Commission from Thomas Carlin, 10 March 1841
, Commission, , Sangamon Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 10 Mar. 1841; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of ; includes signatures of and and canceled signature of ; notation in handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes notation and docket.Single leaf measuring 12⅜ × 15¾ inches (31 × 40 cm), with embossed seal of the state of in the bottom left corner. The signature of was knife-erased, and then signed the document over the erasure. added a notation and his signature on the verso. The commission was folded for filing.The commission has presumably remained in institutional custody since it was docketed and filed by JS’s clerk , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865.
On 10 March 1841, governor commissioned JS as lieutenant general of the of the Illinois state militia. As set forth in the city charter, the Nauvoo Legion was subject to the governor and required his authorization to appoint all officers.The state government approved the establishment of ’s volunteer militia in December 1840. The legion, however, deviated from traditional militia structure in its designation of JS as lieutenant general. In the traditional chain of command, the governor functioned as commander in chief of the state’s militias, and next in command was each militia’s major general, a position filled in the Nauvoo Legion by . There had not been a standing lieutenant general in the Army or any state militia since President John Adams appointed George Washington as the senior officer of the United States Army in July 1798. Yet the Nauvoo Legion elected JS as their lieutenant general on 4 February 1841, and both the and the of Illinois approved the commission.The generic printed form featured here required handwritten customization to tailor its contents to the particular commission being granted. , the secretary of state until 27 February 1841, filled in the blanks on the printed form and signed it, likely on 5 February. As the new secretary of state, erased Douglas’s signature and replaced it with his own apparently by 10 March, when the commission was finalized and issued. Carlin authorized the commission by adding his signature. On 15 March, after receiving the executed commission, administered JS’s oath of office and added a notation to that effect on the back.
Illinois State Militia Commission Records, 1834–1855. Illinois State Archives, Springfield.
Nauvoo Legion Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430.
Cooper, Samuel, and Alexander Macomb. A Concise System of Instructions and Regulations for the Militia and Volunteers of the United States, Comprehending the Exercises and Movements of the Infantry, Light Infantry, and Riflemen; Cavalry and Artillery: Together with the Manner of Doing Duty in Garrison and in Camp, and the Forms of Parades, Reviews, and Inspections, as Established by Authority for the Government of the Regular Army. Philadelphia: Robert P. Desilver, 1836.
Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, from March 4, 1829, to March 3, 1837, Inclusive. Vol. 4. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1887.
Syrett, Harold C., ed. Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961–1987.
White, Horace. The Life of Lyman Trumbull. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1913.
Johannsen, Robert W. Stephen A. Douglas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
Ford, Thomas. A History of Illinois, from Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847. Containing a Full Account of the Black Hawk War, the Rise, Progress, and Fall of Mormonism, the Alton and Lovejoy Riots, and Other Important and Interesting Events. Chicago: S. C. Griggs; New York: Ivison and Phinney, 1854.