Letter from Elias Higbee, 21 February 1840

Washington Feb 21st. 1840
Dr. Bro,
I have just returned again from the  committee room, Mr. [Lewis] Linn and Mr. Jamison made  some statements, to which I replied— Mr. Linn is  much more mild and reasonable (mostly perhaps from  policy) than Mr. Jamison! who related a long lingo of  stuff, which he said was proven before the Legislature  in Missouri which amounted to about this that Joseph  Smith gave the Mormons liberty to trespass on their nei ghbors property; also told them that it all belonged  to them; as they [were] Israelites. O Upon this the strength of this  they became the aggressors. I replied that the Jackson  County People in their declaration of causes that ind uced them to unite in order to drive the Mormons—  The crime of stealing or trespassing was not mentioned;  and there was no Docket, either Clerks or Justices that  could show it, in Jackson, Clay, Caldwell, or Davi[es]s Counties— and that no Mormons ever heard such teaching  or doctrine from Joseph Smith or any other Mormon; that  we held to no such doctrine neither believed in any such  thing— I mentioned some things contained in our Book  of doctrine and Covenants; Government and laws in  general. Told them we had published long ago  our belief on that subject— Some things I recolected;  which were, that all persons should obey the laws  of the government under which they lived, and that  ecclesiastical power should not be exercised to [p. 100]
Elias Higbee, letter, Washington DC, to JS, en route to Nauvoo, IL, 21 Feb. 1840; handwriting of Howard Coray; in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 100–103; JS Collection, CHL.