JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , New York Co., NY, 7 Sept. 1842; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm) when folded. The first three pages of the bifolium are inscribed. The document was trifolded in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer.
docketed the letter when he received it, and an unknown scribe added a docket as well. It is unclear how and when this letter came into the possession of the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department). By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL).
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 7 September 1842, JS composed a letter in , Illinois, to in , updating him on several matters, including the status of the construction of the Nauvoo and the ongoing attempts to arrest him and extradite him to . Bernhisel had been appointed of the New York City of the in 1841, and although he had corresponded with JS since then, the two men had never met. JS’s communication was a response to a letter Bernhisel had written to JS a month earlier on 8 August 1842. JS apparently received that letter when he was in hiding at the home of . The entry in JS’s journal for 7 September notes that in the morning, church members and of brought JS “several letters from some of the brethren in that region.” Bernhisel’s letter was likely one of them.
had apparently inquired about the material JS and others planned to use for the roofing on the and evidently offered to help acquire tin from for that purpose. Bernhisel had also apparently made arrangements to give JS as trustee-in-trust of the church part of a tract of land he had purchased near Nauvoo earlier that year. In his 7 September reply, JS informed Bernhisel that church leaders had not yet decided on the roofing material and that he would send him a deed for his purchased property. JS then described the ongoing efforts of certain officials in and to arrest and extradite him. Finally, he informed Bernhisel that and others—including members of the —were en route to on a mission and would more fully update him on the ongoing extradition attempts when they arrived.
JS likely dictated this letter to his clerk . The letter was sent to by post on 14 September. It was mailed from , Illinois, instead of , perhaps because JS suspected that some of his mail was being stolen by the men running the Nauvoo post office. Alternatively, because he was in hiding in Nauvoo at this time, JS may have had the letter mailed from Quincy in order to avoid alerting others to his continued presence in Nauvoo. It is unclear who mailed the letter, but it may have been either or , both of whom were and trusted associates of JS and were in Quincy on 14 September. Bernhisel received the letter by 1 October 1842, when he replied to JS.
In a letter he composed to the church around the same time, JS indicated that he was “journeying,” possibly to remain undetected by authorities seeking his arrest. (Letter to the Church, 7 Sept. 1842 [D&C 128].)
would not pay any attention to it. Thereby impeaching the proceedings of Congress and proving himself to be not a whit better than his Colleague of . He dispatched the , back with orders to take me at all hazards and pay no regard to our charter. But I concluded it best to keep out of their way, which I have been enabled to do. After tarrying a little over a week they went back to . I suppose they tarried away untill they thought I should be off my guard and last friday they started again with a reinforcment and (it is said) a new writ determining to take me in the night; but in this they were again disapointed for they did not arrive untill noon on Saturday, and when they got here I soon got out of their way. Thus you see I am obliged to exile myself to save the lives of the people as well as my own life from day to day, and for no cause. Now will not all true lovers of liberty and sacred rights arise and proclaim against the authors of such bloodthirsty and cruel persecution? Will the public not defend the innocent and stamp with indignity all such proceedings? Yes, let the public who love the constitution of <our> country arise and expose to the four quarters of the Earth the mean, low, abominable and blood thirsty conduct of those who are now seeking the innocent for no other purpose than to murder and spoil.
and the are on their way to your and will give you every information on the subject.