By 1840 the spirit of gathering to America was beginning to excite the British Saints. Even though the official call to gather did not come from Church headquarters until that August, many British Saints had anticipated it and were ready to go. Mission leaders were concerned, however, thinking that perhaps the emigration was premature, but on April 15 they finally decided to allow it.
A number of Saints decided to go on their own, without waiting for organized companies. Others organized themselves into companies, even before the Church emigration agency was established. The first of these self-organized companies, some forty-one Saints, left Liverpool on 6 June 1840, under the leadership of John Moon. The letter which follows is John Moon’s account of that voyage written to William Clayton, and is, so far as we know, the earliest document available telling the story of a trans- Atlantic voyage of Mormon emigrants.