Letter from Elias Higbee, 24 March 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Mar. 24, 1840
Dear Brother
Our business is at last ended here. Yesterday, a resolution passed the Senate, that the Committee should be discharged; and that we might withdraw the accompanying papers, which I have done: I have also taken a copy of the memorial, and want to be off for the west immediately— I have not gotten a letter from , although I have frequently written to him— I have recd. a letter from , stating that he was in the Jerseys— and that he was calculating to have me come that way and go home with him, and also that he had business which he wanted me to attend to at the office here—
When he last wrote, he stated that as yet, he had [p. 105] no money to get home on, and I hardly know what course to take in regard to the matter. If I do not receive a letter in two or three days, I design leaving for or the west. There is one honest, quaker, looking sort of a man by here by the name of William Green (instead of John Green as I stated in a letter to Bro. Robinson) who has two Iron printing presses, with other things necessary, that would come to , provided you could find work for him, and inform him of the same. How much work there is to do I know not, therefore merely write that if such a man & establishment are <​is​> wanted you could easily obtain them or would know where they could be obtained. He believes as much in our religion as any other but not much in any. Yours in the Lord
P.S
I would just observe, that information has reached this place, through some of the News Papers, that you have come out for Harrison; It is said that the information came by some Gentlemen who obtained it from you, whilst in your company in passing through the State of
Another Papers states that 1000 houses are to be built in this season, which I hope is the truth. I would just observe (on the subject of our business) I am sorry had not insisted on the motion to print our papers as it would have been opposed, then a speech from and Mr. [William Campbell] Preston would have been brot forth, as I have since learned; but I think it was a trick of the Senators to slide it along without making a noise, by its going to the as it did committee as it did. says he was anxious to have it brought before the Committee, but seemed disposed to let it slide along easily rather than run the risk of its being refused. If he had let those speeches been made, almost every one would have read them; which would have shamed (if there is any shame in her), and waked up the whole country, so that by another year Congress would do something for us— But there is no need of crying for spilt milk [p. 106]
I have done all I could in this matter; depending on the good judgment of to legislate for us to the best advantage— I am inclined however to think if it was an error, it was one of the head and not of the heart. has addressed a letter to yourself & myself, which seems to [be] written with much good feeling, (sd. letter is from Connt.) he desires to know concerning our business here, inviting us to make his home our home should we travel in that region
He writes that his health is very bad— I have been talking with Mr. <​Steward​> [John Todd Stuart] concerning a Memorial— requesting him to bring it before the house; who has promised so to do if he can; he says he will talk with some of the members respecting it— I have answered ’ letter this day, and sent him the Report of the Committee
Bro, J. S. [p. 107]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    Journal of the Senate of the United States, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., 23 Mar. 1840, 259–260. The church’s delegation to the federal government had submitted documents in support of its memorial, including affidavits and pamphlets. (Journal of the Senate of the United States, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., 17 Feb. 1840, 179; Historical Introduction to Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840.)  

    Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Being the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, December 2, 1839, and in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Independence of the Said United States. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1839.

  2. 2

    Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840.  

  3. 3

    Rigdon did not return to Washington DC from Philadelphia with JS and Elias Higbee in January 1840. Instead, he remained in Philadelphia until 5 March 1840, when he left for New Jersey. Bennett was appointed as the presiding elder of the Philadelphia branch in January 1840. (Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 27 Jan. 1840, 2; Letter from Elias Higbee, 9 Mar. 1840; Minutes and Discourse, 13 Jan. 1840.)  

  4. 4

    In a letter to JS earlier that month, Higbee wrote of a similar plan for returning home with Rigdon. The business to which Rigdon wanted Higbee to attend and the office to which he referred are unknown. (Letter from Elias Higbee, 9 Mar. 1840.)  

  5. 5

    According to a letter Senator Richard M. Young sent to Higbee, Young lent Rigdon forty dollars, presumably to help pay for the journey home. (Richard M. Young, Washington DC, to Elias Higbee, 9 Apr. 1840, in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 133–134.)  

  6. 6

    Possibly George W. Robinson, but likely Ebenezer Robinson, who was then an editor and printer of the Times and Seasons. This letter has not been located. Higbee discussed the prospect of Green’s moving to Illinois in his previous letter to JS. (Letter from Elias Higbee, 9 Mar. 1840.)  

  7. 7

    William Henry Harrison, a Whig candidate for president in 1840.  

  8. 8

    “Our papers” refers to the memorial to Congress prepared by JS, Rigdon, and Higbee and to the affidavits that they submitted with the memorial. (See Historical Introduction to Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840.)  

  9. 9

    Senators Henry Clay (a Whig from Kentucky) and William Campbell Preston (a Whig from South Carolina) had apparently spoken in favor of the Senate considering the church’s memorial when others urged the Senate to table it. (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 833, 1763–1764; Congressional Globe, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 149 [1840].)  

    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.

    The Congressional Globe, Containing Sketches of the Debates and Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Congress. Vol. 8. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1840.

  10. 10

    Senators Lewis F. Linn (Democrat) and Thomas Hart Benton (Democrat). (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 120, 646, 1452.)  

    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.

  11. 11

    See Journal of the Senate of the United States, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., 28 Jan. and 12 Feb. 1840, 138, 173; and Congressional Globe, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 149 (1840).  

    Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Being the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, December 2, 1839, and in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Independence of the Said United States. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1839.

    The Congressional Globe, Containing Sketches of the Debates and Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Congress. Vol. 8. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1840.

  12. 12

    Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 17 Mar. 1840.  

  13. 13

    Stuart represented Illinois in the House of Representatives. (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 119, 1995.)  

    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.

  14. 14

    The memorial was not submitted to the House of Representatives during the first session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress. During the second session, however, a very similar petition drafted by Higbee and Robert B. Thompson was submitted to the House and considered by the House Committee on the Judiciary. (“Latter-day Saints,” Alias Mormons: The Petition of the Latter-day Saints, Commonly Known as Mormons, House of Representatives doc. no. 22, 26th Cong., 2nd Sess. [1840].)  

    “Latter-day Saints,” Alias Mormons: The Petition of the Latter-day Saints, Commonly Known as Mormons. House of Representatives doc. no. 22, 26th Cong., 2nd Sess. (1840).

  15. 15

    Report of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 4 Mar. 1840.