Feb. 27, 1834.
Dear Brethren.—The times are so big with events, and the anxiety of every body so great to [w]atch them, that I feel some what impressed to write oftner than I have done, in order to give you more of the “strange acts” of this region. I have just re turned from , the seat of war in the west. About a dozen of our brethren, among whom were br. , and , were subpoenaed in behalf of the state, and on the 23d (Feb.) about twelve o’clock we were on the bank, opposite Ev rit’s [William Everett’s] ferry, where we found company of “Liberty Blues,” near fifty rank and file, ready to guard us into . The soldiers were well armed with U. S. muskets, bayonets fixed, &c, and to me the scene was one “passing strange,” and long to be remembered. The martial law in force to guard the civil! About 25 men crossed over to effect a landing in safety, and when they came near the ware house, they fired six or eight guns, tho’ the enemy had not gathered to witness the landing.
After we were all a cross, and waiting for the baggage wagon, it was thought not ad visable to encamp in the woods, and the witnesses with half the compa[n]y, marched near ly a mile towards , to build night fires, as we were without tents, and the weather cold enough to snow a little. While on the way the Quarter Master, and oth ers, that had gone on a head to prepare quarters in town, sent an express back, which was not the most pacific appearance that could be. continued the ex press to Col. [Shubael] Allen for the 200 drafted militia; and also to for more ammunition; and the night passed off in war like style, with the sentinals marching silently at a proper distance from the watch-fires.
Early in the morning we marched strongly guarded by the troops, to the seat of war, and quartered in the block house, formerly the tavern stand of S. Flournoy. After break fast, we were visited by the District Attorney, , and the Attorney General, Mr. [Robert W.] Wells. From them we learned that all hopes of criminal prosecution, was at an end. Mr. Wells had been sent by the to investigate, as far as possible, the outrage, but the bold front of the mob, bound even unto death, (as I have heard) was not to be penetrated by civil law, or awed by Executive influence. Shortly after informed me that he had just received an order from the Judge, that his company’s service was no longer wanted in , and we were marched out of town to the tune of Yankee-doodle in quick time, and soon returned to our camp ground without the loss of any lives. In fact much credit is due to , for his gallantry and hospitality, and I think I can say of the officers and company, that their conduct as sol diers and men, is highly reputable; so much so, knowing as I do the fatal result, had the militia come, or not come, I can add that the ’s safe return, refreshed my mind, with Zenophon’s retreat of the ten thousand. Thus ends all hopes of “redress,” even with a guard ordered by the , for the protection of the court and witnesses.
Before a crop is harvested, it becomes ripe of itself. The dreadful deeds now done in , with impunity, must bring matters to a focus shortly. Within two or three weeks past, some of the most savage acts, ever witnessed, have been committed by these bitter branches. Old father Linsey, whose locks have been whitened by the blasts of nearly seventy winters, had his house thrown down, after he was driven from it; his goods, corn, &c, piled together, and fire put to it, but fortunately, after the mob retired, his son extinguished it.
The mob has quit whipping, and now beat with clubs. Lyman Leonard one of the number that returned from Van Buren, had two chairs broke to splinters about him, and was then dragged out doors and beat with clubs till he was supposed to be dead—but he is yet alive. Josiah Sumner and Barnet Cole were sever[e]ly beat at the same time. The mob have commenced burning houses, stacks, &c. and we shall not think it out of their power, by any means, to proceed to murder any of our people that shall try to live in that county, or perhaps, only go there.
Such scenes as are transpiring around us, are calculated to arouse feelings, and pas sions in all, and to strengthen the faith and fortify the hearts of the saints for great things. Our Savior laid down his life for our sakes, and shall we, who profess to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God; shall we, the servants of the Lord of the vineyard, who are called and chosen to prune it for the last time; shall we, yea, verily, we, who are enlightened by the wisdom of heaven, shall we fear to do as much for Jesus as he did for us. No; we will obey the voice of the Spirit, that good may overcome the world.
I am a servant, &c,
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