Letter from Sidney Rigdon, 10 April 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Ill, April 10th 1839
To the Saints in prison, Greeting.
In the midst of a crowd of business I haste to send a few lines by the hand of Br Mace our Messenger.
We wish you to know that our friendship is unabating and our exertions for your delivery, and that of the unceasing. For this purpose we have laboured to secure the friendship of the of this with all the principal men in this place. In this we have succeeded beyond our highest anticipations. assured us last evening, that he would lay our case before the Legislature of this and have the action of that body upon it; and he would use all his influence to have an action [p. 4] which should be favorable to our people. He is also getting papers prepared, signed by all the noted men in this part of the country to give us a favourable reception at , whither we shall repair forthwith after having visited the of of whose friendship we have the strongest testimonies.
We leave this day to visit him. Our plan of operation is to impeach the State of on an item of the Constitution of the ; That the general government shall give to each State a Republican form of government. Such a form of Government does not exist in and we can prove it.
and his Lady enter with all the enthusiasm of their natures into this work, having no doubt but we can accomplish this object.
Our plan of operation in this work is to get all the Governors in their next messages to have the subject brought before the legislatures and we will have a man at the Capital of each State to furnish them with the testimony on the subject; and we design to be at to wait upon Congress and have the action of that body on it also; all this going on at the same time, and have the action of the whole, during one session.
Br will be engaged all the time between this and the next sitting of the Legislatures in taking affidavits and preparing for the tug of war, while we will be going from State to State visiting the respective Governors to get the case mentioned in their messages to legislatures so as have the whole going on at once. You will see by this that our time is engrossed to overflowing.
The of the are required to ride and visit all scattered abroad, and collect money to carry on this great work. Be assured brethren that operations of an all important character are under motion, and will come to an issue as soon as possible.
Be assured that our friendship is unabated for you and our desires for your deliverance intense. May God hasten it speedily is our prayer day and night.
Yours in the bonds of affliction
J Smith Jr
[p. 5]


  1. 1

    See Samuel Holmes et al., Letter of Introduction, Quincy, IL, for Sidney Rigdon, 8 May 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 44; and Samuel Leech, Letter of Introduction, Quincy, IL, for Sidney Rigdon, 10 May 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 44.  

  2. 2

    The governor of Iowa Territory, Robert Lucas, served as governor of Ohio when the church was headquartered in Kirtland, Ohio. In early March 1839, Rigdon learned of a letter that land speculator Isaac Galland wrote to church member David W. Rogers on 26 February, in which Galland reported that Lucas believed the Latter-day Saints “were good Citizens of the State of Ohio” and that they should be treated as such. (Isaac Galland, Commerce, IL, to David W. Rogers, [Quincy, IL], 26 Feb. 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 1; Minutes, 9 Mar. 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 49.)  

  3. 3

    Presumably as a result of a mid-April 1839 meeting with church leaders in Burlington, Iowa Territory, Governor Lucas wrote Rigdon two letters of introduction dated 22 April 1839, both of which were for Rigdon to use when lobbying in Ohio and Washington DC. (Robert Lucas, Burlington, Iowa Territory, to Sidney Rigdon, 22 Apr. 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 42; Robert Lucas, Letter of Introduction, Burlington, Iowa Territory, for Sidney Rigdon, 22 Apr. 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 42–43; Robert Lucas, Letter of Introduction, Burlington, Iowa Territory, for Sidney Rigdon, 22 Apr. 1839, in JS Letterbook 2, p. 43.)  

  4. 4

    See U.S. Constitution, art. 4, sec. 4.  

  5. 5

    That is, Rebecca Hewitt Carlin. (Madison Co., IL, Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1813–1916, Marriage Record, bk. 6, p. 1, microfilm 1,306,457, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  6. 6

    Rigdon was perhaps alluding to the instructions in JS’s circa 22 March 1839 general epistle that the Saints should document and publicize their losses in Missouri. Robinson, who was Rigdon’s son-in-law, was probably conducting these activities in his capacity as general church clerk and recorder as well as secretary to the First Presidency. Rigdon may have also referenced Robinson’s activities as an indirect response to the prisoners’ complaint in JS’s 20 March 1839 general epistle that Robinson had not written to them following his departure from Missouri. (Letter to Edward Partridge and the Church, ca. 22 Mar. 1839; Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1839.)  

  7. 7

    That is, Newel K. Whitney, Edward Partridge, and presumably Vinson Knight; the latter served as an acting bishop in 1838.