, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 21 Jan. 1843; handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Included enclosure; includes address and docket.
Single leaf, measuring 17½ × 12 inches (44 × 30 cm) and ruled with thirty-four horizontal lines printed in blue ink. The page was torn along the left edge of the recto, which suggests it was originally part of a blank book or bifolium. The letter included an enclosure of a copy of a letter to from . The letter was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. Both the left and right sides of the page were torn when the letter was opened.
The letter was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early docket as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 21 January 1843, attorney wrote from , Illinois, to JS at , Illinois, expressing his devotion to him and offering him legal services. Bachman also enclosed a copy of a letter he had written to , a general in the state militia, concerning efforts to extradite JS to Missouri. Bachman claimed that his letters to both JS and Wilson grew out of his friendship with JS.
On 5 January, after JS was discharged from arrest in his extradition case, became aware of ’s plan to go to and renew the extradition efforts. Although it is unclear how Bachman learned about his plans, Bennett had sent a private letter to and on 10 January 1843 discussing these same intentions. Bachman wrote to in an attempt to dissuade Missouri from aligning itself with Bennett, urging Wilson and his fellow Missourians to reject Bennett on the basis of his possessing “sentiments of Abolitionism Libertinism falsehood deceit and Treachery” such that “not even the Mormons” placed confidence in him. Although he referred to Bennett as a “destestable, crawling, creeping, slimy, and foul pollutor of femal[e] chastity,” Bachman saved his most significant criticisms for Bennett’s abolitionist ideas. Claiming to have witnessed the events of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, Bachman warned the residents of Missouri, a slave state, that , Missouri, would “become the scene of action for the same bloody Tragedgy” if its citizens welcomed Bennett’s help.
After writing to , forwarded a copy of the letter to JS along with a cover letter, featured here, in which he explained his motivations for writing to Wilson. The letter lacks postal markings, suggesting that a private courier delivered it to JS. Assuming they were sent soon after 21 January, JS likely received this letter and the enclosed copy of Bachman’s letter to Wilson on or shortly after 22 January. It is not known if JS replied to Bachman. Because it was not addressed to JS, Bachman’s enclosed letter to Wilson is not featured here.
The exact nature of Bachman’s friendship with JS is unclear. Bachman had been advertising his legal services in the Wasp since early November 1842. The first mention of a meeting between the two was not until 3 April 1843, but JS may have met Bachman during earlier visits to Carthage. (See Advertisement, Wasp, 5 Nov. 1842, ; and JS, Journal, 3–4 Apr. 1843.)
Inclosed I send You a copy of a letter written by me to General , which I wish You to read and then file as a testimonial, of the Esteem and respect of Your friend And Jonathan said unto David let us make a covenant and if there be evil intended against <You,> I will draw the bow and shute an Arrow beyond You, so that you may surely know that Evil is intended; I some times draw the bow and hit the mark, and hope that I may have done so in this cas[e?] You may rely on the Secrecy— and and assistance of the writer and command his services at all times both professional and personal when You may think proper so to do. rest assured of the high Esteem and best wishes of Your friend
Bachman was alluding to the biblical story of David and Jonathan, who entered into a covenant of friendship despite the efforts of Jonathan’s father, Saul, a political rival, to kill David. In order to alert him about Saul’s intentions, Jonathan developed a way to warn David by shooting arrows at a target near his position. Jonathan promised to send a servant to find the arrows that he shot and informed David that the directions he gave to this servant would signal whether David was in danger. If Jonathan said “the arrows are on this side of thee, take them,” David would know he was safe. But if Jonathan told the servant that the arrows had gone beyond him and he must go after them, it would be a sign for David to flee. (1 Samuel 18:1–4; 20:11–23.)