Letter from James Arlington Bennet, 16 August 1842

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Augt. 16th. 1842
Dear Sir. Your polite & friendly note was handed to me a few days since by Dr. , who I must say is a very fine specimen of the Mormon people if they are all like him, and indeed I think him a very excellent representative of yourself, as I find he is your most devoted admirer & true diciple. He spent two days with me & from his arguments & extremely mild & gentlemanly demeanor almost made me a Mormon.
You have another representative here, (who spent a day with me some time since), of the Name of , who is I think President of the Church in & most unquestionably is a most excellent & good man & would be so if he were Turk, Jew or Saint. He is Ab initio a good man & to you a most true enthusiastic & devoted disiple. He has no guile. [John M. Bernhisel] of too, is a most excellent man & true Christian. These are men with whom I could associate with forever even if I never joined their Church or acknowledged their faith.
Gen. called on me last Friday & spent just two hours when he left as he said for the Eastern States. Being aware that was here he had very little to say. <​This letter is strictly Confidential as regards the Bennetts.​> [p. 1]
He however proposed to me to aid him, whether serious or not, in arranging materials for publishing “an exposition of Mormon Secrets & practices”— which I preemptorily refused,— On two grounds. 1th. That I had nothing to do with any quarrel that might arise between you & him as I could not be a judge of the Merits or demerits of the matter— and— 2ly That inasmuch as he himself had proposed to you & your council to confer on me honors which I never sought, yet which I highly prize, it would be the height of ing[r]atitude in me as well as inconsistent with every principle of common honesty & proprity for me to join him in an effort to lower my own honors by attempting to lower in public estimati[o]n the people from whom those honors emenated. He gave of the Herald his commission which I opposed from the very first & you now see by that paper the Sport which that man has made of it. I tell you there is no dependance on the friendship of that when his interest is at issue— I am assured that is going to publish conjointly with on half profit the exposition against you & you[r] people, which is going to contain a great number of scandalous cuts & plates. [p. [2]]
But dont be concerned, you will recieve no injury whatever from any thing that any man or set of men may Lay against you. The whole of this muss is only extending you[r] fame & will increase your numbers ten fold. You have nothing to expect from that part of the community who are bigotedly attached to the other churches. They have always believed & still believe every thing said to you[r] disadvantage and what Gen. is now saying in the papers is nothi[n]g more than what was common report before throughout this whole community insomuch that I had to contradict it in the Herald under the Signature of “Cincinatusand even requested the Elders at the Mormon Chur[c]h to do so long ago. you therefore have lost not a whit of ground by it. I must in charity forbear commenting on the course of in this matter— Considering all things, delicacy forbids such a course— There are some things, however, I feel very sorely & could wish they had not transpired. He & the Herald will make mony out of the Book & then the matter will end, as you will find that the Herald will puff it to the skies. The books which I sent you, you will retain in you[r] hands for the present. My repects to your Amiable & all friends & believe me as ever, tho’ not a Mormon, you[r] sincere friend—
. [p. [3]]
I know of no reason why the Wasp was not continued to be Sent to me— I dont like the name. Mildness should Characteris[e] every thing that comes from & even a name as Paley says in his Ethics has much influence on one side or the other. My respects to you[r] its Editor. .
I would just say that Gen. appeared to me to be in very low spirits, and I find that many communications intended for you, from me, has never reached you. Those Books were made over to on the presumption that he would in his own name present them for the benefit of the .
Gen. Joseph Smith
Mayor of &c. &c
Illinois.
[p. [4]]