A CIRCULAR OF THE HIGH COUNCIL.
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS, AND TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: GREETING.
[Journal History, 20 January 1846, 1–3; or
Times and Seasons, vol. 6 no. 21 (15 Jan. 1846), 1096–97]
Beloved Brethren and Friends;—We, the members of the High Council of the Church, by the voice of all her authorities, have unitedly and unanimously agreed, and embrace this opportunity to inform you, that we intend to send out into the Western country from this place, some time in the early part of the month of March, a company of pioneers, consisting mostly of young, hardy men, with some families. These are destined to be furnished with an ample outfit; taking with them a printing press, farming utensils of all kinds, with mill irons and bolting cloths, seeds of all kinds, grain &c.
The object of this early move, is, to put in a spring crop, to build houses, and to prepare for the reception of families who will start so soon as grass shall be sufficiently grown to sustain teams and stock. Our pioneers are instructed to proceed West until they find a good place to make a crop, in some good valley in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, where they will infringe upon no one, and be not likely to be infringed upon. Here we will make a resting place, until we can determine a place for a permanent location. In the event of the President’s recommendation to build block houses and stockade forts on the rout to Oregon, becoming a law, we have encouragements of having that work to do; and under our peculiar circumstances, we can do it with less expense to the Government than any other people. We also further declare for the satisfaction of some who have concluded that our grievances have alienated us from our country; that our patriotism has not been overcome by fire—by sword—by daylight, nor by midnight assassinations, which we have endured; neither have they alienated us from the institutions of our country. Should hostilities arise between the Government of the United States and any other power, in relation to the right of possessing the territory of Oregon, we are on hand to sustain the claim of the United State’s Government to that country. It is geographically ours; and of right, no foreign power should hold dominion there: and if our services are required to prevent it, those services will be cheerfully rendered according to our ability. We feel the injuries that we have sustained, and are not insensible of the wrongs we have suffered; still we are Americans, and should our country be invaded we hope to do, at least, as much as did the conscientious Quaker who took his passage on board a merchant ship, and was attacked by pirates. The pirate boarded the merchantman, and one of the enemies’ men fell into the water between the two vessels, but seized a rope that hung over and was pulling himself up on board the merchantman. The conscientious Quaker saw this, and though he did not like to fight, he took his jack-knife and quickly moved to the scene, saying to the pirate, “if thee wants that piece of rope I will help thee to it.” He cut the rope asunder—the pirate fell—and a watery grave was his resting place.
Much of our property will be left in the hands of competent agents for sale at a low rate, for teams, for goods and for cash. The funds arising from the sale of property will be applied to the removal of families from time to time as fast as consistent, and it now remains to be proven whether those of our families and friends who are necessarily left behind for a season to obtain an outfit, through the sale of property, shall be mobbed, burnt, and driven away by force. Does any American want the honor of doing it? or will Americans suffer such acts to be done, and the disgrace of them to rest on their character under existing circumstances? If they will, let the world know it. But we do not believe they will.
We agreed to leave the country for the sake of peace, upon the condition that no more vexatious prosecutions be instituted against us.—In good faith have we labored to fulfil this engagement. Governor Ford has also done his duty to further our wishes in this respect.—But there are some who are unwilling that we should have an existence any where. But our destinies are in the hands of God, and so also is theirs.
We venture to say that our brethren have made no counterfeit money: And if any miller has received fifteen hundred dollars base coin in a week, from us, let him testify. If any land agent of the General Government has received wagon loads of base coin from us in payment for lands, let him say so. Or if he has received any at all from us, let him tell it.—Those witnesses against us have spun a long yarn: but if our brethren had never used an influence against them to break them up, and to cause them to leave our city, after having satisfied themselves that they were engaged in the very business of which they accuse us, their revenge might never have been roused to father upon us their own illegitimate and bogus productions.
We have never tied a black strap around any person’s neck, neither have we cut their bowels out, nor fed any to the “Cat fish.” The systematic order of stealing of which these grave witnesses speak, must certainly be original with them. Such a plan could never originate with any person, except some one who wished to fan the flames of death and destruction around us. The very dregs of malice and revenge are mingled in the statements of those witnesses alluded to by the ‘Sangamo Journal.’ We should think that every man of sense might see this. In fact, many editors do see it, and they have our thanks for speaking of it.
We have now stated our feelings, our wishes, and our intentions: And by them we are willing to abide; and such Editors as are willing that we should live and not die; and have a being on the earth while heaven is pleased to lengthen out our days, are respectfully requested to publish this article. And men who wish to buy property very cheap, to benefit themselves, and are willing to benefit us; are invited to call and look: and our prayer shall ever be that justice and judgement, —mercy and truth may be exalted, not only in our own land, but throughout the world, and the will of God be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
Done in Council at the City of Nauvoo, on the 20th day of January, 1846.
GEORGE W. HARRIS,
HENRY G. SHERWOOD,
LEWIS D. WILSON,
EZRA T. BENSON,