53991682

Letterbook 2

“please do write me at Independence, immediately.”
“Yours respectfully”
“P.S. Will Mr. Rigdon please to hand this letter to Mr. Pratt after reading?”
This is his letter verbatim et literatum
In the foregoing the designs of Bennett are very plainly manifest; and to see his rascality  you have only to read some articles from his pen published in the “Times and Seasons” about  2 years ago; on the subject of the Missouri affair.
I shall be happy to hear from you on this subject as soon as convenient. Also if you  have received any communication from Washington. We are ready to execute the Mortgage  at any time.
Yours very respectfully
Joseph Smith
P.S. I would just remark that I am not at all indebted to S. Rigdon for this  letter but to Orson Pratt who after he had read it, immediately brought it to me.
J.S.

JS to Richard M. Young • 9 February 1843

City of Nauvoo Feby 9th 1843
Dear Sir
I have this day received your favor of the 17th. Ult. covering one  from John C. Walsh and barely state in this that I shall despatch a messenger  immediately to Quincy to deposit the $500 in the hands of Genl. Leach [Samuel Leech] according to  your instructions; but seeing that I had little time to lose I concluded to send this by  the first mail to inform you of my intentions. My next in which I shall inclose Gen.  Leach’s receipt together with my obligations will be mailed at Quincy and may be  expected three days after you receive this.
I shall not be able to obtain George Miller’s name as security, he being  at this time, several hundred miles North of Nauvoo, and is not expected  back untill spring. I can however obtain the signature of Mr. Edward Hunter late  from Chester Co. Penn. who owns about 20 thousand dollars worth of property in this vicinity  and probably as much more in the East which I presume will be entirely satisfactory  to Mr. Walsh instead of Mr. Miller, Judge [Elias] Higbee’s name will be on the obligations.
When you receive this you may expect the other three days later. All the difference  will be the time required to go from here to Quincy & do the business.
Some time ago a Petition signed by the principal inhabitants of this city praying the  Post Master General to remove the present Nauvoo Post Master and appoint [p. 244]
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On 27 November 1832, while residing at Kirtland, Ohio, JS wrote a lengthy letter to William W. Phelps at Independence, 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 [1976]: 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 the volume, later designated Letterbook 2, by JS-appointed scribes including James Mulholland, Robert B. Thompson, Howard Coray, Willard Richards, William Clayton, John Fullmer, and George Walker. 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 Chester, 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 John B. Clark’s oration on that occasion. Among its varied contents, the volume includes copies of a letter from JS to Emma Smith in June 1834; four letters written by Emma to JS from 1837 and 1839; three letters from Edward Partridge, Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee, respectively, written in March and April 1839 to JS and other prisoners confined in the jail in Liberty, Missouri; two letters sent by JS and Elias Higbee while in Washington DC in December 1839 to Hyrum Smith and others in Nauvoo, Illinois; a letter sent from England by Brigham Young in May 1840 to JS in Nauvoo; a poignant exchange of letters between William W. Phelps, who had been cut off from the church, and JS in summer 1840; and an exchange in June and July 1842 between JS and Illinois governor Thomas Carlin. The ledger also preserves nine sets of minutes from various meetings, five petitions concerning the Saints’ treatment in Missouri, an 1840 memorial ascribed to JS, and an 1841 inventory of the contents of the Nauvoo House cornerstone, among other miscellaneous documents.
The last document copied into Letterbook 2 appears on manuscript page 245, a letter from JS to Richard M. Young, U.S. senator from Illinois, 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: James Mulholland died in December 1839, Robert B. Thompson died in August 1841, and Howard Coray served a mission to Pennsylvania during 1842–1843. Willard Richards and William Clayton 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.

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