2476866

Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832

Judgment upon all the face of the earth, we have information which may be relyed upon that the cholera is cutting down its hundreds in the city of New York

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

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pr day also is raging in Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

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Charleston Rochiste Rochester

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

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Albany & Buffalo

Located in western New York on eastern shore of Lake Erie at head of Niagara River and mouth of Buffalo Creek. County seat. Settled by 1801. Land for town allocated, 1810. Incorporated as village, 1813, but mostly destroyed later that year during War of 1812...

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and in all the large citys in the eastern countrys33

A cholera epidemic began in India in 1826, spreading into England by October 1831. It appeared in Lower Canada in June 1832 and then gradually made its way into the United States, generally along waterways. By the end of July, over two thousand had died in New York City. (Rosenberg, Cholera Years, 25–34; Chambers, Conquest of Cholera, 64; “Items for the Public,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6].)  


we have Just received a letter from sister Elmira Scoba Almira Mack Scobey

28 Apr. 1805–10 Mar. 1886. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Daughter of Stephen Mack and Temperance Bond. Moved to Detroit, 1822. Moved to Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan Territory, 1823. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer and confirmed by JS...

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who is now at Detroit

Port city located between west end of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. State capital and county seat. French first visited site, ca. 1610, and established settlement and fort, by 1701. Britain obtained possession, 1760. Became part of U.S. territory, 1783. First...

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to visit her friends she states that the cholera is raging in that city to an alarming degree, hundreds of families are a fleeing to the country and the country people have become alarmed and torn up the bridges and stopped all communication and even shot peoples horses down under them who attempt to cross the river on any express34

The Detroit Courier in June, July, and August 1832 did not report on anything resembling what JS describes here, although it stated on 12 July 1832 that “little doubt exists that the Cholera” had reached the city and that “a large number of our citizens” had “betaken themselves to the country” in response. The newspaper also cautioned against “unauthenticated accounts of the existence of the Cholera in various places,” stating that “every new story adds to the general stock of alarm; and under such feverish sensability, much anxiety is created, which cannot fail of producing solicitude and unhappiness, and great numbers of people are made miserable without the least advantage to any body.” (“The Cholera” and “Our City,” Detroit Courier, 12 July 1832, [2].)  


two steam boats loaded with troops for the Indian expedition while going up the Detroit river the cholera made its attact attack upon the soldiers about fifty died the rest disbanded (about six hundred in number) and the last account we have of them they could find no quarters among the inhabitants and were a dying in the sheds and fields and nobody to bury them35

This probably refers to troops who took transport on the steamboat Henry Clay. In June 1832, troops departed from New York City to aid in what is now known as the Black Hawk War. In Buffalo, New York, they boarded the Henry Clay, and on 4 July cholera broke out among them. When the ship reached the Detroit River, two soldiers had already died. According to one report, “the cases multiplied” rapidly, and the steamboat finally landed near Fort Gratiot, in St. Clair County, Michigan, at the mouth of the outlet of Lake Huron, where the soldiers disembarked. By 16 July, thirty-four deaths had occurred and “many [had] deserted to escape the disease.” According to assistant surgeon R. E. Kerr, “The attempt to escape the disease, however, by that means, in a number of cases that came to our ears, proved futile, for they are reported to have died on the road.” The Detroit Courier reported a similar incident involving the steamboat Sheldon Thompson. On 5 July, that steamer, loaded with soldiers, left Detroit, Michigan Territory, en route to Chicago, Illinois. Cholera soon broke out, killing twenty-five and afflicting another sixty. According to the Courier, the bodies of the dead were thrown overboard and the vessel continued on to Chicago. However, when the ship reached Chicago, “the inhabitants [of the city] fled in every direction, including Col. Owen, the Indian Agent.” (U.S. Surgeon-General’s Office, Cholera Epidemic of 1873, 569–572; “Our Army,” Detroit Courier, 19 July 1832, [2]; Blois, Gazetteer of the State of Michigan, 287, 365–366.)  


while between us and you the Indians are a spreading death and devastation wherever they go no force has as yet been brought sufficient to stand before them36

Likely a reference to the Black Hawk War. In April 1832, a group of Sac and Fox Indians (including men, women, and children), who had been removed from their homelands in Illinois to the west side of the Mississippi River, crossed back over the Mississippi in an attempt to resettle their ancestral lands. Pursued by federal troops and the Illinois militia, the group, led by Black Hawk, attempted to surrender under a white flag, but the soldiers fired on them, after which Black Hawk routed the troops. Additional soldiers then pursued Black Hawk and his followers into western Michigan Territory (now Wisconsin), eventually leading to Black Hawk’s capture in August. Newspaper reports at the time gave exaggerated accounts of Indian depredations during the war. William W. Phelps, for example, stated in the June 1832 The Evening and the Morning Star that “the Indians are undoubtedly the aggressors, and it is said they have murdered several men, women, and children.” But there is no evidence that Black Hawk’s band committed such acts. (Prucha, Great Father, 253–256; “News,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [7].)  


frequent cases of the cholera occures on steem boats and other water crafts on the Lakes the dysentary and the Cholera Morbus are the prevailing deseases as far as our information extends and is so malignent that it baffles the skill of the most eminent Phisicians we have news from our brethren who have gone to the east God is with them pulling down the strong holds of Satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

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two brethren are here from New hampshire & one from Vermont

Area served as early thoroughfare for traveling Indian tribes. French explored area, 1609, and erected fort on island in Lake Champlain, 1666. First settled by Massachusetts emigrants, 1724. Claimed by British colonies of New York and New Hampshire, but during...

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who are Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
and worthy young men who were brought in by the hands of Bros. Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

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& Orison Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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who are like Peter & John building up the cause of God wherever they go and healing the sick they have baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
better then sixty since they left here37

A January 1832 revelation appointed Pratt and Johnson, who were both only twenty years old, to preach the gospel in the “eastern countries” of the United States. They left Hiram in February and traveled through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–A [D&C 75:14]; Orson Pratt, Bath, NH, to “Dear Brethren,” 23 Jan. 1833, in The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, [6]; Milando Pratt, “Baptism and Ordinations Early Missionary Labors and Family Register of Orson Pratt, Sen,” in Orson Pratt, Diaries, CHL.)  


we also here hear from many others whose good success in gaining converts to the redeemers [p. 6]
Judgment upon all the face of the earth, we have infor mation which may be relyed upon that the cholera is cutting  down its hundreds in the city of New York

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

More Info
pr day also is raging  in Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

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Charleston Rochiste [Rochester]

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

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Albany & Buffalo

Located in western New York on eastern shore of Lake Erie at head of Niagara River and mouth of Buffalo Creek. County seat. Settled by 1801. Land for town allocated, 1810. Incorporated as village, 1813, but mostly destroyed later that year during War of 1812...

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and in all the  large citys in the eastern countrys33

A cholera epidemic began in India in 1826, spreading into England by October 1831. It appeared in Lower Canada in June 1832 and then gradually made its way into the United States, generally along waterways. By the end of July, over two thousand had died in New York City. (Rosenberg, Cholera Years, 25–34; Chambers, Conquest of Cholera, 64; “Items for the Public,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [6].)  


we have Just received a  letter from sister Elmira Scoba [Almira Mack Scobey]

28 Apr. 1805–10 Mar. 1886. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Daughter of Stephen Mack and Temperance Bond. Moved to Detroit, 1822. Moved to Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan Territory, 1823. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer and confirmed by JS...

View Full Bio
who is now at Detroit

Port city located between west end of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. State capital and county seat. French first visited site, ca. 1610, and established settlement and fort, by 1701. Britain obtained possession, 1760. Became part of U.S. territory, 1783. First...

More Info
to visit  her friends she states that the cholera is raging in that  city to an alarming degree, hundreds of families are a  fleeing to the country and the country people have be come alarmed and torn up the bridges and stopped  all communication and even shot peoples horses down  under them who attempt to cross the river on any express34

The Detroit Courier in June, July, and August 1832 did not report on anything resembling what JS describes here, although it stated on 12 July 1832 that “little doubt exists that the Cholera” had reached the city and that “a large number of our citizens” had “betaken themselves to the country” in response. The newspaper also cautioned against “unauthenticated accounts of the existence of the Cholera in various places,” stating that “every new story adds to the general stock of alarm; and under such feverish sensability, much anxiety is created, which cannot fail of producing solicitude and unhappiness, and great numbers of people are made miserable without the least advantage to any body.” (“The Cholera” and “Our City,” Detroit Courier, 12 July 1832, [2].)  


 two steam boats loaded with troops for the Indian expedition  while going up [the] Detroit river the cholera made its attact [attack] upon  the soldiers about fifty died the rest disbanded (about six  hundred in number) and the last account we have of  them they could find no quarters among the inhabitants  and were a dying in the sheds and fields and nobody  to bury them35

This probably refers to troops who took transport on the steamboat Henry Clay. In June 1832, troops departed from New York City to aid in what is now known as the Black Hawk War. In Buffalo, New York, they boarded the Henry Clay, and on 4 July cholera broke out among them. When the ship reached the Detroit River, two soldiers had already died. According to one report, “the cases multiplied” rapidly, and the steamboat finally landed near Fort Gratiot, in St. Clair County, Michigan, at the mouth of the outlet of Lake Huron, where the soldiers disembarked. By 16 July, thirty-four deaths had occurred and “many [had] deserted to escape the disease.” According to assistant surgeon R. E. Kerr, “The attempt to escape the disease, however, by that means, in a number of cases that came to our ears, proved futile, for they are reported to have died on the road.” The Detroit Courier reported a similar incident involving the steamboat Sheldon Thompson. On 5 July, that steamer, loaded with soldiers, left Detroit, Michigan Territory, en route to Chicago, Illinois. Cholera soon broke out, killing twenty-five and afflicting another sixty. According to the Courier, the bodies of the dead were thrown overboard and the vessel continued on to Chicago. However, when the ship reached Chicago, “the inhabitants [of the city] fled in every direction, including Col. Owen, the Indian Agent.” (U.S. Surgeon-General’s Office, Cholera Epidemic of 1873, 569–572; “Our Army,” Detroit Courier, 19 July 1832, [2]; Blois, Gazetteer of the State of Michigan, 287, 365–366.)  


while between us and you the Indians  are a spreading death and devastation wherever they go  no force has as yet been brought sufficient to stand  before them36

Likely a reference to the Black Hawk War. In April 1832, a group of Sac and Fox Indians (including men, women, and children), who had been removed from their homelands in Illinois to the west side of the Mississippi River, crossed back over the Mississippi in an attempt to resettle their ancestral lands. Pursued by federal troops and the Illinois militia, the group, led by Black Hawk, attempted to surrender under a white flag, but the soldiers fired on them, after which Black Hawk routed the troops. Additional soldiers then pursued Black Hawk and his followers into western Michigan Territory (now Wisconsin), eventually leading to Black Hawk’s capture in August. Newspaper reports at the time gave exaggerated accounts of Indian depredations during the war. William W. Phelps, for example, stated in the June 1832 The Evening and the Morning Star that “the Indians are undoubtedly the aggressors, and it is said they have murdered several men, women, and children.” But there is no evidence that Black Hawk’s band committed such acts. (Prucha, Great Father, 253–256; “News,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [7].)  


frequent cases of the cholera occures on steem  boats and <othe[r]> water crafts on the Lakes the dysentary and the  Cholera Morbus are the prevailing deseases as far as our infor mation extends and is so malignent that it baffles the skill  of the most eminent Phisicians we have news from our  brethren who have gone to the east God is with them pul ling down the strong holds of Satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

View Glossary
two brethren are here from  the east New hampshire & one from Vermont

Area served as early thoroughfare for traveling Indian tribes. French explored area, 1609, and erected fort on island in Lake Champlain, 1666. First settled by Massachusetts emigrants, 1724. Claimed by British colonies of New York and New Hampshire, but during...

More Info
who are  Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
and worthy young men who were brought in by the  hands of Bros. Lyman Johnson

24 Oct. 1811–20 Dec. 1859. Merchant, lawyer, hotelier. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, Mar. 1818. Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Ordained an elder...

View Full Bio
& Orison [Orson] Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
who are like  Peter & John building up the cause of God wherever they  go and healing the sick they have baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
better then  sixty since they left here37

A January 1832 revelation appointed Pratt and Johnson, who were both only twenty years old, to preach the gospel in the “eastern countries” of the United States. They left Hiram in February and traveled through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–A [D&C 75:14]; Orson Pratt, Bath, NH, to “Dear Brethren,” 23 Jan. 1833, in The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, [6]; Milando Pratt, “Baptism and Ordinations Early Missionary Labors and Family Register of Orson Pratt, Sen,” in Orson Pratt, Diaries, CHL.)  


we also here [hear] from many others  whose good success in gaining converts to the redeemers [p. 6]
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JS, Letter, Hiram Township

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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, OH, to William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, “Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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” [Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Jackson Co., MO], 31 July 1832; retained copy; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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; signature of JS; seven pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket and notations.
Two bifolia, each measuring 12⅞ × 8 inches (33 × 20 cm) when folded. The pages from the first bifolium are in reverse folder page order; the second bifolium is in leaflet page order. Pagination is in the top left corner of each inscribed page in the handwriting of Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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. The letter was tri-folded in letter style. The final page bears an inscription in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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: “Copy of a letter written to Broth | William Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

More Info
| Editor of the Evening & morning Star”. A docket on the final page, “Joseph Smiths Letter | to Zion 1832,” is in the handwriting of Newel K. Whitney. Appended to this docket is “July 1831 | N. K. Whitney.” in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock

23 Dec. 1816–10 Feb. 1885. Farmer, excise officer, secretary, clerk. Born in Leek, Staffordshire, England. Son of Thomas Bullock and Mary Hall. Married Henrietta Rushton, 25 June 1838. Moved to Ardee, Co. Louth, Ireland, Nov. 1839; to Isle of Anglesey, Aug...

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. Also on the final page is a separate Bullock notation: “July 31— 1845 | N. K. Whitney handed to me”. There is soiling at folds and tearing at fold corners on the final page, obscuring the text on page 7. Ink spotting, smears, and fingerprints are found in the letter.
This version of the letter is a contemporaneous retained copy made by Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
and later filed by Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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. The notation on the last page of the document indicates Whitney gave the letter to Historian’s Office clerk Thomas Bullock

23 Dec. 1816–10 Feb. 1885. Farmer, excise officer, secretary, clerk. Born in Leek, Staffordshire, England. Son of Thomas Bullock and Mary Hall. Married Henrietta Rushton, 25 June 1838. Moved to Ardee, Co. Louth, Ireland, Nov. 1839; to Isle of Anglesey, Aug...

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on 31 July 1845, the date of its receipt in the Historian’s Office.

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