, Letter, , to JS, , Philadelphia Co., PA, 24 Dec. 1839. Featured version copied [between Apr. and June 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 119–122; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 24 December 1839, wrote a letter from to JS, who was then visiting the in and surrounding areas. Though Foster was traveling with the church’s delegation to the federal government, he was not an official member of that group. Instead, he had been asked to accompany , who was recovering from malaria. Foster wrote in a later reminiscence that after JS and left for Philadelphia, Foster remained in Washington in order “to take care of Mr. Rigdon; and also to wait upon every preacher in the city.” In this letter, Foster briefly updated JS on Rigdon’s health and described his own proselytizing efforts, including an encounter with Reverend George G. Cookman, a prominent Methodist minister in the city.
JS received the letter a few days after sent it and responded on 30 December. Foster’s original letter is not extant. copied the version featured here into JS Letterbook 2 sometime between April and June 1840.
The English-born Cookman immigrated to the United States in 1825 and in 1838 moved to Washington DC, where he led the congregation at Wesley Chapel. Seven days after Foster wrote this letter, the United States Senate appointed Cookman as its chaplain, a position he held until he perished at sea in March 1841. (Ridgaway, Life of the Rev. Alfred Cookman, 19–20, 31, 63, 65, 72–76, 81; Journal of the Senate of the United States, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., 31 Dec. 1839, 68.)
Ridgaway, Henry B. The Life of the Rev. Alfred Cookman; with Some Account of His Father, the Rev. George Grimston Cookman. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1873.
Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Being the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, December 2, 1839, and in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Independence of the Said United States. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1839.
Since you left this I have been endeavoring to magnify my calling in some measure, and have succeeded so far in my work, by the assistance of God as to show to the Satisfaction of all the inmates of the house where you left me boarding that Mormonism is no bugbear but the truths of Jesus Christ, as testifyed by Paul, Peter and all the Apostles and inspired writers, You are aware that the Lady. Mrs. Baker was very hostile when you left, but her proud heart has come down, and she now says she was once afraid to have me in the house, but is now willing I should stay. The day you left and the next day I kept preaching in the chimney corner, and to Mrs. Baker, who acted as though she was possessed of Seven Devils, but I kept a steady hand. Last night I got up and preached till 11½ P.M., and they listened, said they believd us verily, but they have not courage to come out; they are going to invite their relatives & friends so, as to give me a fair chance to preach; they say I am the greatest preacher they ever heard: God blessed me more in that endeavour than I can express, yea Brothe[r] <my> very heart glorifies God for his goodness. what was said I dont know, but I do know I had a feast, and to morrow they are going to have three friends come and see me; that girl says she wants to be ; though her Bro. is coming <to> see her in regard to it as he is her guardian. I pray that you would lend me your special prayers in this matter & and verily believe you will. As I was agoing to say they all listened attentively, and after this I asked God to add his blessings to what had been done and said, and they all responded amen; they then [p. 119]