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.
<June 8.> “The political views of the Prophet are as far in advance of the age as his religious principles— liberal, enlightened, and comprehensive; they are totally unique. The friend of equal rights and liberty, he advocates the emancipation of the slaves, and the opening of the prison doors. Independent in his actions, he cares for neither wealth nor fame, but is the friend of the poor. Uncorrupted by the spoils of office, he is opposed to the political aristocrats of lining their pockets with the hard earnings of the poor democracy. His liberality and benevolence extends from pole to pole; hear his views: ‘come , come , come , and come all the world; let us be brethren; let us be one great family; and let there be universal peace.’ What can be more liberal, more benevolent, or more in accordance with the spirit of our free institutions. Opposed to the low systems of political chicanery, practised by the corrupt office seekers of the age; he advocates the principles of unadulterated freedom. The friend of all mankind, he studies the convenience of the people more than the comfort of the cabinet. Uncompromisingly the friend of truth and freedom, he would carry out the spirit of our Republican constitution, without respect to party or fear of consequences.
“He stands alone; modern degeneracy has not reached him. Stern and unyielding in his integrity, the features of his character bear the stamp of Roman patriotism. No narrow system of vicious politics, no political demagoguery, no contest for the spoils of office, have sunk him to the vulgar level of the great; but unfathomable, great, and benevolent, his object is the freedom of the world, his ambition to win the love of all mankind. The sight of his mind is almost infinite, his schemes are to affect, not the and the present age only, but the world and posterity. And judging the future by the past, the means by which these objects will be accomplished, though seemingly small and insignificant, will be always seasonable, always adequate, the suggestions of an understanding animated by love, and illuminated by inspiration.
“Comprehension in his views, unflinching in his patriotism, uncontaminated by his intercourse with the world, unsullied in his character, unbending in his morality, independent in his actions, high literary attainments, of great practial capabilities, a gentleman and a scholar, what more can we ask in a Chief Magistrate. A character so exalted, so various, so grand, astonishes this corrupt age, and the political demagogues and office seekers, struggling for ‘the loaves and fishes’ tremble in every limb, and quiver, through fear, in every muscle, at the name of the far-famed General Joseph Smith. I cannot better express my opinion of him than in the language of Robinson in his character of the celebrated William Pitt: ‘Upon the whole there is something in this man that would create, subvert, and reform; an understanding, a spirit and an eloquence, to summon mankind to society, and break the bonds of slavery asunder— something to rule the wildness of free minds: something that could establish or overwhelm empires, and strike a blow in the world that should resound through the universe.’
“May the Great Jehovah inspire his heart with wisdom and understanding sufficient to lead his people in the paths of truth and righteousness, and bring about the reformation of mankind. May he be endowed with power to establish universal peace, prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, and usher in the glorious millenium, and that he may have the divine sanction to all his proceedings, and be blessed in all his undertakings, is the sincere desire of,