JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. F-1, created 9 Apr.–7 June 1856 and 20 Aug. 1856–6 Nov. 1856; handwriting of and Jonathan Grimshaw; 304 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the final volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This sixth volume covers the period from 1 May to 8 Aug. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1 through E-1, go through 30 Apr. 1844.
History, 1838-1856, volume F-1, constitutes the last of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 May 1844 to the events following his 27 June 1844 death, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in 1856.
The material recorded in volume F-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin, and also assistant church historian . Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the volume and creating a set of draft notes, which Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks. Woodruff gathered additional material concerning the death of Joseph Smith as a supplement to George A. Smith’s work recording that event. Jonathan Grimshaw and , members of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed the draft notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents.
According to the Historian’s Office journal, Jonathan Grimshaw initiated work on the text of volume F-1 on 9 April 1856, soon after Robert L. Campbell had completed work on volume E-1. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.) Grimshaw’s scribal work begins with an entry for 1 May 1844. Unlike previous volumes in which the numbering had run consecutively to page 2028, Grimshaw began anew with page 1. He transcribed 150 pages by June 1856, and his last entry was for 23 June 1844. Though more of his writing does not appear in the volume, he continued to work in the office until 2 August, before leaving for the East that same month. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 and 10 Aug. 1856.)
assumed the role of scribe on 20 August 1856. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 20 Aug. 1856.) He incorporated ’s draft notes for the period 24–29 June 1844 on pages 151–189, providing an account of JS’s death and its immediate aftermath. He next transcribed a related extract from ’s 1854 History of Illinois on pages 190–204. Pages 205–227 were left blank.
provided the notes for the final portion of the text. This account begins with an entry for 22 June 1844 and continues the record through 8 August 1844, ending on page 304. (The volume also included ten pages of addenda.) The last specific entry in the Historian’s Office journal that captures at work on the history is for 6 November 1856. A 2 February 1857 Wilford Woodruff letter to indicates that on 30 January 1857, the “presidency sat and heard the history read up to the organization of the church in , 8th. day of August 1844.” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 6 Nov. 1856; Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 2 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, p. 410; see also Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 28 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, pp. 430–431.)
The pages of volume F-1 contain a record of the final weeks of JS’s life and the events of the ensuing days. The narrative commences with and arriving at , Illinois, on 1 May 1844 from their lumber-harvesting mission in the “” of Wisconsin Territory. As the late spring and summer of 1844 unfold, events intensify, especially those surrounding the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor in mid-June. Legal action over the Expositor leads to a charge of riot, and subsequently JS is charged with treason and is incarcerated at the jail in , Illinois. The narrative of volume F-1 concludes with an account of the special church conference convened on 8 August 1844 to consider who should assume the leadership of the church.
<May 13> character, and conduct”, places you as a Kentuckian would pleasantly term it ‘in a bad fix’; but, sir, when the nation has sunk deeper and deeper in the mud at every turn of the great wheels of the union, while you have acted as one of the principle drivers, it becomes the bounden duty of the whole community, as one man, to whisper you on every point of government to uncover every act of your life, and enquire what mighty acts you have done to benefit the nation, how much you have tithed the mint to gratify your lust, and why the fragments of your raiment hang upon the thorns by the path as signals to beware!
“But your shrinkage is truly wonderful! Not only your banking system, and high tariff project, have vanished from your mind ‘like the baseless fabric of a vision’, but the ‘annexation of ’ has touched your pathetic sensibilities of national pride so acutely, that the poor Texans, your own brethren, may fall back into the ferocity of , or be sold at auction to British stock jobbers, and all is well, for ‘I’, the old senator from Kentucky, am fearful it would militate against my interest in the north to enlarge the borders of the union in the south. Truly ‘a poor wise child is better than an old foolish King who will be no longer admonished’. Who ever heard a nation that had too much territory? Was it ever bad policy to make friends? Has any people ever become too good to do good? No, never; but the ambition and vanity of some men have flown away with their wisdom and judgment, and left a creaking skeleton to occupy the place of a noble soul.
“Why, sir, the condition of the whole earth is lamentable. dreads the teeth and toe nails of . has the rheumatism, brought on by a horrid exposure to the heat and cold of British and American trappers; has caught a bad cold from extreme fatigue in the patriot war; South America has the headache, caused by bumps against the beams of Catholicity and Spanish sovereignty; Spain has the gripes from age and inquisition; trembles and wastes under the effects of contagious diseases; groans with the gout, and wiggles with wine; Italy and the German states are pale with the consumption; Prussia, Poland, and the little contiguous dynasties, duchies, and domains, have the mumps so severely, that ‘the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint’; Russia has the cramp by lineage; Turkey has the numb palsy; Africa, from the curse of God, has lost the use of her limbs; China is ruined by the Queen’s evil, and the rest of Asia fearfully exposed to the small pox the natural way from British pedlars; the islands of the sea are almost dead with the scurvy; the Indians are blind and lame; and the , which ought to be the good physician with ‘balm from Gilead’, and an ‘asylum for the oppressed’, has boosted and is boosting up into the council chamber of the government, a clique of political gamblers, to play for the old clothes and old shoes of a sick world, and ‘no pledge, no promise to any particular portion of the people’, that the rightful heirs will ever receive a cent of their Father’s legacy! Away with such self-important, self-aggrandizing, and self-willed demogogues! their friendship is colder than polar ice; and their professions meaner than the damnation of hell.
“Oh man! when such a great dilemma of the globe, such a tremendous convulsion of Kingdoms, shakes the earth from center to circumference; when castles, prison houses, and cells, raise a cry to God against the cruelty of man; when the mourning of the fatherless and the widow causes anguish in heaven; when the poor among all nations cry day and night for bread and a shelter from the heat and storm; and when the degraded black slave holds up his manacled hands to the great statemen of the , and sings,