On 1 March 1841 the , Illinois, city council met for the fifth time since the council was created. As with previous meetings, the council met at ’s house. In all city council meetings to date, JS had played an active role as a city councilor. This 1 March meeting was no different, and these minutes are presented to provide an example of JS’s participation on the council. JS offered one resolution, made two motions respecting city appointments, and presented six city ordinances, all of which passed. Two of the ordinances JS introduced placed particular emphasis on protecting liberties and constitutional rights for people in Nauvoo, something JS and his coreligionists found lacking in . The passage of these ordinances highlights the commitment of the city council to guarantee civil, political, and religious liberty to all in Nauvoo.
recorded the minutes of the 1 March 1841 city council meeting in a notebook. Those original minutes were then used by Sloan to record the official minutes in the city council’s ledger. The official minutes are featured here.
Colr. J. Smith moved that the Council appoint some person to attend the County Commissioner’s Court to procure an appropriation for Roads in this Section of Country. and it was resolved unanimously that be appointed for that purpose, and that he perform that duty.
A vote of thanks was tendered to, and the freedom of the City of conferred upon, the Hon. Senator, for , by the City Council, unanimously.
Adjourned until 1 oclock P. M. on Monday next March 8th. to meet at the same place
Conferring the honor of “freedom of the city” was a symbolic gesture of trust and friendship granted to distinguished visitors of a city—similar to the bestowal of a key to the city—that encouraged a guest to feel free to come and go about the city. (See, for example, “The Approach of Congress,” New York Herald, 1 Dec. 1840, ; “For the National Intelligencer,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 9 Dec. 1840, ; and “Original Anecdote of Decatur,” Pensacola [FL] Gazette, 23 Jan. 1841, .)
New York Herald. New York City. 1835–1924.
Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.
Richard M. Young, a Democratic senator from Illinois, rendered much assistance to the Saints and their cause to gain redress of grievances from the federal government. On 28 January 1840, Young presented to Congress the Saints’ memorial that laid out their grievances against the state of Missouri. Young argued in support of the memorial and provided additional documents so that the Senate would seriously consider the Saints’ plight. Afterward, Young continued to support the Saints by sending them public documents and information from Washington DC. This was not the first time Young received public thanks from the Latter-day Saints. In a 15 January 1841 proclamation, JS mentioned Young in a list of individuals “who will long be remembered by a grateful community for their philanthropy to a suffering people, and whose kindness on that occasion is indelibly engraven on the tablet of our hearts.” (Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840; Journal of the Senate of the United States, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., 28 Jan. 1840, 138; 17 Feb. 1840, 179; Notice, Times and Seasons, 15 Apr. 1841, 2:380; Proclamation, 15 Jan. 1841.)
Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Being the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, December 2, 1839, and in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Independence of the Said United States. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1839.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.