Letter to Smith Tuttle, 9 October 1841

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, Ill. October 9th 1841
Dear Sir, Your kind letter of Sept. last was rec’d. during our which is just over, containing a full & particular explanation of every thing which gave rise to some feelings of disappointment in relation to our business transactions; and I will assure you, it has allayed, on our part, every prejudice. It breath[e]s the spirit of kindness & truth. I will assure you that we exceedingly regret that there have been any grounds for hardness and disappointment. But so far as I am concerned, I must plead innocence; and you will consider me so, when you come to know all the facts— I have done all that I could on my part. I will still do all that I can. I will not leave one stone unturned.—
Now the facts are these. I sent my Brother & with means in their hands.— say, not money, but with power to obtain every property or money which was necessary to enable them to fulfil the contract I made with . My was under the necessity of returning, in consequence of ill health, to this place, leaving the business in the hands of , with the fullest expectation that he would make over the property or money to , and make every thing square, so far as the interest is concerned, if not the principal. He was instructed to pay the interest that had accrued & would accrue up to the fall of 1842, so as to be in advance of our indebtedness. I had also made arrangements with the eastern churches, & had it in my power to fork over land for the whole debt; & had expected that an arrangement of that kind would have been entered into. I am well assured that did not lack <​any​> means whatever, to pay the interest, at any rate, if not the principal; & why he has not done according to my instructions, God only knows. I do not feel to charge him with having done wrong, until I can investigate the matter, and ascertain for a certainty where the fault lies. It [p. [1]] may be, that through sickness or disaster, this strange neglect has happened, I would to God the thing had not happened, When I read letter, I learned that he was dissatisfied. I thought he meant to oppress me, & felt exceedingly mortified & sorrowful in the midst of affliction, to think that he should distrust me for a moment, that I would not do all that was within my power. But upon hearing an explanation of the whole matter, my feelings are changed; and I think you all have had cause for complaining; but you will in the magnanimity of yr. good feelings, certainly not blame me when you find I have discharged an honorable duty on my part. I regret exceedingly that I did not know some months since, what I now know, so that I could have made another exertion before it got so late.
Cold weather is now rolling in upon us. I have been confined here this season by sickness & various other things that were beyond my control; such as having been demanded by the of of the of this , & he not having moral courage enough to resist the demand, although it was founded in injustice & cruelty. I accordingly was taken prisoner, & they put me to some ten or eleven hundred dollars expense & trouble before I could be redeemed from under the difficulty; lawyers fees, witnesses— &c. &c.— But I am now clear from them once more, & now in contemplating the face of the whole subject, I find that I am under the necessity of asking a little farther indulgence, <​say​> until next spring so that I may be enabled to recover myself; and then if God spares my life, & gives me power to do so, I will come in person to yr. country, & will never cease my labors until the whole matter is completely adjusted to the fullest satisfaction of all of you. The subject of your debt was presented fairly before our general , on the first of the month, of some ten thousand people for their decission for the wisest & best course, in relation to meeting your demands. The , as they are denominated in the [p. [2]] “Times and Seasons,” were ordered by the to make arrangements in the eastern of the , ordering them to go to you & turn over their property as you & they could agree, & take up our obligations & bring them here, & receive property here for them. & I have been ordered by the Genl. Conference to write this letter to you, informing you of the measures which are about being taken to make all things right. I would inform you that has not returned to the Western Country as yet. He has a considerable amt. of our money in his hands, which was to have been paid to you as was intended. He is on his way for aught we know, & is retarded in his journey by some misfortune or other He may return, however, as yet, & give a just and honorable account of himself. We hope this may be the case. I am sorrowful on account of yr. disappointments. It is a great disappointment to me as well as to yourselves. As to the growth of our place, it is very rapid; & it would be more so, were it not for sickness & death. There have been many deaths which leaves a melancholly reflection, but we can not help it. When God speaks from the heavens to call us home, we must submit to his mandate.— And for your sincerity & friendship, gentlemen, we have not the most distant doubt. We will not harbour any. We know it is for your interest to do us good, & for our happiness & welfare, to be punctual in the fulfilment of all our vows. And we think for the future you will have no cause of complaint. We intend to struggle with all the misfortunes of life, & shoulder them all up handsomely & honorably, even like men. We ask nothing, therefore, but what ought to be granted <​required​> between man & man, & by those principles which bind man to man by kindred blood, in bearing our own part in every thing which duty calls us to do or not inferior to any of the human race, & will be treated as such, although differing with some in matters of opinion in things, (viz:— religious matters,) for which we only feel ourselves amenable to the Eternal God. And may God forbid that pride, ambition, a want of humility [p. [3]] or any degree of importance, unjustly should have any dominion in our bosoms. We are the sons of Adam. We are the free born sons of , and as having been trampled upon, & our constitutional rights taken from us, by a great many who boast themselves of being valiant in freedom’s cause, while their hearts possess not a spark of its benign & enlivening influence. This will afford a sufficient excuse, we hope, for any harsh remarks that may have been dropped by us, when we thought there was an assumption of superiority designed to gall our feelings. We are very sensative, as a people; we confess it, but we want to be pardoned for our sins, if any we have committed.
With regard to the time when the first payment of interest should be made, it appears we did not understand each other, but it is a matter, which I hope we can amicably adjust when we see each other. I do not intend that it shall prevent our making an arrangement concerning the whole matter, for unless we can accomplish this, it will be useless for us to think of profitting by the purchase.
With sentiments of respect, I remain as ever Yours &c.— Joseph Smith
<​ Ills. OCT 12​>
<​Paid 25​>
C.t. [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    JS had issued a power of attorney for Hyrum Smith and Isaac Galland to conduct business on his behalf. (JS to Isaac Galland and Hyrum Smith, Power of Attorney, Nauvoo, IL, 1 Feb. 1841, Hancock Co., IL, Bonds and Mortgages, vol. 1, p. 96, Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; Authorization for Hyrum Smith and Isaac Galland, 15 Feb. 1841.)  

  2. 2

    Hyrum Smith returned to Nauvoo in late April. In June he left on another trip to the eastern United States to obtain lands that could be used to pay the Hotchkiss debt; however, he returned prematurely from that trip as well, this time due to illness. (News Item, Times and Seasons, 1 May 1841, 2:403; “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447; George A. Smith, Journal, 21 June 1841; George A. Smith, West Nantmeal Township, PA, to George W. Gee, Ambrosia, Iowa Territory, 21 June 1841, John Smith, Papers, CHL; Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 25 Aug. 1841; JS History, vol. C-1 Addenda Book, 10–11.)  

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

    Smith, George A. Journal, 22 Feb. 1841–10 Mar. 1845. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 2, fd. 4.

    Smith, John. Papers, 1833–1854. CHL.

  3. 3

    Since JS and Hotchkiss agreed to annual interest payments of $3,000, this total would have been $6,000. (Bond from Horace Hotchkiss, 12 Aug. 1839–A; Report of Agents, ca. 30 Jan. 1841.)  

  4. 4

    An epistle from the Twelve Apostles published in the 15 October 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons encouraged members in the eastern United States to trade their lands for lots in Nauvoo so that the eastern lands could be used to make payments on the Hotchkiss purchase. Agents of the church attempted in 1841 to facilitate these transactions. (“An Epistle of the Twelve,” Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1841, 2:568–570; see also Authorization for Hyrum Smith and Isaac Galland, 15 Feb. 1841; Letter from Robert Peirce, 20 Aug. 1841; and Letter from Almon Babbitt, 19 Oct. 1841.)  

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

  5. 5

    According to a report from Hyrum Smith, Galland had obtained “nearly enough of real estate” to cover the debt. (Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 25 Aug. 1841.)  

  6. 6

    Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 24 July 1841.  

  7. 7

    JS expressed this same sentiment in his response to Hotchkiss, written in late August 1841. (Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 25 Aug. 1841.)  

  8. 8

    JS was arrested on 5 June 1841. Former Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs had issued a requisition to Illinois governor Thomas Carlin to extradite JS as a fugitive from justice. After obtaining a writ of habeas corpus in Quincy, Illinois, JS was ordered to appear for a hearing in Monmouth, Illinois, on 10 June. At the hearing, judge Stephen A. Douglas ruled that the warrant and arrest were invalid and released JS. (Requisition for JS, 1 Sept. 1840, State of Missouri v. JS for Treason [Warren Co. Cir. Ct. 1841], JS Extradition Records, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL; “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447–449.)  

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

  9. 9

    After the attempt to extradite JS to Missouri was ruled invalid, JS submitted an itemized bill for reimbursement of expenses incurred during the arrest and hearing, which totaled $685. (Requisition for JS, 1 Sept. 1840, State of Missouri v. JS for Treason [Warren Co. Cir. Ct. 1841], JS Extradition Records, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL; Statement of Expenses, 30 Sept. 1841.)  

  10. 10

    Minutes and Discourse, 1–5 Oct. 1841.  

  11. 11

    The minutes of the October church conference contain a resolution that “Pres’t. Joseph Smith write an answer to Mr. [Horace] Hotchkiss on the subject of his claim.” JS may have chosen to write Tuttle instead of Hotchkiss because Tuttle was the most recent correspondent from among the business partners, and a response written to Tuttle was as good as a response to Hotchkiss. (Minutes and Discourse, 1–5 Oct. 1841.)  

  12. 12

    Galland was in Keokuk, Iowa Territory, by 11 December 1841, when he wrote to JS. (Isaac Galland, Keokuk, Iowa Territory, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 11 Dec. 1841, JS Collection, CHL.)  

  13. 13

    JS’s brother Don Carlos and one of JS’s sons, also named Don Carlos, were among many who had recently died. In 1841 there were approximately 175 deaths in Nauvoo—112 more than the previous year, many resulting from malaria and tuberculosis. (“Death of General Don Carlos Smith,” Times and Seasons, 16 Aug. 1841, 2:503; Obituary for Don Carlos Smith, Millennial Star, Nov. 1841, 2:108; Letter to Oliver Granger, 30 Aug. 1841; Historical Introduction to Minutes, 16 Aug. 1841; Ivie and Heiner, “Deaths in Early Nauvoo,” 165–169.)  

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

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

    Ivie, Evan L., and Douglas C. Heiner. “Deaths in Early Nauvoo, 1839–46, and Winter Quarters, 1846–48.” Religious Educator 10, no. 3 (2009): 163–173.

  14. 14

    This phrase echoes language used in the early American republic. For example, in a proclamation to Tennessee militia troops during the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson wrote, “We are the free born sons of america; the citizens of the only republick now existing in the world; and the only people on Earth who possess rights, liberties, and property which the[y] dare call their own.” (Andrew Jackson to the 2nd Division, 7 Mar. 1812, in Moser et al., Papers of Andrew Jackson, 291.)  

    Moser, Harold D., Sharon MacPherson, and Charles F. Bryan Jr., eds. The Papers of Andrew Jackson. Vol. 2, 1804–1813. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985.

  15. 15

    JS may here be alluding to the fact that in 1840 the United States Senate rejected the church’s petition for redress for property the Saints lost during the conflicts in Missouri. (See Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840.)  

  16. 16

    In his mid-September letter to JS, Tuttle described JS’s letter to Hotchkiss as containing “harsh remarks.” (Letter from Smith Tuttle, ca. 15 Sept. 1841.)  

  17. 17

    JS believed that Hotchkiss had verbally agreed not to “exact the payment, of the interest that would accrue” on the lands for the first five years. Hotchkiss responded to JS stating he remembered agreeing to only one year of leniency for the first interest payment. (Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 25 Aug. 1841; Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 13 Sept. 1841.)  

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    Postal place and date stamped in brown ink.  

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    Postage in unidentified handwriting.