JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , New York Co., NY, 7 Sept. 1842; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm) when folded. The first three pages of the bifolium are inscribed. The document was trifolded in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer.
docketed the letter when he received it, and an unknown scribe added a docket as well. It is unclear how and when this letter came into the possession of the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department). By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL).
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 7 September 1842, JS composed a letter in , Illinois, to in , updating him on several matters, including the status of the construction of the Nauvoo and the ongoing attempts to arrest him and extradite him to . Bernhisel had been appointed of the New York City of the in 1841, and although he had corresponded with JS since then, the two men had never met. JS’s communication was a response to a letter Bernhisel had written to JS a month earlier on 8 August 1842. JS apparently received that letter when he was in hiding at the home of . The entry in JS’s journal for 7 September notes that in the morning, church members and of brought JS “several letters from some of the brethren in that region.” Bernhisel’s letter was likely one of them.
had apparently inquired about the material JS and others planned to use for the roofing on the and evidently offered to help acquire tin from for that purpose. Bernhisel had also apparently made arrangements to give JS as trustee-in-trust of the church part of a tract of land he had purchased near Nauvoo earlier that year. In his 7 September reply, JS informed Bernhisel that church leaders had not yet decided on the roofing material and that he would send him a deed for his purchased property. JS then described the ongoing efforts of certain officials in and to arrest and extradite him. Finally, he informed Bernhisel that and others—including members of the —were en route to on a mission and would more fully update him on the ongoing extradition attempts when they arrived.
JS likely dictated this letter to his clerk . The letter was sent to by post on 14 September. It was mailed from , Illinois, instead of , perhaps because JS suspected that some of his mail was being stolen by the men running the Nauvoo post office. Alternatively, because he was in hiding in Nauvoo at this time, JS may have had the letter mailed from Quincy in order to avoid alerting others to his continued presence in Nauvoo. It is unclear who mailed the letter, but it may have been either or , both of whom were and trusted associates of JS and were in Quincy on 14 September. Bernhisel received the letter by 1 October 1842, when he replied to JS.
In a letter he composed to the church around the same time, JS indicated that he was “journeying,” possibly to remain undetected by authorities seeking his arrest. (Letter to the Church, 7 Sept. 1842 [D&C 128].)
The Missourians, together with some of the principal officers of this , and especially ; are again disgracing themselves by persecution and cruelty. They have so little regard for truth,— the laws of the land,— and constitution of the , that they have issued processes for my arrest as illegal as can be imagined, and they themselves are aware of it. of has made affidavit that I was “accessary before the fact of an assassination upon him with intent to kill on the evening of the sixth of May last.” It happens well for truth and justice that about 6 or 7 thousand people know well that I was with the both on the 6th. and 7th. of May in this . This being proved has shown the designs of their undertaking viz, to persecute the innocent. A writ was issued for by , and put into the hands of the who immediately started for and on the 8th. ult arrested me at my own house, but their writ was proved to them to be illegal and unconstitutional. The Municipal Court also issued a writ of under which I was set at liberty from their hands. They returned, and a report went abroad that the matter would end there, but we did not expect it and consequently I kept out of their way, and when they returned I was away. When was informed of the proceedings of the Municipal Court, his anger got the master of his judgement and he disregarded our Charter and [p. ]
The Nauvoo Legion drilled on 6 and 7 May 1842. On 7 May, JS estimated that the legion consisted of approximately two thousand men. The estimate of six to seven thousand people who witnessed JS’s presence in the city and role in the legion’s drill likely included both members of the legion and members of the general public who watched the drills. (Affidavit, 2 Jan. 1843; JS, Journal, 6–7 May 1842.)