Letter from Elias Higbee, 20 February 1840–B

I held in my hand, then showed that the first acc usation, therein contained, was on account of our religious  tenets, furthermore that the other were utterly groundless.  I went on to prove that the whole pursecution from beginning  to end was grounded on our be religious faith— For evidence  of this I refered them to P. [Orrin Porter] Rockwell’s testimony and P. Powell’s  I stated that there were abundant testimony to prove this  to be a fact among the documents. I then gave a brief  history of the persecutions from the first settlement in  the State to our final expulsion. I also stated  that the society were industrious, inoffensive, and  innocent of crime; had the Times & Seasons, from which  I read Gov. [Robert] Lucas’ letter to A[lanson] Ripley: I also refered to  Judge Young’s letter from Pike County, the Clerk’s &  other’s respecting our character— in their sections of country  I gave them some hints of the Haun’s Mill massacre  and the murder of the two little Boys but refered them  more particularly to the documents for information concer ning those things, and furthermore that I had not come here  to instruct them in what they were to do in this case; but  to present them with the facts— having all confidence in this  honorable body (the Congress) believing them to be honorable  men. I demanded from them a restitution of all our rights  and privileges as citizens of the United States, and dam ages for all the losses we had sustained in consequence  of our persecutions and expulsion from the state. And  told them we could have recourse no where else on earth  that I knew of— that we could not sue an Army of  Soldiers. neither could we go into the State to sue any  body else. I told them that I knew not how far  Congress had jurisdiction in this case or how far they  had not, but as far as they had, we claimed the  exercise of it for our relief; for we were an injured people  These and some other were the principle subjects of my  speech— after which, Mr. Jameson said he was once  in the Mormon’s favor; but afterwards learned that  it was impossible to live among them, for they  stole their neighbor’s hogs— and there being so much  testimony he believed it. &c &c. I replied something like [p. 98]
Elias Higbee, letter, Washington DC, to JS, en route to Nauvoo, IL, 20 Feb. 1840; handwriting of Howard Coray; in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 97–100; JS Collection, CHL.