Letter from Thomas Ward and Hiram Clark, 16 March 1843
and , Letter, , England, to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, , Hancock Co., IL, 16 Mar. 1843; handwriting of ; signatures of and ; dockets in handwriting of and ; four pages; Sidney Rigdon Collection, CHL.
On 16 March 1843, and wrote a letter from , England, to the and the in , Illinois, to convey information pertaining to the emigration of Latter-day Saints from to Nauvoo. Ward was the presiding elder of the church in Europe; Clark was one of Ward’s counselors and was responsible for overseeing emigration. The two had written a letter to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 1 March 1843 seeking advice on church publications in England.
The logistics of getting Saints from to had been of concern to church leaders for a few years. In 1841, the instructed those desiring to move to the to work through the church’s emigration agent in England rather than going on their own and to travel through rather than . The supplemented this direction in 1842 with a plan to generate funds for emigration. According to this plan, church members in England would “collect as great an amount of Cotton, Linen, and woollen Goods; Silks, Cutlery, Hardware” as they could and send them to Nauvoo. The apostles would pay the British Saints for these goods by providing them with land, housing, cattle, and other kinds of property when the emigrants reached Nauvoo. The apostles would also use proceeds from the sale of the goods to buy “flour, meat and all things necessary for a sea voyage” at lower prices than those in England and send them to the British Saints, who would then be able to emigrate “at a cheaper rate.”
It is unclear how extensively the ’s plan was put into place, but it may have been hindered by tariffs in both and the . and stated that they were having difficulty getting ships and captains to take Saints to , the main port to which British church members migrated, because of reports that captains had to enter into bonds to guarantee that their passengers did not become wards of Louisiana after arriving there. To induce ship captains to bring Saints to New Orleans, Ward and Clark proposed that Clark be stationed in New Orleans to serve as a broker to find cargos of cotton for the ships to take back to England. Ward and Clark also requested that church leaders send someone to help them oversee the Saints’ emigration from England.
wrote the letter and signed it, after which signed it. They then mailed it from on 18 March 1843, and it arrived by ship in on 19 April. The letter reached by mid-May, when it was read in a meeting of the . JS presumably read the letter around the same time. No reply has been located, but the did vote to send to to serve as both the presiding elder and the overseer of emigration. After Hedlock’s arrival, Ward and Clark served as his counselors. Ward continued to serve as editor of the Millennial Star, while Clark continued to coordinate emigration efforts in England.
. March 16th. 1843.
To the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and to the Quorum of the Twelve.
Having of late been much troubled and perplexed in the Emigration business, owing to the difficulty of obtaining Ships to take passengers; which has arisen from various reports that have been in circulation respecting increased hospital money at , as also that the Captains would have to enter into bonds to guarantee that the Emigrants do not become chargeable on the State, these reports whether true or false have had the effect of scaring away many captains, who otherwise would have been glad to take passengers— and also of annoying and causing to suffer much, many of the Saints whose means were small, by compelling <them> to wait. [p. ]