Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 5.1

Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841

[ Full-text transcription of: Letter from the Honorable A. A. King, Judge of the 5th Judicial Circuit, Richmond, MO to Governor Boggs, Jefferson City, MO ]
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                                                                                    Oct 23rd. 1838

Dear Sir

            I have recently seen Col Price,

who made known to me the object of

his mission to this part of the State.

In reference to the lawless depredations

Said to be practiced on the Mormons, I

have no doubt that  the charges are to

a certain extent true, and I have

as little doubt that the perpetrators

of them can be effectually brought

to justice by the civil authorities.

If, instead of writing those inflamatory

letters to members of the Legislature,

these same men would come before me

and give such information, as the

law requires against these lawless

characters, I should bring them to an

immediate account, and I am satisfied

there is virtue enough in this community

to aid and sustain me in so laudable

an undertaking.  I have heard frequent comp

=laints, and have uniformly invited them to institu

=te a legal investigation, but no person

has thought proper to do so.

            In most of the cases of outrage against

the property of Mormons, it has been by

persons who pretend, and perhaps truly,

that the Mormons were them, or by

persons who say that the mormons, in their

late outrages upon them, have destroyed

their property, and they take this means

to indemnify themselves.  This certainly is

an unlawful and highly objectionable

course.  But I think it very ungracious in

Mr Arthur to charge it upon the citizens

of the surrounding counties, exempting

his own county of Clay.  If rumor be

true, he himself has been  very extensive

=ly engaged in collecting his Mormon

debts, in property chiefly, and at prices less

than half what would be asked or given

in ordinary cases.  This with me is only rum

=or, but there are men who say so who  


are equally respectable with Mr. Arthur.  As it

regards the Military force recommended by

him, I should look upon it as a direct imput

=tion upon the power and efficacy of the

civil authorities to maintain this law

in ordinary cases, and would, in effect

be reversing that [“to” erased] salutary constitution

=al principle which renders the Military

subordinate to the civil authority.

I cannot but express regret that the time, in

my opinion is not very distant when we

shall have the same scene to go through with

the mormons that we have lately witn=

=essed.  If the Mormons would disperse

and not gather into exclusive communities

of their own, I think with the exception

of a few of their leaders, the people

might be as reconciled to them, but this

they utterly refuse to do, they tell me

that it would amount to an  aband

=onment of their creed & religion,

for they believe, you know, in this

gathering, together of the Saints,

and that they shall come out  from

the world, Suggest, the matter to them,

as I have done, for the sake of

their peace and safety, and they

will give you many scriptural

reasons why they should not do so.

The mormons, appear lately to have taken

new courage and [“appear” crossed out] to be determined

not to move; the citizens are equally deter

=mined they shall, for nothing but

expulsion or the other alternative will

satisfy this community, that is, if the,

mormons hold out under their former

principles and practices. This I know

is strong doctrine for some of the mem—

=bers, and such as I have not encour

=aged, occupying this Station I do, either

by act or expression, yet  I can easily

find men in this community, noted

for their good moral character and correct

deportment, who are determined the

mormans shall not reside among them

The alternative is presented, the expulsion


of this mormons, or the virtual relin

=guishment of their own homes.

            There has been from parts of this State,

as well as from other states highly

respectable gentlemen, who came

among us with all their sympathies

and prejudices enlisted in favor

of the mormons, but after traveling

through the country, hearing

and seeing which they did, [ ] they

undergo an entire change of

opinion, such as has frequently

astonished me.

            I have written [“this letter” crossed out] to you

in conformity with the request

made by you through Col Price

in reference to the necessity of a

Military force to sustain and

uphold the laws.

                                    I am

                                                very respectfully

                                                Austin A. King

                               Govr Lilburn W. Boggs

                                          Jefferson City