Richards records the hours-long debate of the Nauvoo City Council concerning the Nauvoo Expositor.

Jun 10, 1844
Meeting Minutes / Notes
Willard Richards
Scribed Summary

"Minutes, 10 June 1844," 24-31, The Joseph Smith Papers website, accessed January 14, 2022

Willard Richards
W. W. Phelps, Aaron Johnson, Hyrum Smith, Elias Smith, Wilson Law, John Portineus Greene, Robert B. Thompson, William Law, Levi Richards, Francis Higbee, Orson Spencer, Sylvester Emmons, Austin Cowles, Robert D. Foster, Samuel C. Bennett, Edward Hunter, George Washington Harris, John Taylor, Joseph Smith, Jr., Peter Haws, Phineas Richards, Stephen Markham, Jeremiah Smith, Nathaniel Pope, Willard Richards, George P. Stiles, Joseph H. Jackson, Benjamin Warrington
Reading Public

<​Special​> Committee reported an A Bill— on Ordinanc[e] on Libels & for oth[e]r pu[r]poses.— with preamble—

Mayor said— if he had a city council who felt as he did. the establishm[e]nt. (refering to the Nauvoo Expos[i]tor) would be a Nuisanc[e] before night.— and read an Editorial from the 2d No of the Nauvoo Expositor who ever said a word vs Judge [Sylvester] Emmons until he has atta[c]ked this coun[c]il.— or agint [against]. J[oseph] H. Jackson. or the Laws until they have come out against the city?—

& Here is a paper (Nauvoo Expositor) that is exciting.— our enemies abroad.—

Joseph H. Jackson— has been proved— a muderes [murderer] before this Council.— and delard [declared] the paper a nuisance.

a greater nuisanc <​geater​> than a dead carcase [carcass]— they make a criminality of for a man to have a wife on the earth while he has one in heaven— according to the keys of the holy pri[e]sthood. and read a the statement of Wm Law in the Expositor. where the truth of God is was transformd into a lie.— Read Stateme[n]ts of Austin Cowles— & said he had never had any privite convesation with Austin Cowles on these subje[c]ts. that he prea[c]hed on the stand from the bible showing the order in ancient days having nothing to do with the p[r]esent time.

What the opposition party wanted. was to raise a mob on us and take the spoil of us as they did in Missouri

Said that he had as much as he could do to keep his clerk [Robert B.] Thompson from publishing the proceedings of the Laws. and causing the people to—

said he would rath[e]r die to morrow and have the thing smashed.— than live & have it go on.

Peter Hawes referrd to <​a​> Mr Smith who came from Engla[n]d.— and was taken sick,— and died. The children had no one to p[r]otect them. <​ther[e] was​> one girl 16 or 17 years old.— & a yo[u]nger sister.— witness took in these girls out of pity. Wilson Law was familiar with the oldest daughter, witness cautiond the girl.— wilson was soon ther[e] again and out in the evinng [evening]. charged the girl & she confimd [confirmed] to witness wife Wilson had seduc[e]d her. Witn[e]ss told her he could not keep herr— girls wept and made much ado— made many p[r]omises— witnss told herr if she would do right she might stay. but she did not. keep— wilson came & she wint ag[a]in.—

Mayor— said certain women came to compl[a]in to his wife that they had caught Wilson Law with the girl on the floor— at Mr Hawes.— in the night

C. H. Smith.— spoke to show the falsehoods of Austin Cowles in relation to the revelati[o]n referred to.— that it referrd to fo[r]mer days— not the presnt time as stated by Cowles.

Mayor said he had never pre[a]ched the revelatin in private as he had in public— had not taught in it to the highet anointed in the chu[rc]h <​in p[r]ivate​> which may [many?] confirmd.—

On enquiry the passage in the resurrecti[o]n they neithe[r] mar[r]y &c. I receiv[e]d for answer, Men in this life must be married in vi[e]w of Etirnity, was the amount of the revelation. othe[r]wise they must remain as angels only— in heaven. and spoke at considerable length. in explanation of the principl[e]s was willing for one to subscribe his name to declare that paper & the whole establishemt as a nuisance

1 O clock & 19. min adjnd for one hour.—

half past 2 o clock P. M. council called Quorum pesnt [present].

The Reorder <​clerk​> bore testimony of the good character & high standing of Mr Smith’s family.— whose daughter was seduced by. Wilson Law. as stated in the morning council.

C. H. Smith concurred.

Bill on Libells

Ordinance <​Bill—​> on Libels was read the 2d Time.

Moved by Mayor— that the words. “and statute of Illinois” be added to the 1st section of the ordinac [ordinance]. immediately after Kent.— seconded and carried.— and the words added.— C. [William W.] Phelps proposed the addition. of a word.

Mayor.— mentioned said no man would join the claque who is not votes not guilty.— and objected to.—

<​read 3d Time by its title​>

Motion[e]d by Mayor 2d by C. H. Smith that the bill pass and carried unanimously:— satisfi[e]d with title “An ordinance concerning libels and for other purposes.”

Mayor Said the Constitution did not authorize an the press to publish Libels—

And p[r]oposed the council make some provision for putting— down the Nauvoo Expositors

C. H. Smith mov[e]d that the Marshall p[r]ocure. a p[r]ospectus of the Nauvoo Expositir. 2d by W. W. C. Phepls [Phelps]

C. Phelps read Art 8th 1 §. Illinois Constitution.

Mayor calld on for the charter.—

Prospectus of the Nauvoo Expositor was read—

Mayor read statem[en]ts of Francis M. Higbee from the “Expositor” Is it not treasonable again[s]t all charterd right, privileges, peac[e], and happiness of the city?— and spoke at great length.—


C. H. Smith spoke in favor of declaring the Expositor a Nuisance

C. [John] Taylor said no city on earth would bear such slander and he would not bear it.— and spoke decidedly in favor of active measures.—

Mayor made a stamnt [statement] of what Wm Law said before the <​C​>. Council conc[ern]ing his frdsship [friendship]— <​if he had any thi[n]g agis [against] th[e] Mayor—​> and scores resp[o]nded to the qustin [question].— yes.—

E. C. [Edward] Hunter said Wm Law stated befor the grand Jury that he did not say befor to the council that he was Josephs fr[ie]nd.—

C. Taylor— continu[e]d Wilson Law was presid[e]nt of this council— Wm Law. & Emons were members— & Emmons has never objected to any ordinance— has been more like a cypher— a and read from the constituti[o]n of the U. S.— on freedom of the press.— we are willing th[e]y should publish the truth— but the paper is a nuisanc— and stinks in the nose of eve[r]y honest man.—

Resolution of on nuisances read—

Mayor.— read Article 8. sec 22. page 365.— Constitutin of Illinois

C. Stiles spoke Nuisanc is any thing distu[r]bs the peac[e] of community.— & Read. Chitty’s Blackston[e] page 4. Privat[e] wrongs Vol 2.— and said the whole commun[i]ty have to rest under the stigma of these faslehoods [falsehoods]— if we can prevent the issiung [issuing] of any more slanderous <​comminictns [communications]​> I <​he​> would go in for it.— it is right for this comunity to show a p[r]oper resentmnt— I would go in for suppressing all further publicat[ion]s of the kind.—

C. H Smith be[lie]ved the be[s]t way [was?] to smash the press all to pieces and pie the type

<​C.​> A[aron] Johnson concurr[e]d whith with what other counsellrs had said.—

A. Bennet [Samuel Bennett] referd to the stateme[n]t of the Expositor relative to the Muncpal cort [municipal court] in case of Jiremh [Jeremiah] Smith.— considrd it a public Nuissnc [nuisance]

B. Warringtn [Benjamin Warrington]— consi[de]red his a peculiar situtin [situation] for the city co[u]ncil to pass this a nuisance would be hasty. & p[r]opose g[iv]ing a few days limati[o]n— & assess a fine of $3000.00 for every libel.— & if they would not cease publish[in]g libe[l]s declare it a nuisance.

Mayor— Querrid

C. Waringtn said the counsellr stated made provisions.— fine 500.00—

Mayor repli[e]d th[e]y thretend to shoot him when at Carthage— & the women and othrs dare not go to Carthage to p[r]osecute.— and read a libel f[r]om the Expositor concerning Jerimah [Jeremiah] Smith.— and explaind and showed the falshood of the Expositor. Smith was openly in the streets of the city daily—

C. H Smith spoke of the Warsaw Signal—

<​Mayor was sorry to have one dissenti[n]g voice—​>

C. Warrington did not mean to be und[er]stood to go vs but not be in haste

C. Smith.— spoke of the mortgages on the p[r]operty of the prop[ri]etors of the Expositors.—

A. E[lias] Smith. conserd [considered] there is but one cour[s]e to pu[r]sue th[e]y were out of the rea[c]h of the law.— one cour[s]e to put and end to the thing at once.— beli[e]ved if the city did not do it othrs would.— by wh[a]t he had heard.

C. Hunter. beli[e]ved it to [be?] a Nuisance.— and referd to the opin[ion] of Judge [Nathaniel] Pope on Habe[a]s Corpus. and spoke in favor of our cha[r]ter.— &c—

Asked F M. Higbe. befor the Gr[a]nd Jury, if he was not the man he saw at Joseph’s making professions of fidship [friendship]— said he was not.— asked Dr Foster if he did not state befor hu[n]dreds of people that you belivd [believed] Jos[e]ph a prophet? No! said Foster— th[e]y were under oath when th[e]y said it.

A. Spener [Orson Spencer] accorded with the vi[e]ws expersed [expressed]. that this paper is a nuisan[c]e. did not consider it wis[e] to give th[e]m time to trupret [trumpet] a thou[sa]nd lies this prope[r]ty could not pay for.— If we pass only a fine or impismnt [imprisonment]. have we any confiden[ce] that th[e]y will dsit [desist]? None at all.— fo[u]nd these men covnet [covenant] breakers. with God with their wives. &c. have we any hope of their doing better— Their charactees [characters] have gone before th[e]m

Counsellor Taylor. said when at Quincy the people sa[i]d no-body caered [cared] for him— they all belivd him to be a scoundrel. Higbe

A. Spen[c]er continud.— shall they be suffrd to go on. No I had rather my blood would be spilld.— and would like to have the p[r]ess removd as soon as the ordina[n]ce will allow.— wish[e]d the matter be put in the h[a]nds of the Mayor and eve[r]y body stand by him.— in the excutin [execution] of his duties.— and hush eve[r]y mu[r]mur—

C. L[evi] Richards said he had felt deeply on this subject.— and concurred fully in gen smiths views as expressed by him— this day.— consid[er]ed private interest as nothing in comparison with the public good.— Eve[r]y time a line was formed in Far West he was theree [there]. for what. to defend themse[l]ves aga[ins]t just such schondrels [scoundrels] as as are now fig[h]ting agai[n]st us.— considerd the doings of the coun[c]il this day of immence moment. not to this city alone but to the whole wo[r]ld.— would go in to put a stop to this thing at once— Let the thing be thrond [thrown] out of this city— and have the responsbity [responsibility] off his shouldars & let it fall on. the state of Illin[oi]s Go.—

<​C.​> P[hineas] Richards— referd to the scurry at Haun Mills [Hawn’s Mill]— & the death of his son at that place.— said he could not sit still when he saw the same spirit aris[i]ng in this place.— and he conside[re]d the publis[h]ers of the Expostors as much murdere[r]s at heart as David was before the death of Uriah. <​was for making a sho[r]t wo[r]k of it—​> was prepar[e]d to take his sta[n]d by th[e] Mayor & whatev[e]r he propo[sed] wo[u]ld st[an]d by by him to the last— the qui[c]ker it is stopped the bette[r].—

C. Phelps— had invstigatd the constituti[o]n. Cha[r]ter, & laws.— the power to declare that office a nuisac [nuisance] is gra[n]ted to us in the Springfield Cha[r]ter, and a relolutin [resolution] d[e]claring it a nuisan[c]e is all that is req[u]ired.

John Birney Sworn Francis M. Higbee & Willi[a]m Law said th[e]y had comenced their operati[o]ns and would car[r]y them out Law or no law—

<​Stephn​> Markam [Stephen Markham].— Swo[r]n F M. Higbe said the Inhabates [inhabitants] of th[i]s city is done the minut[e] a hand is laid on th[i]s press—

C Phelps continud.— and referd to Wilson Law in destroyi[n]g the char[a]cter of a child.— who had the child <​charge of​> anoth[er] child.—

Warren Smith Sworn.— F M Higbee came to me and poposd [proposed] to have me go in as a ptnr [partner] Maki[n]g Bogus Mon[e]y.— wo[u]ld not wo[r]k for a livi[n]g witness might go in with him. if witn[e]ss wo[u]ld advne [advance] $50. and shew me 1/2 a dollar he said was made by his dies.—

C. Phelps continued had felt deeper this day than he ever felt before.— wanted to know by yes if there was any one prese[nt] to <​who​> wanted to avenge the blood of that Innocent female— Yes ascended f[r]om ev[er]y qu[ar]ter of the room.— referrd to the Tea plot at Boston are we offer[i]ng or have we offe[re]d to take away the right of any one No <​thes[e]​> 2 days? NO!!!— f[ro]m ev[er]y qu[a]rters.—

Referd to Laws Grinding the poor— and spoke at gr[e]at length.— in supp[or]t of active mesur [measures] to put dow[n] iniquity.—

Aldrman Harris spoke f[r]om the chair. exp[r]essed his feeli[n]gs that the p[r]ess ought to be demolish[ed]

Resoluti[o]n on the pr[i]nting press. read. and pas[s]ed.

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