Letter from Orson Hyde, 11 June 1844

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June 11th. 1844.
Dear Brethren,
I have just returned from a visit to the . He devotes but 2 hours each day to business calls, from 11 till 1 o’clock. Many from all parts of the Union call daily to see him. He, consequently, is unable to devote but little time to each visitor. A word of explanation must suffice, and then one must give place to others. I presented him with the memorial. He read it attentively through; and then remarked that the object was most unquestionably a good one. The possession and settlement of appears to be the leading feature in the memorial said he, and you will recollect, continues he, that in my annual message I recommended to Congress the establishing of <​a line of​> forts through to that country for the protection of all United States citizens emigrating to that country Territory. Now does not this embrace all you want? I answered, no Sir! We shall go in bodies sufficiently large to protect ourselvs through the Indian territories. Mr. Smith wishes the executive to throw a shield over him while his operations are confined to the in raising and fitting out said volunteers. He says, Mr. Smith may go on and do as he wishes, and this government will extend the same protection to him that it will to any other citizen. I observed to him, that this memorial originated upon the ground that the same protection had not heretofore been extended to him that had been to others. He replied that that was oweing to peculiar circumstances, wherein [p. [1]] the States Government was in the fault, not the general government. He says further, the laws of the respective states will afford you protection in raising the emigrants or volunteers; and the general government cannot interfere with the laws and regulations of the states: but, says he, the moment you get beyond the States into the territories, then you come under the immediate protection of the general government; but also on the high seas, but when you are within the territory of a State, you must look to that State government for all the protection you can have. I wish, he says, you to distinctly understand this distinction difference. This memorial asks me to do that which the constitution does not authorize me to do. It is very complex, and would require a joint action of the Executive and Congress. The general government have it already in contemplation to adopt measures for the protection of all its subjects emigrating to that country; but to limit its protection to only one part, and to confer any particular privilege upon one, more than on another is not the business of the general government, neither can they do it. I will extend all constitutional protection to Mr. Smith with the greatest pleasure, and will pledge myself that he shall have equal protection with <​any and​> every other American Citizen. This is all the Executive can do in this case. but Equal rights, is our nation’s motto. But now distinctly and pointedly, “I cannot comply with the wishes of the memorialist, because he asks me <​by the memorial​> to exceed my constitutional limits” [p. [2]]
He was very frank and open and condescending, but seemed to feel that I should be satisfied with a few words because of the press of business. He spent a good deal more time with me than with any others who were there at the same hour— So I came away, and took my pen immediately to acquaint you with the result.
Now I will tell you how I feel about our govt. If you were to issue an order and direct it to me to go and demand the keys of the treasury, and remove the deposits and funds to , I should undertake it with just as much faith as I should to ask them to do any thing else under God’s heavens for the Latter Day Sts.
We are now thrown back upon our own resources. We have tried every department of Government to obtain our rights, but th◊◊ we cannot find them. If we will look for them any longer, [illegible] must look to our swords. Diplomatic intercourse has cease[d] and the ministers of Heaven have called for their pasports. Two left this morning with anger and disgust. Elders and , and if God permit, I shall leave tomorrow morning for and said he got the word of the Lord before he left, that Government had it in their hearts to do nothing for us, and that the sooner they left the better. On Sunday, the 9th. Inst I wrote you a lengthy letter, and you may get this at the same time.
Now fare-well for the present. May God open some door of deliverence through you, and save his people from dissenting power. Yours ever,
. [p. [3]]
P.S.
A dark cloud hangs over the churches, we apprehend a storm at hand. I have been very busy in barring down the hatches. I fear however some will jump overboard, but we will do the best we can, knowing who is at the helm, and a skillful pilot we shall be sure to make the port tho’ the sea be boisterous.
 
[stamped postmark] JUN 11
 
Esqr
Post Master
Ill.
 
June 11. 1844
Letter From to
 
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June 28 [p. [4]]

Footnotes

  1. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Dockets in unidentified handwriting.