Thursday, May 18, 2017

“Bursting the Boiler”

When apostle Heber C. Kimball prophesied that clothes on the streets of Salt Lake City would be plentiful and cheaper than St. Louis prices, a few of the other apostles did not believe him. One apostle went so far as to state that he had “burst the boiler” on this one. Who was the apostle?
a.                  Porter Rockwell
b.                  Parley P. Pratt
c.                   George A. Smith
d.                  Brigham Young
Yesterday’s answer:
(B)   1
It required no great wisdom, however, to foresee that for the saints to return to their homes (In Jackson county), and then be left there without protection—would not be far removed from community suicide, as the mob greatly outnumbered the saints. To return under these circumstances would only be laying the foundation for a greater tragedy than the one already enacted; and the brethren wisely concluded not to attempt to regain possession of their homes, until some measure was adopted to protect them when there.
   At the February term of the circuit court, which convened at Independence, about twelve of the leading elders were subpoenaed as witnesses on the part of the state, against certain citizens of Jackson county for their acts of mob violence against the “Mormons.” On the twenty-third of the month these witnesses crossed the Missouri into Jackson county, under the protection of the Liberty Blues, Captain Atchison commanding. The company numbered about fifty, and were all well-armed with United States muskets. The company and witnesses commenced crossing the river about noon, but it was nearly night before the baggage wagon was taken across. While waiting for the arrival of the wagon, it was decided to camp in the woods, and not go to Independence until the next morning. Half the company and a number of witnesses went about half a mile towards Independence and built fires for the night. While engaged in these duties the quarter-master and others, who had gone on ahead to prepare quarters in town for the company—evidently alarmed at the bold front of the mob, and believing that the guard of fifty militiamen which had been called out to protect the court and the witnesses would not be a sufficient force—sent an express back, which was continued by Captain Atchison to Colonel Allen, for the two hundred drafted militia under his command: and also sent to Liberty for more ammunition.
   Next morning the witnesses were marched to Independence under a strong guard and quartered in the block-house—formerly the Flourney Hotel. The attorney-general of the state, Mr. Wells, had been sent down by the governor to assist the circuit attorney, Mr. Reese, “to investigate as far as possible, the Jackson outrage.” These gentlemen waited upon the witnesses in their quarters, and gave them to understand that all hope of criminal procedure against the mob was at an end. Which act on the part of the officers of the court and of the state admits of but one explanation—the civil authorities were awed into inaction by the boldness, and threats of the mob; and contributing to this end was the fact that the people who had been whipped, beaten and despoiled; whose houses were burned and who were driven from the lands they had purchased from the government, were the adherents of an unpopular religion, and hence the officers of the state weakly submitted to the boldness of the mob and failed to uphold the majesty of the law.
   A few minutes after the information had been given the witnesses that all hope of criminal procedure was at an end, Captain Atchison informed them that he had received an order from Judge Ryland that the services of his company were no longer needed in Jackson county. The witnesses for the state decided to retire with the militia company and were marched out of town to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”—quick time.
   Thus ended the attempt of the state authorities to “execute the law”—in which execution the “public,” according to the governor, “was interested, but no further interested in this outrage”—only, “so far as a faithful execution of the law is concerned. “He presumed, “the whole community felt a deep interest; for that, which is the case of the Mormons today, may be the case of the Catholics tomorrow, and after them, any other sect that may become obnoxious to a majority of the people of any section of the state!”
   Thus ended the only effort that was ever made by the officers of Missouri to bring to justice these violators of the law. One class of citizens had conspired against the liberties of another class, and being the stronger had, without the authority of law, or shadow of justification, driven twelve hundred of them from their possessions, and here was not virtue enough in the executive of the state and his associates to punish the offenders. The determination of the mob to resist the law was stronger than the determination of the state officers to execute it and make it honorable. And yet the Constitution of the state made it the imperative duty of the executive to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed,” and to this end empowered the commander-in-chief of the militia (the governor) “in case of insurrection, or war, or pubic danger, or other emergency, to call forth into actual service such portion of the militia as he might deem expedient.” With this power placed in his hands by the laws of the state, Governor Dunklin permitted mobs to overawe the court of inquiry he himself had ordered.

B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church (Brigham Young University Press: Provo, Utah, 1965), Vol. 1, 353-355.

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