Part 2: 8 November 1839–25 January 1840

On 29 October 1839, JS left the , Illinois, area for , where he intended to petition the federal government for redress and reparations for the property members lost during the conflict of 1838. and accompanied JS as members of the official church delegation to the federal government, and traveled with the group as well. The delegation briefly stopped in , Illinois, arriving there on 30 October. During the group’s stay, the Quincy of the church provided JS with a recommend, and physician joined the group to care for Rigdon, who had been ill for several months prior to the trip. The traveling party also tarried in , Illinois, from 4 to 9 November to allow Rigdon to rest. While there, JS obtained support for the church’s petitioning efforts from at least two prominent Springfield citizens, and .
Although the delegation considered leaving and in to allow Rigdon to recuperate under Foster’s care, the group continued on intact until reaching , Ohio, later in the month. At that point, JS and traveled ahead of the group by stagecoach, instructing Foster, Rigdon, and to rejoin them as soon as Rigdon’s health would allow. JS and Higbee arrived in on 28 November.
The next day, JS and met with President in the President’s House (a contemporary term for the White House). They asked him to assist in their petitioning efforts and may have wanted him to voice support for their memorial in his annual message to Congress. Although Van Buren declined to extend aid, the delegation still held out hope that the president would address the church’s cause in his annual message.
After meeting with , JS and turned their attention to the United States Congress. Prior to arriving in the capital, the church’s delegation had started drafting a memorial. The senators and representatives from met with JS and Higbee on three consecutive days (5–7 December), agreed that the memorial was the best method for petitioning Congress, and offered to help them prepare the document for Senator to present in the Senate. JS and Higbee also continued writing to church leaders in and , urging them to gather additional affidavits that itemized and valued church members’ lost property in .
About 21 December, while waiting for the Senate to consider the church’s memorial, JS, , and —who by this time had arrived in —traveled to meet with church members in and other parts of the Delaware River Valley. In this region, they were reunited with several other church leaders, including members of the who were ministering to the Saints in eastern and while awaiting passage to . and eventually joined JS in Philadelphia, where JS presided at a church on 13 January.
Part 2 contains twenty-four documents and primarily comprises correspondence between JS and various individuals while JS was on his trip to Other documents include a blessing JS pronounced upon in ; phrenology charts JS obtained while in ; an affidavit signed by JS, , and as supporting documentation for their memorial to Congress; and a letter JS wrote to the editor of a newspaper in , Pennsylvania. In addition, this part contains a land record signed by the for , which demonstrates that business continued for the church in the area even in JS’s absence.
  1. 1

    Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.  

  2. 2

    Historical Introduction to Statement, ca. 1 Nov. 1839–A.  

  3. 3

    Historical Introduction to Letter to Robert D. Foster, 11 Mar. 1840; Robert D. Foster, “A Testimony of the Past,” True Latter Day Saints’ Herald, 15 Apr. 1875, 225.  

    Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.

  4. 4

    Historical Introduction to Letter of Introduction from Sidney Rigdon, 9 Nov. 1839.  

  5. 5

    Letter of Introduction from James Adams, 9 Nov. 1839; Letter from James Adams, 4 Jan. 1840; Letter from John B. Weber, 6 Jan. 1840.  

  6. 6

    Letter to Hyrum Smith and Nauvoo High Council, 5 Dec. 1839.  

  7. 7

    Letter to Hyrum Smith and Nauvoo High Council, 5 Dec. 1839; Letter from Robert D. Foster, 24 Dec. 1839; Discourse, 7 Apr. 1840.  

  8. 8

    The Illinois delegation to the Twenty-Sixth Congress consisted of five members: representatives Zadok Casey (Democrat), John Reynolds (Democrat), and John Todd Stuart (Whig); and senators John M. Robinson (Democrat) and Richard M. Young (Democrat). (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 119, 797, 1800, 1995, 2214.)  

    Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989: The Continental Congress September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States from the First through the One Hundredth Congresses March 4, 1789, to January 3, 1989, Inclusive. Edited by Kathryn Allamong Jacob and Bruce A. Ragsdale. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989.

  9. 9

    Letter to Hyrum Smith and Nauvoo High Council, 5 Dec. 1839; Letter to Seymour Brunson and Nauvoo High Council, 7 Dec. 1839.  

  10. 10

    Letter to Seymour Brunson and Nauvoo High Council, 7 Dec. 1839.  

  11. 11

    Orson Pratt to Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt, 6 Jan. 1840, in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 1:61; Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 21 Dec. 1839, 70; Letter from Robert D. Foster, 24 Dec. 1839.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  12. 12

    Historical Introduction to Minutes and Discourse, 13 Jan. 1840; Letter to Robert D. Foster, 30 Dec. 1839.  

  13. 13

    Minutes and Discourse, 13 Jan. 1840.