Letter from Willard Richards, 9 August 1842

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’s office 176 <​Hudson st​>
. Aug. 9[th]. 1842
President Joseph Smith}
Beloved President,
As I have the opportunity of of sending directly to , by , who starts to morrow morning, I improve the the few moments I can spare from previous engagements, in apologising for any neglect. in not writing before this, to him whom I esteem the dearest. on earth, & whose absence I continually feel, for but my time is continually occupied with Something or other, & Since I left . one of the greatest burdens that can be put upon me is to take up a pen, indeed it Seems as though I Loathed the Sight of Ink & paper, & perhaps I have given way to such feelings too much. but be assured that neither time nor distance, can obliterate those emotions of Love, of friendship, of attachment, to yourself & the cause you have espoused, which are interwoven with my very existence.— & which grow Stronger & stronger eve[r]y day. & my my greatest Source of enjoyment constantly is. that I am permitted to bear Some little share of in those base slanders, falsehoods & calumnies that are so copiously heaped upon the head of God’s proph[e]t. in these last days,— but, as like all others, I shall hereafter be known by my fruits. I turn the subject to tell you that hitherto hath the Lord prospered me. so that I am now in this place with. , whose health [p. [1]] I found very feeble. & <​I​> brought her away from the bay for a respite. & the benefit of Sea air. her health is gradually improving. & mine is good. Friday last we went to the . , where we were most cordially welcomed by . Lady; & family consisting of one Son & one daugthr. His mansion is of the first order surpassed by none in & few in .— & yet his table Livery. &c are humble, having retrenched his expences to suit the pressure of the times. though worth his hundreds of thousands. , in his ancestry Joins unites the Blood of two Noble families of . but although he may pride himself thereon in some degree, yet he does not rest his greatness, or popularity on such a sandy foundation; he is a gentleman. & stands at the head of the Elite of ;— he is a schollar, & believing that every man should be the creator of himself. or the originater of his own resources, has applied himself with unremitting diligence to all the arts & sciences & subjects within his reach, & those not a few.— His mind is of the highest order & stoops not to notice those Little broils which distract the human family, & when the shafts of envy are aimed at his head he wards them with a grace becoming himself, He rather seemed to regret. that Joseph should have taken notice enough of . to publish any thing about him, but when the cause I explained, he was satisfied,— He was satisfied of true character before I saw him, & holds him in utter detestation. is Says he believes Joseph as great a prophet as Moses. & a better man.— but he does not believe in Special Revelation in any period of time. He belongs to no sect or party, & were he to Join any would as soon Join the mormons [p. [2]] as any <​other​> but does not conceive it would make him a better man to Join any. If he Joins any party with his present views, it would be to do them good, to defend the oppressed, for he hates persecution with a perfect hatred, one of the fundamental principles of his religion is, that man should never take the life of an animal to gratify his appetite, but live on vegetables.— & would Joseph make this a starting point in his creed he would join his church.— He is open frank in all his communications, wished to be rememberd to the p[r]ophet Joseph, would be happy to receive a letter of his own dictation, signed by his own hand;— believes the mormon Empire to be not of the west alone; but eventually to overrun the world.— and although it is no honor to a man now to be a Mormon General, (I. E. in this region) yet he accepts the appointment with the same good feelings it was inten[ded] by the Legion & is ready to repair to the his command when occasion requires, & being an experienced engineer is ready to superintend the creation of fortifications &c.— & suggests the appointment of. George Clinton Beekman (grandson of Governor Geo. Clinton, Vice President of the United States) as his aid-de-camp, with the title of Col— if it meet the approbation of the Legion. (Mr Beekman is of Flatbush Long Island,) from the representation of the I would thing think the appointme[n]t a Judicious one,— I think the would also have nominated another. gentleman, to be attached to his staff as Surgeon, had it not been a matter of delicacy, & I think an expression on your part to him on this point would be very kindly received. from my acquanttnce [acquaintance] with I feel confident he would nominate no one, but those of high order. &— [p. [3]] such as would be an honor to the Legion indeed I think very few Small fish in this region would be willing to accept a Title from .— From all I now know I would suppose an honorary title for of the Herald would be well enough, But any military command quite useless— would not consider it any honor to have any one attached to his staff whose name did not stand high or who would not stand by him in the field of battle. He knows not fear! He is thoroughly versed in military tactics in all its branches.
The box of books which were in the when I left,— were designed for the has no controul over them.— This Letter is not for the press. does not wish his name to appear in the papers either here or there.— There is much in the papers here concerning ,— The mormon charater cannot be hurt here,— Many things I would say but have not time or room.— My best wishes & with you. & my prayers constantly for you. please remember me to . & his quorum & enquir[in]g frie[n]ds,—— you[r]s forever—
Gen. Joseph Smith
Politeness of } [p. [4]]