, Letter, , Sangamon Co., IL, to JS and “associate,” , 4 Jan. 1840. Featured version copied [between Apr. and June 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 95–96; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 4 January 1840, wrote from , Illinois, to JS in in response to a letter JS wrote to him on 16 December 1839. JS first met Adams—a justice of the peace, a member of the Democratic Party, a gubernatorial candidate, and a prominent Mason—in November 1839 while JS was traveling through Springfield en route to Washington. It is unclear whether Adams had joined the by the time he met JS, but he had sympathized with the Saints after their expulsion from and demonstrated a willingness to aid the church delegation’s efforts to petition the federal government. According to this letter and one wrote to JS two days later, Adams and Weber were lobbying the legislature to explicitly instruct the state’s delegates in the Congress to vote in favor of the church’s petition for redress and reparations.
Although JS’s 16 December 1839 letter to is not extant, Adams’s response hints at the contents of JS’s letter. JS apparently reported on his meeting with President and assessed the support of the congressional delegation. In his reply, Adams commented on Van Buren’s political views and the difficulties presented by widespread negative opinions of JS and the church. JS had apparently expressed to Adams his optimism about the prospects of obtaining redress by presenting a memorial to Congress as well as his concern about prejudice toward the Saints. Adams tried to temper JS’s expectations for the immediate success of the memorial, noting that it might not prevail until some future time when Americans and their elected officials were more familiar with the church.
It is unclear how sent the letter to JS and when JS received it. Correspondence between and usually arrived in about three weeks, suggesting JS may have received the letter toward the end of January. Adams’s original letter is apparently not extant. copied the version featured here into JS Letterbook 2 sometime between April and June 1840.
I had the gratifications of the receipt of yours of the 16th Decr.; which gave me pleasure to learn that your prospects were at that early period, in a measure flattering— I also <saw> yours of the 19th Dec. to —
We are now consulting and feeling the pulsations relative to your case— being brought before the Legislature now in session by [way] of resolutions instructing our Senators; and requesting our Representatives to urge relief in your case; what will be done yet remains uncertain; still it is my strongest impression, it will be found prudent <to> get the matter before our Legislature for their action thereon—
I am happy to learn that all our delegation are friendly to your intended application for relief in some shape, and it strikes me, that the views of the at this period may be the best and perhaps the only way that relief <could> at this time be obtained; and in that event be no injury to a future application to be restored to all your rights, when prejudice shall in a measure have subsided, and the true state of the matter be more readily received even by those whose prejudices, may have closed the avenues to reason and Justice in a matter identified with the odium so commonly attached to the sound of mormonism