Letter to Robert D. Foster, 30 December 1839

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Alleged Autograph Letter From Joseph Smith.
Through the courtesy of Mr. John R. Kinnear, a Chronicle reporter was yesterday shown an autograph letter written by the famous Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, a copy of which is given below. The manuscript is written in a somewhat cramped, but still legible hand, and shows a total disregard for the rules of punctuation, not a single point of this character appearing in the original. The letter was addressed to , one of the Mormon apostles, at that time in endeavoring to influence legislation favorably to the new creed. The mass of the Mormons were then settled at , Ills., where dissension was rife between them and the Gentile population. A reference to this disturbance is made by Smith in the subjoined letter, written from near shortly after one of his visits to that city. The manuscript came into the possession of Mr. Kinnear through a client of his, the executor of , and is lent additional interest from the present vexed state of the Mormon question. It reads as follows:
Jersey Church,
Near Warrenton [Warrington Township],
December 30th, 1839.
Dear Brother: I received a letter from you and one from which gave me much satisfaction. I have had a very good visit in this place and enjoyed myself very agreeably. I have preached and bore testimony several times in this city. The church in number about forty-five members, and there were four or five more candidates this this morning when I left the city. We came away this morning before the postoffice was open and probably missed of hearing further from you. I was glad to hear that is gaining further in health, and trust that it will please God to restore him again speedily to health, so that he may be able to attend to the duties which necessarily devolve on him in that place, and also that his voice may be once more heard among the congregations of the saints, and also among those that are not yet saints. He would be a very welcome visitor in and the rest of the churches in this region. I think a great work will yet be done in . Our meeting house is very much crowded with attentive hearers and there are no doubt many believers from the favorable expressions, friendly treatment and good feelings which they manifest towards myself and the brethren. I have many invitations to visit private families in almost every part of the city, many more than I can possibly attend to. I am at this time surrounded by a good circle of brethren, sisters and friends. I hope you will by the help of God be able to succeed in to the utmost of your expectations in bringing many from darkness to light, and that the deaf may hear the words of the book, that they who erred in judgment may come to understanding, and they that murmured may learn doctrine, and that the fear of God may not be taught by the precepts of men but accorded to the will of God. I expect you will write to us as usual. I have been laboring here so constant that I have not been able to write to you, and has been here but a short time. He has been engaged in writing the affidavit that has called for. We have our wagon and horses in . We found no sale for them in , hence we have brought them here. has arrived in this city. He has brought some books here. He has got a new work published of some poems, with a treatise on the eternity of matter. etc., etc. Brother is also here, and is on his way to . says that he is glad you have remembered him and is obliged for the advice you gave, and that you have such compassionate feelings toward him. Brother is here in with us. He has stemmed the torrent like a good soldier for the cause. In there are about 160 members. We expect to hold ourselves in readiness to go before the committee. Also . You will therefore write concerning the time when you expect the business will be before the committee. We have just received an account going the rounds of the newspapers concerning my person, etc., which perhaps you have seen. They have a good opinion of my sincerity, and upon the whole the piece is not so bad as might be expected. Some of the twelve are on their way to England , and . You may send me letters to , and we will take them out in masses, and when we get it I am in hopes the blockade will be raised in the west, so that we may get a shower of letters. It seems the trouble still continues between the and . The priests in are very mute. We understand they have advised the people to search the scriptures, which, if they do, will be to our advantage. I pray God that you may have wisdom given you to conduct wisely in all things pertaining to your operations in the ministry. We are going to hold a couple of meetings here, and then expect to return to Saturday or Monday. Mr. Bangor, a clergyman in the city, has manifested great friendship towards and has invited me to make his house my home while I remain in the city, and he [p. [4]] thinks he will get the Universalist church, a large building, for me to preach in. Be assured of our love to yourself and , as ever.—Seattle (W. T.) Chronicle. [p. [5]]