Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Aug. 1842, vol. 3, no. 19, pp. 863–878; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons was the eleventh JS oversaw as editor. The issue opened with a reprint from the Bostonian that reported a religious debate between Dr. George Montgomery West (a New England preacher) and Latter-day Saint missionary . It also presented a new installment of the “History of Joseph Smith” and reprinted a note on starvation riots in Ireland. The remainder of the issue was dedicated primarily to denouncing , who had been publishing defamatory statements against JS and the Latter-day Saints. The editorial staff of the Times and Seasons utilized the pages of the 1 August issue to defend JS and condemn Bennett.
Nearly all of this issue’s editorial content about was also published in the Wasp, a general-interest newspaper in , Illinois, that had initially been edited by JS’s brother . However, William had distanced himself from the paper by August 1842, and had assumed the editorial responsibilities of the paper. Taylor, , and others in the appear to have worked on both the Wasp and the Times and Seasons and created content for both newspapers in August. An extra edition of the Wasp dated 27 July bore the title “Bennettiana” and contained affidavits, statements, and articles focused exclusively on exposing the former mayor’s misdeeds. Several of these same official records and editorial comments were printed a second time in this 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons; this selection therefore features editorial content from both newspapers. The Times and Seasons editorial staff made slight revisions to the editorial commentary in order to customize it to their newspaper. JS’s involvement in the creation of this editorial content is unclear, but as editor of the Times and Seasons, he oversaw the paper and assumed responsibility for all editorial statements.
The editorial content in the 1 August issue includes an article on , which was followed by reprinted affidavits from several City Council members, concluding with a short editorial comment. Certified statements attesting to JS’s character, republished from the Wasp, were then inserted. This was followed by a section contrasting Bennett’s slandering of JS and the with earlier statements Bennett had written, originally published in various newspapers between 1840 and 1842, wherein he spoke positively of JS and the Saints. Another featured selection, also previously published in the Wasp, introduced opinion pieces on Bennett reprinted from several newspapers across the . The editorial content in the issue concluded by reprinting the Wasp’s response to an inflammatory article, written by , that had been published a week earlier in the Quincy Whig.
Note that only the editorial content created specifically for this issue of the Times and Seasons is annotated here. Articles reprinted from other papers, letters, conference minutes, and notices, are reproduced here but not annotated. Items that are stand-alone JS documents are annotated elsewhere; links are provided to these stand-alone documents.
Although William Smith was acknowledged as editor until October 1842, by August 1842 he appears to have been only a nominal editor. In a disgruntled letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal,George W. Robinson commented on the confusing status of the editorship of the Wasp, sarcastically stating that because of “the dozen would be editors, who are prowling and loafing about the printing office, it would be difficult to ascertain the editors!” (Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:192–193; “To the Public,” Wasp, 8 Oct. 1842, ; “Letter from Col. Robinson,” Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 26 Aug. 1842, , italics in original.)
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
privilege to withdraw from the , and remarked that the matter was perfectly understood between him and the heads of the church; and that he had resigned the Mayor’s office and should resign the office he held in the , but as there was a court martial to be held in a few days Joseph Smith desired that he would wait until that was over.
I was in the City Council on the 19th day of May last—I there heard him say what has been published concerning the teachings of Joseph Smith, and of his own course. I afterwards met him in company with Col. , he then stated that he was going to be the candidate, (meaning candidate for the Legislature) and Joseph and were going in for him: said “you know it will be better for me not to be bothered with Mayor’s office, , Mormon, or any thing else.” During all this time if he was under duress, or fear, he must have had a good faculty for concealing it, for he was at liberty to go and come when and where he pleased, so far as I am capable of judging. I know that I saw him in different parts of the , even after he had made these statements, transacting business as usual, and said he was going to complete some business pertaining to the Mayor’s office; and I think did attend to work on the streets.
I was always personally friendly with him after I became acquainted with him. I never heard him say any thing derogatory to the character of Joseph Smith, until after he had been exposed by said Smith, on the public stand in .
July 22, A. D. 1842.
Sworn to, and subscribed before me a Justice of the Peace, in and for the City of , in said , this 22d day of July, 1842.
, (L. S.)
J. P. & Alderman.
Esq., is an old resident in this place, and is not a Mormon.
The whole of these affidavits are given by gentlemen of the first respectibility, of unquestionable character, and of known reputation and veracity, and can of course be relied upon; and what light do they represent in, but that of a perjured wretch, a graceless vagabond, and a mean, vascillating, unprincipled villian, and a disgrace to human society; and if their testimonies, and the testimony of the City Council, cannot be relied upon, then indeed are we in a poor case;—corrupt, fallen, and dishonored,—But is not the man to prove us so; we must have different testimony to his, and that of his partners in crime, to convict us of evil.
As and the Sangamo Journal have called upon several persons, in this , to come out and make disclosures, relative to the things about which they have been writing; they have responded to the call, and publish the following:—
CERTIFICATE OF AND .
Sir, From a perusal of the papers, I find from an article signed , stating that all who are friends to Mr. Joseph Smith he considers his enemies:—as a matter of course then, I must be one, for I am and have been for a long time the personal friend of Joseph Smith; and I will here say that I have never yet seen or known any thing against him that I should change my mind. It is true many reports have been and are put in circulation by his enemies for political or religious effect, that upon investigation are like the dew before the morning sun, vanish away, because there is no real substance in them.
Could expect any man acquainted with all the circumstances, and matters of fact which were developed both here and from abroad, respecting his conduct and character, previous to his leaving this place, for one moment to believe him—I answer NO! he could not. And all his affidavits, that came from any person entitled to credit, (I say entitled to credit, because some there are who are not entitled to credit, as very well knows) are in amount nothing at all, when summed up, and render no person worthy of death or bonds.
’s knowledge concerning the murder of a prisoner in , I am authorized to say, by that he knows of no such thing—that no prisoner was ever killed in , to the best of his knowledge. And I also bear the same testimony, that there never was any prisoner killed there, neither were we ever charged with any such thing, according to the best of my recollection.
July 22, 1842.
This is to certify that I do not know of the murder of any prisoner in , as above alluded to.
July 22, 1842.
CERTIFICATE OF MISS PAMELA M. MICHAEL.
, July 25, 1842.
Insmuch as has referred the people to me for testimony against Pres. Joseph Smith, I take this opportunity to state before the public that I know nothing derogatory to his character, either as a christian, or a moral man.
made use of my name without my knowledge or consent.
The Sangamo Journal was the local Whig newspaper in Springfield, Illinois. In the 1 July 1842 issue, the editor, Simeon Francis, solicited information from John C. Bennett and witnesses who could validate Bennett’s claims against JS. Bennett subsequently published allegations in the Sangamo Journal that defamed JS and the Saints. The Wasp and Times and Seasons responded by publishing certified statements from individuals who had been “called upon . . . to come out and make disclosures.” (“The Mormons,” Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 1 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, IL, 27 June 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 8 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, ; John C. Bennett, St. Louis, MO, 15 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 22 July 1842, .)