Letter to James Arlington Bennet, 17 March 1843

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City of , Ill. March 17, 1843.
Dear Sir,— I was not a little gratified at the reception of your favor of the 20th. ult. It is true— I am free from the “unrighteous persecution” got up by , and carried on by , and , that superlative trio of wickedness, abomination, and national disgrace. Sooner or later, however, corruption and wickedness get their reward.
Our charters remain as they were, but that mobocratic influence of , which stained her broad prairies with innocent blood, crept into , and became visible in the house of Representatives of our state Legislature; but let corrupt men do what they may, “wisdom will be justified of her children.”
Your have my grateful acknowledgements for your very kind interposition, in my behalf when “Executive influence,” was exerted to gratify and glut private malignance. It appears from <​your​> letter that paid no attention to your friendly admonition. I am not surprised at this, any more than the apostles were at the conduct of Nero at Rome. But the smothered heat of a volcano, will generally burst forth and give sufficient time to escape its “drea[d]ful lava”; and so, thank God, I am liberated, from his “long reach” by the still longer arm of Jurisprudence. Before the district court my case was fairly treated, and I was justly liberated:— Always so in righteousness.
You mention ’s book as a total failure: exactly so: No weapon formed against Zion can prosper: And he may learn, if has not, that iniquity has its inconveniences, as well as greatness. Every one that has attempted to rise up and destroy me, [p. [1]] or the church, has had the solemn opportunity and awful facts presented, that sudden and violent moves, too often bring shame and disgrace, in this world, and wretchedness and ruin, hereafter. No government; no body of men, or person, can long exist, and do business in the sight of heaven without truth and virtue. You say, “well, peace be to his manes,” but permit me to declare, that while intelligence continues, there will be no peace for the wicked, according to scripture.
As to , I think he will be satisfied what my opinion is of him, when he reads the story of the “lion” in the Times and Seasons of Feb, 15 1843. I have no knowledge that he holds a commission in the Nauvoo Legion: His name is on not on the Rank Roll. You can best account for this. Your relation of his intentions in extracting from the Times and Seasons, is all in course; the great object was too glaring upon the face of it to be mistaken, aside from the folly and vanity,— and hotch potch which spotted his comments in the Herald. He and all men should know that decency, virtue, honesty sobriety and truth, are among the most precious essentials of life, and especially in matters relating to eternity. There is a quid pro quo in pure religion, by which pretentions are weighed as well as actions and words; and so the promise is that God will bring every man into judgment, with every secret thing whether it be good or whether it be evil; and it is written in another place, that they shall be rewarded according to their works.
Your goodly expression,— “Go ahead,” &c. will (as has been the case,) be fully verified, while God goes with me:— And if you have a <​would only​> notion to join me before you die, count the cost as Jesus says, and go for eternal reward in [p. [2]] the celestial Kingdom of God, independent of mobs, persecutions, this world’s goods, or the highest honors of the Mammon of unrighteousness. <​Nothing could give me more joy.​> Were I to labor for gold, or for conquest, or for empires like thousands that have flourished and fell, in all ages, of before me, I might amass means; gather hosts; extend power, and gratify ambition, like an Alexander, or a Napoleon, and the world, in its ordinary course, would soon leave a wide waste for future conjecture and desecration:— but I stand up in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation, for a general reformation of all; by the voice of truth; by the accomplishments of virtue; by the blessings of pure religion, and by the holy revelations of God, and thus far, over vexatious laws suits, mobs, “spiritual wickedness in hi[g]h places,” demons, devils and dev[ilish] men, in the name and by the power o[f] God, [I ][a]m triumphant: And while I have knowledge of heaven to guide me, and the riches of eternity to back me, I shall continue to strive for the emancipation of all kinds of slavery, as well as the slavery of sin; yea, until I can exclaim like Caësar: Veni, vidi, vici!
Please to accept my best respects as also. t[h]ose of , and others. With considerations of the highest esteem, I have the honor to be your most obt. sev’t.
Joseph Smith [p. [3]]
<​ Ills. MAR 19​>
Maj. Gen.
New York
N. Y. [p. [4]]


  1. new scribe logo

    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Circular postmark stamped in brown ink.  

  3. new scribe logo

    Postal notation in the handwriting of William W. Phelps. “Single” indicated that the letter was subject to a postal charge for a single sheet. (See An Act to Reduce into One the Several Acts Establishing and Regulating the Post-Office Department [3 Mar. 1825], Public Statutes at Large, 18th Cong., 2nd Sess., chap. 64, sec. 13, p. 105.)  

    The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845. . . . Edited by Richard Peters. 8 vols. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1846–1867.