Authorization for Hyrum Smith and Isaac Galland, 15 February 1841–B
JS, Authorization, , Hancock Co., IL, for and , 15 Feb. 1841; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL.
Single leaf measuring 12½ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm). Embossed in the upper left corner is a decorative star and the insignia of D. & J. Ames, a Springfield, Massachussetts, paper mill established by brothers David and John Ames in 1828. The paper is ruled with thirty-four blue lines (now faded). The letter was written on the front and back of the leaf; the document was folded in quarters horizontally, presumably for filing.
This document was included in a Church Historian’s Office inventory from circa 1904. By 1973 it had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The inventory and inclusion in the JS Collection indicate the document has remained in continuous institutional custody.
Whiting, “Paper-Making in New England,” 309; Gravell et al., American Watermarks, 235.
Whiting, William. “Paper-Making in New England.” In The New England States: Their Constitutional, Judicial, Educational, Commercial, Professional and Industrial History, edited by William T. Davis, vol. 1, pp. 303–333. Boston: D. H. Hurd, 1897.
Gravell, Thomas L., George Miller, and Elizabeth Walsh. American Watermarks: 1690–1835. 2nd ed. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2002.
“Index to Papers. In the Historians Office,” ca. 1904, 6, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL; see also the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
On 15 February 1841 in , Illinois, JS dictated an authorization to his clerk , attesting to the official appointment of and to serve as for the . A 19 January 1841 revelation directed Galland and Hyrum Smith to “accomplish the work that my servant Joseph shall point out,” and JS provided a document assigning power of attorney to the two men on 1 February 1841.
The authorization for and attested to their character and endorsed their mission. Although Hyrum Smith had long been part of the church’s leadership and was probably familiar to most members of the church in the eastern , Isaac Galland, a resident of in 1839, was probably not. Galland had been praised by the a month earlier in the Times and Seasons for selling his lands in Iowa Territory to the church for the Saints to settle. Galland had also reached out to local politicians, seeking confirmation that the Saints would find safety and equal treatment in Iowa Territory.
After and received their authorization, their subsequent business in the eastern initially seemed to revolve around sales of stock in the to support its construction; they were also authorized to solicit donations for the planned in and to enter land transactions on behalf of the church. As they traveled, the primary focus of their activities soon became land exchanges—they met with and urged church members in and to trade their lands for lots in Nauvoo where they could relocate. These exchanges represented efforts to meet impending debt payments on the church’s 1839 purchase of land in from . According to a financial report of JS’s agents written in January 1841, the first interest payment of $3,000 was due Hotchkiss.
With few liquid assets, church leaders decided to use titles to land they acquired from members in the eastern to repay . The properties gained would be transferred to Hotchkiss and his land syndicate, and these land-for-land transactions would cover debt payment and even help facilitate the gathering of the Saints to . This system of exchange had also been employed when received land titles from JS and the church to cover the remaining debt on the church’s land purchases in . Because Galland was familiar with the process, he was likely able to aid the church with similar agreements.
The authorization featured here was directed to a general audience and to church members. A second authorization addressing only the Saints was created the same day in the handwriting of , and another clerk for JS, , made a retained copy. Because these authorizations have nearly identical content, the authorization with broader applicability is featured here. The featured version is in Coray’s handwriting, but the inclusion of Thompson’s name as clerk makes it likely that this version is also a retained copy made by Coray of the original, which is no longer extant.
This matches evidence from the extant copies of the other authorization: the original is in Robert B. Thompson’s hand, and a retained copy is in Howard Coray’s handwriting. (JS, Authorization, Nauvoo, IL, for Hyrum Smith and Isaac Galland, 15 Feb. 1841, JS Collection, CHL.)
Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.
To all whom it may concern
This may certify that the bearers of this and Doctor are duly authorized by the in this place, to visit the different of Said Church in the eastern lands, to make exchanges of lands, to sell stock in the and obtain subscriptions and donations for building the “” in this place. and all such other business as they may deem necessary for the well being and prosperity of said Church. and they have been vested with lawful authority in all things pertaining to their business transactions.
The saints abroad may place the most implicit confidence in any statement they may make, as they are persons of tried integrity and high standing in society, President has long been known to the church for his virtue patience and every principle that can adorn the christian character. has proved himself a good benefactor to the church and has been the honored instrument in the hands of God in obtaining for us our present homes and comforts and who is willing to labor with cheerfulness and diligence for the prosperity of . Let the Saints then who prefer the prosperity of Zion [p. ]