On 17 February 1842 member wrote a letter to JS from Hanley, England, to inform him of recent events in the country, report on proselytizing, and forward a donation. Cordon detailed the rise of critics of the church in . He also described England’s growing civil unrest and poverty. Great Britain was in the midst of a major economic depression that many citizens believed was exacerbated by government interventions. Many were particularly irate with the Corn Laws, which restricted the importation of grain and contributed to a stark rise of food costs. During the previous week, English citizens had mounted demonstrations throughout the nation. These demonstrations included the burning of effigies, most notably that of Prime Minister Robert Peel.
Despite their poverty, several English Latter-day Saints donated what they could to the church. On 15 January 1841 the issued “A Proclamation, to the Saints Scattered Abroad,” which urged the Saints to contribute to the construction of the in , Illinois. On 24 October 1841 and pledged to send $1,000 over the course of the year and began to facilitate the Saints’ donations in . ’s letter to JS was occasioned by his need to forward a donation from a young woman for the temple. Cordon did not explicitly identify the young woman, noting only that she was a believer but not yet a member of the church; however, an entry in the Book of the Law of the Lord identifies her as Eliza Tideswell.
On the morning of 17 February 1842, wrote to JS as of the church. Along with the letter and the enclosed donation of one guinea, Cordon enclosed an unidentified “small token” of regard from his wife, Emma Parker Cordon, to JS’s wife . It is not known whether Alfred Cordon mailed the letter to JS in or sent it there with a church courier. Based on the entry in the Book of the Law of the Lord, the letter was received in Nauvoo by 10 May 1842. If JS responded to Cordon, that letter has not been located. Cordon’s original 17 February 1842 letter is apparently not extant. The featured version was published in the 16 May 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons.
On 14 February protestors in Hanley and the neighboring town of Shelton “got up an effigy of Peel, and paraded it through the principal streets with drum and fife, then fixing it on an elevated spot, they discharged thirty or forty pistol-shots and set it on fire.” (“Anti-Corn Law Movements,” Examiner [London], 19 Feb. 1842, 122.)
When this donation was entered into the Book of the Law of the Lord under the date of 10 May 1842, the entry stated simply that Cordon’s letter included a $5.20 donation from a “lady in Staffordshire England.” A later notation written in graphite above the word “lady” identified her as Eliza Tideswell. (Book of the Law of the Lord, 118.)