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´╗┐Title: General Smith's Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States
Author: Smith, Joseph, Jr., 1805-1844
Language: English
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GENERAL SMITH'S VIEWS OF THE POWERS AND POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE UNITED STATES.

NAUVOO, ILLINOIS.

PRINTED BY JOHN TAYLOR.

1844.



Transcriber's Note

The first edition, which this edition is designed to reproduce,
contains a few typographical and other errors corrected in later
editions (e. g. that of 1866). For clarity, several readings from
later editions are used in this text; all are marked with brackets.
In only one case (a tarriff being 'subversion' in the first edition
and 'supervision' in others) did the changes produce a significant
difference in meaning, and the context clearly supports the latter as
the correct reading.



General Smith's Views

Born in a land of liberty, and breathing an air uncorrupted with the
sirocco of barbarous climes, I ever feel a double anxiety for the
happiness of all men, both in time and in eternity. My cogitations,
like Daniel's, have for a long time troubled me, when I viewed the
condition of men throughout the world, and more especially in this
boasted realm, where the Declaration of Independence "holds these
truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that
among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness," but at the
same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves
for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin
than ours: and hundreds of our kindred for an infraction, or supposed
infraction of some over wise statute, have to be incarcerated in
dungeon glooms, or suffer the more moral penitentiary gravitation
of mercy in a nut-shell, while the duelist, the debauchee, and the
defaulter for millions, and other criminals, take the upper-most rooms
at feasts, or, like the bird of passage find a more congenial clime by
flight.

The wisdom which ought to characterize the freest, wisest, and most
noble nation of the nineteenth century, should, like the sun in
his meridian splendor, warm every object beneath its rays: and the
main efforts of her officers, who are nothing more nor less than
the servants of the people, ought to be directed to ameliorate the
condition of all: black or white, bond or free; for the best of books
says, "God hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on
the face of the earth."

Our common country presents to all men the same advantages; the same
facilities; the same prospects; the same honors; and the same rewards:
and without hypocrisy, the Constitution, when it says, "We, the people
of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish
justice, ensure tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity, [do] ordain and establish this Constitution for
the United States of America," meant just what it said, without
reference to color or condition: _ad [infinitum]_. The aspirations
and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so
liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of _equal rights_, as
appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated by those to whom the
administration of the laws are intrusted, with as much sanctity, as the
prayers of the Saints are treated in heaven, that love, confidence and
union, like the sun, moon and stars, should bear witness,

    (For ever singing as they shine,)
    "_The hand that made us is divine!_"

Unity is power; and when I reflect on the importance of it to the
stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of
persons and parties to foment discord in order to ride into power on
the current of popular excitement; nor am I less surprised at the
stretches of power, or restrictions of right, which too often appear
as acts of legislators, to pave the way to some favorite political
schemes, as destitute of intrinsic merit, as a wolf's heart is of the
milk of human kindness: a Frenchman would say, "prosque tout aimer
richesses et pouvoir;" (almost all men like wealth and power.)

I must dwell on this subject longer than others, for nearly one hundred
years ago that golden patriot, Benjamin Franklin drew up a plan of
union for the then colonies of Great Britain that _now_ are such an
independent nation, which, among many wise provisions for obedient
children under their father's more rugged hand,--thus: "they have
power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imports,
or taxes as to them shall appear most equal and just,--(considering
the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several
colonies,) and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience
to the people; rather discouraging luxury, than loading industry
with unnecessary burthens." Great Britain surely lacked the laudable
humanity and fostering clemency to grant such a just plan of union--but
the sentiment remains like the land that honored its birth as a pattern
for wise men _to study the convenience of the people more than the
comfort of the cabinet_.

And one of the most noble fathers of our freedom and country's glory:
great in war, great in peace, great in the estimation of the world, and
great in the hearts of his countrymen, the illustrious Washington, said
in his first inaugural address to Congress: "I hold the surest pledges
that as, on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate
views or party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal
eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities
and interests, so, on another, that the foundations of our national
policy will be laid in pure and immutable principles of private
morality; and the pre-eminence of free government be exemplified by
all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens, and
command the respect of the world." Verily, here shines the virtue and
wisdom of a statesman in such lucid rays that had every succeeding
Congress followed the rich instruction, in all their deliberations and
enactments, for the benefit and convenience of the whole community
and the communities of which it is composed, no sound of a rebellion
in South Carolina; no rupture in Rhode Island; no mob in Missouri,
expelling her citizens by executive authority; corruption in the
ballot boxes; a border warfare between Ohio and Michigan; hard times
and distress; outbreak upon outbreak in the principal cities: murder,
robbery, and defalcations, scarcity of money, and a thousand other
difficulties, would have torn asunder the bonds of the union; destroyed
the confidence of man; and left the great body of the people to mourn
over misfortunes in poverty, brought on by corrupt legislation in an
hour of proud vanity, for self aggrandizement. The great Washington,
soon after the foregoing faithful admonition for the common welfare of
his nation, further advised Congress that "among the many interesting
objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the
common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is
one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." As the Italian
would say: "_Buono aviso_," (good advice.)

The elder Adams in his inaugural address, gives national pride such
a grand turn of justification, that every honest citizen must look
back upon the infancy of the United States with an approving smile
and rejoice, that patriotism in the rulers, virtue in the people,
and prosperity in the union, once crowned the expectations of hope;
unveiled the sophistry of the hypocrite and silenced the folly of
foes: Mr. Adams said, "If national pride is ever justifiable, or
excusable, it is when it springs not from _power_ or riches, grandeur
or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information and
benevolence." There is no doubt such was actually the case with our
young realm at the close of the last century; peace, prosperity and
union, filled the country with religious toleration, temporal enjoyment
and virtuous enterprize; and gradually, too, when the deadly winter
of the "Stamp Act," the "Tea Act," and other _close communion_ acts
of royalty had choked the growth of freedom of speech, liberty of the
press, and liberty of conscience, did light, liberty, and loyalty
flourish like the cedars of God.

The respected and venerable Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address
made more than forty years ago, shows what a beautiful prospect an
innocent, virtuous nation presents to the sage's eye, where there is
space for enterprize: hands for industry; heads for heroes, and hearts
for moral greatness. He said, "A rising nation, spread over a wide and
fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of
their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and
forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal
eye; when I contemplate these transcendant objects, and see the honor,
the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the
issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation,
and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking." Such
a prospect was truly soul stirring to a good man, but "since the
fathers have fallen asleep," wicked and designing men have unrobed the
government of its glory, and the people, if not in dust and ashes, or
in sack cloth, have to lament in poverty, her departed greatness, while
demagogues build fires in the north and south, east and west, to keep
up their spirits _till it is better times_; but year after year has
left the people to _hope_ till the very name of _Congress_ or _State
Legislature_, is as horrible to the sensitive friend of his country,
as the house of "Blue Beard" is to children; or "Crockett's" Hell of
London, to meek men. When the people are secure and their rights
properly respected, then the four main pillars of prosperity, viz:
agriculture, manufactures, navigation, and commerce, need the fostering
care of government: and in so goodly a country as ours, where the soil,
the climate, the rivers, the lakes, and the sea coast; the productions,
the timber, the minerals; and the inhabitants are so diversified, that
a pleasing variety accommodates all tastes, trades and calculations, it
certainly is the highest point of [supervision] to protect the whole
northern and southern, eastern and western, centre and circumference of
the realm, by a judicious tariff. It is an old saying and a true one,
"If you wish to be respected, respect yourselves."

I will adopt in part the language of Mr. Madison's inaugural address,
"To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations, having
correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality towards
belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and
reasonable accommodation of [differences to a decision of them by an
appeal to arms; to exclude] intrigues and foreign partialities, so
degrading to all countries, and so baneful to free ones; to foster
a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others,
too proud to surrender their own, too liberal to indulge unworthy
prejudices ourselves, and too elevated not to look down upon them in
others; to hold the union of the States as the basis of their peace
and happiness; to support the constitution, which is the cement of the
union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect
the rights and authorities reserved to the states and to the people,
as equally incorporated with, and essential to the success, of the
general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the rights of
conscience, or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil
jurisdiction; to preserve in their full energy, the other salutary
provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and of the freedom
of the press;" as far as intention aids in the fulfilment of duty,
are consummations too big with benefits not to captivate the energies
of all honest men to achieve them, when they can be brought to pass
by reciprocation, friendly alliances, wise legislation, and honorable
treaties.

The government has once flourished under the guidance of trusty
servants; and the Hon. Mr. Monroe, in his day, while speaking of
the Constitution; says, "Our commerce has been wisely regulated
with foreign nations, and between the states; new states have been
admitted into our union; our territory has been enlarged by fair
and honorable treaty, and with great advantages to the original
states; the states respectively protected by the national government,
under a mild paternal system against foreign dangers, and enjoying
within their separate spheres, by a wise partition of power, a just
proportion of the sovereignty, have improved their police, extended
their settlements, and attained a strength and maturity which are the
best proofs of wholesome law well administered. And if we look to the
conditions of individuals, what a proud spectacle does it exhibit?
[On whom has oppression fallen in any quarter of the Union?] who has
been deprived of any right of person or property? who restrained from
offering his vows in the mode which he prefers to the Divine author of
his being? It is well known that all these blessings have been enjoyed
in their fullest extent: and I add, with peculiar satisfaction, that
there has been no example of a capital punishment being inflicted on
any one for the crime of high treason." What a delightful picture of
power, policy and prosperity! Truly the wise man's proverb is just:
"Sedaukauh teromain goy, veh-ka-sade le-u-meem khahmaut." Righteousness
exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

But this is not all. The same honorable statesman, after having had
about forty years' experience in the government, under the full tide
of successful experiment, gives the following commendatory assurance
of the efficiency of the _magna charta_ to answer its great end and
aim: _To protect the people in their rights_. "Such, then, is the happy
government under which we live; a government adequate to every purpose
for which the social compact is formed; a government elective in all
its branches, under which every citizen may, by his merit, obtain the
highest trust recognized by the constitution; which contains within
it no cause [of] discord; none to put at variance one portion of the
community with another; a government which protects every citizen in
the full enjoyment of his rights, and is able to protect the nation
against injustice from foreign powers."

Again, the younger Adams in the silver age of our country's advancement
to fame, in his inaugural address, (1825) thus candidly declares
the majesty of the youthful republic, in its increasing greatness;
"The year of jubilee since the first formation of our union has just
elapsed--that of the declaration of Independence is at hand. The
consummation of both was effected by this constitution. Since that
period a population of four millions has multiplied to twelve. A
territory, bounded by the Mississippi, has been extended from sea to
sea. New states have been admitted to the union, in numbers nearly
equal to those of the first confederation. Treaties of peace, amity
and commerce, have been concluded with the principal dominions of
the earth. The people of other nations, the inhabitants of regions
acquired, not by conquest, but by compact, have been united with us
in the participation of our rights and duties, of our burdens and
blessings. The forest has fallen by the axe of our woodsmen; the soil
has been made to teem by the tillage of our farmers; our commerce has
whitened every ocean. The dominion of man over physical nature has
been extended by the invention of our artists. Liberty and law have
walked hand in hand. All the purposes of human association have been
accomplished as effectively as under any other government on the globe,
and at a cost little exceeding, in a whole generation, the expenditures
of other nations in a single year."

In continuation of such noble sentiments, General Jackson, upon his
ascension to the great chair of the chief magistracy, said, "As long
as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is
regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of
person and property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will
be worth defending; and so long as it is worth defending, a patriotic
militia will cover it with an impenetrable aegis."

General Jackson's administration may be denominated the _acme_ of
American glory, liberty and prosperity; for the national debt, which
in 1815, on account of the late war, was $125,000,000, and
lessened gradually, was paid up in his golden day; and preparations
were made to distribute the surplus revenue among the several states:
and that august patriot, to use his own words in his farewell address,
retired, leaving "a great people prosperous and happy, in the full
enjoyment of liberty and peace, honored and respected by every nation
in the world."

At the age, then, of sixty years, our blooming republic began to
decline under the withering touch of Martin Van Buren! Disappointed
ambition; thirst for power, pride, corruption, party spirit, faction,
patronage; perquisites, fame, tangling alliances; priest-craft, and
spiritual wickedness in _high places_, struck hands, and revelled in
midnight splendor. Trouble, vexation, perplexity and contention,
mingled with hope, fear and murmuring, rumbled, through the union and
agitated the whole nation as would an earthquake at the centre of the
earth[,] the world, heaving the sea beyond the bounds, and shaking
the everlasting hills: So, in hopes of better times, while jealousy,
hypocritical pretensions, and pompous ambition, were luxuriating on
the ill-gotten spoils of the people, they rose in their majesty like a
tornado, and swept through the land, till General Harrison appeared, as
a star among the storm clouds, for better weather.

The calm came; and the language of that venerable patriot, in his
inaugural address, while descanting upon the merits of the constitution
and its framers, thus expressed himself. "There were in it, features
which appeared not to be in harmony with their ideas of a simple
representative democracy or republic. And knowing the tendency of
power to increase itself, particularly when executed by a single
individual, predictions were made that, at no very remote period, the
government would terminate in virtual monarchy. It would not become me
to say that the fears of these patriots have been already realized.
But as I sincerely believe that the tendency of measures and of men's
opinions, for some years past, has been in that direction, it is, I
conceive, strictly proper that I should take this occasion to repeat
the assurances I have heretofore given, of my determination to arrest
the progress of that tendency if it really exists, and restore the
government to its pristine health and vigor." This good man died before
he had the opportunity of applying one balm to ease the pain of our
groaning country, and I am willing the nation should be the judge,
whether General Harrison, in his exalted station, upon the eve of his
entrance into the world of spirits, _told the truth or not_: with
acting president Tyler's three years of perplexity, and pseudo whig
democrat reign, to heal the breaches, or show the wounds, _secundum
artum_, (according to art.) Subsequent events, all things considered,
Van Buren's downfall, Harrison's exit, and Tyler's self-sufficient turn
to the whole, go to shew, as a Chaldean might exclaim: Beram etai elauh
beshmayauh gauhah rauzeen: (_Certainly there is a God in heaven to
reveal secrets;_)

No honest man can doubt for a moment, but the glory of American
liberty, is on the wane, and that calamity and confusion will sooner or
later destroy the peace of the people. Speculators will urge a national
bank as a savior of credit and comfort. A hireling pseudo priesthood
will plausibly push abolition doctrines and doings, and "human rights,"
into Congress and into every other place, where conquest smells of
fame, or opposition swells to popularity.--Democracy, Whiggery, and
Cliquery, will attract their elements and foment divisions among the
people, to accomplish fancied schemes and accumulate power, while
poverty driven to despair, like hunger forcing its way through a wall,
will break through the statutes of men, to save life, and mend the
breach of prison glooms.

A still higher grade, of what the "nobility of nations" call "great
men," will dally with all rights, in order to smuggle a fortune at
"one fell swoop;" mortgage Texas, possess Oregon, and claim all the
unsettled regions of the world for hunting and trapping; and should an
humble, honest man, red, black, or white, exhibit a better title, these
gentry have only to clothe the judge with richer ermine, and spangle
the lawyer's finger with finer rings, to have the judgment of his
peers, and the honor of his lords as a pattern of honesty, virtue and
humanity, while the motto hangs on his nation's escutcheon: "_Every man
has his price!_"

Now, oh! people! turn unto the Lord and live; and reform this nation.
Frustrate the designs of wicked men. Reduce Congress at least one half.
Two Senators from a state and two members to a million of population,
will do more business than the army that now occupy the halls of the
National Legislature. Pay them two dollars and their board per diem;
(except Sundays,) that is more than the farmer gets, and he lives
honestly. Curtail the offices of government in pay, number and power;
for the Philistine lords have shorn our nation of its goodly locks in
the lap of Delilah.

Petition your state legislatures to pardon every convict in their
several penitentiaries, blessing them as they go, and saying to them,
in the name of the Lord, _go thy way and sin no more_. Advise your
legislators when they make laws for larceny, burglary or any felony, to
make the penalty applicable to work upon roads, public works, or any
place where the culprit can be taught more wisdom and more virtue; and
become more enlightened. Rigor and seclusion will never do as much to
reform the propensities of man, as reason and friendship. Murder only
can claim confinement or death. Let the penitentiaries be turned into
seminaries of learning, where intelligence, like the angels of heaven,
would banish such fragments of barbarism: Imprisonment for debt is a
meaner practice than the savage tolerates with all his ferocity; "Amor
vincit amnia." Love conquers all.

Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your
legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the
abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. Pray Congress
to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus
revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction
of pay from the members of Congress. Break off the shackles from the
poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for
"an hour of virtuous liberty on earth, is worth a whole eternity of
bondage!" Abolish the practice in the army and navy of trying men by
court martial for desertion; if a soldier or marine runs away, send him
his wages, with this instruction, that _his country will never trust
him again; he has forfeited his honor_. Make HONOR the standard with
all men: be sure that good is rendered for evil in all cases: and the
whole nation, like a kingdom of kings and priests, will rise up with
righteousness; and be respected as wise and worthy on earth: and as
just and holy for heaven; by Jehovah the author of perfection. More
economy in the national and state governments; would make less taxes
among the people: more equality through the cities, towns & country,
would make less distinction among the people; and more honesty and
familiarity in societies, would make less hypocrisy and flattery in all
branches of the community; and open, frank, candid, decorum to all men,
in this boasted land of liberty, would beget esteem, confidence, union,
and love; and the neighbor from any state, or from any country, of
whatever color, clime or tongue, could rejoice when he put his foot on
the sacred soil of freedom, and exclaim: the very name of "_American_,"
is fraught with _friendship_! Oh! then, create confidence! restore
freedom!--break down slavery! banish imprisonment for debt, and be in
love, fellowship and peace with all the world! Remember that honesty is
not subject to law: the law was made for transgressors: wherefore, a
Dutchman might exclaim: _Ein ehrlicher name ist besser als Reichthum_,
(a good name is better than riches.)

For the accommodation of the people of every state and territory, let
Congress shew their wisdom by granting a national bank, with branches
in each state and territory, where the capital stock shall be held by
the nation for the mother bank: and by the states and territories,
for the branches: and whose officers and directors shall be elected
yearly by the people with wages at the rate of two dollars per day for
services: which several banks shall never issue any more bills than the
amount of capital stock in her vaults and the interest. The net gain
of the mother bank shall be applied to the national revenue, and that
of the branches to the states and territories' revenues. And the bills
shall be par throughout the nation, which will mercifully cure that
fatal disorder known in cities, as _brokerage_; and leave the people's
money in their own pockets.

Give every man his constitutional freedom, and the president full
power to send an army to suppress mobs; and the states authority to
repeal and impugn that relic of folly, which makes it necessary for the
governor of a state to make the demand of the president for troops, in
case of invasion or rebellion. The governor himself may be a mobber
and, instead of being punished, as he should be for murder and treason,
he may destroy the very lives, rights, and property he should protect.
Like the good Samaritan, send every lawyer as soon as he repents and
obeys the ordinances of heaven, to preach the gospel to the destitute,
without purse or scrip, pouring in the oil and the wine: a learned
priesthood is certainly more honorable than an "_hireling clergy_."

As to the contiguous territories to the United States, wisdom would
direct no tangling alliance: Oregon belongs to this government
honorably, and when we have the red man's consent, let the union
spread from the east to the west sea; and if Texas petitions Congress
to be adopted among the sons of liberty, give her the right hand of
fellowship; and refuse not the same friendly grip to Canada and Mexico;
and when the right arm of freemen is stretched out in the character
of a navy, for the protection of rights, commerce and honor, let the
iron eyes of power, watch from Maine to Mexico, and from California
to Columbia; thus may union be strengthened, and foreign speculation
prevented from opposing broadside to broadside.

Seventy years have done much for this goodly land; they have burst the
chains of oppression and monarchy; and multiplied its inhabitants from
two to twenty millions; with a proportionate share of knowledge: keen
enough to circumnavigate the globe; draw the lightning from the clouds:
and cope with all the crowned heads of the world.

Then why? Oh! why! will a once flourishing people not arise, phoenix
like, over the cinders of Martin Van Buren's power; and over the
sinking fragments and smoking ruins of other catamount politicians; and
over the windfalls of Benton, Calhoun, Clay, Wright, and a caravan of
other equally unfortunate law doctors, and cheerfully help to spread a
plaster and bind up the _burnt, bleeding wounds_ of a sore but blessed
country? The southern people are hospitable and noble: they will help
to rid so _free_ a country of every vestige of slavery, when ever they
are assured of an equivalent for their property. The country will be
full of money and confidence, when a national bank of twenty millions,
and a state bank in every state, with a million or more, gives a tone
to monetary matters, and makes a circulating medium as valuable in
the purses of the whole community, as in the coffers of a speculating
banker or broker.

The people may have faults but they should never be trifled with. I
think Mr. Pitt's quotation in the British Parliament of Mr. Prior's
couplet for the husband and wife, to apply to the course which the king
and ministry of England should pursue to the then colonies of the _now_
United States, might be a genuine rule of action for some of the _breath
made_ men in high places, to use towards the posterity of this noble,
daring people:

    "Be to her faults a little blind;
    Be to her virtues very kind."

We have had democratic presidents; whig presidents; a pseudo democratic
whig president; and now it is time to have a _president of the United
States_; and let the people of the whole union, like the inflexible
Romans, whenever they find a _promise_ made by a candidate, that is
not _practised_ as an officer, hurl the miserable sycophant from his
exaltation, as God did Nebuchadnezzar, to crop the grass of the field,
with a beast's heart among the cattle.

Mr. Van Buren said in his inaugural address, that he went "into the
presidential chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every
attempt, on the part of Congress, to abolish slavery in the District of
Columbia, against the wishes of the slave holding states; and also with
a determination equally decided to resist the slightest interference
with it in the states where it exists." Poor little Matty made this
rhapsodical sweep with the fact before his eyes, that the state of New
York, his native state, had abolished slavery, without a struggle or a
groan. Great God, how independent! From henceforth slavery is tolerated
where it exists: constitution or no constitution; people or no people;
right or wrong; Vox Matti; vox Diaboli: "the voice of Matty"--"the
voice of the devil;" and peradventure, his great "Sub-Treasury" scheme
was a piece of the same mind: but the man and his measures have
such a striking resemblance to the anecdote of the Welshman and his
cart-tongue, that when the constitution was so long that it allowed
slavery at the capitol of a free people, it could not be cut off; but
when it was so short that it needed a _Sub-Treasury_, to save the funds
of the nation, it _could be spliced_! Oh, granny, what a long tail
our puss has got! As a Greek might say, _hysteron proteron:_ the cart
before the horse: but his mighty whisk through the great national fire,
for the presidential chestnuts, _burnt the locks of his glory with the
blaze of his folly!_

In the United States the people are the government; and their united
voice is the only sovereign that should rule; the only power that
should be obeyed; and the only gentlemen that should be honored; at
home and abroad; on the land and the sea: Wherefore, were I president
of the United States, by the voice of a virtuous people, I would honor
the old paths of the venerated fathers of freedom: I would walk in
the tracks of the illustrious patriots, who carried the ark of the
government upon their shoulders with an eye single to the glory of the
people and when that people petitioned to abolish slavery in the slave
states, I would use all honorable means to have their prayers granted:
and give liberty to the captive; by paying the southern gentleman a
reasonable equivalent for his property, that the whole nation might be
free indeed! When the people petitioned for a national bank, I would
use my best endeavors to have their prayers answered, and establish one
on national principles to save taxes, and make them the controllers
of its ways and means; and when the people petitioned to possess the
territory of Oregon or any other contiguous territory; I would lend the
influence of a chief magistrate to grant so reasonable a request, that
they might extend the mighty efforts and enterprise of a free people
from the east to the west sea; and make the wilderness blossom as the
rose; and when a neighboring realm petitioned to join the union of the
sons of liberty, my voice would be, _come_: yea, come, Texas; come
Mexico; come Canada; and come all the world--let us be brethren: let
us be one great family; and let there be universal peace. Abolish the
cruel custom of prisons (except in certain cases,) penitentiaries, and
court martials for desertion; and let reason and friendship reign over
the ruins of ignorance and barbarity; yea I would, as the universal
friend of man, open the prisons; open the eyes; open the ears and open
the hearts of all people, to behold and enjoy freedom, unadulterated
freedom: and God, who once cleansed the violence of the earth with
a flood; whose Son laid down his life for the salvation of all his
father gave him out of the world; and who has promised that he will
come and purify the world again with fire in the last days, should be
supplicated by me for the good of all people.

  With the highest esteem,
    I am a friend of virtue
      and the people,
        JOSEPH SMITH.

Nauvoo, Illinois, February 7, 1844.





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