Letter from Lyman Wight and Heber C. Kimball, 19–24 June 1844

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Pa
June 19. 1844
To my well beloved Brother and Fellow Prisoner Joseph Smith president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints,
Greeting:
I <​We​> take this opportunity of giving you an abridged history of my transactions together with Bro my fellow traveller. We left the 21st. day of May amidst the acclamation of three Cheers from the shore Joseph Smith the next president of the , we passed smothly down the there being 165 Passengers on board the Boat, “Osprey.” I was called upon to deliver a political address, and to show what right he had to the presidential Chair, which I did to the [1 illegible word cancelled] entire satisfaction of nearly all the Passenge[r]s on board, not forgetting at the same time to show that the other Candidates had disqualified themselves to all the right and title by acts of pure meaness: whilst Speaking of their acts of meaness I was frequently interupted with loud laughing and clapping of hands, by way of approbation. A vote a being taken on the presidential questions and Joseph Smith received a large mgority [majority] over all the other Candidates. We reached on the 22nd. in the mornig at 10 Oclock. [p. 1]
and proceeded and called the Church together in this place and instructed them Spiritually and politically, learnt that the church numbered nearly 700. On the 23d. we left on the board the Boat “Louis “Phillippe” at half past 12 Oclock, with about 200 Passengers on board of the boat many of the Same that were on the “Ospry” ["Osprey"] on together many new Passengers. there were at first some little prejudices existing. being called upon to deliver a discourse upon the principles of our doctrine, it allayed the prejudices entirely. Next Evining was called upon to delevir [deliver] another address which he done in power and demonstration of the Spirit We were ever afterwards looked upon as their superiors and not inferiors. the 24 26th. we reachid at 6 Oclock P. M.— and went to visit the Church in that whilst I changed our trunks and Luggage on board the Boat "Neptune” for all the passengers on board the “Louis Phillippe” being bound for came with us of course on the 27th. in the morn[in]g at 8 oclock we held a conference with the Elders in . I addressed them on the subject of politics and perseverance of duty and the great necessity of a change of reform <​in​> of government. I was follwd by Brothers & on the same subject [p. 2] We then instructed them to have 1000 2000 copies of your views on the government and for the Elders to scatter them with the velocity of light[n]ing and the voice of thunder.— I had like to have fogotten to mention an important occurence on Board of the Board of the Louis Phillippe with a Mr David Guard of Lawrence Berg of . he is worth from to 2 to 300,000. he emigrated to when there wer but 3 Log Cabins in that place he gave me his views on politics, they completly Corresponded with yours. I <​then​> gave <​him​> 2 copies of yours. I <​He​>, was so highly pleased with them he pledged his word he would have them published in both the Lawrencebug papers as the[y] were both published under his roof. and if they did not comply with so reasonable a request. they the Edetors would have to seek shelter elswher he also stated he <​Joseph Smith​> that was the first man since the days of Gen. Washington & Jefferson <​who​> had been frank and honest enough to give his views to <​the​> people before elected, and said that he would go his whole length for such a man and that if you were not elected this time, he would be damned if you would not the next. let this be an ensample of like circumstances of hundreds of similar cases; as you know it would be to irksome to write them all, or read them, now to return to <​the​> subject of at 10 0clock this mornig (the 27th) we left at 10 Oclock [p. 3]
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for with an addition of passenge[r]s on this boat I was called upon to deliver an address, showing the utility of the Book of Mormon; the present situation of the world by this time which I done, and by this time the we had a complete victory over both priests and people, on this boat a large mgority [majority] of votes were given for yourself for President,. We arrived in on the 30th. P.M. 6 Ock p.m. here we left Brothers .— Brs and and left on the 31st. Instant 10 Oclock from thence by Steam[e]r Stage and Rail way we passed over hills and dale arriving at on the 2nd. of June goading and thorning every thing that on politics that came in our way, thus after a journy of 13 days we arrived in the great Metropolis of the which by the by with the exception of the Pensylvania Avenue resemble for all the world more the Methodist Slough of despond than any thing like a decent city at this time being near the close of the Session it was filled up with demagogues – jack<​leg​> Lawyers and black leg gamblers and every thing else but intelligence, the Congress men & Senators generally rise at 8 oclock in the morning prepare themselves for business about 11 Oclock commonly return at 3 and 4 in afternoon from 6 till 9 is the only time we could <​do​> any [p. 4] busness whatever, hence we prepared & watched our opportunity and done all the business we could betwixt those hours for 10 days, pleadi[n]g the cause of the poor and oppressed. We have got a petition signed with with our names in the behalf of the church for a remuneration of our sufferings, and not of rights of redress for they would not receive such a petition from us it would was thought by and and Major Hughs that our petition would carry if it was not too late in the Session. handed it to the Chairman on the Committe of “public Lands” he said he would do would the best he could for us. is of the opinion if we would Sue the State of for redress of grievances, that there was virtue enough in the to answer our demands for I will <​tell​> you , there they are God God damned ashamed of their conduct and are of the <​same​> opinion.
& myself spared no pains during our stay at . we found six members of the Church mostly strong in the faith and many attentive hearers, we purpose sending a steady faithful Elder there who we think can build up a large church, we found our time too limited to meet the Conferences and [p. 5] and transact of our busness to tarry longer at present, but shall return again if we find it neccessary after the Baltimore Convention for we will never leave them nor forsake them nor return home while we think there is a stone unturned, or a conscience that is not harrowed up by our continued goadings.— On the 11th. we left , arrived at Wilmington Delaware, at Bro Saunders [Ellis Mendenhall Sanders]' at 5 Oclock this Evenig distance 114 miles, we can assure you we found every thing right in this place and adjacent to it. We found about 100 members whom we believe to be firm in the faith as far as they have gone. we held 2 Meetings with them appointed conferences on the 22 & 23rd instants<​—​> on the 13th. at 2 oclock pm We left this place for arrived at ’s in the eveng 5 oclock pm being exposed had a slight attack of the chills and fever since that time we have preached alternately to the present date the church here numbers bet near 200. Out of which number many have commenced sickening, and were growing faint at the many false reports in circulation fearing that the prophet has fallen and the twelve were in transgression but since the[y] have the learnt that the prophet cannot fall and that the twelve cannot commit Sin. the[y] are beginning to [p. 6]
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revive, they have stood 6 tremendous shocks and I think if they stand the Seventh which is to come to morrow Evening I think they will Survive. We shall then call on them to know whether they intend to gather with the living and susta[i]n the cause of God by an the mouth of his prophets and apostles or die in if they should choose the latter. We shall attend to the funeral ceremonies and leave them to rest with the dead and we will go our way among the living, if they should choose the former we shall expect a glorious work in this place, We shall leave here on the 21st for Wilmington for conference, we shall then return back to this place and from here to and to meet the conferences in those Cities and so continue from place to place until we accomplished the mission appointed unto us, You will find as far as we have travelled that there is such a wake in the water that it has jostled their small skiffs and vessels tremendously, and those that have <​been​> so fortunate as to reach the shore have to come to the conclusion that they will not again venture out without a pilot, others have been most tremendously shipwrecked [p. 7] and we already beheld some of them comi[n]g ashore on barks and boards with the flag of distress, seeking for a passage on board desiring to be carried safely over by the Captain & pilots, and they will become passive without further rebellion On the whole our journey has been attended with peace and prosperity. Bro [John A.] Forgeus will be the bearer, I shall entrust to his care $300 Dollars which I have confidence to believe he will safely to deliver to you I We have a good prospect of bringing the remainder, but as we <​have​> a great work to perform we would not to send any more for the present this is on the draft you gave to us, the other concern in delawar is all got along with and is safe, we shall write as often as circumstances will permit and give such intellgence from abroad as we may receive, You will be so good as to read this <​to​> our families whose absence is at present our only source of grief, this only keep us from being perfectly happy. Tell Mrs. Wight that I keep a daily journal as usual which I will send to by the next opportunity, tell my little boys I remember <​them​> & that they shall be obedient to their Mother in my absence [p. 8] wishes his family rememberd in the same way.
We are and continue your most humble and obedient Servants and wherever we go they are not a loss to know that you are the the prophet of God and that you are bound to be the Presidint of the on the 4th March 1845 and that you are already president pro tem of the world and they cant help themselves d—d them
[p. 9]
June 19 1844
and to Joseph Smith
June 21st. 1844
We again resume the pen to give you a few further particulars.— We met the Church in this last Evening pursuant to adjournmet the members being all present. the vote was taken to know whether they would sustain the first presidency and the Twelve in their Calling. and follow their Counsel Spiritually and Temporally, lay aside all their prejudices and fears, follow them through evil as well as through good report. there was not a dissenting vote or voice numberi[n]g about 200. We take think the church now is in a good Condition. there will be some added next Sabbath by Baptism, and we trust more ere long. for our manner of preaching and instructing the church we refer <​you​> to Brs Forgeus & Price. We leave here to day 4 oclock for the Wilmington Conference. Many of the Bretherns and Sisters from this place are going with us— We have so many Calls in this place from those in the church and out of it that we cannot stop a night in a place— we are at this time at Sister McMinn whose family are saints of God indeed and treat <​us​> with all the kindness and attention that the Servants of God could [p. 10] ask. they wish to be rememberd to the prophet and family, and so do all the Saints in this place at this time and are now determind to uphold you by their prayers in all things. I must confess this was not the Case when we came here with all, I we lament that it is too much the case that the Twelve often find their way hedged up by the presiding Elders endeavouring to Exalt them and themselves and debasing us, but you will find it different with your case in , for we have exalted you. to the height of your station knowing when you get there you will exalt us, your influence in this place now would be unlimited We have <​come​> to the conclusion to make a definite rule to take all the Elders that exalt of themselves at your expence and the Twelve, to either Send them home or give them a mission to the <​Van​> Demons’ Land [Van Diemen's Land, Australia] to preach the Gospel the to the convicts in that place, as we <​have​> prejudices broken down now effectually— we have good times and could have better if we had you and and two or three others to help us out.— we shall finish this after Conferences Conference at Wilmington [p. 11]
June 24 1844
Just returned form [from] Wilmi[n]gton Conference, accompanied by we Several of the Brethren & Sisters who went from this place, we can truly say that this was one of the most pleasent trips in our life, we went down on Steamer “Balloon”, and returned by Railway, our conference commencd on Saturdey the 22nd. the Brethern came in from the adjacent country and after much instructon from and myself we took a vote to know whether they would go whithersoever they Presidency and Patriarch and twelve; should it be be the or or any other place directed by the wisdom directed by the of almighty God or would they stay in Wilmington and build up a stake according to the advice of the last General Conference without prophets or apostles, the saints numbering about 100 rose to their feet and exclaimed they withersoevr they go, we go, without a disenting voice. this was truly an interesting meeting, we have not the least Idea that any one will back out, nearly all men of wealth; and have commenced <​this morni[n]g​> to offer all surplus property for sale, <​that​> they may have a liberal opportunity, that whenever you say go they are ready, We ordained ten as promisi[n]g young Elders as we ever laid hands upon, they pledged themselves to Start this week and go [p. 12]
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and go Through the state of Delaware from house to house and proclaim that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand and to bear you up bear you up as the only suitable Candidate for the next presidency, I would here mention a public meetig held in the lower part of Delaware and they were disappointed in as a speaker, when a hickory hicksite Quaker rose, offered his services to address the Congregation which he done for one hour in behalf of Joseph Smith bei[n]g our next Presidency President, and concluded with these words— Gentlemen there are only two alternatives, one is to place Joseph Smith in the White house, or move the white house to for he is sure to occupy it, we have three as smart men as Delaware affords to represent the State of Delaware in the Baltimore Convention, is going immediatly to return to Baltimore to prepare the way for the Delagation, the Maryland Delgates will be chosen this week. it Thus shall we continue to appoint Delegates and make every necessary preparatin for one of the most respectable conventions ever held in the , it <​is​> now reduced to a deffinite certainty that <​there​> will be five Candidates for the next presidency, Joseph Smith independent Candidate Birny [James G. Birney], Abolisionists [Abolitionists] Whig [James K.] Polk Democrat the Conservative neurtral or no principle party— [p. 13] it is generally believed that there will be about an even race between the 5, but this is not our Opinion, we had many invitations from leadig men of the Whig party, to turn in for this time and they would go for you the next, but we say for Smith for both terms. We think we have it fully in our power to do so, and do not wish to barter fine gold for Dross of so Corruptible Matter, we say the whole hog tail and all or nothing. We many times become perfectly astonished to seek see how many will secretly give their views expressive of your elect[i]on privately who fear to give it openly, our object at the Baltimore Convention is to show to the people why we take this decided stand against all the other candidates and to have our own views published, if possible in all the papers of the day and if not, in hand bills and and Scatter them in eve[r]y City througout the
On the Sabbath we the 23d. we preached alternately to a large and respectable congregaton and acqutted ourselves with great applause and the warmest <​of​> friends in that place both in and out of the Church, We have hundreds of pleasent sceneries in our journals which are too numerous to mention at the presant time. We have been called on from every quarter for political investigation and are treated in the most friendly manners, and be at no loss in this place provided there were not a Latter day Saint in the Land
Yours as ever
& [p. 14]
A word more to my wife and children, and Ever to beloved brothers & Sisters that laboured with me in tribulation in the “pine woods” I shall never forget them, nor the degree of Satisfaction we a have taken in counselling together in that wilderness country, neither shall that love and friendship cultvated around our scanty board be eradicated from my heart either in time or Eternity, tell them to forsake their covenants made under those trying circumstances nor seperate themselves from each other so but what when I return I can take them to a Land flowing with milk and honey where the God— Dagon shall have no power to mar our peace, or the old Dunn Ox to becloud our our prospects or weaken our faith but peace like a river shall be our reward in a Land of prosperty where so <​such​> scenes of dubiety shall never more reach us, remain with an unbroken Chain of friendship, doing the best you can until I return which will be as <​soon as​> circumstances will permit— My Dear companion, Bro Forge[u]s and tell you many things which I have no time to write — I shall return by the way of my friends in the state of . if you and Spencr & Anne can go the which without much inconvenience. do so and I will meet you there, I expect I shall his lands in the Eastern cities if not when I get. if you can [p. 15] <​get​> enough to come there the sale of the Land will bear you home— any one enquires after me tell them old I am old still
I Subscribe myself your companion for time & Eternity
N B. when I am exalted you shall be exalted also
 
June 21 1844
and to Joseph Smith
received 2d July— [p. [16]]

Footnotes

  1. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.  

  3. new scribe logo

    Notation in graphite in unidentified handwriting.