Letter to Emma Smith, 16 August 1842
JS, Letter, [near , Hancock Co., IL], to , [, Hancock Co., IL], 16 Aug. 1842. Featured version copied [between 21 and 23 Aug. 1842] in JS, Journal, Dec. 1841–Dec. 1842, in Book of the Law of the Lord, pp. 173–175; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124].
On 16 August 1842, while hiding at ’s house a few miles northeast of the site of the in , Illinois, JS wrote to in Nauvoo with instructions on how to prepare to flee with him from to , should the need arise. JS also expressed his feeling of contentment, even though he sent the letter in the midst of an attempt by Illinois officers to find him, arrest him, and extradite him to to face charges in connection with the attempted assassination of former governor . The night before JS wrote the letter, a group of his closest associates had traveled to Sayers’s farm to inform JS of recent developments in Nauvoo. The group was concerned about his safety, and during the conversation, which lasted until two o’clock in the morning, they urged him to prepare to travel to Wisconsin Territory. JS attempted to calm their fears. Writing to Emma later that morning, he emphasized that if they did depart from Nauvoo, it would be to ensure the safety of Emma and their family. The same morning, JS also wrote a letter to , asking for advice about whether he should leave Illinois., who appears to have been at ’s farm with JS on 16 August, probably wrote the original letter as JS dictated it to him; that original is no longer extant. delivered the letter to shortly after it was written. She apparently responded to JS’s letter that same day, although her letter of reply is undated. Clayton may have made a copy of JS’s original letter immediately after creating it, or he may have later obtained the original. Regardless, he copied the letter into JS’s journal after returning to , probably between 21 and 23 August, as suggested by the location of the letter in the Book of the Law of the Lord and by changes in ink color.