A Missouri Kidnapping—Continued Development of the Work in Great Britain—The Death of Joseph Smith, Sen., First Patriarch of the Church.
Settlement of a Difficulty.
Monday, 17.—Met with the High Council of Nauvoo at my office, also the High Council of Iowa. John Batten preferred many charges against Elijah Fordham. After the testimony, and the councillors had spoken, I addressed the Council at some length, showing the situation of the contending parties, that there was in reality no cause of difference; that they had better be reconciled without an action, or vote of the Council, and henceforth live as brethren, and never more mention their former difficulties. They settled accordingly.
Tuesday, 18.—Elders Kimball, Woodruff, and George A. Smith left Cheltenham for London, one hundred and ten miles, where they arrived in seven and a half hours, at William Allgood’s, No. 19 King Street, Borough, and were kindly received by Mrs. Allgood, who took them to the King’s Arms Inn.
Great distress is prevailing in Ireland; no work, and provisions very scarce.
The truth is spreading rapidly in England and Scotland.
Friday, 21—Testimony of Benjamin Boyce:
The Kidnapping of Benjamin Boyce, Mr. Brown, et al.
left my home in Nauvoo to go to Adams county, where I had lived the summer before, for the purpose of meeting some debts. I fell in company with a Mr. Brown, who stated to me that he was in search of some horses that had strayed from him. We had not proceeded far together, before we were hailed by twelve armed men, who demanded of us where we were going. I stated to them where I was going, and likewise Mr. Brown stated his business. They then asked if we were “Mormons;” we said we were; they then said that we could go no further; they said they were sworn to kill all the damned “Mormons” that they could find, and took us prisoners, tied us with ropes, and took us to a boat, and four of the company (one by the name of Martin, the others not known) took us to Missouri, to a little town called Tully, where we were put under guard, and kept till 11 o’clock in the evening, when three men came to us with a long rope, and tied it round each of our necks. I asked them what they were going to do with us; one said they were going to take us to the river, kill us, and make catfish bait of us, his name was Uno. They then led us to the woods, I should think about three-quarters of a mile distant; they then parted us, took and stripped me naked, and tied me fast to a tree; one of the company cocked a pistol and placed it close to my ear, and swore, if I attempted to get away, that he would blow out my brains. They then commenced to whip me with large gads which they had for the purpose, and literally mangled me from my shoulders to my knees.
There were in the company, as near as I could recollect, twelve or fourteen: they were stripped of their hats and coats, with their sleeves rolled up, and collars open, which made them look like murderers and robbers. The names, as far as I can recollect, Monday, Uno, and Martin; the others I do not recollect. After keeping me tied in this condition I should think an hour and a half, they then brought Mr. Brown to me, and after some consultation, loosed me from the tree where I was tied, and led us back to the town, put us in a room where I saw Noah Rogers and James Allred. They then tied them about the neck, and led them out, and in the course of the night, they brought them back to the room where we were.
Brother Rogers said they stripped him, and whipped him very badly. This was on the seventh of July. The next day Rogers and myself were taken before a magistrate; nothing proven against us, only that we were “Mormons:” and we were ordered to prison. Brown and Allred, by some means, were liberated, but we (Rogers and myself) were put in jail and put in irons until the 21st of August, when through the kindness of God we made our escape and returned to Nauvoo.
Sunday, 23.—Ten persons who had been baptized were confirmed at Carpenter’s Hall, Manchester. 1
Saturday, 29—Elder Kimball writes:”The brethren are beginning to excite attention in some of the public grounds in London.” Out-door preaching is common in England.
Sunday, 30.—Twenty were confirmed at the hall in Manchester. 2
The Beginning of Open Air Meetings.
Elders Kimball, Woodruff, and George A. Smith, after having spent ten days visiting the clergymen and preachers and others of the several denominations, asking the privilege of preaching in their chapels, and being continually refused by them in a contemptuous manner, they determined to preach in the open air, Jonah-like; and accordingly went to Smithfield Market 3 (to the spot where John Rogers 4 was burnt at the stake), for the purpose of preaching at 10 a.m., where they were notified by the police, that the Lord Mayor had issued orders prohibiting street preaching in the city. A Mr. Connor stepped up and said,”I will show you a place outside of his jurisdiction,” and guided them to “Tabernacle Square,” where they found an assembly of about 400 people listening to a preacher who was standing on a chair. When he got through another preacher arose to speak. Elder Kimball stated to the first clergyman,”There is a man present from America who would like to preach;” which was granted; when Elder George A. Smith delivered a discourse of about twenty minutes, on the first principles of the Gospel, taking for his text, Mark 16:16; after which Elder Kimball asked the preacher to give out another appointment at the same place for the American Elder to preach; when he jumped up and said,”I have just learned that the gentleman who has addressed you is a Latter-day Saint; I know them—they are a very bad people; they have split up many churches, and have done a great deal of hurt.” He spoke all manner of evil, and gave the Latter-day Saints a very bad character, and commanded the people not to hear the Elders,”as we have got the Gospel, and can save the people, without infidelity, socialism, or Latter-day Saints.”
Elder Kimball asked the privilege of standing on the chair to give out an appointment himself. The preacher said,”You shall not do it; you have no right to preach here;” jerked the chair away from him, and ran away with it. Several of the crowd said,”You have as much right to preach here as he has, and give out your appointment;” whereupon Elder Kimball gave out an appointment for 3 o’clock p.m.; at which time a large congregation was gathered.
After opening the meeting by singing and prayer, Elder Woodruff spoke about thirty minutes, from Gal. 1:8-9, upon the first principles of the Gospel. Elder Kimball followed upon the same subjects. The people gave good attention, and seemed much interested in what they had heard. The inhabitants who lived around the square opened their windows to four stories high; the most of them were crowded with anxious listeners, which is an uncommon occurrence. The meeting was dismissed in the midst of good feeling.
Mr. Henry Connor invited the Elders to his house. Soon after they arrived here, Elder Kimball felt impressed to return to the place of preaching. When he got there he found a large company talking about the things which they had heard in the afternoon, and they wished him to speak to them again. He did so, when several persons invited him home with them. While Elder Kimball was preaching, several persons came to Brothers Woodruff and Smith to converse on doctrine, when Mr. Connor offered himself for baptism.
Monday, 31.—Elder Kimball baptized Henry Connor, watchmaker, 52 Ironmonger’s Row, London, in Peerless Pool, being the first baptized in that place, and confirmed him the same evening.
The Electric Telegraph.
The electric telegraph is beginning to be used on the Great Western Railroad in England, between Drayton and Paddington, by which intelligence is communicated at the rate of two hundred thousand miles per second.
An Address by the First Presidency to the Church.
To the Saints Scattered Abroad:
Beloved Brethren:—We address a few lines to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ, who have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which has been delivered to them by the servants of the Lord, and who are desirous to go forward in the ways of truth and righteousness, and by obedience to the heavenly command, escape the things which are coming on the earth, and secure to themselves an inheritance among the sanctified in the world to come.
Having been placed in a very responsible station in the Church, we at all times feel interested in the welfare of the Saints, and make mention of them continually in our prayers to our heavenly Father, that they may be kept from the evils which are in the world, and ever be found walking in the path of truth.
The work of the Lord in these last days, is one of vast magnitude and almost beyond the comprehension of mortals. Its glories are past description, and its grandeur unsurpassable. It is the theme which has animated the bosom of prophets and righteous men from the creation of the world down through every succeeding generation to the present time; and it is truly the dispensation of the fullness of times, when all things which are in Christ Jesus, whether in heaven or on the earth, shall be gathered together in Him, and when all things shall be restored, as spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began; for in it will take place the glorious fulfilment of the promises made to the fathers, while the manifestations of the power of the Most High will be great, glorious, and sublime.
The purposes of our God are great, His love unfathomable, His wisdom infinite, and His power unlimited; therefore, the Saints have cause to rejoice and be glad, knowing that “this God is our God forever and ever, and He will be our Guide until death.” Having confidence in the power, wisdom, and love of God, the Saints have been enabled to go forward through the most adverse circumstances, and frequently, when to all human appearances, nothing but death presented itself, and destruction inevitable, has the power of God been manifest, His glory revealed, and deliverance effected; and the Saints, like the children of Israel, who came out of the land of Egypt, and through the Red Sea, have sung an anthem of praise to his holy name. This has not only been the case in former days, but in our days, and within a few months, have we seen this fully verified.
Having through the kindness of our God been delivered from destruction, and having secured a location upon which we have again commenced operations for the good of His people, we feel disposed to go forward and unite our energies for the upbuilding of the Kingdom, and establishing the Priesthood in their fullness and glory. The work which has to be accomplished in the last days is one of vast importance, and will call into action the energy, skill, talent, and ability of the Saints, so that it may roll forth with that glory and majesty described by the prophet; and will consequently require the concentration of the Saints, to accomplish works of such magnitude and grandeur.
The work of the gathering spoken of in the Scriptures will be necessary to bring about the glories of the last dispensation. It is probably unnecessary to press this subject on the Saints, as we believe the spirit of it is manifest, and its necessity obvious to every considerate mind; and everyone zealous for the promotion of truth and righteousness, is equally so for the gathering of the Saints.
Dear brethren, feeling desirous to carry out the purposes of God to which work we have been called; and to be co-workers with Him in this last dispensation; we feel the necessity of having the hearty cooperation of the Saints throughout this land, and upon the islands of the sea. It will be necessary for the Saints to hearken to counsel and turn their attention to the Church, the establishment of the Kingdom, and lay aside every selfish principle, everything low and groveling; and stand forward in the cause of truth, and assist to the utmost of their power, those to whom has been given the pattern and design. Like those who held up the hands of Moses, so let us hold up the hands of those who are appointed to direct the affairs of the Kingdom, so that they may be strengthened, and be enabled to prosecute their great designs, and be instrumental in effecting the great work of the last days.
Believing the time has now come, when it is necessary to erect a house of prayer, a house of order, a house for the worship of our God, where the ordinances can be attended to agreeably to His divine will, in this region of country—to accomplish which, considerable exertion must be made, and means will be required—and as the work must be hastened in righteousness, it behooves the Saints to weigh the importance of these things, in their minds, in all their bearings, and then take such steps as are necessary to carry them into operation; and arming themselves with courage, resolve to do all they can, and feel themselves as much interested as though the whole labor depended on themselves alone. By so doing they will emulate the glorious deeds of the fathers, and secure the blessings of heaven upon themselves and their posterity to the latest generation.
To those who feel thus interested, and can assist in this great work, we say, let them come to this place; by so doing they will not only assist in the rolling on of the Kingdom, but be in a situation where they can have the advantages of instruction from the Presidency and other authorities of the Church, and rise higher and higher in the scale of intelligence until they can “comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.”
Connected with the building up of the Kingdom, is the printing and circulation of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, hymnbook, and the new translation of the Scriptures. It is unnecessary to say anything respecting these works; those who have read them, and who have drunk of the stream of knowledge which they convey, know how to appreciate them; and although fools may have them in derision, yet they are calculated to make men wise unto salvation, and sweep away the cobwebs of superstition of ages, throw a light on the proceedings of Jehovah which have already been accomplished, and mark out the future in all its dreadful and glorious realities. Those who have tasted the benefit derived from a study of these works, will undoubtedly vie with each other in their zeal for sending them abroad throughout the world, that every son of Adam may enjoy the same privileges, and rejoice in the same truths.
Here, then, beloved brethren, is a work to engage in worthy of archangels—a work which will cast into the shade the things which have been heretofore accomplished; a work which kings and prophets and righteous men in former ages have sought, expected, and earnestly desired to see, but died without the sight; and well will it be for those who shall aid in carrying into effect the mighty operations of Jehovah.
By order of the First Presidency,
Robert B. Thompson, Scribe.
Saturday, September 5.—Elders Young and Richards went from Manchester to Liverpool, and in the evening organized a company of Saints bound for New York, by choosing Elder Theodore Turley to preside, with six counselors.
Minutes of the High Council Meeting, at the Office of Joseph Smith, Jun., Nauvoo, September 5th, 1840.
Joseph Smith, Jun., preferred charges against Elder Almon W. Babbitt, predicated on the authority of two letters, one from Thomas Burdick, the other from Oliver Granger and Levi Richards, accusing Elder Babbitt as follows:
First. For stating that Joseph Smith, Jun., had extravagantly purchased three suits of clothes while he was at Washington City, and that Sidney Rigdon had purchased four suits while at the same place. besides dresses in profusion for their families
Second. For having stated that Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon and Elias Higbee had said that they were worth one hundred thousand dollars each, while they were at Washington, and that Joseph Smith, Jun., had repeated the same statement while in Philadelphia, and for saying that Oliver Granger had stated that he also was worth as much as they (that is, one hundred thousand dollars).
Third. For holding secret councils in the Lord’s House, in Kirtland, and for locking the doors of the house, for the purpose of prohibiting certain brethren in good standing in the Church, from being in the Council, thereby depriving them of the use of the house.
Two were appointed to speak on the case, namely, Thomas Grover, Austin Cowles.
Council adjourned till the 6th September, at 2 o’clock, when Council met according to adjournment, the evidences were all heard on the case pending, and the councilors closed on both sides. The parties spoke at length, after which, Joseph Smith withdrew the charge, and both parties were reconciled to each other, things being adjusted to their satisfaction.
Sunday 6.—Elder Young preached.
Monday 7.—This evening, Elders Kimball, Woodruff and George A. Smith, preached in the south Temperance Hall, London.
On Monday night, Elders Brigham Young and Willard Richards, stayed on board the North America with the Saints, and on Tuesday morning, about nine o’clock, the vessel went out with a steamer. The Elders accompanied them fifteen or twenty miles, and left them in good spirits. Elder Richards returned to Manchester the same evening and Elder Young on the 10th.
The Generosity of John Benbow.
Elder John Benbow, who had previously furnished two hundred and fifty pounds towards printing the hymn book, Book of Mormon, etc., relinquished all claim to said money, except such assistance as his friends, who might wish to emigrate to America the next season, might need, leaving the remainder to the disposal of Brigham Young, Willard Richards, and Wilford Woodruff, who borrowed said moneys for the benefit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, forever, also the avails of the Gadfield Elm Chapel, when sold.
Wednesday, 9.—There was a terrific storm on the North of Scotland.
Earthquake at Mount Ararat.
Friday, 11.—There was a terrible earthquake at Mount Ararat, which destroyed the town of Makitchevan, damaged all the buildings at Erivan, and devastated the two districts of Sharour and Sourmate in Armenia. A considerable mass was loosened from Mount Ararat and destroyed everything in its way for nearly five miles. The village of Akhouli was buried, with one thousand inhabitants.
Sunday, 13.—Elder Kimball baptized four in London.
The Death of Joseph, Sen.
Monday, 14.—My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., Patriarch of the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at Nauvoo.
Biography of Joseph Smith, Sen., Presiding Patriarch of the Church, by the Prophet Joseph, his Son.
Joseph Smith, Sen., was born on the 12th day of July, 1771, in Topsfield, Essex county, Massachusetts; he was the second of the seven sons of Asahel and Mary Smith. Asahel was born in Topsfield, March 7th, 1744. He was the youngest son of Samuel and Priscilla Smith. Samuel was born January 26th, 1714, in Topsfield; he was the eldest son of Samuel and Rebecca Smith. Samuel was born in Topsfield, January 20, 1666, and was the son of Robert and Mary Smith, who emigrated from Old England.
My father removed with his father to Tunbridge, Orange county, Vermont, in 1791, and assisted in clearing a large farm of a heavy growth of timber. He married Lucy, daughter of Solomon and Lydia Mack on the 14th of January, 1796, by whom he had
Alvin Smith, born February 11th, 1798, died November 19th, 1824.
Hyrum, born February 9th, 1800.
Sophronia, born May 16th, 1803.
Joseph, born December 23rd, 1805.
Samuel Harrison, born March 13th, 1808.
Ephraim, born March 13th, 1810, died March 24th, 1810.
William, born March 13th, 1811.
Catherine, born July 28th, 1812.
Don Carlos, born March 25th, 1816.
Lucy, born July 18th, 1824.
At his marriage he owned a handsome farm in Tunbridge. In 1802, he rented it and engaged in mercantile business, and soon after embarked in a venture of [raising] ginseng 5 to send to China, and was swindled out of the entire proceeds by the shipmaster and agent, he was consequently obliged to sell his farm and all of his effects to pay his debts.
About the year 1816 he removed to Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, bought a farm and cleared two hundred acres, which he lost in consequence of not being able to pay the last installment of the purchase money at the time it was due. This was the case with a great number of farmers in New York, who had cleared land under similar contracts. He afterwards moved to Manchester, Ontario county, New York, procured a comfortable home with sixteen acres of land, where he lived until he removed to Kirtland, Ohio.
He was the first person who received my testimony after I had seen the angel, and exhorted me to be faithful and diligent to the message I had received. 6 He was baptized April 6th, 1830.
In August, 1830, in company with my brother Don Carlos, he took a mission to St. Lawrence county, New York, touching on his route at several of the Canadian ports, where he distributed a few copies of the Book of Mormon. He also visited his father, brothers and sister residing in St. Lawrence county, bore testimony to the truth which resulted eventually in all the family coming into the Church, excepting his brother Jesse and sister Susan.
He removed with his family to Kirtland in 1831; was ordained Patriarch and President of the High Priesthood [in Kirtland] 7 under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams and myself, on the 18th of December, 1833; was a member of the First High Council, organized on the 17th of February, 1834, (when he conferred on me and my brother Samuel H., a father’s blessing).
In 1836 he traveled in company with his brother John two thousand four hundred miles in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New Hampshire, visiting the branches of the Church in those states and bestowing patriarchal blessings on several hundred persons, preaching the Gospel to all who would hear, and baptizing many. They returned to Kirtland on the 2nd of October, 1836.
During the persecutions in Kirtland in 1837, he was made a prisoner, but fortunately obtained his liberty, and after a very tedious journey in the spring and summer of 1838, he arrived at Far West, Missouri. After I and my brother Hyrum were thrown into the Missouri jails by the mob, he fled from under the exterminating order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, and made his escape in midwinter to Quincy, Illinois, from whence he removed to Commerce in the spring of 1839.
The exposures he suffered brought on consumption, of which he died on this 14th day of September, 1840, aged sixty-nine years, two months, and two days. He was six feet, two inches high, was very straight, and remarkably well proportioned. His ordinary weight was about two hundred pounds, and he was very strong and active. In his younger days he was famed as a wrestler, and, Jacob like, he never wrestled with but one man whom he could not throw. He was one of the most benevolent of men; opening his house to all who were destitute. While at Quincy, Illinois, he fed hundreds of the poor Saints who were flying from the Missouri persecutions, although he had arrived there penniless himself.
Tuesday, 15.—The funeral of Joseph Smith, Sen., took place this day, when the following address was delivered by Elder Robert B. Thompson:
The Discourse of Elder Thompson at the Funeral of Joseph Smith, Sen.
The occasion which has brought us together this day, is one of no ordinary importance: for not only has a single family to mourn and sorrow on account of the death of the individual, whose funeral obsequies we this day celebrate; but a whole society; yes, thousands will this day have to say, a Father in Israel is gone.
The man whom we have been accustomed to look up to as a Patriarch, a Father, and a Counselor is no more an inhabitant of mortality: he has dropped his clay tenement, bid adieu to terrestrial scenes, and his spirit now free and unencumbered, roams and expatiates in that world where the spirits of just men made perfect dwell, and where pain and sickness, tribulation and death cannot come.
The friends we have lost prior to our late venerable and lamented Father, were such as rendered life sweet, and in whose society we took great pleasure, and who shed a lustre in the several walks of life in which they moved, and to whom we feel endeared by friendship’s sacred ties. Their virtues and kindnesses will long be remembered by the sorrowing widow, the disconsolate husband, the weeping children, the almost distracted and heart-broken parent, and by a large circle of acquaintances and friends. These, like the stars in yonder firmament, shone in their several spheres, and filled that station to which they had been called by the providence of God, with honor to themselves and to the Church; and we feel to mingle our tears with their surviving relatives.
But on this occasion we realize that we have suffered more than an ordinary bereavement, and consequently we feel the more interested. If ever there was a man who had claims on the affections of the community, it was our beloved but now deceased Patriarch. If ever there was an event calculated to raise the feelings of sorrow in the human breast, and cause us to drop the sympathetic tear, it certainly is the present; for truly we can say with the king of Israel, “A prince and a great man has fallen in Israel.” A man endeared to us by every feeling calculated to entwine around and adhere to the human heart, by almost indissoluble bonds. A man faithful to his God and to the Church in every situation and under all circumstances through which he was called to pass.
Whether in prosperity, surrounded by the comforts of life, a smiling progeny, and all the enjoyments of a domestic circle; or when called upon, like the Patriarchs of old, to leave the land of his nativity, to journey in strange lands, and become subject to all the trials and persecutions that have been heaped upon the Saints with a liberal hand, by characters destitute of every principle of morality or religion, alike regardless of the tender offspring and the aged sire, whose silvery locks and furrowed cheeks ought to have been a sufficient shield from their cruelty; still, like the Apostle Paul he could exclaim, (and his life and conduct have fully borne out the sentiment) “None of these things move me; neither count I my life dear, so that I may finish my course with joy.”
The principles of the Gospel were too well established in that breast, and had got too sure a footing there, ever to be torn down, or prostrated by the fierce winds of persecution, the blasts of poverty, or the swollen waves of distress and tribulation. No; thank God, his house was built upon a rock—consequently it stood amid the contending elements, firm and unshaken.
The life of our departed father has indeed been an eventful one, having to take a conspicuous part in the great work of the last days; being designated by the ancient prophets who once dwelt on this continent, as the father of him whom the Lord had promised to raise up in the last days, to lead His people Israel; and by a uniform consistent, and a virtuous course, for a long series of years, he has proved himself worthy of such a son, and such a family by whom he had the happiness of being surrounded in his dying moments; most of whom had the satisfaction of receiving his dying benediction.
He was already in the wane of life, when the light of truth broke in upon the world, and with pleasure he hailed its benign and enlightening rays, and was chosen by the Almighty to be one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. From that time, his only aim was the promotion of truth—his soul was taken up with the things of the Kingdom; his bowels yearned over the children of men; and it was more than his meat and his drink to do the will of his Father, who is in heaven.
By unceasing industry of himself and family, he had secured a home in the state of New York, where he no doubt expected, with every honest industrious citizen, to enjoy the blessings of peace and liberty. But when the principles of truth were introduced and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was promulgated by himself and family, friends forsook, enemies raged, and persecution was resorted to by wicked and ungodly men, insomuch that he was obliged to flee from that place, and seek a home in a more hospitable land.
In Ohio he met with many kind and generous friends, and was kindly welcomed by the Saints; many of whom continue to this day, and can call to mind the various scenes which there transpired; many of which were of such a nature as not to be easily obliterated.
While the House of the Lord was building he took great interest in its erection, and daily watched its progress, and had the pleasure of taking a part at the opening, and seeing it crowded by hundreds of various worshipers. As the King of Israel longed for and desired to see the completion of the House of the Lord, so did he; and with him he could exclaim, “O Lord, I love the habitation of thine house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth.” To dwell in the house of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple, was his daily delight; and in it he enjoyed many blessings, and spent many hours in sweet communion with his heavenly Father. He has trod its sacred aisles, solitary and alone from mankind, long before the king of day has gilded the eastern horizon; and he has uttered his aspirations within its walls, when nature has been asleep. In its holy enclosures have the visions of heaven been opened to his mind, and his soul has feasted on the riches of eternity; and there under his teachings have the meek and humble been instructed, while the widow and the orphan have received his patriarchal blessings.
There he saw the work spreading far and wide; saw the Elders of Israel go forth under his blessing—bore them up by the prayer of faith, and hailed them welcome when they again returned bringing their sheaves with them. There with his aged partner, he spent many happy days in the bosom of his family, whom he loved with all the tenderness of parental affection.
Here I might enlarge, and expatiate on the “scenes of joy and scenes of gladness” which were enjoyed by our beloved Patriarch, but I shall pass on to an event which was truly painful and trying.
The delightful scene soon vanished; the calm was soon succeeded by a storm and the frail bark was driven by the tempest and foaming ocean, for many who had once been proud to acknowledge him a father and a friend, and who sought counsel at his hands, joined with the enemies of truth, and sought his destruction; and would have rejoiced to see his aged and venerable form immured in a dungeon; but, thank God, this they were not suffered to do; he providentially made his escape, and after evading his enemies for some time, he undertook and accomplished a journey of a thousand miles, and bore up under the fatigue and suffering necessarily attendant on such a journey with patient resignation. After a journey of several weeks, he arrived in safety at Far West, in the bosom of the Church, and was cordially welcomed by the Saints, who had found an asylum in the rich and fertile county of Caldwell.
There he, in common with the rest of the Saints, hoped to enjoy the privileges and blessings of peace. There, from the fertile soil and flowery meads, which well repaid the labor of the husbandman, and poured forth abundance for the support of the numerous herds which decked those lovely and wide-spread prairies, he hoped to enjoy uninterrupted, the comforts of domestic life.
But he had not long indulged these pleasing anticipations before the delightful prospect again vanished: the cup of blessing which he began again to enjoy, was dashed from his aged lips; and the cup of sorrow filled to overflowing, was given him instead; and surely he drank it to the very dregs; for not only did he see the Saints in bondage, treated with cruelty, and some of them murdered; but the kind and affectionate parent saw—and ah! how painful was the sight—two of his sons to whom he looked for protection, torn away from their domestic circles, from their weeping and distracted families, by monsters in the shape of men, who swore and threatened to kill them, and who had every disposition to imbrue their hands in their blood. This circumstance was too much for his agitated and now sinking frame to bear up under; and although his confidence in his God was great, and his conduct was that of a Christian and a Saint, yet he felt like a man and a parent. At that time his constitution received a shock from which it never recovered. Ah! yes there were feelings agitated in the bosom of our deceased friend at that time of no ordinary kind; feelings of painful anxiety, and emotion too great for his earthly tabernacle to contain without suffering a great and a sensible injury; and which from that time began to manifest itself.
It would be unnecessary to trace him and his aged partner (who shared in all his sorrows and afflictions) from such a scene, as many of the Saints are knowing to the privations and sufferings which they, in common with the Church, endured while moving from that land of oppression; suffice it to say, he arrived in safety in Illinois, broken down in constitution and in health, and since then he has labored under severe afflictions and pain, while disease has been slowly but surely undermining his system.
Whenever he had a short respite from pain, he felt a pleasure in attending to his patriarchal duties, and with cheerfulness he performed them; and frequently his labors have been more than his strength could admit of; but having great zeal for the cause of truth, he felt willing to be spent in the service of his God.
For some time past he has been confined to his bed, and the time of is departure was near at hand. On Saturday evening last, a rupture of a blood vessel took place, when he vomited a large quantity of blood. His family were summoned to his bedside, it being now evident that he could not long survive.
On Sunday he called his children and grandchildren around him, and like the ancient patriarchs gave them his final benediction. Although his strength was far gone, and he was obliged to rest at intervals, yet his mind was clear, perfectly collected, and calm as the gentle zephyrs. The love of God was in his heart, the peace of God rested upon him, and his soul was full of compassion and blessing.
All the circumstances connected with his death, were calculated to lead the mind back to the time when an Abraham, an Isaac and a Jacob bid adieu to mortality, and entered into rest.
His death, like theirs, was sweet, and it certainly was a privilege indeed to witness such a scene; and I was forcibly reminded of the sentiment of the poet:
The chamber where the good man meets his fate,
Is privileged beyond the common walk of virtuous life.
There were no reflections of a misspent life—no fearful forebodings of a gloomy nature in relation to the future; the realities of eternity were dawning, the shades of time were lowering; but there was nothing to terrify, to alarm or disturb his mind; no, the principles of the Gospel, which, “bring life and immortality to light,” nobly triumphed in nature’s final hour. These principles so long taught and cherished by our lamented friend, were honorably maintained to the last; which is not only a consolation to the immediate relatives, but to the Church at large.
The instructions imparted by him will long be remembered by his numerous progeny, who will undoubtedly profit by the same, and strive to render themselves worthy of such a sire; and the whole Church will copy his examples, walk in his footsteps, and emulate his faith and virtuous actions, and commend themselves to his God and to their God.
Notwithstanding his enemies frequently “shot at him, yet his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob,” and his courage and resolution never forsook him.
His anxiety for the spread of truth was great, and he lived to see great and important things accomplished. He saw the commencement of the work, small as a mustard seed, and with attention and deep interest he watched its progress; and he had the satisfaction of beholding thousands on this Continent, rejoicing in its truth, and heard the glorious tidings, that other lands were becoming heirs to the richest blessings.
Under these circumstances, he could exclaim, like pious Simeon of old, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
Although his spirit has taken its flight and his remains will soon mingle with their mother earth, yet his memory will long be cherished by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, and will be fresh and blooming when those of his enemies shall be blotted out from under heaven.
May we, beloved friends, who survive our venerable Patriarch, study to prosecute those things which were so dear to his aged heart, and pray that a double portion of his spirit may be bestowed on us, that we may be the humble instruments in aiding the consummation of the great work which he saw so happily begun; that when we have to stand before the bar of Christ, we may with our departed friend hear the welcome plaudit, “Come up hither, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Amen.
1. The entry of the text is the only one made in the Prophet’s manuscript history for the 23rd of August, but “Uncle” John Smith, brother of the Prophet’s father, and formerly president of Adam-ondi-Ahman stake of Zion, in Missouri, makes the following entry in his journal:
“Attended meeting at Nashville. Joseph and Hyrum Smith present and a large assembly of saints, who voted to commence building a city at Nashville and a place of worship.” Nashville, by the way, was situated in Lee county, Iowa, on the Mississippi river, at the head of the Des Moines Rapids, about three miles southeast of Montrose, eight miles north of Keokuk. The Church had purchased twenty thousand acres of land in this vicinity and surveyed out of it a townsite on which a number of saints located.
3. Smithfield is noted for other historical incidents than being the scene of John Rogers’ martyrdom. It is an open space of nearly six acres in London, England. It was formerly used as a market place, but is now partially laid out in gardens. It was the scene of Bartholomew Fair; William Wallace was executed there; it was the place of the meeting of Wat Tyler and King Richard 2, in 1380, when the former was stabbed by the Mayor of London, and then dispatched by the King’s attendants. It was the scene of many martyrdoms.
4. John Rogers suffered martyrdom by being burnt at the stake in Smithfield, on the 4th of February, 1555. He was the first victim of what is known in history as the “Marian Persecution;” and which conferred on England’s Catholic queen the title of “Bloody Mary.” Archbishop Gardiner, however, is usually credited with being the prime instigator of that persecution, though he died before it reached its height, and not before he had shown symptoms of relenting. Cardinal Pole though “naturally humane and gentle,” shares the guilt of sanctioning it;”but the chief agent was Bonner, bishop of London, in whose diocese the majority of all the executions took place. * * * * The total number of men, women and children who were burnt—for even children were thrown into the flames and some at the very moment of their birth”—is computed as follows: 1555, from February—72; 1556—94; 1557—79; 1558, from February to September—(when the persecution closed), 39; making a total of 284. It was during this persecution that Ridley and Latimer suffered. On the way to the execution the latter, it is said,”with a keen quaintness which adorns his sermons,” uttered the words which fortunately became prophetic—addressing himself to his companion—”Be of good comfort, Master Ridley; play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” (History of England, by William Smith, p. 156).
5. Ginseng is a plant, the roots of which are highly esteemed as medicine, being quite generally regarded as possessing the most extraordinary virtues, and as a remedy for almost all diseases, but particularly for exhaustion of body or mind. In China ginseng is sometimes sold for its weight in gold. It was once introduced in Europe, but was soon forgotten. It is a native plant of Chinese Tartary, and grows from one to two feet in height. Its leaves are five fingered and almost smooth. It is doubted by many botanists if this species is really distinct from phanx quinquefolium, a common North American plant, doubtless the species referred to in the text, the root of which is now an article of export from North America to China, and is used to some extent as a domestic medicine in the states west of the Alleghanies, but which European and American medical practitioners generally regard as almost worthless.
7. This term,”High Priesthood,” is often used in these annals—as it is above—for High Priest. The intent of the above statement is to say that “Father Smith,”—for so he was affectionately called by the Saints—was ordained Patriarch and the President of the High Priests in Kirtland. That he was not made President of the High Priesthood is evident from the fact that the Prophet Joseph himself at that time was President of the High Priesthood of the Church, a position to which he was ordained at a Conference of High Priests in Amherst, Loraine county, Ohio, in 1832 (see Church History, Vol. I, p. 243 and note.) The Presidency of the High Priesthood carries with it the office of President of the Church:”And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole Church, and to be like unto Moses. Behold, here is wisdom, yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a Prophet, having all the gifts of God which He bestows upon the head of the Church” (D&C 107:91-99).