Mormon History

Mormon Plot to Control Illinois - 1842

Sangamo Journal – July 2, 1842

E X T R A.

Such has been the demand for that number of our paper containing the evidence upon which we found the charge, that the leaders of the Van Buren party of this State, have entered into a plot and league to obtain the votes of Joe Smith's subjects for their candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, that we feel it our duty to re-publish the Documentary evidence in the case, and other facts, showing the dangerous nature of this corrupt and scandalous coalition. And first the acts of Incorporation, for the benefit of the Mormons, smuggled through the Legislature without reading, by the leaders of the party.

Property secured to Joe Smith in perpetual succession.

The 10th section of the act incorporating the Nauvoo House Association, is in the following words:

"And whereas Joseph Smith has furnished said Association with ground on to erect said House, it is further declared that said Smith and his heirs, shall hold by PERPETUAL SUCCESSION a suite of rooms in the said House, to be set apart and conveyed in due form of law." (see Acts of 1841, page 132.)

Thus the principle of HEREDITY SUCCESSION, so odious to freemen, was established by the last Van Buren Legislature, for the benefit of Joe Smith.

Further Extraordinary Chartered Powers.

The Act incorporating the City of Nauvoo, provides for the establishment of a University, conferring upon its officers legislative powers equal to those possessed by the Legislature itself. Section 25 of the same Act provides for the establishment of a military force, to the officers of which is given the "LAW MAKING POWER," with no restriction except the Constitution of the United States and of this State. The entire section reads as follows:

"The City Council may organize in inhabitants of said city subject to military duty, into a body of independent military men, to be called the "Nauvoo Legion," the court martial of which shall be composed of the commissioned officers of said Legion, and constitute the law-making powers with full powers and authority to make, ordain, establish, and execute all such laws and ordinances as may be considered necessary for the benefit, government, and regulation of said Legion; Provided, said court martial shall pass no law, or act repugnant to, or inconsistent with the constitution of the United States, or of this State. The said Legion shall perform the same amount of military duty as is now, or may be hereafter required of the regular militia of the State, and shall be at the disposal of the Mayor, in executing the laws and ordinances of the city corporation, and the laws of the State, and at the disposal of the Governor, for the public defence, and the execution of the laws of the State, or of the United States, and shall be entitled to their proportion of the public arms; and provided also, that said Legion shall be exempt from all other military duty."

It is under this section that Jose Smith has been made Lieutenant General -- an office never before held but by one individual in this country -- WASHINGTON and under which appointment Joe Smith claims that in time of war, he is the head of the army of the United States!! -- It will be seen also that thisĘsection does not require the officers or the troops composing the mormon military force to make oath to support the Constitution of the United States!! Section 27 of the same act says:

"The City Council shall have power to provide for the punishment of offenders by imprisonment in the county or city jail in all cases when such offenders shall fail or refuse to pay the fines and forfeitures which may be recovered against them."

Thus power is given the city council to pass laws which may confine men in PRISON FOR LIFE, for any breach of their ordinances. How the City Council have used this power, may be seen by this -- the first ordinance -- passed by this extraordinary corporation:

"Sec. 1st. Be it ordained by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-Day Saints, Quakers, Episcopalians, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans, and all other religious sects, and denominations, whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges, in this city, and should any person be guilty of ridiculing, abusing, or otherwise depreciating another, in consequence of his religion, or of disturbing, or interrupting, any religious meeting within the limits of this city, he shall on conviction thereof before the Mayor, or Municipal Court be considered a disturber of the public peace, and fined in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both, at the discretion of said Mayor, or Court.

Sec. 2nd. It is hereby made the duty of all municipal officers to notice and report to the Mayor, any breach or violation of this or any other ordinance of this city that may come within their knowledge, or of which they may be advised; and any officer aforesaid is hereby fully authorized to arrest all such violators of rule, law, and order either with or without process.

Sec. 3d. This ordinance to take effect and be in force, from and after its passage/

Passed, March 1st. 1841
                John C. Bennett, Mayor.
James Sloan, Recorder."

Thus any citizen who in passing through Nauvoo, may think proper to speak with contempt of Joe Smith, may be arrested with or without process and be imprisoned SIX MONTHS or compelled to pay a fine of FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!

How this incorporation was procured.

The manner in which this Union of Church and State, was effected, may be thus explained. SIDNEY H. LITTLE, Esq., whig, elected Senator by the Mormons of Hancock County, introduced the charter into the Senate. This he did at the desire of his constituents. It does not appear that he had any thing further to do with it. On motion of Mr. Richardson, it was read the first time in the Senate -- then referred to the committee on the Judiciary -- reported back by Mr. Snyder and passed. The same bill was brought up in the House on motion of Mr. Dodge, reading dispensed with on motion of Mr. Turney, and bill referred to the Judiciary Committee -- then reported back by Mr. Kitchell, and on motion of Mr. Oliver read by its title and the bill passed!! -- So that this act embracing the most extraordinary powers, by the management of the leaders of the Van Buren party, was passed through both Houses WITHOUT having been read!

The motives that governed the Van Buren leaders in their extraordinary acts.

In a reported speech made by Major Hicks, (a member of the last legislature, and belonging to the Van Buren party), at the Court House in Jefferson County, we find the following statement:

"Mr. Hicks said, 'he had examined the charters granted to the Mormons -- that he was opposed to all such incorporations, and was about to oppose these, but was persuaded to let them pass by his democratic friends, who assured him that if they could get these bills through, the Mormons would vote for their candidates at the next election, and as he had differed on some other occasions from his democratic friends, which had given offence, he was induced to abandon his opposition to these bills and let them pass.'"

This statement is confirmed by a letter from Joe Smith, published in the Nauvoo "Times and Seasons." of the 6th May, 1841 -- an extract from which thus reads:

To the editors of the Times and Seasons:
Gentlemen, -- I wish through the medium of your paper to make known, that on Sunday last I had the honor of receiving a visit from the Hon. Stephen A. Douglass, Justice of the Supreme Court and Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of the State of Illinois  *  *  *  who addressed the assembly and expressed his satisfaction at what he had seen and heard respecting our people, and took that opportunity of returning thanks to the citizens of Nauvoo, for conferring upon him the freedom of the city, stating that he was not aware of rendering us any services of sufficient importance to deserve such marked honor. Judge Douglass has ever proved himself friendly to this people, and interested himself to obtain for us our several charters, holding at the time the office of Secretary of State.
                    I am, very respectfully, yours, &c.
                        JOSEPH SMITH,"

Further information of the part taken by Judge Douglass in this matter may be found in other facts. The military powers claimed by Joe Smith produced a controversy between him and the militia officers of Hancock county. Some law proceedings were instituted, or proposed to be, by the militia officers last spoken of, and Judge Douglass appointed Major General Bennett, Master in Chancery, Joe Smith thereupon issued the following order:

As will be seen by the following opinion of Judge Douglass, of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, than whom no man stands more deservedly high in the public estimation, as an able and profound jurist, politician and statesman; the officers and privates belonging to the Legion, are exempt from all military duty, not required by the legally constituted authorities thereof, they are therefore expressly inhibited from performing any military service not ordered by the general officers, or directed by the court martial."

This order was followed by a legal opinion by Judge Douglass, prejudicing a case which in all probability would have come before his court for trial! We will only add, under this head, that Joe Smith was discharged by Judge Douglass from arrest under a State warrant issued upon the requisition of the Governor of Missouri, in which State Smith was indicted for murder, arson, &v., and a singular incident of granting a new trial to two Mormons, convicted of larceny by a jury, and the entry of a nolle presequi by the State's Attorney, a political friend of the Judge....