The reaction now began. . . .
impossible that the matter
should be allowed to pass entirely unnoticed by the law. Besides,
Ford, who considered the murder a personal disrespect to himself, was
anxious to bring the perpetrators to justice. Bills of indictment were
the October  term of court against Levi Williams, Mark Aldrich,
Davis, William N. Grover, Thomas C. Sharp, John Willis, William
William Gallagher, and one Allen. They were based on the testimony
of two idle
youths, named Brackenbury and Daniels, who had accompanied the
Warsaw to Carthage on the 27th of June, and had seen the whole affair.
natural disinclination to work, they lived as long as they could by
this rare experience. Their evidence being worse than useless in
went to Nauvoo, professed Mormonism, and had their board paid by the
to secure their attendance at the trial. Brackenbury formed an
alliance with a
sign-painter, who executed in the highest style of Nauvoo art a
the prophet's Death and Ascension, which they exhibited to the great
edification of the Mormons and to such profit that the artist soon died
trembling madness, and Brackenbury fell heir to the canvas and the
Daniels collaborated with a scribbler named Littlefield on a most
pamphlet on the subject, stuffed full of miracles, and inventions more
than the truth.
McConnell, who appeared in behalf of the governor to prosecute (and who
himself mysteriously assassinated twenty-four years later-as if a taint
were on all connected with this drama), made an arrangement with the
defendants' counsel, by which the defendants agreed to appear
the next May  term, the State not being ready with its evidence.
toward the end of November, the vote of Davis becoming inconvenient to
leaders of the Seat, this convention was violated, and orders made for
against Davis and the rest. They were treated with contempt.
Davis kept his
seat in the Senate, and when the sheriff came to Warsaw he was received
that jocose discourtesy which so often in the West indicated a
state of public feeling. He could find no trace of the men he was
Nobody had seen or heard of them for weeks. In every shop he entered,
he saw a
loaded rifle, or a man oiling a gun-lock or moulding bullets. In the
when he mounted his horse to ride away, he found his mane and tail
as the head of a dervish. Hurrying out of the hostile neighborhood, he
crowd of grinning loungers.
was in bad company last
night," he said, with a wretched attempt at good-natured indifference.
generally is, I reckon,"
was the unfeeling retort; and the chief executive officer of the
the mutinous town to itself.
next May, all the defendants appeared, according to agreement, to stand
trial. They began by filing their affidavit that the county
selected the array of jurors for the week were prejudiced against them;
the sheriff and his deputies were unfitted by prejudice to select the
that might be required. They therefore entered a motion to quash the
jurors, to set aside the sheriff and his deputies, and to appoint
select a jury for the case. After argument, this was done. The elisors
presented ninety-six men, before twelve were found ignorant enough and
indifferent enough to act as jurors.
A large number of witnesses were examined, but nothing was elicited against the accused from any except Brackenbury, Daniels, and a girl named Eliza Jane Graham. The two first had been lying so constantly for some months professionally, the one in his pamphlet, the other in his rare-show, that they had utterly forgotten where they started from, and so embroidered their original facts with more recent fictions, that their evidence went for nothing. Besides, the showman Brackenbury thought that the pamphleteer Daniels had received more attention than himself from the polite world of Nauvoo, and was consequently stung by jealousy to contradict in his evidence all that Daniels had sworn to. The evidence of Miss Graham, delivered with all the impetuosity of her sex, was all that could be desired-and more too. She had assisted in feeding the hungry mob at the Warsaw House as they came straggling in from Carthage, and she should remember where every man sat, and what he said, and how he said it. Unfortunately, she remembered too much. No one accused her of willful perjury. But her nervous and sensitive character had been powerfully impressed by the influence of Smith, and, brooding constantly upon his death, she came at last to regard her own fancies and suspicions as positive occurrences. A few alibis so discredited her evidence, that it was held to prove nothing more than her own honest and half insane zeal.
case was closed. There was not a man on the jury, in the court, in the
that did not know the defendants had done the murder. But it was not
and the verdict NOT GUILTY was right in law.
you cannot find in this generation an original inhabitant of Hancock
will not stoutly sustain that verdict.