JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, created 24 Feb. 1845–3 July 1845; handwriting of , , Jonathan Grimshaw, and ; 512 pages, plus 24 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the third volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This third volume covers the period from 2 Nov. 1838 to 31 July 1842; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, D-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842],” is the third of six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers the “Manuscript History” bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”). The completed six-volume collection covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 8 August 1844. The narrative in this volume commences on 2 November 1838 with JS and other church leaders being held prisoner by the “’s forces” at , Missouri, and concludes with the death of Bishop at , Illinois, on 31 July 1842. For a more complete discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to this history.
Volume C-1 was created beginning on or just after 24 February 1845 and its narrative was completed by 3 May 1845, although some additional work continued on the volume through 3 July of that year (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). It is in the handwriting of and contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda. Additional addenda for this volume were created at a later date as a supplementary document and appear in this collection as “History, 1838-1856, volume C-1 Addenda.” Compilers and Thomas Bullock drew heavily from JS’s letters, discourses, and diary entries; meeting minutes; church and other periodicals and journals; and reminiscences, recollections, and letters of church members and other contacts. At JS’s behest, Richards maintained the first-person, chronological-narrative format established in previous volumes, as if JS were the author. , , , and others reviewed and modified the manuscript prior to its eventual publication in the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News.
The historical narrative recorded in volume C-1 continued the account of JS’s life as prophet and president of the church. Critical events occurring within the forty-five-month period covered by this text include the Mormon War; subsequent legal trials of church leaders; expulsion of the Saints from Missouri; missionary efforts in by the and others; attempts by JS to obtain federal redress for the Missouri depredations; publication of the LDS Millennial Star in England; the migration of English converts to ; missionary efforts in other nations; the death of church patriarch ; the establishment of the city charter; the commencement of construction of the Nauvoo ; the expedition that facilitated temple construction; the introduction of the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons; the dedicatory prayer by on the Mount of Olives in Palestine; publication of the “Book of Abraham” in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons; publication of the JS history often referred to as the “Wentworth letter;” the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; and the inception of Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremonies.
<March 15 Petition of Joseph Smith for > the privileges of being examined before the Court, as the law directs; that the witnesses on the part of the were taken by force of arms, threatened with extirmination or immediate death, and were brought without subpoena or warrant, under the awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the mob or his persecutors; and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the gun, and that some of them have acknowledged since, which your Petitioners do testify, and are able to prove, that they did swear false, and that they did it in order to save their lives. And your Petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing of criminality against said Joseph Smith Junr. is false. We are personally acquainted with the circumstances, and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them, therefore we know that their testimony was false, and if he could have had a fair and impartial — — and lawful examination before the Court, and could have been allowed the privilege of introducing his witnesses, he could have disproved every thing that was against him; but the court suffered them to be intimidated— some of them in the presence of the court, and they were driven also, and hunted, and some of them driven entirely out of the . And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; that the spirit of the court was tyrannical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment during the examination was calculated to convince your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, prescribing him in the liberty of conscience, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the [HC 3:278] , and the State of , that a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the Court, purporting to be the religious sentiment of the said Joseph Smith Junr., which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it is false, and can prove also that it was false; because the witnesses testified that those sentiments were promulgated on certain days, and in the presence of large congregations; and your Petitioners can prove by those congregations, that the said Joseph Smith Junr. did not promulge such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion, as was testified of, and admitted before the Honorable ; and, at the same time, those things had no bearing in the case, that the said Joseph Smith Junr. was pretended to be charged with; and after the examination, the said Prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the State of ; whereas the said Joseph Smith Junr. did not levy war against the State of , neither did he commit any covert acts; neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the State of , during the time he is charged with having done so; and, further, your petitioners have yet to learn that the has an enemy; neither is the proof evident, nor the presumption great, in its most indignant form, upon the face of the testimony on the part of the , exparte as it is in its nature, that the said prisoner has committed the slightest degree of treason, or any other act of transgression against the laws of the State of ; and yet said prisoner has been committed to , Clay Co./ Mo./ for treason. He has continually offered bail to any amount that could be required, notwithstanding your petitioners allege that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also alledge [p. 896]