Letter to John M. Bernhisel, 16 November 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

November 16, 1841
Dear Sir
I received your kind present by the hand of & feel myself under many obligations for this mark of your esteem & friendship which to me is the more interesting as it unfolds & developes many things that are of great importance to this generation & corresponds with & supports the testimony of the Book of Mormon; I have read the volumnes with the greatest interest & pleasure & must say that of all histories that have been written pertaining to the antiquities of this country it is the most correct luminous & comprihensive.—
In regard to the land referred to by you I would simply state that I have lands both in and out of the some of which I hold deeds for and others bonds for deeds when you come which I hope will be as soon as convenient you can make such a selection from among those as shall best meet with your veiws & feelings. In gratefull remembrance of your kindness I remain your affectionate Brother in the bonds of the
Everlasting Covenant
Joseph Smith
To [p. [1]]
[page [2] blank] [p. [2]]
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<​ Ill​>
<​Nov 23d​>
care of
No 13 Oliver St
<​left by at the bequest of ​> [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    The book Bernhisel gave to JS, Incidents of Travel by Stephens and Catherwood, was indicative of a widespread interest at the time in Mesoamerican culture. Travelers, artists, and scholars had been creating works related to Mesoamerica since the late eighteenth century. Building on earlier writings and research available in Italian, Spanish, and German, information on the ancient American civilizations began to be published in English in the early nineteenth century. For example, Alexander von Humboldt’s Researches concerning the Institutions and Monuments of the Ancient Inhabitants of America (London: Longman et al., 1814) appeared in English in 1814. Edward Kingsborough’s Antiquities of Mexico, an ongoing project that continued from 1831 to 1848, published travelogues, historical accounts, and many facsimile images. William Bullock’s 1824 travelogue, Six Months Residence and Travels in Mexico (London: John Murray, 1824), also fostered interest in ancient America and likely influenced the work of Stephens and Catherwood. In 1843 the Times and Seasons published an editorial endorsing Incidents of Travel. (“Stephens’ Works on Central America,” Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1843, 4:346–347.)  

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

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    Postal place in unidentified handwriting.  

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    Postal date in unidentified handwriting.  

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    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

  5. 2

    This was presumably Lucian Foster’s address. Bernhisel resided at 176 Hudson Street, approximately one mile to the west. (Letter to John M. Bernhisel, 13 Apr. 1841.)  

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    Notation in unidentified handwriting.