After the Mormons were expelled from Missouri, a delegation was sent to Washington DC by Joseph Smith in a vain attempt to obtain financial reparations for Mormon property losses. Joseph was temporarily there and met with the President. Neither Joseph nor the President were impressed with the other.

After Joseph left DC, others stayed behind to pursue Congressional assistance. Joseph was updated by letters from them. On April 1, 1840, Horace Hotchkiss sent a letter describing how things were not moving along. In that letter he gave his appraisal of  Congress:

I am  not, I confess, much disappointed in the result; as I know the vacillating, fawning character of many, in both Houses of Congress; and these are not their worst traits either. For they not only lack the moral courage to do right, but will do what they know to be positively wrong, if they can make political capital by it.  [They] will abandon you, me, or anyone else with perfect indifference and heartless treachery, if by doing it they can obtain governmental favor or political preferment.  (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 7, p. 236-spellings and grammar corrected from original.)

Congress, it seems, is so stable an institution that its character has remained unchanged for a century-and-a-half.