JS, , and , Proclamation, , Hancock Co., IL, 15 Jan. 1841. Featured version published in “A Proclamation, to the Saints Scattered Abroad,” Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1841, –277. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
In the 15 January 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons, its editors published “A Proclamation, to the Saints Scattered Abroad,” which was signed by JS, , and —the of the . This proclamation encouraged the growing number of English converts to relocate to , Illinois. Members of the in had begun to organize the emigration of church members, some of whom had already arrived in Nauvoo. Although there was enthusiasm for the British mission’s success, church leaders were concerned about not having the resources to sustain Nauvoo’s rapidly growing population. The Twelve recommended pooling funds to enable more Saints to emigrate, which meant converts had very little means when they arrived in Nauvoo. On 15 December 1840, JS wrote the apostles, encouraging wealthier Latter-day Saints to emigrate before the impoverished.
In addition to encouraging immigration and recommending a policy for how Saints could best migrate to , the First Presidency commended the Saints for the growth of the church in the and “the Islands of the Sea,” referring specifically to proselytizing in Great Britain, Australia, and the East Indies. The proclamation reviewed the state of church members from the time of their expulsion from to the hospitable reception they were enjoying in . It also thanked several prominent men in , Illinois, and the Nauvoo area, including new converts , who had sold to the church his vast property holdings in the region, and , who had lobbied the Illinois state legislature for the Nauvoo city charter.
The proclamation announced that on 16 December 1840 the legislature had passed the charter, which authorized the new city to establish its own municipal council and court system, a local militia, and a municipal university. The proclamation also stated that construction of a in Nauvoo had commenced. It emphasized the great potential for agriculture and manufacturing that the city’s location on the afforded, even though there were still concerns about sickness along the river. Reiterating JS’s instructions in his 15 December 1840 letter to the apostles, the proclamation encouraged those capable of building infrastructure and businesses to immigrate to the area, which had been appointed as a gathering place for the Saints in October 1839, and to prepare the way for the poor who would follow.
The Times and Seasons referred to the proclamation as “a document of considerable interest to the church at large.” The editors expressed their support for its contents and their “hope that it will not only be received with pleasure, but that the instructions which are communicated, will be cheerfully attended to.” The proclamation, for which no manuscript copy is apparently extant, was republished in the March 1841 issue of the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star.
ment to the cause of truth, have their predjudices of ed[u]cation, and consequently it requires some time before these things can be overcome: again, there are many that creep in unawares, and endeavor to sow discord, strife and animosity, in our midst, and by so doing bring evil upon the ; these things we have to bear with, and these things will prevail either to a greater or lesser extent until “the floor be thoroughly purged” and “the chaff be burnt up.” Therefore let those who come up to this place, be determined to keep the commandments of God, and not be discouraged by those things we have enumerated, and then they will be prospered, the intelligence of heaven will be communicated to them, and they will eventually see eye to eye, and rejoice in the full fruition of that glory, which is reserved for the righteous.
In order to erect the of the Lord, great exertions will be required on the part of the Saints, so that they may build a house which shall be accepted of by the Almighty, and in which his power and glory shall be manifested. Therefore let those who can, freely make a sacrifice of their time, their talents, and their property, for the prosperity of the kingdom, and for the love they have to the cause of truth, bid adieu to their homes and pleasant places of abode, and unite with us in the great work of the last days, and share in the tribulation, that they may ultimately share in the glory and triumph.
We wish it, likewise, to be distinctly uderstood that we claim no privilege but what we feel cheerfully disposed to share with our fellow citizens of every denomination, and every sentiment of religion; and therefore say, that, so far from being restricted to our own faith, let all those who desire to locate themselves in this place, or the vicinity, come, and we will hail them as citizens and friends, and shall feel it not only a duty, but a privilege, to reciprocate the kindness we have received from the benevolent and kind hearted citizens of the State of .