JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Lake Co., OH, 26 Jan. 1841; handwriting of ; three pages; Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA. Includes postal and archival markings.
Bifolium measuring 12¾ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm) when folded. The letter was written on the first three pages of the bifolium and then trifolded in letter style, sealed, addressed, and stamped for mailing. The last page is torn where the letter was opened, and remnants of a red adhesive wafer are present. The letter has undergone conservation for various tears near the folds and where the letter was torn when opened. The document also may have been damaged by water.
The early custodial history of the letter is unknown. The Huntington Library purchased the document in November 1964 from Maxwell Hunley of Beverly Hills, California.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery to Maxwell Hunley Rare Books, Receipt, 10 Nov. 1964, Maxwell Hunley Rare Books, Records, 1952–1967, Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California Los Angeles; see also the archival notations on the folder housing the featured document at Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.
Maxwell Hunley Rare Books, Records, 1952–1967. Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California Los Angeles.
On 26 January 1841, JS wrote a letter to encouraging him to cooperate with in leading the at , Ohio. Granger, who was working to resolve outstanding debts of JS and the church, was appointed as the presiding officer over the Kirtland Saints in May 1839. However, a general of the church held in October 1840 assigned Babbitt to that position. Babbitt had only recently been cleared of charges that included speaking against JS and other church leaders, but JS had been under the impression that Granger would soon return to the , Illinois, area, necessitating the appointment of another presiding officer in Kirtland. JS expressed concern that the news of the leadership change would upset Granger and assured him of his confidence that the two men could work together in leading the Kirtland church.
JS also addressed ’s assignment of extricating JS and other church leaders from debts they owed to merchants in . JS applauded Granger’s apparent success in paying off a mortgage that the firm of Mead, Stafford & Co. held against the and informed Granger that , and possibly , would be traveling to the eastern to help with the church’s business transactions. JS also asked to be kept informed of Granger’s progress in paying off the remainder of the debts.
With serving as scribe, JS began writing the letter after receiving one from as well as additional correspondence discussing the state of the church in and Granger’s attempts to pay off the debts. After receiving another letter from Granger, dated 9 January 1841, JS continued composing this letter. The letter includes two initialed postscripts by JS, and a postmark indicates he mailed the letter from on 29 January 1841. If the letter took the same amount of time to get to Kirtland as Granger’s correspondence took to get to Nauvoo, Granger would have received the letter sometime around mid-February 1841.
I wrote you a few days ago in answer to a letter recently received from you, expressing my surprise that I had not received the letters you mentioned; Since that time, I have to inform you that I have received two letters giving me an account of the proceeding of the in and some of your business transactions. I am extreemely sorry that the person by whom you sent those letters did not hand them over to me sooner, however, I assure you, I was glad to pe◊◊◊◊ <read> them and felt very much satisfied with the perusal. I was likewise very much pleased with the spirit which was manifest by the saints in and for their desire to promote the interests of the Kingdom.
If those letters had been received in their propper time, the we probably might have acted differently at the last , but not having the information we desired, we acted to the best of our understanding, which I hope will prove advantageous to all parties. I hope you will not let any of the proceeding of last Conference disturb your mind, for we understood you were intending to come here last fall, and consequently thought it advisable to appoint some one to preside in . I should be glad if you would co-opperate with and both lay your Shoulders to the work, and if you do so I think you will be a blessing to the Church, and prosperity will Smile upon you.
The letter JS wrote to Granger and the one he received from him are apparently not extant. The letter from Granger was evidently written prior to 9 January 1841, the date of a subsequent letter from Granger to which JS later referred in this reply.
A 19 October 1840 letter JS and Hyrum Smith wrote to the Kirtland Saints did not express such pleasure. It instead chastised church leaders in Kirtland for not writing to JS and his fellow prisoners when they were in jail at Liberty, Missouri, during winter 1838–1839. The letter also counseled those in Kirtland to “put away from your midst all evil speaking, backbiting & ungerous thoughts and feelings” so that “the blessings of Jehovah” could be poured out on them. (Letter to the Saints in Kirtland, OH, 19 Oct. 1840.)