Part 3: 27 January–8 April 1840

In late January 1840, JS returned to from and prepared to travel home to the , Illinois, area along with and . , still in poor health, remained in Philadelphia and spent time in the Delaware River Valley from early March to mid-April. Meanwhile, stayed in the capital to manage the ’s petitioning efforts with the Senate. Before leaving Washington, JS preached several sermons, but a description of the content of only one sermon is extant. With Foster and Rockwell, JS left in mid-February and reached Commerce by 29 February.
Before JS left , Senator of presented to the Senate the church’s memorial, which suggested $2 million as an appropriate amount for reparations for the treatment the Saints received in . After some debate, the memorial was read aloud in the Senate chamber and was subsequently tabled. On 12 February, the Senate reconsidered the memorial and resolved that it would be sent to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which consisted of five senators: Garret D. Wall (a Democrat from ), Thomas Clayton (a Whig from Delaware), Robert Strange (a Democrat from North Carolina), John J. Crittenden (a Whig from Kentucky), and Oliver H. Smith (a Whig from ). Five days later, Young submitted to the Senate several affidavits and pamphlets as supporting documentation for the memorial. It appears that this committee was first supposed to determine whether considering the church’s petition fell under the jurisdiction of the federal government. To this end—and at ’s request—the committee held a special hearing from 20 to 22 February. Higbee represented the church, while Senator and Representative attended on behalf of the state of Missouri. According to its report dated 4 March, the committee decided that the church would have to seek redress and reparations through Missouri or through the federal courts in that state. The Senate approved the committee’s resolution on 23 March and subsequently ordered the publication of the committee’s report. Higbee apprised JS and other church leaders of these proceedings in a series of seven letters he wrote in February and March.
By early April 1840, news had reached of the committee’s decision. In response, a general of the church passed several resolutions, one of which deemed the committee’s report “unconstitutional.” The conference also appointed and as missionaries to visit the Jews in Europe and Palestine. Meanwhile, JS delivered at least two discourses in the Commerce area in which he expressed his frustration with President ’s unwillingness to assist the church in its petitioning efforts. JS also reengaged in the effort to build up the planned town of , principally by selling lots to church members.
This part comprises twenty-six documents. It includes the memorial that the church presented to the Senate, several letters between JS and various associates in the eastern , records of a land transaction between Jane Miller and the , minutes of church meetings in which JS took part, a letter of recommendation for , and reports of discourses JS delivered in and in the area.
  1. 1

    Letter from Sidney Rigdon, 3 Apr. 1840.  

  2. 2

    Historical Introduction to Letter from Elias Higbee, 20 Feb. 1840–A.  

  3. 3

    Discourse, 5 Feb. 1840.  

  4. 4

    Letter to Robert D. Foster, 11 Mar. 1840; John Smith, Journal, 1836–1840, 29 Feb. 1840, [58].  

    Smith, John (1781-1854). Journal, 1833–1841. John Smith, Papers, 1833-1854. CHL. MS 1326, box 1, fd. 1.

  5. 5

    Historical Introduction to Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840.  

  6. 6

    Letter from Elias Higbee, 20 Feb. 1840–A.  

  7. 7

    Report of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 4 Mar. 1840.  

  8. 8

    Minutes and Discourse, 6–8 Apr. 1840.  

  9. 9

    Minutes and Discourse, 6–8 Apr. 1840; Recommendation for Orson Hyde, 6 Apr. 1840.  

  10. 10

    Letter to Robert D. Foster, 11 Mar. 1840; Discourse, 1 Mar. 1840.  

  11. 11

    See, for example, Land Transaction with Jane Miller, 6 Mar. 1840.