53991682

Letterbook 2

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  Governor’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 fan aticism 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.

Isaac Galland to David W. Rogers • 26 February 1839

Commerce Ill, Feby 26th 1839.
Mr D[avid] W. Rogers
Dear Sir
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 neigh borhood, and several farms may be rented here. On the Half breed lands 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 Governor  [Robert] Lucas of Ioway Territory in relation to your Church and people. Governor Lucas  says, that the people called Mormons were good Citizens of the State of Ohio, and that  he respects them now as good and virtuous citizens, and feels disposed to treat them [p. 1]
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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.

Facts