191t Unisiy of Nuoo, 1841
ples he professed to represent, but he was familiar with the legal processof creating a state-sanctioned university. For example, in December1832 he pushed through the incorporation of Christian College inNew Albany, Indiana, without the support of Alexander and ThomasCampbell, the very men he claimed to represent. The college wasfounded, and Bennett was appointed its chancellor even though theCampbells heard “nothing of this project until it was consummated.”Being called “a false brother, a person of no solid learning, and of very bad morals” did not stop Bennett from moving onto another state with another college plan.
The following year, he lobbied the Ohiolegislature for a university in Franklin County and later for Willoughby Medical University. By 1838 he had established at least six schools in various Midwest localities, and critics dubbed him a “getter up of col-leges” and a “diploma peddler.”
With this checkered background, it is surprising that Joseph foundBennett a useful man. “He is a man of enterprise, extensive acquire-ments, and of independent mind, and is calculated to be a greatblessing to our community,” said Joseph.
At rst, Bennett proved tobe a blessing to the community of Saints. He arrived in Commercein September 1840 and boarded with the Smith family for the nextthirty-nine weeks. At an October 1840 general conference, Bennett was appointed to a committee to draft a bill that would incorporatethe city of Nauvoo. He was also appointed to be a “delegate, to urgethe passage of said bill through the legislature.”
Bennett accepted theappointments and, after the bill was drafted, joined Almon W. Babbittin Springeld for the December convening of the Illinois legislature. As a lobbyist, Bennett renewed his acquaintance with Whig and Demo-cratic legislators, including Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.The bill to incorporate Nauvoo moved quickly through both housesof the legislature with little discussion or debate. The bill was signedinto law on December 17, 1840, by Governor Thomas Carlin. Thelaw, known as the Nauvoo Charter, granted the city of Nauvoo severalrights, including the right to establish a university—the rst city uni- versity in the state of Illinois.
Section 24 of the charter reads, “The City Council may establishand organize an institution of learning within the limits of the city, forthe teaching of the Arts, Sciences, and Learned Professions, to be calledthe ‘University of the City of Nauvoo,’ which institution shall be underthe control and management of a Board of Trustees, consisting of aChancellor, Registrar, and twenty-three Regents, which Board shallthereafter be a body corporate and politic, with perpetual succession