of his political consequence, has no power to protect them beyond that of any other respectable citizen. But as a Governor, he is like a sheriff or constable in a smaller community. compelled to execute the laws of the State, and to protect the constitutional rights of every citizen, however humble. I do not believe it would be right in the Governor to give up Smith and Rigdon to the Missouri authorities -- prejudices exist in that State they could not have a fair trial -- and justice would not be done them.

I drop you this rambling letter, in haste, for your own consideration -- do with it as you please.     Yours, &c.
                                  A LOOKER ON.