LAST WORDS OF JOSEPH SMITH. ALLEY, GEORGE.  1792-1859.  Autograph Letter Signed ("A.B. George Alley") to his brother Joseph regarding the death of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo,

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Lot 1129
LAST WORDS OF JOSEPH SMITH.
ALLEY, GEORGE. 1792-1859.

US$ 10,000 - 15,000£ 7,800 - 12,000

Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection

Online only

14 Mar 2019 ended at 17:00 EDT

New York

LAST WORDS OF JOSEPH SMITH.
ALLEY, GEORGE. 1792-1859. Autograph Letter Signed ("A.B. George Alley") to his brother Joseph regarding the death of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, 5 pp recto and verso, 4to (245 x 190 mm), bifoliate leaf plus additional address leaf with post-script FEATURING REPORT OF SMITH'S FINAL WORDS TO HIS FOLLOWERS THE DAY BEFORE HIS DEATH, City of Nauvoo, July 27, 1844, pages creased and moderately toned, some loss to address leaf from seal.

AN EXTRAORDINARY DISCOVERY: THE ONLY CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT OF THE MORMON PROPHET'S LAST WORDS. From the post script on the envelope leaf: "The prophet told his people the day before he was killed, to read the 6th Ch Revelation; as a part was already fulfilled, and the remainder will shortly be; he cited them more particularly to the 8; 9; 10 & 11 verses of the above chapter--People may say what they please, but just [as] true as there is a God in Heaven who led the Jews out of Egypt, so will all the prophesies be fulfilled and the doctrine of the Later day Saints stand, it being the true Gospel of Jesus Christe the Son of God."

The death of Joseph Smith came at the hands of a mob in Carthage, Illinois, as he and his brother Hyrum sat in jail awaiting trial on multiple charges relating to a recent dispute with a local press. As mayor of Nauvoo, Smith had ordered the destruction of the presses of the Nauvoo Expositor, a non-Mormon newspaper, after the first issue accused him of practicing polygamy and intending to set himself up as king. He was charged with inciting a riot in Nauvoo, but those charges were dismissed by the local court. He and his brother Hyrum voluntarily traveled to nearby Carthage and surrendered, whereupon a charge of treason (for declaring martial law in Nauvoo) was added to the riot offense. The brothers were awaiting trial when a mob of 200 men attacked the jail and killed both of them.

This letter was written less than a month after Smith's death by George Alley, an LDS member who would ultimately make the trek with his family to the Salt Lake valley. Alley was born in Lynn, MA (where his brother Joseph, the recipient of this letter, still lived), moved to Salem, MA around 1840 (when he likely converted to Mormonism), and then moved to Nauvoo in 1842, remaining until 1846.

The letter opens with an acknowledgement of the "horrid deed," offering a defense of Smith's actions: "a prostitute Press was destroyed, as a nuisance, & I say it would have been done in any city, and it was done, in perfect accordance to law and justice." He goes on to describe the Mormons as peaceful and law-abiding, supporters of the law and constitution; "but hark ye ends of the earth: while this people was pledging their lives, in support of law & justice, to the Chief Magistrate of the state, in our peaceable city; the citizens of the State were murdering our innocent friends, the prophet & his brother, in the prison of Carthage, where they had voluntarily gone, to magnify the law, & to convince the world of their innocence."

After a long defense of the Latter Day Saints as a persecuted people, Alley adds: "I will say one word in regard to Joseph Smith offering himself as a candidate for the Presidency; it was not for the honour of the office, but that the present generation should have no excuse if they rejected him & his views. As it is evident a great calamity is hanging over the Nation, and when the cup is full, will burst on the workers of iniquity in a manner that will be perfectly astounding to them."

A unique and important historical treasure. There is no similar document relating to the last words of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad.
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LAST WORDS OF JOSEPH SMITH. ALLEY, GEORGE.  1792-1859.  Autograph Letter Signed ("A.B. George Alley") to his brother Joseph regarding the death of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo,
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