Letter, Erastus Snow to Hyrum Smith and William Law, 4 February 1842

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Mass Feb’y 4th 1842
To & ,
Dearly beloved in the Kingdom & patience of Jesus Christ. I should have been extremely happy to have seen you at the in July, and fondly anticipated meeting you there on my arrival from , but was disappointed being a day or two, too late. The council you left for me to come here and endeavour to open a field of labor, was as at first somwhat repugnant to my feelings, for I was then in a widely extended field of labour, and during the last four months of my labour I about fifty, and the prospect <​was​> brightening daily, and should I leave that field of labour in the fall, I felt quite anxious to return to , for various reasons, not among the least of which was the priveledge of attending the school, I also hang a little on what Joseph told me when I left , advising me not to return within a year, but notwithstanding my prospects and desires I could but think that yours was the council of the wise, and I resolved at any sacrafice to act accordingly, if my mind could be fully satisfied that it was my duty and that God would prosper me on this missions; and in answer to my prayers he gave me the witness of the Holy Spirit, but afterward like Gideon I tried him a second time, and in a singular way such as I never did before or since; (dont laugh when I tell you:) I followed the example of Jonah’s shipmates and the eleven when they chose Matthias to the apostleship; and after praying sincerely that [p. [1]] that God would show by this means, in which thing I should be the most prosperous and the most acceptible, I twice successively drew the ballot. Being destitute either of means to support my family or to bear my expenses, I prayed that God would open the way before me; and <​He​> did it by opening the hearts of my friends where I had been laboring, and they voluntarily opened their purses when they learned my intentions. (The Lord reward them) I then resolved to take my family with me, trusting in God to provide for our furture wants as he does for the fowls for you know I was coming into a superstitious place among enemies to our cause and where I never was before. I left Mrs [Artimesia Beman] Snow and our little girl a few weeks at my brother’s in Rhode Island, and since, one door after another has opened before us untill now they are with me, and comfortably situated and in the enjoyment of health.
met me in according to appointment and we came here on the 3d of Sept.— He stayed one week, preached 3 times and returned, since which I suppose you have seen him. He is Now in but is expected here again soon. We first took lod[g]ings at a boarding house <​for 3.50 per week,​> and asked our father <​that night​> to open an effectual door before us. After ranging the city over we found a hall we could hire in the heart of the city which we engaged and paid for it by takeing collections. Since that time I have been in R. Island, in Morthbridge [Northbridge] Mass, in Peterboro N. H. and in ; a few times, but I have spent the most of my time in and its immediate vicinity. Though we <​I​> advertised in the papers and circulated gratis a large quantity of our addresses through the city, yet it was a long time before I could get people to take notice of me more than to come and hear and go away again. [p. [2]]
I did not any untill the lastter <​latter​> part of November and had it I not known that Jesus had many sheep in this city, I think I should have been dishearted and not tarried to reap where I had sown, for this is the only place where in which I ever preached so long without baptiseing. The first man I baptised here was one who had been <​was​> an infidel untill I came here.—
The saints now number 36 including five in Lynn who attend meeting here; all strong in faith enjoying the Holy Spirit, and scores are believeing. I have many calls for preaching and visiting people in all parts of the city and in the neighboring villages, and need the assistance of very much.—
Those baptised are respectable and good livers but not wealthy, though quite a number own property here in the city. They are mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the city. I have baptised only on[e] family on Boston Street. I hope I shall be able to get a grea[t] hold of that part of the town soon. The only prie clergyman tha[t] has troub[l]ed me to my face, is Mr Comings editor of the “Genius of Christianity”. A debate with him in Nov— which lasted 6 evenings, I think done as much <​done no little​> good by createing a deep interest in the minds of the people which has been constantly increasing.—
Some of the saints begin to have a spirit of gathering, but as yet I have not encouraged it, and as you will know my reasons for so doing if you think I do wrong you will not fail to inform me I should be much gratified to receive a letter from you, or Brother Joseph or any of the , or any of my old tried friends; and whatever counsil you have for me I shall be happy to receivee. I wrote a letter to — Joseph Smith before I left but I suppose his press of business has not allowed him to answer it. Give my best respects to him and to all the old friends, for they seem doubly near since our [p. [3]] heavenly father has taken so many to himself. Though new friends may be good they are not tried ones. Those with whom I formed an acquaintance at the first in are most all gone, some to the Devil, some to God— and others to the distant nations of the earth and when, Oh when! shall we all meet again? never untill we meet at the Bar of God. But I hope and trust through the mercy of God, I <​shall​> be priveledged to meet in next fall a portion of them at least.
I remain as ever yours truly
P. S. The fifteen Books of Mormon left for me are gone and I have not made any calculations about sending him the money as told me I need not pay untill I returned to . I have disposed of fifteen or twenty others besides them and a quantity of Gospel Reflectors, Voice of Warning, and other books and pamphlets of various kinds— Please tell and Louisa <​&​> as many of our folks as you see that we are well and as contented as we can be in Babylon is well and has lately several in Bro. Daniel Shearer and his son were here last Sunday they are well & bound homeward
<​SALEM Mass. FEB 5​>
Hancock County
Feby 4— 1842
Feb 4. 1842
to & [p. [4]]


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    TEXT: “on[page torn]”; text supplied from context here and on the following two lines.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Circular postmark stamped in red ink.  

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    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

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    Docket in handwriting of William Clayton.  

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    Docket in handwriting of Leo Hawkins.