On 11 February 1843, JS delivered his inaugural address as mayor of , Illinois, during the morning meeting of the Nauvoo City Council. He used the opportunity to instruct the city council members regarding their duties to the people of Nauvoo, prophesying that the city would be enriched if the council enacted laws promoting “peace & good order.” Much of the address focused on the duty of the city council to regulate Nauvoo’s expenditures. The comments were likely connected to the city’s growing financial problems and ’s 13 January 1843 letter warning the city council that the city had only about forty dollars of currency in its treasury.
The minutes of the city council meeting do not mention JS’s address, but JS likely delivered it after he and the other newly elected or reelected members of the city government had taken their respective oaths of office. Although the Times and Seasons published a transcript of ’s inaugural address in 1841, neither the Times and Seasons nor the Wasp published any of JS’s inaugural address. The abbreviated notes of the address that made in JS’s journal represent the only known account of JS’s remarks on the occasion.
the f[r]om all unnecessary expences & burthens. Not to attempt to improve the but enact such laws as will promote peace & good order. & the people will improve the , capitalist will come in from all quarters & mills factories. & machinery of all kinds & buildings will arise on every hand this will become a great city. & prophecid that if the council would be liberal in their proceedings they would become rich.— & spoke at considerable length again[s]t the principle of pay for every little service rendered and espec[i]ally that of committe[e]s having extra pay.— [p. ]
JS had grown impatient with council members and city officers requesting fees for any and all services provided. Just before delivering his address, he told the city recorder, James Sloan, that “it would be better for him 10 years hence not to Say any thing more about fees.” A 14 January 1843 ordinance regularized fees charged for services that city employees performed. On 30 January, the city council ordered over $300 in fees to be paid to various individuals for services rendered. (JS, Journal, 11 Feb. 1843; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 14 and 30 Jan. 1843, 141–146, 158.)