JS Letterbook 2, [1839–ca. summer 1843]; handwriting of , , , , , , and ; 245 pages of letters, plus 26 pages of index and 83 pages of company records for Rigdon, Smith & Co.; JS Collection, CHL. Includes redactions.This letterbook was inscribed in a large, commercially produced ledger book measuring 14¼ × 9½ × 1¾ inches (36 × 24 × 4 cm) with leather-covered boards and pastedowns of marbled paper with grey body and blue and red veins. The letterbook contains endpaper in the front and back of the volume and twenty-four gatherings of 10 leaves each, except for the last gathering, which contains 8 leaves, for a total of 238 leaves. The leaves, which measure 13½ × 8⅞ inches (34 × 23 cm), are ruled vertically with eight single red lines and three interspersed red double lines and horizontally with thirty-nine blue lines and one red double line at the bottom or top of the page, depending on the way the ledger sits. The book was originally used as a financial ledger for Rigdon, Smith & Co., beginning in September 1836; eighty-three pages were paginated and inscribed with account information for customers of that firm. In April 1839, the book was inverted and repurposed as a letterbook; the back of the book for the mercantile firm was used as the front of the letterbook. The cover of the letterbook side bears a handwritten title: “Letters &c. | 1839 | AD.” The title page contains the inscription “Copies of Letters, &c. &c. | 1839, AD.” The spine of the book has a strip of red leather imprinted with “LEGER” in gilt lettering. A paper label from the Church Historian’s Office was attached to the spine; the label reads “LETTER 1838–43” with “LETTER” stenciled or hand-printed. The right side of the label is uneven, brittle, and apparently incomplete. The original inscription was probably “LETTERS | 1838–43”.Pagination began anew with the letterbook, which contains 245 pages of inscribed letters. Apparently, in 1839 used adhesive wafers to tip in a single leaf between pages 7 and 10. The leaf, containing copies of two 1839 letters, is no longer attached and apparently not extant; however, the letters it contained are included in the volume’s first index. numbered the pages he inscribed, starting with 0 and ending with 74. After died in November 1839, became JS’s scribe and paginated the remainder of the book, from page 75 to 475. created the first index for the volume on page 472, listing the contents of pages 0–13. also created a second, larger index, spanning pages 370–392; this index includes twelve hand-cut index tabs, each containing two hand-printed letters in alphabetical order, with the last tab containing “W” and “Y”.The letterbook contains a mix of contemporaneous letters, earlier letters, church organizational records, and church business records. The first documents were inscribed by , who was hired by JS to “write for the Church” after JS and others escaped from imprisonment in and reunited with the Saints in on 22 April 1839. It is likely that began inscribing documents into the letterbook in late April, although the exact date is not known. The first several entries in the letterbook are copies of letters that JS or others apparently received while imprisoned in from late 1838 to spring 1839. On pages 7–15, inscribed copies of May 1839 letters between JS and church leaders in and , Illinois, apparently soon after they were written or received. Several of the documents copied next were created during JS’s imprisonment and relate to the 1838 Missouri difficulties or to ’s plans to seek redress from the federal government for the Saints’ losses and mistreatment in . Pages 35–40 contain Smith family correspondence from April 1837 and April 1839. Beginning on page 52, Mulholland copied another section of earlier letters, including a letter written on 29 July 1833 by , with a postscript by , to and JS; a 4 June 1834 letter from JS to ; and a 17 June 1829 letter from Jesse Smith to . Following these letters are three 1837–1838 letters relating to dissent in and then a copy of JS’s 24 January 1839 petition to the Missouri legislature. may have copied these documents at the time that JS’s history began to be written or when the Saints began writing the history of the Missouri troubles, per JS’s instructions in March and May 1839. After these documents, the recording of contemporaneous letters continued until February 1843, interrupted only when inscribed minutes from three church meetings held in April and May 1839 onto pages 138–144, between entries for April and May 1840.
On 27 November 1832, while residing at , Ohio, JS wrote a lengthy letter to at , Missouri. JS’s missive emphasized the importance of record keeping and history writing in the young church. JS began by noting that he wished “to communicate some things which . . . are laying great with weight upon my mind.” He then observed, “Firstly, it is the duty of the lord[’s] clerk whom he has appointed to keep a hystory and a general church reccord of all things that transpire in Zion . . . and also there manner of life and the faith and works.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)This emphasis on record keeping was not widespread at the time. Scholar Dean C. Jessee has observed, “So primitive were some aspects of record keeping in nineteenth-century America that much of the early Latter-day Saint experience was a pioneering effort. . . . Although Mormon record keeping was inaugurated by [an] 1830 revelation, details for carrying out that commandment were largely hammered out on the anvil of experience in the years that followed.” (Dean C. Jessee, “The Reliability of Joseph Smith’s History,” Journal of Mormon History 3 : 27.) During a brief span in the early 1830s, JS and those working under his direction commenced the systematic collecting and recording of critical documents pertaining to church governance and administration. From that time to the end of JS’s life, correspondence-copying, revelation-recording, minute-taking, journal-keeping, and history-writing activities remained imperative commitments.Items of correspondence were first recorded in what was subsequently designated Letterbook 1. Created from circa November 1832 to circa August 1835, it consisted of ninety-three pages preserving a record of early church-related communications dated 14 June 1829 through 4 August 1835. A second letterbook, featured here, was apparently begun in 1839 and continued to circa summer 1843. It became a repository primarily for letters, but also other items dated from 17 June 1829 through 9 February 1843. Items were copied into that volume, later designated Letterbook 2, by JS-appointed scribes including , , , , , , and . Letterbook 2 contains over 150 items of correspondence and other documents, arranged primarily in chronological order. An index created at the time outlines the contents of the 246 pages of letters and other documents. Previously, the volume had been used as a business ledger for the Rigdon, Smith and Company store in , Ohio.A title page designates the volume as “Copies of Letters, &c. &c. 1839, AD.” The first entry in the letterbook, labeled “Speech of General Clarke, To the Saints at Far West. 6th. Novr 1838,” contains the text of General ’s oration on that occasion. Among its varied contents, the volume includes copies of a letter from JS to in June 1834; four letters written by Emma to JS from 1837 and 1839; three letters from , , and , respectively, written in March and April 1839 to JS and other prisoners confined in the in , Missouri; two letters sent by JS and Elias Higbee while in in December 1839 to and others in , Illinois; a letter sent from by in May 1840 to JS in Nauvoo; a poignant exchange of letters between , who had been cut off from the church, and JS in summer 1840; and an exchange in June and July 1842 between JS and governor . The ledger also preserves nine sets of minutes from various meetings, five petitions concerning the Saints’ treatment in , an 1840 memorial ascribed to JS, and an 1841 inventory of the contents of the cornerstone, among other miscellaneous documents.The last document copied into Letterbook 2 appears on manuscript pages 244–245, a letter from JS to , U.S. senator from , dated 9 February 1843. Though there are a substantial number of blank pages preceding the index beginning on manuscript page 369, it is not known why the copying of documents into Letterbook 2 ceased. However, the following circumstances regarding JS’s clerks may have been factors: died in December 1839, died in August 1841, and served a mission to during 1842–1843. and began extensive work on Joseph Smith’s history in early 1843 while continuing to perform other clerical and secretarial duties. Documents dated after 9 February 1843 that might have been expected to be copied into the letterbook were, in many instances, recorded in JS’s history. In any event, the record closed with the 9 February 1843 letter, and there is no evidence that a third letterbook was either contemplated or begun.
[front flyleaf recto]
Copies of Letters, &c. &c.
Gideon O Whitemore, Pontiac, Oakland Co, Michigan.—
Speech of ,
To the Saints at .
6th. Novr 1838.
You whose names are not attached to this list of names, will now have the privilege of going to your families. Those that are now taken will go from this to prison, be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes. But you (except such as charges may hereafter be preferred against) are at liberty as soon as the troops are removed that now guard the place, which I shall cause to be done immediately. It now devolves upon you to fulfil the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I shall now lay before you. The first requires that your leading men be given up to be tried according to law. This you have complied with. The second is, that you deliver up your arms, this has been attended to. The third stipulation is that you sign over your properties to defray the expences that have been incurred on your account; this you have also done. Another article yet remains for you to comply with, and that is, that you leave the forthwith: And whatever may be your feelings concerning this, or whatever your innocence, is nothing to me. (whose military rank is equal with mine) has made this treaty with you. I approve of it. I should have done the same had I been here, and am therefore determined to see it executed. The character of this has suffered much almost beyond redemption, from the character, conduct, and influence that you have exerted, and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character by every proper means. The order of the was to me, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to remain in the ; and had not your leaders been given up, and the terms of this treaty complied with, your families would before this time have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes. There is a discretionary power vested in my hands, which considering your circumstances I will exercise for a season: You are indebted to me for this clemency.
I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting <in> crops for the moment you do so, the citizens will be upon you, and if I am called here again in case of non-compliance with the treaty made, do not think that I shall act any more as I have done now; You need not expect any mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the ’s orders shall be executed.— As for your leaders, do not once think do not imagine for a moment, do not let it enter into your minds, that they will be delivered and restored to you again; for their fate is fixed, the die is cast, their doom is sealed.— I am sorry gentlemen to see so many apparently intelligent men found in the situation that you are, and Oh! Could I invoke that great spirit of the Unknown God to rest upon you, and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound, that you no longer do homage to a man.
I would advise you to scatter abroad, And never again organize yourselves with Bishops, Presidents &c lest you excite the jealousies of the people and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you. You have always been the aggressors, You have brought upon yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule, And my advice is that you become as other Citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin.
Ill, Feby 26th 1839.
Your’s of the 11th Inst was received yesterday I perceive that it had been written before your brethren visited my house— I had also wrote to Mr Barlow before I received yours, and which is herewith also sent. I wish here to remark that about 10 or 15 houses or cabbins can be had in this neighborhood, and several farms may be rented here. On the I think that more than 50 families can be accommodated with places to dwell in, but not a great quantity of cultivated land, As the improvements on that tract are generally new, there are however several farms which can also be rented. Since writing to Mr Barlow, I have conversed with a friend of mine, who has also conversed with of in relation to your Church and people. says, that the people called Mormons were good Citizens of the State of , and that he respects them now as good and virtuous citizens, and feels disposed to treat them [p. 1] as such. I wish also to say through you, to your people, that Isaac Van Allen Esqr the Attorney General of is a personal, and tried friend of mine, and I feel fully authorised from a conversation which I have had with him on the subject, to say, that I can assure you of his utmost endeavours to protect you from insult or violence. I will here repeat what I have already wrote to Mr Barlow, that I do believe, that under a Territorial form of government which is directly connected with the general government of the , your Church will be better secured against the capriciousness of public opinion, than under a State government where murder, ravin, and robbery are admirable treats in the Character of a demagogue: and where the greatest villains often reach the highest offices.
I have wrote to on the subject, and when I receive his answer I will communicate it to your Church. I desire very much to know how your Captive brethren in are faring.— I should like to know if Joseph Smith Jr is at liberty, or not, and what his prospects are. I shall be at , our County Seat, during the fore part of next week, and soon after that (perhaps the next week following) I expect to go to , I. T. when I expect to see the and converse with him on the subject. I will probably be at home from the 6th untill the 12th of March— I shall be pleased to see you or any of your people at my house at any time when you can make it Convenient. It is now necessary that something definite should be done in relation to renting farms, as the season for commencing such operations is fast approaching us. A Mr Whitney a merchant in is owner or proprietor of several farms in this vicinity, and it might be well to see him on the subject.
I wish to serve your cause in any matter which providence may afford me the opportunity of doing, And I therefore request that you feel no hesitancy, or reluctance in communicating to me your wishes, at all times, and on any subject. I should be much gratified if it could be convenient for , or some one or more of the leading members of your Church to spend some time with me in travelling through the tract, and in hearing and learning the <state of the> public mind, and feelings of the community in relation to the location of the Church. I feel that I am assuming a very great responsibility in this undertaking, and I wish to be governed by the dictates of wisdom, and discretion, while at the same time I am aware that we are often disposed to view things as we would wish to have them, rather than as they really are: And our great anxiety to accomplish an object, may sometimes diminish the obstacles below their real measure. The little knowledge which I have as yet of the doctrines, order or practice of the church, leaves me under the necessity of acting in all this matter as [p. 2] a stranger, though as I sincerely hope as a friend; for such I assure you I feel myself to be, both towards you collectively as a people, and individually as sufferers.
If it should not be convenient for any one to come up, about the 7th or 8th March, pleace write me by the mail. Say to that I regret that I was absent when he was at my house, I cannot visit untill after my return from , when I think if it is thought necessary I can.
Accept dear Sir, for yourself, and in behalf of your church and people, assurance of my sincere sympathy in your sufferings and wrongs, and deep solicitude for your immdediately relief from present distress, and future triumphant conquest over every enemy. Your’s truly
Ill. March 5th. 1839
Having an opportunity to send direct to you by br Rogers, I feel to write a few lines to you. , , and went to see week before last. brn, , , and myself are of opinion that it is not wisdom to make a trade with the at present, possibly it may be wisdom to effect a trade hereafter. The people receive us kindly here, they have contributed near $100 cash besides other property for the relief of the suffering among our people. Brother Joseph’s lives at , I have not seen her but I sent her word of this opportunity to send to you. ’s wife lives not far from me, I have been to see her a number of times, her health was very poor when she arrived but she has been getting better, she knows of this opportunity to send. I saw Sister [Harriet Benton] Wight soon after her arrival here, all were well, I understand that she has moved out about two miles with Father & John Higbee who are fishing this spring.
Sister [Eunice Fitzgerald] McRae is here living with Br Henderson and is well I believe she knows of this opportunity to send. ’s family I have not seen, and do not know that she has got here as yet, She may however be upon the other side of the river the ice has run these three days past so that there has been no crossing, the weather is now moderating and the crossing will soon commence again.
This place is full of our people, yet they are scattering off nearly all the while. I expect to start tomorrow for Pittsfield, Pike Co, Ill, about 45 miles, S. E from this place. Br told me this morning that he expected that his [p. 3] Father in law, , and himself would go on a farm about 20 miles N, E from this place. Some of the leading men have given us, (that is our people) an invitation to settle in and about this place, many no doubt will stay here.
Brn, I hope that you will bear patiently the privations that you are called to endure— the Lord will deliver in his own due time. Your letter respecting the trade with was not received here untill after our return from his residence at the head of the shoals or rapids. If were not here we might (after receiving your letter) come to a different conclusion respecting that trade. There are some here that are sanguine that we ought to accept trade with the . and are not here, and have not been here as I know of. and have settled some 20 or 25 miles N of this place for the present. A Br Lee who lived near died on the opposite side of the river a few days since, preached his funeral sermon in the Courthouse.
It is a general time of health here, We greatly desire to see you, and to have you enjoy your freedom. The Citizens here are willing that we should enjoy the privileges guaranteed to all civil people without molestation.
I remain your brother in the Lord.
To Joseph Smith Junr and others)
confined in .)
Ill, April 10th 1839
To the Saints in prison, Greeting.
In the midst of a crowd of business I haste to send a few lines by the hand of Br Mace our Messenger.
We wish you to know that our friendship is unabating and our exertions for your delivery, and that of the unceasing. For this purpose we have laboured to secure the friendship of the of this with all the principal men in this place. In this we have succeeded beyond our highest anticipations. assured us last evening, that he would lay our case before the Legislature of this and have the action of that body upon it; and he would use all his influence to have an action [p. 4] which should be favorable to our people. He is also getting papers prepared, signed by all the noted men in this part of the country to give us a favorable reception at , whither we shall repair forthwith after having visited the of of whose friendship we have the strongest testimonies.
We leave this day to visit him. Our plan of operation is to impeach the State of on an item of the Constitution of the ; That the general government shall give to each State a Republican form of government. Such a form of Government does not exist in and we can prove it.
and his Lady enter with all the enthusiasm of their natures into this work, having no doubt but we can accomplish this object.
Our plan of operation in this work is to get all the Governors in their next messages to have the subject brought before the legislatures and we will have a man at the Capital of each State to furnish them with the testimony on the subject; and we design to be at to wait upon Congress and have the action of that body on it also; all this going on at the same time, and have the action of the whole, during one session.
Br will be engaged all the time between this and the next sitting of the Legislatures in taking affidavits and preparing for the tug of war, while we will be going from State to State visiting the respective Governors to get the case mentioned in their messages to legislatures so as have the whole going on at once. You will see by this that our time is engrossed to overflowing.
The of the Church are required to ride and visit all scattered abroad, and collect money to carry on this great work. Be assured brethren that operations of an all important character are under motion, and will come to an issue as soon as possible.
Be assured that our friendship is unabated for you and our desires for your deliverance intense. May God hasten it speedily is our prayer day and night.
Yours in the bonds of affliction
J Smith Jr
April 16th 1839
To Joseph Smith Jr and others, prisoners in or elsewhere Greeting
Dear Brethren in affliction, Through the mercy and providence of God, I am here alive and in tolerable health, as also are all of your families as far as I know, having heard from them lately, and having seen yesterday. Brethren I have sorrow of heart when I think of your great sufferings by that ungodly mob which has spread such desolation and caused so much suffering among us. I often reflect on the scenes which we passed through together, the course we pursued, the concillings we had, the results which followed, when harassed, pressed on every side, insulted and abused by that lawless banditti; and am decidedly of opinion that the hand of the great God hath controlled the whole business for purposes of his own which will eventually work out good for the Saints; (I mean those who are worthy of that name,) knowing that your intentions and the intentions of all the worthy saints have been pure and tending to do good to all men, and to injure no man in person or property except we were forced to it in defence of our lives.
Brethren, I am aware that I cannot wholly realize your sufferings neither can any other person who has not experienced the like affliction, but I doubt not for a moment, neither have I ever doubted for a moment, but that the same God which delivered me from their grasp, (though narrowly) will deliver you. I staid near for about three weeks being hunted by them almost every day, and as I learned they did not intend to give me the chance of a trial but put an end to me forthwith I sent for my horse and left the wicked clan and come off. is with his uncle in . I received a letter lately from him, he is strong in the faith. I now live in the Big neck Prairie, on the same farm with who is here with me and waiting for me with his riding dress on to go home, so I must necessarily close, praying God to speedily deliver you and bless you.
From yours in the bonds of the everlasting love,
. [p. 6]
Mo— April 23rd 1839
The summit end of Mr Benson’s Mill dam was carried away by the late freshet, and unless repaired, it will all go the next. The Committee have gone, and if would send me a power of attorney in connection with Mr Benson’s and s, I have a chance to sell it before it is all lost. May be I might save the Old Gentleman something which I promised I would do if possible because they now need.
Will you have them do so.
Illinois May 22nd 1839
In answer to yours of 23rd April to we have to say that we shall feel obliged by your not making yourself officious concerning any part of our business in future. We shall be glad if you can make off a living by minding your own affairs, and we desire (so far as you are concerned) to be left to manage yours as well as you we can. We would much rather loose our properties, than be molested by such interference, and as we consider that we have already experienced much over officiousness at your hand, concerning men and things pertaining to our concerns, we now request once for all, that you will avoid all interference in our business or affairs, from this time henceforth and for ever. Amen.
Joseph Smith Jr.
To the of the , Greeting.
I beg leave to call your attention to a subject of considerable importance to our Church, and which if not attended to is calculated (in my humble opinion) to raise a prejudice in the minds of a considerable portion of the community and destroy those benevolent and philanthropic feelings which have been manifested towards us as a people by a large portion of this community: I have reference to the Letters of Bro [p. 7]
[Note that Letterbook 2 skips from page 7 to page 10. Pages 8 and 9 do not exist, although the index indicates that there was a letter on page 8 and another on page 9.]
which have been inserted in the Whig, I am aware that upon a cursory view of these, nothing very objectionable may appear; yet, if they are attentively considered there will be found very great objections to them indeed: for instance in condemning the Democracy of why condemn that of the whole union, and why use such epithets as “Demagogue” to for not answering his letter when it is very probable that he had not received it. Yesterday I was waited upon by Mr Morris who asked me what was intended by such publications, and why we should come out against the democracy of the nation, when they were doing all in their power to assist us; It was something which he could not understand and wished to know if we as a people countenanced such proceedings. I told him for my part, I was sorry that his letters had ever made their appearance, and believed that such a course was at variance with the sentiments of the greater part of our people. Yesterday I brought the subject before the authorities of the who are here, where it was manifest that his conduct was not fellowshipped and the brethren wished to disavow all connexion with such proceedings and appointed a committee to wait on to beg of him not to persist in the course, which if not nipt in the bud will probably bring persecution with all its horrors upon an innocent people by the folly and imprudence of one individual.
From information I understand that the feelings of the are very much hurt by the course which is pursued. I think we ought to correct the publick mind on this subject, and as a Church disavow all connexions with politics; by such a course we may in some measure counteract the baneful influence which his letters have occasioned: But if such a course which he () has adopted, be continued (as I understand that he intends to do) it will block up our way and we can have no reasonable prospect of obtaining justice from the authorities of the union whom we wantonly condemn before we have made application.
The same feelings are beginning to be manifested in by those who have been our friends there. The Whigs are glad of such weapons and make the most of them.— You will probably think I am a little too officious but I feel impressed with the subject, I feel for my brethren; The tears of widows, the cries of orphans & the moans of the distressed are continually present in my mind and I want to adopt and continue a course which shall be beneficial to us— — but if through the imprudence and conduct of Isolated individuals 3— 4— or 5 years hence our altars should be thrown down our Homes destroyed, our brethren slain, our wives widows and our Children orphans, your unworthy unworthy brother wishes to lift up his hands before God and appeal to him and say, thou who knowest all things, knowest that I am innocent in this matter. I am with great respect, Gent. Yours in the Bonds of Christ.
Excuse haste &c &c I have not time to Copy
N.B Postcript other side. [p. 10]
P.S. If you do not intend to be in this week would you favor us with your opinions on this subject &c &c.
13th May 1839.
, Hancock Co Ill 25,th May 1839
In answer to your’s of the 13th Inst. to us concerning the writings of Col, on the subject of our late sufferings in the State of ; we wish to say that as to a statement of our persecutions being brought before the world as a political question, we entirely disapprove of it.
Having however great confidence in ’s good intentions and considering it to be the indefeisible right of every free man to hold his own opinion in politics as well as to religion, we will only say that we consider it to be unwise as it is unfair to charge any one party in politics, or any one sect of religionists with having been our oppressors, since we do well know that our persecutors in the State of were of every sect, and of all parties both religious and political: and as disclaims having spoken evil of any administration save that of , we presume that it need not be feared that men of sense will now suppose him wishful to implicate any other.— We consider that in making these remarks we express the sentiments of the in general as well as our own individually, and also when we say in conclusion that we feel the fullest confidence, that when the subject of our wrongs has been fully investigated by the authorities of the , we shall receive the most perfect justice at their hands; whilst our unfeeling oppressors shall be brought to condign punishment with the approbation of a free and an enlightened people without respect to sect or party.
We desire that you may make whatever use you may think proper of this letter, and remain Your Sincere friends and Brethren.
Joseph Smith Jr
Elder R[obert] B. Thompson.
Ill, May 24th 1839
I write you to say that I have selected a Town lot for you just across the street from my own, and immediately beside yours one for [p. 11] as to getting the temporary house erected which you desired, I have not been able to find any person willing to take hold of the job, and have thought that perhaps you may meet with some person at who could take it in hand.
Business goes on with us in quite a lively manner and we hope soon to have the acquisition of and family, with other friends to assist us in our arduous, but glorious undertaking. Our families are all well and as far as we have knowledge all things are going on quietly and smoothly—
Yours &c &c
Joseph Smith Jr
Ill, 24th May 1839
Dear & ,
We write you in order to redeem our pledge which we would have done before now, but that we have been in the midst of the bustle of business of various kinds ever since our arrival here, we however beg to assure you and your family that we have not forgotten you, but remember you all, as well as the great kindness and friendship which we have experienced at your hands. We have selected a lot for you just across the street from our own beside ’, and in the orchard according to the desire of and also one on the river adapted to s trade. The various business attendant on settling a new place goes on here at present briskly while all around and concerning us goes on quietly and smoothly as far as we have knowledge. It would give us great pleasure to have you all here along with us, and this we hope to enjoy in a short time.
I have also remembered Rufus Cleveland to the Surveyor, and am happy to <be> able to say that the land in far exceeds my expectations, both as to richness of soil, and beauty of locations more so than any part of which I have seen. We desire to have and his brother come up here as soon as convenient and see our situation, when they can judge for themselves, and we shall be happy to see them and give them all information in our power. and family arrived here yesterday, his health rather improves. We all join in wishing our sincere respects to each and every of you, and remain your very sincere friends.
Joseph Smith Jr
Ill. [p. 12]
Ill, 24th May 1839
This is to inform you that Elder Grainger has succeeded in obtaining the house which he had in contemplation when he left here, and as we feel very anxious to have the society of and his family here, we hope that he will [make?] every exertion consistent with his own business and convenience to come up to us here at as soon as possibly in his power.
Joseph Smith Jr
Hancock Co Ill, 27th May 1839
We have thought well to write you by , on the subject of our purchase of lands here, in order to stir up Your pure mind to a remembrance of the situation in which we have been placed by the act of of the having appointed us a committee to transact business <here> for the Church. We have as is known to the Church in general; made purchases, And entered into contracts and promised payments of monies for all which we now stand responsible.
Now as money seems to come in too slowly in order that that we may be able to meet our obligations— we have determined to call upon the liberality of Father Biggler through the agency of , and request that he will place in his hands for us, the sum of five or six hundred dollars for which he shall have the security of the said committee, also, through the agency of , and the thanks of the Church besides.
Joseph Smith Jr
Mr John Biggler, Ill.
, 27th May 1839
Having last week received a letter from Br. concerning your late writings in the Quincy whig, and understanding thereby that the church in general at were rather uneasy concerning these matters we have thought best to consider the matter of course, and accordingly being in council on Saturday last, the subject was introduced, and discussed at some length, when an answer to ’s letter was agreed to, and sanctioned by the Council, which answer I expect will be published, and of course you will have an opportunity to see it. It will be seen by that letter that we do not [p. 13] at all approve of the course which you have thought proper to take in making the subject of our sufferings a political question, at the same time you will percieve that we there express, what we really feel, that is, a confidence of your good intentions in so doing. And (as I took occasion to state to the council) knowing your integrity of principle and steadfastness in the cause of Christ, I feel not to exercise even the privilege of council on the subject save only to request that you will endeavor to bear in mind the importance of the subject, and how easy it might be to get into difficulty a misunderstanding with the brethren concerning it, and though last, not least that whilst you continue to go upon your own credit, you will also steer clear of making the Church appear as either supporting or opposing you in your politics, lest such a course may have a tendency to bring about persecution on the Church where a little wisdom and caution may avoid it.
I do not know that there is any occasion for my thus cautioning you in this thing, but having done so, I hope it will be well taken and that all things shall eventually be found to work together for the good of the Saints. I should be happy to have you here to dwell amongst us, and am in hopes soon to have that pleasure. I was happy to receive your favour of the 20th Inst and to observe the contents, and beg to say in reply that I shall attend to what you therein suggest, and shall feel pleasure at all times to answer any request of yours, and attend to them also in the best manner possible. With every possible feeling of love and friendship for an old fellow-prisoner, and brother in the Lord. I remain Sir,
Your Sincere Friend
Joseph Smith Jr
May 17th 1839.
To the Editors of the Whig
Gentlemen— — Some letters in your paper have appeared over the signature of in relation to our affairs with .
We consider it is ’s privilege to express his opinion in relation to political or religious matters, and we profess no authority in the case whatever; but we have thought, and do still think, that it is not doing our cause justice to make a political question of it in any manner whatever. We have not at any time thought that there was any political party as such chargeable with the [p. 14] barbarities, neither any religious society as such: They were committed by a Mob composed of all parties regardless of all difference of opinion either political or religious.
The determined stand in this , and by the people of in particular made against the lawless outrages of the Mobbers by all parties in politics and religion have entitled them equally to our thanks and our profoundest regard, and such, Gentlemen, we hope they will always receive from us.— — Favours of this kind ought to be engraven on the rock to last forever. We wish to say to the public through your paper, that we disclaim any intention of making a political question of our difficulties with , believing that we are not justified in so doing. We ask the aid of all parties both in politics and religion to have justice done us, and obtain redress. We think, Gentlemen in so saying we have the feelings of our people generally, however individuals may differ, and we wish you to consider the letters of as the feelings and views of an individual but not of the as such.
We are satisfied that our people as a body disclaim all such sentiments and feel themselves equally bound to both parties in this , as far as kindness is concerned, and good will, and also believe that all political parties in are equally guilty.— — — — — Should this note meet the public eye through the medium of your paper it will much oblige your humble servants.
Joseph Smith Jr
Ill, May 27th 1839
Sister Bronson has just handed me the enclosed letter which she wished me to forward to you, She and Br H. both say they expect that it is for you— but if it proves not to be your letter you can rectify the mistake. Br W. C. I expect is up that way somewhere, I send by Br Fisher. Br Harris’ daughter is thought to be rather on the mend, but she is yet very low.
Your’s in the hope of immortality
Prest. J Smith Jr
Hancock Co Ill, 29th May 1839
— — — — Dear Sir
I have been directed by President Smith to return you the enclosed letter, as upon examination he has found it <to be> not for the person whom you thought it was for. we are all well, and still remember the brethren at and elsewhere.— I am Sir Your’s &c &c
Mr Ill. [p. 15]
Ill. April 10th. 1839
Dear brethren in Christ Jesus,
It is with feelings in no small moment that I take up pen in hand to address you the prisoners of Jesus Christ and in the same faith of the gospel with myself who are holden by the cords of malice and of hellish plottings against the just, and of the lifting up the heel against the Lords anointed, but they shall soon fall and not rise again, for their destruction is sure, for no power beneath the Heavens can save them.— is wielding a mighty shaft against the whole kidney of foul calumniators and mobocrats of . Yesterday he spent part of the day with of this the President told him, that he was informed that was calculating to take out a bench warrant for himself and others, and then make a demand of his Excellency for them to be given up to be taken back to for trial, And he was assured by that noble minded hero, that if undertook that thing he would get himself insulted; he also assured him that the people called Mormons should find a permanent protection in this , he also solicited our people one and all to settle in this , and if there could be a tract of country that would suit our convenience he would use his influence for congress to make a grant of it to us, to redress our wrongs, and make up our losses.
We met last night in of the whole and passed some resolutions with respect to sending to the City of . We are making every exertion possible that lays in our power to accomplish that grand object, upon which hangs our temporal salvation, and interwoven with this our Eternal Salvation; and so closely allied to each other are they, that I want to see the head connected with the body again and while we are enjoying one, let us be ripening for the other: But my heart says where is he whose lips used to whisper the words of life to us? Alas! he is in the hands of Zions enemies. Oh Lord crieth my heart will not heaven hear our prayers and witness our tears? Yes saith the spirit thy tears are all bottled up, and shall speedily be rewarded with the deliverence of thy dearly beloved brethren.
But when I see the fearful apprehensions of some of our brethren it causes me to mourn, one instance of which I will mention. When I arrived at , I made my mind known to some of the community, and I told them that I wanted that they should send a messenger to the gaol to communicate with you, but I was denied the privelege. They said that the was so anxious to be free once more, that they would not consider the danger that the was in. They met in council and passed resolutions that I myself, , , W Barlow should leave for forthwith: But my spirits have been grieved ever since, So that I can hardly hold my peace. They are so afraid of bears, that they hardly remember [p. 16] that there is a god in Israel, that can blast the hellish desires and base designs of that infernal banditti whose hands have been embrued in the blood of martyrs and Saints: who wish to destroy the of God. But their Chain is short, there is but just enough left to bind their own hands with.
Dear Brethren I am at your service and I wait your Council at and shall be happy to grant you the desires of your hearts; I am ready to act. Please to give me all the intelligence that is in your power. If you take a change of venue please to let me know what county you will come to and when as near as possible and what road you will come, for I shall be an Adder in the path. Yes My Dear Brethren God Almighty will deliver you, fear not, for your redemption draweth near, the day of your deliverance is at hand. Dear Brethren I have it in my heart to lay my body in the sand or deliver you from your bonds, and my mind is intensely fixed on the latter. Dear Brethren, you will be able to judge of the Spirit that actuates my breast, for when I realise your sufferings my heart is like wax before the fire, but when I reflect upon the cause of your afflictions it is like fire in my bones, and burns against your enemies to the bare hilt, and I never can be satisfied while there is one of them to piss against a wall, or draw a sword or spring a trigger, for my sword never has been sheathed in peace; for the blood of and those who were butchered at crieth for vengeance from the ground therefore hear it, Oh ye Heavens, and record it, Oh! ye recording angels, bear the tidings ye flaming seraphs, that I from this day declare myself the avenger of the blood of those innocent men, and of the innocent cause of and of her prisoners, and I will not rest untill they are as free who are in prison as I am.
Your families are all well and in good spirits. May the Lord bless you all, Amen. Brs & W Barlow join in saying our hearts are as thy heart. Br Joseph if my Spirit is wrong, for God’s Sake Correct it.
Brethren be of good cheer, for we are determined as God liveth to rescue you from that hellish crowd or die in the attempt furrow. We shall come face foremost.
S. B. Crockett,
(I have been once driven but not whipped)
Br sends his best compliments respects to you all.
J— S— Jr
Dear and Sister Abbot [Ann Marsh Abbott].
I determined this day to leave here for the , either to descend it or cross it into the . I have left the Mormons D◊ Joseph Smith Jr for conscience sake, and that alone, for I have come to the full conclusion that he is a very wicked man; notwithstanding all my efforts to persuade myself to the Contra. I also am well convinced that he will not escape the judgements of an offended God who pleads the cause of the innocent.— I speak now of the innocent who are led by his deceitful tongue &c. I fear the Lord and intend to serve him all my days, and preach the Gospel of Salvation.
The operations which are against you now are from the Mob and not from any legal authority. They are not numerous and I think that you have nothing to fear from them at present. But the people here, more merciful than the Nero Joseph Smith or ; are willing to render any assistance in their power to enable those among you to make their escape who wish to.
The disposition manifested in J. Smith and to pillage, rob, plunder assassinate and murder, was never equalled, in my estimation, unless by some desperado Bandit. O my God what principles to be called the religion of Jesus Christ. I thank thee O my Father that thou hast delivered me so far from them thus far, and I pray thee to forever deliver me from such base principles, and lead my feet in the paths of uprightness and truth.
For the burning the Post Office in , for pillaging goods &c in . The Government will undoubtedly take notice, & I fear that many innocent among you will have to suffer. O my sister my be up and out of that place before it is too late, for fear for your safety. I know more about this matter than you. Be advised by your , and escape for your lives, for I verily believe that God will destroy that place.
I intended to have left you the deed for the place you live on but forgot it, I will however convey it to you by mail. After I get settled I will endeavour to let you know hear from me again. May God bless you and deliver you, with all the innocent from the impending Storm is the prayer of your unworthy brother.
October <the> 25th. 1838
P. S. The corn and potatoes which I have left you are welcome <to>, also the two sows and pigs, also the yearlen heifer belonging to my which runs about or es house are at your disposal, make the best of them you can. The enclosed note on Seth Thompson is for a mare [p. 18] which he had of me I sold him, he will I think let you have the mare for the note if you apply immediately. Make use of her if you can and if it ever comes right you may let me have her or her value.
I have concluded that the above named note ought to belong to , please therefore give it to him for I owe him tell him to have patience with me and when I can I will pay him all.
Caldwell Co Mo.
Will the Post Master please forward this as soon as it arrives
has kindly offered me a place to write a few lines in his letter, and I cheerfully accept of it.
I can say with him that I have left the Church called Latter Day Saints for conscience sake, fully beleiving, that God is not with them, and is not the mover of their schemes and projects. I do not wish to enter into particulars here. There are many in for whom I entertain the highest regard. Their kindness I have seen, and their hospitality I have shared during my sickness, and the sickness of my family. Let them think of me as they will, I can assure them, that they will ever live in the memory of a grateful heart. There are some few debts which I owe there, which I would have settled before I came away, could I have done it consistently. But I have left property enough to pay four times the amount which I owed. But if they should not get it in that way I will pay them if I live, and get any thing to do it with.
I do really hope that any friends will hasten and get out of as soon as possible. My calling is to warn men to flee from the wrath to come; I therefore in the fear of the Lord, warn all the honest in heart to flee out of as soon as possible.
I am with respect, Your Sincere Friend and well wisher
I shall probably go with And Settle where he settles. [p. 19]
Attested Copy of the Mittimus,
accompanying Joseph Smith Jr & others, from to the Jailor of in Clay Co,y. Mo.
To the keeper of the of Greeting. Whereas Joseph Smith Jr , , , and , as also have been brought before me Judge of the fifth Judicial Circuit in the State of , And Charged with the offence of treason against the State of , and the said defendants on their examination before me being held to answer further to said Charge the Said Joseph Smith Jr , and to answer in the County of and the Said to answer further in the County of for said Charge of treason, and there being no Jail in said Counties; These are therefore to Command you that you Receive the said Joseph Smith Jr and into your custody in the of said County of , there to remain untill they be delivered therefrom by due course of law. Given under my hand & Seal the 29th. day of November 1838.
|State of )||sets|
|County of )|
I Samuel Hadley, Sheriff of do hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the Mittimus to me directed in the cases therin named.
Samuel Hadley Jailor
by Saml Tillery Deputy Jailor
Mo. [p. 20]
To the honorable Judge [George] Thompkins, or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court for the State of .
Your petitioners, , , and Joseph Smith Jr beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor that Joseph Smith Jr is now in , Clay County (Mo) that he has been restrained of his liberty near five months. Your petitioners claim that the whole transaction which has been the cause of his confinement, is unlawful from the first to the last, he was taken from his home by a fraud practiced upon him by a man named by the name of and one or two others thereby your petitioner respectfully shows that he was forced contrary to his wishes and without knowing the cause into the Camp which was commanded by of and from thence to sleeping on the ground and suffering many insults and injuries and deprivations which were calculated in their nature to break down the spirits and constitution of the most robust and hardy of mankind, he was put in Chains immediately on his being landed in and there underwent a long and tedious expartie examination. Not only was it expartie, but your petitioners solemnly declare that it was a mock examination that there was not the least shadow of honor or justice or law administered toward him, on account of his religion but sheer prejudice and the spirit of persecution and malice and prepossession against him on account of his religion— that the whole examinations show that the said Joseph Smith Jr was deprived of the privilege of being examined before the court as the law directs— that the witnesses on the part of the were taken by force of arms and threatened with extermination, immediate death, and were brought without Subpoena or warrant under this awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the Mob, or his persecutors, and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the Gun and that some of them have acknowledged since which your petitioners do testify and are able to prove; that they did swear false and that they did it in order to save their lives and your petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing of criminality against Said Joseph Smith Jr is false.
We are personally acquainted with the circumstances and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them therefore we know that their testimony was false and if he could have had a fair and impartial and lawful examination before the court, and could have been [p. 21] allowed the privilege of introducing his witnesses, he could have disproved every thing that was against him: but the Court suffered them to be intimidated some of them <in> the presence of the Court, and they were driven also and hunted and some of them entirely driven out of the , And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; That the Spirit of the Court was tyrranical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment convinced your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, proscribing <him> in the liberty of Conscience which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the , and the State of . That a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the court, purporting to be the religious sentiments of the Said Joseph Smith Jr which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it was false, and can prove that it was false because the witnesses testified that those sentiments were promulgated on certain days and in the presence of large congregations, and your petitioners can prove by those congregations that the said Joseph Smith Jr did not promulgate such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion as was testified of, and admitted before the Honorable and at the same time these things had no bearing on the case that the said Joseph Smith Jr was pretended to be charged with.
And after the examination the said prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the State of . whereas the said Joseph Smith Jr did not levy war against the State of , neither did he commit any overt acts, neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the State of during the time that he is charged with having done so, and further your petitioners have yet to learn that the has an enemy, neither is the proof evident nor the presumption great in its most malignant form upon the face of the testimony on the part of the , expartie as it is in its nature that the said prisoner had committed the slightest degree of treason or any other act of transgression against the laws of the State of ; and yet said prisoner has been committed to Clay County (Mo) for treason, he has continually offered bail to any amount that could be required, notwithstanding your petitioners alledge that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also alledge that the commitment was an illegal commitment, for the law requires that a copy of the testimony should be put in the hands of the Jailor which was not done. Your petitioners alledge that the prisoner has been denied the privilege of the law, in a writ of Habeas Corpus, by the Judges of this ; whether they have prejudged the case of the prisoner or whether they are not willing to administer law and justice to the prisoner, or that they are intimitdated by the high office of who only acted in the case of the prisoners as a committing Magistrate, a conservator [p. 22] of the peace; Or by the threats of a lawless mob, your petitioners are not able to say; but it is a fact that they do not come forward boldly and administer the law to the relief of the prisoner, and further your petitioners alledge that immediately after the prisoner was taken his family was frightened and driven out of their house and that too by the witnesses on the part of the , and plundered of their goods. that the prisoner was robbed of a very fine horse, saddle and bridle and other property of considerable Amount, that they (the witnesses) in connexion with the mob have finally succeeded by vile threatenings and foul abuse in driving the family of the prisoner out of the with little or no means, and without a protector and their very subsistence depends on the liberty of the prisoner, And your petitioners alledge that he has is not guilty of any crime whereby he should be restrained of his liberty; from a personal knowledge, having been with him, and being personally acquainted with the whole of the difficulties between the Mormons and their persecutors, and that he has never acted at any time only in his own defence and that too on his own ground property and possessions That the prisoner has never commanded any military company nor held any military authority neither any other office real or pretended in the State of except that of a religious teacher. That he never has borne arms in the military ranks, and in all such cases has acted as a private character and as an individual, how then, your petitioners would ask can it be possible the prisoner has committed treason. The prisoner has had nothing to in only on his own business as an individual. That the testimony of concerning a council held at ’s was false. Your petitioners do solemnly declare that there was no such council, that your petitioners were with the prisoner, and there was no such vote nor conversation as swore to, that also swore falsely concerning a constitution as he said was introduced among the Saints, that the prisoner had nothing to do with burning in . that the prisoner made public proclamation against such things; that the prisoner did oppose and against vile measures with the Mob, but was threatened by them if he did not let them alone. that the prisoner did not have any thing to do with what is called Bogart’s Battle, for he knew nothing of it untill it was all over, that he was at home, and in the bosom of his own family during the time of that whole transaction. And in fine your petitioners alledge that he is held in confinement without cause and under an unlawful and tyrannical oppression; and that his health and constitution and life depend on being liberated from his confinement. Your petitioners aver that they can disprove every item of testimony that has any tendency of criminality against the prisoner for they know it themselves, and can [p. 23] bring many others also to prove the same, therefore your petitioners pray your honor to grant to him the s writ of Habeas Corpus directed to the Jailor of (Mo) commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of the prisoner, so that his case may be heard before your honor, And the situation of the prisoner be considered and adjusted according to law and justice, as it shall be presented before your honour, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray &c.
And further your petitioners testify that the said Joseph Smith Jr did make a public proclamation in in favor of the militia of the State of and of its laws and also of the Constitution of the . That he has ever been a warm friend to his country and did use all his influence for peace That he is a peaceable and quiet citizen and is not worthy of death, of stripes, bonds or imprisonment. The above mentioned speech was delivered on the day before the surrender at .
Joseph Smith Jr
|State of Missouri)||ss|
|County of )|
This day personally appeared before me Abraham Shafer a Justice of the peace within and for the aforesaid , , , , and Joseph Smith Jr who being duly sworn, do depose & say that the matters & things set forth in the foregoing Petition, upon their own knowledge are true in substance and in fact & so far as set forth upon the information of others, they believe to be true. Sworn and Subscribed to
Joseph Smith Jr
Sworn and subscribed to this 15th day of March 1839 before me Abraham Shafer, J.P.
We, the undersigned being many of us personally acquainted with the said Joseph Smith Jr and the circumstances connected with his imprisonment do concur in the petition and testimony of the above named individuals, as most of the transactions therein mentioned we know from personal knowledge to be correctly set forth, and from information of others believe the remainder to be true.
|State of )||Ss|
|, Clay County)|
|March 15th 1839|
To the Honorable Judge [George] Thompkins or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court of .
Your petitioner begs leave to represent to your honor, that sometime in the month of Oct. he was taken prisoner in , by and marched to , under a strong guard without any charges being preferred against him, and brought before the Honorable Esqr and there underwent a partial examination expartie in its nature under the high hand of oppression: and was not allowed the privilege of being examined before the Court then sitting, neither had the privilege of introducing any testimony before said court. Your petitioner would further state that the said while acting in his official capacity as a committing magistrate did tell your petitioner that there was no law for him (your petitioner) and that he could not stay in the , yet your petitioner was held by a strong guard by the said , and after a long examination the said committed your petitioner to the of together with others of your petitioners; where he has been restrained of his liberty near four months, for the crime of treason against the , without the least shadow of evidence testimony against him to that amount, or any testimony that was sufficient to have held a man in confinement a single moment; and your petitioner can show before your honor that he has never committed treason against the state of , nor any other crime but has always held himself in readiness to submit to every shadow of law: And now Sir these are charges too heavy to be borne with submission; and the family of your petitioner has been driven out of the since his confinement without any means for their support, and now Sir in the name of the Great God, I adjure you to grant me the State writ of Habeas Corpus directed to some proper officer and bring your petitioner before your honor that he may be discharged according to law, and your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray.
State of )
March 15th 1839)
Personally came before me, , and made oath that the foregoing matters and facts contained in the above are true to the best of his knowledge.
March 15th A.D. 1839
Sworn to before me Abraham Shafer a Justice of the Peace within and for in the State of Missouri this 15th day of March 1839
Abraham Shafer J. P. [p. 25]
To the Honorable [blank] [George] Thompkins Judge of the Supreme Court for the State of . Your petitioner would beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor that he has been confined and restrained of his liberty near five months, part of the time in chains.
That your petitioner alledges his confinement to be unlawful and unjust for the following reasons. In the first place your petitioner is confined on the charge of treason against the which crime according to the constitution of the , as well as of the , can consist only in levying war and committing overt acts, or in adhereing to the enemies of the same, which your petitioner declares he has never done, for he has yet to learn that the has an enemy. That your petition[er] on the examination was not allowed the privilege of the law in being examined before the court; that he was threatened and intimidated and was not allowed the liberty of speech and the right of conscience. That the examination on the part of the court was tyrannical and overbearing towards your petitioner, such as was not lawful and warrantable in a free government; that the witnesses of your petitioner were intimidated by an armed force, that had been for a length of time harassing and driving the Mormons from their homes and possessions, and this fact was known by the court; And yet the court employed this same armed force as a pretended guard to guard your petitioner, and suffered them to practice many abuses upon the witnesses of your petitioner and participated largely of the same himself in the same spirit of persecution therefore the witnesses of your petitioner were driven out of the place and Some of them out of the . Your petitioner solemnly declares that he never witnessed a more partial and unjust and unlawful transaction than was practiced upon your petitioner. That the whole transaction was nothing more nor less than a spirit of persecution <against> your petitioner. Your petitioner heard the court say that there was no law for the Mormons, and that they could not stay in the . Your petitioner declares that there is no evidence against him whereby he should be restrained of his liberty, That the family of your petitioner have been robbed of their property and driven out of the since your petitioner has been confined, and that they are now destitute of the necessaries of life, and that they consist of a weakly woman and two small children the eldest only three years old, and that your petitioners health is declining in consequence of his confinement, Your petitioner therefore prays your honor to grant to him the States warrant writ of Habeas Corpus directed to the Jailor of (Mo) commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of your petitioner so that his case may be heard, and that your honor dispose of the case of your petitioner as you may [p. 26] deem just and proper, and as in duty bound he will ever pray. &c &c.
State of )
Personally appeared before me and maketh and saith that the facts stated in the foregoing petition are true as far as stated from his own knowledge, and as far as stated from the information of others he believes to be true, given under my hand this 15th. day of March 1839.
Sworn to & subscribed to before me Abraham Shafer a Justice of the peace within and for in the State of Missouri this 15th. day of March 1839.
Abraham Shafer J. P.
To the Honorable Legislature of the State of in Senate and House of Representatives convened.
We the undersigned petitioners inhabitants of , Mo, in consequence of the late calamities that have came upon us, taken in connection with our former afflictions, feel it a duty we owe to ourselves and our , to lay our case before your honorable body for consideration. It is a well know fact that a society or our people commenced settling in , Mo, in the summer of 1831, when they, (according to their ability) purchased lands, and settled upon them, with the expectation of becoming permanent Citizens in common with others: Soon after the settlement began persecution began, and as our society increased, persecution also increased untill the society at last was compelled to leave the : And although an account of these persecutions has been published to the world, yet we feel that it will not be improper to notice a few of the most prominent items in this memorial.
On the 20th of July 1833 a mob convened at , a committee of which called upon <a few of> the leading men of our Church there, and stated to them that the , and all other mechanic’s shops must be closed forthwith, and the Society leave the immediately.— These propositions were so unexpected that a certain time was asked for, to consider upon the subject, before an answer should be returned, that being refused and our men being individually interrogated, each one answered that he could not consent to comply with their proposition. One of the Mob replied that he was sorry, for that the work of destruction would commence immediately. In a short time the (which was a two story brick building) was assailed by the mob, and soon thrown [p. 27] down, and with it much valuable property destroyed. Next they went to the for the same purpose, but , one of the owners, agreeing to close it, they abandoned their design. Their next move was, the dragging of from his house and family to the public square, where, surrounded by hundreds, they partly stripped him of his clothes, and tarred and feathered him from head to foot. A man by the name of was also tarred and feathered at the same time. This was on Saturday, and the mob agreed to meet on the folowing Tuesday to accomplish their purpose of driving or massacreeing the society.
Tuesday came and the mob came also, bearing with them a red flag in token of blood. Some two or three of the principal men of the society offered them their lives, if that would appease the wrath of the mob, so that the rest of the society might dwell in peace upon their lands. The answer was that unless the Society would agree to leave immediately, every man should die for himself.
Being in a defenceless situation, to save a general massacree it was agreed that one half of the Society should leave the country by the first of the next January, and the remainder by the first of the following April.
A treaty was ratified, and all things went on smoothly for a while, but some time in October, the wrath of the Mob began again to be kindled insomuch that they shot at some of our people, whipped others, and threw down their houses, and also committed many other depredations. Indeed the society of Saints were harassed for some time both day and night: Their houses were brickbatted and broken open, women and Children insulted &c &c , The of and company was broken open, ransacked, and some of the goods strewed in the street. These abuses and with many others of a very aggravated nature, so stirred up the indignant feelings of our people that a party of them, say about thirty met a company of the Mob of about double their number, when a battle took place, in which some two or three of the mob, and one of our people were killed. This raised, as it were the whole in arms, and nothing would satisfy them but an immediate surrender of the arms of our people, and they forthwith to leave the .
Fifty one guns were given up which have never been returned, nor paid for to this day. The next day parties of the mob, from thirty to seventy, headed by priests, went from house to house, threatening women and children with death if they were not off before they returned, this so alarmed them, that they fled in different directions; some took shelter in the woods, while others wandered on the prairies till their feet bled. In the mean time, the weather being very cold, their sufferings in other respects were very great.
The society made their escape to as fast as they possibly could, where the people received them kindly and administered to their wants. After the society had left , their buildings, amounting to about two hundred, were [p. 28] either burned or otherwise destroyed, and much of their crops, as well as stock, furniture &c which if properly estimated, would make a large sum, for which they have not as yet received any remuneration. The society remained in nearly three years; when at the suggestion of the people there, they removed to that section of Country known now as . Here the people purchased out most of the former inhabitants, and also entered much of the wild land. Many soon owned a number of eighties, while there was scarcely a man that did not secure to himself at least a forty. Here we were permitted to enjoy peace for a season, but as our society increased in numbers, and settlements were made in and Carrol[l] counties, the mob spirit spread itself again. For months previous to our giving up our arms to ’ army, we heard little else than rumours of mobs, collecting in different places and threatening our people. It is well known that the people of our Church who had located themselves at , had to give up to a Mob and leave the place, notwithstanding the militia were called out for their protection. From the mob went towards , and while on their way there they took two of our men prisoners and made them ride upon the Cannon, and told them that they would drive the Mormons from to , and from to hell and that they would give them no quarter only at the Cannon’s mouth. The threats of the mob induced some of our people to go to to help to protect their brethren who had settled at , on . The mob soon fled from ; And after they were dispersed and the cannon taken, during which time no blood was shed; the people of returned to their homes in hopes of enjoying peace and quietness, but in this they were disappointed, for a large mob was soon found to be collecting on the Grindstone, from ten to fifteen miles off, under the Command of ; a scouting party of which, came within four miles of , and drove off stock belonging to our people in open daylight. About this time, word came to that a party of the mob had came into to the South east of ,— that they had were taking horses and cattle— burning houses and ordering the inhabitants to leave their homes immediately— and that they had <them> actualy in their possession three men prisoners. This report reached in the evening and was confirmed about midnight. A company of about sixty men went forth under the command of , to disperse the mob as they supposed. A battle was the result, in which and two of his men were killed, and others wounded. , it appears, had but one killed and others wounded. Notwithstanding the unlawful acts committed by ’s men previous to the battle, it is now asserted and claimed that he was regularly ordered out as a militia Captain, to preserve the peace along the line of and Counties. That Battle was fought four or five days previous to the arrival of , and his army. About the time of the battle [p. 29] with , a number of our people who were living near on , about twenty miles below , together with a number of emigrants who had been stopped there in consequence of the excitement, made an arrangement with the mob which was about there, that neither party would molest the other, but dwell in peace. Shortly after this arrangement agreement was made, a mob party of from two to three hundred, many of whom are supposed to be from , some from , and also those who had agreed to dwell in peace, came upon our people there, in <whose> number in men was were about forty; at a time they little expected any such thing, and without any ceremony, notwithstanding they begged for quarters; shot them down as they would tigers or panthers. Some few made their escape by fleeing. Eighteen were killed and a number more severely wounded. This tragedy was conducted in the most brutal manner. An old man, after the massacre was partially over, threw himself into their hands and begged for quarters, when he was instantly shot down, that not killing him, they took an old corn cutter, and literally mangled him to pieces. A lad of ten years of age, after being shot down also begged to be spared, when one of them placed the muzzle of his gun, to his head and blew out his brains. The slaughter of these people, not satisfying the mob, they proceeded to mob and plunder the people. The scene that presented itself after the massacre, to the widows and orphans of the killed, is beyond description. It was truly a time of weeping, of mourning and of lamentation. As yet we have not heard of any being arrested for these murders, notwithstanding there are men boasting about the Country, that they did kill on that occasion, more than one Mormon, whereas all our people, who were in the battle with , against , that can be found, have been arrested, and are now confined in jail to await their trial for murder.
When arrived near , and presented the ’s order, we were greatly surprised, yet we felt willing to submit to the authorities of the . We gave up our arms without reluctance; we were then made prisoners and confined to the limits of the town for about a week; during which time the men from the Country were not permitted to go to their families, many of whom were in a suffering Condition, for the want of food and firewood, the weather being very cold and stormy. Much property was destroyed by the troops in town, during their stay there: Such as burning houselogs, rails, corncribs, boards &c, the using of corn and hay, the plundering of houses, the killing of Cattle, sheep and hogs, and also the taking of horses not their own, and all this without regard to owners, or [p. 30] asking leave of any one. In the meantime, men were abused, women insulted and abused by the troops, and all this while we were kept prisoners.
Whilst the town was guarded, we were called together by the order of And a guard placed close around us, and in that situation, were compelled to sign a deed of trust for the purpose of making our individual property all holden, as they said to pay all the debts of every individual belonging to the Church, and also to pay for all damages the old inhabitants of may have sustained in consequence of the late difficulties in that .
was now arrived, and the first important move made by him, was the collecting of our men together on the Square and selected out about fifty of them, whom he immediately marched into a house and confined close; this was done without the aid of the Sheriff, or of any legal process. The next day 46 of those taken were driven like a parcel of menial slaves, off to , not knowing why they were taken, or what they were taken for. After being confined in more than two weeks, about one half were liberated, the rest, after another week’s confinement were most of them required to appear at Court, and have since been let to bail.
Since withdrew his troops from , parties of armed men have gone through the , driving off horses, sheep and Cattle and also plundering houses. The barbarity of ’ troops ought not to be passed over in silence. They shot our cattle and hogs, merely for the sake of destroying them, leaving for the ravens to eat. They took prisoner an aged man by the name of , and without any reason for it, he was struck over the head with a gun which laid his skull bare. Another man by the name of [William] Carey was also taken prisoner by them, and without any provocation, had his brains dashed out with a gun. He was laid in a waggon, and there permitted to remain for the space of 24 hours, during which time no one was permitted to administer to him comfort or consolation, and after he was removed from that situation, he lived but a few hours. The destruction of property, at and about , is very great. Many are stripped bare as it were, and others partially so, indeed take us as a body at this time, we are a poor and afflicted people, and if we are compelled to leave the in the Spring, many, yes a large portion of our society will have to be removed at the expense of the , as those who otherwise might have helped them, are now debarred that privilege, in consequence of the deed of trust, we were compelled to sign, which deed so operated upon our real estate that it will sell for but little or nothing at this time. We have now made a brief statement of some of the most prominent features of the troubles that have befallen our people since their first settlement in this , and we believe that these persecutions have come in consequence of our religious faith, and not for any immorality on our part. That [p. 31] instances have been of late, where individuals have trespassed upon the rights of others, and thereby broken the laws of the land, we will not pretend to deny, but yet, we do believe that no crime can be substantiated against any of the people who have a standing in our church, of an earlier date than the difficulties in . And when it is considered that the rights of this people have been trampled upon from time to time with impunity And abuses heaped upon them almost innumerable, it ought in some degree to palliate for any infraction of the law, which may have been made on the part of our people.
The late order of , to drive us from this , or exterminate us, is a thing so novel, unlawful tyrranical and and oppressive, that we have been induced to draw up this memorial and present this statement of our case to your honorable body, praying that a law may be passed rescinding the order of the to drive us from the , and also giving us the sanction of the Legislature to inherit our lands in peace. We ask an expression of the Legislature disapproving the conduct of those who Compelled us to sign a deed of trust, and also disapproving of any man or set of men taking our property in consequence of that deed of trust, and appropriating it to the payment of debts not contracted by us, or for the payment of damages sustained in consequence of trespasses committed by others. We have no common stock, our property is individual property, and we feel willing to pay our debts as <other> individuals do, but we are not willing to be bound for other people’s debts also.
The arms which were taken from us here, which we understand to be about 630 besides swords and pistols, we care not so much about, as we do the pay for them; only we are bound to do military duty which we are willing to do, and which we think was sufficiently manifested by the raising of a volunteer company last fall, at , when called upon by to raise troops for the frontier. The arms given up by us, we consider were worth between twelve and fifteen thousand dollars, but we understand they have been greatly damaged since taken, and at this time, probably would not bring near their former value. And as they were both here and in taken by the Militia, and consequently by the authority of the , we therefore ask you honorable body to cause an appropriation to be made by law, whereby we may be paid for them, or otherwise have them returned to us and the damages made good.
The losses sustained by our people in leaving , are so situated that it is impossible to obtain any compensation for them by law because those who have sustained them are unable to prove those trespasses upon [p. 32] individuals. That the facts do exist,— that the buildings, crops, stock, furniture, rails, timber, etc of the society have been destroyed in , is not doubted by those who are acquainted in this upper Country, and since these trespasses cannot be proved upon individuals, we ask your honorable house to consider this case and if in your liberality and wisdom, you can concieve it to be proper to make an appropriation by law to these sufferers, many of whom are still pressed down with poverty in consequence of their losses, would be able to pay their debts, and also in some degree be relieved from poverty and woe, whilst the widows heart would be made to rejoice, and the orphans tear measurably dried up, and the prayers of a grateful people ascend on high, with thanksgiving and praise, to the author of our existence for that benificent act.
In laying our case before your honorable body, we say that we are willing, and ever have been, to conform to the constitution and laws of the , and of this . We ask in common with others the protection of the laws. We ask for the privilege guaranteed to all free citizens of the , and of this to extended to us, that we may be permitted to settle and live where we please, and worship God according to the dictates of our conscience without molestation. And while we ask for ourselves this privilege, we are willing all others should enjoy the same.
We now lay our case at the feet of your legislature, and ask your honorable body to consider it, and do for us, after mature deliberation, that which your wisdom, patriotism, and philanthropy may dictate.
And we as in duty bound, will every pray, &c,
A Committee appointed by the Citizens of to draft this memorial, and sign it in their behalf. [p. 33]
Copy of a Military Order
Head Quarters, Militia)
City of )
Octor. 27, 1838.
Sir:— Since the order of the morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Esqr. and Wiley E. Williams Esqr. one of my aids, information of the most appaling character, which changes the whole faces of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of open and avoved defiance of the laws, and of having made open war upon the people of this . Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operations and endeavour to reach , in Ray County, with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the , if necessary, for the publick good. Their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so, to any extent you may think necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj Gen. Wallock, of Marion county, to raise 500 men and to march them to the northern part of , and there unite with of who has been ordered with 500 men to proceed to the same point, for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore of proceeding, as at first directed to reinstate the Citizens of in their homes, you will proceed immediately to and there operate against the Mormons. of has been ordered to have four hundred men of his brigade in readiness to join you at . The whole force will be placed under your command.
. Gov. and commander in chief.
To . [p. 34]
Your letter was welcomed both by friends and foes, we were glad enough to hear that you was well, and our enemies think they have almost found you, by seeing where the letters were mailed. We are all well as usual except is not quite as well as common. Our family is small and yet I have a great deal of business to see to, Brother Tenny has not moved yet, and he does not know when he will, we have taken possession of all the room we could get.
I have got all the money that I have had any chance to, and as many goods as I could well, I have not got much at , no money at all, there is so many a watching that place that there is no prospect of my getting any thing of consequence there.
Brother Knights will tell you better about the business than I can write, as there is but a moment for me to improve. I cannot tell you my feelings when I found I could not see you before you left, yet I expect you can realize them, the children feel very anxious about you because they dont know where you have gone; I verily feel that if I had no more confidence in God than some I could name, I should be in a sad case indeed but I still believe that if we humble ourselves, and are <as> faithful as we can be we shall be delivered from every snare that maybe laid for our feet, and our lives and property will be saved and we redeemed from all unreasonable encumbrances.
My time is out, I pray that God will keep you in purity and safety till we all meet again.
Mr Joseph Smith Jr
May 3rd 1837
Ever affectionate husband, myself and the children are well and are not very well, tho not dangerous. I do not know what to tell you, not having but a few minutes to write, the situation of your business is such as is very difficult for me to do any thing of any consequence, partnership matters give every body such an unaccountable right to every particle of property or money that they can lay their hands on, that there is no prospect of my getting one dollar of current money or even get the grain you left for our bread, as I sent to the French place for that wheat and brother Strong says that he shall let us only have ten bushel, he has sold the hay and keeps the money, tells me he can’t get money to pay the postage of the office. I spoke to about the money, and he appeared rather indifferent [p. 35] and stiff, and only observed that it was the opinion of the people, that Sharp did not intend ever to pay that money. has been very anxious for some time past to get the little mare, and I do not know but it would be your will to have him have her, but I have been so treated that I have come to the determination not to let any man or woman have any thing whatever without being well assured, that it goes to your own advantage, but it is impossible for me to do any thing, as long as every body has so much better right to all that is called yours than I have.
Brother Holmes went directly to keeping house. Brother Tenny has not moved yet nor does not act much like it. I do not know every thing by considerable, but it is my anxiety for your company at home, or else it is realy so that your matters would and things would be much bettered by your presence just as soon as consistant, it is impossible for me to write what I wish you to know. If you should write after you get this, I want you to let me know as much as possible about the situation of your business, that if possible I can benefit by the information; And speak some word of encouragement to Hervey, for he is very faithful not only in business, but in taking up his cross in the family. There was a young man came with Brother Baldwin and ’s folks took him in while br B was gone and he is here <yet and is> very sick with the measles which makes much confusion and trouble for me, and is also a subject of much fear and anxiety unto me, as you know that neither of your little boys have ever had them, I wish it could be possible for you to be at home when they are sick, You must remember them for they all remember you, and I could hardly pacify and when they found ou[t] you was not coming home soon.
Br Robinson must the rest as he is waiting so adieu my Dear—
If you should give anyone a power of attorney, you had better give it to brother Knight, as he is the only man that has not manifested a spirit of indifference to your temporal interest. I mean the only one I have had occasion to say muct to about your business. You may be astonished because I have not accepted some but when I see you I will tell you the reason—, be assured I shall do the best I can in all things, and I hope that we shall be so humble and pure before God that he will set us at liberty to be our own masters in a few things at least, Yours for ever.
Joseph Smith Jr [p. 36]
March 7th 
Having an opportunity to send by a friend I make an attempt to write, but I shall not attempt to write my feelings altogether, for the situation in which you are, the walls, bars, and bolts, rolling rivers, running streams, rising hills, sinking vallies and spreading prairies that separate us, and the cruel injustice that first cast you into prison and still holds you there, with many other considerations, places my feelings far beyond description. Was it not for conscious innocence, and the direct interposition of divine mercy, I am very sure I never should have been able to have endured the scenes of suffering that I have passed through, since what is called the Militia, came in to , under the ever to be remembered ’s notable order; an order fraught with as much wickedness as ignorance and as much ignorance as was ever contained in an article of that length; but I still live and am yet willing to suffer more if it is the will of kind Heaven, that I should for your sake.
We are all well at present, except Fredrick [Frederick Smith] who is quite sick. Little who is now in my arms is one of the finest little fellows, you ever saw in your life, he is <so> strong that with the assistance of a chair he will run all round the room. I am now living at ’s four miles from the village of . I do not know how long I shall stay here. I want you to write an answer by the bearer. I left your change of clothes with when I came away, and he agreed to see that you had clean clothes as often as necessary.
No one but God, knows the reflections of my mind and the feelings of my heart when I left our house and home, and allmost all of every thing that we possessed excepting our little Children, and took my journey out of the State of , leaving you shut up in jail that lonesome prison. But the reflection recollection is more than human nature ought to bear, and if God does not record our sufferings and avenge our wrongs on them that are guilty, I shall be sadly mistaken.
The daily sufferings of our brethren in travelling and camping out nights, and those on the other side of the would beggar the most lively description. The people in this state are very kind indeed, they are doing much more than we ever anticipated they would; I have many more things I could like to write but have not time and you may be astonished at my bad writing and incoherent manner, but you will pardon all when you reflect how hard it would be for you to write, when your hands were stiffened with hard work, and your heart convulsed with intense anxiety. But I hope there is better days to come to us yet, Give my respects to all in that place that you respect, and am ever your’s affectionately.
Joseph Smith Jr [p. 37]
Illinois March 6th 1839
Brethren and Joseph,
Having an opportunity to send a line to you, I do not feel disposed to let it slip unnoticed. ’s family have all arrived in this , except you two, And could I but see your faces, this side of the , and know and realize that you had been delivered from your enemies, it would certainly light up a new gleam of hope in our bosoms; nothing could be more satisfactory, nothing could give us more joy.
and Children are well, they live three miles from here, and have a tolerable good place. ’s children and mother Grinolds are living at present with ; they are all well, Mary [Fielding Smith] has not got her health yet, but I think it increases slowly. She lives in the house with old Father Dixon, likewise and family; they are probably a half mile from ’s; we are trying to get a house, and to get the family together, we shall do the best we can for them, and that which we consider to be most in concordance with ’s feelings. One thing I would say (not however to the disrespect of ) which is that this, the family would do better without her than with her; which I am confident you will regulate when you come. One reason for so saying, is that I do not think that she is a suitable person to govern the family. and stood their journey remarkably, they are in tolerable health, ’s has been sick ever since they arrived, has removed 40 miles from here, but is here now, and says he is anxious to have you liberated, and see you enjoy liberty once more. My family is well, my health has not been good for about two weeks, and for 2 or 3 days the toothache has been my tormentor. It all originated from a severe cold.
Dear Brethren, we just heard that the says that he is a going to set you all at liberty; I hope it’s true, other letters that you will probably recieve, will give you information concerning the warm feeling of the people here towards us, After writing these hurried lines in misery I close by leaving the Blessings of God with you—, and praying for your health, prosperity and restitution to liberty. This from a true friend and brother.
J, Smith Jr, .
& Joseph,— I should have called down to to have seen you, had it not have been for the multiplicity of business that was on my hands & again I thought perhaps that the people might think [p. 38] that the Mormons would rise up to liberate you; consequently too many going to see you might make it worse for you; but we all long to see you, and have you come out of that lonesome place. I hope you will be permitted to come to your families before long, do not worry about them, for they will be taken care of; all we can do will be done, farther further than this we can only wish, hope, desire, and pray for your deliverance.
Joseph Smith Jr, Mo.
April 11th 1839
, after reading a line from you to myself, and one to which awakens all the feelings of tenderness and brotherly affection that one heart is capable of containing, I sit down in haste to answer it; My health and that of my family is tolerable good, and have been very sick but are getting better. Your family are in better health now than at any other period since your confinement: Mary [Fielding Smith] is getting tolerable good health, she is doing the best she can for the good and enjoyment of the children; the family are all together and seem to be contented. Lovina is a good girl and has quite a motherly care for the children, and takes considerable interest in the welfare of her mother. As respects you fears concerning Mary, you may put them to rest: I believe that she is your friend, and desires to promote your happiness; I have no fault to find with Mary, for she has had a long fit of sickness, and where there has been a lack of wisdom, had she been well and had her own way, there would in all probability been no call for the observations that I made in my letter to you. I think it will be wisdom for to remain where she is at present. The course that we have pursued I think has proved advantageous to her. I am in hopes that my letter did not increase your trouble, for I know that your affliction is too great for human nature to bear, and if I did not know that there was a God in Heaven, and that his promises are sure and faithful, and that he is your friend in the midst of all your trouble, I would fly to your relief and either be with you in prison, or see you breathe free air, air too that had not been inhaled by and corrupted by a pack of ruffians who trample upon virtue and innocence with impunity and are not even satisfied with the property and blood of the Saints, but must exult over the dead. You both have my prayers, my influence, and warmest feelings with a fixed determination if it should so be, that you should be destroyed, to avenge your blood four fold. Joseph must excuse me for not writing to him at this time Give my love to all the prisoners, write to me as often as you can, and do not be worried about your families; Your’s in affliction as well as in peace.
Beloved Brethren and Joseph, by the permit of my companion I write a line to show that I have not forgotten your, neither do I forget you for my prayer is to my Heavenly Father for your deliverance; It seems as though the Lord was slow to hear the prayers of the Saints, but the Lord’s ways, are not like our ways, therefore he can do better than ourselves; you must be comforted Bro & J. and look forward for better days; your little ones are as playful as little lambs, be comforted concerning them, for they are not cast down as and sorrowful as we are; their sorrows are but momentary, and ours continual. May the Lord bless, protect, and deliver you from all your enemies, and restore you to the bosom of your families, is the prayer of .
Recommendatory Letters &c.
Oct, 19 1838
We the undersigned personal acquaintances of firmly believe that the course which he has pursued in settling the claims, accounts &c against the former Citizens of , has done much credit to himself, and all others that committed to him the cares of adjusting their business with this community— which also furnishes evidence that there was no intention on their part of defrauding their Creditors.
To all people that are or may be interested.
I of , Geauga County & State of Ohio— feeling the importance of recommending to remembrance every worthy citizen who has by their conduct commended themselves to personal acquaintances by their course of strict integrity, and desire for truth and common justice. feel it my duty to state that ’s management in the arrangement of the unfinished business of people that have moved to the Far West, in redeeming their pledges and thereby sustaining their integrity, has been highly <truly> praiseworthy, and has entitled him to my highest esteem, and ever grateful recollection.
Oct 26th. 1838 [p. 40]
To all whom it may concern.
This may certify that during the year of Eighteen hundred and thirtyseven I had dealings with Messrs Joseph Smith Jr and together with other members of the society, to the amount of about three thousand dollars, and during the spring of Eighteen Hundred and thirty eight, I have received my pay in full of Col to my satisfaction. And I would here remark that it is due Messrs Smith & & the society generally, to say that they have ever dealt honorable and fair with me, and I have received as good treatment from them as I have received from any other society in this vicinity: and so far as I have been correctly informed, and made known of their business transactions generally they have so far as I can judge been honorable and honest, and have made every exertion to arrange & settle their affairs; & I would further state that the closing up of my business with said society has been with their agent appointed by them for that purpose; and I consider it highly due, from me here to state that he has acted truly and honestly with me in all his business transactions with me, and has accomplished more than I could have reasonably expected. And I have also been made acquainted with his business in this section, and wherever he has been called upon to act, he has done so, and with good management he has accomplished and effected a close of a very large amount business for said society, and as I believe to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.
Geauga Co Ohio Oct 27th 1838
Illinois, May 8th. 1839
To all whom it may concern
The undersigned Citizens of , Illinois take great pleasure in recommending to the favorable notice of the public, the bearer of this, . is connected with the Church of “Mormons” or “Latter Day Saints” and makes a tour to the East for the purpose of raising means to relieve the sufferings of this unfortunate people, stripped as they have been of their all, and now scattered throughout this part of our .
We say to the charitable and benevolent, you need have no fear but your contributions in aid of humanity will be properly applied if intrusted to the hands of , He is authorised by his Church to act in the premises and we most cordialy bear testimony to his piety and worth as a Citizen. [p. 41] Very respectfully your’s.
Samuel Holmes— Merchant
, Attorney at law & Editor of Argus
, Governor State of
L. V Ralston— M. D.
Samuel Leech, Receiver public monies
Hiram Rodgers— M. D
J T Holmes Merchant
Nich Wren County Clerk
C. M. Woods, Clerk of Circuit Court Illinois
April 22, 1839
I herewith enclose two letters, one addressed to the of the , and <one> to the Governor [Wilson] Shannon of —
As the object sought by you is an investigation into the facts connected with your misfortunes, I have thought it the most prudent Course to refrain from an expression of an individual opinion in the matter relative to the merits or demerits of the Controversy.
I sincerely hope that you may succeed in obtaining a general investigation into the Cause and extent of your sufferings, and that you may obtain from the Government that attention which is your due as Citizens of the . Very respectfully
Your Obt Servt
April 22, 1839
To His Excellency ,
President of the .
I have the Honour to introduce to your acquaintance the bearer, Doct, , who was for many years a Citizen of the [p. 42] State of , and a firm supporter of the Administration of the General Government
visits (as I am informed) as the representative of a community of people called Mormons, to solicit from the government of the an investigation into the causes that led to their expulsion from the state of , together with the various circumstances connected with that extraordinary affair.
I think it due to that people to state that they had for a number of years a community established in , and that while in that while in that , they were (as far as I ever heard) believed to be an industrious inoffensive People, and I have no recollection of having ever heard of any of them being charged in that as violaters of the Laws—
With sincere respect, I am
Your Obt Servt
April 22, 1839—
To His Excellency Wilson Shannon
Governor of the State of .
I have the Honour to introduce to your acquaintance, Doct. who was for many years a Citizen of , wishes to obtain from the General Government of the , an investigation into the causes that let to the expulsion of the people called Mormons from the State of , together with all the facts connected with that extraordinary affair—
This investigation it appears to me, is due to them as citizens of the , as well as to the nation at large. Any assistance that you can render the towards accomplishing that desirable object will be gratefully recieved and duly appreciated by
Your Sincere friend and humble Servt
Per Doct [p. 43]
Ill, 10th. May 1839
The Bearer the Revd is a member of a society of people called “Mormons” or “Latter Day Saints” who have been driven from the State of by order of the of that , and who have taken up their residence in and about this place in large numbers I have no hesitation in saying that this people have been most shamefully persecuted and cruelly treated by the people of —
has resided in & near to this place for three or four months during which time his conduct has been that of a Gentleman, and a moral and worthy Citizen.
Ill, May 8th. 1839
To the His Excellency The of the
The Heads of Departments, and all to whom this may be shown.
The undersigned Citizens of , Illinois, beg leave to introduce to you the bearer Revd. .
is a Divine connected with the Church of “Latter Day Saints” And having enjoyed his acquaintance for some time past, we take great pleasure in recommending him to your favorable notice as a man of piety and a valuable citizen. Any representation— he may make touching the object of his mission to your may be implicitly relied on.
Very respectfully your’s
J T Holmes
C M Woods [p. 44]
At a conference Meeting held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Town of Adams County Ill, on Monday the 6th day of May 1839.
Joseph Smith Jr Presiding
It was unanimously Resolved—
That Elder be appointed to go to the City of and preside among the Saints in that place, and in the regions round about, and regulate the affairs of the Church according to the laws and doctrines of said Church, and he is fully authorized to receive donation moneys, by the liberality of the Saints, for the assistance of the poor among us who have been persecuted and driven from their homes in the State of , And from our long acquaintance with , and with his experience and knowledge of the laws of God the kingdom of God, we do not hesitate to recommend him to the Saints as one in whom they may place the fullest confidence, both as to their Spiritual welfare as well as to the strictest integrity in all temporal concerns, with which he may be intrusted.
And we beseech the Brethren in the name of the Lord Jesus to receive this Brother in behalf of the poor with readiness, and to abound unto him in a liberal manner, for “in as much as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me”.
Yours in the bonds of the everlasting gospel though no longer a prisoner in the hands of the Missourians;
And still faithful with the Saints
Joseph Smith Jr
Ill, 13th May 1839
Joseph Smith Jr, , and ; Presiding Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; do hereby certify and solemnly declare unto all the Saints scattered abroad, and send unto them greeting. That we have always found President to be a man of the most strict integrity and moral virtue, and in fine to be a man of God. We have had long experience and acquaintance with , we have entrusted vast business concerns to him which have been managed skilfully to the support of our Characters and interest, as well as that [p. 45] of the Church, and he is now authorized by a general Conference to go forth and engage in vast business and important concerns as an agent for the church, that he may fill a station of usefulness in obedience to the commandments of God, which was given unto him July 8th 1838— which says, “Let him (meaning ) contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church saith the Lord.”
We earnestly solicit the Saints scattered abroad to strengthen his hands with all their might, and to put such means into his hands as shall enable him to accomplish his lawful designs and purposes, according to the commandments, and according to the instructions which he shall give unto them. And that they intrust him with moneys, lands, chattles and goods, to assist him in this work, and it shall redound greatly to the interest and welfare, peace and satisfaction of my Saints saith the Lord God. For this is an honorable agency which I have appointed unto him Saith the Lord; and again Verily thus saith the Lord, I will lift up my servant , and beget for him a great name on the earth and among my people, because of the integrity of his soul; therefore let all my Saints abound unto him with all liberality and long suffering, and it shall be a blessing on their heads.
We would say unto the Saints abroad, Let our hearts abound with grateful acknowledgements unto God our Heavenly Father, who hath called us unto his holy calling, by the revelation of Jesus Christ in these last days, and has so mercifully stood by us, and delivered us out of the seventh trouble which happened unto us in the State of .
May God reward our enemies according to their works. We request the prayers of all the Saints. Subscribing ourselves, their humble brethren in tribulation in the bonds of the everlasting Gospel.
Joseph Smith Jr
Hancock Co— Ill.
27th May 1839
To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
From our knowledge of the great sacrifices made by the bearer Br in behalf of the welfare of us and the Church generally, and from the great trust which we have oftentimes reposed in him, and as often found him trustworthy, not seeking [p. 46] his own aggrandizement, but rather that of the Community: We feel warranted in commissioning him to go forth amongst the faithful, as our agent to gather up and receive such means in money or otherwise as shall enable him us to meet our engagements which are now about to devolve upon us, in consequence of our purchases here for the Church, and we humbly trust that our brethren generally will enable him to come to our assistance before our credit shall suffer on this account.
Joseph Smith Jn
May 24th 1839 Ill.
Statement made by the of the proceedings of the , Satisfactorily to myself and therefore sanctioned.
Joseph Smith Jr
of the .
Also approve of the Twelve going to England &c, J.S.
This is to certify— that at a general conference held at Adam’s County Illinois, by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on Saturday the 4th of May 1839.
President Joseph Smith Jr Presiding
It was Resolved
That , and be appointed a traveling committee to gather up and obtain all the libelous reports and publications which have been circulated against our <the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints> Church— as well as other historical matter connected with said church which they can possibly obtain.
Joseph Smith Jr Chairman
3 Copies, one for each of the Committee. [p. 47]
Directions to persons wishing to come to the Church of Latter Day Saints in .
Come to , then enquire for Burdentown, N. J; Then for Upper Freehold township Monmouth Co N, J, then for .
Direct Letters to New Egypt, Monmouth Co N. J
Bro Rogers’ Minutes
Clay County, Mo
The Surveyor for the was at and held a council with the brethren and others And let them know that there was a tract of land in the containing Sixty Townships without a single inhabitant, and the he the Surveyor would go with any of the Church that the Council would appoint for that purpose; And that he would spend as much time with them as they wished in order to find a location, and in case such Committee should think that the location would suit, he would proceed forthwith, and survey the whole tract and then he will have a petition drawn to Congress, requesting that the entire tract be given to our people, And that he will guarantee that the and all the inhabitants of the will sign the same such petition. And it is the opinion of , should we as a people send a memorial setting forth the sufferings and wrongs of our people in that there would be no doubt but that we should succeed, therefore for this end we tender these things. The Committee chosen and vested with the power that is stated in the proceedings of the meeting in .
At a Meeting held at the Committee Room in the City of , Illinois at Two oclock P M on the 9th. March 1839, pursuant to previous appointment.
It was moved by & Seconded, that be called to Chair & he was unanimously appointed.
was then appointed Clerk by vote.—
then applied for spoke as to the members of the Committee [p. 48] being absent who had called the meeting & proposed that other business be proceeded on in the meantime, And left it to the Chair to decide on the propriety thereof— To which the Chair assented.—
then applied for a paper which had been prepared and signed by several of the Citizens of , describing our situation as a people & calling upon the humane in & elsewhere to assist them in affording us relief.— The paper being presented by Br Ephraim Owen, was then read, and spoke at length upon the subject, and proposed that a committee of two of the Brethren be appointed by the voice of the meeting to go to &c on such business—
The motion was then put and carried and Brother Mace appointed as one of said Committee and Br Ephraim Owen the other.—
It was proposed that Brother (who is now in ) be appointed as assistant— After the Motion was put & before it was seconded, spoke of its inconsistency, and stated as a better mode, that all the Saints in , or such of them as the Committee may think proper may be called upon by them to assist them.—
The motion was then withdrawn & this business closed. Some of the Committee who called this meeting being now present,— spoke of two letters which have been received here by the Brethren, from the , respecting lands in that place, & containing sentiments of sympathy on account of our grievances & distressed situation &c &c One of these Letters have been mislaid, and the other from to Brother Rogers was read.
It was then proposed that a Committee be appointed to visit the lands & confer with the Gentlemen who had so written, and declare themselves interested for our welfare—
moved that a committee be appointed for that purpose which was seconded and & adopted unanimously.—
moved that the committee shall select the land, if it can be safely located— seconded by & carried & the committee to be composed of five viz:— — — Br Bensen, and Br .
It was moved, seconded, & adopted that if any one or more of the Committee be unable to go, the remainder of the Committee are to appoint others in their stead.—
The chairman now produced a power of attorney, sent here from the committee at , to be executed by such of the Brethren here who had lands in & were willing to have them sold to enable the families who are in distress at that place to get here, say about one hundred families. [p. 49]
Power of Attorney read—
Moved seconded and adopted, that the of this Meeting do make out a copy of the minutes of this meeting, to be sent to the Committee at .
To The Comittee of Latterday Saints Caldwell Co Mo.
Dear Sir Enclosed I send you the receipt which I promised and if you will pay the necessary attention to it, and it will be a benefit to the and to me, and I think with a little attention on your part they can be produced, and any person who will deliver them at any point in the so I can get them, I will compensate them well, as I know you feel deeply interested in the welfare of the Church, and when you consider that it will add to their character and look upon it in a proper light, you will spare no pains in assisting me in the recovery of those books.
Yours &c in haste
Joseph Smith Jr
, Davies County Mo
April 12th 1839
Know all men by these presents.
That I have this day agreed with Joseph Smith Jr to release all members of the Mormon Church from any and all debts due to me from them for goods sold to them by me at during the year 1838 on the following condition viz: that said Joseph Smith Jr return or cause to be returned to me the following books— one Ledger— three day books, and one day book of Groceries which was taken from my store in when said store was burned,
And if said books are returned to me within four months this shall be a receipt in full to all intents and purposes against any debt or debts due from Said Mormons to me on said books, but if not returned, this is to be null and void. Given under my hand this day and date before written. Ja
Attest J Lynch
Ill, June 27th 1839
In answer to yours concerning those books I have to say that I have made enquiry concerning them as far as I consider there is any prospect of obtaining them for you, and not having been able to trace them in the least degree I have determined to give up the pursuit, I would recommend you to enquire after them of , as the only chance I know of at present. Your’s &c &c J. S. Jr
Mr . P S. Since writing the above I have ascertained of one man (who told me) that he saw have the Books, but what he did with them he knows not.
June 28 [p. 50]
Dear Brother in the Lord, Having reflected on the short interview we had last evening respecting the dream (or vision as you may think proper to term it) and as you stated several times that you should like to have it wrote so that you could take it home with you to , I therefore consent to give a statement in as short <a> manner as I can, without going into every minute circumstance. To wit.—
In the year 1795, I then being in the Town of Pompey, County of Onondagua and State of New York; I then being 22 years old; seeing and viewing the ancient Indian Forts and trates thereof through that part of the Country; my mind was anxiously led to contemplate and reflect on where those Indians came from, or from what race of People they sprang from, and oftentimes heard it stated that these Indians were natives of this Continent, and that they were created and placed here at the creation of the world. Then said I the Bible cannot be true, part of for it (The Bible) says that all the human family sprang from Adam &c, and that at the time of the flood, the whole earth was covered with water, and that all flesh died, except what were in the ark with Noah, then with things taking place, and I firmly believing that the Bible was true, my heart’s desire was to God in solemn prayer to know where and what race of people these Indians sprang from, It was made known (whether by dream or vision I will leave that for you, to judge) An angel as I thought came to me and said, Come along with me and I was immediately on a beast like a horse, and the angel at my left hand with his feet about the same height that my feet were as I sat on the horse, and in this position was conveyed to near the place where the record was deposited and he said stop here, and the angel went about 4 or 5 Rods and took in his hand a book, and on his return to where I stood, as I thought there were many stood with me; One said, what book is that? And the answer was, it is a bible, a bible, the word of God, a record of a people that came from Jerusalem, the fore fathers of these Indians, And it also contains a record of a people that came from the Tower of Babel at the time the Lord confounded the language and scattered the people into all the world, and it the Book Ether; and then with great anxiety of heart I asked if I might have the book, and answer was that it was not the Lords time then, but it should come, “and you shall see it,” and then said look, and as I looked, I beheld a man standing as I thought at a distance of two hundred yards, and the angel said “there is the Man that the Lord hath appointed &c, and he is not yet born.[”] I have related it in short, as I have not time now to give a full detail of all that I had a view of. Yours with respect.
November 12th 1837
Joseph Smith Jr .
N, B At some further time if the Lord will I will be more full if you should wish it. I shall direct this to you as a letter and you cannot act your Judgement in either keeping it to yourself or publishing it by making use of my name. [p. 51]
July 29th 1833
With respect I address a few lines to you in this time of confusion among us, although the enemy has accomplished his design of in demolishing the Printing establishment they cannot demolist the design of our God, for his decrees will stand & his purposes must be accomplished notwithstanding the great rage of Satan, which we can behold in his followers, for it is visible to the natural eye, but enough on this subject, for you will be able to tell more than I can write.
Marvellous to tell in the midst of all the rage of all the rage of persecution God is pouring out his Spirit upon his people so that most all on last thursday at the school received the gift of tongues & spake & prophesied; The next day called his together and most of them received the gift of tongues many old things are coming to light that had it not been for this gift would have remained in the dark & brought the wrath of God, upon the inhabitants of Zion. There are but very few that have denied the faith in consequence of this transaction, but my daily prayer is that the Lord will cleanse Zion of all the remaining wickedness that is on this Holy Land, for is their cup not already full. I greatly fear for some of they who call themselves disciples; but they are in the hands of a merciful God & he will do them no injustice. The Mail brings intelligence from Lexington which says that there have been two deaths of the Asiatic Cholera & are ten or fifteen cases.
We suppose that there was one or two cases last week in this Neighborhood but none in town. Our daily cry to God is deliver thy people from the hand of our enemies send thy destroying angels, O God in the behalf of thy people that Zion may be built up according to the plan of our Lord through his servants to us, received this mail.
According to your request we give you the copy of the article of our enemies and also the bond or which we have signed.
“We the undersigned citizens of believing that an important crisis is at hand as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled, and are still settling in our County, styling themselves Mormons and intending as we do to rid our society “peacably if we can, forcibly if we must,” and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee or at least a sufficient one against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient & of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, a purpose which we [p. 52] deem it almost superfluous to say is justified as well by the laws of nature as by the law of self preservation. It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics or knaves; for one or the other they u[n]doubtedly are, made their first appearance amongst us and pretending as they did and now do— to hold personal communion and converse, face to face with the most high God, to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven, to heal the sick by the laying on of hands, & in short to perform all the wonderworking miracles wrought by the inspired apostles & prophets of old. We believed them to be deluded fanatics or weak and designing knaves and that they & their pretensions would soon pass away, but in this we were decieved.
The acts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society and since the arrival of the first of them they have been daily increasing in numbers & if they had been respectable citizens in society & thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than to our contempt & hatred, but from their appearance, from their manners and their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to believe fear that with very few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of <that> society from which they came, lazy, Idle & vicious, This we concieve is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our country county, little or no property with them, & left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the Mormon Car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to loose by the change, and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen embassadors of the most high, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colours. More than a year since, it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves and endeavoring to sow dissensions & raise seditions among them. Of this the Mormon Leaders were informed & they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend, but how specious are appearances? In a late Star published at , by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inviting free Negroes & Mulattoes from other States to become Mormons and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society an injury that they know not would be to us entirely unsupportable and one of the surest means of driving us from the for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a cast amongst us would corrupt our blacks & instigate them to bloodshed.—— They openly blaspheme the Most High God, and cast contempt on his holy religion by pretending to receive revelations direct from Heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues; by direct inspiration, and by divers pretences derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion [p. 53] of human reason: They declare openly that <their> God has given them this of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance, and in fine they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner, that we believe it a duty we owe ourselves to our wives and Children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up pleasant places, and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosoms of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters the degraded free negroes and Mulatoes that are now invited to settle among us.
Under such a state of things even our beautiful Country would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We therefore agree that after timely warning, and after receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us; we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge our to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
We will meet at the of the Town of on Saturday next 20th Inst to consult of ulterior movements.”
There are about 300 signers to this instrument.
We leave the result <event> with God
Memorandum of the agreement between the undersigned of the Mormon Society in , Missouri, and Committee appointed by a public meeting of the Citizens of Said County; made the 23rd day of July 1833
It is understood that the undersigned <members> of the said society do give their solemn pledge, each for himself as follows, to wit that , , , , , & & shall remove with their families out of this on or before the 1st day of January next, and that they as well as the two herein after named use all their influence to induce all their brethren now here to move as soon as possible, one half say by the first day of January next and all by the first day of April next & to advise, and to try all means in their power to stop any more of their sect from moving to this county, and to those now on the road & who have no notice of this agreement they will use their influence to prevent their settling <permanently> in this , but that they shall only make arrangement for temporary shelter, till a new location is fixed on by the Society. & are allowed to remain [p. 54] as general agents to wind up the business of the society so long as necessity shall require, and said may sell out his goods now on hand, but is to make no new importations. The Star is not again to be published nor a press set up by any of the Society in this .
If the Said & move their families by the first of January as aforesaid that they themselves will be allowed to go and come in order to transact and wind up their business.
The Committee pledge themselves to use all their influence to prevent any violence being used so long as a compliance with the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned.
The resolutions adopted on Saturday the 20th I have not yet recieved but I think I can by applying to Mr Allen.
Nothing in particular has transpired has transpired since you left here save the gifts are breaking forth in a marvellous manner. I want you to remember me to Joseph in a special manner, and enquire of him respecting my clerkship you very well know what I mean & also my great desire of doing all things according to the mind of the Lord, We need the prayers of all the disciples of our Redeemer for it is a time of great anxiety to behold the cleansing of this & also the land from wickedness & abominations. We are waiting with inexpressible anxiety to hear the word of the Lord concerning Zion, O that God may speed your journey & bring us intelligence which will be as balm to the wounded bosom, or as a smile of the Redeemer to a soul in distress, my heart is full and I say O my God will thou not deliver, yea wilt thou not come down that the mountains may flow down at thy presence &c—— I am your unworthy brother in the Lord.
& Joseph Smith Junr &c
In our present situation I have nothing to write, I wait for the word of the Lord: For his will and not ours will be done, we have many beautiful Hymns sung in tongues: I transcribe a couple sung by Wilber.
High in the Heavins the throne of God is set
His Eye extends abroad oer all his works
He knows the inmost thoughts of all his hand hath made
Yea Earth, and the foundations which his power hath laid
All things are swallowed up in him
He comprehends all things, encircles all things round about [p. 55]
By his almighty power
Sustains all things from week to week
From day to day, from hour to hour
Praise ye the Lord ye saints in Zion
Praise his glorious name
Our God shall triumph over all his foes
Our enemies shall all be put to shame
And God be praised for all his mighty power
Exalt the wastes of Zion sing for joy ye saints
Let praise your earthly powers employ
Arise, awake, put thy strength and sing
The everlasting praises of your King
Till earth & heaven in Halelujahs ring.
The towers of Zion soon shall rise
Hymn book page 38
If the Lord will yet speak to his children, it may be well to inquire every matter concerning the destruction of the , and what is to be done in future, and also concerning the , and what is to be done in future: I know from the experience I have had that it is a good thing to have our faith thoroughly tried.
Zion must and will be pure. Health prevails among the disciples.
N.B. Early on Monday morning we received letters from containing all the patterns &c postages $1,50 by wt, which in single letters would have been but $1,00–We also rec’d a dated Walnut farm” from . Our anxiety will be so great that I say : write the first mail after you arrive at , whether the tidings be favorable or not. Every one that is a saint or nearly so, in the Timber speaks in tongues, says he can speak in all the tongues on earth, we shall probably begin to worship here in tongues tomorrow if the Lord wills, that is excepting we 6— It is a solemn day with us and I remain.
Joseph Smith Jr
Geauga Co, Ohio
On the banks of the Mississippi, June 4th. 1834
My Dear Companion, I now embrace a few moments to dictate a few words that you may know how it is with us up to this date.
We arrived this morning on the banks of the Mississippi, and were detained from crossing the river, as there was no boat that we could cross in, but expect a new one to be put into the river this evening, so that we are in hopes, to be able to cross to morrow, and proceed on our journey. A tolerable degree of union has prevailed among the brethren or up to the present moment, and we are all in better circumstances of health apparently than when we started from with the exception of Alden Childs who is sick with the Mumps attended with [p. 56] considerable fever in consequence of taking cold— and bro Foster who came from who was taken last evening with the Typhus Fever, but are both better to day, and we are in hopes will be able to proceed on their journey to morrow, I have been able to endur[e] the fatigue of the journey far beyond my most sanguine expectations, except have been troubled some with lameness, have had my feet blistered, but are now well, and have also had a little touch of my side complaint, Bro is now able to travel all day & his health is improving very fast, as is the case with all the weakly ones, Addison Wren has been an exceeding good boy and has been very obedient to me in all things, as much so as tho I was his own father, and is healthy and able to travel all day. has been some unwell, but is now enjoying good health has been afflicted with his eyes, but they are getting better, and in fine, all the is in as good a situation as could be expected; but our numbers and means are altogether too small for the accomplishment of such a great enterprise, but they are falling daily and our only hope is that whilst we deter the enemy, and terrify them for a little season (for we learn by the means of some spies we send out for that purpose that they are greatly terrified) notwithstanding they are endeavoring to make a formidable stand, and their numbers amount to several hundred, and the Lord shows us to good advantage in the eyes of their spies, for in counting us the[y] make of our 170 men from five to seven hundred and the reports of the people are not a little calculated [to] frighten and strike terror through their ranks for the general report is that four or five hundred Mormons are traveling through the Country well armed, and disciplined; and that five hundred more has gone a south west and expect to meet us, and also another company are on a rout[e] North of us, all these things serve to help us, and we believe the hand of the Lord is in it, Now is the time for the abroad to come to Zion. It is our prayer day and night that God will open the heart of the Churches to pour in men and means to assist us, for the redemption of Zion and upbuilding of . We want the in to use every exertion to influence the Church to come speedily to our relief. Let them come pitching their tents by the way, remembering to keep the sabbath day according to the the same as at home, buying flour and cooking their own provision which they can do, with little trouble, and the expence will be trifling. We have our company divided into messes of 12 or 13— each having a cook and cooking utensils, all that is necessary; so that we are not obliged to trouble any mans house, and we buy necessaries such as butter, sugar and honey, so that we live as well as heart can wish. After we left the eastern part of the State of we could get provision on an average as follows; flour by the hundred $1.50, bacon from 4 ½ to 6 dollar per Hundred butter from 6 to 8 cents pr pound, honey from 3 to 4 shilling the gallon, new milk from 3 4 to 6 ct per gallon. The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social honest men and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the , recounting [p. 57] occasionaly the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity, and gazing upon a country the fertility, the splendour and the goodness so indescribable, all serves to pass away time unnoticed, and in short were it not at every now and then our thoughts linger with inexpressible anxiety for our wives and our children our kindred according to the flesh who are entwined around our hearts; And also our brethren and friends; our whole journey would be as a dream, and this would be the happiest period of all our lives. We learn this journey how to travel, and we look with pleasing anticipation for the time to come, when we shall retrace our steps, and take this journey again in the enjoyment and embrace of that society we so much love, which society can only cause us to have any desire or lingering thoughts of that which is below. We have not as yet heard any thing from and and do not expect to till we get to , which is only fifty miles from this place. Tell and all the family, and to be comforted and look forward to the day when the trials and tribulations of this life will be at an end, and we all enjoy the fruits of our labour if we hold out faithful to the end which I pray may be the happy lot of us all.
From your’s in the bonds of affliction.
Joseph Smith Jr.
N.B. The enclosed bill we could not get changed and is of no use to us now, and we send to you & sister [Rebecca Swain] Williams to be divided between you, that you may be able to procure such necessaries as you need &c.
I embrace this opportunity to fill up this sheet to you, my beloved companion, not that I have anything important to communicate, but remembering your request to write to you while on the road, but as I write every week to brother , you will know all the particulars of our journey. In consequence of my being away from the encampment last sunday (the cause you will see in my next to ) did not write to him as usual but shall now embrace the first opportunity to bring up my journal which you will find some what more interesting, than any previous to it—
I want you to make use of the money I send you in wisdom, for such things as you need, and make yourselves as comfortable and contented as you can and continue to pray to the Lord to hasten the day when we shall be permitted to behold each other’s face again and enjoy the blessing of the family circle in peace and in righteousness, and be prepared to meet every event that awaits us in life.
Tell the children to remember that passage of scripture which says, “children obey your parents in all things”, for this is right, and God will bless them. I [p. 58] can truly say, we have been treated with respect by the people while on the road, have met with no insult except now and then an instance when the spies have seen our brethren away from the camp. For want of room I must stop writing, but in due time after I arrive to my place of destination will take an opportunity to write more fully. Be assured that I always remember you to my Heavenly Father and hope you will do the same for your
, Geauga County Ohio
June 17th 1829
Once as I thot my promising , You wrote to my Father long ago, that after struggling thro various scenes of adversity, you and your family, you had at last been taught the very salutary lesson that the God that made the heavens and the earth w[o]uld at onc[e] give success to your endeavours, this if true, is very well, exactly as it should be— but— alas what is man when left to his own way, he makes his own gods, if a golden calf, he falls down and worship’s before it, and says this is my god which brought me out of the land of — if it be a gold book discovered by the necromancy of infidelity, & dug from the mines of atheism, he writes that the Angel of the Lord has revealed to him the hidden treasures of wisdom & knowledge, even divine revelation, which has lain in the bowels of the earth for thousands of years is at last made known to him, he says he has eyes to see things that are not, and then has the audacity to say they are; And this Angel of the Lord (Devil it should be) has put me in possession of great wealth, gold and silver and precious stones so that I shall have the dominion in all the land of .—
In a subsequent letter you write that you learn from your Grandfather’s letter that uncle Jesse [Smith] thinks you are carrying on a work of deception, in this he and you are right, Uncle Jesse did, and still does think the whole pretended discovery, not a very deep, but a very clear and foolish deception, a very great wickedness, unpardonable, unless you are shielded by your ignorance. Again you say, if you are decieved God is your deciever, Blasphemous wretch— how dare you utter such a sentence, how dare you harbor such a thot— aye, you never did think so, but being hardened in iniquity, you made use of the holy name of Jehovah! for what, why to cover your nefarious designs & impose on the credulity of your Grandfather, one of the oldest men on the earth,
Blackness of darkness! [p. 59]
You say you have God for a witness— to prove the truth of what you write miserable creature, not to say perjured villain, how dare you thus trifle, in taking the name of God in vain, nay far worse than vain— that God with whom you thus trifle, is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity he cannot look on sin with any degree of approbation or complacency it is true he passeth by iniquity transgression and sin in his redeemed ones, he sees their shield, and for his sake recieves them to favour, but to such as make lead books, and declare to the world that they are of the most fine gold, calling on the great & dreadful name of the most High to witness the truth of their assertions, He says “depart from me ye that work iniquity,” and again “these shall go away into everlasting punishment, they shall be cast into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” these are the angels that tell where to find gold books.——
Your Grandfather is sorely disappointed he would not have listened a moment to your foolery, had he been forty years younger, he would have discovered barefaced falsehood in every line of your statement, nor would he as it is, but they say there must be one fool in the play, your good, pious & methodistical induced his father to give credit to your tale of nonsense, your abominable wickedness.— but now the poor old man just dropping into the grave is in tears day and night as David, mourning as did David over Absolam, who fell in rebellion against God & man, my poor old father is in deep mourning, not for his younger son, he sleeps in the dust, his ashes are not disturbed by your horrible deeds, he was taken from this evil, he mourns for <Joe &> his numerous family, not because wild beasts have torn him in pieces, but because he has destroyed himself & associated so much with thieves and robbers murderers etc etc
Your would not be implicated in this place, but for the message he sent by the hands of a fool to my brother Saml [Smith] this fellow says that you and your are in this business very deep the fellow also believes all to be a fact, this to be sure, for no one unless predisposed to believe a lie would have heard a syllable from either of you on the subject, he says your has a wand or rod like Jannes & Jambres who withstood Moses in Egypt— that he can tell the distance from India to Ethiopia or another fool story, many other things alike ridiculous.
You state your cannot write by reason of a nervous affection this is a poor excuse, worse than none, he can dictate to others and [p. 60] they can write, he can If he knows not what to write, he can get your Brother’s spectacles he would then be as able to write dictate a letter, as Joe is to decypher hieroglyphics, if more should be wanting he can employ the same scoundrel of a scribe, and then not only the matter but manner and style would be correct.
My compliments to your and , tell them I wish them to review through years <that are> past, and say if they have done well in not writing to me these many years, tell them the time has been when they were glad to see me, but I am suspicious that the length of time since we last parted, has in some measure obliterated me from their memory, so that they would not now be pleased to recieve a visit from me, If they will write me that I may know their affairs and how they do, I will give them a history of the family concern &c
I write this at the request of my Father not for your sake you have not written to me, the story is that the gold book proved to be never wrote lead, that the Authority have taken it & Joe is under bonds to appear before his betters, so let it be.
20th April 1837
Brother Joseph &
Your families are all well as usual and in good spirits— Mr Burse [Ambrose Bierce] of Ravenna came here day before Yesterday & after counseling together he thought best to defer doing any thing with Clarke & others for the present, but let them go on as they could do nothing— the enemy have learned that we have the advantage of them, and seem to be startled and Davis & Denton say they will rot in prison before they will testify in Court. The fact is Clarke and others have learned that they have said too much for their own good, and they feel more quiet than they did & the excitement got up by them runs low, in consequence of which says to me this morning write Joseph & to come home as soon as they please they need have any fears on account of the enemy at all—
, , & myself went and saw yesterday who says he will not settle otherwise than we pay him $2500 pay cost of Court & he keep the farm, or he will leave it to men to say how much we shall give him. Esqr Burse thinks if we leave it to the Court to decide, will recover the 5000 $ therefore thinks [p. 61] best to pay the 2d payment if possible say 6500 $ certainly as soon as the 10th day of May as the farm is worth considerable to raise grain on this season &c. if any thing is done it must be done soon & if you can get the money (say 6500 $) deposit it in Bank and send a check or something that will we can sell to Geauga Bank we want you to write us immediately that we may know your feelings—
in haste but yours truly
P.S. just called on me and says he yet has doubts as to its being perfectly safe for you to come back immediately in consequence of some reports he has heard this morning & he thinks best you should learn of the Lord as to returning, but send us all the money possible to pay for farms &c as it is supposed to be important that we keep all the land we can.—
If & Joseph have left your place please forward this to them immediately.
Wayne County N.Y.
& , Apostles of Jesus Crhist Christ to who is also an apostle called and chosen of God and anointed.
Dear brother we having heard that you have left for Toronto Upper Canada & that you intended to leave there soon for England and having important business which we greatly desire to do with you before you leave this continent, we hastily write this letter with a hope that you will meet us in this Summer.
Dear Brother— are we not fellow labourers & fellow sufferers in the same cause? the same ministry! And in the same apostleship!!! Will you— Can you— leave this land– our native land for a distant Island of the sea in such a hasty without consulting, without exchanging with us the first word upon the subject, No, when you reflect, we think you will say I cannot, this is an important step, this mission if rightly managed will be both glorious and sublime. Much depends, very much on the way and manner in which the glorious gospel is first introduced into that country then be not hasty, but grant us, or unto me at least to council you upon this subject, for unto this was I anointed & unto the 12 it [p. 62] belongs to know within themselves, or within their own quorum when and how to go to the nations, and to spread the light of the Everlasting truth to the ends of the earth— The Salvation of the Nations hangs upon our shoulders, O — hear us this once, as the God was our teacher and we was yours— do not go till we see you!!! do not go till we see you!!!
Where is and and , is it well with them we hear much evil concerning them by letter and otherwise & will you leave while things are thus— No! the 12 must get together difficulties must be removed & love restored, we must have peace within before we can wage a successful war without. The time has now undoubtedly come for us to leave here, nevertheless we must proceed in a proper manner or nothing is gained. Again shall the 12 apostles of the Lambe be a disorganized body pulling different ways, shall one to his plough another to his merchandise, another to England & No! I even I will step in (if there is none other for it is my right in this case) And give council to you upon this subject.
We must be one or the great wheel will not move, you cannot leave here, in the present unsettled state of things & prosper as you otherwise would, Thus saith the voice of the Spirit— therefore let the 12 be assembled together as soon as circumstances will admit, and obtain wisdom and council from God. And inasmuch as the 12 humble themselves before the Lord, their meeting will be glorious & prove a lasting blessing to many & I think that I have an eye to the Spirit upon this subject. We have many things to say to you but cannot with pen and paper, we have important business with you but cannot tell you now therefore meet us in on the twenty fourth of July next, for we intend to break through every obstacle & be there at that time if the Lord will for the express purpose of attending to our great Mission to the Mother Nation, and we shall write to the 8 in appointing a Council of the whole 12 to take place on the 24th day of July next at 9 oclock A. M. Fail not to be there.
May 10th. 1837
Upper Canada [p. 63]
, Geauga Co Ohio 15th. April 1838
— Dear Sir I have with pleasure just received your favor post marked 26th Ult and now you see I take a large sheet that I may have ample room to write— my heart is sickened within me when I reflect upon the manner in which we with many of this Church have been led & the losses which we have sustained all by means of two men in whom we placed implicit confidence, that Joseph Smith & are notorious liars I do not hesitate to affirm, & can prove by a cloud of witnesses & this is not all, Joseph has prophecied in a public congregation lies in the name of the Lord & by undue religious influence he has filched the monies of the Church from their pockets and brought them nigh unto destruction, leaving helpless innocence destitute of a comfortable support while he has squandered the hard earnings of those to whom it justly belonged. I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church & weighed the evidence for & against it— loth to give it up— but when I came to hear state in a public congregation that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither nor & also that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundations was sapped & the entire superstructure fell a heap of ruins, I therefore three weeks since in the Stone Chapel gave a full history of the church since I became acquainted with it, the false preaching & prophecying etc of Joseph together with the reasons why I took the course which I was resolved to do, and renounced the Book of Mormon with the whole scene of lying and deception practiced by J. S & in this church, believing as I verily do, that it is all a wicked deception palmed upon us unawares
I was followed by & all of who concurred with me, after we were done speaking arose & said he was sorry for any man who rejected the Book of Mormon for he knew it was true, he said he had hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or a handkerchief over them, but he never saw them only as he saw a city through a mountain. And said that he never should have told that the testimony of the eight was false, if it had not been picked out of air but should have let it passed as it was— Now if you have any thing to say in favour of the Book of Mormon I should be glad to hear it.—
About six hundred souls are making preparations to leave for the first of May to be called the Camp.
Property is worth nothing in , I was told offered his house [p. 64] And Lot for $100 Cash, and could not get that— & others have turned out their farms to pay J S. & debts & take orders upon them & the at for land there, but I fear for them, you state in your letter that you have lost six thousand dollars paper— now I will tell you what Joseph Smith Jr told me when he was here on his [way?] West last Sept, I asked him about you, he said you had bagg of money & could pay all of your debts if you would, I asked him if you did not loose by the bank & he said no— not a cent, He said you never took it for goods any longer than it would pay your debts. And after that you refused to take it, besides you loaned two thousand out of the bank which you never paid but exchanged a large amount with a broker in at 5 per cent for specie when you and went west last fall and you bought land, hired a house built &c, this however I believe to be a lie amongst the rest. As respects my temporal concerns, I am at present much embarrassed in consequence of that store concern, has never paid a cent but kept out of my way as that I have not seen him since last fall, we have paid six or seven thousand hundred dollars & are now sued for the remainder which is near sixteen hundred dollars and I do not know but we shall have to sell out altogether, if we should at a tolerable fair rate we should have about four thousand dollars left, I rather think I shall go west if there is an opportunity to do well, I wish you would write respecting the country and to what advantage I could lay out my money if I should come there, I believe I wrote you that I had a note of one hundred dollars made by A Barney & signed over by — Barney has run away like other lickskillets & if there is any chance to get anything if I shound send the note to you I wish you would write in your next— was in and going go about six weeks since, nothing of late from — the Spring has been remarkably forward so much so that the lake navigation opened in March, there are in , , and others who still believe the Book of Mormon &c but discard Joseph & proposed an investigation of the subject, and took up on the negative, but I have not heard how they got along with it, I am well satisfied for myself that if the witnesses whose names are attached to the Book of Mormon never saw the plates as admits that there can be nothing brought to prove that any such thing ever existed for it is said on the 171 page of the book of covenants that the three should testify that they had seen the plates even as J S Jr & if they only saw them spiritually or in vision with their eyes shut— J S Jr never saw them in any other light way & if so the plates were only visionary and I am well satisfied that the 29 & 37 Chaps of Isai[a]h & Ezek[i]el together with others in which we depended to prove the truth of the book of Mormon have no bearing when correctly understood but are [p. 65] entirely irrevelent— but if any man differs from me I can adopt the language of Josephus, he is at liberty to enjoy his opinions without any blame from me— We are all well in usual health, my respects to your family & all our old friends, I am with respect yours &c
I shall expect a letter in due time
P. S. please direct your letters, P. M Burnetts cornrs Cay [Cuyahoga] Co O
I send you Zion’s Watchman printed at — 29 Mar & I would invite your attention to ’s letter contained in the same—
We the undersigned certify this to be a true copy of a letter written to by S Burnette—
May 24th 1838
To the Hon The Legislature of
Your memorialists, having a few days since, Solicited your attention to the same subject, would now respectfully submit to your Honorable body a few additional facts in support of their prayer.
They are now in imprisonment imprisoned Under a charge of Treason against the State of , And their lives and fortunes and characters being suspended upon the result of the trial on the criminal charges preferred against them, your Hon. body will excuse them for manifesting the deep concerns they feel in relation to their trials for a crime so enormous as that of treason
It is not our object to complain— to asperse any one. All we ask is a fair and impartial trial. We ask the sympathies of no one, we ask sheer justice– tis all we expect– and all we merit, but we merit that— We know the people of no county in this to which we would ask our final trials to be sent who are prejudiced in our favour. But we believe that the state of excitement existing in most of the upper Counties is such that a jury would be improperly influenced by it. But that excitement, and the prejudice against us in the counties comprising the fifth Judicial court circuit are not the only obstacles we are compelled to meet.
We know that much of that prejudice against us is not so much to be attributed to a want of honest motive among the citizens, as it is to wrong information
But it is a difficult task to change opinions once formed, The other [p. 66] obstacle which we candidly consider are of the most weighty, is the feeling which we believe is entertained by the Hon, against us, and his Consequent incapacity to do us impartial justice. It is from no disposition to speak disrespectfully of that high officer that we lay before your Hon. Body the facts we do, but simply that the Legislature may be apprised of our real Condition. We look upon as like all other mere men, liable to be influenced by his feelings, his prejudices, and his previously formed opinions
We consider his as being partially if not entirely committed against us. He has written much upon the subject of our late difficulties in which he has placed us in the wrong— These letters have been published to the world He has also presided at an excited public meeting as chairman and no doubt sanctioned all the proceedings. We do not complain of the citizens who held that meeting. They were entitled to that privilege. But for the Judge before whom the very men were to be tried for a capital offense, to participate in an expression of condemnation of these same individuals is to us, at least apparently wrong, and we cannot think that we should after such a course on the part of the Judge have the same chance of a fair and impartial trial— as all admit we ought to have. We believe that the foundation of the feeling against us, which we have reason to think entertains, may be traced to the unfortunate troubles which occurred in some few years ago. In a battle between the mormons and a portion of the Citizens of that , , the brotherinlaw of , was killed. It is natural that the should have some feelings against us, whether we were right or wrong in that controversy. We mention these facts not to disparage — We believe that from the relation he bears to us, he would himself prefer that our trials should be had in a different circuit, and before a different court,
Many other reasons and facts we might mention but we forebear.
, Jan 24th 1839 L.
James M. Hughes Esqr
Mem, House Rep,
Will you be so good as to present this to the house. The Community here would, I believe have no objection for the trial of these men being transferred to .
J M. H.
P. H. (B.) [p. 67]
June 13th 1839
Your letter in answer to my note to