, Letter, Chillocothe, Ross Co., OH, to JS, , , , and , , Hancock Co., IL, 24 July 1839. Featured version copied [between 5 Aug. and 30 Oct. 1839] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 70–71; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 24 July 1839, land speculator and wrote to JS and other church leaders in regarding Galland’s recent travels and conversations with notable men about the church. Galland’s relationship with the church began in February 1839 as a financial association. In several transactions between 30 April and 26 June 1839, Galland sold church leaders land in , Illinois—including the hotel in which he was living at —and in , Iowa Territory. Likely influenced by interactions with JS and other Latter-day Saints, Galland was and by JS on 3 July in Commerce. The same day, JS him to the office of . Within a day, Galland and his family left Illinois on a steam packet, having divested their western land holdings to the church and wanting to return to the East, where they were originally from. The boat stopped in , Missouri, before arriving in Chillicothe, Ohio, around 13 July. Galland and his family took up residence at a hotel, where Galland planned to live until he could purchase a home in the region. He may have written the featured letter from this hotel.
In this 24 July 1839 letter addressed to the , scribe , and (who acted as a church in many of the land transactions), portrayed himself as an ardent advocate of and missionary for the church. However, a letter he had sent two days earlier to his friend Samuel Swasey, a New Hampshire politician, differed significantly in content and tone, suggesting that Galland was less committed to the church than his 24 July letter purports. In his letter to Swasey, Galland related a brief history of the Saints’ expulsion from but did not mention his conversion or his association with the Saints beyond land transactions. Further, while Galland’s letter to JS and others contained several expressions of confidence in the church, Galland’s correspondence with Swasey included the prediction that once the Saints established themselves in , their success would “induce the surrounding thieves to rob them again; at which time they will no doubt have to renounce their religion; or submit to a repetition of similar acts of violence, and outrage, as have already been inflicted on them.”
’s letter to church leaders arrived in by 11 September 1839, when JS responded with an update on the affairs of the church. Although Galland’s original letter is apparently not extant, copied it and JS’s response into Letterbook 2 sometime between 5 August and 30 October 1839.
Agreement with George W. Robinson, 30 Apr. 1839; Hancock Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1917, vol. 12 G, p. 247, 30 Apr. 1839, microfilm 954,195; Lee Co., IA, Land Records, 1836–1961, vol. 1, pp. 507–510, microfilm 959,238; vol. 2, pp. 3–6, 13–16, 26 June 1839, microfilm 959,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.
According to Latter-day SaintFranklin D. Richards, Galland and his family left the region because his wife was opposed to the church. (Franklin D. Richards, Quincy, IL, to Phineas Richards and Wealthy Dewey Richards, 5 Aug.–5 Sept. 1839, typescript, Richards Family Collection, CHL; see also Isaac Galland, Chillicothe, OH, to Samuel Swasey, North Haverhill, NH, 22 July 1839, CCLA.)
Richards Family. Collection, 1837–1961. CHL. MS 1215.
Galland, Isaac. Letter, Chillicothe, OH, to Samuel Swasey, North Haverhill, NH, 22 July 1839. CCLA.
Isaac Galland, Chillicothe, OH, to Samuel Swasey, North Haverhill, NH, 22 July 1839, CCLA. Shortly after Galland arrived in Chillicothe, an anonymous advertisement was published in a local newspaper, soliciting a house “for a small family.” The advertisement indicated that all responses were to be given to Ely Bentley, the owner of the hotel where Galland was staying, located at the corner of Water and Walnut streets. According to the ad, Bentley would forward responses to the interested party, presumably Galland. (“House Wanted,” Scioto Gazette [Chillicothe, OH], 1 Aug. 1839, ; “National Hotel,” Scioto Gazette, 29 Aug. 1839, .)
Galland, Isaac. Letter, Chillicothe, OH, to Samuel Swasey, North Haverhill, NH, 22 July 1839. CCLA.
After a journey of 9 days we reached this city in health and safety. No very remarkable incident occurred during our voyage excepting that we were very near being capsised on our passage from to Portsmouth by a tornado, which rendered the Boat unmanageable, And at the moment she was completely turned upon her beam ends And about to go over, bottom upwards, She struck the shore broadside, And soon afterwards began to right up again. Our voyage was rather pleasant than otherwise. I find the public mind awfully abused in relation both to the doctrines as well as manners and morals of the .
We had on board as far as , a gentleman from Delaware a Mr [Arnold] Naudain late a Senator in congress from that State, I had Some conversation with him, to whom also I sold one copy of The Book of Mormon He is a gentleman of very pleasant manners— And of good moral principles And I was much pleased with the uncompromising aversion which he manifested in his address on the 4th Inst towards all mobs, and lawless acts of violence, he expressed the most painful apprehensions for the fate of our present form of government, And entreated every individual who had the least love for his , or wish for its perpetuity; to rally round to the support of the majesty of its laws. And to use his influence in suppressing insubordination and lawlessness in whatever they may present themselves.
I heard of at , but do not know whether he was there at that time or not. I have not yet done anything, except to vindicate the truth wherever I have heard it assailed, And on suitable occasions to introduce the subject as a topic of conversation
I have had several very friendly tho’ rather argumentative interviews with a Dr [Benjamin] Carpenter of this City who seems entirely absorbed in the doctrines of Emanuel Swedenburg [Swedenborg]— I have conceded to him, that it is not impossible but that the Lord did reveal those spiritual interpretations of the scriptures to Swedenborg of which he asserts, but if so, it was certainly done to shame the metaphisical follies of the mother of harlots And her daughters who had as well in the age in which the Baron wrote his metaphisical theology, as in the present age, ran to the most extravagant lengths of philosophising religion and obscuring every truth in the gospel, and the axioms of common sense; hence that they should have those follies to their full, like the hebrews who murmured in the wilderness for flesh, that they might <should> be So gorged with it, And <that they might,> die with it between their teeth— their [p. 70]
Newspapers across the country were continuing to publish articles about the causes and results of the 1838 Missouri conflict. Additionally, newspapers began publishing in April 1839 a letter supposedly written by Matilda Sabin Spalding Davison that revived the allegation that the Book of Mormon was based on a fictional manuscript titled “Manuscript Found,” written by Davison’s late husband, Solomon Spalding. For example, a newspaper published at Chillicothe—the Scioto Gazette—printed at least two stories on the Saints in the month before Galland’s arrival. One condemned the reported beating and shooting of a church member in Iowa Territory, while the other summarized Davison’s letter. (“The Mormon Bible,” Scioto Gazette [Chillicothe, OH], 20 June 1839, ; “Inexcusable,” Scioto Gazette, 27 June 1839, ; see also John Storrs, “Mormonism,” Boston Recorder, 19 Apr. 1839, .)
Naudain served as a United States senator for Delaware from 1830 to 1836.a After his resignation from the Senate, Naudain apparently spent some time in the western United States and in 1837 contemplated moving to Illinois.b Like Galland, Naudain was a land speculator, and he owned significant tracts of land in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa Territory. He was likely in Illinois because some of his property in Springfield, Illinois, had been seized and was pending auction in consequence of his failure to pay taxes.c
(aBiographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–2005, 1644. b“Mr. Webster,” Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 24 June 1837, . cGates, “Southern Investments in Northern Lands,” 169; “Notice Is Hereby Given,” Sangamo Journal, 12 July 1839, ; Arnold Naudain, Decatur, IL, to Richard F. Barrett, 20 July 1839, in Sangamo Journal, 26 July 1839, ; “Springfield,” Sangamo Journal, 16 Aug. 1839, .)
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–2005, the Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005, inclusive. Edited by Andrew R. Dodge and Betty K. Koed. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005.
Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.
Gates, Paul Wallace. “Southern Investments in Northern Lands before the Civil War.” Journal of Southern History 5, no. 2 (May 1939): 155–185.
While Naudain may have been referring to the recent expulsion of the Saints from Missouri, his remarks were more likely an expression of a broader complaint about the alleged lawlessness of American politics. Members of the Whig Party, such as Naudain, often considered themselves advocates for law and order, in opposition to the dangerous populism of Jacksonian Democrats. For example, in January 1838, ardent Whig Abraham Lincoln gave an address during which he complained about “the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country,” leading men to substitute “worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice.” Lincoln implored his listeners not “to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.” (Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 599; Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 1:109, 112.)
Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. The Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Edited by Roy P. Basler, Marion Dolores Pratt, and Lloyd A. Dunlap. 8 vols. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953.
Carpenter was a doctor who served as editor of a local Whig newspaper, the Scioto Gazette and Independent Whig, from 1834 to 1835. (“Prospectus of the Scioto Gazette,” Scioto Gazette and Independent Whig [Chillicothe, OH], 23 Apr. 1834, ; “Valedictory,” Scioto Gazette and Independent Whig, 15 Apr. 1835, .)
Scioto Gazette and Independent Whig. Chillicothe, OH. 1834–1835.
Swedenborg, an eighteenth-century Swedish theologian and mystic, published numerous books describing his visions of the afterlife, relating conversations with angels, and expounding esoteric doctrines. After his death, some of his followers in England formed the New Jerusalem Church, or New Church, based on his teachings. A national Swedenborgian society called the New Jerusalem Church was organized in the United States in 1817, and a congregation of the New Jerusalem Church was organized in Carpenter’s home in Chillicothe in 1838. (McDannell and Lang, Heaven, 181–184, 234–235; Ahlstrom, Religious History of the American People, 483–486; Smith, “Rise of the New Jerusalem Church in Ohio,” 393.)
McDannell, Colleen, and Bernhard Lang. Heaven: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988.
Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People. 2nd ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.
Smith, Ophia D. “The Rise of the New Jerusalem Church in Ohio.” Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 61, no. 4 (Oct. 1952): 380–409.
In 1719, Swedenborg was elevated to the Swedish nobility. Because his status was roughly equivalent to that of an English baron, in the United States he was often referred to as Baron Swedenborg. (See Tafel, Documents concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg, 3, 32.)
Tafel, J. F. I. Documents concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg, Late Member of the House of Nobles in the Royal Diet of Sweden, Assessor of the Royal Board of Mines, Fellow of the Royal Society of Upsala, and of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm, and Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg. Manchester, England: Joseph Hayward, 1841.