Letter from John Taylor, 3 February 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

, Feb. 3rd, 1841
Very Dear Brother:—
Peace be to you and your household, and may the blessings of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob rest upon you, and abide with you for ever, and ever, Amen.
I have to apologise for being so long in writing to you, as month after month has rolled along in quick sucession since ever I performed that duty, or dropped a line to that man whom above all others upon the face of the earth, I have the greatest reason to respect; because God has done it, and chosen him from among all the nations of the earth as the honored instrument to whom he would reveal himself, commit the of the kingdom unto; and by whose means he would usher in the “fulness of the dispensation of times,” gather his Israel, bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, redeem the earth from under the curse, and prepare a people for that time when the earth should resume its paradistic glory, creation be delivered from under the curse, and all creation praise the Lord, that dispensation which cheered the hearts of Patriarchs, and Prophets, and Apostles, that restitution the thought of which dried the martyrs tear, soothed the pillow of the dying saint; supported his prophets when strangers, and pilgrims, upheld and cheered them in prisons, in dens, in caves, in dungeons, in death; for they had respect to the recompense of reward. That dispensation which has employed the energies of dead (living saints) to accomplish, even Abel, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Eligah, Our Savior, Peter, Moroni, Alma, Amalek, Nephi,—and Michael, and all the , who according to the councils of God, the decrees of heaven, the order of the priesthood, the eternal purpose of Jehovah have selected the man, set in order the priesthood, ushered in that dispensation of which they all wrote, all prophesied of, all looked forward too, all anticipated, all died in the faith of: which faith we participate of, which blessing we enjoy; which glory we expect to see brought about through the mercy of God the intercession of Jesus, and the united energies of living and dead saints, we being made perfect by them and they by us.—
I thank God my Heavenly Father, that ever I heard the sound of this gospel, and received a part in this priesthood. I received it with greater joy than earthly treasures, than the effervescent praise of man, or all the empty bubbles of earthly honor. And I pray [p. 400] that I may be kept humble, and that I may be able to realize continually the importance of my calling and finish my work with joy.
I have no doubt but that the rest of my brethren in the have all written to you, and no doubt will have put you in possession of all general information in relation to the work here; you have also received intelligence of our movements through the medium of the “Star” it would therefore be superfluous in me to enter into, those things generally. I am happy to state, however, that we have been united in our councils to the present time; that there has been no discordant feeling, nor jarring string; we were very happy to receive a communication from you, and to hear that things were prospering so well in , and wi the generally; we were pleased to have your approbation and council which at all times is very acceptable. We have also received your letter in the “Times and Seasons” which also gave us satisfaction: and we feel thankful to our Heavenly Father that in all things we have gone right both in regard to our publishing the Hymn Book, the Book of Mormon and to our purposes in regard to coming home, and in regard to our labors. We find that in all things our proceedings have precisely accorded with your council.
As it regards the work in general it is prospering here on all hands, in , where it first commenced; they are continually adding to the church in , Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and in Lancashire. In , the work is beginning to break out, and in Edinburg, and Glasgow it is prospering. In the Isle of Man, and in Wales, it is rolling forth and to use a Sectarian expression “there has been a going among the mulberry trees” “a shaking among the dry bones.”
Perhaps it may not be altogether uninteresting for me to give a brief history of my proceedings since I left in company with , it would be superfluous for me to state the route we took to . Our mode of traveling, my sickness on the road, and our visit to &c. Suffice it to say, , and I landed in January 1840 and immediately proceeded to , to council with the of the church in and his , as to our best mode of proceeding until the rest of our Quorum came, when it was agreed upon that I should go to , and go to Staffordshire and then go to Birmingham if they thought proper; we took the parting hand the day following and each one took his respective course. accompanied me to where we immediately commenced our labors: the first Sabbath we visited several places of worship I asked liberty to make a few remarks in one and had an opportunity of speaking in their vestry to 18, or 20, preachers, and leaders while I was delivering my testimony some wept and others shouted Glory be to God, but when on being asked; I informed them what society we belonged to, they were afraid of us, having heard so many reports. One of their preachers, however, invited us home in the evening, and we appointed a meeting at his house in the week—members attended, to whom we conversed. We then took a room that would hold 4 or 500 people and in the meantime visited all that we could get access to. We called upon many of the leading ministers of different denominations, and delivered our testimony to them, some received us kindly, some otherwise but none would let us have their Chapels to hold forth in, they were so good in general, and so pure, that they had no room for the gospel, they were too holy to be righteous, too good to be pure, and had too much religion to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Our being in town soon got rumored about and I suppose about 300 attended our first meeting, in preaching the power of God rested upon the people, and on my asking them if it was not good news they responded “yes”—while many wept under the influence of the spirit; and after preaching, ten persons came forward to be , some of which felt convinced as soon as they saw us that we were men of God, and others had dreamed about us. Thus we see that the power was of God and not of man and to Him be the Glory. Things have continued to progress in this place from that time to the present we have now about 160 in society: 3 Elders, 5 Priests, 2 Teachers, and 2 Deacons.— We have taken the largest Hall in , and in the most eligible situation for twelve months, and things seem more likely for progressing than ever they have done from the commencement.
I visited Ireland some time ago and planted the standard of truth in that nation I stayed there something over a week, preached in several places, and baptized 2 before I left. Elder [Theodore] Curtis is now there and there is between 20 and 30 baptized. I did purpose making a stand in Belfast, but as I had other engagements in Scotland and , I knew that I would not commence without giving our adversaries an advantage which I knew that they would make a dishonorable use of; so I thought it best not to commence, as I had not time to stay. From thence I went to the City of Glasgow in Scotland where I met with , who had raised up a small church, to whom I preached. On my way to Glasgow a gentleman on the same boat informed me that had written a letter to his friends concerning the persecution and that as he was acquainted with him he, had published it in a periodical of that City (Belfast) I preached several times also in a place called Paisely in Scotland, where Elders [Samuel] Mulliner and [Alexander] Wright had raised up a church and obtained considerable influence, from thence I returned to , soon after I started to the Isle of Man, where I hired a large room capable of containing 1000 persons and commenced delivering lectures: great excitement prevailed and a persecuting spirit soon manifested itself. I held a discussion with one man, a preacher which had a tendency to enlighten the eyes of the public. Another wrote in the papers, and I answered him, another published pamphlets, and I answered them; another delivered lectures and I answer [p. 401]ed them, and finally challenged any of them to meet me before the public and prove the Book of Mormon, and my doctrine false if they could, but this they were afraid to do and gave up the contest. I see sir, more clearly every day the impossiblity of overturning the principles of truth by any of the foolish dogmas or lame reasoning of this present generation, and how should they? for God has revealed it, and his arm supports it. I went to a country place on the Is[l]and and sat down in the chimney corner, and talked to a few neighbors, who came in, and 8 and and confirmed them the same night before I left them, nor would they wait until the morning. I sent you several papers which no doubt you will have received, I staid between two and three months in the Island, has been laboring there since I left, now he is gone to , and one of our brethren is there. There is about 70 baptized and the work is still progressing there is another place in the neighborhood of , a of this place, where there is 30 members. The numbers in this neighborhood that I have had a hand in, are as follows:
160. Isle of Man 70.
Ireland about 25. Howarden [Hawarden, Wales] 30.
I mention this to show that I have not labored in vain, but that God has in some measure blessed my feeble labors.
The work in this is beginning to attract more general notice, and to assume a more formidable and respectable appearance in , in , and also in the Isle of Man, we have the largest Hall in this place, and men of respectability and influence begin to look at it: it has for some time been almost exclusively confined to the lowest grade of society, particularly in the manifactory districts, but I think the time is not far distant when the trumpet will sound loudly through all parts of this land and all classes will hear it.
You will probably be made acquainted with our attentions of visiting this next Spring we propose holding a general and setting in order the affairs of the , and then taking our departure some time in the middle of April. however purposes staying. We have no intelligence yet of Elders and , nor any of the arrived but three, two of which have returned. (Elders and ) Elder [James] Burnham will stay for some time. It would be well if more of them were here, if they were good men, and men of intelligence. is in , from whence Elders , and have started. Elder continues, he is I think in, or near Birmingham. will return with us. About 330 saints started from here about 3 weeks ago, upwards of 200, by , Ship “Sheffield.” Captain [Richard K.] Porter, via , the remainder on Ship “Echo.” Captain Wood, also for . A small company, expect to start the same route, perhaps 50, to sail on the 12th, of this month on the “Ulesto,” perhaps you may get this before any of them arrive, as it goes to-morrow per Steam Packet. I have not room for politics, in fact there is nothing particular at present The Egyptian affair is settled. France is coming to her reason again, and I do not think that and will go to war about McLeod, the sitting of the Syrian question has of course opened a way for the Jews. How the affairs of China will terminate is yet, I believe a little uncertain.
As ever yours in the bonds of the Everlasting Covenant,
To President Joseph Smith. [p. 402]


  1. 1

    There is no earlier extant letter from John Taylor in Britain that is addressed to JS, even though Taylor departed Nauvoo for his mission eighteen months earlier. (John Taylor, Letter to the Editor, Millennial Star, May 1841, 2:13.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  2. 2

    A March 1832 revelation declared that JS had received “the keys of the Kingdom.” This language drew on the New Testament record of Christ promising Peter he would receive “the keys of the kingdom of heaven”; it also appears in other, earlier church writings. (Revelation, 15 Mar. 1832 [D&C 81:2]; Matthew 16:19; see also Revelation, 30 Oct. 1831 [D&C 65:2].)  

  3. 3

    See Ephesians 1:10.  

  4. 4

    See Romans 11:25; and Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 37, 473 [1 Nephi 15:13; 3 Nephi 16:4].  

  5. 5

    Moroni, Alma, Amulek, and Nephi are all significant figures found in the Book of Mormon. Previously, JS had identified the biblical archangel Michael as Adam, the first man.  

  6. 6

    See Hebrews 11:40.  

  7. 7

    For letters from other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, see, for example, Letter from Brigham Young, 29 Apr. 1840; Letter from Brigham Young, 7 May 1840; Letter from Heber C. Kimball and Others, 25 May 1840; Letter from Heber C. Kimball, 9 July 1840; and Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840.  

  8. 8

    The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, the church’s periodical in England, was founded in May 1840, with Parley P. Pratt as editor. The paper facilitated a great deal of the communication between church leaders in England and the church presidency in Nauvoo. (“Prospectus,” Millennial Star, May 1840, 1:1.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  9. 9

    See Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.  

  10. 10

    This counsel most likely referred to the excerpt from JS’s 15 December 1840 letter to the Council of the Twelve that appeared in the January 1841 Times and Seasons. The printed excerpt included the bulk of the epistle while omitting the last section on baptism for the dead and particular instructions for the apostles serving in England. (“Extract from an Epistle to the Elders in England,” Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1841, 2:258–261.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  11. 11

    The church’s proselytizing efforts in Europe began in earnest in Preston, England, with the apostles’ first mission to the British Isles in July 1837. (Kimball, Journal, 22 July 1837.)  

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, June 1837–Feb. 1838; Feb.–Mar. 1840; May 1846–Feb. 1847. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 3, fd. 2.

  12. 12

    See 2 Samuel 5:24.  

  13. 13

    See Ezekiel 37:1–13.  

  14. 14

    Taylor’s fever exhausted his strength so severely that he tumbled out of the carriage onto the road twice. The second fall apparently caused Taylor to lose consciousness, as it was only “with difficulty that [he] was restored to animation.” Fever and fatigue delayed Taylor’s travels and forced him to rest in Indiana under the care of Jacob Waltz and his family, who ran the Waltz Inn in Germantown. (John Taylor, Letter to the Editor, Millennial Star, May 1841, 2:13–14; Woodruff, Journal, 1–2 Sept. 1839; Young, History of Wayne County, Indiana, 245; see also Esplin, “Sickness and Faith, Nauvoo Letters,” 425–434.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Young, Andrew W. History of Wayne County, Indiana, from Its First Settlement to the Present Time; with Numerous Biographical and Family Sketches. Cincinnati: Robert Clark & Co., 1872.

    Esplin, Ronald K. “Sickness and Faith, Nauvoo Letters.” BYU Studies 15, no. 4 (Summer 1975): 425–434.

  15. 15

    During his stay in Kirtland between 4 and 22 November 1839, Taylor and other members of the Quorum of the Twelve, including Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and George A. Smith, visited the House of the Lord, participated in sacred rituals, and met regularly. On 9 November, Taylor was ceremonially washed in Reuben McBride’s home and anointed in the House of the Lord in preparation for his mission to the British Isles. (Turley, Reminiscences and Journal, 4–22 Nov. 1839.)  

    Turley, Theodore. Reminiscences and Journal, Sept. 1839–July 1840. Photocopy. CHL. MS 1950.

  16. 16

    Taylor, Woodruff, and Turley arrived in Liverpool on 11 January 1840 and traveled to Preston on 13 January. (Fielding, Journal, 1838–1840, 104; John Taylor, Liverpool, England, to Leonora Cannon Taylor, Commerce, IL, 30 Jan. 1840, John Taylor, Collection, CHL.)  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  17. 17

    Joseph Fielding was serving as the president of the British mission with Willard Richards and William Clayton serving as his counselors. (Thompson, Journal of Heber C. Kimball, 37–38; Fielding, Journal, 1837–1838, 60.)  

    Thompson, Robert B. Journal of Heber C. Kimball an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nauvoo, IL: Robinson and Smith, 1840.

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  18. 18

    This account refers to Taylor’s experience in an Aitkenite chapel. The Aitkenites were followers of Reverend Robert Aitken, who broke with the Anglican Church and founded the “Christian Society” in 1835 in Liverpool. Aitken led his brand of Wesleyan congregations together with Reverend Timothy Matthews, the brother-in-law of Joseph Fielding, before eventually returning to Anglicanism. Matthews was familiar with Latter-day Saint teachings since this was not the first encounter between missionaries and the Aitkenites. Many of the early English converts from Heber C. Kimball’s mission in the late 1830s were Aitkenites. During Taylor’s 1841 encounters with them, Aitken’s followers proved to be receptive to the apostles’ message, even if their leaders vehemently opposed the missionaries. In fact, some of the bad reports mentioned by Taylor were from Matthews, who attempted to dissuade his congregation from listening to the missionaries. On this particular day, however, Matthews was not present, and another preacher delivered the sermon. The apostles’ preaching on the topics of authority and baptism convinced many Aitkenites that the apostles offered them something they were missing from Aitken and Matthews. (Fielding, Journal, 1838–1840, 108–109; Underwood, Millenarian World of Early Mormonism, 131–133; Oliver, Prophets and Millennialists, 222; John Taylor, Liverpool, England, to Leonora Cannon Taylor, Commerce, IL, 30 Jan. 1840, John Taylor, Collection, CHL; “Mission to England,” Millennial Star, Apr. 1841, 1:292–294.)  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

    Underwood, Grant. The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

    Oliver, William Hosking. Prophets and Millennialists: The Uses of Biblical Prophecy in England from the 1790s to the 1840s. [Oxford]: Oxford University Press, 1978.

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  19. 19

    This Aitkenite leader was William C. Mitchell, who was baptized a Latter-day Saint on 4 February 1840. (Fielding, Journal, 1838–1840, 108–109, 113.)  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  20. 20

    Included in this group were Mitchell and his wife, Eliza. Joseph Fielding’s record of the interaction with these ten individuals also included a miraculous healing. (Fielding, Journal, 1838–1840, 113.)  

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  21. 21

    For his series of lectures, Taylor booked the Music Hall on Bold Street, which reportedly held over two thousand people. He had initially rented a smaller room in Renshaw Street, which only held three to four hundred. (George J. Adams, Liverpool, England, 14 Dec. 1841, Letter to the Editor, Millennial Star, Jan. 1842, 2:141; Fielding, Journal, 1840–1841, 1–2, 87.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

  22. 22

    One of these two converts was Thomas Tait, who is considered the first convert to the church in Ireland. (John Taylor, Letter to the Editor, Millennial Star, May 1841, 2:15.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  23. 23

    Theodore Curtis arrived in Ireland in September 1840 and continued preaching the gospel and attending to a small group of converts in Hillsborough. (Utah Pioneers, 26.)  

    The Utah Pioneers. Celebration of the Entrance of the Pioneers into Great Salt Lake Valley. Thirty-Third Anniversary, July 24, 1880. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Printing, 1880.

  24. 24

    In spring 1840, Reuben Hedlock joined Orson Pratt, Alexander Wright, and Samuel Mulliner as the first missionaries in Scotland. Hedlock had spent the better part of nine months proselytizing and organizing the church in Glasgow, leaving on 9 March 1841. (“Sketch of the Travels and Ministry of Elder R. Hedlock,” Millennial Star, Oct. 1841, 2:92–93.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  25. 25

    The man Taylor encountered most likely printed James Mulholland’s poem “An Address to Americans” in a Belfast newspaper. Mulholland was a native of Ireland who immigrated to Canada and then the United States. This poem, which dealt with the persecutions the Latter-day Saints suffered in Missouri in the 1830s, was also published in Nauvoo in 1841 by Robert B. Thompson, one of the editors of the Times and Seasons. Mulholland died in November 1839. (Mulholland, Address to Americans, 2; Obituary for James Mulholland, Times and Seasons, Dec 1839, 1:32.)  

    Mulholland, James. An Address to Americans: A Poem in Blank Verse. Nauvoo, IL: E. Robinson, 1841.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  26. 26

    Taylor rented the Wellington Room in Douglas, Isle of Man, for his lecture series in September 1840. (John Taylor, Liverpool, England, 27 Feb. 1841, Letter to the Editor, Millennial Star, Mar. 1841, 1:276.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  27. 27

    Taylor’s efforts included a public debate with Thomas Hamilton, published rebuttals to both J. Curran and the Wesleyan Methodist preacher Robert Heys, and public lectures in response to Samuel Haining. The content of the debates was also reproduced in the pages of the Isle of Man’s local papers, Manx Liberal, Manx Sun, and the Manx Star, through the end of the year. (John Taylor, Liverpool, England, 27 Feb. 1841, Letter to the Editor, Millennial Star, Mar. 1841, 1:276–278; see also excerpts of the Manx Liberal in Millennial Star, Nov. 1840, 1:178–183.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  28. 28

    Taylor stayed with Solomon and Ann Hughlings Pitchforth somewhere on the North Quay. Their son Samuel was reportedly the first convert to the church on the Isle of Man. It is possible the chimney corner was either in the Pitchforth home on the North Quay or in one of the hotels Solomon ran on the island. In 1841, Solomon was operating the Marine Hotel in Peel and the Mitre Hotel in Kirk Michael. (Obituary for Samuel Pitchforth, Millennial Star, 28 Jan. 1878, 40:64; Ann Hughlings Pitchforth, “To the Saints in the Isle of Man,” Millennial Star, 15 July 1846, 8:12; Great Britain Census Office, Census Returns of the Isle of Man, 1841, Parish of Michael, District 2, p. 8, microfilm 464,356, British Isles Record Collection, FHL.)  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

    British Isles Record Collection. FHL.

  29. 29

    The papers Taylor sent to JS may have been the local newspapers from the Isle of Man that detailed the debates between Taylor and his various detractors.  

  30. 30

    After Blakeslee arrived in Liverpool from New York in November 1840, Taylor asked him to take his place on the Isle of Man. Blakeslee remained on the Isle of Man from 16 November 1840 to 16 February 1841. (James Blakeslee, Rome, NY, 11 June 1841, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, 15 July 1841, 2:484.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  31. 31

    See Letter from Brigham Young and Willard Richards, 5 Sept. 1840; and Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.  

  32. 32

    Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.  

  33. 33

    Orson Hyde was en route to Liverpool and arrived on 3 March 1841. Though Hyde and Page were chastised for “delaying their mission,” Page remained in Cincinnati and abandoned the mission to the Holy Land. (Letter from Orson Hyde, 17 Apr. 1841; Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1841, 2:287; Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  34. 34

    James Burnham traveled with James Blakeslee and Levi Richards from New York to Liverpool in late 1840. Burnham was commissioned to proselytize in northern Wales. (James Blakeslee, Rome, NY, 11 June 1841, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, 15 July 1841, 2:484.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  35. 35

    Captain Richard K. Porter led the voyage aboard the ship Sheffield from Liverpool to New Orleans, Louisiana, from 7 February to 30 March 1841. (Neibaur, Journal, 7 Feb. and 30 Mar. 1841.)  

    Neibaur, Alexander. Journal, 1841–1862. CHL. MS 1674.

  36. 36

    Taylor is referring here to the “Oriental Crisis” covered extensively in British newspapers. The Egyptian viceroy, Muhammad Ali Pasha, sought to extend his control over the Ottoman Empire’s holdings from Gaza to Asia Minor. After several attempts at conquest, which had varying degrees of success, Muhammad Ali’s rebellions were quelled by British troops, and he was forced to return to Egypt. Muhammad Ali’s hopes for French military support proved baseless when France also rejoined the pro-Ottoman nations in October 1840. (Karsh and Karsh, Empires of the Sand, 39.)  

    Karsh, Efraim, and Inari Karsh. Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789–1923. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.

  37. 37

    Alexander McLeod was a Canadian sheriff who ordered an attack on the private American steamboat the Caroline because it was being used to aid Canadian rebels. One American was killed in the altercation, generating American outrage toward the Canadians and the British Empire. The incident occurred on 29 December 1837, and several retaliatory attacks followed. On 22 May 1838, the United States ambassador, Andrew Stevenson, demanded reparations in London. These developments were well documented in the British press. By the time Taylor wrote this letter, the affair had not been settled. Wilford Woodruff, who was also in England at the time, mentioned the McLeod affair in his journal entry a week later. (Stevens, Border Diplomacy, 13–17, 33–35; Woodruff, Journal, 17 Feb. 1841.)  

    Stevens, Kenneth R. Border Diplomacy: The Caroline and McLeod Affairs in Anglo-American- Canadian Relations, 1837–1842. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  38. 38

    Taylor’s linking of turmoil and political unrest in the Ottoman Empire with the possibility of a Jewish return to Jerusalem was a common Christian approach of the time. Fellow apostle Orson Hyde was called to serve a mission abroad, to observe and report on the “present views and movements of the Jewish people,” and to help facilitate their return to Jerusalem by dedicating the Holy Land. The Times and Seasons even translated and republished an appeal to rally support for such a return that had originally been published in the German newspaper Der Orient. (Recommendation for Orson Hyde, 6 Apr. 1840; “The Jews,” Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1841, 2:563–564. For more instances of this sentiment, see Kark, American Consuls in the Holy Land, 23.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Kark, Ruth. American Consuls in the Holy Land, 1832–1914. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University; Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994.

  39. 39

    The British and Qing empires engaged in what was later called the First Opium War from 1839–1842. After Chinese officials attempted to block trade and eradicate opium use in China, the British retaliated by destroying river blockades and occupying Canton. Residing in England at the time, Taylor was surrounded by printed reports and fervent public discourse debating the future and ramifications of the conflict in China and the opium trade. For instance, the London Dispatch ran an article on 25 August 1839 on how the “news from China continue[d] to occupy much of the public mind.” The “Opium Question” increasingly filled the pages of periodicals, and in March 1840, Taylor and Joseph Fielding even visited Pembroke Chapel to hear a lecture on the war. The speaker was decidedly against British coercion in continuing the opium trade and related detailed accounts of British injustice. He also referenced chapter 18 of the book of Revelation to describe the traffic in slaves and the souls of man. According to Fielding, he and Taylor left “well satisfied with the Lecture” and its “excellent Manner & Spirit” of delivery. The conflict in China was also reported in the church’s periodicals, through excerpts from local newspapers and under the heading of “wars and rumors of wars,” as a millenarian sign of the times. (“Foreign Intelligence,” London Dispatch, 25 Aug. 1839, 1; Fielding, Journal, 1840–1841, 129–130; “Wars and Rumors of Wars,” Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1840, 2:232; Editorial, Times and Seasons, 15 Mar. 1841, 2:350.)  

    London Dispatch. London. 1836–1839.

    Fielding, Joseph. Journals, 1837–1859. CHL. MS 1567.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.