Departure of the Prophet from Washington—Labors of Elias Higbee Before the Senate Judiciary Committee—Report of the Committee.
Wednesday, 8.—The High Council at Nauvoo voted to loan all the moneys possible for the relief of the poor Saints.
Ministry of Brigham Young and Geo. A. Smith at Richmond, New York.
This evening President Young preached at a school house in the south west part of Richmond, 1 when the people present commenced making a noise and disturbing the meeting, and when President Young was reproving them for their disgraceful conduct, some of those present fired lucifer matches. President Young rebuked them severely, and taught them better manners, and proposed to send them some Indians from the West to civilize them.
Thursday, 9.—About this time I returned to Philadelphia, where I continued to preach and visit for a little season.
George A. Smith preached at Richmond this evening. His health is still very poor, and he is almost blind. President Young also was very feeble. While they were opening the meeting, some one threw a quantity of brimstone in the fire, which nearly suffocated them. As soon as the fumes of brimstone would pemit, Brother Smith told them he thought he should be in no danger of catching the itch in Massachusetts, for the smell of brimstone indicated that it was thoroughly cured.
Sunday, 12.—Elders Young and Smith held a meeting at William Pierson’s, Richmond. After preaching, Elder Smith had a severe shake of the ague, which lasted some hours. The weather was extremely cold, but by the kind attention of Mr. Pierson’s family, and William Richards, he was in some measure relieved of his ague before he left Richmond. President Young wore a cradle bed quilt from Far West to Richmond, where Rhoda Richards lined Doctor Richard’s old worn out plaid cloak with President Young’s quilt, with flannel between, which made him very comfortable.
Monday, 13.—Elders Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and Theodore Turley arrived at Preston, England.
Tuesday, 14.—About this time Elder Rigdon and Doctor Foster arrived at Philadelphia.
Appointments in the British Mission.
Friday, 17.—A special council was held at the house of Elder Willard Richards, in Preston, Joseph Fielding, president, Theodore Turley, scribe. Present, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Hiram Clark, and Willard Richards. Council decided that Elders Woodruff and Turley should go to the Staffordshire potteries; Elders Taylor and Fielding, to Liverpool; Elder Clark, to Manchester, with Elder William Clayton; and Elder Willard Richards to go where the Spirit directs; that the Elders of the council communicate with the presidency at Preston once a month; and Elder Richards write to Brothers Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner in Scotland, and hold no general conference until more of the Twelve arrive.
Elders Brigham Young and George A. Smith went to Canaan, Connecticut, with Edwin D. Pierson, Elder Smith shaking very severely with the ague in the evening.
Saturday, 18.—Elders Woodruff and Turley started for the Potteries.
Sunday 19.—The High Council at Nauvoo voted to donate a city lot to Brother James Hendrix, who was shot in Missouri; also voted to build him a house; also donated a house and lot to Father Joseph Knight.
Elder Brigham Young preached at Sheffield mills, where he stayed till the twenty-sixth.
Wednesday, 22.—Elders Fielding and Taylor went to Liverpool and commenced their mission.
Saturday, 25.—About this time I visited the Saints at Brandywine, where I spent some days, and returned to Philadelphia.
Monday, 27.—Brothers Gibson Smith and Peter French conveyed Elders Brigham Young and George A. Smith to New Haven, where they tarried until the 31st.
About the last of this month, I left Philadelphia for Washington, in company with Brothers Rockwell, Higbee, and Doctor Foster, traveling by railroad, having sold my carriage, and having left Elder Rigdon sick in Philadelphia.
Friday, 31.—Elders Brigham Young and George A. Smith took steamboat from New Haven for New York City. When within eighteen miles of the city, they took the stage, and arrived at their destination about ten o’clock at night. When they alighted from the carriage they had no funds to pay their fare, and Elder Young asked Captain Stone to pay their bill, fifty cents, which he very readily did; and they found Elder Parley P. Pratt’s house in about five minutes, where they stayed Saturday, February 1st.
Sunday, February 2.—Elders Brigham Young and George A. Smith preached in the Columbia Hall. Elder Young preached every evening during the week, till Saturday, three times in the Columbia Hall; by which he injured himself so much, that he was not able to dress himself for four or five days.
On Monday George A. Smith went to Philadelphia.
Thursday, 6.—I had previously preached in Washington, and one of my sermons I find reported in synopsis, by a member of Congress; which I will insert entire.
Mathew S. Davis’ Description of the Prophet, and a Report of his Washington Discourse.
Washington, 6th February, 1840.
My Dear Mary:—I went last evening to hear “Joe Smith,” the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenets as explained by himself. He is not an educated man: but he is a plain, sensible, strong minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere. There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. He is apparently from forty to forty-five years of age, rather above the middle stature, and what you ladies would call a very good looking man. In his garb there are no peculiarities; his dress being that of a plain, unpretending citizen. He is by profession a farmer, but is evidently well read.
He commenced by saying, that he knew the prejudices which were abroad in the world against him, but requested us to pay no respect to the rumors which were in circulation respecting him or his doctrines. He was accompanied by three or four of his followers. He said, “I state to you our belief, so far as time will permit.” “I believe,” said he, “that there is a God, possessing all the attributes ascribed to Him by all Christians of all denominations; that He reigns over all things in heaven and on earth, and that all are subject to His power.” He then spoke rationally of the attributes of Divinity, such as foreknowledge, mercy &c., &c. He then took up the Bible. “I believe,” said he, “in this sacred volume. In it the ‘Mormon’ faith is to be found. We teach nothing but what the Bible teaches. We believe nothing, but what is to be found in this book. I believe in the fall of man, as recorded in the Bible; I believe that God foreknew everything, but did not foreordain everything; I deny that foreordain and foreknow is the same thing. He foreordained the fall of man; but all merciful as He is, He foreordained at the same time, a plan of redemption for all mankind. I believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that He died for the sins of all men, who in Adam had fallen.” He then entered into some details, the result of which tended to show his total unbelief of what is termed original sin. He believes that it is washed away by the blood of Christ, and that it no longer exists. As a necessary consequence, he believes that we are all born pure and undefiled. That all children dying at an early age (say eight years) not knowing good from evil, were incapable of sinning; and that all such assuredly go to heaven. “I believe,” said he, “that a man is a moral, responsible, free agent; that although it was foreordained he should fall, and be redeemed, yet after the redemption it was not foreordained that he should again sin. In the Bible a rule of conduct is laid down for him; in the Old and Testaments the law by which he is to be governed, may be found. If he violates that law, he is to be punished for the deeds done in the body.
I believe that God is eternal. That He had no beginning, and can have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or end. I believe that the soul is eternal; and had no beginning; it can have no end. Here he entered into some explanations, which were so brief that I could not perfectly comprehend him. But the idea seemed to be that the soul of man, the spirit, had existed from eternity in the bosom of Divinity; and so far as he was intelligible to me, must ultimately return from whence it came. He said very little of rewards and punishments; but one conclusion, from what he did say, was irresistible—he contended throughout, that everything which had a beginning must have an ending; and consequently if the punishment of man commenced in the next world, it must, according to his logic and belief have an end.
During the whole of his address, and it occupied more than two hours, there was no opinion or belief that he expressed, that was calculated, in the slightest degree, to impair the morals of society, or in any manner to degrade and brutalize the human species. There was much in his precepts, if they were followed, that would soften the asperities of man towards man, and that would tend to make him a more rational being than he is generally found to be. There was no violence, no fury, no denunciation. His religion appears to be the religion of meekness, lowliness, and mild persuasion.
Towards the close of his address, he remarked that he had been represented as pretending to be a Savior, a worker of miracles, etc. All this was false. He made no such pretensions. He was but a man, he said; a plain, untutored man; seeking what he should do to be saved. He performed no miracles. He did not pretend to possess any such power. He closed by referring to the Mormon Bible, which he said, contained nothing inconsistent or conflicting with the Christian Bible, and he again repeated that all who would follow the precepts of the Bible, whether Mormon or not, would assuredly be saved.
Throughout his whole address, he displayed strongly a spirit of charity and forbearance. The Mormon Bible, he said, was communicated to him, direct from heaven. If there was such a thing on earth, as the author of it, then he (Smith) was the author; but the idea that he wished to impress was, that he had penned it as dictated by God.
I have taken some pains to explain this man’s belief, as he himself explained it. I have done so because it might satisfy your curiosity, and might be interesting to you, and some of your friends. I have changed my opinion of the Mormons. They are an injured and much-abused people. Of matters of faith, you know I express no opinion. I have only room to add—let William, if you cannot do it, acknowledge the receipt of this, with the enclosure.
Remember me to Sarah and the boys. Kiss the dear baby for me.
Affectionately your husband,
M. L. Davis.
P. S.—I omitted to say, he does not believe in infant baptism, sprinkling, but in immersion, after eight years of age.
To Mrs. Mathew L. Davis, 107 Henry Street, New York.
The Prophet’s Interview with Van Buren and Calhoun.
During my stay I had an interview with Martin Van Buren, the President, who treated me very insolently, and it was with great reluctance he listened to our message, which, when he had heard, he said: “Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you;” and “If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri.” His whole course went to show that he was an office-seeker, that self-aggrandizement was his ruling passion, and that justice and righteousness were no part of his composition. I found him such a man as I could not conscientiously support at the head of our noble Republic. I also had an interview with Mr. John C. Calhoun, whose conduct towards me very ill became his station. I became satisfied there was little use for me to tarry, to press the just claims of the Saints on the consideration of the President or Congress, and stayed but a few days, taking passage in company with Porter Rockwell and Dr. Foster on the railroad and stages back to Dayton, Ohio.
Friday, 7.—High Council at Montrose voted to disfellowship all brethren who should persist in keeping tippling shops in that branch of the Church.
Sunday, 16.—Elder Brigham Young tarried at Elder Parley P. Pratt’s, 58 Mott Street, N. Y., and Elder Heber C. Kimball arrived there this morning.
Thursday, 20.—Judge Higbee I left at Washington, and he wrote me as follows:
Elias Higbee’s Letter to the Prophet, Reporting Progress of the Cause of the Saints Before the Senate Committee.
Washington City, Feb. 20th, 1840.
Dear Brother:—I have just returned from the Committee Room, wherein I spoke about one hour and a half. There were but three of the committee present, for which I am very sorry. I think they will be obliged to acknowledge the justice of our cause. They paid good attention; and I think my remarks were well received. It was a special meeting appointed to hear me by my request. The Missouri Senators and Representatives were invited to attend. Dr. Linn, and Mr. Jamieson attended, and God gave me courage, so that I was not intimidated by them. Dr. Linn, I thought, felt a little uneasy at times; but manifested a much better spirit afterwards than Mr. Jamieson.
I told them first, that I represented a suffering people, who had been deprived, together with myself, of their rights in Missouri; who numbered something like fifteen thousand souls; and not only they, but many others were deprived of the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States. At least the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand free-born citizens are deprived the enjoyment of citizenship in each and every state; that we had no ingress in the state of Missouri; nor could any of us have, only at the expense of our lives; and this by the order of the executive.
I then took their own declaration of the cause of our expulsion; referred them to Parley P. Pratt’s pamphlet, which I held in my hand; then showed that the first accusation therein contained, was on account of our religious tenets; furthermore, that the others were utterly groundless. I went on to prove that the whole persecution, from beginning to end, was grounded on our religious faith. For evidence of this, I referred them to Porter Rockwell’s testimony, and P. Powell’s. I stated that there was abundant testimony to prove this to be a fact, among the documents.
I then gave a brief history of the persecutions, from the first settlement in the state to our final expulsion. I also stated that the society were industrious, inoffensive, and innocent of crime; had the Times and Seasons, from which I read Governor Lucas’s letter to Alanson Ripley. I also referred to Judge Young’s letter from Pike county, the clerk’s and others, respecting our character in their section of the country. I gave them some hints of the Haun’s mill massacre, and the murder of the two little boys, but referred them more particularly to the documents for information concerning those things; and furthermore that I had not come here to instruct them in what they were to do in the case, but to present them with the facts—having all confidence in this honorable body (the Congress), believing them to be honorable men.
I demanded from them a restitution of all our rights and privileges as citizens of the United States, and damages for all the losses we had sustained in consequence of our persecutions and expulsion from the state; and told them we could have recourse no where else on earth that I knew of; that we could not sue an army of soldiers, neither could we go into the state to sue anyone else. I told them that I knew not how far Congress had jurisdiction in this case, or how far they had not; but as far as they had, we claimed the exercise of it for our relief; for we were an injured people.
These and some others were the principal subjects of my speech; after which Mr. Jamieson said he was once in the “Mormons'” favor; but afterwards learned that it was impossible to live among them, for they stole their neighbors’ hogs; and there being so much testimony, he believed it, etc., etc. I replied something like this: making statements was one thing, and proving them was another. Mr. Linn then said he wished me to answer one thing, viz.: If the legislature of Missouri did not refuse to investigate the subject of our difficulties solely on account of the trials then pending. In reply I assured him that I knew they had refused us an investigation; but as to that being the cause, I did not know, but told him they might have done it when those trials were discharged. He seemed to think it an injustice for Congress to take it up before the legislature had acted on it.
I occupied all but a few minutes of the time when the Senate was to go into session, so they adjourned until tomorrow at ten o’clock, when the Missourians are to reply. Mr. Linn observed, that there was a gentleman whom he would have before the committee on the morrow, who lived in the upper part of Missouri, that knew everything relative to the affair. I presume he is to put in his gab. I suppose I must attend the committee, as I am solicited by the chairman; but I would rather take a flogging; because I must sit still, and hear a volubility of lies concerning myself and brethren. Lies I say, for they have nothing but lies to tell, that will in the least degree justify their conduct in Missouri. Mr. Linn said he had written to Missouri, to get all the evidence taken before Judge King; so that if the thing must come up, he would be prepared to have a full investigation of the matter, and that the committee should have power to send for persons, papers, &c,. &c.
In my remarks I stated that an article of the Constitution was violated in not granting compulsory process for witnesses in behalf of the prisoners; and that the main evidence adduced, upon which they were committed, (as I understood), was from Dr. Avard, who once belonged to our society, and was compelled to swear as suited them best, in order to save his life; that I knew him to be a man whose character was the worst I ever knew in all my associations or intercourse with mankind; and that I had evidence by affidavits before them, of five or six respectable men, to prove that all he swore to was false.
Brethren and sisters, I want your especial prayers, that God may give me wisdom to manage this case according to His will, and that He will protect me from our foes, both publicly and privately.
Yours in the bonds of love,
Second letter of Elias Higbee to the Prophet—Cause of the Saints before the Senate Committee.
Washington City, February 21st, 1840.
Dear Brother.—I have just returned again from the Committee Room. Mr. Linn and Mr. Jamieson made some remarks, to which I replied. Mr. Linn is much more mild and reasonable (mostly perhaps from policy) than Mr. Jamieson, who related a long lingo of stuff, which he said was proven before the legislature in Missouri, which amounted to about this: that Joseph Smith gave the “Mormons” liberty to trespass on their neighbors’ property; also told them, that it all belonged to them; as they were Israelites. Upon the strength of this they became the agressors. I replied that the Jackson county people in their declaration of causes that induced them to unite in order to drive the “Mormons,” the crime of stealing, or trespassing, was not mentioned; and there was no docket, either clerk’s or justice’s, that could show it, in Jackson, Clay, Caldwell, or in Daviess counties; and that no man ever heard such teaching or doctrine from Joseph Smith, or any other “Mormon; ” that we held to no such doctrine, neither believed in any such thing.
I mentioned some things contained in our Book of Doctrine and Covenants; Government and Laws in general. I told them we had published long ago our belief on that subject. Some things I recollected, which were that all persons should obey the laws of the government under which they lived, and that ecclesiastical power should not be exercised to control our civil rights in any way; particularly that ecclesiastical power should only be used in the Church; and then no further than fellowship was concerned. I think they injured their cause to-day. There is another appointment for them on the morrow, at 10 o’clock. Their friend they said was sick, consequently could not attend to-day. Mr. Linn said he thought it would be time enough to take it up in Congress when they [the Saints] could not get justice from the State; and that he was confident there was a disposition in the state of Missouri to do us justice, should we apply; that the reason of their refusing to investigate before was, the trials of the prisoners were pending; and further said, (when speaking of the trials before Judge King,) that he understood from gentlemen that the prisoners commended the Judge for his clemency and fair dealing towards them; and acknowledged they were guilty in part of the charge preferred against them. Mr. Linn said he presumed I was not present, when said men were tried. I replied in the negative, that I was not there, neither any body else that could be a witness in their favor. The lawyers advised them to keep away if they desired the salvation of their lives. I observed that I had read the proceedings of the legislature, but did not now recollect them; but since yesterday I have been reflecting on the subject, and recollect a conversation I had with Mr. Harvey Redfield, who was the bearer of the petition to Jefferson City, and he informed me that the reasons why they refused an investigation, was on account of the Upper Missouri members being so violently opposed to it, that they used their utmost exertions, and finally succeeded in getting a majority against it; and the reason of their taking this course was, in consequence of one of their members being in the massacre at Haun’s mill, viz., Mr. Ashley; and Cornelius Gilliam was a leader of the first mob in Daviess county, which the militia were called out to suppress.
Mr. Linn said if it must come out in Congress, it should be fully investigated, and they, the Committee, should have power to send for persons and papers; for if we have a right to claim damages of the United States, so had they, if all were true concerning the acts alleged against the “Mormons;” that they had a right to ask the Government to pay the war against the “Mormons;” but finally seemed to disapprove of the exterminating order, which was admitted to have existed by Mr. Jamieson, or was issued by their legislature, but that no one ever thought of carrying it into effect. He said that General Clark merely advised the “Mormons” to leave the State. To which I replied, General Clark’s speech was before them; that I had stated some of its contents yesterday; and if it were necessary, I could prove it by four or five hundred affidavits.
Then Mr. Jamieson stated something about the prisoners making their escape, and that he had no doubt but that they could have a fair trial in Missouri, for the legislature, to his certain knowledge, passed a law whereby they had a right to choose any county in the State to be tried in. To which I replied, that I understood such a law was passed; but notwithstanding, they could not get their trials in the county wherein they desired; for they were forced to go to Boone, whereas they desired to have their trials in Palmyra, where they could get their witnesses, as that was only sixteen miles from the river, and the other was a great distance. He said that Judge King certainly would not go contrary to law. I told him there were some affidavits in those documents that would tell him some things very strange concerning Judge King. Mr. Linn then wished to know if the affidavits were from anybody else save “Mormons.” I replied that there were some others; but how many I knew not. He then wanted to know how they were certified; whether any clerk’s name was attached in the business. I told him they were well authenticated by the Courts of Record, with the Clerk’s name attached thereto.
After these things and some others were said, the committee refused to consult on the subject. Only the same three attended that were in yesterday. The Chairman observed that they had not expressed any opinion relative to the subject: but observed his mind was made up in relation to the matter. I think, from all I have discovered, Mr. Smith of Indiana will be on the side of justice; but how the thing will terminate I cannot tell. Mr. Crittenden and Mr. Strange are the two absent members of the Committee.
Yours in the bond of love,
Third Letter of Elias Higbee to the Prophet—Cause of the Saints before the Senate Committee.
Washington, February 22nd, 1840.
Dear Brother.—I have just returned from the Committee Room. The Committee being present to-day, a Mr. Corwin of St. Louis, formerly a democratic editor, emptied his budget; which was as great a bundle of nonsense and stuff as could be thought of; I suppose not what he knew, but what gentlemen had told him; for instance, the religious General Clark and others. I confess I had hard work to restrain my feeling some of the time, but I did succeed in keeping silence tolerably well. Himself, Mr. Jamieson, and Mr. Linn summoned all the energies of their minds to impress upon the assembly that “Joe Smith,” as he called him, led the people altogether by Revelation, in their temporal, civil, and political matters, and by this means caused all the “Mormons” to vote the “whole-hog” ticket on one side, except two persons. But when I got an opportunity of speaking, I observed that Joseph Smith never led any of the Church in these matters; as we considered him to have no authority, neither did he presume to exercise any of that nature; that Revelations were only concerning spiritual things in the Church; and the Bible being our standard, we received no Revelations contrary to it. I also observed that we were not such ignoramuses, perhaps, as he fain would have people believe us to be; and some other things on this subject. I then told him that every man exercised the right of suffrage according to his better judgment, and without any ecclesiastical restraint being put upon him; that it was all false about a Revelation on voting; and the reason of our voting that ticket was in consequence of the Democratic principles having been taught us from our infancy, and that they ever extended equal rights to all; and further we had been much persecuted previous to that time—many threatenings being made from the counties round about, as well as among us, by those who took the lead in political affairs. It was true we advised our brethren to vote this ticket, telling them we thought that party would protect our rights, and not suffer us to be driven from our lands, as we had hitherto been; believing it to be by far the most liberal party; but in that we were mistaken, because when it came to the test, there were as many Democrats turned against us as Whigs; and indeed less liberality and political freedom were manifested by them; for one Whig paper came out decidedly in our favor.
I made these remarks partly from motives which I may at another time explain to you. He laid great stress on the trials at Richmond, and a constitution, that he said Avard and others (who were in good standing in the “Mormon” Church at this time) swore to; then went on to relate what it contained, and that it was written by Sidney Rigdon.
I flatly denied it, and I could bring all the “Mormons,” both men, women, and children, besides myself, that would swear before all the world, that no such thing ever existed, nor was thought of among the “Mormons.”
He then related some things which he said John Corril had told him at the legislature, in Missouri; which were to the effect that the “Mormons” had burnt a number of houses in Daviess county, and that for himself, if he could not get to heaven by being an honest man, he would never go there. Then, I, speaking of some of the dissenters, told him Corril was anxious to get into the Church again, and that it was the fact in regard to damages having been done, after we had been driven from Jackson and Clay—relating the De Witt scrape, and calling of the militia, and the mob’s marching to Daviess and saying they would drive the “Mormons” from there to Caldwell, and then to hell; their burning our houses: that small parties on both sides were on the alert, and probably did some damages; though I was not personally knowing to [it], as I was not there. I told him Joseph Smith held no office in the country, neither was he a military man, and did not take gun in hand in the affair to my knowledge. I then stated that John Corril’s affidavit, which contained some important facts, was before them,—which facts I forgot to mention yesterday,—importing that he (John Corril) was convinced we would get no redress in Missouri (he being a member of the legislature, ought to know). I saw the Chairman of the Committee not long since, who informed me that the Committee had not come to a final conclusion on this matter as yet.
I saw Mr. Jamieson on the walk, who said the first thing the Committee would do was to decide whether they would take it up and consider it or not; and if they do take it up according to request, the Senate will grant the Committee power to send for persons and papers. The Committee made some inquiries respecting our religion, and I answered there, as a matter of course, as well as I was able.
They inquired very particularly concerning how much land we had entered there, and how much of it yet remained unsold; when Mr. Corwin observed that we had never entered much land there, but were squatters. I then described the size of Caldwell and Daviess counties, giving an explanation on these matters.
I suppose perhaps on Monday or Tuesday, we shall know something relative to this matter. Whether power be given them to send for persons and papers, [or not] you may see where they depend to rally their forces, viz., by endeavoring to make us treasonable characters, by the constitution, said to govern us, and that everything both civil and political among us is done by revelation. These points I desire to blow to the four winds, and that you will select a number of firm brethren, possessing good understanding, who will tell the truth, and willingly send me their names when they know they are wanted. Send plenty of them. They will get two dollars per day, and ten cents a mile to and from, [as] expense money. Do not send them until their subpoenas get there, for they will not draw expense money only for going home.
I will suggest a few names—Alanson Ripley, King Follett, Amasa Lyman, Francis M. Higbee, as they know concerning the De Witt scrape; also send Charles C. Rich, Seymour Brunson, and others. You will know whom to send better than myself.
If the Missourians should send for you, I would say consult God about going.
P. S.—Mr. Jamieson stated to me this evening, if the “Mormons” could make it appear that they had been wronged, they would use their influence in having them redressed, so the shame should not fall on the whole state, but on those which had been guilty. I then observed that there was a minority in the legislature, much in our favor, which seemed to please him, as they alluded several times to it. The cause of my being so particular, is to show you the whole ground I have taken in this matter, that there may be no inconsistency. If I have erred in this matter, it is my head and not my heart.
Sunday, 23.—Elder Brigham Young had so far recovered as to be able to attend preaching by Parley P. Pratt, at Columbia Hall, New York.
The High Council of Nauvoo voted, that the notes given into the hands of Bishop Partridge, by certain individuals, as consecrations for building the Lord’s House in Far West, be returned to the same by him.
Tuesday, 25.—Elders Brigham Young and Reuben Hedlock went to Hampstead, on Long Island, and preached at Rockaway and the neighborhood till the fourth of March, and baptized nine.
The Fourth Letter of Elias Higbee to the Prophet—Announces that the Senate Committee’s Report will be Adverse to the Saints.
Washington, February 26th, 1840.
Dear Brother.—I am just informed, by General Wall (the Chairman of the Committee), before whom, or to whom, our business is referred, that the decision is against us, or in other words unfavorable, that they believe redress can only be had in Missouri, the courts and legislature. He says, they will report this week. I desire to get a copy of it, and also the papers. I feel a conscience void of offense towards God and man in this matter; that I have discharged my duty here; and as I wish not to be on expense, as soon as I can write to President Rigdon, get my papers, and draw some money to bear my expenses, I shall bid adieu to this city, to return to my family and friends.
I feel now that we have made our last appeal to all earthly tribunals; that we should now put our whole trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have a right now which we could not heretofore so fully claim—that is, of asking God for redress and redemption, as they have been refused us by man.
To Joseph Smith, Junior.
The Prophet en route for Nauvoo.
When I had returned as far as Dayton, Ohio, I found the horses which we left on our journey out, and from thence I pursued my journey through Indiana on horseback, in company with Dr. Foster, leaving Brother Porter Rockwell at Dayton; the traveling being exceedingly bad, my progress was slow and wearisome.
Death of James Mulholland.
My clerk, James Mulholland, while I was absent, died on November 3rd, 1839, aged thirty-five years. He was a man of fine education, and a faithful scribe and Elder in the Church. 2
Wednesday, March 4, 1840. I arrived safely at Nauvoo, after a wearisome journey, through alternate snow and mud, having witnessed many vexatious movements in government officers, whose sole object should be the peace and prosperity and happiness of the whole people; but instead of this, I discovered that popular clamor and personal aggrandizement were the ruling principles of those in authority; and my heart faints within me when I see, by the visions of the Almighty, the end of this nation, if she continues to disregard the cries and petitions of her virtuous citizens, as she has done, and is now doing.
I have also enjoyed many precious moments with the Saints during my journey.
On my way home I did not fail to proclaim the iniquity and insolence of Martin Van Buren, toward myself and an injured people, which will have its effect upon the public mind; and may he never be elected again to any office of trust or power, 3by which he may abuse the innocent and let the guilty go free.
I depended on Dr. Foster to keep my daily journal during this journey, but he has failed me.
Elders Brigham Young and Reuben Hedlock returned to New York, and held a conference, when many Elders were ordained.
Report of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Case of the Saints vs. Missouri.
Twenty-sixth Congress—First Session.—In the Senate of the United States, March 4th, 1840. Submitted, laid on the table, and ordered to be printed, the following Report, made by Mr. Wall—
The Committee on the Judiciary to whom was referred the Memorial of a Delegation of the Latter-day Saints, report—
The Petition of the Memoralists sets forth, in substance, that a portion of their sect commenced a settlement in the county of Jackson, in the state of Missouri, in the summer of 1831; that they bought lands, built houses, erected churches, and established their homes, and engaged in all the various occupations of life; that they were expelled from that county in 1833 by a mob, under circumstances of great outrage, cruelty, and oppression, and against all law, and without any offense committed on their part, and to the destruction of property to the amount of 120,000 dollars; that the society thus expelled amounted to about 1,200 souls; that no compensation was ever made for the destruction of their property in Jackson; that after their expulsion from Jackson county, they settled in Clay county, on the opposite side of the Missouri river, where they purchased lands, and entered others at the land office; where they resided peaceably for three years, engaged in cultivation, and other useful and active employments, when the mob again threatened their peace, lives, and property; and they became alarmed, and finally made a treaty with the citizens of Clay county, that they should purchase their lands, and the Saints should remove; which was complied with on their part, and the saints removed to the county of Caldwell, where they took up their abode and re-established their settlement, not without heavy pecuniary losses and other inconveniences; that the citizens of Clay county never paid them for their lands, except for a small part; they remained in Caldwell from 1836 until the fall of 1838, and during that time had acquired, by purchase from the Government, the settlers, and pre-emptioners, almost all the lands in the county of Caldwell, and a portion of the lands in Daviess and Carroll counties—the former county being almost entirely settled by the Saints, and they were rapidly filling up the two latter counties.
Those counties, when the Saints first commenced their settlement, were for the most part wild and uncultivated, and they had converted them into large and well improved farms, well stocked. Land had risen in value to ten or even twenty-five dollars per acre, and these counties were rapidly advancing in cultivation and wealth.
That in August, 1838, a riot commenced, growing out of an attempt of a Saint to vote, which resulted in creating great excitement, and the perpetration of many scenes of lawless outrage, which are set forth in the Petition. That they were finally compelled to fly from those counties, and on the 11th October, 1838, they sought safety by that means, with their families, leaving many of their effects behind. That they had previously applied to the constituted authorities of Missouri for protection, but in vain. They allege, that they were pursued by the mob; that conflicts ensued: deaths occurred on each side: and finally a force was organized under the authority of the Governor of the state of Missouri, with orders to drive the Saints from the state, or exterminate them. The Saints thereupon determined to make no further resistance, but to submit themselves to the authorities of the state.
Several of the Saints were arrested and imprisoned on a charge of treason against the state, and the rest, amounting to about 15,000 souls, fled into other states, principally into Illinois, where they now reside.
The petition is drawn up at great length, and sets forth, with feeling and eloquence, the wrongs of which they complain; justifies their own conduct, and aggravates that of those whom they call their persecutors, and concludes by saying they see no redress, unless it be obtained of the Congress of the United States, to whom they make their solemn, last appeal, as American citizens, as Christians, and as men; to which decision they say they will submit.
The committee have examined the case presented by the petition, and heard the views urged by their agent, with care and attention; and after full examination and consideration, unanimously concur in the opinion—
That the case presented for their investigation is not such a one as will justify or authorize any interposition by this government.
The wrongs complained of are not alleged to be committed by any of the officers of the United States, or under the authority of its government in any manner whatever. The allegations in the petition relate to the acts of its citizens, and inhabitants and authorities of the state of Missouri, of which state the petitioners were at the time citizens, or inhabitants.
The grievances complained of in the petition are alleged to have been done within the territory of the state of Missouri. The committee, under these circumstances, have not considered themselves justified in inquiring into the truth or falsehood of the facts charged in the petition. If they are true, the petitioners must seek relief in the courts of judicature of the state of Missouri, or of the United States, which has the appropriate jurisdiction to administer full and adequate redress for the wrongs complained of, and doubless will do so fairly and impartially; 4 or the petitioners may, if they see proper, apply to the justice and magnanimity of the state of Missouri—an appeal which the committee feel justified in believing will never be made in vain by the injured or oppressed.
It can never be presumed that a state either wants the power or lacks the disposition to redress the wrongs of its own citizens, committed within her own territory, whether they proceed from the lawless acts of her officers or any other persons. The committee therefore report that they recommend the passage of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the committee on the judiciary be discharged from the further consideration of the memorial in this case; and that the memorialists have leave to withdraw the papers which accompany their memorial.
2. Mulholland street in Nauvoo was named in honor of this worthy man. It ran east and west on the south side of the Temple block, and became the principal business street of the city. It was to him that the Prophet dictated a considerable part of his history. See History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 375.
3. He never was. In the Presidential election of 1840, Van Buren was renominated by the Democratic Party, but was defeated by William Henry Harrison, the Whig candidate. Harrison received two hundred and thirty-four electoral votes to sixty for Van Buren. In 1848 Van Buren was again a candidate for President being the nominee of the Free Soil Party. Lewis Cass was the nominee of the Democrats, and Zachary Taylor of the Whigs. Taylor was elected, and Van Buren did not receive a single electoral vote.
4. The Saints never acted upon the suggestion of the judiciary committee of the Senate, that they take their case before the Federal courts. The reasons why are considered at length in the introduction of this volume which see.