, Letter, , New Haven Co., CT, to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 1 Apr. 1840. Featured version copied [between mid-Apr. and June 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 123–125; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 1 April 1840, , a land speculator from , wrote to JS in , Illinois, regarding potential land purchases. Hotchkiss had addressed a letter to JS in two weeks earlier, believing JS was still in the eastern . After learning that JS had returned to , Hotchkiss wrote this 1 April letter, in which he offered to sell to JS and the additional land in central and western and conveyed his sympathy regarding the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s negative recommendation on the Latter-day Saints’ petition for redress to Congress. The previous year, Hotchkiss and his business partners, and , had sold to the church all of their property in the Commerce area. Aware of the rapid influx of Mormons to Illinois, Hotchkiss offered in this April 1840 letter to sell properties in the area of , Illinois, and in the region of Henry and Mercer counties, further up the and northeast of Commerce. No response from JS is known to exist, and the Saints did not purchase the land that Hotchkiss offered to sell.
The original letter is apparently not extant. copied the version featured here into JS Letterbook 2, likely sometime between the third week of April and the end of June 1840.
The price of the balance in the tract near , including an average proportion of timber, and an average proportion of prarie, will be, I should think 4[.]50/100 dollars per acre. None of the prairie, alone has been sold less than 3 dollars, and some at 3 and a half, and I am co[n]fident that four and a half dollars is for timber and prarie is verry low, and espicially as a credit except for a small amount would be extended to the purchasers— The other tract is nearly all prarie, but the finest selection of that region— It is probably worth three and a half dollars pr. acre— As my paper is out I have only room to request my respects, presented to all friends at —
I beg you to tell the editor of the Times and Seasons that as soon as my health allows me to go to the Bank, I shall send them $10,
Others in western Illinois also advised purchasing lands in equal portions of timber and prairie. Land speculator Anthony Hoffman wrote to a former neighbor in New York: “It is always best for a Man, to pu[rcha]se a lot, part Prairie, and part, Timber, or one of each, which c[a]n easily be done. . . . A good Prairie lot near Timber is worth from 3 to $4[.]00. and lower in proportion to its distance from Timber, just so with a Timber lot, whether far from, or near Prairie.” (Anthony M. Hoffman, Rushville, IL, to John Reid, Argyle, NY, 1 Nov. 1833, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.)
Hoffman, Anthony. Letter, Rushville, IL, to John Reid, Argyle, NY, 1 Nov. 1833. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.
Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith were the editors of the church’s monthly periodical, Times and Seasons. The subscription rate was only one dollar per year, but the printed terms offered one free volume of the paper to anyone who sent an advance payment of ten dollars for enlisting ten subscribers. This policy may explain Hotchkiss’s rationale for offering to send ten dollars. (Masthead, Times and Seasons, Apr. 1840, 1:96.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.