JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, created 24 Feb. 1845–3 July 1845; handwriting of , , Jonathan Grimshaw, and ; 512 pages, plus 24 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the third volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This third volume covers the period from 2 Nov. 1838 to 31 July 1842; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, D-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842],” is the third of six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers the “Manuscript History” bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”). The completed six-volume collection covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 8 August 1844. The narrative in this volume commences on 2 November 1838 with JS and other church leaders being held prisoner by the “’s forces” at , Missouri, and concludes with the death of Bishop at , Illinois, on 31 July 1842. For a more complete discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to this history.
Volume C-1 was created beginning on or just after 24 February 1845 and its narrative was completed by 3 May 1845, although some additional work continued on the volume through 3 July of that year (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). It is in the handwriting of and contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda. Additional addenda for this volume were created at a later date as a supplementary document and appear in this collection as “History, 1838-1856, volume C-1 Addenda.” Compilers and Thomas Bullock drew heavily from JS’s letters, discourses, and diary entries; meeting minutes; church and other periodicals and journals; and reminiscences, recollections, and letters of church members and other contacts. At JS’s behest, Richards maintained the first-person, chronological-narrative format established in previous volumes, as if JS were the author. , , , and others reviewed and modified the manuscript prior to its eventual publication in the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News.
The historical narrative recorded in volume C-1 continued the account of JS’s life as prophet and president of the church. Critical events occurring within the forty-five-month period covered by this text include the Mormon War; subsequent legal trials of church leaders; expulsion of the Saints from Missouri; missionary efforts in by the and others; attempts by JS to obtain federal redress for the Missouri depredations; publication of the LDS Millennial Star in England; the migration of English converts to ; missionary efforts in other nations; the death of church patriarch ; the establishment of the city charter; the commencement of construction of the Nauvoo ; the expedition that facilitated temple construction; the introduction of the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons; the dedicatory prayer by on the Mount of Olives in Palestine; publication of the “Book of Abraham” in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons; publication of the JS history often referred to as the “Wentworth letter;” the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; and the inception of Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremonies.
<March 25 and with the Secretary of State> — The was absent. The Secretary of State treated them very kindly, and when he saw the papers, could hardly believe, those were all the documents by which the Prisoners were held in Custody, for they were illegal. Lawyer had also deceived them in his papers, and sent them off with such documents that a change of [HC 3:288] venue could not be effected in time. The Secretary was astonished at s acting as he did, but said he could do nothing in the premises, and if the were present, he could do nothing, but the Secretary wrote a letter to . The brethren then started to find the Supreme Judges, and get writs of , and after riding hundreds of miles to effect this object returned to on the 30th. of March <having seen Matthias Mc.Girk, George Thompkins, and John C. Edwards, the Supreme Judges, but did not obtain the writ of Habeas Corpus in consequence of a lack of the order of commitment, altho the Judges seemed to be friendly, we were informed that said, that there was nothing against my <> only that <he> was a friend to the prophet, he also said there was nothing against and . Brother Horace Cowan was put into today, for debt, in consequence of persecution of the Mob.>
<April 4— Joseph Smith’s Epistle to the Latter Day Saints> During their absence I continued my Epistle to the Church of Latter Day Saints as follows—
“We continue to offer further reflections to and to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints whom we love, with a fervent love and do always bear them in mind in all our prayers to the throne of God. It still seems to bear heavily on our minds that the Church would do well to secure to themselves the Contract of the Land which is proposed to them by Mr. , and to cultivate the friendly feelings of that gentleman, inasmuch as he shall prove himself to be a man of honor and a friend to humanity. We really think that his letter breathes that kind of a Spirit if we can judge correctly. And Isaac Van Allen Esqre. the Attorney General of that peradventure such men may be wrought upon, by the providence of God to do good unto his people. also. We suggest the idea of praying fervently for all men who manifest any degree of sympathy for the suffering children of God. We think that peradventure the Surveyor of the may be of great benefit to the Church, if it be the will of God, to this end, if righteousness should be manifested as the girdle of our loins. It seems to be deeply impressed upon our minds that the Saints ought to lay hold of every door that shall seem to be opened unto them to obtain foothold on the Earth and be making all the preparations that is within the power of possibles for the terrible storms that are now gathering in the Heavens, with darkness and gloominess, and thick darkness as spoken of by the Prophets, which cannot be now of a long time lingering, for there seems to be a whispering that the angels of heaven who have been intrusted with the Council of these [HC 3:298] matters for the last days have taken Counsel together; and among the rest of the general affairs that have to be transacted in their honorable Counsel they have taken cognizance of the Testimony of those who were murdered at and also those who were martyred with , and else where, and have passed some decisions peradventure in favor of the Saints and those who were called to suffer without cause, these decisions will be made known in their time, and they will take into consideration all those things that offend We have a fervent desire that in your general conferences, — — every thing [p. 907]