, Letter, , New Haven Co., CT, to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 1 Apr. 1840. Featured version copied [between mid-Apr. and June 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 123–125; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 1 April 1840, , a land speculator from , wrote to JS in , Illinois, regarding potential land purchases. Hotchkiss had addressed a letter to JS in two weeks earlier, believing JS was still in the eastern . After learning that JS had returned to , Hotchkiss wrote this 1 April letter, in which he offered to sell to JS and the additional land in central and western and conveyed his sympathy regarding the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s negative recommendation on the Latter-day Saints’ petition for redress to Congress. The previous year, Hotchkiss and his business partners, and , had sold to the church all of their property in the Commerce area. Aware of the rapid influx of Mormons to Illinois, Hotchkiss offered in this April 1840 letter to sell properties in the area of , Illinois, and in the region of Henry and Mercer counties, further up the and northeast of Commerce. No response from JS is known to exist, and the Saints did not purchase the land that Hotchkiss offered to sell.
The original letter is apparently not extant. copied the version featured here into JS Letterbook 2, likely sometime between the third week of April and the end of June 1840.
My Dear Sir— After writing you at, and then going to and not finding you, I addressed a letter to , and recived a reply from by which I first [learned?] of your return to and at the same time I got the committees report upon your application to congress for redress of the outrages perpetrated upon your people by the Missourians. I am not, I must confess, much disappointed in the result; as [I?] know the vaccilating, fawni[n]g character of many, in both Houses of Congress; and these are not their worst traits either, for they not only lack the moral courage, to do right, but will know do what they know to be positively wrong, if they can make political capital, by it, and will abandon you, me, or any one else, with perfect indifference, and heartless treachery, if by doing it they can obtain governmental favour, or political preferment— If we should not put our faith in Princes, it appears most emphatically true, that we should repose no confidence in politicians— The idea conveyed in the report, that exact justice will <be> meted to you by the judicial tribunals of , is too preposterous to require comment—
It is indeed a new doctrine, that we should apply to robbers or their supporters to condem themselves— to restore the valuables they have stolen— & to betray each other for the murders they have committed. I do not believe, (tho, I am sorry to say it) that you will ever receive a just or honorable remuneration for your losses of property; or any reparation for the personal indignities, privations and sufferings, which your people have sustained in — The greatest reliance which your people have for regaining your wealth is the <in> the honorable conduct of your people; their pure morals— their correct habits— their indefatigable industry— their untiring perseverance, and their well directed [p. 123]
As an alternative to appealing to the United States or Missouri courts for redress, the Committee on the Judiciary suggested that “the petitioners may, if they see proper, apply to the justice and magnanimity of the State of Missouri—an appeal which the committee feel justified in believing will never be made in vain by the injured or oppressed.” The committee was presumably proposing that the Saints petition Missouri’s executive rather than the state’s judiciary. (Report of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 4 Mar. 1840.)