Letter from John C. Bennett, 8 March 1842
, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 8 Mar. 1842. Featured version published in Times and Seasons, 15 Mar. 1842, vol. 3, no. 10, 724–725. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
On 8 March 1842 replied to JS’s letter of the previous day by answering questions JS had posed regarding various injustices citizens of perpetrated, including the recent incarceration of three abolitionists in that state. In January 1842 Bennett and abolitionist Charles V. Dyer exchanged letters concerning the “outrages committed upon the latter day saints” in Missouri in 1838 as well as the evils of American slavery. The correspondence was published in the antislavery newspaper Genius of Liberty and, at some point, came to the attention of JS. In his 7 March 1842 letter to Bennett, JS expressed his own indignation at the “injustice, cruelty, and oppression, of the rulers of the people” and inquired of Bennett, “What think you should be done?”In his 8 March 1842 reply, answered JS using metaphorical language replete with allusions to Roman mythology and the Bible. He asserted that the citizens of would one day be punished for their crimes against the innocent—whether they be abolitionists or Latter-day Saints—either by military force or by God. It is likely that the two men’s correspondence was a rhetorical dialogue intended for publication in the newspaper Times and Seasons. It is also possible that, as a guest living in JS’s home, Bennett hand delivered the letter to JS. Either way, Bennett’s response was published in the 15 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons. Following its publication there, the letter gained notoriety among some citizens of Illinois. Former governor of Illinois , who was then campaigning for election to his former office, was quoted in mid-May 1842 as saying that the letter manifested Bennett’s “willingness at any moment to march against the Penitentiary in Missouri with his armed force, established under the auspices, (as Joe Smith says,) of Mr. Snyder and Judge Douglass, and release the three Abolitionists now in confinement there.”