, Letter, [, NJ], to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 3 Apr. 1840. Featured version copied [between Apr. and June 1840] in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 125–127; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On the morning of 3 April 1840, wrote a letter from to JS regarding Rigdon’s plans to return to the , Illinois, area. Throughout the delegation’s travels in the eastern , Rigdon had been afflicted with poor health. While the delegation waited for Congress to consider the church’s memorial, JS and visited church members in and throughout the Delaware River Valley, and Rigdon eventually joined them. Although JS and Higbee returned to at the end of January 1840, Rigdon remained ill after arriving in Philadelphia and was forced to stay there. According to Higbee, Rigdon finally left Philadelphia for New Jersey on 5 March. The dateline of this letter indicates that Rigdon composed it at the home of near Hornerstown, New Jersey, where he likely stayed.
In the letter, relayed to JS information from a letter Rigdon had received from the previous day: that Congress had declined to further hear the church’s memorial for redress and reparations for the property the Saints lost in . Rigdon also described the financial assistance that Senator provided the church delegation, his own health and plans to return to , and rumors of recent misconduct in , Ohio, by former church leader .
presumably sent the letter to JS by post. The original letter is not extant. The version featured here was copied into JS Letterbook 2 by sometime between the third week of April and June 1840.
Dear Sir, I thought I would occupy, a portion of this morning in writing to you— by a letter received from yesterday, I have learned that the Senate has decided, that they have no constitutional right to interfere in the case between us and the people of ; & refer us to the Courts for redress; either those of or the, Now I am confident, that there is but one person in , that we can see [sue?] with safety, and that is , and he is known to be a bankrupt, and unable to pay his debts, that if we should see him, we will have the cost to pay, as he has nothing to pay it, [p. 125]
It is likely that Coray made an error in copying Rigdon’s letter into JS Letterbook 2 and that Rigdon had originally written “sue” here. In the conclusion of the church’s memorial to Congress, JS, Rigdon, and Higbee described the challenges the Saints faced in obtaining redress in the Missouri and federal courts: “But if they could apply to the courts of Missouri; whom shall they sue? The final order for their expulsion and extermination, it is true, was issued by the executive of the State; but is he amenable? and if so, is he not wholly irresponsible, so far as indemnity is concerned? Will not the great mass of our persecutors justify themselves under that order?” The compilers of the manuscript history of the church copied this word as “sue.” (Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840; JS History, vol. C-1, 1041.)
Prior to his political career, Boggs had been a successful merchant in the fur trade. No evidence has been located that Boggs filed for bankruptcy or struggled to pay his debts. (Boggs, “Short Biographical Sketch of Lilburn W. Boggs,” 106–107; Mann, Republic of Debtors, 187.)
Boggs, William M. “A Short Biographical Sketch of Lilburn W. Boggs, by His Son.” Missouri Historical Review 4, no. 2 (Jan. 1910): 106–110.
Mann, Bruce H. Republic of Debtors: Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.