27559

Letter to John Thornton and Others, 25 July 1836

time which has transpired since its pub lication, you can easily see, that it was  put forth for no other reason than to  correct the public mind generally, with out a reference or expectation of an  excitement of the nature of the one  now in your country. Why we refer  you to this publication, particularly, is  because many of our friends who are  now at the west, were in this place  when this paper made its appearance,  and from personal observation gave it  their decided approbation, and expres sed those sentiments to be their own,  in the fullest particular.
Another charge of great magnitude is  brought against our friends in the west —of “keeping up a constant communi cation with the Indian tribes on our fron tier, with declaring, even from the pul pit, that the Indians are a part of God’s  chosen people, and are destined, by  heaven, to inherit this land, in com mon with themselves.” We know of  nothing, under the present aspect of  our Indian relations, calculated to rouse  the fears of the people of the Upper  Missouri, more than a combination or  influence of this nature; and we can not look upon it other than one of the  most subtle purposes of those whose  feelings are embittered against our  friends, to turn the eye of suspicion up on them from every man who is ac quainted with the barbarous cruelty of  rude savages. Since a rumor was  afloat that the Western Indians were  showing signs of war, we have receiv ed frequent private letters from our  friends, who have not only expressed  fears for their own safety, in case the  Indians should break out, but a decided  determination to be among the first to  repel any invasion, and defend the  frontier from all hostilities. We men tion the last fact, because it was wholly  uncalled for on our part, and came  previous to any excitement on the part  of the people of Clay county, against  our friends, and must definitively show,  that this charge is also untrue.
Another charge against our friends,  and one that is urged as a reason why  they must immediately leave the coun ty of Clay, is, that they are making or  are like to, the same “their perma nent home, the center and general ren dezvous of their people.” We have  never understood such to be the pur pose, wish or design of this society;  but on the contrary, have ever suppo sed, that those who resided in Clay  county, only designed it as a tempora ry residence, until the law and author ity of our country should put them in  the quiet possession of their homes in  Jackson county. And such as had not  possessions there, could purchase to  the entire satisfaction and interest of  the people of Jackson county.
Having partially mentioned the lead ing objections urged against our friends,  we would here add, that it has not been  done with a view on our part, to dis suade you from acting in strict con formity with your preamble and reso lutions, offered to the people of Clay  county, on the 29th ult. but from a  sense of duty to a people embarrassed,  persecuted and afflicted. For you are  aware, gentlemen, that in times of ex citement, virtues are transformed into  vices, acts, which in other cases, and  under other circumstances, would be  considered upright and honorable, in terpreted contrary from their real in tent, and made objectional and crimi nal; and from whom could we look for  forbearance and compassion with con fidence and assurance, more than from  those whose bosoms are warmed with  those pure principles of patriotism with  which you have been guided in the  present instance, to secure the peace  of your county, and save a persecuted  people from further violence, and des truction?
It is said that our friends are poor;  that they have but little or nothing to  bind their feelings or wishes to Clay  county, and that in consequence, have  a less claim upon that county. We  do not deny the fact, that our friends  are poor; but their persecutions have  helped to render them so. While oth er men were peacefully following their  avocations, and extending their inter est, they have been deprived of the  right of citizenship, prevented from en joying their own, charged with viola ting the sacred principles of our  constitution and laws; made to feel  the keenest aspersions of the tongue  of slander, waded through all but  death, and, are now suffering under  calumnies calculated to excite the in dignation and hatred of every people  among whom they may dwell, thereby  exposing them to destruction and inev itable ruin!
If a people, a community, or a soci ety, can accumulate wealth, increase [p. 357]
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JS, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, Frederick G. Williams, and Hyrum Smith, letter, Kirtland, OH, to John Thornton, Peter Rogers, Andrew Robertson, James T. V. Thompson, William T. Wood, Woodson J. Moss, James Hughs, David R. Atchison, and Alexander Doniphan, Clay County, MO, 25 July 1836; Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1836, pp. 355–359.

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