Letter from Thomas Ward and Hiram Clark, 16 March 1843
and , Letter, , England, to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, , Hancock Co., IL, 16 Mar. 1843; handwriting of ; signatures of and ; dockets in handwriting of and ; four pages; Sidney Rigdon Collection, CHL.
On 16 March 1843, Thomas Ward and Hiram Clark wrote a letter from Liverpool, England, to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Nauvoo, Illinois, to convey information pertaining to the emigration of Latter-day Saints from England to Nauvoo. Ward was the presiding elder of the church in Europe; Clark was one of Ward’s counselors and was responsible for overseeing emigration. The two had written a letter to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 1 March 1843 seeking advice on church publications in England.The logistics of getting Saints from England to Nauvoo had been of concern to church leaders for a few years. In 1841, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles instructed those desiring to move to the United States to work through the church’s emigration agent in England rather than going on their own and to travel through New Orleans rather than New York. The apostles supplemented this direction in 1842 with a plan to generate funds for emigration. According to this plan, church members in England would “collect as great an amount of Cotton, Linen, and woollen Goods; Silks, Cutlery, Hardware” as they could and send them to Nauvoo. The apostles would pay the British Saints for these goods by providing them with land, housing, cattle, and other kinds of property when the emigrants reached Nauvoo. The apostles would also use proceeds from the sale of the goods to buy “flour, meat and all things necessary for a sea voyage” at lower prices than those in England and send them to the British Saints, who would then be able to emigrate “at a cheaper rate.”It is unclear how extensively the Twelve’s plan was put into place, but it may have been hindered by tariffs in both England and the United States. Ward and Clark stated that they were having difficulty getting ships and captains to take Saints to New Orleans, the main port to which British church members migrated, because of reports that captains had to enter into bonds to guarantee that their passengers did not become wards of Louisiana after arriving there. To induce ship captains to bring Saints to New Orleans, Ward and Clark proposed that Clark be stationed in New Orleans to serve as a broker to find cargos of cotton for the ships to take back to England. Ward and Clark also requested that church leaders send someone to help them oversee the Saints’ emigration from England.Ward wrote the letter and signed it, after which Clark signed it. They then mailed it from Liverpool on 18 March 1843, and it arrived by ship in Boston on 19 April. The letter reached Nauvoo by mid-May, when it was read in a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. JS presumably read the letter around the same time. No reply has been located, but the apostles did vote to send Reuben Hedlock to England to serve as both the presiding elder and the overseer of emigration. After Hedlock’s arrival, Ward and Clark served as his counselors. Ward continued to serve as editor of the Millennial Star, while Clark continued to coordinate emigration efforts in England.