Mormon History

Puppet Governor's Second Proclamation - 1844

Sangamo Journal August 14, 1844


We ask the most serious attention of the readers to the following Proclamation of Governor Ford, and to the remarks which accompany it from the Rock Island "Upper Mississippian." These articles (the proclamation and the remarks,) with the additional fact, as it is understood and believed, that the leaders of the loco foco party stand pledged to sustain the Nauvoo Charters, furnish ample reasons why the whole Mormon vote was thrown for loco foco candidates.


Below will be found one of the most remarkable documents, that we have seen for many a day. It is contained in the Warsaw Signal of last Wednesday, and purports to be a "Proclamation" from Gov. Ford, "To the People of Hancock County." We say "purports" to be such; for we entertain serious doubts of its genuineness. If, however, it is not a genuine Executive missile, then has the infamous scoundrel or scoundrels who got it up, been most successful in gulling the people with it; for as far as we learn by the Signal, no one there has doubted its genuineness. The editor evidently regards it as genuine, and proceeds to comment upon it with warmth. He says, "The above communication from Gov. Ford, was received on Sunday evening last." Here follows the Proclamation.



I am continually informed of your preparations and threats to renew the war, and exterminate the Mormons. One might suppose that you ought to rest satisfied with what you have already done. The Mormon leaders if they resisted the law, have submitted to its authority. They have surrendered the public arms; and appeared to be ready to do any thing required, to make atonement for whatever wrong may have been done. Since the assassination of their two principal leaders, under circumstances well calculated to inflame their passions, and drive them to excesses for the purposes of revenge, they have been entirely peaceful and submissive; and have patiently awaited the slow operation of the laws to redress the wrongs of which they complained. There has been no retaliation; no revenge; and for anything I can ascertain, there will be none. Those of your people, who are charged with being the most hostile to them, have lived, if they knew it, in perfect security from illegal violence. I am anxious for a pacification of your difficulties. You cannot drive out or exterminate the Mormons. Such an effort would be madness, and would not be permitted by the people of the State. You cannot be sustained in it either by force or law. You are blinding yourselves to your weakness, and keeping an agitation which must fail of the purpose intended, and recoil with terrible energy upon your heads. I exhort you to reconsider your infatuated resolutions. Try your Mormon neighbors again, and if you cannot dwell together in amity, you may at least refrain from injuring each other. From the moderation of the Mormons, under what they conceive to be the deepest injury, you might well hope that if they ever entertained designs inconsistent with your liberty and happiness, that those designs have been abandoned. They are also interested in preserving the peace. It is not natural to suppose that they, any more than yourselves, wish to live in continual alarm. They hope for quiet, and will be peaceful and submissive in order to enjoy it. But you are continually driving them to desperation by an insane course of threatening and hostility, and depriving yourselves of peace by the same means used to disquiet them.

If I have said any thing severe in this address, I pray you attribute it to my deep conviction that your course is improper and unwarrantable. Such is the opinion of the people at large in the State, and all over the country. From being right in the first instance, you have put yourselves in the wrong, and there are none to sustain you. As men of sense, you are bound to see, if you will open your eyes, you cannot effect your purposes. -- Nevertheless you are still training and drilling, and keeping together, and threatening a renewal of the war. -- I have said to you often that you cannot succeed; by this time you ought to see it for yourselves. -- What can your small force do against two thousand armed men, entrenched in a city, and defending themselves, their wives and children -- Besides, if you are the aggressors, I am determined that all the power of the State shall be used to prevent your success. I can never agree that a set of infatuated and infuriated men shall barbarously attack a peaceful people, who have submitted to all the demands of the law; and when they had full power to do so, refrained from inflicting vengeance upon their enemies. -- You may count on my most determined opposition -- upon the opposition of the law and upon that of every peaceful law-abiding citizen of the country. This is not spoken in anger. God knows, I would do you no injury unless compelled to do so to sustain the laws. But mob violence must be put down. It is threatening the country with anarchy and ruin. It is menacing our fair form of government, and destroying the confidence of the patriot in the institution[s] of his country.

I have been informed that the Mormons about Lima and Macedonia, have been warned to leave the settlements. -- They have a right to remain and enjoy their property. As long as they are good citizens, they shall not be molested, and the sooner those misguided persons withdraw their warning and retrace their steps, the better it will be for them.
                                           THOMAS FORD.
July 25, 1844.


Now some of the remarkable things about this proclamation are these:

First -- That Warsaw should be selected to bear the whole burden of his Excellency's denunciation. We dare assert -- because we know the fact -- that ALL HANCOCK COUNTY -- and every town and neighborhood in it -- excepting the Mormons themselves -- have just as much thought of attacking Nauvoo as Warsaw has. But it may be asked, why do they keep up a continual training? That we answer by asking, if they are the only citizens of Illinois who keep up a training? There are military companies all over the county who train regularly. Besides are not the Mormons themselves training from week to week? And have they not done so for four years past? And if it is so very dangerous for men to train when the times look warlike, how much more dangerous must it be for large bodies of men (known to be bad citizens at that) to do so in a time of profound peace? But there is no need of it now! Then for what has Governor Ford made a requisition upon the United States for 500 troops?

Again -- it does seem to us supremely ridiculous that any man -- much less the Governor of the State -- could suppose that the little town of Warsaw, which today can't raise 150 men, is so Quixotic as to think of attacking Nauvoo!

The Governor speaks of the Mormons having been warned away from Lima and Macedonia; and the poor Warsawans must bear the blame for that! Lima is in Adams county, 14 miles off; and Macedonia, in the eastern part of Hancock county, 25 miles off; and with both of which places Warsaw never had but little intercourse.

The Governor intimates that the arms have been given up, and the Mormons are disposed to be peaceable.

Can it be possible that Governor Ford is ignorant of the fact, that of 600 or 700 stand of arms, not half have been given up? And does he believe in the professions of these men, that they are peaceable dispose[d]? They sing the syren song of peace more "pathetically," to be sure, but yet no louder or oftener, than they have always sung it. But what can he want with the United States troops if all is peaceable? Not, surely to whip 100 men of the town of Warsaw.

We have called this an extraordinary document. It is such. Why must Warsaw be singled out from the rest of this County in this matter? Or why should Hancock be singled out to bear the odium of wishing to exterminate the Mormons? Of either it is a totally untrue assumption. They do perhaps almost all believe that it will be impossible for them to remain together. And we can tell Gov. Ford that that opinion is not confined either to Warsaw or Hancock County. It is general in the Counties adjoining, and wherever the position of things is understood. It is not, however, our belief. With promptness on the part of the Executive, and a determination on the part of the people, to abide by the law, we believe that all may yet be well.

Of one thing let the Governor and the public beware: in all this matter (except as to the degree of censure for the past) the old citizens of Hancock County, are ONE PEOPLE. Whigs and Democrats are not known in it. The detestable miscreants of either party, who would fan the flame of civil discord for the sake of office, and thus fatten as it were on human blood, are loathed among them. And it is from just such men, that Gov. Ford has received the information on which this proclamation is based. He should be careful how he trusts to wolves in sheeps clothing.

Were it not for the respect we have for Gov. Ford, and for the respect which is due to him as chief Magistrate, we should pronounce this a base Electioneering trick. The time -- the honied words -- the occasion -- (occasion, do you say? the total want of occasion, rather). All tend to force that conclusion upon us. But we will not believe it.