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Remarks delivered at Nauvoo temple grounds on Friday June 30, 1843
Sources: Wilford Woodruff journal, Joseph Smith journal (Willard Richards) and William Clayton journal
Woodruff Journal Smith DiaryClayton Diary
Joseph on His Arrest - Nauvoo Charter

I require attention. I discoverd what the emotions of the people were on my arival to this City, & I have Come here to say, how do you do to all parties & I do now say How do you do at this time. I meet you with a heart full of gratitude to Almighty God & I presume you all feel the Same I hardly Know how to express my feelings I feel as strong as a Gient I pulled sticks with the men Coming along & I pulled up the Strongest man theire was on the road with one hand & two Could not pull me up & I continued to pull untill I pulled them to Nauvoo I will pass from that subject then There has been great excitement in the Country & since these men took me I have been cool & dispassionate through the whole: thank God I am now in the hands of the Municipal Court of Nauvoo & not in the hands of Missourians, It has been discussed by the great & wise men layil lawyiers & C O your Powers & legal tribunals are not to be sanctioned & here we will make it lawful to drag away innocent men from their families & friends & have them unlawfully put to death by ungodly men for their religion. Relative to our Charter Courts right of Habeas Corpus &C We have all power: And if any man from this time forth says any thing Contrary; Cast it into his teeth Their is a secret in this; if their is not power in our Charters and Courts, then there is not power in the State of Illinois, nor in the Congress or Constitution of the United States for the United States gave unto Illinois her constitution & Charter & Illinois gave unto Nauvoo her Charters which have ceded unto unto us our vested rights & has no right or power to take them from us all the power their was in Illinois she gave to Nauvoo And any man that says to the contrary is a fool. I want you to learn O Israel what is for the happiness & peace of this City & people. If our enemies are determined to oppress us & deprive us of our rights & privileges as they have done & if the Authorities that be on the earth will not assist us in our rights not give us that protection which the Laws & Constitution of the United States & of thi State guarantees unto us: then we will claim them from higher power from heaven & from God Almighty & the Constitution &C I SWEAR I will not deal so mildly with them again for the time has Come when forbearance is no longer a virtue, And if you are again taken unlawfully you are at liberty to give loose to Blood and Thunder But act with Almighty Power. But good luck for me as it always has been in evry time of trouble friends though strangers were raised up unto me & assisted me, The time has come when the veil is torn of from the State of Illinois & they have deliverd me from the State of Missouri: friends that were raised up unto me would have spilt their Blood for me to have delivered me then I told them not I would be delivered By the power of God & generalship & I have brought them to Nauvoo & treated them kindly I have had the privilege of rewarding them good for evil, they took me unlawfully treated me rigorously, strove to deprive me of my rights & would have run me to Missouri to have been murdered if Providence had not interposed: but now they are in my hands, I took them into my house set them at the head of my table & set the best before them my house afforded & they were waited upon by my wife whom they deprived of seeing me when I was taken. I shall be discharged by the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, were I before any good tribunal I should be discharged, But Befor I will bear this unhallowed persecution any longer I will spill my Blood their is a time when bearing it longer is a sin I will not bear it longer I will spill the last drop of Blood I have and all that will not bear it longer say AH And, the Cry of AH rung throughout the Congregation we must stop paying the lawyiers money for I have learned they dont know any thing for I know more than they all. Whosoever believeth that there is power in the Charters of Nauvoo shall be saved he that believeth not shall not come here. If a lawyer shall say their is more power in other places & Charters than in Nauvoo believe it not I have converted this Candidate for Congress Mr Walker I suppose when I see him Converted I will vote for him & not before I have been with these lawyers & they have treated me well But I am here in Nauvoo & the Missourian to & when they will get out I dont know perhaps when some others may, However you may feel about the high hand of oppression, I wish you to restrain your hand from violence. against these men who are around me My word is at stake a hair of their heads shall not be harmed, My life is pledged to carry out this great work I know how readily you are to do right you have done great things & manifested your love in flying to my assistance on this occasion I could not have done better myself, And I Bless you in the name of the Lord with all Blessings may you not have to suffer as you have heretofore. I know the Almighty will bless all good men he will bless you: and the time has Come when their shall be such a flocking to the Standard of Liberty as never has been, Nor never shall be hereafter. What an erie [era?] of things has commenced shall the Prophecies be established by the Swords? Shall we always bear, No. Will not the State of Missouri stay her hand in her unhallowed persecutions against the Saints; if not, I restrain you not any longer, I say in the name of Jesus Christ I this day turn the Key that opens the heavens to restrain you no longer from this time forth. I will lead you to battle & if you are not afraid to die & feel disposed to spill your Blood in your own defence you will not offend me, Be not the aggressor bear until they strike on the one cheek offer the other & they will be sure to strike that, then defend yourselves & God shall bear you off. Will any part of Illinois say we shall not have our rights treat them as strangers & not friends & let them go to Hell say some we will mob you, mob & be damed, if I under the neessity of giving up our charted rights, privileges & freedom which our fathers fought bled & died for & which the Constitution of the United States & & this State guarantee unto us, I will do it at the point of the Bayonet & Sword. Many Lawyiers contend for those thing which are against the rights of men & I can ownly excuse them because of their ignorance. Go forth & Advocate the laws & rights of the people ye lawyiers if not dont get into my hands or under the lash of my tongue Lawyiers say the powers of the Nauvoo Charters are dangerous, But I ask is the Constitution of the United States or of this State dangerous, No neither are the Charters granted unto Nauvoo by the legislator of Illinois dangerous, & those that say they are fools: We have not our rights those which the Constitution of the U.S.A. grant, & which our Charters grant we have not enjoyed unmolested, Missouri & all wicked men will raise the hugh & cry against us and are not satisfyed, But how are you going to help yourselves what will mobocrats do in the midst of this people, If mobs come upon you any more here, dung your gardings with them, But says one you will get up excitement we will get up no excitement except what we can find an escape from We will rise up Washington like & break off the wait that bears us down & we will not be mobed

To give you an account of my Journey, I will give you an anecdote that may be pleasing A few day before I was taken I rode with my wife through a Neighborhood to visit some friends & I said to Mrs Smith here is a good people I felt this by the spirit of God the next day I was in their hands a prisoner with Wilson who said as he drove up ha, ha, ha By God we have got the prophet he gloried much in it, But he is now our prisioner When Reynolds of Missouri & Wilson of Carthage came to take me the first salutation was (instead of taping me on the shoulder & saying you are my prisoner) with two cocked pistols to my head God damn you I will shoot you I will Shoot you God damn you I will Shoot you nearly 50 times first & last. I askd them what they wanted to shot me for, if you make any resistance O vary well says I. I have no resistance to make they then dragged me away & while on the road I asked them by what authority they did these things they said by a writ from the Govornors of Missouri & Illinois I then told them I wanted a writ of Habeas Corpus the reply was God damn you. You shant have it I told a man to Go to Dixon & get me a writ of Habeas Corpus the reply was by Willson God damn you. you shant have it. I will shoot you. I sent for a lawyier to Come one Came & Reynolds shut the door in his face & would not let me speak to him & said again God damn you I will shoot you I turned to him opened my bosom & told him to shoot away & I did it freequently, I told Mr Reynolds that I would have Council to speak to & the Lawyers came to me & I got a writ of Habeas Corpus for myself & got a writ for Reynolds & Wilson for unlawful proceedings towards me & cruel treatment they Could not get out of town that night, I pledged my honor to my Council that the Nauvoo Charter had power to investigate the subject & we came to Nauvoo by Common Consent & I am now a prisioner of higher authority yes higher authority before yourselves The Charter expressly says that the City Council shall have power to enact all laws for the benefit & convenience of said City not Contrary to the Constitution of the United States or of this State & the City ordinances says the Municipal Court shall have Power to give writs of Habeas Corpus arising under the ordinances of the City, Their is nothing but what we have power over excepted restricted by the Constitution of the United States or of this State, It is in accordance with the Constitution of the U.S.A. But says the mob what dangerous powers, But the Constitution of the United nor of this State is not dangerous against good men but bad men the breakers of the law so with the laws of the Country & so with the laws of Nauvoo they are dangerous to mobs but not good men that wish to keep the law We do not go out of Nauvoo to disturb any body or any City town or place why need the be troubled about us let them not meddle with our affairs but let us alone After we have been deprived of our rights & privileges as Citizenship driven from town to town place to place State to State with the sacrifice of our homes & lands & our blood been shed & many murdered & all this becaus of our religion because we worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own consience Shall we longer bear these cruelties which have been heaped upon us for the last ten years in the face of heaven & in open violation of the Constitution & laws of these United States & of this State May God forbid I will not bear it if they take away any rights I will fight, for my rights manfully & righteously untill I am laid up with Blood & thunder sword & pistol. We have done nothing against law or right As touching our City Charter & laws their is a secret in it, What is it our laws go behind the writ & investigate the subject ie of Habeas Corpus while other laws do not go behind the writ You speak of Lawyiers I am a Lawyier too But the Almighty God has taught me the principle of law & the true meaning of the writ of Habeas Corpus is to defend the Innocent & investigate the subject go behind the writ & if the former writ is wright that is issued against an innocent man He should not be dragged to another State & their put to death or in jeopardy life or limbs because of prejudice when he is innocent the benefits of the Constitution & law is for all alike & the great [E]loheem God has given me the prividege of having the benefits of the Constitution & the writ of Habeas Corpus & I am bold to ask for this privilege this day & to ask you to Carry out this privilege principle And all who are in favor of Carrying out this great principle making manifest by raising the right hand & their was a sea of hands a universal vote here is truly a Committy of the whole.

In speaking of my Journey to Nauvoo I will relate a circumstance when Mr. Cyrus Walker first Came to me they said I should not speak to any man & they would shoot any man that should speak to me An old man came up & said I should have Council & said he was not afraid of their pistols & they took me from him, & I had an opportunity to have killed him but I had no temptation to do it to him nor any other man, my worst enemy not even Boggs in fact he would have more hell to live in the reflection of his past life than to die. My freedom commenced from that time the old man Came to me & would talk to me we Came direct from Papa grove to Nauvoo we got our writ directed to the nearest Court having authority to try try the Case & we Came to Nauvoo It did my soul good to see your feelings & love manifest towards me I thank God that I have the honor to lead so virtuous & honest people to be your leader & lawyier as Moses to the Children of Israel Hosannah, Hosannah, Hosannah, Hosannah to the name of the Most High God I commend you to his grace & may the Blessings of heaven rest upon you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen

Furthermore if Missouri continues her warfare & continues to Issue her writs against me & this people unlawfully & unjustly as they have done & our rights are trampled upon & they undertake to take away my wrights I swear with uplifted hands to Heaven I will spill my Blood in its defence they shall not take away our rights & if they dont stop leading me by the nose I will lead them by the nose & if they dont let me alone I will turn up the world I will make war, when we shake our own bushes we want to ketch our own fruit The Lawyiers themselves acknowledge that we have all power granted us in our Charters that we could ask for, that we had more power than any other Court in the State for all other Courts were restricted while ours was not & I thank God Almighty for it & will not be rode down to Hell by the Missourians any longer, & it is my privilege to speak in my own defence & appeal to your honors

After this interesting & decisive address was delivered in the presence of about seven or eight thousand the multitude dispersed & went to their homes.

1/2 6. Joseph commenced a lecture on the stand. to Many thousands By how do you do. I meet you with a heart full of gratitude to almighty God. I am well, hearty, strong as a giant. while on the road I pulled up the strongest man. Then they got 2 men and they could not pull me up. I have pulled mentally till I have pulled Missouri here. There has been a great excitement in the country. I have been cool & dispassionate through all. Thank god I am now a prisoner in the hands of the Municipal Court & not of a Missourian

It was not so much my object to tell my afflictions &c as to speak of the Habeas Corpus. so that the minds of all may be corrected & know & publish that we have all power.--there is a secret. the city has all power that the courts have. given by the same authority the Legislature. I want you to hear o Israel this day. if this power is not sufficient we will claim the Cons higher powers. the Constitution of the State & the United.--I have dragged him here by our hand. & will do it again but I swear I will never deal so mildly again.

Be cool be deliberate. be wise, and when you pull do it with sweepstakes. my lot has always been cast among the warmest kind of people.

The time has come when the vail is torn of from this state. & let us mingle with the people of Ills. I should have been torn from with the expense of life & blood if I had asked

I brought them prisoners. and committed them as prisoners not of chains but of kindness to her from whom I was torn

I have no doubt I shall be discharged. by the court the writs are good for nothing. without form & void.--before I will be dragged again bef away among my enemies for trial I will spill the last drop of blood in my veins. see all my enemies in hell. Shall we bear it any longer. & one Universal NO. ran through all the vast assembly like on vast peal of thunder.

I wish the lawyer who says we have no powers in Nauvoo may be choked to death with his own words dont employ any lawyer for their knowledge for I know more than they all.

Go ye into all the world preach the gospel. & he that believeth in our chartered right may come here & be saved. & he does not shall remain in ignorance.

one spiritual minded circuit Judg--& several fit men.

Esqr. Walker I have converted to the truth of Habeas Corpus. I got here by law write that Just as it should be.

in the midst of all your indignation. use not the hand of violence. for I have pledged my honor.--will you all support my honor. YES universal, by the audience. I have proof of your attachment.

when oppression arises again I have learned we need [not] suffer as we have. we can call others to our aid. Shall the prophecy of our enemies. "we will establish our religion by the sword." be true? No.

If the Missourians oppress us more I this day turn the key by aurity of the Holy Priesthood--

turn the key unlock the door & motion you not rise up and defend yourselfs--

always act upon the defence but if your enemies oppress you the 2d & 3 time. let it come. & roar like thunder. & you shall stand forth clean before the tribunal of any citizens of Illinois deny our right. let them go to hell and be damned.--I give up my chartered right at the sword and bayonets.

Legislature like the boy saying dady Daddy I have sold my Jackknife got cheated, & want to get it back again.

what can mobocrats do in the midst of Kirkpatrickites.1--no better than a hunter being in a bears claw. What could we do with them. dung our garden with them. we don't want any excitemet. but after we have done all.--rise up & tyrann break off the hellish yoke. like Washington. day before I was taken I rode through Dixon & I said to my wife. I said good people I was their prisoner next day Harmon T. Wilson.--said by God we have got the prophet now. I am prison to a higher court than circuit court., defend yourselfs--says a law in our Charter-- powers, same charter says Municipal court. has power to enact all laws=. &c dangerous power. because it will protect the innocent, & put down Mobocrats.--constitution of U. S. say "Habeas Corpus shall not be denied" Deny me the right of Habeas Corpus & I will fight with guns, sword, cannon behind & thunder till I am used up. like Killkenny Cats. we have more power because we have power to go behind the writ. & try the merits of the case.

I ask in the name of J. Christ and all that is sacred that I may have your lives & all to carry out the freedom which is chartered to us.--will you all help me All hands went up.--Mr Walker shall be presented for the Mormons sake--

When at Dixon refused an interview with a lawyer.--turned Markham out doors threatened my life, old gray headed man raised his [indecipherable] his pony, come with Mr Walker.--& I had Lawyers &c enough.--writ for Harmon Wilson damage--- assault & Battery.--

Writ Habeas Corpus got up to go to ottawa 22 miles Pawpaw grove. thrust out all but Harmon Wilson. Esq Walker sent Mr Campbell to my rescue.--& came & slept by me.

Morning certain men wanted to see Mr Smith. they would not let me an old man come to talk. Missourian, interrupted. stand off you puke Mr Smith we have a committee in Pawpaw grove. a court from whence there is no appeal.--

My liberties began from that hour they lost their pistols.--come direct to Nauvoo.--when they began to suspect we were coming they remonstrated. Bo Grover came.

Hosannah. Do to Almighty God who hath delivered us thus far out of the 7 trouble. 6.25--

(Esqr Walker has introduced as a body of people. the greatest dupes that ever were.--or he is not as big a rouge as he is supposed to be.--1/4 to 7)

Joseph. I told Mr Warren I would not discuss the subject of religion with you. I understand the gospel & you do not. You understand Law I do not

if the Legislature have granted Nauvoo the right of Habeas corpus &c it is no more than they ought to have done.--or more than our fathers fought for.

I swear in the name of Almighty God with uplifted hand the Legislature shall never take away our rights Ill spill my hearts blood first.--

At 4 o clock a large multitude were assembled at the grove & about 5 Prest. J.made his appearance on the stand in company with Cyrus H. Walker Esqr. The general theme of his discourse tended to enlighten the minds of the public concerning the powers of the Municipal Court in relation to Habeas Corpus as granted in the Nauvoo Charter, plainly proving that the municipal court had more power than the circuit courts inasmuch as the latters power was limited while that of the former was unlimited. He also said that he had restrained the saints from using violence in self defense but from henceforth he restrained them no more. The best of feelings prevailed during the whole meeting.


1. Possibly a reference to former New Jersey supreme court Chief Justice Andrew Kirkpatrick (1756-1831) who held that the constitution is superior to the legislature.

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