4 July 1843 (2) (Tuesday Afternoon). At the Temple Stand

[1] At 2 oclock they were again addressed by Elder Parley P. Pratt in a masterly discourse followed by President Joseph Smith upon the subject of the late arest & persecution who clearly vindicated his innocence & showed the corruption of his pursueers in a tru light. Three Steamers arived in the afternoon—one from St Louis one from Quincy & one from Burlington—bringing altogether about 900 visiting ladies and gentlemen to our City. On the arival of each boat they were escorted to the Stand by the Nauvoo band and the escort Companies whare convenient seats were provided & where they were welcomed by the firing of Cannon which brought to our minds the last words of the Patriot Jefferson:—Let this day be Celebrated by the firing of Cannon &c The legion was not out.

The following is a synopsis of the Address of President Joseph Smith while speaking in his own defence before about 15 000 souls

If the people will give ear a momen I will address them, with few words in my own defence as touching my arest. In the first place I will state to those that can hear me that I never spent more than six months in Missouri except while in prison, [2] while I was there I was at work for the support of my family. I never was a prisoner of war during my stay for I had not made war, I never took a pistol a gun, or sword & the much that has been said on this subject is false I have been willing to go before any governor Judge or tribunal whare justice Could be done & have the subject investigated. I could not have committed treason in that State while there I had no controll any whare in temporal things while there but in spiritual I was driven from that state by force of arms under the exterminating order of Govornor Boggs. [3] I have never commited treason the people know vary well I have Been a peaceable Citizen but their has been a great hugh & cry about Jo Smith Govonor Bogs being shot, No Crime can be done but what it is laid to Jo Smith Here I was again dragged to the United States Court, [4] & was cleared & now it comes again, But as often as God sees fit for me to suffer I am ready But I am as innocent of these Crimes as the Angels in heaven. I am not an enemy to mankind I am a friend to Mankind. I am not an enemy to Missouri nor any any governors or people As to the military station I hold & the Cause of my holding it is as follows: When we came here the State required us to bear arms & do military duty according to law, [5] & as the Church had just been driven from the State of Missouri & robed of all their property & arms they were poor & destitute of arms they were liable to be fined for not doing duty when they had not arms to do it with, they came to me for advice I advised them to organize themselves into independent companies, & demand arms of the State, this they did, Again their were many Elders having licence to preach which by law exhonorated them from Military duty but the officers would not release them on this ground I then told the Saints that though I was clear from Military duty by law in consequence of lameness in one of my legs, [6] yet I would set them the example & would do duty myself, they then said they were willing to do duty if they could be formed into an independent company & I could be at their head & upon this ground came the Nauvoo Legion & I holding the office of Lieutenant General not that I seek for power. & with regard to elections some say we all vote together & vote as I say But I never tell any man how to vote or who to vote for, But I will show you how we have been situated by bringing a Comparison Should their be a Methodist Society here & two Candidates running for office, one says if you will vote for me & put me in govornor I will exterminate the Methodist take away their Charters &c. The other Candidate says if I am Govornor I will give all an equal privilege, which would the Methodist vote for of course they would vote in mass for the Candidate that would give them their rights; thus it has Been with us Joseph Duncan [7] said if the people would elect him he would exterminate the mormons & take away their charters As to Mr Ford [8] he made no such threats, but manifested a spirit in his speaches to give every man their rights, hence the Church universally voted for Mr Ford & he was elected govornor, But he has issued writs against me the first time the Missourians made a demand for me & this is the second one he has issued for me which has caused me much trouble & expense. President Smith Also rehearsed the account of his being taken By Reynolds [9] & Wilson [10] & the unlawful treatment he received at their hands.

The multitude gave good attention & much prejudice seemed to be removed.

Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards

[P. M., after sermon by Parley P. Pratt] President J. Smith gave a brief relation of his capture—detention—treatment & trial. (which will be given in full hereafter.) [11] all of which gave great satisfaction apparently to all parties. & the visitors—as well as saints. appeared highly gratified.

Levi Richards Diary

P M P P Pratt occupied the stand (subject—resurrection & a whole salvation) Some 500 visiters from St. Louis Quincy burlington &c J. Smith spoke about 1/2 hour of his late arrest & trial—& religion &c good order prevailed through the day.

—4 July 1843 (2)


[1] See History of the Church, 5:489-90. Not in Teachings. The original source for the report of this discourse in History of the Church is the Wilford Woodruff Diary. The reports contained in the Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards, and the Levi Richards Diary are here published for the first time.

[2] Although Joseph Smith had taken four short visits to Missouri (in 1831, 1832, 1834, and 1837) he first took up residence in the State of Missouri in mid-March 1838; he continued as a resident of the state until 31 October 1838, when he was imprisoned for six and a half months.

[3] Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri issued the order of Mormon extermination on 27 October 1838.

[4] The United States Court refers to the United States District Court, Springfield, Illinois, where the Prophet was discharged in early January 1843. This was the only time he was tried in a federal court.

[5] Article 5, Section 1, of the 1818 Illinois State Constitution. "The militia of the State of Illinois shall consist of all free male ablebodied persons, negroes, mulattoes and Indians excepted, resident of the State, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, except such persons as now are, or hereafter may be exempted by the laws of the United States or of this State, and shall be armed, equipped, and trained as the General Assembly may provide by law" (Revised Statutes, 1845 [Springfield, 1845], p. 36).

[6] At the age of seven Joseph Smith contracted typhoid fever, which left complications. First he suffered from a large abscess in his shoulder, followed by pain and swelling in his left leg. Nathan Smith, a well-known surgeon from Dartmouth College, tried in vain to relieve the pain by making a small incision in the Prophet's leg between the knee and the ankle. When the family refused to allow the surgeon to amputate the leg, it was decided to try to remove a large part of the diseased bone. The operation saved the leg but left Joseph with a slight limp the rest of his life (see LeRoy S. Wirthlin, "Nathan Smith [1762-1828] Surgical Consultant to Joseph Smith," Brigham Young University Studies 17 [Spring 1977]: 319-37).

[7] Joseph Duncan (1794-1844). Governor of Illinois 1834-38. He ran unsuccessfully for a second term as governor against Thomas Ford in 1842.

[8] Thomas Ford (1800-50) was governor of Illinois 1842-46.

[9] Joseph H. Reynolds.

[10] Harmon T. Wilson.

[11] Times and Seasons 4 (1 and 15 July and 1 August 1843): 241-78, and Nauvoo Neighbor 1 (5, 12, 19, and 26 July 1843).