OF A PIONEER PRINTER
and are beyond the memory of almost two generations of people. No event of equal magnitude I will venture to affirm has been more studiously passed over and ignored in history than this -- and, consequently, so little understood. Of this I judge by the frequency of the enquiries with which I have been importuned for the last thirty years, and the apparent anxiety which is often manifested in a verbal relation of some of its parts. I refer to the war against, and opposition to, all secret affiliated associations in this country, especially that of the Masonic. In the relation of facts to which I shall be obliged to allude, I do not propose to disturb the sensitiveness of any at the present day. What the institution is now I know not, neither care; but what it was fifty years ago I feel certain that I know, and of that I must speak if at all. From the ordeal through which it then passed I have no doubt that it has undergone many important and radical modifications. For instance: At that period the evidence seemed to be indisputable that a large majority of the members of the Order considered it their duty to aid and assist in bringing down upon the head of an erring brother the most condign punishment -- especially for divulging any secrets of the lodge-room. But through the advancing light of reason and common sense I think it would now be difficult to find any who would be willing to go to that extremity.
With these preliminaries I will proceed to a hasty sketch of that great Masonic war referred to. William Morgan was born in Culpepper county, Virginia, about the year 1776, and was a mason by trade. After having by his industry accumulated a sufficient fund for the purpose he commenced business in Richmond as a merchant. During his abode there in 1819 he married Miss Lucinda Pendleton, eldest daughter of Rev. Joseph Pendleton,
a respectable planter residing in Washington county. In 1821 he removed from Virginia to Little York (Toronto), in Canada, and commenced business as a brewer. The destruction of his property by fire reduced him from a comfortable situation to poverty, and rendered if necessary for him to resume his trade as a mason, and removed to Rochester, N. Y., where he labored at that business for some time. From thence he removed to Batavia, some forty miles farther southwest, where he worked at his trade till within a short time before he was kidnapped and carried away from his home and family. Some time in the year 1826 it began to be rumored that Morgan, in connection with some other persons, was preparing for publication a book that would reveal the secrets of Freemasonry, and that David C. Miller, a printer in the village of Batavia, was engaged in putting the work to press. Morgan was a Mason, well versed in nearly all the degrees, and Miller had taken but one. It was at last noticed by some of the citizens that an excitement of some kind existed among certain persons in the village in regard to the rumored publication of the book; and it was at length openly avowed by a number of persons who were understood to belong to the Masonic fraternity that the suppression of the work had been determined on at all hazards. A crusade against Miller's paper and business, by petty prosecutions, and various other ways best calculated to distress and embarrass him was made.
Morgan was advertised in various parts of the country, in many newspapers, as a swindler and dishonest man, and the fraternity warned to been the look-out for him. About this time, also, slanderous reports were put in circulation against Morgan and Miller for fifty miles around, charging them with all manner of misdeeds. About the middle of August a
38 AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
stranger suddenly appeared in Batavia, pretending to be a printer, and soon made overtures to Miller, proposing a partnership in the publication of the Secrets of Masonry -- and after using all the wiles and stratagems of which he was capable, partially succeeded in securing the confidence of Miller. His name Daniel Johns, as it afterwards appeared in evidence, a Knight Templar, whose residence was below Kingston in Canada, and had been procured by the fraternity to come on and attend to the suppression of the book on Masonry. Through this man and other sources it had been ascertained that three degrees had been printed and were then lying in sheets in Miller's office, and that Morgan was still engaged in writing out the higher degrees.
On the 8th day of September forty or fifty men assembled at the hotel six miles east of Batavia, kept by Js. Gason, a high Mason, headed and commanded by one Col. Edward Sawyer, residing at Canandaigua, who was afterwards sentenced to one month's imprisonment for the part he took in the kidnapping of Morgan, on his own confession. This conclave of apparently respectable gentlemen came from distant and different parts of the country, and even from Canada. At a late hour of the night they proceeded to Batavia, for the avowed purpose of procuring the manuscript and printed sheets, and suppressing the publication of Morgan's book by breaking into the printing office, and if necessary to effect their object, to carry off Morgan and Miller. What deterred them from carrying out their plans is not definitely known; but on arriving in the village it is supposed that they got information of the fact that Miller had prepared to defend himself with firearms. At early dawn they separated, some of them again assembling at Ganson's where Sawyer
was branded as a coward for not effecting the object for which he had started.
On the 25th day of July Morgan was arrested for a small debt owing to a Mason, and committed to the custody of the Sheriff of the county, also a Mason, and committed to the jail, from whence, however, he was liberated in a few days by the interference of his friends. In the month of August he was engaged on his expositions in the upper room of his boarding house, when on the 19th or said month three Masons of the village suddenly rushed into his room, arrested him on an execution, and again thrust him into jail. They again returned to the house and informed Mrs. Morgan that they should keep her husband in jail till they found his papers, and proceeded to search the house and carried off all they could find. He was, however, again released on bail.
On Sunday morning, September 10th, 1826, Nicholas G. Chesbro, of the village of Canandaigua, a hatter by trade, Master of the Lodge in that place, and one of the Coroners of said county, applied for and obtained a warrant from a justice of the peace for the apprehension of: Wm. Morgan, on a charge of stealing a shirt and cravat, in May previous, from an inn-keeper, who declared afterwards that he had no intention of entering a complaint against Morgan until he was prompted to it by Chesbro and his associates. Having obtained the warrant, which was directed to him as Coroner, he procured the services of four other Masons of respectability and took their departure from Canandaigua the same morning in a special stage. On the road to Batavia they took on board two other Masons, all of whom seemed fully to understand the object of the expedition. The party proceeded on to the village of Stafford, six miles from Batavia, where they stopped to take supper at the house
OF A PIONEER PRINTER 39
of James Ganson. They then proceeded to within a mile of the place when they were met by a messenger advising them not to come on that night. Some of the, party, however, were vexed at this, and said they would proceed, as they had come so far for that purpose. They finally divided, and the most of them proceeded on foot into the town. The next morning early Morgan was arrested and taken to the public house where the party had stopped. An extra stage was then procured and they left the village with Morgan. Just as they were about to start Miller came up and insisted that Morgan should not be taken away, as he was in custody of the Sheriff of the county and he was his bail. Miller was, however, immediately pushed aside by the hotel-keeper, who closed the door, and Chesbro having taken an outside seat with the driver, urged him to drive fast until he should get out of the county.
The party arrived at Canandaigua -- fifty miles east of Batavia -- about sunset, and Morgan was examined by the magistrate. Loton Lawson, one of the conspirators, appeared as a witness, and made such statements as induced the discharge of Morgan. To have procured his imprisonment for larceny would, of course, have defeated the object of the conspirators, because his person would have been out of their control. As soon as Morgan was thus discharged from arrest under the criminal process, Chesbro produced a claim against him for a debt of two dollars. Morgan admitted the debt, confessed judgment, and seemingly aware of the determination to detain him pulled off his coat and desired the constable to levy on it and take it as security for the debt. But he being a Mason, refused to take it, and conducted him to jail where he was left about ten o'clock in the evening.
On the 16th day of September, about
noon, a crowd of men suddenly appeared in Batavia, nearly all of whom carried with tlhem clubs or sticks, newly cut, all of which resembled each other, as if prepared specially for the occasion. The whole number thus equipped was sixty or seventy, and nearly all of them were strangers, whose names were never~ ascertained, and the reason of their appearance at that time was never known. Immediately after this assemblage Jesse French, one of the constables of the county, repaired to Miller's printing office, and in a rude and violent manner arrested him -- alleging that he had a process in behalf of the people. After detaining him in a room at the hotel for two hours they put him into an open wagon, and seven men besides the driver, all strangers, took seats with him and proceeded to Stafford. French, the constable, having mounted his horse, rode ahead. On arriving there Miller was seized by two men and conducted to a room in the third story of a stone building, ordinarily used as a Masonic Lodge room. In this room he was guarded by five men, who said they were acting as assistants to French and under his orders. While thus secluded and guarded, his counsel with four or five of his friends arrived, who, after much parleying were permitted to see him. The constable was then asked to exhibit his authority by which he detained Miller, but steadily refused to give any satisfaction on that point; but still left no doubt on the mind of Miller that it was a criminal procedure, and issued by a magistrate at Leroy, four miles farther east.
A short titne after Miller's introduction to the Lodge room, the same mysterious personage heretofore referred to as coming from Canada, Daniel Johns, entered the room, holding in his hand a drawn sword, and walked with lofty steps back and forth, seemingy anxious to inspire
40 AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
spire terror into his captive. After manouvering till nearly night, Miller finally got before the magistrate who issued the writ. Here the constable and guards soon disappeared, and Miller was discharged. While they were in the Lodge room one of the men told Miller that he was not to stop in Leroy, but he was going where Morgan was. On the night of the 16th Miller's printing office was fired in two places, but the flames were extinguished without much damage. -- This is but a very meagre outline of the doings then and there to destroy the work that was going to reveal the secrets of the Order -- as they supposed.
Our last account of Morgan left him lodged in the jail at Canandaigua. The next evening after he was imprisoned for the debt of two dollars, Lawson called at the jail to see Morgan, and after some objections by the keeper he was permitted to do so. He proposed paying the debt and taking Morgan with him to his house, a short distance from the village; but he seemed to be unwilling, preferring to remain where he was till the next morning and retired to bed. After a short absence Lawson returned again, and having procured a carriage and the assistance of a sufficient number of men, he procured the assent of the jailer's wife in the absence of her husband -- to the discharge of Morgan. He accordingly left the apartment in which he had been confined -- Lawson holding him by the arm -- at about 9 o'clock in the evening. Almost directly in front of the jail he was seized by his supposed friend Lawson and some other person, and notwithstanding his struggles and cries of murder, he was gagged and led away from the jail. The cry of murder and the appearance of a struggle in the street, excited a momentary attention from the people living in the vicinity of the jail, and a man ran out to aseartain the cause. The
first persons he saw were Colonel Edward Sawyer and N. G. Chesbro, who were standing near by spectators of the scene. When asked what was the matter one of them answered promptly, "nothing, only a man has been let out of jail and has been taken on a warrant and is going to be tried." Receiving this answer from a person of good character whom he knew, the man turned about and declined to interfere.
This was the last that was ever seen of Morgan by any person who was not a Mason. He was driven rapidly away in a close carriage, in the charge of two or three men, who were supposed to be strangers there, either gagged or drugged in the direction of Rochester, The carriage was noticed by people on the road, in many places, and apparently accompanied by a man on horseback, who rode in advance to make arrangements. Three miles from Rochester another carriage was procured with a relay of horses, soon after daylight next morning. This carriage proceeded with great speed, changing horses about every sixteen miles through the day -- apparently with a perfect understanding, as the horses were generally found ready harnessed, sometimes unhitched from the plow by their owners and driven by them, and in no case, except one, by any who were not Masons.
As they proceeded westward on their course, and when near Lockport, the Sheriff of Niagara county, Eli Bruce, boarded the carriage and rode to Lewiston, where it arrived about 8 o'clock in the evening of' the 13th -- having run 70 miles since daylight in the morning. The carriage was halted in a back street -- as had been their custom through the whole route -- and another carriage drove alongside to exchange the load. They had now arrived within six miles of the end of their journey, and in the hurry of
OF A PIONEER PRINTER 41
business had inadvertently put on a driver who was not a Mason, by the name of Fox, who drove down the river, stopping within twenty rods of Fort Niagara in an open field. Here four or five men got out and the carriage was sent back to Lewiston. Throughout the whole distance all the carriages had the curtains closed, so that no persons within were visible -- which circumstance, as the weather was very warm, caused much observation and curiosity among the outsiders all through the country. The driver -- Fox, above referred to -- made some remarks the next day on his strange expedition the night previous, who was told by his employer if he said anything about it he would be discharged. He was a few days after initiated into the Lodge.
After leaving the last carriage they went directly to the ferry, near the Fort and proceeded directly across the river to the town of Newark in Canada. From thence two of the kidnappers went immediately to the Lodge-room, where the
Masons were then in session, -- leaving Morgan in the custody of three others. After being gone some two hours they returned to the boat and reported that' the Canadian Masons refused to receive him or have anything to do with the offending brother. They then recrossed the river and put him into the magazine of the fortress and securely fastened the door. In this small enclosure there was no light except from a small window, so high that it was inaccessible to any one from the inside. At that time the fort was entirely unoccupied by soldiers, and was in charge of a single person who mas a Mason. The next day Morgan had so far recovered from his stupefaction, in his solitude, as to commence some violent efforts to free himself from the thraldom in which he had been placed. This produced some alarm in the vicinity, and early in the evening
man and horse were dispatched in great haste to Lewiston for assistance to put a stop to the noise in the magazine. It so happened that on this very night of the incarceration there was an installation of a Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in Lewiston. From this conclave there was quickly selected five Sir Knights to go immediately down to the fort. They went down the river in a small steamer, and returned on foot in the darkness of the night. They reported that there would be no more trouble there.
For two or three days after this there appeared to be quite a commotion in the vicinity among the brethren. Many of them seemed to have become alarmed, and manifested great anxiety about the elephant they had on their hands. The execution of Morgan had been determined upon; but the great trouble was to find the instruments for carrying it into effect. It was concluded from various circumstances that he was kept in the magazine some four or five days before the right sort of persons could be found to carryout the programme. He was finally taken one dark night by three persons into a boat and after rowing about in the month of the river and lake his throat was cut and his body sunk -- which was sometime afterward found and buried in the "rough sands of the sea" or lake. The names of the perpetrators of the last act in the drama were never definitely known -- although five persons who were known to have been engaged in the work disappeared from the country and were never after heard of.
Many of the foregoing acts were two or three years in their development, and were mostly brought out in the progress of the trials, which were had in the higher courts, and in numerous depositions that were procured by the various committees that were instituted by the people to ferret out the mysteries which
42 AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
were attempted to be thrown around the whole transaction There was at that time only one newspaper in all Western New York, composing some five counties, that would open its columns to the relation of facts connected with the murder of Morgan, and that was the one printed by Miller, which almost every one expected to see soon destroyed. Nearly every paper was discovered to be under control of the fraternity.
In the course of a month, however, great excitement began to prevail in most of the western counties, and large meetings began to be held, at which resolutions of the most stringent nature were passed; and large committees of the most influential citizens, outside the Lodges, mere appointed to take measures to investigate the whole affair. The various committees numbered forty persons, who were subsequently divided up into sub-committees, to go over the whole ground traversed by the kidnappers. They made pretty thorough work of it, by procuring the statements and depositions of every person who was supposed to have any knowledge of the affair.
DeWitt Clinton was at that time governor of the State, and, although a high
Mason, through the representations of the committees was induced to issue three several proclamations a few months after, one of which offered a reward of one thousand dollars for a discovery of the perpetrators. Several persons were found who pretended to know all about the manner in which the end of Morgan was brought about. One person said he was present when the boat left the shore, and saw it return without Morgan. But on the several trials that were had for kidnapping, during the two or three following years, no important witnesses could be found -- many had left the country. It was a remarkable fact that several of the most noted among those implicated died very suddenly.
As might naturally be supposed, the whole community soon became aroused at so great an outrage being perpetrated in their midst, without the power to counteract the influences which appeared to prevail in thwarting the due administration of justice. The ballot-box was the final resort after a few months of deliberation, and political warfare was soon entered into against the Masons and all secret societies, which has had few parallels in our country. It spread rapidly over nearly all the Northern States, and was prosecuted with great vigor for the term of about five years, all Masons being ejected from office, even down to path-master, in many localities. Many newspapers were brought out and many men of eminence and ability turned up pending the struggle. Among the most prominent of politicians was Thurlow Weed, who is yet occasionally heard from on some important question, and now bordering on 90 years of age. He was the leading editor in the anti-Masonic Party, and published a newspaper at Rochester, and soon after the Albany Journal at the capital. Millard Fillmore, who was afterwards President of the United States, made his debut as a politician in the anti-Masonic party. Francis Granger, who was afterwards Post Master General under John Tyler, was the anti-Masonic candidate for Governor of New York, but failed by a small minority. Vermont was the only State that elected a Governor and Legislature on that principle. The discussions in the newspapers, magazines, and on the stump would fill volumes.
The three degrees of the Order written by Morgan were printed and scattered broadcast. Several of the higher degrees which Morgan had prepared for publication were taken from Mrs. Morgan, under a promise that her husband should be brought back. Here and there many of the Masons in different parts of the country
OF A PIONEER PRINTER 43
began to cave, renouncing their fealty to the institution, and acknowledging the correctness of the revelations.
In the course of two years several conventions of seceding Masons were held; and, finally, on the 4th of July, 1828, something over one hundred assembled at Leroy, near Batavia, drew up a declaration of independence, and pledged themselves to reveal and publish all the higher orders of the craft, which amounted to over thirty. These were soon embodied and published to the world, bearing the signatures of many of the most eminent men and Masons of the State. The controversy soon after culminated and was narrowed down to two or three propositions, to wit: the Masons contending that the murder of Morgan was the unauthorized work of a few misguided members of the Order, for which the institution was in no way responsible. And on the other side it was contended that it was the legitimate result and flowed directly from the nature and proper meaning of every oath taken by each member, accompanied by the most horrid imprecations which they invoked upon their own heads. Numerous side issues were involved in the debates that ensued -- such as the political, moral and religious bearings of the institution, and also its claim to antiquity. The latter question was the production of great study and research into ancient and modern history. The most antiquated and extensive libraries of the world were searched for any collateral account of its origin prior to 1717. Nothing could be produced, save the vain-glorious claims of its orators and writers of modern times. The Professors of Harvard and Andover -- whose institutions were supposed to possess the most extensive libraries in the United States were called upon, and made report in writing that they knew of nothing or could find any
thing in print to place it beyond that date.
But I must hasten to a close on this subject. For about two years the TELEGRAPH had partially kept its readers posted on the progress of the contest, when I openly espoused the anti-Masonic cause and entered into the political arena with what little power and ability I was master of. Ashtabula county was much ahead of Geauga, having the year before put in operation a newspaper called the Ohio Luminary at Jefferson. The two counties the next year (1830) elected to the State Senate the Hon. Eliphalet Austin, of Austinburgh; and Geauga elected to the lower House Isaac Gillett of Painesville, and Chester Treat of Chardon. In 1831 Uri Seeley was chosen Senator, and Isaac Gillett re-elected to the House. In 1832 Lewis Dille and Lester Taylor were elected to the House and the next year General Dille was re-elected -- all on strictly anti-Masonic principles.
In 1832 a National organization was effected, and William Wirt was run for President and Amos Elmaker for Vice-President. Vermont was the only State that gave a majority -- the party in the other States being nearly swallowed up by the terrible strife which was carried on between the two great contending parties, Whig and Democrat. This virtually ended the controversy, except in a few localities. The fruits of the war were the renunciation of about one thousand Masons, and the closing of all the Lodges, except in some of the cities, for about fifteen years. It was during this period of suspension that Odd Fellowship was organized and appeared on the surface as a sort of substitute for the "lost cause."
NOTE. -- Additional particulars in connection with the foregoing chapter will be found in the Appendix to this pamphlet.
44 AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
The next disturbing element in the affairs of Geauga county was the advent of what was then called the Golden Bible. In the year 1830, away down in York State, a family by name of Smith, consisting of father, mother, and several grown-up sons, conceived the idea of bringing before the world a new Bible and a new religion, which should be the great wonderment of the age and made themselves rich, and powerful. The evidence of all their acquaintances was that they were idle and dissolute in habits, and spent most of their time in digging for money among the surrounding hills. In these operations the oldest boy but one, who was called Joseph, Jr., was put forward as the leading spirit, and the most adroit among them. One night the great wonder was struck in a deep cave, and after a hard tussle with the devil, he succeeded in carrying off the prize. This was the account the family gave of it. The Mormon Bible, or the "Book of Mormon," as it was called, was said to have been translated from a large number of plates, which were secured and held together by two rings, somewhat in the shape of a book, and had the appearance of gold. They had been there some 1500 years. There was no evidence that any person, except Joseph, Jr., ever saw the plates; but several persons pretended that they had "hefted" them. After much tribulation the contents of the plates were deciphered by the use of a "peep stone" that was placed in a hat. But the plates were never present during the operation of translation, the Lord having communicated their contents as the work progressed -- Joseph saying that they were buried up again in a mountain by the direction of the Lord, but he nor any other person knew the exact place. The book was put in type and published early in the year 1830, and contains nearly 600 pages. Its most elaborate barrenness and want of thought is the greatest [distinguishing] feature of the whole thing. The author seemed to be doing his best to produce a burlesque on all printed books, and especially the bible. Poor old Martin Harris, a monomaniac in religion, spent a handsome property in its publication.
They then formed a church of some eight or ten members, and forthwith sent three Apostles to Geauga county, who commenced preaching in Kirtland, where a nucleus was soon formed and a church established, -- Sidney Rigdon being of the first converts.
In February following the whole of the Smith family, with the prophet Joseph at their head made their appearance here. The next year or two a large number of converts had been made, and began to assemble from all parts of the country, and many from Europe. All the wealth of its members was placed at the disposal of the head of the church. In Kirtland they commenced buying and making bargains for all the lands in the vicinity. They erected a large stone temple, opened several stores of goods, established, a bank, and issued bills to a large amount, which they never intended to redeem. Their numbers constantly increased, so that they absorbed all the to make their boasts that in a short time they would control all the county offices and elect a member of Congress from their own ranks. All their doings and performances were held out as having been dictated and commanded by Jesus Christ, in writing, through the hand of their prophet Joseph. One of their revelations told them that their bank in a few years was to "swallow up all other banks."
All their vain babblings and pretensions
OF A PIONEER PRINTER 45
were pretty strongly set forth and noticed in the columns of the TELEGRAPH. In view of all their gaseous pretensions the surrounding country was becoming somewhat sensitive, and many of our citizens thought it advisable to take all the legal means within their reach to counteract the progress of so dangerous an enemy in their midst, and many law suits ensued.
In 1834 I wrote and compiled a book of 290 pages, which was entitled "Mormonism Unveiled," which contained a succinct and true history of the rise and progress of the sect up to that time, as I verily believed. It has now been out of print more than forty years, but which I have reason to believe has been the basis of all the histories which have appeared from time to time since that period touching that people.
In 1836 suits were instituted in our County Court against several of the Mormon leaders for divers offenses against the laws of the State. One was for a violation of the statute against private Banking, and a judgment was rendered for $2000; another, against Sidney Rigdon for $1,000, for solemnizing marriages without a license. Executions were issued, and their printing establishment and other fixings in Kirtland were levied upon by the Sheriff. The night before the removal of the property it was all burned to the ground, and the prophet and many of his apostles fled to parts unknown. Following this was a pretty general breaking up in that place They soon after attempted to make a stand and build up a community near the western border of Missouri, ten miles east of where Kansas City now stands. To that place all the faithful were peremptorily commanded to flee with all possible haste. To obey this command large sacrifices were made by the people who had from time to time enlisted under the banner of the prophet.
Not long after their arrival and settlement in Missouri they were destined to still greater calamities. The inhabitants there soon took the alarm, from causes very similar to those which occurred here. They were driven from their possessions into an adjoining county across the Missouri River by an armed force. There they had a revelation from the Lord (as they said) to make a stand and arm themselves in self-defense, which they did, to the number of about three hundred, and Gen. Joseph placed himself at their head as commander-in-chief, This brought out a proclamation by the Governor of the State and a regiment of militia. An armistice followed a few shots, and the army of the Lord (as they called it) agreed to leave the State.
They then wended their way back in a most deplorable condition, some three hundred miles, to the place they afterwards called Nauvoo, on the east bank of the Mississippi. During all these adversities their numbers constantly augmented, chiefly by mesas of missionaries, which they kept constantly on the move in foreign countries. The doctrine they preached was well calculated to attract the attention of a certain class of the poor and ignorant, who hoped to better their condition. At Nauvoo they took up quite large quantifies of the public lands, and soon laid out quite an extensive city. Their first business was to commence the erection of a most splendid tabernacle, and a hotel to be kept by the Smith family. But they had no sooner began to flourish than they commenced their old game of intimidating the people of the surrounding country, and warlike demonstrations soon began to appear on both sides, and finally culminated in the imprisonment of Joseph and Hiram Smith in the jail of an adjoining county, with an assurance of personal protection. But during the night the
46 AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
jail was broken into by an armed mob and the prisoners both fell pierced with bullets.
Soon after this the noted Brigham Young was chosen prophet and head of the church, and preparations were made once more for a general stampede of the saints towards the Rocky Mountains. It was at about this juncture that the revelations began to appear, authorizing and establishing the doctrine of polygamy. Of their long and dreary mark to Salt Lake, many of them in the dead of winter, we have had numerous sad accounts. It was said that quite a number perished on the way through cold, hunger and fatigue. But we will pursue this subject no farther.
In January, 1835, my connection with the TELEGRAPH ceased, and the paper went into the hands of a younger brother, Asahel Howe, and was for the next year very ably edited by Doctor M. G. Lewis, an uncle of E. V. Smalley, now of the Cleveland Herald. Since that time I can hardly enumerate the different editors and proprietors who have had the handling of its types. Here are some of them however, viz.: Messrs. Jaques, Hanna, Winchester, Rice, Smythe, Gray, Doolittle, French, Bachelor, Abbott, Bailey, Merrill, Scofield.
The next subject which seems to claim our attention is that of the anti-slavery movement...
(pages 46-53 under construction)
54 AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
acquitted himself very handsomely in some strong anti-slavery sentiments. When he concluded I put the question squarely, wishing to know who his man was to carry out his principles. His reply was, "Gen. Taylor." Then, said I, "you can't be elected!" Ashtabula and Lake then elected two representatives jointly. Another convention was called of Free Soilers, who assembled the next week and put in nomination Col. John F. Morse for Representative, and who was duly elected by the aid of Ashtabula county -- Mr. Axtell having a small majority in Lake.
On the 4th of December following the Legislature convened at Columbus, and after canvassing the strength of the three parties it was found that in the House the Democrats had 34 votes, and Whigs 34 by counting in 8 Free Soilers. This left the balance of power in the hands of two Free Soilers who could not join either of the parties in the election of a Speaker, without some liberal concessions in behalf of freedom. These were our Representative and Dr. N. S. Townsend of Medina. Thus there was a dead lock in the election of Speaker, which continued for about thirty days, during which time 122 ballots were had.
This produced great commotion all through the country, and the firm of Townsend & Morse became very noted, and were subjected to the greatest vituperation from the leaders of the Whig party. But Townsend & Morse stood up boldly and manfully for their anti-slavery principles, with a determination to use the power they possessed, in the best manner possible, for the advancement of freedom. Their propositions were finally acquiesced in by the Democrats, and their candidate for speaker was elected by a majority of three -- said Speaker being the notorious John G. Breslin, who was afterwards State Treasurer and swindled the State out of some $700,000.
This compromise secured the election in February following of Salmon P. Chase to the U. S. Senate, and the repeal of the odious black laws, which had for many years been a disgrace to the good name of Ohio. Mr. Chase was the most uncompromising abolitionist in the State, and this election was the stepping stone to his great eminence and national popularity.
In 1849 Colonel Morse declined being a candidate for re-election, but the year following he was again elected and chosen Speaker of the House by a majority of four votes. In 1861 he took the position of Captain in the 29th Regiment Ohio Volunteers, where he continued for about eight months, when he resigned. He was afterwards employed on government buildings, from which he retired about a year ago by the admonition of advancing age, being in his 76th year.
In closing these sketches of a "Busy Life," I have only to spend a few moments in giving my ideas of the life beyond, which, according to the known laws and operations of nature, is not far in the future. Up to the age of 40 years, like a large share of the human family, I was governed in my opinions on that subject by education, and all the surrounding influences under which it was my fortune to be placed. I found it much easier to concur in the opinions of others, and slide along in the wake of those who were educated, employed, and paid to officiate in that identical capacity. At that time, in view of many occurrences which I will not stop to relate, I resolved to investigate the whole question of the hereafter, if any. The result was, in the fewest words possible, I became a skeptic. Thus, up to the advent of modern Spiritualism, which came in its own time and its own way. In this I believed, and still believe, and why? Simply because I could not help it, without
OF A PIONEER PRINTER 55
ignoring and casting far from me every vestige of common sense and my reasoning faculties, which I verily believe many are doing at the present day. Like the ancient philosopher I could but exclaim, "Eureka."
The phenomena of the spiritual science is now pretty generally admitted. The Catholic church claim and admit that they have always had the same manifestations, but all outside of its precincts is of the devil. Rev. Charles Beecher, after being authorized by his church to investigate and report upon the phenomena, published a book in which he admitted all the facts, but said it was only from evil spirits. But his brother, Henry Ward admitted that they were both good and bad. Rev. Asa Mahan, in a long discussion admitted the phenomena, but attributed it all to what a German savant denominated odd or odyle force. The orthodox churches, as a general thing, have settled down on the theory that it is all a device of Satan. I have often wondered where they would stand after eradicating Spiritualism from the Bible. It appears to me it would give forth a very empty sound. But why is it that they are all determined to crucify and ignore this last and only tangible evidence of immortality which has ever been presented to humanity? In spite of all the obstacles and impediments thrown in its way, what do we now see? We see the denizens of the upper spheres constantly at work devising new plans to make themselves known and respected among their dear ones left behind. They are determined to be seen, heard and felt; and not one in a thousand here will fail to perceive the truth of the great facts and phenomena who candidly and sincerely submit to the necessary conditions. There are now more believers in this new dispensation, after an exhibition of thirty years, than there were in the Christian religion for the first five hundred after its advent. It is "marching on" in its glorious career, and has already encircled the entire globe. Its numbers are computed by millions. Almost every civilized nation has its numerous adherents, its newspapers and magazines. The most eminent professors, scientists and statesmen in the old world have acknowledged its truth -- among whom may be mentioned, Prof. De Morgan, Bulwer Lytton, Robert Owen, Lord Bentick, Dr. Ashburner, the Countess of Zetland, Wm. Crooks, editor of the Monthly Journal of Science, Alfred Wallace, electrician to the Atlantic Cable, the Duke of Wellington, Queen Victoria, and many others of like eminence. In our own country may be mentioned Abraham Lincoln, Prof. Robert Hare, Judge Edmunds, Prof. Mapes, J. R. Giddings, B. F. Wade, Thos. Richmond, John R. French, Benj. Bissel, and many Senators and Members of Congress.
After all we are frequently asked the question: "What good has Spiritualism done?" To that I will answer: It has robbed death of its terrors; furnished positive evidence of immortality; put out the fires of hell; and made every man and woman their own saviour.
There are millions to-day entirely ignorant of the psychic sciences, although they consider themselves pretty well educated. They have been kept out of this knowledge by the combined efforts of the colleges, the academies, the press and the pulpit, in suppressing information on these subjects, and scattering prejudice by false information. In most of the treatises on psychology, in which such information should be given, it has been systematically suppressed. In the writings on mental philosophy the vast mass of facts developed in the psychic sciences is ignored as if it had no existence. Dogmatism and animalism have full
AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND RECOLLECTIONS
sway over the greater number of our literary institutions. All must bow down to what people call respectability.
I have resided in Painesville and its immediate vicinity for fifty six years; have been engaged most of that
time in the printing business and the manufacture of woolen goods; am the father of six children, two only of
which survive, the eldest fifty and the younger forty-six years; have seven grand-children and seven great
I will now give you my creed, which is said to be nearly the same as that of Andrew Jackson Davis, and will retire:
1. I believe in one absolutely perfect God -- both father and mother.
2. I believe that man, physically, was evolved from the animal kingdom
3. I believe that man, spiritually, is a part of the spirit of God.
4. I believe that every person is rewarded for goodness and punished for evilness, both in this world and in the next.
5. I believe in the universal triumph of truth, justice and love.
6. I believe in the immortality of every human mind, in a sensible communion between the peoples of earth and
their relatives in the summer land.
7. I believe in the principles of eternal progression and development.
8. I do not believe in the orthodox scheme of salvation or damnation -- that is, I do not believe in "original
sin," "atonement," "faith," and "regeneration."
9. I do not believe in the identity of modern Spiritualism and primitive Christianity.
10. 1 do not believe in the identity of modern Spiritualism and ancient Magic.
11. I do not believe in free love
12. I do not believe in reincarnation, nor that any foreign spirit can displace the mind of any living man.
13. I do not promise to believe to-morrow exactly what I believe to-day, and I do not believe to-day exactly what
I believed yesterday; for I expect to make, as I have made, some honest progress within twenty four hours.