Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 March 1839

tue, and righteousness is their only  aim and object in this life. They are  sir, a much injured, and abused people;  and are greatly belied as to their true  character. They have been fallen up on by a gang of ruffians and murder ers, three times, in the state of Missou ri; and entirely broken up, without  having committed the first offence: or  without there being the least shadow  in the very slightest degree of evidence,  that they have done ought of any thing  derogatory to the laws, or character,  of the state of Missouri. And this last  time of their being broken up; it is  either my misfortune, or good fortune,  (for I rather count it good fortune to  suffer affliction with the people of God,)  in connection with others of my breth ren, to be made a severe sufferer, by  the hands of the above mentioned ras cals: they are supported by some por tions of the authorities of the State, ei ther in consequence of prejudices, ex cited by foul calumnies, or else they  themselves, are the fathers and instiga tors, of the whole diabolical and mur derous proceeding.
I am bold to say sir, that a more  nefarious transaction never has exist ed, since the days of Yore; than that  which has been practiced upon us.—  Myself and those who are in prison  with me, were torn from our houses,  with our wives and children clinging  to our garments, under the awful ex pectation of being exterminated. At  our first examination, the mob found  one or two persons, of low and worth less character, whom they compelled,  at the peril of their lives, to swear  some things against us: which things,  if they had been even true, were  nothing at all, and could not have so  much as disgraced any man under heav en. Nevertheless, we could have prov ed, by more than five hundred witnes ses, that the things were false. But  the Judge employed an armed force,  and compelled us to abandon the idea  of introducing witnesses, upon the per il of the lives of the witnesses. Under  such circumstances, sir, we were com mitted to this jail, on a pretended  charge of treason, against the State of  Missouri, without the slightest evidence  to that effect. We collected our wit nesses the second time, and petitioned  a habeas corpus: but were thrust back  again into prison, by the rage of the  mob; and our families robbed, and plun dered: and families, and witnesses,  thrust from their homes, and hunted  out of the State, and dare not return  for their lives. And under this order  of things, we, held in confinement, for  a pretended trial: whereas we are to  be tried by those very characters who  have practiced those things, yea the  very characters who have murdered  some hundred men, women and chil dren,* <*He was thus imformed by the Missourians> and have sworn to have our  lives also; and have made public proc lamation that these men must and  should be hung, whether they were in nocent, or guilty. Such men too, sir,  have made this proclamation, as gen eral [David R.] Atchison, who is considered one  of the most prominent men in the State.  This is according to the information I  have received, which I suppose to be  true. Their plea sir, is that the State  will be ruined, if the Mormon leaders  are liberated, so that they can publish  the real facts, of what has been prac tised upon them.
We are kept under a strong guard,  night and day, in a prison of double  walls and doors, proscribed in our lib erty of conscience, our food is scant,  uniform, and coarse; we have not the  privilege of cooking for ourselves, we  have been compelled to sleep on the  floor with straw, and not blankets suf ficient to keep us warm; and when we  have a fire, we are obliged to have al most a constant smoke. The Judges  have gravely told us from time to time  that they knew we were innocent, and  ought to be liberated, but they dare  not administer the law unto us, for fear  of the mob. But if we will deny our  religion, we can be liberated. Our  lawyers have gravely told us, that we  are only held now by the influence of  long faced Baptists; how far this is  true, we are not able to say: but we  are certain that our most vehement ac cusers, are the highest toned professors  of religion. On being interogated what  these men have done? their uniform an swer is, we do not know, but they are  false teachers, and ought to die. And  of late boldly and frankly acknowledge,  that the religion of these men, is all  that they have against them. Now  sir, the only difference between their [p. 52]
JS, letter, Liberty, MO, to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839; Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, pp. 51–56.