Col. E.D. Taylor and the Mormons in the Election of 1844

A History of Illinois

CHICAGO (1854) ? Another election was to come off in August, 1844
for members of Congress, and for the legislature; and an election was
pending throughout the nation for a President of the United States. The
war of party was never more fierce and terrible than during the pendency
of these elections. The parties in many places met separately almost
every night; not to argue the questions in dispute, but to denounce,
ridicule, abuse, and belittle each other with sarcasm, clamor, noise,
and songs, during which nothing could be heard but hallooing, hurrahing,
and yelling, and then to disperse through town with insulting taunts and
yells of defiance on either side.
In all this they were but little less fanatical and frantic on the
subject of politics than were the Mormons about religion. Such a state
of excitement could not fail to operate unfavorably upon the Mormon
question, involved as it was in the questions of party politics by the
former votes of the Mormons. As a means of allaying the excitement and
making the question more manageable, I was most anxious that the Mormons
should not vote at this election, and strongly advised them against
doing so. But Col. E. D. Taylor went to their city a days before the
election and the Mormons, being ever disposed to follow the worst advice
they could get, were induced by him and others to vote for all the
democratic candidates. Col. Taylor found them very hostile tot he
governor and on that account much disposed not to vote at this election.
The leading whig anti-Mormons, believing that I had an influence over
the Mormons, for the purpose of destroying it had assured them that the
governor had planned and been favorable to the murder of their prophet
and patriarch. The Mormons pretended to suspect that the governor had
given some countenance to the murder, or at least had neglected to take
the proper precautions to prevent it. And yet it is strange that at this
same election they elected Gen. Deming to be the sheriff of the county,
when they knew that he had first called out the militia against them,
had concurred with me in all the measures subsequently adopted, had been
left at command at Carthage during my absence at Nauvoo, and had left
his post when he saw that he had no power to prevent the murders. As to
myself, I shared the fate of all men in high places who favor
moderation, who see that both parties in the frenzy of their excitement
are wrong-espousing the cause of neither; which fate always is to be
hated by both parties. But Col. Taylor like a skilful politician denied
nothing, but gave countenance to everything the Mormons said of the
governor; and by admitting to them that the governor was a great rascal;
by promising them the support of the democratic party, an assurance he
was not authorized to make, but which they were foolish enough to
believe, and by insisting that the governor was not the democratic party
he overcame their reluctance to vote. Nevertheless, for mere political
effect, without a shadow of justice the whig leaders and newspapers
everywhere, and some enemies in the democratic ranks, immediately
charged this vote of the Mormons to the governor's influence; and this
charge being believed by many, made the anti-Mormon party more furious
than ever in favor of the expulsion of the Mormons...

Gov. Thomas Ford. 1854. A History of Illinois. Chicago: S.C. Griggs and
Co. 254-255.

Return to the Edmund D. Taylor and Conspiracy Theory Page