Correspondence between Joseph Smith and Wilson Law, et al.—The Prophet on the Attitude of Governor Carlin towards Himself and the Saints—Revival of the Zeal of Sidney Rigdon—The Prophet’s Blessings upon His Friends.
Tuesday, August 16, 1842.—Brother Derby returned in the evening, bringing the following letter:
Letter of Emma Smith to Joseph Smith, Relating to the Future Movements of the Prophet, and Items of Business.
Dear Husband:—I am ready to go with you if you are obliged to leave; and Hyrum says he will go with me. I shall make the best arrangements I can and be as well prepared as possible. But still I feel good confidence that you can be protected without leaving this country. There are more ways than one to take care of you, and I believe that you can still direct in your business concerns if we are all of us prudent in the matter. If it was pleasant weather I should contrive to see you this evening, but I dare not run too much of a risk, on account of so many going to see you.
General Adams sends the propositions concerning his land, two dollars an acre, payments as follows: Assumption of mortgage, say about fourteen hundred, interest included. Taxes due, supposed about thirty dollars. Town property one thousand dollars. Balance, money payable in one, two, three or four years.
Brother Derby will tell you all the information we have on hand. I think we will have news from Quincy as soon as tomorrow.
Yours affectionately forever,
Letter of Wilson Law to Joseph Smith—Advises Retirement of the Prophet from Nauvoo until Newt Governor Takes his Seat of Office.
Nauvoo City, Illinois, 1 o’clock, afternoon, August 16, 1842.
Lieutenant-General Joseph Smith:
My Dear Friend.—I have just received and read yours of today, and hasten to reply.
There is no movement of any kind going on today amongst the enemy, as far as I can see, which helps to strengthen me in my opinion of yesterday; but still it might be a calm before a storm, and if so we will meet it when it comes. You wish my opinion respecting your absenting yourself for some time from those friends that are dear to you as life, and to whom you are also as dear, and from the place and station to which you are called by Him who ruleth in the armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth.
I must confess that I feel almost unworthy to give an opinion on the subject, knowing that your own judgment is far superior to mine; but nevertheless you shall have it freely. It is this: I think that if they cannot get you peaceably according to the forms of law, that they will not dare to attempt violence of any kind upon the inhabitants of the city; for they are well aware that they cannot insult us with impunity, neither use violence, only at the risk of their lives; and there are but few men who are willing to risk their lives in a bad cause. It is the principles and spirit of liberty, of truth, of virtue, and of religion, and equal rights, that make men courageous, and valiant and fearless in the day of battle and of strife, and just the contrary with the oppressor; for nine times out of ten, a bad cause will make a man a coward, and he will flee when no man pursueth.
Now if I am right in thinking that it is you alone they seek to destroy, as soon as they find they cannot get you, they will cease to trouble the city except with spies; and if we knew that you were completely out of their reach, we could either laugh at their folly, or whip hem for impertinence or anything else, as the case may be; for we would feel so happy in your safety, that we could meet them in any shape.
On the whole, I think it would be better for you to absent yourself till the next governor takes the chair, for I do think if you are not here they will not attempt any violence on the city; and if they should, they will disgrace themselves in the eyes of the world, and the world will justify us in fighting for our rights, and then you can come out like a lion, and lead your people to victory and to glory in the name of the Lord of Hosts.
I know the sacrifice you must make in taking this course. I know it will grieve your noble spirit to do so; for when I think of it myself, I feel no desire in life but to fight, and to cut off from the earth all who oppress, and to establish that true form of government at once, which would guarantee to every man equal rights. I know we have justice on our side in respect of city laws, and that the acts of the Municipal Court are legal; but the question is, are we now able to assert them? or had we better wait till we are more able? The latter course will give us peace a little while, by sacrificing your liberty, and the feelings of your family and friends, and depriving us all of your society and governing wisdom.
I will only add I am ready for either course; and may God direct us to do that that is best. If you should conclude to go for awhile, I must see you before you go; and for the present, I will bid you be cheerful, and make yourself as happy as you can, for the right side of the wheel will soon be up again.
And till then and forever, I remain under every circumstance, your friend and obedient servant,
General James Arlington Bennett wrote me from New York as follows:
Letter of James Arlington Bennett to Joseph Smith, Anent John C. Bennet and his Forthcoming Anti-Mormon Book.
Arlington House, August 16, 1842.
Dear Sir:—Your polite and friendly note was handed to me a few days since by Dr. Willard Richards, who I must say, is a very fine specimen of the Mormon people, if they are all like him; and indeed I think him a very excellent representative of yourself, as I find he is your most devoted admirer and true disciple. He spent two days with me, and from his arguments, and from his mild and gentlemanly demeanor, almost made me a Mormon.
You have another representative here (who spent a day with me some time since) of the name of Foster, who is, I think, president of the Church in New York, and most unquestionably a most excellent and good man, and would be so if he were Turk, Jew or Saint. He is ab initio, a good man, and to you a most true, enthusiastic and devoted disciple. He has no guile. Dr. Bernhisel, of New York, too, is a most excellent man and true Christian. These are men with whom I could associate forever, even if I never joined their Church or acknowledged their faith.
General John C. Bennett called on me last Friday and spent just two hours, when he left, he said for the Eastern States. Being aware that Elder Richards is here, he had very little to say. He, however, proposed to me to aid him, whether serious or not, in arranging materials for publishing “An Exposition of Mormon Secrets and Practices,” which I promptly refused, on two grounds:
1st. That I had nothing to do with any quarrel that might arise between you and him, as I could not be a judge of the merits or demerits of the matter: and
2nd. That inasmuch as he himself had proposed to you and your council to confer on me honors which I never sought, yet which I highly prize, it would be the height of ingratitude, as well as inconsistent with every principle of common honesty and propriety, for me to join him in an effort to lower my own honors by attempting to lower in public estimation the people from whom those honors emanated.
He gave Bennett of the Herald his commission, which I opposed from the very first; and you now see, by that paper, the sport which that man has made of it. I tell you there is no dependence on the friendship of that editor, when his interest is at issue. I am assured that James Gordon Bennett is going to publish, conjointly with John C. Bennett, on half profit, the exposition against you and your people, which is going to contain a great number of scandalous cuts and plates. But don’t be concerned; you will receive no injury whatever from any thing any man or set of men may say against you. The whole of this muss is only extending your fame, and will increase your numbers tenfold.
You have nothing to expect from that part of the community who are bigotedly attached to other churches. They have always believed and still believe everything said to your disadvantage; and what General John C. Bennett is now saying in the papers is nothing more than what was common report before, throughout this whole community, insomuch that I had to contradict it in the Herald under the signature of “Cincinnatus”—and even requested the Elders of the Mormon Church to do so long ago. You, therefore have lost not a whit of ground by it. I must in charity forbear commenting on the course of General Bennett in this matter. Considering all things delicacy forbids such a course.
There are some things, however, I feel very sorely, and could wish they had not transpired. He and the Herald will make money out of the book, and there the matter will end, as you will find that the Herald will puff it to the skies. 1
The books which I sent you you will retain in your hands for the present.
My respects to your amiable lady and all friends; and believe me as ever, though not a Mormon, your sincere friend,
James Arlington Bennett.
P.S.—I know of no reason why the Wasp was not continued to be sent to me. I don’t like the name. Mildness should characterize everything that comes from Nauvoo; and even a name, as Peleg says in his ethics, has much influence on one side or the other. My respects to your brother, its editor. I would just say that General John C. Bennett appeared to me to be in very low spirits, and I find that many communications intended for you from me have never reached you. Those books were made over to John C. Bennett, on the presumption that he would, in his own name, present them for the benefit of the Temple.
J. A. B.
The Prophet’s Place of Retirement Discovered.
Wednesday, August 17.—I walked out into the woods for exercise in company with Brother Derby where we were accidentally discovered by a young man. We asked him various questions concerning the public feeling and situation of matters around, to all which he answered promptly. On being requested not to make it known where we were, he promised faithfully he would not, and said time would tell whether he did or no.
Letter of Wilson Law to Joseph Smith—Advising that the Prophet Secrete himself in Nauvoo.
Nauvoo City, Illinois, August 17, 1842.
Lieutenant-General Joseph Smith:
Dear Friend:—Everything is moving along in the city in the usual tranquil and industrious manner. There is no change in the appearance of things that a common observer could see, although to one who knows and is acquainted with the countenances of the thinking few, it is evident that their minds are troubled more than common; and I know by myself that they cannot help it. And why should it be otherwise, when the Lord’s anointed is hunted like a lion of the forest, by the most wicked and oppressive generation that has ever been since the days of our Savior. Indeed, every movement of this generation reminds me of the history of the people who crucified Christ. It was nothing but mob law, mob rule, and mob violence all the time. The only difference is that the governors then were more just than the governors now; they were willing to acquit innocent men, but our governors now despise justice, garble and pervert the law, and join in with the mob in pursuit of innocent blood.
I have been meditating on your communication of yesterday, and will just add a thought or so on the subject, respecting particularly your going to the Pine country. I think I would not go there for some time, if at all. I do not believe that an armed force will come upon us at all unless they get hold of you first; and then we rescue you, which we would do under any circumstances, with the help of God; but I would rather do it within the limits of the city, under the laws of the city. Therefore I would think it better to quarter in the city and not long in one place at once. I see no reason why you might not stay in safety within the city for months without any knowing it, only those who ought, and that as few as is necessary.
I must close for the present, remaining as ever, your affectionate friend and obedient servant,
Letter of Emma Smith to Governor Carlin—Pleading the Cause of the Prophet and the People of Nauvoo Before his Excellency.
Nauvoo, August 17, 1842.
To his Excellency Governor Carlin:
Sir:—It is with feeling of no ordinary cast that I have retired, after the business of the day, and evening too, to address your honor. I am at a loss how to commence; my mind is crowded with subjects too numerous to be contained in one letter. I find myself almost destitute of that confidence, necessary to address a person holding the authority of your dignified and responsible office; and I would now offer, as an excuse for intruding upon your time and attention, the justice of my cause.
Was my cause the interest of an individual, or of a number of individuals, then, perhaps, I might be justified in remaining silent. But it is not. Nor is it the pecuniary interest of a whole community alone that prompts me again to appeal to your Excellency. But, dear Sir, it is for the peace and safety of hundreds, I may safely say, of this community, who are not guilty of any offense against the laws of the country; and also the life of my husband, who has not committed any crime whatever; neither has he transgressed any of the laws, or any part of the Constitution of the United States; neither has he at any time infringed upon the rights of any man, or of any class of men, or community of any description. Need I say he is not guilty of the crime alleged against him by Governor Boggs? Indeed it does seem entirely superfluous for me, or any one of his friends in this place, to testify his innocence of that crime, when so many of the citizens of your place and of many other places in this state, as well as in the Territory, [of Iowa] do know positively that the statement of Governor Boggs is without the least shadow of truth: and we do know, and so do many others, this the prosecution against him has been conducted in an illegal manner; and every act demonstrates the fact that ail the design of the prosecution is to throw him into the power of his enemies, without the least ray of hope that he would ever be allowed to obtain a fair trial: and that he would be inhumanly and ferociously murdered, no person, having a knowledge of the existing circumstances, has one remaining doubt: and your honor will recollect that you said to me that you would not advise Mr. Smith ever to trust himself in Missouri.
And, dear Sir, you cannot for one moment indulge unfriendly feeling towards him, if he abides by your counsel. Then, Sir, why is it that he should be thus cruelly pursued? Why not give him the privilege of the laws of this state? When I reflect upon the many cruel and illegal operations of Lilburn W. Boggs, and the consequent suffering of myself and family, and the incalculable losses and sufferings of many hundreds who survived, and the many precious lives that were lost,—all the effect of unjust prejudice and misguided ambition, produced by misrepresentation and calumny, my bosom heaves with unutterable anguish. And who, that is as well acquainted with the facts as the people at the city of Quincy, would censure me, if I should say that my heart burned with just indignation towards our calumniators as well as the perpetrators of those horrid crimes?
But happy would I now be to pour out my heart in gratitude to Governor Boggs, if he had rose up with the dignity and authority of the chief executive of the state, and put down every illegal transaction, and protected the peaceable citizens and enterprising immigrants from the violence of plundering outlaws, who have ever been a disgrace to the state, and always will, so long as they go unpunished. Yes, I say, how happy would I be to render him not only the gratitude of my own heart, but the cheering effusions of the joyous souls of fathers and mothers, of brothers and sisters, widows and orphans, whom he might have saved, by such a course, from now drooping under the withering hand of adversity, brought upon them by the persecutions of wicked and corrupt men.
And now may I entreat your Excellency to lighten the hand of oppression and persecution which is laid upon me and my family, which materially affect the peace and welfare of this whole community; for let me assure you that there are many whole families that are entirely dependent upon the prosecution and success of Mr. Smith’s temporal business for their support; and, if he is prevented from attending to the common vocations of life, who will employ those innocent, industrious, poor people, and provide for their wants?
But, my dear Sir, when I recollect the interesting interview I and by friends had with you, when at your place, and the warm assurances you gave us of your friendship and legal protection, I cannot doubt for a moment your honorable sincerity; but do still expect you to consider our claims upon your protection from every encroachment upon our legal rights as loyal citizens, as we always have been, still are, and are determined always to be a law-abiding people; and I still assure myself that, when you are fully acquainted with the illegal proceedings practiced against us in the suit of Governor Boggs, you will recall those writs which have been issued against Mr. Smith and Rockwell, as you must be aware that Mr. Smith was not in Missouri, and of course he could not have left there; with many other considerations, which, if duly considered, will justify Mr. Smith in the course he has taken.
And now I appeal to your Excellency, as I would unto a father, who is not only able but willing to shield me and mine from every unjust prosecution. I appeal to your sympathies, and beg you to spare me and my helpless children. I beg you to spare my innocent children the heart-rending sorrow of again seeing their father unjustly dragged to prison, or to death. I appeal to your affections as a son, and beg you to spare our aged mother—the only surviving parent we have left—the unsupportable affliction of seeing her son, whom she knows to be innocent of the crimes laid to his charge, thrown again into the hands of his enemies, who have so long sought for his life; in whose life and prosperity she only looks for the few remaining comforts she can enjoy. I entreat of your Excellency to spare us these afflictions and many sufferings which cannot be uttered, and secure to yourself the pleasure of doing good, and vastly increasing human happiness—secure to yourself the benediction of the aged, and the gratitude of the young, and the blessing and the veneration of the rising generation.
Respectfully, your most obedient,
P.S.—Sir, I hope you will favor me with an answer.
The Prophet’s Removal to Carlos Granger’s in Nauvoo.
Several rumors were afloat in the city, intimating that my retreat had been discovered, and that it was no longer safe for me to remain at Brother Sayers’; consequently Emma came to see me at night, and informed me of the report. It was considered wisdom that I should remove immediately, and accordingly I departed in company with Emma and Brother Derby, and went to Carlos Granger’s, who lived in the north-east part of the city. Here we were kindly received and well treated.
Governor Carlin’s Views of Affairs in Nauvoo.
Friday morning, 19. William Clayton presented Emma’s letter of the 17th to Governor Carlin at Quincy, in presence of Judge Ralston. The governor read the letter with much attention, apparently; and when he got through he passed high encomiums on Emma Smith, and expressed astonishment at the judgment and talent manifest in the manner of her address. He presented the letter to Judge Ralston, requesting him to read it. Governor Carlin then proceeded to reiterate the same language as on a former occasion, viz., that he was satisfied there was “no excitement anywhere but in Nauvoo, amongst the ‘Mormons’ themselves;” all was quiet, and no apprehension of trouble in other places, so far as he was able to ascertain.
He afterwards stated, when conversing on another subject, that “persons were offering their services every day, either in person or by letter, and held themselves in readiness to go against the ‘Mormons’ whenever he should call upon them; but he never had the least idea of calling out the militia, neither had he thought it necessary.”
There was evidently a contradiction in his assertions in the above instances; and, although he said “there was no excitement but amongst the Mormons,” it is evident he knew better. He also said that it was his opinion that, if Joseph would give himself up to the sheriff, he would be honorably acquitted, and the matter would be ended; but, on Judge Ralston asking how he thought Mr. Smith could go through the midst of his enemies, without violence being used towards him; and, if acquitted, how he was to get back; the governor was evidently at a loss what to say, but made light of the matter, as though he thought it might be easily done. Be took great care to state that it was not his advice that Mr. Smith should give himself up, but thought it would be soonest decided. It appeared evident, by the conversation, that Governor Carlin was no friend to the Saints, and they could expect no good things from him. He explicitly acknowledged his ignorance of the law touching the case in question.
The Prophet’s Return to His Home.
After spending the day in conversation and reading, in the evening I received a visit from my aunt Temperance Mack, and at night went to the city and concluded to tarry at home until something further transpired relative to the designs of my persecutors.
Saturday, 20.—Spent the day in my general business office, otherwise called the Lodge, or Assembly Room, or Council Chamber, which is over my store, and the place where most of the business of the city and Church is transacted: my health very indifferent. In the evening had an interview with my Brother Hyrum, William Law, Wilson Law, Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, on the illegality of the proceedings of our persecutors.
Minutes of the Nauvoo High Council Meeting, August 20th, 1842.
The High Council, in session, “Resolved that the city of Nauvoo be divided into ten [ecclesiastical] wards, according to the division made by the temple committee; and that there be a bishop appointed over each ward; and also that other bishops be appointed over such districts immediately out of the city and adjoining thereto as shall be considered necessary. Resolved that Samuel H. Smith be appointed bishop in the place of Bishop Vinson Knight, deceased; also that Tarleton Lewis be appointed bishop of the 4th ward; John Murdock, of the 5th ward; Daniel Garn, of the 6th ward; Newel K. Whitney, of the 7th ward; Jacob Foutz, of the 8th ward; Jonathan H. Hale, of the 9th ward; Hezekiah Peck, of the 10th ward; David Evans, of the district south of the city, called the 11th ward; Israel Calkins, of the district east of the city, and south of Knight street; William W. Spencer, of the district east of the city and north of Knight street.” 2
The city council instructed the sexton to report weekly to the editor of some newspaper published in this city, the names and ages of persons deceased, and the nature of their disease, or cause of their death.
Ordination of Amasa M. Lyman to the Apostleship.
The Twelve met in council, and ordained Amasa Lyman to be one of the Twelve Apostles. Amasa Lyman was born in Lyman, Grafton county, N. H., 30th March, 1813, where he received the gospel through the ministry of Elder Orson Pratt, 27 April 1832; ordained an elder under my hands, 23rd 1832, in Hiram, Portage county, Ohio. He was one of my fellow-prisoners, bound with the same chain in Richmond jail, Missouri.
John C. Bennett Deposed as Chancellor of Nauvoo University.
John C. Bennett was declared unworthy to hold the office of chancellor of the University, and was discharged; and Orson Spencer was elected in his stead, and received the oath of office. Amasa Lyman was elected regent of the University, in place of Vinson Knight, deceased.
Sidney Rigdon’s Reaffirmation of his Faith
This day Sidney Rigdon went to the meeting near the Temple, and stated to the congregation, that he was not upon the stand to renounce his faith in Mormonism, as had been variously stated by enemies and licentious presses, but appeared to bear his testimony of its truth, and add another to the many miraculous evidences of the power of God; neither did he rise to deliver any regular discourse, but to unfold to the audience a scene of deep interest which had occurred in his own family. He had witnessed many instances of the power of God in this Church, but never before had he seen the dead raised; yet this was a thing that had actually taken place in his own family.
The Strange Experience of Eliza Rigdon.
His daughter Eliza was dead. The doctor told them that she was gone; when, after a considerable length of time, she rose up in the bed and spoke in a very powerful tone to the following effect, in a supernatural manner:—She said to the family that she was going to leave them (being impressed with the idea herself that she had only come back to deliver her message, and then depart again), saying the Lord had said to her the very words she should relate; and so particular was she in her relation, that she would not suffer any person to leave out a word or add one. She called the family all around her, and bade them farewell, with a composure and calmness that defies all description, still impressed with the idea that she was to go back.
Up to the time of her death, she expressed a great unwillingness to die; but, after her return, she expressed equally as strong a desire to go back. She said to her elder sister, Nancy, “It is in your heart to deny this work; and if you do, the Lord says it will be the damnation of your soul.” In speaking to her sister Sarah, she said, “Sarah, we have but once to die, and I would rather die now, than wait for another time.” She said to her sisters that the Lord had great blessings in store for them, if they continued in the faith; and after delivering her message, she swooned, but recovered again.
During this time, she was as cold as she will be when laid in the grave, and all the appearance of life was the power of speech. She thus continued till the following evening, for the space of thirty-six hours, when she called her father unto her bed, and said to him that the Lord had said to her, if he would cease weeping for his sick daughter, and dry up his tears, that he should have all the desires of his heart; and that if he would go to bed and rest, he should be comforted over his sick daughter, for in the morning she should be getting better, and should get well: that the Lord had said unto her, because that her father had dedicated her to God, and prayed to Him for her, the He would restore her back to him again.
The ceremony of dedicating and praying took place when she was struggling in death, and continued to the very moment of her departure; and she says the Lord told her that it was because of this that she must go back to her father again, though she herself desired to stay.
She said concerning George W. Robinson, as he had denied the faith, the Lord had taken away one of his eyeteeth, and unless he repented he would take away another; and concerning Dr. Bennett that he was a wicked man and that the Lord would tread him under his feet. Such is a small portion of what she related.
Elder Rigdon’s Attitude Towards the Prophet.
Elder Rigdon observed that there had been many idle tales and reports abroad concerning him, stating that he had denied the faith; but he would take that opportunity to state that his faith was, and had been, unshaken in the truth. It has also been rumored that I believe that Joseph Smith is a fallen prophet. In regard to this I unequivocally state that I never thought so, but declare that I know he is a prophet of the Lord, called and chosen in this last dispensation, to roll the kingdom of God for the last time. He closed by saying, as it regards to religion, he had no controversy with the world, having an incontrovertible evidence that, through obedience to the ordinances of the religion, he now believes the Lord had actually given back his daughter from the dead. No person need, therefore come to reason with him, to convince him of error, or make him believe another religion, unless those who profess it can show, though obedience to its laws, the dead have been, and can be, raised; if it has not such power, it would be insulting his feelings to ask him to reason about it; and if it had, it would be no better than the one he had; and so he had done with controversy; wherefore he dealt in facts and not in theory.
Remarks of Hyrum Smith.
President Hyrum Smith spoke at great length and with great power. He cited Elder Rigdon’s mind back to the revelation concerning him, that if he would move into the midst of the city and defend the truth, he should be healed, &c.; and showed that what Elder Rigdon felt in regard to the improvement in his health was a fulfillment of the revelation.
He then proceeded to show the folly of any person’s attempting to overthrow or destroy Joseph, and read from the Book of Mormon in various places concerning the Prophet who, it was prophesied, should be raised up in the last days, setting forth the work he was destined to accomplish, and that he had only just commenced; but insamuch as we could plainly see that the former part of the prophecy had been literally fulfilled, we might be assured that the latter part would also be fulfilled, and that Joseph would live to accomplish the great things concerning him, &c.
Hyrum Smith’s Admonition.
He concluded his address by calling upon the Saints to take courage and fear not, and also told Elder Rigdon that inasmuch as he had seen the mercy of the Lord exerted in his behalf, it was his duty to arise and stand in defense of the truth and innocence, and of those who were being persecuted innocently; and finally called for all those who were willing to support and uphold Joseph, and who believed that he was doing his duty and was innocent of the charges alleged against him by our enemies, to hold up their right hands; when almost every hand was raised and not opposite vote was called for.
Effect of the Meeting.
The meeting was productive of great good by inspiring the Saints with new zeal and courage, and weakening the heads and hearts of the treacherous, and of evil and designing persons disposed to secret combinations against the truth. Elder Rigdon visited Brother Hyrum in the course of the day, and manifested a determination to arouse his [Rigdon’s] energies in defense of the truth.
The Prophet’s Blessing on Joseph Knight, Sen.
Tuesday, 22.—I find my feelings of the 16th inst. towards my friends revived, 3 while I contemplate the virtues and the good qualities and characteristics of the faithful few, which I am now recording in the Book of the Law of the Lord,—of such as have stood by me in every hour of peril, for these fifteen long years past,—say, for instance, my aged and beloved brother, Joseph Knight, Sen., who was among the number of the first to administer to my necessities, while I was laboring in the commencement of the bringing forth of the work of the Lord, and of laying the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For fifteen years he has been faithful and true, and even-handed and exemplary, and virtuous and kind, never deviating to the right hand or the left. Behold he righteous man, may God Almighty lengthen out the old man’s days; and may his trembling, tortured, and broken body be renewed, and in the vigor of health turn upon him, if it be Thy will, consistently, O God; and it shall be said of him, by the sons of Zion, while there is one of them remaining, that this man was a faithful man in Israel; therefore his name shall never be forgotten.
Newel Knight and Joseph Knight, Jun., the Prophet’s Friends.
There are his sons, Newel Knight and Joseph Knight, Jun., whose names I record in the Book of the Law of the Lord with unspeakable delight, for they are my friends.
The Prophet’s Feelings Towards Orrin Porter Rockwell.
There is a numerous host of faithful souls, whose names I could wish to record in the Book of the Law of the Lord; but time and chance would fail. I will mention, therefore, only a few of them as emblematic of those who are too numerous to be written. But there is one man I would mention, namely Orrin Porter Rockwell, who is now a fellow-wanderer with myself, an exile from his home, because of the murderous deeds, and infernal, fiendish dispositions of the indefatigable and unrelenting hand of the Missourians. He is an innocent and a noble boy. May God Almighty deliver him from the hands of his pursuers. He was an innocent and a noble child and my soul loves him. Let this be recorded for ever and ever. Let the blessings of salvation and honor be his portion.
The Prophet’s Testimony of his Father.
But, as I said before, so say I again, while I remember the faithful few who are now living, I would remember also the faithful of my friends who are dead, for they are many; and many are the acts of kindness—paternal and brotherly kindnesses—which they have bestowed upon me; and since I have been hunted by the Missourians, many are the scenes which have been called to my mind. I have remembered scenes of my childhood. I have thought of my father who is dead, who died by disease which was brought upon him through suffering by the hands of ruthless mobs. He was a great and good man. The envy of knaves and fools was heaped upon him, and this was his lot and portion all the days of his life. He was of noble stature and possessed a high, and holy, and exalted, and virtuous mind. His soul soared above all those mean and groveling principles that are so congenial to the human heart. I now say that he never did a mean act, that might be said was ungenerous in his life, to my knowledge. I love my father and his memory; and the memory of his noble deeds rests with ponderous weight upon my mind, and many of his kind and parental words to me are written on the tablet of my heart.
Sacred to me are the thoughts which I cherish of the history of his life, that have rolled through my mind, and have been implanted there by my own observation, since I was born. Sacred to me is his dust, and the spot where he is laid. Sacred to me is the tomb I have made to encircle o’er his head. Let the memory of my father eternally live. Let his soul, or the spirit, my follies forgive. With him may I reign one day in the mansions above, and tune up the lyre of anthems, of the eternal Jove. May the God that I love look down from above and save me from my enemies here, and take me by the hand that on Mount Zion I may stand, and with my father crown me eternally there.
Words and language are inadequate to express the gratitude that I owe to God for having given me so honorable a parentage.
The Prophet’s Characterization of his Mother.
My mother also is one of the noblest and the best of all women. May God grant to prolong her days and mine, that we may live to enjoy each other’s society long, yet in the enjoyments of liberty, and to breathe the free air.
The Prophet’s Description of his Brother Alvin.
Alvin, my oldest brother—I remember well the pangs of sorrow that swelled my youthful bosom and almost burst my tender heart when he died. He was the oldest and the noblest of my father’s family. He was one of the noblest of the sons of men. Shall his name not be remembered in this book? Yes, Alvin, let it be had here and be handed down on these sacred pages for ever and ever. In him there was no guile. He lived without spot from the time he was a child. From the time of his birth he never knew mirth. He was candid and sober and never would play; and minded his father and mother in toiling all day. He was one of the soberest of men, and when he died the angel of the Lord visited him in his last moments.
These childish lines I record in remembrance of my childish scenes.
The Character of Don Carlos.
My brother Don Carlos Smith, whose name I desire to record, also was a noble boy; I never knew of any fault in him; I never saw the first immoral act, or the first irreligious or ignoble disposition in the child from the time that he was born till the time of his death. He was a lovely, a good-natured, a kind-hearted and a virtuous and a faithful, upright child; and where his soul goes, let mine go also. He lies by the side of my father.
Leave my father, Don Carlos and Alvin and children that I have buried be brought and laid in the tomb I have built. Let my mother and my brethren and my sister be laid there also; and let it be called the tomb of Joseph, a descendant of Jacob; and when I die let me be gathered to the tomb of my father.
The Prophet’s Prayer.
There are many souls whom I have loved stronger than death. To them I have proved faithful—to them I am determined to prove faithful, until God calls me to resign up my breath. O Thou, who seest and knowest the hearts of all men—Thou eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Jehovah—God—Thou Eloheim, that sittest, as saith the Psalmist, “enthroned in heaven,” look down upon Thy servant Joseph at this time; and let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, to a greater degree than Thy servant ever yet has enjoyed, be conferred upon him, even the faith of Elijah; and let the lamp of eternal life be lit up in his heart, never to be taken away; and let the words of eternal life be poured upon the soul of Thy servant, that he may know Thy will, Thy statutes, and Thy commandments, and Thy judgments, to do them.
As the dews upon Mount Hermon, may the distallations of Thy divine grace, glory, and honor, in the plenitude of Thy mercy, and power, and goodness, be poured down upon the head of Thy servant, O Lord, God, my heavenly Father, shall it be in vain, that Thy servant must needs be exiled from the midst of his friends, or be dragged from their bosoms, to clank in cold and iron chains; to be thrust within the dreary prison walls; to spend days of sorrow and grief, and misery there, by the hand of an infuriated, incensed, and infatuated foe; to glut their infernal and insatiable desire upon innocent blood; and for no other cause, on the part of Thy servant, than for the defense of innocence; and Thou a just God will not hear his cry? Oh, no; Thou wilt hear me—a child of woe pertaining to this mortal life, because of sufferings here, but not for condemnation that shall come upon him in eternity; for Thou knowest, O God, the integrity of his heart. Thou hearest me, and I knew that Thou wouldst hear me, and mine enemies shall not prevail; they all shall melt like wax before Thy face, and, as the mighty floods and waters roar, or as the bellowing earthquake’s devouring gulf, or rolling thunder’s loudest peal, or vivid forked lightning’s flash. or sound of the archangel’s trump, or voices of the Eternal God,—so shall the souls of my enemies be made to feel in an instant, suddenly, and shall be taken, and ensnared, and fall backwards, and stumble in the ditch they have dug for my feet, and the feet of my friends, and perish in their own infamy and shame, be thrust down to an eternal hell, for their murderous and hellish deeds!
I design to renew this subject at a future time.
Received an interesting visit from mother and aunt Temperance Mack. My health and spirits good.
This afternoon received a few lines from Emma, informing me that she would expect me home this evening, believing that she could take care of me better at home than elsewhere. Accordingly, soon after dark, I started for home, and arrived safe, without being noticed by any person. All is quiet in the city.
1. Bennett’s book, “The History of the Saints, or an Exposure of Joseph Smith and Mormonism,” was not published by the New York Herald, but by a Boston publishing house, Leland & Whiting, 71 Washington St. The book was a failure from every point of view, in structure, literary merit and convincing power. The insincerity and the corrupt-mindedness of the author is loudly proclaimed by the ribald spirit that pervades the whole work.
2. On March 1st, 1842, Nauvoo was divided into four ecclesiastical wards, (Church History, Vol. 4, pp. 305-6), and four bishops were set to preside over them, viz.: Newel K. Whitney. George Miller, Isaac Higbee, and Vinson Knight. (See “History of the Aaronic Priesthood”—Orson F. Whitney—Contributor, Vol. 6. p. 405). There is, however, some uncertainty as to the respective wards over which these bishops presided. Previous to this division of Nauvoo into four wards, there had been but three wards, known as the middle, upper and lower wards, which division was recognized at the October conference held at commerce (afterwards Nauvoo) on the 6th, 7th and 8th of October, 1839. Edward Partridge was made bishop of the upper ward; Newel K. Whitney of the middle ward; and Vinson Knight of the lower ward, (see History of the Church, Vol. 4, p. 12). When the division of the city into four wards was made on the 1st of March, 1842, Isaac Higbee, was made bishop of the 2nd ward (see autobiographical sketch of Isaac Higbee in Jenson’s “Biographical Encyclopedia,” p. 480). In what wards the other bishops presided cannot be determined with certainty. But as matters stood after the division of the city into ten wards, with the assignments of the text made—with Tarleton Lewis as bishop of the 4th ward, and Newel K. Whitney as bishop of the 7th ward—the bishops of the 1st and 3rd wards would be Samuel H. Smith and George Miller, but which presided over the 1st and which over the 3rd cannot be ascertained. The reason for mentioning the fact that Newel K. Whitney was bishop of the 7th ward, is because in all other publications of the text above, the 7th ward and who was bishop of it is omitted.