Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 3.7

Thomas Reynolds, 1840-1844

[ Full-text transcription of: Letter from George Miller, St. Louis, Mo to Governor Reynolds, Jefferson City, Mo. ]
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                                    St. Louis Mo. Septr 4th 1842

            To His Excellency Thos Reynolds

                                                Dr Sir

                                                            I hope you will

not think it a persecution, my writing you on the sub=

=ject of the late requisition by yourself, on the Executive

of Illinois (upon the affidavit of ex Gov. L W Boggs against

O P Rockwell as principal, & Joseph Ù Smith as accessory before the

fact for an attempt to commit murder upon the body

of Said Boggs in the county of Jackson State of Missouri)

            First I will briefly sate the sircumstances of the arrest

of said Smith & Rockwell by the officers Mr. King &

Pitman of Adams County Ill.  We had heard

a rumour  that a writ had been issued upon your

demand for Rockwell & Smith, as fugitives having

fled the justice of your State and taken shelter in

Illinois, but did not believe it, it being a notorious

fact that said Smith has not been in Mo. within the

last three and a half years past.  Therefore could not

have been guilty of the charges alledged, and further, on

the day the deed was committed he attended an officer

drill, and the day after reviewed the Militia in the

City of Nauvoo.  Now that he could have fled the

justice of your State is a matter impossible, the distance being

about 300 miles, And with these facts before him, he sued

out a write of Habeas Corpus, under a provision of the

City Charter, and an ordinance growing out of the

same, passed by the City Council.  The officers that ap=

prehended them (Smith & Rockwell) preemtorilly refused

to acknowledge the validity of any city ordinance in the

case—but however left the prisoners in charge of the

City Marshall until they could return to Quincy for

Legal advise.  The Marshall having no authority to hold

the prisoners let them go.  And having learned that Gov.

Carlin was determined to have them delivered to your

agent regardless of habeas corpus.  The counsel for the prisoners


advised them not to be found on the return of the officers

from Quincy (which they observed) believing the prisoners

would fall victims to the fury of the populace of Illinois

or Missouri, and that the arm of the Law would not

be able to protect them, or could they get an impartial trial

by due course of Law, prejudice running so high, on account

of our peculiar religious tenets, which my dear sir you are

very well aware of.—The above is an unvarnished account

of the facts in the case.  It is now rumoured that the agents

you sent to receive Smith &Rockwell have again returned

to Ill. having a new demand upon the Executive of Ill. [letters crossed out] & Iowa

Ù The illegalities of the former being amended, whether it be true or

not, I can not tell.  I now beg the patience of your

Excellency whilst I indulge my feeling in stating things

as they are, and I will do so more freely knowing who

you are, and I feel assured you will believe

me.  I have known Joseph Smith intimately for

near three & a half years, having been a great portion of

that time in his society every day,there being an intimacy

between us like that of Brothers, he having frequently unbosomed

himself to me, and I unhesitatingly aver that in every Sense

of the terms, a more generous, liberal, honorable, high

toned virtuous man, never existed on the footsool of

the great Jehovah, than Joseph Smith.  And why

let me ask you, should inocence be hunted and sacrificed

to the caprice of popular prejudice & phrenzy, and

we as a religious community denied the liberty of conscience

and the common constitutional rights of citizens.

I make this appeal to your Excellency, having learned

from good sources that you are a learned jurist,

a good man, & honorable patriot, therefore I am the

more free to speak my sentiments.—Now in regard

to our peculiar religious Tenets, we believe and teach

nothing other than the doctrine, the Prophets, Jesus Christ,

and the Apostles taught, and should  that, in the

nineteenth century, be esteemed criminal, Surely

your Excellency will say with me, it can not, but

if those Tenets be wrong, then we as religionists are guil

=ty of error.  I do hope that your Excellency will

not permit your mind to be prejudiced by the

foul slanders of those amonst us, as also those who

are opposed to us, on account of our religious notions

but that you will rather exert an influence to avert

the growing prejudice, and also the daily persecutions

that are continually heaped upon our religious

community.—I have seen forty nine winters, and

have no recollection of any religious body in

these United States having been so cruelly

persecuted as we have been; and not a [person],

[illegible] in our behalf, nor an influence

exerted.  Should such a state of things be

allowed in a Government where the liberty of

conscience is garanteed to all its citizens and

all religions said to be tolerated, It nevertheless

is so, And will you, exert an influence against

such a State of things.                         In haste

                                                Most Respectfully &c

                                                            George Miller



Geo. Miller

The Mormon about

Smith & Rockwell




            St. Louis                      His Excellency

                Sep                                      Thos. Reynolds Gov. Mo

                  6                                                         Jefferson City

              Mo.                                                                 Missouri