Letter from Elias Higbee, 22 February 1840

temporal, civil & political matters, and by this means  caused all the Mormons to vote the whole hog ticket  on one side, except two persons: but when I got an  opportunity of speaking, I observed that Joseph Smith  never led any of the Church in these matters; as  we considered him to have no authority, neither  did he presume to exercise any, of that nature;  that revelations were only concerning spiritual things  in the Church, and the Bible being our standard  we received no revelations contrary to it. I also  observed that we were not such ignoramuses as  perhaps as he fain would have people believe us  to be, and some other things on this subject. I then  told him that every man exercised the right  of suffrage according to his better judgment,  or without any ecclesiasticle restraint being  put upon him; that it was all false about a  revelation upon voting: And the reason of our voting  that ticket, was, in consequence of the democratick  principles having been taught us in <from> our infancy;  That <they> ever believed & extended equal rights to all;  and that we had been much persecuted previous  to that time, many threatenings being made from  the Counties round about, as well as among us, who  took the lead in political affairs. It was <true> we advised  our brethren to vote this ticket, telling them we thought  that party would protect our rights, and not suffer  us to be driven from our lands, as we had hitherto been;  believing it to be [by] far the most liberal party; but  in that we were mistaken because when it came to the  test, there were as many democrats turned against  us, as whigs; and indeed less liberality and political  freedom was manifested by them, for one whig Paper  came out decidedly in our favor. I made these rem arks partly from motives, which I may, at another time,  explain to you. He laid great stress on the trials  at Richmond, and a constitution, that he said  [Sampson] Avard and others had soon to (who were in good  standing in the Mormon <Church> at this time) swore to: [p. 112]
Elias Higbee, letter, Washington DC, to JS, en route to Nauvoo, IL, 22 Feb. 1840; handwriting of Howard Coray; in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 111–115; JS Collection, CHL.