Mormon History

Puppet Governor's First Proclamation - 1844

Sangamo Journal July 11, 1844

The Governor's Proclamation in reference to the Outrage -- and call for troops.

TO  THE  PEOPLE  OF  THE  STATE  OF  ILLINOIS.

I desire to make a brief but true statement of the recent disgraceful affair at Carthage, in regard to the Smiths, so far as circumstances have come to my knowledge. The Smiths, Joseph and Hyrum, have been assassinated in Jail, by whom it is not known, but will be ascertained. I pledged myself for their safety, and upon the assurance of that pledge, they surrendered as prisoners. The Mormons surrendered the public arms in their possession, and the Nauvoo Legion submitted to the command of Capt. Singleton, of Brown county, deputed for that purpose by me. All these things were required to satisfy the old citizens of Hancock that the Mormons were peaceably disposed; and to allay jealousy and excitement in their minds. It appears however that the compliance of the Mormons with every requisition made upon them failed of that purpose. The pledge of security to the Smiths, was not given upon my individual responsibility. Before I gave it, I obtained a pledge of honor by a unanimous vote from the officers and men under my command, to sustain me in performing it. If the assassination of the Smiths was committed by any portion of these, they have added treachery to murder, and have done all they could to disgrace the state, and sully public honor.

On the morning of the day the deed was committed, we had proposed to march the army under my command into Nauvoo. I had however discovered on the evening before, that nothing but utter destruction of the city would satisfy a portion of the troops; and that if we marched into the city, pretext would not be wanting for commencing hostilities. The Mormons had done every thing required, or which ought to have been required of them. Offensive operations on our part would have been as unjust and disgraceful, as they would have been impolitic, in the present critical season of the year, the harvest and the crops. For these reasons I decided in a council of officers, to disband the army, except three companies, two of which were retained as a guard for the Jail. With the other company I marched into Nauvoo, to address the inhabitants there, and tell them what they might expect in case they designedly or imprudently provoked a war. I performed this duty as I think plainly and emphatically, and then set out to return to Carthage. When I had marched about three miles, a messenger informed me of the occurrences at Carthage. I hastened on to that place. -- The guard, it is said, did their duty but were overpowered. Many of the inhabitants of Carthage had fled with their families. Others were preparing to go. I apprehended danger in the settlements from the sudden fury and passion of the Mormons and sanctioned their movements in this respect.

General Deming volunteered to remain with a few troops to observe the progress of events, to defend property against small numbers, and with orders to retreat if menaced by a superior force. I decided to proceed immediately to Quincy, to prepare a force, sufficient to suppress disorders, in case it should ensue from the foregoing transactions or from any other cause. I have hopes that the Mormons will make no further difficulties. In this I may be mistaken. The other party may not be satisfied. They may recommence aggression. I am determined to preserve the peace against all breakers of the same, at all hazards. I think present circumstances warrant the precaution, of having a competent force at my disposal, in readiness to march at a moment's warning. My position at Quincy will enable me to get the earliest intelligence, and to communicate orders with the greatest celerity.

I have decided to issue the following general orders:

                                  HEAD QUARTERS,
                            Quincy, June, [29], 1844.
It is ordered that the commandants of regiments in the counties of Adams, Marquette, Pike, Brown, Schuyler, Morgan, Scott, Cass, Fulton and McDonough, and the Regiments composing Gen. Stapp's brigade, will call their respective Regiments and Battalions together immediately upon the receipt of this order, and proceed by voluntary enlistment to enroll as many men as can be armed in their respective Regiments. They will make arrangements for a campaign of twelve days, and provide themselves with arms, ammunition, and provisions accordingly, and hold themselves in readiness immediately to march upon the receipt of further orders.

The independent companies of Riflemen, Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery in the above named Counties, and in the County of Sangamon will hold themselves in readiness in like manner.

THOMAS FORD, Governor
and Commander in Chief.

 

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