Letter to Robert D. Foster, 30 December 1839

Alleged Autograph Letter From Jo seph Smith.
Through the courtesy of Mr. John  R. Kinnear, a Chronicle reporter  was yesterday shown an autograph  letter written by the famous Mor mon prophet, Joseph Smith, a copy  of which is given below. The man uscript is written in a somewhat  cramped, but still legible hand, and  shows a total disregard for the rules  of punctuation, not a single point of  this character appearing in the  original. The letter was addressed  to R[obert] D. Foster, one of the Mormon  apostles, at that time in Washing ton city endeavoring to influence  legislation favorably to the new  creed The mass of the Mormons  were then settled at Nauvoo, Ills.,  where dissension was rife between  them and the Gentile population.  A reference to this disturb ance is made by Smith in the sub joined letter, written from near  Philadelphia shortly after one of  his visits to that city. The manu script came into the possession of  Mr. Kinnear through a client of his,  the executor of Foster, and is lent  additional interest from the present  vexed state of the Mormon question.  It reads as follows:
Jersey Church,  Near Warrenton,  December 30th, 1839.
Dear Brother: I received a  letter from you and one from Presi dent [Sidney] Rigdon which gave me much  satisfaction. I have had a very  good visit in this place and enjoyed  myself very agreeably. I have  preached and bore testimony sev eral times in this city. The church  in Philadelphia number about for ty-five members, and there were  four or five more candidates this  this morning when I left the city.  We came away this morn ing before the postoffice was  open and probably missed of hearing  further from you. I was glad to  hear that Pres. Rigdon is gaining  further in health, and trust that  it will please God to restore him  again speedily to health, so that he  may be able to attend to the duties  which necessarily devolve on him  in that place, and also that his  voice may be once more heard  among the congregations of the  saints, and also among those that  are not yet saints. He would be a  very welcome visitor in Philadel phia and the rest of the churches in  this region. I think a great work  will yet be done in Philadelphia.  Our meeting house is very much  crowded with attentive hearers  and there are no doubt many  believers from the favorable expres sions, friendly treatment and good  feelings which they manifest to wards myself and the brethren. I  have many invitations to visit  private families in almost every  part of the city, many more than I  can possibly attend to. I am at this  time surrounded by a good circle of  brethren, sisters and friends. I  hope you will by the help of God be  able to succeed in Washington to  the utmost of your expectations in  bringing many from darkness to  light, and that the deaf may hear  the words of the book, that they  who erred in judgment may come  to understanding, and they that  murmured may learn doctrine, and  that the fear of God may not be  taught by the precepts of men but  accorded to the will of God. I ex pect you will write to us as usual. I  have been laboring here so constant  that I have not been able to write  to you, and Judge [Elias Higbee] has been here but  a short time. He has been engaged  in writing the affidavit that Presi dent Rigdon has called for. We  have our wagon and horses in Jer sey. We found no sale for them in  Philadelphia, hence we have brought  them here. P[arley] P. Pratt has arrived  in this city. He has brought some  books here. He has got a new  work published of some poems,  with a treatise on the eternity  of matter. etc., etc. Brother  O[rson] Pratt is also here, and is on his  way to New York. Judge says that  he is glad you have remembered  him and is obliged for the advice  you gave, and that you have such  compassionate feelings toward him.  Brother Winchester is here in New  Jersey with us. He has stemmed  the torrent like a good soldier for  the cause. In New York there are  about 160 members. We expect to  hold ourselves in readiness to go  before the committee. Also P.  P. Pratt. You will therefore write  concerning the time when you ex pect the business will be before  the committee. We have just re ceived an account going the rounds  of the newspapers concerning  my person, etc., which perhaps  you have seen. They have a  good opinion of my sincerity, and  upon the whole the piece is not so  bad as might be expected. Some of  the twelve are on their way to Eng land Brother [Wilford] Woodruff, Brother  Tailor [John Taylor] and Brother Furley [Theodore Turley]. You  may send me letters to Philadelphia,  and we will take them out in mas ses, and when we get it I am in  hopes the blockade will be raised  in the west, so that we may get a  shower of letters. It seems the  trouble still continues between the  Iowa and Missouri. The priests in  Philadelphia are very mute. We  understand they have advised the  people to search the scriptures,  which, if they do, will be to our ad vantage. I pray God that you may  have wisdom given you to conduct  wisely in all things pertaining to  your operations in the ministry.  We are going to hold a couple of  meetings here, and then expect to  return to Philadelphia Saturday or  Monday. Mr. Bangor, a clergyman  in the city, has manifested great  friendship towards and has invited  me to make his house my home  while I remain in the city, and he [p. [4]]
JS, letter, near Warrenton, PA, to Robert D. Foster, Washington DC, 30 Dec. 1839; Salt Lake Daily Herald, 16 Nov. 1883, pp. 4–5.