Volume 4 Chapter 22 | BYU Studies

Volume 4 Chapter 22


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Chapter 22

Sundry Events at Nauvoo and Throughout the World—The Mission of the Twelve Noted by the Prophet.

Press Misrepresentations.

The newspapers of the United States are teeming with all manner of lies, abusing the Saints of the Most High, and striving to call down the wrath of the people upon His servants.

Wednesday, 16.—Elder Brigham Young and company arrived at Wheeling at 4 p.m., and Sunday, 29th, visited the brethren at Cincinnati.

Monday, 21.—Hyrum Smith and William Law visited the Saints in Chester county, Pennsylvania, on their mission east; and there met Elder George A. Smith on his return home.

Imprisonment of Theodore Curtis.

Tuesday, 22.—Elder Theodore Curtis, having previously been arraigned before a magistrate, and bound over in the sum of forty pounds, for "blasphemy," i.e., preaching the Gospel, appeared at the court of Sessions, at Gloucester, England, and after remaining five days [in prison], was informed on inquiry, that no bill was found against him, and he was suffered to go at large again after paying one pound and one shilling cost. Thus we see that the same opposition to truth prevails in other countries, as well as in this.

Extract from a Letter in the "Juliet Courier"—Describing the Prophet's Trial at Monmouth, and Affairs at Nauvoo.

Monmouth, June, 1841.

My Dear Sir:—Before this reaches you, I have no doubt you will have heard of the trial of Joseph Smith, familiarly known as the Mormon Prophet. As some misrepresentations have already gone abroad, in relation to Judge Douglas' decision, and the merits of the question decided by the judge; permit me to say, the only question decided, though many were debated, was the validity of the executive writ which had once been sent out, I think in September, 1840, and a return on it that Mr. Smith could not be found. The same writ was issued in June, 1841. There can really be no great difficulty about this matter, under this state of facts.

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The judge acquitted himself handsomely, and silenced clamors that had been raised against the defendant.

Since the trial I have been at Nauvoo, on the Mississippi, in Hancock county, Illinois; and have seen the manner in which things are conducted among the Mormons. In the first place, I cannot help noticing the plain hospitality of the Prophet, Smith, to all strangers visiting the town, aided as he is, in making the stranger comfortable by his excellent wife, a woman of superior ability. The people of the town appear to be honest and industrious, engaged in their usual vocations of building up a town, and making all things around them comfortable. On Sunday I attended one of their meetings, in front of the Temple now building, and one of the largest buildings in the state. There could not have been less than 2,500 people present, and as well appearing as any number that could be found in this or any state. Mr. Smith preached in the morning, and one could have readily learned, then, the magic by which he has built up this society, because, as we say in Illinois, "they believe in him," and in his honesty. It has been a matter of astonishment to me, after seeing the Prophet, as he is called, Elder Rigdon, and many other gentlemanly men anyone may see at Nauvoo, who will visit there—why it is, that so many professing Christianity, and so many professing to reverence the sacred principles of our Constitution (which gives free religious toleration to all), have slandered, and persecuted this sect of Christians.

Saturday, 26.—Elder Young and company arrived on the steamer Mermaid, at the mouth of the Ohio river.

Thursday, July 1.—Elders Young, Kimball, and Taylor arrived at Nauvoo, after an interesting mission to England. The accounts of their missions are highly satisfactory.

During a heavy thunderstorm at Derby, England, hundreds of small fish and frogs descended, and were picked up alive by the people.

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Saturday, 3.—The following is an extract from the

Legion Minutes:

The second regiment, first cohort, consisting of four companies, was organized, and Captain George Coulson was elected colonel, Josiah Ells lieutenant-colonel, and Hyrum Kimball major. On the same day, the third regiment, second cohort, consisting of four companies, was organized; Samuel Bent was elected colonel, George Morey, lieutenant-colonel, and William Niswanger, major; and the Legion was called out to celebrate our National Independence (the 4th being Sunday), and was reviewed by Lieutenant-General Joseph Smith, who made an eloquent and patriotic speech to the troops, and strongly testified of his regard for our national welfare, and his willingness to lay down his life in defense of his country, and closed with these remarkable words, "I would ask no greater boon, than to lay down my life for my country."

An elaborate dinner was got up in the grove, of which I partook, in company with the officers of the Legion, President Rigdon and many others, with their ladies.

Elder Willard Richards left his family with his sisters at Richmond, Massachusetts, and started for Nauvoo.

Elder Orson Pratt has published in New York an edition of his History of the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon, first printed in Edinburgh.

Revelation given to Joseph Smith, in the house of Brigham Young, in Nauvoo City, July 8, 1841. 1

Dear and well beloved Brother Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Brigham, it is no more required at your hands to leave your family as in times past, for your offering is acceptable to me; I have seen your labor and toil in journeyings for my name. I therefore command you to send my word abroad, and take special care of your family from this time, henceforth and forever. Amen.

Monday, 12.—Elder William Clayton was appointed clerk of the High Council of Iowa, and John Patton recorder of baptisms for the dead in Iowa.

At the urgent solicitations of the brethren at Zarahemla, I had consented, at a previous date, that they might baptize for the dead on the Iowa side of the river.

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Liquor Selling Licensed in Nauvoo.

I was in the City Council, and moved that any person in the City of Nauvoo be at liberty to sell vinous liquors in any quantity, subject to the city ordinances.

Tuesday, 13.—Elder George A. Smith returned from his mission in England.

A treaty was signed between Turkey, Russia, England, France, Austria, and Prussia, whereby the Dardanelles are closed to all foreign ships of war, as long as the Ottoman Porte enjoys peace.

Manna Rain in Aleppo.

Wednesday, 14.—The following is translated from the Arabic, in the Malta Times—"Aleppo, 3rd May. A great famine has happened n Aleppo, Malitia, and Karbat, insomuch that many people died with hunger, and others sold their sons and daughters to get bread to eat. But the Almighty God rained upon them seed (manna), and fed them withal." "Of the veracity of these words," adds the Malta Times, "extracted from an Arabic letter, we are perfectly satisfied. The seed alluded to is known in Malta, being nearly like 'hab' or 'dazz,' and which being kept a little while becomes white, like 'semola' (very fine wheaten flour)."

Immense quantities of locusts have appeared in Spain this year, devouring everything in their way; and a shower of flesh and blood is reported in the southern part of the United States.

Press Falsehoods.

Thursday, 15.—Many of the newspapers are publishing lies about me by the wholesale; should I attempt to enumerate them, I could write nothing else; suffice it to say, every falsehood wicked men can invent, assisted by their father the devil, is trumpeted to the world as sound doctrine, which proves the words of Jesus, "They have persecuted me, they will persecute you also."

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I spent considerable part of the day with several of the Twelve Apostles.

Letter of Elder Orson Hyde to President Smith—Detailing Events while en Route to Jerusalem.

Ratisbon On The Danube, July 17, 1841.

Dear Brother Joseph, and all whom it may concern: With pleasure I take my pen to write to you at this time, hoping this communication may find you as it leaves me, in good health and enjoying a comfortable measure of the Holy Spirit.

On the twentieth of June last, I left London for Rotterdam in Holland, after writing a lengthy epistle to you, and also the copy of a letter addressed to the Rev. Dr. S. Hirschell, President Rabbi of the Hebrews in London; which I hope you have received ere this; the work of the Lord is steadily advancing in London under the efficient and zealous labors of our worthy brother, Elder Lorenzo Snow.

The fine steamer Batavier brought me safely over the billows of a tremendous rough sea in about thirty hours. Never did I suffer more from sea sickness, than during this short voyage; but it was soon over, and we landed safely in Rotterdam. I took my lodgings at the London Hotel, at two florins per diem, about three shillings and five pence sterling, or seventy-five cents. Here I called on the Hebrew Rabbi, and proposed certain questions to him; but as he did not understand a word of English, it was hard for me to enter into particulars with him; I asked, him, however, whether he expected his Messiah to come directly from heaven, or whether he expected Him to be born of a woman on earth? He replied that he expected Him to be born of a woman of the seed and lineage of David. At what period do you look for this event? Answer. "We have been looking a long time, and are now living in constant expectation of His coming." Do you believe in the restitution of your nation to the land of your fathers, called the land of promise? "We hope it will be so," was the reply. He then added, "We believe that many Jews will return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city—rear a temple to the name of the Most High, and restore our ancient worship; Jerusalem shall be the capital of our nation—the centre of our union and the standard and ensign of our national existence. But we do not believe that all the Jews will go there, for the place is not large enough to contain them. They are now gathering there," continued he, "almost continually." I told him I had written an address to the Hebrews, and was about procuring its publication in his own language (Dutch), and when completed I would leave him a copy. He thanked me for this token of respect, and I bade him adieu. I soon obtained the publication of five hundred copies of the address, and left one at the house of the Rabbi—he being absent from home, I did not see him.

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After remaining here about one week, I took the coach for Amsterdam, distance seven hours or about thirty English miles. Rotterdam is a fine town of about eighty thousand inhabitants. The cleanliness of its streets, the antique order of its architecture, the extreme height of its buildings, the numerous shade trees with which it is beautified, and the great number of canals, through almost every part of the town, filled with ships of various sizes from different parts of the world; all these, with many other things not mentioned, contributed to give this place a peculiarity resembled no where else in the course of my travels, except in Amsterdam. Most of the business men here speak a little English—some speak it very well.

In ascending the waters of the Rhine from the sea to Rotterdam, the numerous windmills which I beheld in constant operation, led me to think, almost, that all Europe came here for their grinding. But I ascertained that they were grinding for distilleries, where the floods of gin are made, which not only deluge our beloved country, with fatal consequences, but many others. Gin is one of the principal articles of exportation from this country.

In going to Amsterdam, I passed through a very beautiful town called "The Hague," the residence of the King of Holland. I saw his palace, which was guarded by soldiers both horse and foot. For grandeur it bore here a faint resemblance to Buckingham Palace, in London. But the beautiful parks and picturesque scenery in and about the Hague, I have never seen equalled in any country.

I remained in Amsterdam only one night and a part of two days. I called on the President Rabbi here, but he was gone from home. I left at his house a large number of the addresses for himself and his people, and took coach for Arnhem on the Rhine. Took boat the same evening for Mainz. Traveling by coach and steam is rather cheaper in this country than in the United States. We were three days in going up the river to Mainz.

Holland and the lower part of Prussia are very low, flat countries. The French and German languages are spoken all along the Rhine; but little or no English. The Rhine is about like the Ohio for size, near its mouth where it empties into the Mississippi. Its waters resemble the Mississippi waters, dark and muddy. The scenery and landscapes along this river have been endowed with art and nature's choicest gifts.

I have been made acquainted with Europe in America, by books, to a certain extent; yet now my eyes behold! It is impossible for a written description of a stranger's beauty to leave the same impression upon the mind, as is made by an ocular view of the lovely object. This is the difference between reading of and seeing the countries of Europe. From Mainz I came to Frankfort on the Maine by railroad—distance seven hours. From Frankfort I came to this place—distance about thirty hours, where Napoleon gained a celebrated victory over the Prussians and Austrians. The very ground on which I now write this letter was covered by about sixty thousand slain in that battle. It is called the battle of Ackeynaeal.

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It was my intention to have gone directly down the Danube to Constantinople, but having neglected to get my passport vised by the Austrian Ambassador at Frankfort, I had to forward it to the Austrian Ambassador at Munich and procure his permission, signature and seal before I could enter the Austrian dominions. This detained me five days, during which time I conceived the idea of sitting down and learning the German language scientifically. I became acquainted with a lady here who speaks French and German to admiration, and she was very anxious to speak the English—she proposed giving me instruction in the German, if I would instruct her in English. I accepted her proposal. I have been engaged eight days in this task. I have read one book through and part of another, and translated and written considerable. I can speak and write considerable German already, and the lady tells me that I make astonishing progress. From the past experience I know that the keen edge of any work translated by a stranger, in whose heart the spirit of the matter does not dwell, is lost—the life and animation thereof die away into a cold monotony, and it becomes almost entirely another thing. This step is according to the best light I can get, and hope and trust that it is according to the mind of the Lord. The people will hardly believe but that I have spoken German before; but I tell them nein (no). The German is spoken in Prussia, Bavaria, and all the states of Germany, Austria, the south of Russia, and in fine, more or less all over Europe. It appears to me, therefore, that some person of some little experience ought to know this language so as to translate himself, without being dependent on strangers. If I am wrong in my movement pray that the Spirit of the Lord may direct me aright. If I am right, pray that heaven may speedily give me this language.

It is very sickly in Constantinople and Syria and Alexandria at present. I would rather, therefore, wait until cool weather before I go there. I might have written most of this letter in German, but as you would more readily understand it in English, I have written it in English.

With pleasure I leave the historical part of my letter to touch a softer note, and give vent to the feelings of my heart. I hope and trust that the cause which you so fearlessly advocate, is rolling forth in America, with that firm and steady motion which characterizes the work of Jehovah. The enemies which we are forced to encounter are numerous, strong, shrewd and cunning. Their leader transfuses into them his own spirit, and brings them into close alliance with the numerous hosts of precious immortals who have been earlier taken captives by the haughty tyrant, and sacrificed upon the altar of iniquity, transgression and sin. May it please our Father in heaven to throw around thee his protecting arms, to place beneath thee almighty strength ever buoy thy head above the raging waves of tribulation, through which the chart of destiny has evidently marked thy course. I am happy in the enjoyment of the distinguished consideration with which heaven's favor alone has endowed me, of bearing with you some humble part in laying the foundation of the glorious kingdom of Messiah, which is destined in its onward course to break in pieces and destroy all others, and stand for ever. The friendship and good will which are breathed towards me through all your letters, are received as the legacy which noble minds and generous hearts are ever anxious to bequeath. They soften the hard and rugged path in which heaven has directed my course. They are buoyancy in depression—joy in sorrow; and when the dark clouds of despondency are gathering thick around the mental horizon, like kind angels from the fountain of mercy, they dispel the gloom, dry the tear of sorrow, and pour humanity's healing balm into my grieved and sorrowful heart. Be assured, therefore, Brother Joseph, that effusions from the altar of a grateful heart, are smoking to heaven daily in thy behalf; and not only in thine, but in behalf of all Zion's suffering sons and daughters. Though now far separated from you, and also from her, who, with me, has suffered the chilling blasts of adversity, yet hope lingers in this bosom, brightened almost into certainty by the implicit confidence reposed in the virtue of that call which was born on the gentle breeze of the Spirit of God, through the dark shades of midnight gloom, till it found a mansion in my anxious and inquiring heart, that my feet shall once more press the American soil; and under the shade of her streaming banner, embrace again the friends I love.

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I never knew that I was in reality an American, until I walked out one fine morning in Rotterdam along the wharf where many ships lay in the waters of the Rhine. Suddenly my eye caught a broad pendant floating in a gentle breeze over the stern of a fine ship at mizzen half mast; and when I saw the wide spread eagle perched on her banner with the stripes and stars under which our fathers were led to conquest and victory, my heart leaped into my mouth, a flood of tears burst from my eyes, and before reflection could mature a sentence, my mouth involuntarily gave birth to these words, "I am an American." To see the flag of one's country in a strange land, and floating upon strange waters, produces feelings which none can know except those who experience them. I can now say that I am an American. While at home the warmth and fire of the American spirit lay in silent slumber in my bosom; but the winds of foreign climes have fanned it into a flame.

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I have seen some of the finest specimens of painting and sculpture of both ancient and modern times. The vast varieties of curiosities, also, from every country on the globe, together with every novelty that genius could invent or imagination conceive, which I have been compelled to witness in the course of my travels, would be too heavy a tax upon my time to describe, and upon your patience to read. I have witnessed the wealth and splendor of many of the towns in Europe—have gazed with admiration upon the widely-extended plains, her lofty mountains, her mouldering castles, and her extensive vineyards: for at this season nature is clad in her bridal robes, and smiles under the benign jurisprudence of her Author. I have also listened to the blandishments, gazed upon the pride and fashion of a world grown old in luxury and refinement, viewed the pageantry of kings, queens, lords, and nobles; and am now where military honor, and princely dignity, must bow at the shrine of clerical superiority. In fine, my mind has become cloyed with novelty, pomp, and show; and turns with disgust from the glare of fashion to commune with itself in retired meditation.

Were it consistent with the will of Deity, and consonant with the convictions of my own bosom, most gladly would I retreat from the oppressing heat of public life, and seek repose in the cool and refreshing shades of domestic endearments, and bask in the affections of my own little family circle. But the will of God be done! Can the Messiah's kingdom but be advanced through my toil, privation, and excessive labors, and at last sanctify my work through the effusion of my blood! I yield, O Lord! I yield to thy righteous mandate! Imploring help from thee in the hour of trial, and strength in the day of weakness to faithfully endure until my immortal spirit shall be driven from its earthly mansion to find a refuge in the bosom of its God.

If the friends in America shall be edified in reading this letter from Brother Hyde, I hope they will remember one thing; and that is this, that he hopes he has a wife and two children living there; but the distance is so great between him and them, that his arm is not long enough to administer to their wants. I have said enough. Lord, bless my wife and children, and the hand that ministers good to them, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Adieu for the present.

Good rest on all the Saints throughout the world.

Orson Hyde.

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A violent and destructive hurricane swept over portions of France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Death of Senator Little.

Sunday, 18.—This day was observed as a day of fasting and prayer by the Saints in Nauvoo, that they might mourn with them that mourn, "and weep with them that weep," on account of the death of Honorable Sidney H. Little of the Senate, who was killed by jumping from a wagon last Sunday, while his horse was unmanageable. Mr. Little was a patriot, statesman, and lawyer.

Meeting was held in the grove, west of the Temple; Elders Sidney Rigdon, John Taylor, and Geo. A. Smith preached.

Monday, 19.—Council of the Twelve, viz.—Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Orson Pratt, and George A. Smith met at Elder Young's house, conversing with Lyman E. Johnson, who formerly belonged to the quorum. President Rigdon and myself were with them part of the time.

General Funeral Sermon.

Sunday, 25.—Attended meeting in the grove. Elders Orson Pratt and George A. Smith preached in the forenoon. In the afternoon Elder Sidney Rigdon preached a general funeral sermon, designed to comfort and instruct the Saints, especially those who had been called to mourn the loss of relatives and friends. I followed him, illustrating the subject of the resurrection by some familiar figures.

Elder George A. Smith married Bathsheba W. Bigler. Don Carlos Smith performed the ceremony, which was the last official act of his life, he being very feeble at the time.

Brother William Yokum had his leg amputated by Dr. John F. Weld, who operated free of charge; he was wounded in the massacre at Haun's Mill, October 30th, 1838, and had lain on his back ever since; and now it was found the only chance to save his life was to have his leg cut off. He was also shot through the head at the same massacre.

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Wednesday, 28.—The Jewish quarter of Smyrna was burned. Three thousand houses and eight synagogues were destroyed.

The Prophet's Account of the Mission of the Twelve.

Sunday, August 1.—All the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who were expected here this season, with the exception of Elders Willard Richards and Wilford Woodruff, have arrived. We have listened to the accounts which they give of their success, and the prosperity of the work of the Lord In Great Britain with pleasure. They certainly have been the instruments in the hands of God of accomplishing much, and must have the satisfaction of knowing that they have done their duty. Perhaps no men ever undertook such an important mission under such peculiarly distressing and unpropitious circumstances. Most of them when they left this place, nearly two years ago, were worn down with sickness and disease, or were taken sick on the road. Several of their families were also afflicted and needed their aid and support. But knowing that they had been called by the God of Heaven to preach the Gospel to other nations, they conferred not with flesh and blood, but obedient to the heavenly mandate, without purse or scrip, they commenced a journey of five thousand miles entirely dependent on the providence of that God who had called them to such a holy calling. While journeying to the sea board they were brought into many trying circumstances; after a short recovery from severe sickness, they would be taken with a relapse, and have to stop among strangers, without money and without friends. Their lives were several times despaired of, and they have taken each other by the hand, expecting it would be the last time they should behold one another in the flesh. However, notwithstanding their afflictions and trials, the Lord always interposed in their behalf, and did not suffer them to sink in the arms of death. Some way or other was made for their escape—friends rose up when they most needed them, and relieved their necessities; and thus they were enabled to pursue their journey and rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. They, truly, "went forth weeping, bearing precious seed," but have "returned with rejoicing, bearing their sheaves with them."

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The minds of thousands are already prepared to hear of the sacking of cities—the marching and countermarching of armies—the burning of towns and villages—the flight of citizens—the rising of the Indians—the commotion in Illinois—the distress in Iowa—the consternation and flight of the Missourians, the exploits of mighty chieftains, &c.—on account of the fooleries and lies which have been trumpeted forth from the press in the United States.

Thursday, 5.—Letters from London, state that there are a number—more or less—baptized every week.

There was a general election of members of Parliament last month. Serious riots occurred in different parts of the kingdom between the Whigs and Tories.

Letter of William Smith to President Smith—Land Transactions.

Chester County, Pennsylvania,

August 5th, 1841.

Brother Joseph:—I expect to leave here for the Jersey country next week. Doctor Galland left for Nauvoo last week. In the Hotchkiss business, Hyrum requested me to do all I could. Brother James Ivins has received orders on you from Doctor Galland to the amount of twenty-five hundred dollars. The property that he has given these orders for, is well worth the money. I expect Mr. Hotchkiss in new Jersey in a few days to receive this property, which is Cook's Mills Tavern stand, attached to six acres of ground with all the appurtenances. Some of the Jersey people think it worth three thousand dollars. Now the question is, shall I let Mr. Hotchkiss have this property for less than twenty-five hundred, since that is the price you will have to pay at Nauvoo. Why I ask this question is—I have understood that Hotchkiss has said that he would not allow over twenty-two hundred dollars. I got hold of another small piece of land, worth five hundred; and if Hotchkiss will take all at a fair price, I shall be enabled to settle the amount of three thousand dollars soon. Please write me an answer to the above question. The cause in these eastern lands is flourishing, and we want more laborers; fifty doors opened for preaching where there is but one laborer. I wish you would send us help.

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Yours in the bonds of the covenant,

William Smith.

Chapter 22.

1. Doctrine and Covenants 126.