Letter from Parley P. Pratt, 24 October 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

, Oct, 24th <​1841​>
J. Smith,
Dear Br, I have just Recd. several letters from , togather with the times and Seasons up to Sept, 15th being 1 month and 9 days on the passage. The information from that quarter cheers our hearts in regard to the peace and prosperity of . We had previously herd of the Death of Gen, and Colonel ; Which filled our minds with sorrow, not for our them, but for those who still live to feel their loss. , I had known for Eleven years, and I never knew him to turn to the right or left from the path of Jesus, or the Duties of his holy profesion. was by me in 5 years ago; and a more humble, and constant, and Charitable friend of Zion, I never knew, or one who grew faster in knowledge and usefulness. But they are Gone— and it must be for some wise purpose— and the Lords will be done!
On the 20 of Sept, the Ship “Tyrean” sailed from for , under a charter of the ; S[h]e had upwards of two hundred on board, with at their head. By chartering, we saved the company at least 500 or 600 dollars.— The Splendid New Ship Chaos, 1200 tons Burthen, will sail on the 5th November, under our charter. She will have [p. [1]] from one to two hundred Saints on board, with Peter Melling at their head.
The in this are generally Rejoicing, and filled with the testimony of Jesus. Great zeal is manifested by the officers in general, of which there is probibly more than one thousand. we are increasing in Numbers and in Gifts and blessings. New of the Church are rising in many places, and great additions made to the old ones. and vicinity has poured forth a stream of emigration for the last 18 months, and still we numbered on at our , two weeks ago, near sixteen hundred members, in between one and two hundred officers; all these with<​in​> one hours journey of . There has been a general time of pruning, we have cut off upwards of 100 members from this Conferene in a few months; this causes the young and tender Branches to grow with double vigour.— I now come to the principal subject for which I write this letter, viz. the !
The Lord enabled us to send about sixty dollars in Gold by ; this was mostly subscribed by two or three individuals. We shall probibly send as much more by the Ship Chaos, in care of Peter Melling. [p. [2]]
You are hereby authorised to say to the , that I subscribe five hundred dollars for the , including what I have already sent, all to be paid in installments between this and next fall; which they may safely depend on if the Lord prospers me. Br will go hand in hand with me; so that between us. we hope to send one thousand dollars in the course of the season, be sides some little from the Churches.
Say to the Building Committe, and to the in general, for me; “Let not your hands be slack, nor your hearts fe[e]ble; but drive the ahead in the name of the Lord god of Israel; for thus the Spirit whispers in my heart, they shall not lack, nor be left in embarasment.”— I would suggest the Idea of using Le<​a​>d for the Roofs of the and all other pirmanent buildings; I think it will be found more durable, more conv[en]ient; and cheeper than timber, and will perhaps save whole blocks from being consumed by fire.
The Roofs should be nearly flat, or a little ulling like the deck of a vessel and should be covered with Led, Rolled in Sheets two feet wide, any length that is convenient and burned togather into one solled [solid] mass; about the eighth of an inch thick. [p. [3]] Br Scofield and others who have gone from this know how it is done. give my love to all Enquiring friends, and pray for me, that I may have wisdom to go in and out among this people, Who have become a great people. I long to see the time when I can stand once more among the in the Land of . I hope to be there next summer or summer after.
, , four children and the Americans in this are generally well. My Joins me in love to all the Saints in the Land of Zion. or the Land of Joseph, as it is called by thousands in this .
I Remain yours in the Bonds of Everlasting Freedom.
Joseph Smith
 
<​ Pa. DEC 23​>
<​27​>
<​SHIP​>
Mr Joseph Smith
, Illinois
United States. [p. [4]]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    The August and September issues of the Times and Seasons included an article titled “The Church and Its Prospects,” obituaries of Don Carlos Smith and Robert B. Thompson, and a poem Eliza Snow had written for Don Carlos. Pratt reprinted these items in the November issue of the Millennial Star. None of the letters Pratt received from Nauvoo were reprinted in the Millennial Star in November and December. (“The Church and Its Prospects,” Obituaries for Don Carlos Smith and Robert B. Thompson, and “The Funeral of Brig. General Smith,” Millennial Star, Nov. 1841, 2:102–103, 108–109, 111–112.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  2. 2

    Don Carlos Smith, a brigadier general in the Nauvoo Legion and JS’s youngest brother, died on 7 August 1841. JS’s scribe Robert B. Thompson, who served as an aide-de-camp with the rank of colonel in the Nauvoo Legion, died on 27 August 1841. (“Death of General Don Carlos Smith,” Times and Seasons, 16 Aug. 1841, 2:503; “Death of Col. Robert B. Thompson,” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1841, 2:519; Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  3. 3

    Pratt baptized and confirmed Thompson in May 1836. (Mercy Fielding Thompson, “Robert B. Thompson Biography,” Nov. 1854, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, 1839–1860, CHL.)  

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

  4. 4

    The Tyrian, built in 1841, “was a three-master with two decks but no galleries, a square stern, and a billethead.” (Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 190.)  

    Sonne, Conway B. Ships, Saints, and Mariners: A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987.

  5. 5

    There were 207 passengers on the Tyrian. (Editorial, Millennial Star, Oct. 1841, 2:94.) Fielding, a native of England who had immigrated to Canada, traveled back to Preston, England, with Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde in 1838 to help open missionary work in Britain. (Allen et al., Men with a Mission, 25, 61.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

    Allen, James B., Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker. Men with a Mission, 1837–1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992.

  6. 6

    A September 1841 announcement in the Millennial Star estimated that by chartering the Tyrian, “from £1 10s. to £2 will be saved on each passenger in the price of passage and provisions to New Orleans, and some more saved in going up the river from New Orleans to Nauvoo.” (“To Emigrants,” Millennial Star, Sept. 1841, 2:80.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  7. 7

    The Chaos was built in 1840. Like the Tyrian, it “had three masts, two decks, a square stern, no galleries, and a billethead.” (Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 39–40.)  

    Sonne, Conway B. Ships, Saints, and Mariners: A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987.

  8. 8

    On 16 April 1840 a church conference held in Preston, England, selected Peter Melling as the first patriarch in England and ordained him the following evening. (Woodruff, Journal, 15–17 Apr. 1840; JS History, vol. C-1, 1052–1053.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  9. 9

    The April 1841 church conference in Manchester reported 5,814 members, 136 elders, 303 priests, 169 teachers, and 68 deacons throughout the British Isles. (Minutes, Manchester, England, 6 Apr. 1841, in Millennial Star, Apr. 1841, 1:302.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  10. 10

    The 17 October church conference in Manchester took place at Carpenters’ Hall. (Minutes, Manchester, England, 17 Oct. 1841, in Millennial Star, Nov. 1841, 2:105.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  11. 11

    The October issue of the Millennial Star (printed about one week before the conference) expressed concern about those who had been baptized without a full testimony and ended up “blaspheming against the things now revealed, and railing against the servants of the most high.” It urged that “the rules of the church discipline should be strictly enforced, and iniquity rooted out of the church.” The next month, the Millennial Star reported that 125 members had been excommunicated, and in December the paper notified readers that church member Andrew Gardner and his followers, though professing to be Latter-day Saints, had been excommunicated for “rebelling against the constituted authorities” of the church. (“To the Elders and Priests of the Church of the Saints,” Millennial Star, Oct. 1841, 2:87; Minutes, Manchester, England, 17 Oct. 1841, in Millennial Star, Nov. 1841, 2:105; “Beware of a Deceiver,” Millennial Star, Dec. 1841, 2:128.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  12. 12

    See John 15:2–6.  

  13. 13

    A January 1841 revelation commanded the Saints to build a temple in Nauvoo. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:22–36].)  

  14. 14

    In a diary entry written before his departure from England, Joseph Fielding mentioned unnamed “Saints who mostly made Presents to Elders Pratt and [Amos] Fielding of [two shillings and sixpence] each and this chiefly, they have sent by me for the Building of the Temple in Nauvoo.” (Fielding, Journal, Feb.–Oct. 1841, 80; see also Book of the Law of Lord, 112.)  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  15. 15

    At the October 1840 general church conference in Nauvoo, JS emphasized the need to build a temple, and the conference formed a building committee consisting of Reynolds Cahoon, Elias Higbee, and Alpheus Cutler. (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.)  

  16. 16

    In an earlier 1841 letter, Pratt promised to send money for the temple construction: “I have obtained a few dollars for the temple, from two or three individuals, and am in hopes to add something to it, before the sailing of the ‘Tyrean,’ and some more before the sailing of the next ship.” (Parley P. Pratt, Manchester, England, to the Church in Nauvoo, IL, 12 Aug. and 12 Sept. 1841, in Times and Seasons, 15 Dec. 1841, 3:625, italics in original.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  17. 17

    In April 1841 church member Amos Fielding was given the assignment to oversee emigration as an agent for the church. Fielding also helped Pratt solicit donations for the temple’s construction and forward them to the First Presidency. (“An Epistle of the Twelve,” Millennial Star, Apr. 1841, 1:311; Parley P. Pratt, Manchester, England, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 4 Dec. 1841, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  18. 18

    See Zephaniah 3:16; John 14:1; and Psalm 34:10.  

  19. 19

    In the 1820s and 1830s, fireproofing buildings by constructing them with metal materials became a priority in English architecture, but builders usually used iron, not lead. Though lead was used in the United States for some eighteenth-century architecture, lead was not commonly used in English architecture until the 1850s. (Gayle et al., Metals in America’s Historic Buildings, 8–11, 42–72; Wermiel, “Development of Fireproof Construction,” 3–10.)  

    Gayle, Margot, David W. Look, and John C. Waite. Metals in America’s Historic Buildings: Uses and Preservation Treatments. Washington DC: Preservation Press, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1980.

    Wermiel, Sara. “The Development of Fireproof Construction in Great Britain and the United States in the Nineteenth Century.” Construction History 9 (1993): 3–26.

  20. 20

    Likely James Scofield, who sailed to the United States the following month with Peter Melling on the ship Chaos. (Manifest for Ship Chaos, List no. 20, 14 Jan. 1842, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1820–1945, microfilm 200,150, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  21. 21

    The first two sentences of this paragraph were omitted for the letter’s publication in the Times and Seasons. (Parley P. Pratt, Manchester, England, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 24 Oct. 1841, in Times and Seasons, 1 Feb. 1842, 3:683.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  22. 22

    At the time, Pratt’s household consisted of his wife, Mary Ann Frost Pratt; his stepdaughter, Mary Ann Stearns (born 6 April 1833); a son from a previous marriage, Parley P. Pratt Jr. (born 25 March 1837); and two children from his marriage to Mary Ann, Nathan Pratt (born 31 August 1838) and Olivia Pratt (born 2 June 1841).  

  23. 23

    Some of the missionaries sent from the United States who were then in England included Hiram Clark and Samuel Mulliner, who arrived on 3 December 1839; Reuben Hedlock, who arrived on 6 April 1840; Lorenzo Snow, who arrived in the fall of 1840; and George J. Adams, who arrived on 3 March 1841. (“From England,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:110; Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840; Lorenzo Snow, London, England, 14 Apr. 1841, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1841, 2:529; Letter from Orson Hyde, 17 Apr. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  24. new scribe logo

    Postal place and date stamped in brown ink.  

  25. new scribe logo

    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

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    Postal stamp in brown ink.