Mormon History

General Alarm by Illinois Citizens - 1841

The Warsaw Signal June 9, 1841


It is, doubtless, known to most of our readers that Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, was arrested on Saturday last, in Quincy, on the warrant of Governor Carlin, under the requisition of the Governor of Missouri. He was, however brought up on a habeas corpus before Calvin A. Warren, Master in Chancery for Adams county, and Judge Douglass having arrived in the city just at the time, he ordered the Prophet to be taken to Monmouth, to be examined before him. The Judge arrived in this place on Sunday morning last on his way to Monmouth where the Court is now sitting. We understand that a question has been raised as to the legality of the arrest, and the object of the examination is to decide the point.

The last we heard of the Prophet he was in the custody of the Sheriff of Adams county, and on his way to Monmouth. -- When about seven miles of this place he wrote us a very polite note, and forked over the little change due us for subscription.   Neff sed.

We understand that Governor Carlin has removed General Bennett from the office of Quarter-Master-General of this State. We hope the first step of the new Quarter-Master will be to remove the arms which have been latterly congregated at Nauvoo, to some place of safe keeping. We have not heard who is appointed to fill the vacancy.

READ AND PONDER: -- to those citizens if any there be who apprehend no danger from a Mormon ascendancy in this county, we say, read the following proclamation and ponder well upon it. If the leader and head of the church can exercise such an all-powerful influence over his deluded followers, as to "Instruct" them in their most weighty temporal concerns -- if he can command them to settle where he pleases -- if his will is to be their law, and he their God -- what may -- nay, what WILL -- become of your dearest rights and most valued privileges, when that ascendancy is gained which the following proclamation is intended to effect.


The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, anxious to promote the prosperity of said church, feel it their duty to call upon the saints who reside out of this county, to MAKE PREPARATIONS TO COME IN, without delay. This is important, and should be attended to by all who feel an interest in the prosperity of this the corner stone of Zion. Here the temple must be raised, the university be built, and other edifices erected which are necessary for the great work of the last days; and which can only be done by a concentration of energy and enterprise. LET IT THEREFORE BE UNDERSTOOD, that all the stakes, excepting those in this county, and in Lee county, Iowa, ARE DISCONTINUED, AND THE SAINTS INSTRUCTED TO SETTLE IN THIS COUNTY AS SOON AS CIRCUMSTANCES WILL PERMIT.
                                              JOSEPH SMITH.
    Nauvoo, Hancock co., Ill. May 24, 1841.


The remarks which we made a few weeks ago, concerning the Mormons have called forth the most violent aspersions, and the most brilliant touches of fancied satire, from some wonderful Mormon wit, through the columns of that talented Journal the "Times and Seasons." We have no disposition to reply; the article is a sufficient commentary of itself, and shows clearly that the Mormons design to make theirs a political church. Else why do they not deny it, when the charge is so directly made? Why is it that Gen. Bennett told us that they disogned always to make their power be felt at the ballot box? Why is it that when a highly respectable citizen remarked that the Mormons would soon have a majority in this county, D. C. Smith, one of the editors of the Times and Seasons, replied that "the county would be safe in their hands?" Why is it that a proclamation is made by the Prophet just at this time calling in all the "saints abroad" to settle in this county? Why is it that the Mormons here, in all former contests, uniformly voted as one man in favor of the candidate of Joe Smith's choice?

Whatever may be thought of their present strength, it is certain, that if not checked in another year, they will have the decided majority in this county. Yes! men who have no minds of their own, but move, act and think at the bidding of one man, are to be our rulers. Now we ask the citizens of Hancock county, are you prepared for this? Are you prepared to see one man control your affairs? Are you prepared to see the important offices of Sheriff and County Commissioners selected by an unparallelled knave, and thus place in his hands the power to select jurymen, who are to sit and try your rights to life, liberty, and property? If it comes to this, that Joe Smith is to control the majority of votes in our county, are we not in effect, the subjects of a despot? -- might we not as well be serfs to the Autocrat of Russia? What need have we of the elective franchise, when a church can rise up in our midst, controlled by the [mind] of one man, to dispense political favors.

Citizens look to this thing! Ask yourselves what means this array of military force which is paraded under the direction of this church. Is an army necessary to propagate religion? Is it necessary to protect their civil rights? Why then this parade? Are they so patriotic as to have no other end than the safety of the state in view? Why these weekly parades? Why all this strictness of discipline? We pause for a reply.

Lee County Whig Convention. -- We understand, that at a whig convention recently assembled in Lee county, Iowa, the Mormon delegates stated that their body commanded 180 votes, and that, if their candidate for the Legislature was not nominated, their whole force would be turned in support of the candidates of the other party. We are sorry -- very sorry -- to add, that a majority of the delegates possessed so little independence, and were so sycophantic, as to bow down to the dictation of these fanatics, and allow them to control the nomination. What better evidence is wanted of the fact, that the Mormons design to make a political church, than is afforded in these proceedings? Has it come to this, that the veriest impostor that ever disgraced the earth, can say to the great political parties -- "Do this!" or "Do that!" -- and it must be done? Has party spirit so degraded the dignity of man, that they must kneel down and pander to the arrogance of knaves, merely because they are united, and thereby hold the balance of power? Must we ask Joe Smith, and his minions, whom we are to nominate for office, and fear to oppose his will, lest his power shall be turned against us? Are we to surrender our elective franchise -- one of the dearest rights which a freeman can possess -- and pray his Holiness, condescendingly to allow us to have one of our party elected, if it but comports with his august and sage intentions? And can it be that we have so little respect for the character of American citizens -- for the purity of our free institutions -- as to [cling] thus blindly to party, when that party can only exist by the will of an infamous blasphemer? Can these things be? -- If so, let us cease to call ourselves free -- throw away, at once, these holy and glorious institutions, which we have not the manliness to preserve from disgrace.

But, what is hoped to be gained by this bowing down to the nod of the Prophet? Nothing more than the mere temporary ascendancy of party -- for defeat will most assuredly follow. Every high-minded and honorable man must be disgusted with the party which can stoop to such conduct.

We sincerely trust that this act of a portion of the leaders does not meet the approval of the body of the Whigs of Lee County. If not, we hope to see them assert there prerogative, and wipe the stigma from the escutcheon of their party.

"The more we reflect on the subject, the more we are satisfied of the baseness of the motives which have induced the Editor (of the Warsaw Signal) to make an attack upon this community: a community that has never done him any harm, but ever treated him with hospitality and kindness."

We copy the above from the "Times and Seasons." It was written in reference to the editor of the Signal, and on reflection, it does make us feel right bad, that we have been so ungrateful to the Mormon brotherhood -- Just think, reader! -- after having been invited to Nauvoo, on the 6th of April, by the Mayor of the city -- and after having gone there, impelled by curiosity, to see all that was to be seen -- after having ridden to the Temple on that great day, in presence of assembled thousands, by the side of the Holy Prophet -- after having an officer ordered to ascort us to the stand when the great orator held forth -- after sitting by his side duringthe discourse, and during the laying of the chief corner stone, meaning the most prominent honors conferred on any stranger -- after being invited in the presence of the congregation to dine with the Prophet -- after dining with him on mince pies and sweet meats -- after proceeding with him in the afternoon (although we tried our hardest to steal off and make for home) -- after again visiting the Temple, and occupying a distinguished place at the laying of the remaining corner-stones -- after supping with the Prophet, and eating heartily of his stall-fed turkey -- after being caressed and having all manner of attentions paid us, in order to bribe us to flattery, and make a great noise over their splendid parade, in our editorials -- and then after disappointing them -- how exceedingly ungrateful must we be, to make an attack upon such "kind" and "hospitable" people! How "infamous" must we be, in daring to say one word that does not meet their approbation!


Pursuant to adjournment, a large and highly respectable meeting convened at the church, consisting of both political parties, for the purpose of completing the unfinished business of last Saturday night's proceedings. It was deemed, by the meeting, expedient, to proceed without reference to the Saturday night's proceedings.

On motion of Wm. H. Roosevelt, Esq. Thos. Gregg was called to the chair, and J. B. Salisbury appointed secretary.

On motion, a committee of three was appointed by the chair to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting -- whereupon, Messrs. Roosevelt, Sharp, and Worthen were appointed said committee, and immediately reported the following preamble and resolutions which were [offered?], discussed, and passed separately.

Whereas a religious body calling themselves "Latter Day Saints," otherwise Mormons, have emigrated into this county claiming the protection due to other denominations -- and whereas this said body acknowledges a leader to whose political opinions the utmost deference is paid, and the strictest obedience is given by those composing the body of the church, as is proved by all former political contests in this county and elsewhere. And whereas the head of the church is now making efforts to concentrate a great number of his people in this county, which will give to him the control of a decided majority of votes, within our limits -- and whereas we deem that such a majority, controlled by one man's influence is in effect a despotism -- Therefore,

Resolved -- That in the [sense] of this meeting, there exists serious grounds of apprehension that the leaders of the Mormon body designs, so soon as the numbers of their church constitute a majority of the votes to control the offices of this county.

Resolved -- That those who are opposed to political and military Mormonism, are in duty bound, without regard to party, to stand up resolutely at the present time, in defence of their rights, and in opposition to the concentration of power in the hands of one man.

Resolved -- That we will sustain any suitable candidates for county offices, which a county convention may select, equally from each political party, and who will pledge themselves to oppose the influence of political and military Mormonism.

Resolved -- That we view with regret and displeasure the acts of members of both political parties in the Legislature, in granting to the Mormons extensive charter privileges, both civil and military -- and also, the act of the Governor in permitting the great body of the public arms to be transferred to Nauvoo -- and also, the act of Judge Douglass, in appointing Gen. Bennett to be Master in Chancery.

Resolved -- That we will discountenance by our votes, the conduct of any candidate for office, who will hereafter, by any means, seek the influence of the Mormons, at future elections.

On motion, the following persons were appointed delegates to attend the county convention to be held at Carthage, on Wednesday next, the 9th inst. to nominate suitable persons for county officers: Mark Aldrich, J. C. Davis, Thos. C. Sharpe, A. H. Morthon, J. B. Salisbury, Calvin Cole, and Wm. H. Roosevelt.

On motion, the meeting adjourned.

          TH. GREGG, Ch'm.

A dispatch from the Journal of Commerce under the head, Americans in England, dated London, April 1, 1841, concludes with this paragraph:

"Several Mormonites from your far West are zealously laboring in the provinces here for the purpose of making proselytes to their strange faith. In some parts they have been successful, and several simpletons have been induced to dispose of their property here and set sail for the United States, to join the general body. In some towns the missionaries have been very roughly handled."