Letter from Samuel Bent and George W. Harris, 23 September 1840
and , Letter, , Hamilton Co., OH, to First Presidency (including JS) and Nauvoo high council, [, Hancock Co., IL], 23 Sept. 1840. Featured version copied [ca. Oct. 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 179–180; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
and wrote to the and the on 23 September 1840 regarding the progress of their fund-raising mission. Both members of the high council, Bent and Harris were appointed by the council on 17 July 1840 to procure funds for printing a new edition of the Book of Mormon, a new hymnal, and JS’s revision of the Bible. In this letter, they gave an account of their journey to , where printer was already securing contracts to have the Book of Mormon stereotyped and printed. Bent and Harris reported to church leaders in Nauvoo, Illinois, that although members of the church in and were enthusiastic about the publication efforts, they were generally poor and unable to contribute significantly to the project. Despite the Saints’ poverty, Bent and Harris were able to raise some money. They also agreed to make a future payment to the stereotyper and printer. These efforts, together with the advance subscriptions Robinson sold, were evidently enough to print the Book of Mormon. By October, Robinson had two thousand printed copies of the Book of Mormon, all paid for by the contracted deadlines.
The original letter is not extant but was likely carried to by , who apparently also delivered a 23 September letter that wrote to the First Presidency from and that contained content similar to and ’s letter. The two letters were read by clerk at the general in Nauvoo on 3 October. copied the letter from Bent and Harris into JS Letterbook 2, probably shortly after the conference.
and persevering & successful in the business whereunto he was sent. He has gained the confidence of the gent. with whom he has been transacting business in this , & has has done honor to the cause of Christ and his . We can further say to you, bretheren, We think the course he has taken and our united exertions with him has established the credit of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in this place, (I mean as to business transactions,) to that extent that we can obtain any amt. of Paper Type and other materials requisite to carry on the printing business to a large extent and upon terms that will warrant us success.
We therefore shall go on with renewed courage and zeal trusting in the Lord to prepare the way before us, and we feel to ask your prayers that God peradventure may expand the minds of the saints abroad, that they may be able to comprehend the magnitude of the work which we so much desire to accomplish, which, in all probability, will induce them to donate with alacrity.
Bro is preaching with the manifestations of the spirit, and power in this place and with considerable success. We think [when] leaves the city of the inhabitants thereof will be left without excuse for not receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ & his garments clear from their blood in the day of Judgement. Accept our love and best wishes,
Decades later, Robinson recounted that when he returned to Nauvoo he brought with him “several fonts of type, and material for a stereotype foundary and book-bindery, and a winter’s supply of news and book paper” that he had purchased from various suppliers in Ohio. Robinson bought some materials with cash and some on credit, which he reported paying in full within the allotted time. (Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” Return, May 1890, 261–262.)
The Return. Davis City, IA, 1889–1891; Richmond, MO, 1892–1893; Davis City, 1895–1896; Denver, 1898; Independence, MO, 1899–1900.