Letter from George Fidler, 23 March 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

. March 23rd. 1842
Respected Sir,
Should the liberty I may now take in addressing you or encroaching upon your time. be deemed an intrusion I hope it may be forgiven. I am aware while writing that you are much oppressed by Public business and have little time to dedicate to any particular individual but should you do me the Honour of perusing the following it will be confering an everlasting obligation which will ever be remembered
In the first place the reason why I have taken this mode of addressing you is that an interview could not be easily had and not only that but would propable [probably] take to[o] much of your time to have. entered into the details of my subject
A few words that you spoke during an interview with my Mother sometime since. convinced me that in some measure I. had lost that Confidence and Goodwill. I was so proud of and which I enjoyed when under your employ. to again if Possible regain that esteem. [h]as induced me to take this step and likewise endeavouring to vindicate myself
While with you. and under your friendly Eye. I enjoy’d happier moments then I have since that period. or may again, but as to my acting in any way dishonourable towards the confidence reposed in me by yourself in placing me in a trusty situation. I can Call my Heavenly Father to witness that while in your employ I served you faithfully and ardently in the persuit of my business. that no selfish or sordid motives entered my breast but only a wish to serve him who had so kindly taken me under his protection. I am fully aware that my account on your Book overrun my salary though it had not been fixed upon. but it was not without first being fixed consulting you upon the subject as to allowing me some things to pay the men I employed to erect a House for myself [p. [1]] and family to protect us from the burning rays of the sun but what where [were] then my anticipations I thought we should receive funds from to repay what was due to you and not only you but others. how have I been disapointed and through that what [h]as been my fortune. Exposed to the greatest hardships I ever felt or trust ever to. To see my beloved Parent the being that gave me Birth that nourished my inf me in my infant years. That <​soothed​> my sick pillow that in every way Contributed to my Wants. for years, wanting. the common nourishment of Life. this I have seen this I have felt and more then this, to see the. Partner of my Bosom with a face wherein grief was imprinted from the knowledge that her parents were enduring the same dreadfull calamity this too I have felt and only those who have felt such can know the pangs such Scene’s can cost a Son, a Husband, then under these circumstances can you. “Sir” wonder why I have not employed my. scanty— earnings (since I left you) to discharge the debt justly due to you or to others, you are a Son, you are a Husband, you are a Father and as such. I now make the appeal to you— whether you can condemn me for acting as I did, I know the affectionate and generous feelings which is a[n] inmate of your breast. “Cannot,” therefore I. bannished the thought of contributing to those (who I was justly oweing,) my. earnings and assisted them that was near and dear to me by ties of Nature, to prevent them from absolutely perishing from Want. If I have acted wrong may I be forgiven is my ardent prayer the man was never born without his Foes I have mine in the bitterest point, Mr. informed me sometime since, that HE was informed by “good Authority” that I was about to remove from this place, I oweing him $17— for Brick, unable to pay then or since, he demanded security for his debt flushed from hearing such “infamousLies though no author was given and wishing to show him [p. [2]] that I was anxious to pay him I gave him a Note. due Next Decr. for. $25. and he excepted [accepted] it. as security for the Debt, by these diabolical Lies circulating without provocation, I gave up what since I may have converted in to. “Food” for my family.
Could I by any means repay back your due by my Labour gladly would I embrace the opportunity, I once asked on when you first open’d the , to ask you if you would allow me to keep your books as I could attend to. <​it​> of an evening after any other employment was finished stating to him same <​time​> that I was indebted to you. and wo[ul]d like to work it out in that way. but “No” I much fear that the kindness you evinced towards me when with you (for I cannot assign any other reason) raised that despicable monster, “Jealousy” in the bosom of one under your directions in the same department, and by those reasons was not allowed, if possible by his voice to have my tender’d services excepted you may think me not acting candid in at once, declaring who I am now hurling my thoughts against. I hate to prevaricate. or dissemble. “” is the person I now allude to. it was me that. he caused to leave your estab[lis]hment. before my work was complete. I was perfectly satisfi[ed] with you. when you discharged me and proud of the affectionate and kind manner you adressed me that morning. about my— services being no longer required, but with him I must say he acted a double part[.] if I wrong him in thinging thinking that he prevented me from working out my debt may I be forgiven but such is my feelings at present. or why when he heard I was dissatisfied. about leaving, through him shod. he have left word I may return and finish the Books.
I sincerely hope you will not for one moment induldge the thought that I have such thus portray’d this subject in glowing Colours to excite an act of Charity from your generous breast “No” Sir “very different are my views. can I get time to pay my just debts, I shall in a short time be enabled to raise my head.” again in this , free from the Fetters of Debt, all I ask all [p. [3]] I wish is to again enjoy that confidence and respect I once was honour’d with by you. when I can again know that, I shall be comparatively happy even in my present difficulties— this is my motive and to— vindicate myself for what you condemn’d that I have now troubled you, Never by any means have I injur’d you direct or indirect but still held fast. my opinions which was formed at our first acquaintance that of. respect and veneration for one who deserves such, and beleive me. that no one. who the hand that now writes this this will ever be willing to defend the cause you have espoused and yourself till it shall drop a<​n​> useless apendage to the body and be no more, such is my feelings towards, the man I now adress, and may the almighty God. guard you and yours from all. dangers is the fervant prayer of
Your. humble Servt
Joseph Smith Esqre.
Hancock County
Private [p. 4]


  1. 1

    Fidler resided in Nauvoo Second Ward. His home was located on the north half of block 81 in Kimball’s first addition. (“List of Property in the City of Nauvoo,” 1841, Hiram Kimball’s Addition, block 81, lot 1; “Collectors Tax List for A. D. 1842. for the 2nd Ward in the City of Nauvoo,” 6, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; “Nauvoo Ecclesiastical Wards, 1843–1844,” and “Nauvoo Plats, Blocks, and Lots, 27 June 1844.”.)  

    Nauvoo, IL, Records, 1841–1845. CHL.

  2. 2

    Fidler was married to Alivia (or Eliza) Fidler. (Platt, Nauvoo, 41; Maughan, Autobiography, [41].)  

    Platt, Lyman De. Nauvoo: Early Mormon Records Series, 1839–1846. Vol. 1. Highland, UT, 1980.

    Maughan, Mary Ann Weston. Autobiography, 1894–1898. CHL. MS 6402.

  3. 3

    William and Wilson Law ran a general store in Nauvoo. A notice in the 15 January 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons stated that they had recently “entered into negociations with Mr. Isaac Hill, a gentleman of experience and skill, for the making of bricks.” (Editorial, Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1842, 3:664.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  4. 4

    Millikin was married to Lucy Smith Millikin, JS’s sister. (Hancock Co., IL, Marriages, 1829–1849, p. 32, entry no. 376, microfilm 229,486, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Marriage License and Certificate for Arthur Millikin and Lucy Smith, 3 June 1840.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  5. 5

    JS’s general store opened on 5 January 1842. (Letter to Edward Hunter, 5 Jan. 1842.)  

  6. 6

    TEXT: “estab[page torn]hment.” Missing text in this document has been supplied from context.  

  7. 7

    TEXT: “satisfi[page torn]”.