, Letter with postscript by JS, , Iowa Territory, to , , 7 Mar. 1840. Featured version copied [between Apr. and June 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 109–111; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 7 March 1840, clerk wrote a letter to containing instructions about representing the before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. At a 6 March 1840 meeting of the Iowa high council held in , Iowa Territory, JS declared that “the affair now before Congress was the only thing that ought to interest the saints at present.” The high council then directed Elias Smith “to inform Judge Higbee, that it is the wishes of this council that he should not upon any consideration consent to accept of any thing of Congress Short of our just rights & demands for our losses & damages in .” Elias Smith wrote this letter as a result of that direction, and JS approved the letter’s content in a postscript.
In addition to declaring support for ’s mission, relayed the disdain the high council members felt for political leaders who refused to back the Saints’ petition for redress. Despite expressing a negative view of various politicians, the letter signaled the high council’s optimism that the federal government would award reparations to church members who were expelled from their property in . JS and the high council in were unaware that the judiciary committee had already decided that the Senate should no longer consider the church’s memorial, indicating JS had not yet received the letter Higbee had written on 26 February 1840.
presumably sent this letter by post to , but the original letter is not extant. If or when received the letter is unknown. copied it into JS Letterbook 2 sometime between April and June 1840.
Coray, Autobiographical Sketch, 17, 19. It is unclear whether Coray copied this letter from another copy retained by JS or from the original letter that Higbee received and subsequently brought back to the Commerce, Illinois, area.
Coray, Howard. Autobiographical Sketch, after 1883. Howard Coray, Papers, ca. 1840–1941. Photocopy. CHL. MS 2043, fd. 1.
I take my pen for the first time to write a few lines to you, in compliance with the wishes of the bretheren in this as manifested by their vote, at a meeting of the held at on Friday the sixth inst, at which Joseph Smith Jr. was present, and communicated to us some things relative to the proceedings of Congress, on the subject of our persecutions in the State of , and final expulsion therefrom by the Executive authority thereof.
We are fully sensible, that you will as the Representative of the , do every thing [in] your power to have our case fairly presented in all its bearings to Congress. And be assured, that you have the prayers, and the faith of the Saints here. who seem determined that nothing shall be withheld that they are in possession of or can procure; that will be of use to you in discharging the duties of your appointment. Exertions are making to furnish you with every needful testimony, to prove every item of the memorial, presented to the Senate by , which will be forwarded soon by Prst Smith. I am instructed by the unanimous voice of the Church here to request you not to give an inch in any position that has been taken; [p. 109]
The minutes of the Iowahigh council’s 6 March 1840 meeting indicate that church leaders were still gathering affidavits that testified of the violent encounters between the Saints and the vigilantes in Missouri and itemized the Saints’ damaged and lost property there. The Iowa high council appointed a committee of three people to gather the affidavits and to send them to Higbee in Washington DC. Additionally, Higbee had written in an earlier letter that should the church’s memorial be considered further by the Senate, the church would be able to send witnesses to Washington to testify. (Minutes and Discourse, 6 Mar. 1840; Letter from Elias Higbee, 22 Feb. 1840.)