Memorial to the U.S. Senate & House of Representatives
March 26, 1844
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled.
Your memorialist, a free born citizen of these United States, respectfully sheweth, that, from his infancy his soul has been filled with the most intense and philanthropic interest for the welfare of his native country; and being fired with an ardor, which floods cannot quench, crowns cannot conquer, nor diplomatic intrigue corrupt, to see those principles, which emanated from the bosoms of the fathers of seventy six; and which cost the noblest talents, and richest blood of the nation, maintained inviolate, and perpetuated to future generations; and the proud eagle of American freedom soar triumphant over every party prejudice, and local sinistry; and spread her golden pinions over every member of the human family, who shall stretch forth their hands for succor from the Lion’s paw, or the oppressors grasp: and firmly trusting in the God of Liberty, that he has designed universal peace and good will, union and brotherly love to all the great family of man;—
Your memorialist asks your honorable body to pass the following Bill.
A Bill for the protection of the citizens of the United States emigrating to the adjoining territories, and for the extension of the principles of universal Liberty.
Whereas many of the citizens of these United States have migrated, and are migrating to Texas, Oregon and other lands contiguous to this nation; And whereas Texas has declared herself free and independent, without the necessary power to protect her rights and liberties: And whereas Oregon is without any organized government, and those who emigrate thither are exposed to foreign invasion, and domestic feuds: And Whereas the Oregon, by geographic location, and discovery more rightfully belongs to these United States, than to any other general Government: And Whereas it is necessary that the emigrants of that newly settling territory should receive protection: And whereas the Texian Government has petitioned the United States to be received into our union, but yet retains her national existence: And Whereas the United States remember with gratitude, the seasonable support they received, in a like situation from a La Fayette: And whereas the United States desire to see the principles of her free institutions extended to all men; especially where it can be done without the loss of blood and treasure to the nation: And whereas there is an almost boundless extent of territory on the west and south of these United States, where exists little or no organization of protective government: And Whereas the lands thus unknown, unowned, or unoccupied, are among some of the richest and most fertile of the continent; And whereas many of the inhabitants of the union would gladly embrace the opportunity of extending their researches, and acquirements, so soon as they can receive protection in their enterprise; thereby adding strength, durability and wealth to the nation: And Whereas the red man, the robber, and the desperado have frequently interrupted such research and acquisition without justifiable cause;
And whereas Joseph Smith has offered, and does hereby offer these United States: To show his loyalty to our confederate Union, and the constitution of our Republic: To prevent quarrel and bloodshed on our frontiers: To extend the arm of deliverance to Texas: To protect the inhabitants of Oregon from foreign aggression, and domestic broils: To prevent the crowned nations from encircling us as a nation on our western and Southern borders and save the Eagle’s talon from the Lion’s paw: To still the tongue of slander, and show the world that a Republic can be, and not be ungrateful: To open the vast regions of the unpeopled west and South to our enlightened and enterprising yeomanry: To protect them in their researches; To secure them in their locations, and thus strengthen the government and enlarge her borders; To extend her influence: To inspire the nations with the spirit of freedom, and win them to her standard: To promote intelligence; To cultivate and establish peace among all with whom we may have intercourse as neighbors: To settle all existing difficulties among those not organized into an acknowledged government, bordering upon the United States and territories: To save the national revenue in the nation’s coffers; To supersede the necessity of a standing army on our western and Southern frontier: To create and maintain the principles of peace, and suppress mobs, insurrections, and oppression in Oregon, and all lands bordering upon the United States, and not incorporated into any acknowledged national government: To explore the unexplored regions of our continent: To open new fields for enterprise to our citizens, and protect them therein: To search out the antiquities of the land, and thereby promote the arts, and sciences, and general information: To amalgamate the feelings of all with whom he may have intercourse, on the principles of equity, liberty, justice, humanity and benevolence: To break down tyranny and oppression, and exalt the standard of universal peace;—
Provided he shall be protected in those rights and privileges which constitutionally belong to every citizen of this Republic:—
Therefore that the said memorialist may have the privilege; and that no citizen of these United States shall obstruct, or attempt to obstruct or hinder, so good, so great, so noble an enterprise, to carry out those plans and principles, as set forth in this preamble; and be shielded from every opposition by evil and designing men:—
Sec 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that Joseph Smith, of the City of Nauvoo, in the State of Illinois is hereby authorized and empowered to raise a company of one hundred thousand armed volunteers, in the United States and Territories, at such times and places, and in such numbers, as he shall find necessary and convenient for the purposes specified in the foregoing preamble; and to execute the same.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted that if any person or persons shall hinder or attempt to hinder or molest the said Joseph Smith, from executing his designs in raising said volunteers, and marching or transporting the same to the borders of the United States and territories, he or they so hindering, molesting or offending, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars each, for every offence; or by hard labor on some public work not exceeding two years, or both, at the discretion of the nearest District court of the United States, where the hindrance or offence shall be committed, having jurisdiction.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted that nothing in this act shall be so construed by any individual or nation, as to consider the volunteers aforesaid, as constituting any part of the army of the United States; neither shall the said Joseph Smith, as a member of the United States Army disturb the peace of any nation or government acknowledged as such, break the faith of treaties between the United States and any other nation, or violate any known law of nations, thereby endangering the peace of the Union States.
Sec 4. And be it further enacted, that the said Joseph Smith shall confine his operations to those principles of action specified in the preamble to this act, the perpetuity of which shall be commensurate with the circumstances and specifications which have originated it.
And your memorialist will ever pray &c
City of Nauvoo Illinois
March 26th 1844
The completed memorial, dated 26 March 1844, petitioned Congress to pass a bill—a draft of which was included with the memorial—providing “for the Protection of the Citizens of the United States emigrating to the adjoining territories, and for the extension of the principles of Universal Liberty.” JS signed the memorial on 31 March; four days later Orson Hyde left with the memorial for Washington DC. (JS, Memorial to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 26 Mar. 1844, Record Group 46, Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives, Washington DC; JS, Memorial to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 26 Mar. 1844, copy, JS Collection, CHL; JS, Journal, 31 Mar. and 4 Apr. 1844.)