, Letter, , New York Co., NY, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 9 Aug. 1842; handwriting of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The recto of the first leaf is ruled with twenty-six lines (now faded), and the verso of the first leaf and the recto of the second leaf are ruled with twenty-eight lines (also faded). There is an illegible embossment in the upper left-hand corner of the recto of the first leaf. The letter was written on the recto and verso of both leaves; writing on the verso of the second leaf is interrupted by space reserved for the address block. The document was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. Much of the wafer remains on both sides of the second leaf. The document was later folded for filing.
, who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844, docketed the document. Another docket was added by , who was a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973, the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets, the circa 1904 inventory, and inclusion 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 9 August 1842, wrote a letter from to JS in , Illinois, reporting on his visit with . Richards had been assigned to travel to the eastern in July 1842 to collect donated funds for the construction of the Nauvoo and to serve as an on general business. He also planned to reunite with his wife, , and son, who had been staying with Willard’s relatives in , Massachusetts, and bring them to Nauvoo. In addition, JS wanted Richards to visit Bennet, a prominent New Yorker who had shown himself in past months to be a friend to the Latter-day Saints, and explain to him “all the facts relative” to and his conduct in Nauvoo. Richards was also to convey to Bennet information on the , in which Bennet was an officer, and to tell him of “the prog[r]ess of the City, prospects of business, or any other matter.” On 5 August, Richards and his wife arrived at , where Bennet lived on ; on 7 August, the Richardses traveled to New York City with Bennet and his wife, Sophia.
In this letter, shared ’s thoughts about JS’s actions in exposing ’s alleged misconduct. Richards also forwarded Bennet’s advice on how to weather the storm brought on by John C. Bennett’s charges against JS. In addition, Richards provided a description of Bennet’s status in society and his religious beliefs. Finally, Richards discussed Bennet’s April 1842 appointment to an office in the Nauvoo Legion and his willingness to accept that appointment. Richards clarified that his letter was not intended for publication.
According to the letter, sent it to JS using a “Mr Pratt” as courier, although it is unclear whom “Mr Pratt” refers to. It appears that the letter was actually carried to JS by and , who were traveling from to . They delivered it to JS with several other letters on 7 September 1842.
Bennet, for example, had defended JS and the Saints in a letter to the New York Herald written under the pseudonym “Cincinnatus.” (James Arlington Bennet [Cincinnatus, pseud.], “The Mormons,” New York Herald, 16 May 1842, .)
As I have the opportunity of of sending directly to , by Mr Pratt, who starts to morrow morning, I improve the the few moments I can spare from previous engagements, in apologising for any neglect. in not writing before this, to him whom I esteem the dearest. on earth, & whose absence I continually feel, for but my time is continually occupied with Something or other, & Since I left . one of the greatest burdens that can be put upon me is to take up a pen, indeed it Seems as though I Loathed the Sight of Ink & paper, & perhaps I have given way to such feelings too much. but be assured that neither time nor distance, can obliterate those emotions of Love, of friendship, of attachment, to yourself & the cause you have espoused, which are interwoven with my very existence.— & which grow Stronger & stronger eve[r]y day. & my my greatest Source of enjoyment constantly is. that I am permitted to bear Some little share of in those base slanders, falsehoods & calumnies that are so copiously heaped upon the head of God’s proph[e]t. in these last days,— but, as like all others, I shall hereafter be known by my fruits. I turn the subject to tell you that hitherto hath the Lord prospered me. so that I am now in this place with. , whose health [p. ]
In John C. Bennett’s 2 July 1842 letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal, published in the 15 July 1842 issue of that newspaper, he accused Richards of being “up to his eyes” in JS’s alleged marriage proposal to Nancy Rigdon. In another letter, Bennett claimed that JS sold “valuable property” to Richards before applying for bankruptcy, thereby hiding the property from creditors. (John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 15 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 4 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, .)