, Letter, , New Haven Co., CT, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 7 Feb. 1842; handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamps, postal notations, endorsement, and notation.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The document was inscribed in blue ink on the recto of the first leaf. The verso of the first leaf and recto of the second leaf are blank. The bifolium was trifolded twice in letter style, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, addressed, and postmarked. The letter was torn when opened, and some wafer residue remains on the verso of the second page.
The letter was endorsed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as temple recorder from 1842 to 1846. A notation was inscribed by , who served as JS’s scribe from December 1841 until JS’s death in June 1844 and served as church historian from December 1842 until his own death in March 1854. The document may be one of the four 1842 letters from listed in an inventory produced by the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early endorsement and notation as well as its possible inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and its inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
JS, Journal, 29 June 1842; “Clayton, William,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:718; Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 18, 30–31.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
“Letters to and from the Prophet,” ca. 1904, , Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL. “Index to Papers in the Historians Office,” ca. 1904, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL, and its draft cite a letter from Horace Hotchkiss, but it is unclear which of the several 1842 Hotchkiss letters it is.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 7 February 1842 wrote to JS from his home in regarding a pending land transaction with the . Hotchkiss met with church in in late September or early October 1841, and Ivins proposed selling Hotchkiss approximately 140 acres of church-owned land in New Jersey, including two pine-timber farms and a “.” Hotchkiss previously wrote to JS offering $3,000 for the land, provided the payment be applied to interest the church owed Hotchkiss and his business partners, and , for land the church purchased in , Illinois, in August 1839. In December 1841 JS wrote a letter countering Hotchkiss’s offer, stating the church would sell the land for $3,200. Hotchkiss agreed to the amount later that month. In February, Hotchkiss wrote the featured letter to request prompt completion of the arrangement. JS responded to this letter on 10 March, by which time Hotchkiss and Ivins had completed the transaction.
D. Sir— I was a day or two since at and Mr told me that he and Esqr. Cowperthwaite were ready at any time to deed the and the Pine timber land to me at the price agreed upon but that as yet he had received no instructions from Mr authorising them to do so— Possibly since arriving in has been so much engaged as to have forgotten it— If convenient will you sir oblige me by seeing him and remind him of the importance that a deed will be to me now so that I can avail myself of the Spring for selling the property
I see by the public prints that you are progressing in population wealth and improvements beyond any precident and this state of things aside from any pecuniary consideration can give <no> person greater pleasure than myself
The Banks will nearly all break— Accept my best wishes
New Egypt, Monmouth County, New Jersey, was near Hornerstown, where James Ivins lived. (Hammond, Squire’s Map of the State of New Jersey, 1836; Fleming, “Early Mormonism in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey,” 78.)
Hammond, John T., cartographer. Squire’s Map of the State of New Jersey. New York: B. S. Squire, 1835. Digital image at Nova Caesarea: A Cartographic Record of the Garden State, 1666–1888, a 2014 online exhibition presented by Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ. Accessed 8 Dec. 2016. http://library.princeton.edu/njmaps/state_of_nj.html.
Horace Hotchkiss was perhaps alluding to recent issues of the Times and Seasons, to which he apparently subscribed. Recent issues discussed the growth of Nauvoo incidentally through articles about the University of Nauvoo and the Nauvoo Legion. The 15 November 1841 issue also printed a lengthy letter from Benjamin Winchester to Erastus Snow, who was in Massachusetts. Winchester’s letter described in detail the construction of the temple, the Nauvoo House, other public buildings, and many new brick homes, as well as Nauvoo’s economic prospects. Winchester concluded, “In short the saints here are prospering in every thing beyond my expectations, and Nauvoo is the most beautiful place for a city that I ever saw.” Alternatively, or additionally, Hotchkiss was perhaps referring to reports in newspapers closer to home. Only two weeks before Hotchkiss wrote his letter, the New-England Weekly Review, based in Hartford, Connecticut, published an acerbic report by an anonymous visitor to Nauvoo. Although the author portrayed the Saints in a negative light, his account of the city’s development and the residents’ industry was complimentary: “As you approach from the water, it presents quite an imposing appearance; more that of a city that has had a generation for its growth, than one that has sprung up almost in a single year.” (Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 9 Nov. 1841; Benjamin Winchester, Nauvoo, IL, to Erastus Snow, 12 Nov. 1841, in Times and Seasons, 15 Nov. 1841, 3:604–606; “Letters from the West,” New-England Weekly Review [Hartford, CT], 22 Jan. 1842, .)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
In November 1841, at the height of the 1839–1843 depression, the Pennsylvania government notified all state banks that on 1 February 1842 they would be required to turn over, in loan, five percent of their capital to the state. This resulted in a run on some of the largest banks in Philadelphia the last week of January 1842. (Wallis, “Depression of 1839 to 1843,” 30–31; Kettell, “Debts and Finances of the States of the Union,” 261–262.)
Wallis, John Joseph. “The Depression of 1839 to 1843: States, Debts, and Banks.” Unpublished paper. Copy in editors’ possession.
Kettell, Thomas Prentice. “Debts and Finances of the States of the Union: With Reference to Their General Condition and Prosperity. Chapter IV. Middle States—Pennsylvania.” Merchants’ Magazine 20, no. 3 (Mar. 1849): 256–269.