Letter from Orson Hyde, 26 April 1844

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Apl. 26th. 1844.
Dear Sir,
To day I trouble you with another communication, which you will please have the goodness to lay before our council.
We were last evening introduced to the , at the white House by the politeness of where we spent an hour very agreeably. The is a very plain, homespun, familiar, farmer-like man. He spoke of our troubles in and regretted that we had met with such treatment. He asked how we were getting along in . I told him that we were contending with the difficulties of a new country, and labouring under the disadvantageous circumstances <​consequences​> of being driven from our property and homes in .
We have this day had a long converzation with . He is ripe for , and the . He said he would resign his seat in Congress, if he could command the force that Mr. Smith could, and would be on the march to that Country in a month.
I learn that the eyes of many aspiring politicians in this place are upon that country; and that there is so much jealousy between them that they will probably pass no bill in relation to it. Now all these politicians rely upon the arm of our government to protect them there, and if government were to pass an act establishing a territorial government [p. 1] west of the , there would be at once, a tremendous rush of emigration; but if government pass no act in relation to it, these men have not stamina or sufficient confidence in themselves and their own resources to hazard the enterprize. The <​northern​> Whig members are almost to a man against and ; but should the present administration succe[e]d in Annexing , then all the whigs would turn round in favour of ; for if be admitted, slavery is extended to the south; then, free states must be ad[d]ed to the west to keep up a balance of power between the slave and the free states.
Should be admitted, war with is looked upon as inevitable. The senate have been in secret session on the ratification of the treaty of annexation; but what they did we cannot say: General [Edmund] Gaines, who was boarding at the same house with was secretly ordered to repair to the Texian frontier 4 days ago, and left immediately. I asked if that did not speak loud for annexation. He says no! Santa Ana being a jealous hot headed pate, might be suspicious the treaty would be ratified by the senate; and upon mere suspicion might attempt some hostilities, and Gaines has been ordered there to be on the alert and ready for action if necessary: Probably our Navy will, in a few days, be mostly in the gulf of Mexica.
There are many powerful checks upon our Gov. preventing her from moving in any of these important matters, and for ought I know, these checks are permitted to prevent [p. 2] our gov. from extending her jurisdiction over that territory which God designs to give to his saints. says he would equally as soon go to that country without an act of Congress as with; “and that in 5 years a noble state might be formed, and then if they would not receive us into the , we would have a government of our own.” He is decidely of the opinion that Congress will pass no act in favour of any particular man going there, but he says if any man will go, and desires that privilege, and has confidence in his own ability to perform it, he already has the right, and the sooner he is off, the better for his scheme. It is the opinon here among politicians, that it will be extremely difficult to have any bill pass in relation to the encouragement of emigration to ; but much more difficult to get a bill passed designating any particular man to go; but all concur in the opinion that we are authorized already.
In case of a removal to that , is the place of general rendezvous— Our course from thence would be westward through , leaving a little North, until we come to the , leaving the State of on the left, thence onward till we come to the Platte, thence up the North fork of the Platte to the mouth of Sweet water River in Long. 107o 45" W. and thence up said Sweet water river to the south pass of the about 11 hundred miles from . And from said south pass in in lat. 42.o 28" North [p. 3] to the Umqua and Clamet valleys in bordering on is about 600 miles— making the distance from to the best portions of 1700 miles. There is no government established here, and it is so near that when a government should <​shall​> be established there, it may readily embrace That country likewise. There is much barren country rocks and mountains in , but the valleys are very fertile. I am persuaded that Congress will pass no act in relation to that , from the fact that the resolution requesting the to give notice to the British government for the discontinuence of the treaty of joint occupation of , was voted voted down with a rush; and this notice must be given before any action can be had unless Congress violates the treaty: at least, so say the politicians here.
has given me a map of , and also a Report on an exploration of the country lying between the and the on the line of line of <​the​> , and great Platte Rivers: by Lieut. of the corps of topographical Engineers. On receiving it, I expressed a wish that Mr. Smith could see it. . says, it is a public document, and I will frank it to him. I accepted his offer, and the book will be forth coming to him. The people are so eager for it here, that they have even stole it out of the Library. The author is ’s son-in-law. borrowed it of . I was not to tell any one in this where I got <​it​> [p. 4]
The book is a most valuable document to any one contemplating a journey to . The Directions which I have given may not be exactly correct. but the book will tell correctly
says he can Direct Mr. Smith to several gentlemen in who will be able to give him any information on the state of affairs in that , and when he returns to he will visit Mr. Smith.
and myself drafted a bill this morning and handed it into the committee on the Judiciary from the Senate, asking an appropiation of 2 000 000 Dolls for the relief of the of the sufferers among our people in in 1838— & 9— to be deposited in the hands of the City Council of , and by them dealt out to the sufferers in proportion to their loss. We intend to tease them until we either provoke them, or get them to do something for us. I have learned this much; that if we want Congress to do any thing for us; in drawing up our memorial, we must not ask, what is right in the matter; but we must ask, what kind of a thing will Congress pass? Will it suit the politicks of the majority? Will it be popular or unpopular? For you might as well drive a musked ball through a cotton bag, or the gospel of Christ through the heart of a priest, case hardened by sectarinism [p. 5] bigotry and superstition or a camel through the eye of a needle as to drive any thing through Congress that will operate against the popularity of politicians.
I shall probably leave here in a few days and will remain. I go to get money to sustain ourselves with.
I shall write again soon, and let you know what restrictions, if any, are laid upon our Citizens in relation to passing through the Indian territories. I shall communicate every thing that I think will benefit. In the mean time, if the counsel have any instructions to give us, we shall be happy to receive them, here or at .
John Ross is here, we intend to see him. It is uncertain when Congress rises— It will be a long pull in my opinion.
As ever I am Yours Sincerely
best Respects to the Brethren
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These letters, of course, will not be published. They are written in great haste; for our time is so much occupied in visiting and talking with the members, that we have but little <​time​> to write, and we stand not for style, but matter. Some things should not be published. You of course will know
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Esqr
Post Master
Ill.
 
[stamped postmark]
APR 27
 
April 26th. 1844.
to The Council of the Church.
 
— to Jos. Smith
April, 26— 1844
 
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Footnotes

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    Docket in handwriting of Jonathan Grimshaw.  

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    Dockets in unidentified handwriting.