Letter from Orson Hyde, 17 April 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

, April 17th 1841.
Dear Bro. Joseph:—
Once more I take my pen to write a few lines to you; most gladly would I embrace the opportunity of a personal interview with you, did it offer; but vain is the indulgence of such thoughts at present. [p. 482]
You will undoubtedly have learned that I sailed from on the 13th of February, and landed in on the 3rd of March following. We had a good passage but a rough one—I have learned that the rougher the voyage, the sooner we arrive at our destined port.— Something so is the voyage of life. To meet once more with the , brought fresh to mind, many scenes of by-gone time; and caused my heart to swell with gratitude to Him whose providential care has preserved and restored me to the embraces of that honorable body. Let the name of Jehovah be forever praised for his condescending mercy towards my brethren; and more particularly towards me.
I have sent a little present to you and , by . He will hand it to my , and she will give it to you. It is only a little token, that I have not forgotten you; for when we were sick, you took us in. I hope you will accept it, with the best wishes, and grateful acknowledgments of an absent friend and brother.
In my last to you, from , I requested you to write me a letter about the propriety of going on without and direct it to in this country. But I feel perfectly justified at present in doing as I have; and I calculate to hasten on, just as soon as the brethren sail for . Yet I should be extremely glad to hear from you at any time, and shall be happy to abide by your advice and counsel. But if I hear nothing from you to the contrary, I shall if the Lord will, hasten on as fast as possible without him. I have been greeted with a hearty welcome in this by the saints where we were acquainted, I do assure you.
I can assure you, that although you are a stranger here in one sense, yet your name is engraven as with an iron pen, upon the tablet of many warm and affectionate hearts—and it is my faith and prayer that you may be delivered from the snares and violence of wicked men—Your days many on the earth.—and your name embalmed in the memory of the just forever. And in all your blessings I hope and trust will be a happy partaker.
I wish all the saints every good thing that I can think of, and hope they will pray for me that I may have power to “lay the foundation of ,” and return again to them. I do not feel at all disheartened at the prospect of going alone. I fully believe that the Lord will open my way before me. I trust that I shall have your faith and prayers, which I most earnestly desire. I should ask you to write me, but I cannot tell you where to direct, for I know not where I may be.
I hasten to a close, by saying, may the Lord bless and prosper you; and the saints and kingdom over which you are made a steward, and preserve you and me spotless until we meet again.
Pres’t. J, Smith. [p. 483]


  1. 1

    On 7 April 1841 the apostles in England met in council and blessed Hyde for his mission to the Holy Land, “for the purpose of laying the foundation of a great work in that land.” Wilford Woodruff recalled how the “Spirit of God rested upon us when we blessed him.” (Woodruff, Journal, 7 Apr. 1841.)  

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

  2. 2

    Kimball, along with most of the other apostles, planned to return to Nauvoo. He boarded the ship Rochester with his fellow apostles and 120 emigrating Saints on 20 April 1841. (Woodruff, Journal, 19–21 Apr. 1841; Fielding, Journal, Feb.–Oct. 1841, 30–31.)  

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

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

  3. 3

    See Matthew 25:43. Hyde may be referring to a period of physical sickness he and his family experienced during the fall of 1839 when Emma Smith took them into her home to convalesce. (Letter from Emma Smith, 6 Dec. 1839; see also “History of Orson Hyde,” 16, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL.)  

    Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.

  4. 4

    Hyde had already traveled from Cincinnati to New Jersey without Page but expected to reunite with him in Philadelphia and then travel together to New York. Page later complained because Hyde chose to continue the mission without him. In January 1841, JS chastised Hyde and “John E. Page in particular” in the Times and Seasons for “delaying their mission.” (Letter from Orson Hyde, 28 Sept. 1840; Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841; Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1841, 2:287.)  

  5. 5

    Joseph Fielding reported that many members of the church who knew Hyde from his earlier mission in England in 1837–1838 welcomed Hyde and had dreams about him before his return. (Fielding, Journal, Feb.–Oct. 1841, 9–10.)  

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

  6. 6

    See 2 Corinthians 3:3.  

  7. 7

    Hyde may be paraphrasing the blessing given him ten days earlier by the other apostles; Wilford Woodruff recorded that the blessing was “for the purpose of laying the foundation of a great work.” Hyde also later recalled JS’s blessing from several years earlier, which stated that Hyde would “go to Jerusalem, the land of [his] fathers,” to help facilitate the gathering. Drawing on the prophecies of Isaiah, Hyde himself wrote in a letter to the editors of the Times and Seasons that he was going to aid the Jewish people in their restoration, because Jerusalem “has no sons to take her by the hand . . . , Bro. Page and myself feel that we ought to hurry along and take her by the hand; for we are her sons but the Gentiles have brought us up.” (Woodruff, Journal, 7 Apr. 1841; Letter from Orson Hyde, 15 June 1841; Orson Hyde, Letter Extract, Franklin, OH, 7 July 1840, in Times and Seasons, Aug. 1840, 1:156–157; compare Isaiah 51:18.)  

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

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