The Prophet of Palmyra
(NYC: J. B. Alden, 1890)
Return to page 333
AS on former occasions, these excesses called for executive interference. Accordingly, Governor Ford again sent a force of volunteers into the county, and again under command of that brave and sagacious officer and statesman, Colonel John J. Hardin. He was accompanied by Attorney-General John A. McDougal, Judge Stephen A. Douglas, and Major Wm. B. Warren, as advisers. On the arrival of these with a strong body of troops, everything became quiet. On the 27th of September, General Hardin issued a proclamation to the people of the county, enjoining them to keep the peace and obey the laws and constituted authorities. In conjunction with his advisers, he visited Nauvoo and entered into a correspondence with the authorities of the Mormon people, which resulted in their agreeing to leave. the county and State in the following spring; after
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which he withdrew the main body of his forces, leaving Major Warren in the county to maintain the peace, with a detachment of about one hundred men, to remain until withdrawn by the Governor. To the discreet action and gentlemanly behavior of Major Warren and his officers and men, during the winter, the county was much indebted for the good order that reigned. *
Previous to General Hardin's arrival, the people of the surrounding counties, in view of the disturbed condition of the county of Hancock, and becoming alarmed for their own safety, determined to hold a convention to take the subject into consideration. That convention may be regarded as a turning point in the affairs of the county. It was held at Carthage on the first and second days of October, and was composed of representative and earnest men of high standing in the nine counties of Adams, Brown, Pike, Schuyler, Marquette, McDonough, Warren, Knox, and Henderson -- Hancock being purposely excluded. Fifty delegates were reported: Hon. Orville H. Browning, of Adams, moved for a committee of three from each county to prepare and report resolutions;
* These troops belonged principally to the Quincy Riflemen, an independent company composed of young men of the highest character in that city -- two of whose officers, Captain James D. Morgan and Lieutenant Benjamin M. Prentiss, did conspicuous service later as Generals in the war for the Union.
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and afterwards, as chairman, presented a series, of which we introduce only two, as embracing the sense of the convention on the points mentioned:
"Resolved, That it is the settled and deliberate conviction of this convention, that it is now too late to attempt the settlement of the difficulties in Hancock County upon any other basis than that of the removal of the Mormons from the State; and we therefore accept, and respectfully recommend to the people of the surrounding counties to accept, the proposition made by the Mormons to remove from the State next spring, and to wait with patience the time for removal.
"Resolved, That we utterly repudiate the impudent assertion, so often and so constantly put forth by the Mormons, that they are persecuted for righteousness' sake. We do not believe them to be a persecuted people. We KNOW that they are not; but that whatever grievances they may suffer are the necessary and legitimate consequences of their illegal, wicked, and dishonest acts."
At the distance of more than forty years from the date when the sentiment, as contained in the first of these resolutions, was uttered, it reads strangely that such a body of men could be induced to sanction the entire expulsion of ten or twelve thousand people from a State where they were making their homes. And yet that resolution passed unanimously, and was applauded and accepted by nine-tenths of the fifty or sixty thousand people of
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the nine counties that convention represented. Every reader of these pages must agree that there is something radically wrong in the laws or their administration or in the state of society that renders such a thing possible. The writer of this was a spectator at that convention, and he testifies to the high character of its members, and knows with what prudence and earnestness its deliberations were conducted; but whether the circumstances at the time existing were sufficient to justify such action, or whether THEY CAN EXIST, is a problem he prefers to leave with the reader. The other resolution, however, met with his entire assent. And here attention is called to the fact, that when the Mormons first made their appearance in Illinois, six years before, all these people sympathized with them, and believed their Story of persecution. Mr. Browning * was especially eloquent in denouncing the "Border Ruffians" of Missouri, for their treatment of these so-called persecuted and inoffensive people. And what could have produced the change? It is preposterous to say that a whole community would -- or could -- in the short space of six years, from being warm sympathizers with, and aiders and helpers of, an innocent people, turn around and
* Hon. O. H. Browning was a resident of Quincy, a leading and able member of the Bar -- and afterwards held the position of United States Senator and Secretary of the Interior,
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become themselves their persecutors. The fact exists, as clear as sunlight, that every word of this second resolution is true. It has been true ever since the feeble cry of "persecution" was uttered by the embryo-prophet at Palmyra down to this convention; and since, through the dreadful scenes in the wilderness, till it was stifled in the shrieks and cries of defenceless women and children at Mountain Meadows and Springville. Yet the cry of "Persecution!" and "Let us alone!" is still heard on every hand, and echoed through the press of the country.
The action of this convention had a quieting effect. On the public, and no doubt satisfied many wavering minds that the conclusion to which it arrived, was the only one that would give peace. And the Mormons also accepted it as inevitable, and earnestly prepared to act accordingly. As a basis for the subsequent action of both parties, the correspondence heretofore mentioned is here reproduced:
NAUVOO, Oct. 1, 1845.
"To the first President and Council of the Church at Nauvoo:
"Having had a free and full conversation with you this day, in reference to your proposed removal from this county, together with the members of your church, we have to request you to submit the facts and intentions stated to us in said conversation
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to writing, in order that we may lay them before the Governor and People of the State. We hope that by so doing it will have a tendency to allay the excitement at present existing in the public mind. We have the honor to subscribe ourselves,
"Respectfully yours, etc.,
W. B. WARREN,
J. A. MCDOUGAL."
"NAUVOO, Oct. 1, 1845.
"To Gen. John J. Hardin, S. A. Douglas, W. B. Warren and J. A. McDougal:
"MESSRS: In reply to your letter of this date requesting, us to 'submit the facts and intentions stated by us to writing, in order that you may lay them before the Governor and People of the State,' we would refer you to a communication of the 24th ultimo, to the 'Quincy Committee,' a copy of which is herewith enclosed.
"In addition to this we would say, that we had commenced making arrangements to remove from this county previous to the recent disturbances; that we now have four companies organized of one hundred families each, and six more companies now organizing of the same number each, preparatory to removal. That one thousand families, including the Twelve, the High Council, the Trustees and general authorities of the Church, are fully determined to remove in the spring, independent of the contingency of selling our property, -- and that this company will comprise from five to six thousand souls.
"That the Church, as a body, desires to remove
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with us, and will, if sales can be effected, so as to raise the necessary means.
"That the organization of the Church we represent is such, that there never can exist but one head or Presidency at any one time, and all good members wish to be with the organization; and all are determined to remove to some distant point where we shall neither infringe or be infringed upon, so soon as time and means will permit.
"That we have some hundreds of farms and some two thousand or more houses for sale in this city and county, and we request all good citizens to assist in the disposal of our property.
"That we do not expect to find purchasers for our Temple and other public buildings; but we are willing to rent them to a respectable community who may inhabit the city.
"That we wish it distinctly understood, that, although we may not find purchasers for our property, we will not sacrifice or give it away, or suffer it illegally to be wrested from us.
"That we do not intend to sow any wheat this fall, and should we all sell we shall not put in any more crops of any description.
"That as soon as practicable we will appoint committees for this city, La Harpe, Macedonia, Bear Creek, and all necessary places in the county, to give information to purchasers.
"That if these testimonies are not sufficient to satisfy any people that we are in earnest, we will soon give them a sign that cannot be mistaken -- we will leave them!
"In behalf of the Council,
"Respectfully yours, etc.,
"WILLARD RICHARDS, Clerk."
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The communication to the Quincy Committee was of similar import, but referred particularly and in eloquent terms to their sufferings and grievances, here and elsewhere, and begged to be let alone.
THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
IN accordance with the pledge given to General Hardin and his associates by Brigham Young on behalf of the church, active preparations were made in Nauvoo during the winter to remove in the spring. Those residing in the country made sales of property as fast as they could, and retired to the city in order to join the expeditions. Large numbers of wagons and teams were obtained by exchange for other property; many vehicles were manufactured in the city, and horses and oxen were in great demand. Although it had been announced through their correspondence that property would not be sacrificed, there can be no doubt but many distressing sacrifices were made --especially of such property as could not be rendered available for the purposes of the expedition.
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During all this period, it does not appear that any "Land of Promise" had been decided on to which they were to wend their way; the main purpose being to get to some uninhabited region, where they could "neither infringe or be infringed upon." The nearest, the easiest, the quickest may to do that, in the judgment of Young and the leaders, was to cross the Mississippi into the territory of Iowa, and follow the setting sun. This seemed to be the plan that would most certainly keep their followers together, and hold them in complete subjection to their leader's will. And the rank and file set out on the journey with the heroism of martyrs -- not knowing whither, or the trials they were to undergo; believing only that in so doing they mere obeying the commands of the Most High.
As early as February 10th, the weather having been favorable, it was stated that as many as one thousand persons, including most of the Twelve, and many of the other dignitaries of the church, had crossed into Iowa, and were on their way westward. As spring advanced, they were still leaving in large numbers; though the advance had not reached beyond Keosauqua, on the Des Moines river, some sixty miles away; from which point they kept up a constant intercourse with the city. The adherents of Rigdon, Strang, and Patriarch
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William Smith remained behind, agreeing in their denunciations of the Twelve, and in censure of the western movement. In April, 1846, Major Warren had orders from Governor Ford to disband, and withdraw his force on the first of May. He and his faithful volunteers had their headquarters at Carthage all winter, and had performed many arduous and delicate duties in preservation of the peace, arresting offenders, and executing writs. Their aid had been invoked on all sides, in all parts of the county; and they had been employed on numerous occasions in Nauvoo in the execution of process. They had been braved and threatened and insulted, even to violent resistance in that city; but they on all occasions exhibited a prudence, firmness, and judgment which entitled them to the regard of all good citizens. The contemplated withdrawal of the guard, together with indications at Nauvoo, gave general uneasiness to the people. It began to be feared that many of the Mormons were not intending to leave; but to quietly remain, in the hope and expectation that in time all danger would be over. Public meetings began to be held in Hancock and other counties, at which these apprehensions were expressed and reference made to the action of the nine counties in October. These demonstrations brought a letter of inquiry from Mr. Babbitt, the
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Mormon agent, to Governor Ford. In his reply the Governor denied that either he or the State had been a party to the compact that the Mormons should leave in the spring. Yet he also plainly intimated that they were bound to go, and that he would be powerless to prevent their expulsion. "I tell you plainly," said his excellency, "that the people of Illinois will not fight for the Mormons."
On the day following Major Warren's disbandment of his force at Carthage, he received an order from the Governor to retain them in service until further orders. They were again mustered in and remained on duty, making their headquarters chiefly at the Mansion House in Nauvoo. On May 14th, the Major sent a dispatch to the Warsaw Signal, stating that the Mormons were leaving with all possible speed; that the ferry was crossing as fast as possible; that on an estimate, four hundred and fifty teams and thirteen hundred and fifty souls had gone within the week; that new settlers were taking their places, etc. Information was also received, he said, from La Harpe, Macedonia, and other points, that they were fast leaving those points. On the 22d he reported:
"The Mormons still continue to leave the city in large numbers. The ferry at this place averages about fifty-two teams per day, and at Fort Madison
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forty-five. Thus it will be seen that five hundred and thirty-nine teams have left during the week, which average about three persons to each, making in all one thousand six hundred and seventeen souls."
A week later the reported estimate was about eight hundred teams.
After the Twelve and principal leaders had left, and were encamped in the vicinity of Keosauqua, O. P. Rockwell was employed by them as messenger between the camp and the city, in which capacity he became very violent and abusive in his conduct; so much so, that they began to fear he would bring trouble upon them. On May 1st, a writ was issued for his arrest, on the affidavit of a Dr. Watson, charging him with the murder of Lieutenant Worrell, the preceding autumn. The writ was placed in the hands of some of Major Warren's men, who arrested him, surrounded by fifteen shooters and other implements of defence. He waived examination, and was sent to Quincy to jail. At the May term of court, a true bill was found against him by the grand jury and he was sent to Galena for trial, having obtained a change of venue from this circuit. He was acquitted.
Warlike demonstrations still continuing, on May 11th Major Warren issued a proclamation, in which he warned the Anti-Mormons to desist, assuring
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them, that in his opinion, the Mormons were making all reasonable efforts to leave the county. Notwithstanding this assurance, a public meeting was held at Carthage, at which the opinion was expressed that large numbers of them designed to remain; and recommending that the citizens of the surrounding counties should forthwith prepare to put in force the resolutions of October last. Accordingly, a considerable force was assembled at Carthage and thence marched to Golden's Point, where they held a conference with a deputation of the new citizens of Nauvoo, who had been invited to meet them there. The latter objecting to their entrance into the city, and the force being weak and poorly officered and drilled, it was decided to retire again to Carthage, where it was soon afterwards disbanded.
The peace was of short duration. About the 10th of July, some difficulties occurred in the north part of the county, east of the city; arrests were made on one side and then on the other, until some ten or fifteen of the old citizens were held in custody in the city, and a number of Mormons (among whom was Brigham Young) held in durance outside as hostages. Such was the condition for over a week. For fear of an attack and rescue, the hostages were kept closely hidden, and were several times removed from place to place under cover of
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night, but subjected to no personal violence. At length a writ of habeas corpus was obtained in Adams County, served on the officers at Nauvoo, and they and their prisoners taken to Quincy, where the prisoners were released on bail. The Mormon hostages were then set at liberty.
The new citizens at Nauvoo were generally an orderly and well-disposed people, but they had among them a few ruffianly and turbulent spirits, who, by their prominence and intemperate conduct, contributed to the disorder. Of these were three men, Dr. Pickett and Messrs. Clifford and Furness, who had arrested and detained the prisoners above mentioned. During the first week in August, these three were charged with false imprisonment and robbery, and writs issued for their arrest by John Banks, Esq., of Rocky Run township. The writs were placed in the hands of John Carlin, of Carthage, a deputy sheriff. On the 7th, he went to Nauvoo, and arrested Clifford and Furness, but was resisted and defied by Pickett. On the 17th, he issued a proclamation calling on the posse comitatus to assemble at the county seat on Monday, the 24th, to aid in Pickett's arrest. A meeting had been held in Nauvoo on the 12th, at which it had been resolved that Carlin's writ should not be executed; it also took measures to organize for military resistance.
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On the 21st, Governor Ford, at Springfield, sent an order to Major James R. Parker, of the 32d regiment of Illinois militia, saying:
"SIR: I have received information that another effort is to be made on Monday next, to drive out the inhabitants of Nauvoo, new and old, and to destroy the city."
And Major Parker was authorized to call out and take command of such persons as would volunteer, "free of cost to the State," to repel any attack and defend the city. He was also authorized to assist any peace officer in making arrests. This order of the Governor placed Parker and Carlin in direct antagonism. Carlin's proclamation was dated on the 11th; on the 25th, Parker, having appeared in the county with a small force, issued a counter-proclamation, calling on all bodies of armed men in the county to disperse, and stating that he held himself in readiness "to aid any officer in any part of the county in executing any lawful writs in his hands." Carlin replied by letter, that he was a legally constituted officer with writs in his hands to execute -- that he had been resisted, and had called out the posse to aid him -- that he did not acknowledge the authority of the military to interfere -- that a large force was collecting, and he should proceed. To this Parker rejoined that he was sent by the Governor of the State -- that the force under Carlin was a mob, whose aim was to
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set the Mormons over the river, and he must so treat them. This brought still another from Carlin, who simply reiterated his former statements. Thereupon the gallant Major fell back on proclamations. On the 28th he issued a third, and on the 3d of September a fourth, warning "the mob" to desist.
During this war of proclamations, a force in aid of Carlin was concentrating at Carthage, of men from Hancock and several adjoining counties. This force, numbering from six hundred to eight hundred men, was placed under command of Colonel James W. Singleton, of Brown County, and consisted of two regiments -- Colonel Thomas Brockman, of Brown, in command of the first, and the second commanded by Colonel Thomas Geddes, of Hancock. It was encamped five miles northwest of Carthage, on the Nauvoo road. Here secret negotiations began for a compromise, between the commander and the Mormons, and were concluded; but, on being submitted to his command, were unanimously rejected by his officers and men, amid much excitement. The conditions of this agreement were, in short -- That the Mormon population of Nauvoo shall all leave within sixty days; that a force of twenty-five men shall be left as a guard, the expense to be equally borne by both parties; that an attorney be selected to take charge of all
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writs; that the Mormons shall deliver up the State arms yet in their possession; and that all hostilities shall at once cease.
At this remote period, it would seem that these conditions were hard enough on the Mormons, and that their antagonists were-unnecessarily severe in rejecting them. The reasons given for their rejection were mainly that no confidence could be placed in the Mormon professions of sincerity about removal, and that no provision was made for the execution of the writs in Carlin's hands. On the rejection of his treaty, Colonel Singleton withdrew from the command. Carlin thereupon appointed Colonel Brockman to the command, who immediately gave orders to advance toward the city, and on the 10th the whole force, numbering about seven hundred men, marched toward Nauvoo, and encamped about three miles from the Temple. Here a committee of Quincy gentlemen, consisting of Hon. John Wood, Major Flood, and Joel Rice, Esq., appeared and proposed a compromise. Terms were named to them, and by them taken to the city; but no answer was received. The posse was then put in motion toward the city, and for two days considerable skirmishing was carried on between the respective picket guards, and some firing of artillery -- of which both forces had a few small pieces. On the 12th, a flag of truce was sent in by
352 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
Colonels Brockman and Carlin, demanding a surrender. It was replied to by Major Benjamin Clifford (Major Parker having left), refusing to comply.
A BATTLE A TREATY -- THE END.
PREPARATIONS to give battle were, therefore immediately made. At this was the omly real military engagement of the war, we deem a report of it in full, as given in the Warsaw Signal of October 13th, worthy of a place in those pages.
THE BATTLE."After the reception of this letter (Cliford's), the army was drawn up in column on a piece of high ground lying between the camp and the city. While in this position, a few shots were fired from a breastwork the Mormons had erected during the night, and the fire was returned from our artillery. So soon as all was ready, the Warsaw Riflemen were divided into two sections, and deployed on the right and left as flankers. Captain Newton's Lima Guards, with Captain Walker's gun, was ordered to take position a quarter of a mile in front of the camp, and employ the attention of the Mormons at their breastwork, -- and from which they kept a constant fire, while the plain body of the army wheeled to the left, passed down across the
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La Harpe road through a cornfield, thence across Mulholland street, thence bore to the right through an orchard, and on to the city. So soon as the army was fairly under way, Captain Newton's company, and the piece of artillery with it, were brought upon the rear. This march was made directly across and in face of the enemy's fire, and within good cannon range, yet not a man was injured.
"Arriving on the verge of the city, the army, all except the artillery and flankers, was halted, while the latter advanced and commenced an attack on the Mormon works, from which they had been firing during the whole time of the march. A hot fire was kept up by the artillery from both sides for fifteen or twenty minutes. During this time, the Mormons did no execution on our ranks, while the balls from our cannon rattled most terrifically through the houses in the city. *
" At length a fire of small arms was heard from some Mormons who had taken position on the extreme left in a cornfield. Immediately, Colonel Smith's regiment was ordered up and drove the assailants before them. The second regiment was in the mean time ordered up to the support of the artillery. By this time the action became general.
"The Mormons were in squads in their houses, and poured in their shots with the greatest rapidity. Our men were also divided off into squads, took shelter where they could best find it, and returned the fire with great energy. The greater part of the first regiment had no better shelter than a cornfield and a worm fence; the second regiment was open ground, having but two or three small houses to
* This picture must have been considerably overdrawn; as it was subsequently ascertained that comparatively few houses had been injured.
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cover the whole body; while our artillery was entirely exposed.
The firing of small arms was continued for half an hour, during which time our men steadily advanced, driving the enemy, in many instances, from their shelter. For a short time their fire was almost entirely silenced; but, unfortunately, at this juncture our cannon balls were exhausted; and our commander, deeming it imprudent to risk a further advance without these necessary instruments, ordered the men to be drawn off. This v. as done in good order, and in slow time the whole force returned to the camp.
In this action we had about five hundred men engaged, and four pieces of artillery; two hundred men and one piece of artillery having been left at the camp for its protection. Our loss in this engagement, as well as the subsequent skirmishes, will be found in the report of the surgeons hereto appended. Most of our men throughout the action displayed remarkable coolness and determination, and, we have no doubt, did great execution. We believe if our cannon balls had held out ten minutes longer, we should have taken the city; but when the action commenced, we had but sixty-one balls. The battle lasted from the time the first feint was made until our men were drawn off -- an hour and a quarter. Probably there is not on record an instance of a longer-continued militia fight. ( ! )
The Mormons stood their ground manfully; but from the little execution done by them, we infer that they were not very cool or deliberate. Their loss is uncertain, as they have taken especial pains to conceal the number of their dead and wounded. They acknowledged but three dead and ten wounded. Among the killed is their master spirit, Captain Anderson, of the fifteen-shooter rifle company. Their force in the fight was from three to four hundred.
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They had all the advantages, having selected their own positions; and we were ordered to take such as we could get. Sometimes our men could get no cover, and the artillery was all the time exposed, while theirs was under cover.
"On Saturday, after the battle, the Anties commenced intrenching their camp, and on Sunday made it secure against the shots of the enemy's cannon, which frequently reached or passed over it. On Sunday, the Anties cut part of the corn from the field, on the left of the La Harpe road, to prevent the Mormons from taking cover in it. While thus engaged, the Mormons fired on the guard which was protecting the corn-cutters. The fire was returned by the guard, and kept up at long distance for two or three hours. In this skirmish one of our men was badly wounded. The loss of the enemy is not known. On Monday, a party of Mormons crept up through the weeds to a piece of high ground, and fired at our camp, wounding three men, none seriously. Their balls were nearly spent when they struck. On Sunday morning, after the battle, a powder plot was dug up on the La Harpe road, which the army was expected to pass. On Wednesday, another ;vas dug up on the same road nearer the city. Several of these plots were discovered near the Temple, and in other parts of the city."
The surgeons of Colonel Brockman's force reported twelve men wounded, as the result of the conflict, among whom was Captain Smith, of the Carthage Greys, in command of the First Regiment. One of the wounded died ten hours after the fight. It is believed that all the rest recovered. Of the
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loss on the other side, no certain account was ever obtained. *
The fighting was over and the war was at an end. On Tuesday morning, the 15th, while Colonel Brockman and his force were still in camp, a deputation from one hundred citizens of Quincy arrived with proposals for mediation. A similar deputation from the same source was sent into Nauvoo to confer with Major Clifford, the commander there. A truce was agreed on, and after a long and voluminous correspondence, a treaty -- a final one -- was concluded, which we can state best in its own words:
"1. THE CITY OF NAUVOO WILL SURRENDER. The force of Colonel Brockman to enter and take possession of the city to-morrow, the 17th of September, at 3 o'clock P. M.
"2. The arms to be delivered to the Quincy Committee, to be returned on the crossing of the river
"3. The Quincy Committee pledge themselves to use their influence for the protection of persons and property from all violence; and the officers of
* The foIlowing are the names of the wounded on the part of the Anti-Mormons, in the battle on Saturday:
Humphreys, of Fountain Green, died twelve hours after the battle.
Thompson, of same place, wounded in arm.
Colonel Smith, of Carthage, in the throat.
Mr. Welch, of MeDonough County, in the leg.
George Weir, of Warsaw, in the neck.
Mr. Kennedy, of Augusta, shoulder.
Mr. Rogers, of Ursa, Adams County.
In the skirmish on Sunday, Mr. Winsor (an attorney of Nauvoo) was wounded badly. In the camp, on Monday, Dr. Geiger, of Nauvoo, Mr. Crooks, of Chili, and Mr. Stimson, of Brown County. Three of the above were merely scratched.
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the camp and the men pledge themselves to protect all persons and property from violence.
"4. The sick and helpless to be protected and treated with humanity.
"5. The Mormon population of the city to leave the State, or disperse, as soon as they can cross the river
"6. Five men, including the Trustees of the Church, and five Clerks, with their families (William Pickett not one of the number) to be permitted to remain in the city for the disposition of property, free from all molestation and personal violence.
"7. Hostilities to cease immediately, and ten men of the Quincy Committee to enter the city in the execution of their duty, as soon as they think proper.
"We, the undersigned, subscribe to, ratify and confirm, the foregoing Articles of Accommodation, Treaty, and Agreement, the day and year first above written.
"Signed by, ALMON W. BABBITT,
JOSEPH L. HEYWOOD,
JOHN S. FULLMER,
Trustees in Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Chairman of Committee of Quincy.
THOMAS S. BROCKMAN,
At this remote period, it is hard to discover the necessity for this expedition and consequent loss of life and property, even on the ground for which it was professedly undertaken. Major Warren had
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repeatedly reported from Nauvoo that the Mormons were leaving in great numbers, and apparently as fast as they were able, and that most of the leaders had gone. That it was for arresting Pickett was probably its original purpose only; but that this purpose was lost sight of before the close, is proven by the fact that no provision was made for his arrest in the treaty, and no mention made of him except to exclude him from remaining in the city. That this should have been so is a curious fact, in view of the sharp correspondence between Major Parker and the officer holding the writ. The best excuse for the raid that can be given, perhaps, is, that it was known that the followers of Rigdon and William Smith were opposing the westward movement, and were suspected of an intention to remain. Some of the adherents of the Twelve may have had a similar purpose, but of this we have no proof.
Soon after the agreement was signed and exchanged, Major Clifford gave orders for the withdrawal of the force under his command. By three o'clock P. M. the next day, the 17th, nearly the whole of the Mormon population had crossed the Mississippi into Iowa. This unexpected haste was, doubtless, due to the fear entertained that if found in the city on the arrival of the foe, they would be subjected to insult and violence.
At three o'clock, Brockman's force was put in
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motion, marched through the city, and encamped near the south end. On Friday the whole force, with the exception of one hundred men, was disbanded and sent home. The new citizens organized a company of one hundred, and the two combined acted as guard to the city.
But the troubles were not yet over. The force left as guard, not satisfied with the withdrawal of the Mormons, dealt pretty roughly with some of the most obnoxious new citizens, even to driving them from the city. These made appeal to the Governor for protection. That functionary sent Major Brayman from Springfield to investigate and report. His representations were such that the Governor again decided to send a force into the county. He recruited about one hundred men, with which he entered the county on the 28th of October and remained till the 14th of November, when he returned to Springfield, leaving part of his posse under command of Major Weber. These forces remained in the county inactive until Governor French, elected to succeed Governor Ford, withdrew them on the 12th of December and addressed a short note to the people of the county, exhorting to peace and quietness.
And now, in looking back upon the eight years during which that infatuated people resided in the State of Illinois, and after more than forty years
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since they took their departure into the wilderness, and men's angry passions have had time to subside, it is easy to see that they were not the only evil-doers; that much wrong was done, not alone by them, but by those who opposed them.
Mormonism has been progressive from the days of its inception. Originating in evil, it has, through the lifetime of its prophet and more daring successor, continued to add evil dogmas to its creed, until it has become a monster in Utah. It has long since ceased to be a mere county or State question. Ever since the death of the prophet, and that later day when his followers set their bleeding feet on the arid plains of Utah, it has become one of national importance, no longer to be dealt with by a "mob" or by " border ruffians," but by the national judgment. Let us pray heaven that the NATION may be successful in bringing it to a just and proper solution !
How rapid and remarkable is the growth of evil! Fifty years ago, among the fertile vales of Western New York, the absurd and ridiculous pretence of a Divine Mission, was made by an ignorant and obscure young man -- made at the outset, with no other view than to gull the credulous. From this silly claim, as a root, has grown this Upas-like tree, spreading its branches far and wide and sending its malarial influence throughout
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the world. Ignorance, Superstition, Fanaticism -- men's evil passions and propensities -- have been the food which has fed it to its present dangerous proportions. What will check or destroy it?
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS.
THEN was Brigham Young's grand opportunity for good. Had he, when forced to leave Nauvoo with his followers, been honest and magnanimous enough to have said to them: "Go your ways, brethren; disperse among the people, wherever you can find homes for your families; lead honest lives; obey the laws. Carry with you all your veneration for the new Gospel and preach it to the world -- God wills it!" -- he would have shown himself worthy to lead. Such was their faith in him that he would have been obeyed. Instead, he chose to have them follow him into an unknown wilderness; poor, sick, and distressed; famished and hungry; through rain and storm and trackless snows; over mountains and sandy desert plains -- all for what? That he and a few chosen associates might lead pampered lives. No higher motive
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governed him. On the part of the many it was a sublime heroism; for the few there is no apology; it was infamy.
In a previous chapter, the beginnings of this unprecedented journey have been recorded. In January, 1846, a council of the chiefs was held in the city, at which it was decided to start out toward the setting sun, but with no objective point fully determined on. Oregon and California were known to exist on the peaceful shores of the broad Pacific; but all that intermediate region included now in the States of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Nevada, and the half-dozen territories beyond, was one vast terra incognita. SOMEWHERE, in this unknown region they would find resting-places -- or graves. Alas! many of them found the latter, scattered far thicker than milestones along the dreary route.
A pioneer band was early sent forward. It was provided with means for opening roads, preparing shelter, and planting crops for those who were to follow. During the summer and fall (1846) the main body, numbering several thousand souls, had reached the Missouri river, across the then territory of Iowa, and almost due west from Nauvoo. A portion of them located on the east side of the river, and the colony there planted was called Kanesville -- now the little city of Council Bluffs. A still larger
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS. 365
body crossed the Missouri and established "winter quarters," and other settlements in the vicinity of what is now the city of Omaha, in the State of Nebraska. Kanesville was named in honor of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, of Philadelphia, a brother to the renowned Arctic explorer; a gentleman who took great interest in behalf of these suffering people. He afterwards delivered lectures in the East on this Mormon exodus, and before the Historical Society of Philadelphia, which -- although some of his facts are much distorted and exaggerated -- in glowing and eloquent terms depicted the sufferings of the fugitives. Portions of it are reproduced here. That lecture ought to be read and studied by every body of people who contemplate the banishment of whole communities, as punishment for the crimes of their leaders. His visit to Nauvoo just after the surrender, is thus described in part:
"...It was a natural impulse to visit this inviting region. I procured a skiff (at Montrose opposite) and rowing across the river, landed at the chief wharf of the city. No one met me there. I looked, and saw no one. I could hear no one move; though the quiet everywhere was such that I heard the flies buzz, and the water-ripples break against the shallow of the beach. I walked through the solitary streets. The town lay as in a dream, under some deadening spell of loneliness, from which I almost feared to wake it; for plainly it had not slept long. There was no grass growing up in the paved ways; the rains had not entirely washed away the prints of dusty footsteps.
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"Yet I went about unchecked. I went into empty workshops, rope-walks and smithies. The spinner's wheel was idle; the carpenter had gone from his work-bench and shavings, his unfinished sash and casings. Fresh bark was in the tanner's vat, and the fresh-chopped light-wood stood piled against the baker's oven. The blacksmith's shop was cold; but his coal-heap and ladling pool, and crooked water-horn, were all there, as if he had just gone off for a holiday. No work-people anywhere looked to know my errand. If I went into the gardens, clinking the wicket-latch loudly after me, to pull the marigolds, heart's-ease and lady-slippers, and draw a drink from the water-sodden well-bucket and its noisy chain; or, knocking off with my stick the tall, heavy-headed dahlias and sunflowers; hunted over the beds for cucumbers or love-apples, -- no one called out to me from an open window, or dog sprang forward to bark an alarm. I could have supposed the people hid in their houses, but the doors were unfastened, and I had to tread tip-toe, as if walking down the aisle of a country church, to avoid rousing irreverent echoes from the naked floors.
"Only two portions of the city seemed to suggest the import of this mysterious solitude. On the southern suburb, the houses looking out upon the country showed by their splintered wood-work and walls battered to the foundation, that they had lately been the mark of a destructive cannonade. And in and around the splendid Temple, which had been the chief object of my admiration, armed men were barracked, surrounded by their stacks of musketry and pieces of heavy ordnance. They challenged me to render an account of myself, and why I had the temerity to cross the water without a written permit from a leader of their band.
"Though these men were generally more or less
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS. 367
under the influence of ardent spirits, after I had explained myself as a passing stranger, they seemed anxious to gain my good opinion. They told the story of the Dead City; that it had been a notable manufacturing and commercial mart, sheltering over 20,000 persons; * that they had waged war with its inhabitants for several years, and had been finally successful only a few days before my visit, in an action fought in front of the ruined suburb; after which they had driven them forth at the point of the sword, etc.
"They permitted me also to ascend into the steeple (of the Temple) to see where it had been lightning-struck on the Sabbath before, and to look out east and south on wasted farms, like those I had seen near the city, extending till they were lost in the distance. Here, in the face of the pure day, close to the scar of the Divine wrath left by the thunderbolt, were fragments of food, cruses of liquor, and broken drinking vessels, with a brass drum and a steamboat signal bell, of which I afterwards learned the use with pain.
"It was after night-fall when I was ready to cross the river on my return. The wind had freshened since the sunset, and the water beating roughly into my little boat, I hedged higher up the stream than the point I had left in the morning, and landed where a faint glimmering light invited me to steer.
"Here among the dock and rushes, sheltered only by the darkness, without roof between them and the sky, I came upon a crowd of several hundred
* If they told him this they greatly exaggerated. The city of Nauvoo never contained a resident population of much over half that number.
A fact, the Temple was struck by lightning in a storm on a Sunday while in possession of the rioters; but little damage done.
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human creatures, whom my movements moved from uneasy slumber upon the ground.
"Passing these on my way to the light, I found it came from a tallow candle in a paper funnel shade, such as is used by street venders of apples and pea-nuts, and which, flaming and guttering away in the bleak air off the water, shone flickeringly on the emaciated features of a man in the last stages of a bilious remittent fever. They had done their best for him. Over his head was something like a tent, made of a sheet or two, and he rested on a but partially ripped open old straw mattress, with a hair sofa-cushion for a pillow. His gaping jaw and glazing eye told how short a time he would monopolize these luxuries; though a seemingly bewildered and excited person, who might have been his wife, seemed to find hope in occasionally forcing him to swallow awkwardly sips of the tepid river water, from a burned and battered bitter-smelling tin coffee-pot. Those who knew better, had furnished the apothecary he needed -- a toothless old bald head, whose manner had the repulsive dullness of a man familiar with death scenes. He, so long as I remained, mumbled in his patient's ear a monotonous and melancholy prayer, between the pauses of which I heard the hiccup, and the sobbing of two little girls who were sitting upon a piece of drift-wood outside.
"Dreadful, indeed, was the suffering of these forsaken beings; bowed and cramped by cold and sunburn, as each dreary day and night dragged on, they were, almost all of them, the crippled victims of disease. They were there because they had no homes, nor hospital, nor poor-house to offer them any. They could not satisfy the cravings of their sick; they had not bread to quiet the fractious hunger-cries of their children. Mothers and babes, daughters and grand-parents alike, were bivouacked
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS. 369
in tatters, wanting even covering to comfort those whom the sick shiver of fever was searching to the marrow.
"These were Mormons in Lee County, Iowa, in the fourth week of the month of September, in the year of Our Lord, 1846. The city -- it was Nauvoo, Illinois. The Mormons were the owners of that city, and the smiling country around. And those who had stopped their plows; who had silenced their hammers, their axes, their shuttles, and their work-shop wheels; those who had put out their fires, who had eaten their food, spoiled their orchards, and trampled under foot their thousands of acres of unharvested bread, -- these were the keepers of their dwellings, the carousers in their Temple, and whose drunken riot insulted the ears of their dying.
"...They were, all told, not more than six hundred and forty persons who were thus lying on the river flats. But the Mormons in Nauvoo and its dependencies had been numbered the year before at over twenty thousand. Where were they? They had last been seen, carrying in mournful train, their sick and wounded, halt and blind, to disappear behind the western horizon, pursuing the phantom of another home."
Another account of the appearance of the city, is thus given by a correspondent of the Missouri Republican:
A WEEK IN NAUVOO -- VIEW FROM THE TEMPLE -- DESOLATE
"Since my last letter I have spent a week in Nauvoo, and can attest the truth of the remarks of
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another of your correspondents, in regard to the desolate appearance of the city.
"I arrived there on Monday evening of last week. On Tuesday morning I took a stroll through a portion of the now deserted streets, and for miles, I may safely say, I passed nothing but tenantless houses; some of them closed and barred, and others with doors wide open, as if left in haste. All along the city, for miles, wherever I went, might be seen on the doors, or on the walls, some notice that the tenement was for sale, or for rent. Every thing indicates that Mormonism is for ever extinct in Illinois. As a people they are completely subdued. Not one, in my opinion, will ever try to regain a foothold in Hancock. They are selling their little property at very low rates, indeed, almost giving it away -- for the sake of raising means to take them away. Horses, cows, oxen, and wagons, are in great demand. Many design to join the expedition, which has gone in advance, to the wilderness of the Far West, while many others have already left for points up and down the river.
"There are many instances of individual distress and suffering, and how could it be otherwise in a case like this? Many, doubtless, have left the city with nothing to live upon a day in advance. Many have crossed the river, who were entirely destitute of the means of sustaining their families before, and who now have added to their former miseries the want of a house to live in, or a roof to shelter them from the 'peltings of the pitiless storm.' Many have nothing left them in the wide world but the little hut which they tenanted in the city, and the small patch of ground upon which it stands, and for which, probably, they will not he able to realize the sum of twenty dollars. I was present myself at the sale of two lots of ground, with a log house and a few fruit trees on each, for one of which the
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS. 371
purchaser paid a horse, and for the other a cow, and the holders seemed glad to get away with so much. Low as this, doubtless, seemed to them, who had probably paid $200 or $300 each; yet the purchaser had better kept his horse and cow. If all the lots in Nauvoo could be bought at the same rate, I would consider them dearly paid for.
"During my stay I took several occasions to look at the city and surrounding country from the top of the Temple. It is, indeed, a grand and imposing scene, and presents the most magnificent view to be found any where on the banks of the Mississippi. There is but one point on the river that exceeds it in beauty, in my opinion, and that is Rock Island. Ten years .ago, when all that part of the city which lies east of the Temple was covered with forest trees, and little patches of oak and other timber dotted the flat part of the city nearest the river bank, and the little town of Commerce, with its five or six houses huddled together on the bank, it presented a very different aspect from what it does at present. Then it presented nature in all her loveliness: the placid and broad current of the Mississippi, its islands and sand bars -- the far-reaching prairies of Iowa -- the bold bluff which runs in semi-circular form around the town of Montrose (then Fort Des Moines), with here and there a wreath of ascending smoke, to tell the habitation of some settler -- that is the picture it presented ten or twelve years ago. But now how changed is the scene! What a mutation it has undergone! And yet, it is now a thousand times more desolate. The only thing I noticed which had undergone no change since I was familiar with it in 1836 and '7, was Cutler's Grave. It was enclosed with a stone wall, and stood about half a mile from the river near the road which descended the hill from where the Temple now stands -- and there it is yet, standing in the
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midst of all this desolation, looking the same as it did ere the hand of man had wrought all this change around it. George Y. Cutler was one of the earliest settlers in Hancock County, and one of its first county commissioners -- dying, he was buried at this spot.
"I took occasion to ascertain as near as possible the number of houses in the city. From my position on the Temple, I could count a large portion of the city; and from actual count, and estimate based upon count, I think there are at least two thousand houses in the city proper, and in the suburbs five hundred more -- making in all two thousand five hundred houses. About one-half of these are mere shanties, built some of logs, some of poles plastered over, and some framed. Of the remaining portion -- say twelve hundred houses -- all are tolerably fit residences, and one-half are good brick or frame houses. There are probably five hundred brick houses in the city, most of which are good buildings, and some are elegant and handsomely finished residences, such as would adorn any city.
"Of these two thousand five hundred houses, I think about one-twelfth are tenanted -- some by Mormons who have not yet got away, the remainder by Anti-Mormons, new or old settlers, who have been permitted to stay.
"Col. Geddes, of Fountain Green, in this county, was left in command of a small force, when the army was disbanded, and has been in command during the past week. He has now returned to his home, leaving twenty or thirty men at the Temple, under command of Major McAuley and Mr. Brattle. A small force will probably remain in the city as long as the Mormons remain on the other side of the river.
"No event of importance has transpired during
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the week. A certain Dr. Oliver Dresser, who hails from Maine, and who was somewhat conspicuous in the late difficulties, as a friend and companion of Pickett's, ventured over on Wednesday from the other side. He was taken into custody and kept in the Temple till morning, and then marched to the river in double quick time, between two files of men, while he took passage for Iowa. A few other scenes of similar character, to some of which the ceremony of dipping was added, is all that occurred during the week, of an exciting character.
"Several cases of deep distress, mostly lone widows and orphans, came to my knowledge during my stay. In all of these aid was freely given. One of these cases is a peculiar one. During the preparations previous to the fight, one of the horsemen of the city, while riding through the street, was thrown from his horse, and his gun discharged, the ball from which entered the body of a Mrs. Haywood, who was in the door at the time. The lady was badly wounded, but not killed; and was unable to be removed from the city, at the time the posse entered.
"Her husband being a rabid Mormon, ran over the river, leaving her and a young child on this side, where she fell under the notice of the Anti-Mormons. Provision was immediately made for her support -- medical aid procured, and every care and attention bestowed which was in the power of the commander or his men. She is now doing well, and will, in a few days, be removed to some place in the interior until she will be able to go to her friends in Vermont -- as she has decided not to follow her husband into the wilderness. What renders her case more pitiable is, that he has possession of her three children, all under ten years old, and is making use of them to induce her to
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alter her determination. She never was a Mormons but in that confidence which woman only repose, in the object of her regard, she followed him to Nauvoo. Since that time, her confidence has been shaken, and she has now determined never to cross the Mississippi, to swell the tide of war which Mormonism is destined to carry in its train. This accident, which she doubtless regarded as a most unfortunate one, I regard as one of the most fortunate circumstances of her life. It has been the means of separating an interesting woman from a brutal and fanatical husband who would else have dragged her into the far wilderness to suffer unutterable woes.
The enormity and folly of that last raid upon Nauvoo, and the unnecessary severity employed in the treatment of the fugitives, has never been fully estimated by those engaged in or who sanctioned it. Heaven grant that henceforth and forever, no county, or nine counties, or State, may adopt this method of dealing with its offenders!
The war against Mexico was about to begin. Our government proposed to make the conquest of California, then a Mexican province. While encamped near the Missouri river, an agent of the government appeared at headquarters, with orders to enlist, if possible, a battalion of Mormon volunteers for one year, to be employed in the service against California. They were accordingly enlisted,
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armed, and equipped, and performed valuable service in that memorable campaign; and at the end of their enlisted time, were honorably discharged on the Pacific Coast. Large installments of pay were made in advance, which materially aided not only the battalion, but their families on the journey. This enlistment of so many of their able-bodied men, of course increased the hardships and dangers to be encountered by those left behind. Although the purpose was one of pure sympathy on the part of the administration, intended to aid the refugees in reaching the other side of the continent -- and was so understood and accepted by the Mormons themselves -- yet, in later years, Brigham Young has made it the occasion of great complaint, and by his misrepresentations created much of the disloyal feeling existing in Utah against the government of the United States.
In January, 1847, Brigham Young, in the wilderness, issued a command to his followers, which he claimed to be a revelation from the Lord. It had reference mainly to the "ways and means" to be employed in organizing companies, providing teams and supplies, and preparing the way for the perilous expedition across the plains.
The 6th of April, the day for the annual conference, found most of the leaders at "Winter Quarters
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Soon after the conference, Brigham started west at the head of a picked company; and after a journey of three months and a half, on July 24th, came in sight of the Great Basin in which Salt Lake is situated. Its beauty, its grandeur, and its apparent fertility and advantages, and more than a]l, its isolation from the rest of the world, decided him at once to make this the resting-place of his Saints; to build in this valley, so invitingly spread out before them, a new Zion, a thousand miles away from civilization, where the heavy hand of oppression could not reach them.
They descended into the valley; encampments were made, the city located, the soil upturned, and seed sown, and active preparation made for planting a colony early the next season. This done, the most of them returned to the Missouri river, where their families and other large numbers had been left, which they reached about the 1st of November.
In the spring of 1848, a vital change was effected in the organization of the church. It will be remembered that after the death of the prophet, and during the struggle for the succession at Nauvoo, in order to circumvent Rigdon and Patriarch William Smith, it was decided that the office of President of the Church should be abolished, and that henceforward the Twelve should be the supreme authority.
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS. 377
Young now aimed to usurp the whole power. He had, by his superior ability and energy, led them thus far into the desert in safety; he had also led a pioneer band over the mountains, and shown them the beautiful Land of Promise they were about to occupy; and he aspired to undivided authority. He cautiously felt his way among his associates of the quorum, and one by one gained them over. A majority of the Twelve gained, the people voted freely for the change; and there in the wilderness of Nebraska, the order of government so solemnly established in the Temple at Nauvoo three years before, was reversed, and Brigham invested with the supreme power, in name as in fact. Here, too, the work of proselyting was renewed; missionaries ordered to Europe, and instructions given them to collect as much of "tithing" and other material aid as possible, for the erection of a new Temple in the Great Salt Lake valley. And, as on former occasions, such was the enthusiasm among his poor, suffering, and shelterless followers, that all wanted to go to the New Jerusalem that was being prepared for them. All were willing to undertake the journey to that Promised Land, which so many of them were doomed to never reach; to pursue a phantom which was leading them down into the Valley of
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the Shadow of Death, instead of the Zion of their hopes.
By the end of the season, four or five thousand souls had entered the valley, and had industriously set at work to make themselves homes.
When first occupied, the Salt Lake valley, as well as all the contiguous territory, belonged still to Mexico nominally; but at the treaty of peace which soon followed, was ceded to the United States. Brigham Young aimed at independent empire; and as the United States' authority was now to be extended over it, his next and best step toward independence he conceived to be the organization of a STATE. So a convention was held on March 5, 1849, and the Constitution of the State of Deseret formed. It declared that "We, the people, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on him for a continuation of those blessings, do ordain and establish a free and independent Government by the name of the STATE OF DESERET," etc., etc. Subsequently, Brigham Young was elected Governor of the State. Though this constitution was rejected by Congress, and the Territorial Government of Utah established, with Young for its Governor, -- this "State of Deseret " is to this day the great desideratum with the leaders in Salt Lake valley. They anxiously await the day
EXODUS, DESERT, AND WILDERNESS. 379
when it can be re-established. That day should never be permitted to come to them, until it can bring another "Wilmot Proviso" against the "twin relic of barbarism" harbored there.
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THE Latter-Day Saints have ever been most industrious temple-builders. Early in his career, the prophet imbibed the notion that a glorious Zion and a magnificent temple were necessary adjuncts to the system he was planning; necessary as aids in making proselytes, and as means for extracting money from his followers. In this his judgment was good. It is very doubtful, whether without these raids, he could have succeeded in gathering around him half the fanaticism, or half the zeal and enthusiasm that he did, in the fourteen years of his imposture.
With only a handful of followers, numbering a few hundreds, the first temple at Kirtland was begun. It was the work of several years; but was pushed forward as fast as the tenthly tithings of members would permit. It was said to have cost fifty thousand dollars, but was never entirely finished. In March, 1836, it was sufficiently advanced
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to admit of dedication, which was performed under imposing ceremonies, and with many extravagant demonstrations of fanaticism. It was eighty feet in length and sixty wide, and about fifty in height to the eaves -- giving two stories of twenty-two feet each, and an attic story under the roof, for school purposes -- with a steeple and dome one hundred and ten feet high.
But before its completion, the idea of a new Zion and a grander temple on the rich plains of Missouri was entertained. Just how many were severally planned there, is not now remembered. The corner-stones of one or two were laid; but no one, it is believed, ever grew beyond its foundations on the border land.
The Nauvoo plan was on a greater and more magnificent scale than that of Kirtland. The "Kings of the earth" were commanded to contribute of their gold and silver and precious jewels to its aid; and though no king is known to have contributed to its treasury, it is certain that many of the subjects of a young Queen (Victoria), did cast in their pounds, shillings, and pence, and bestow the labor of their lusty right arms, toward its erection.
The corner-stones of this temple were laid on April 6, 1841, five years after the dedication at Kirtland. Although designed for a religious ceremonial,
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the military took precedence in the work. Lieutenant-General Smith, Major-General Bennett, Brigadier-Generals Law and Hyrum Smith, and all the other generals and aides-de-camp and commanders, in their gorgeous uniforms, were out in full style. Sidney Rigdon delivered the oration; after which President Smith laid the chief cornerstone, the south-east; President Don C. Smith laid the south-west; the High Council laid the north-west, and the Bishops laid the north-east, with due solemnities.
At the date of the prophet's death, the Temple was well under way, but it was never finished. * At the departure of the Saints in 1846, it stood an imposing sight from the river and the opposite shore. All around its base were spread and piled the debris of stone and rubbish, left of materials used in its construction.
* Joseph Smith, the younger, says that the Temple was never finished, notwithstanding Young's declaration that "through the blessing of God, it was completed and accepted by Him." He says: "This statement is not true." And after enumerating numerous instances of incompleteness, he adds: "If the statements of various persons can be relied on, there can be but little doubt that, in one respect, there was a completion, and that respect is the desecration and defilement of the Temple, by the holding of such revels and orgies therein, as were not even thought of by the 'money-changers,' who made the House of God at Jerusalem a 'den of thieves,' and against which the righteous indignation of Jesus was so signally directed."
Similar charges of "revels" and "orgies" and "desecrations," he should remember, were made at the time of the "consecration" of the Temple at Kirtland, where the prophet himself was a chief actor.
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Inside, in the basement, stood the twelve demure looking Stone Oxen, supporting the ponderous baptismal font; while from the belfry, one hundred and fifty feet above, was to be observed a magnificent panorama of miles in extent, embracing the sweeping crescent of the river, the islands, the bluffs, and the stretch of prairie beyond. Thus it stood for two years in its utter desolation.
The Nauvoo Temple was large, but not so immense as has been represented. It was one hundred and twenty feet long by eighty in width, and about sixty feet high, surmounted by an imposing cupola and dome one hundred and fifty feet from the ground. It was built of a beautiful gray limestone, quarried from the river bluff just below the city. It was said to have cost a million and a quarter of dollars -- doubtless an exaggeration. At the least, it was an alarming amount for a poor community to invest in one house of worship. And to that purpose it was ill-adapted. So, on leaving the city, its owners found it to be a very heavy weight on their hands. It was not suited for a church for any other denomination; it was not convenient for a manufactory; and it was not well adapted to educational purposes. It was offered for sale; and the low price put upon it of two hundred thousand dollars. Negotiations on the part of several parties were talked of; and, it is believed, that had it not been
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destroyed by a vandal hand, it would in a short time have passed into possession of some educational enterprise.
On the morning of October 10, 1848, at about two o'clock, a fire was discovered in the highest section of the cupola. The alarm was given, and a large concourse of citizens gathered; but all effort to save the building was unavailing. "In an incredibly short period the lofty spire was enveloped in flames, shooting upward to a most astonishing height, and illuminating a wide expanse of country," says an eye-witness. In two hours, only the blackened and smoking walls remained of the building on which so much toil and effort had been expended, and so many hopes and aspirations centered. A monument of folly and fanaticism and wickedness while it stood, its destruction was no less a work of infamous vandalism.
The perpetrator of the deed is unknown. By the Mormons, and perhaps by the public generally, the deed has been attributed to the Anti-Mormon party of the county. Without being able to say that some individual among them may not have been the guilty one, the writer knows that the act was generally condemned by them, in common with all other citizens. There was another theory advanced to account for its destruction, which is not without some reason. There was at that time
RUINS OF THE TEMPLE AT NAUVOO.
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much dissension among the brotherhood; two or three parties existed, all claiming to be the true church and the others as heretics, and they hated each other. Besides, they had all contributed of their toil and means for its erection; and it was natural that those remaining in the States should object that the proceeds of its sale should go to the benefit of Brigham in the wilderness. Hence, it has been surmised that some reckless and overzealous member of one of these branches, may have committed the act. But whoever it may have been, the Gentiles of the county have had to bear the blame.
The largest part of the walls stood for a year or two, when the Icarian community, under M. Etienne Cabet, located in the city, purchased it, and with the materials built a school house and several other buildings for their purposes. After that community was dissolved a few years later, some of these structures were pulled down and scattered; and now relic hunters can show fragments of the Nauvoo Temple in many States, and a thousand miles away.
The grand Temple, under process of erection at Salt Lake, has been so often described of late, as to require only more mention in this connection.
The Reconstructed Branch of the sect, under the leadership of the younger Smith, does not seem to be
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imbued with this mania for temple-building. For all the years their headquarters were at Plano, Illinois, we are not aware that they made any attempt to build a temple; though it seems that they have sought and obtained title to the original one at Kirtland. They worship as other sects do, in plain meeting-houses, wherever the membership is strong enough to build them. What the course may be in their new location at Lamoni, Iowa, remains to be seen. They parade with great satisfaction the findings of the court of common pleas of Lake County, Ohio, as below, establishing their claim to be the true church and lineal descendant of that originated by the prophet. We quote from the Herald at Lamoni:
"In Court of Common Pleas, Lake County, Ohio, Februaly 23,1880, present Hon. L. S. Sherman, Judge.
"The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Plaintiff.
"Lucien Williams, Joseph Smith, Sarah E. Videon, Mark H. Forscutt, The Church in Utah, of which John Taylor is President, and commonly known as the Mormon Church, and John Taylor, President of said Utah Church, defendants.
"That the said Plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is a religious society, founded and organized upon the same doctrines and tenets, and having the same Church organization, as the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, organized in 1830, by Joseph
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Smith, and was organized pursuant to the Constitution, laws and usages of said original Church, and has branches located in Illinois, Ohio and other States.
"That the Church in Utah, the defendant, of which John Taylor is Presiclent, has materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, laws, ordinances and usages, of said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and has incorporated into its system of faith the doctrines of celestial marriage and a plurality of wives, and the doctrine of Adam-God worship, contrary to the laws and constitution of said original Church. And the court do further find that the Plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the true and lawful continuation of and sucoessor to the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, organized in 1830, and is entitled by law to all its rights and property."
Whether the "Church in Utah, of which John Taylor is president," defended the suit, does not appear; but it is clear that, aecording to the tenets and laws and usages, as laid down in the books accepted by both plaintiff and defendant, the findings of the court were just.
And so Joseph the younger has been authoritatively pronounced to be the legal successor of Joseph the elder, as President of the Mormon Church; and the claims of Brigham Young, Sidney Rigdon, Strang, the Patriarch Bill, and all the rest, denied. This gives him, and his Reconstructed Branch, a pre-eminence not to be disputed.
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When Brigham Young withdrew with the main portion of the broken sect, on their perilous journey into the wilderness, he left behind, scattered in various directions, a number of once principal leaders with a considerable following. The Laws, the Fosters, the Higbees, owners and managers of the destroyed press, had gone off never to return; General Bennett had been beaten in his quarrel with the prophet, but still had a hankering after the flesh-pots; Rigdon had been ignominiously cut off from the church; "Brother William," the Patriarch, with Marks, Robinson, and many others, had chosen to go the way not taken by Brigham and the Twelve. James J. Strang had already set up a "stake" at Voree, in Wisconsin, and there a number of these after a time joined him. Even Bennett, Rigdon, the Patriarch William, and strong-lunged John E. Page, after various wanderings,
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essayed to gather the remnants around the Zion at Voree. But Strang's revelations proved unprofitable, and his venture failed. Bennett left for greener pastures, and Rigdon repaired to Pennsylvania, his boyhood home, and died.
What was the true origin of the "Reconstructed Branch," it is hard now to tell; but it seems to have grown out of this Strang movement.
At the time of the exodus to Salt Lake, there were left behind and still residents of Nauvoo, the widow and family of the dead Prophet. These resisted all the importunities of Brigham and his followers to go with them. The son Joseph (the third of the name), was then a boy; and we have the best authority for the statement that neither he nor his mother believed in the Divine Mission of the father and husband, or that his death was a martyrdom to religious faith; and at that time considered themselves as standing entirely aloof from the sect. Great efforts were made by the chiefs, on their departure, to obtain the co-operation of the widow and son; hoping thereby, to secure a larger following of the people. The mother is stated to have kept a watchful eye upon the boy, fearing that he might yield to the seductive offers that were made him. But he, too, hated and despised them: and after they had become settled in the Salt Lake
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valley, and he was again apprehended, She absolutely refused to yield to their tempting offers.
But influences were at work on the other side. Strang was issuing a little organ at Voree, called Zion's Reveille, edited by John Greenhow, who had figured at Nauvoo. In this organ, as early as 1847, we find the following:
Just what his age was at the time of this appointment we are not advised, nor whether he duly accepted. But it seems that so late as 1886, at an annual conference, the work was completed, and the "Reorganized Church of Latter-Day Saints" put in running order, with Joseph Smith, the third, at its head.
In a newspaper of that date, we find an address made by the new prophet and president, the reading
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of which will show that, like his father, he "claimed to be 'Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,' stating, however, that he had his "own peculiar notion in regard to revelation," but did not state what that notion was. He seemed to be impressed with the belief that his claim to the position would not be rejected, and that the "great name" of Joseph Smith carried with it some moral force.
The headquarters of the "Reconstructed" Church were established at Plano, Illinois, the printing press set at work, and the business of proselyting vigorously prosecuted. Since, churches have been established in many places, and converts made -- among them people of character and worth; and the sect may be regarded as one of the well-ordered and established sects of the country. Its origin, as preceding chapters have amply shown, was a most absurd and wicked fraud and delusion.
That these people, under our free system of government, have a right to organize a sect, and build a system of religious faith upon the Book of Mormon, or the equally veritable story of Baron Munchausen, or any other, nobody will deny, whatever one may think of the character of the enterprise. Perhaps some of the previously existing sects have had equally absurd foundations; hence, as long as they conduct themselves in an orderly and decent manner and obey the laws, they will be equally
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entitled with all other citizens, to the law's protection.
While building upon the same foundation with their brethren in Utah, and accepting the silly story that brought them both into existence as organizations, they very properly reject the monstrous doctrines inculcated there -- doctrines which have made that territory a foul blot upon the nation's fame. Yet, strange to say -- and it is a conspicuous example of human weakness and inconsistency -- while denouncing the doctrines, they revere and hold as a martyr him who first declared and inculcated them. Prom this position there is no escape, a position they must forever face.
To say that a large portion of these people, now and in the past, in the States, and in Utah, are not sincere believers in what they profess, would, doubtless, be untrue and extremely uncharitable; yet how any of the leaders -- from the first "Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," down to the latest in Utah, and the more modest "President" of the Reconstructed -- can be honest, is past comprehension, a conundrum which all inquirers will be compelled to "give up."
The difference in creed and practice, between these two branches of the sect, is mainly in the matter of polygamy, and the Blood Atonement.
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Here in the States, among the members of the new church, we hear little of polygamy, except in denunciation; nor do we hear any more of Danite Bands to keep apostasy in check.
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THESE two most foul and dangerous doctrines of the Mormon scheme are, at the present, eliciting much thought and inquiry, and attracting attention among our legislators. Were they introduced by the Prophet Smith, and inculcated by him end his followers, or have they been engrafted into the creed since these people became denizens of the wilderness? are inquiries herein to be considered. The members of the Reconstructed Latter-Day Church are very active in their efforts to show that polygamy is not a true Mormon doctrine; and they denounce its practice on the part of their brethren in Utah, in like severe terms with all Christian sects and decent civilized people. In this, their sincerity and honesty need not be questioned. They quote, and quite truly, from the Book of Mormon, and from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, as well as from all the public teachings of the
POLYGAMY -- BLOOD ATONEMENT. 395
prophet, numerous passages pointedly and distinctly against the system. And they challenge the Utah people to point to one sentence, authorizing or sanctioning it, prior to Brigham Young's pretended revelation of August 29, 1852. So far, they have the argument on their side. There is nothing that we have been able to discover, in all of Joseph Smith's acknowledged writings or public utterances, to justify this claim set up in Utah.
The Utah brethren -- some of them -- admit this; but claim that at the prophet's death the period had not arrived for its promulgation; and they parade the new revelation above mentioned, as having been given to him and laid away until that proper time should arrive. When Brigham announced it in 1852, in Salt Lake, he stated that it had been given to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, on the 12th day of July, 1843, nearly a year before his death; and that he (Young) had it in possession ever since. But the document was in his own handwriting, a circumstance he accounted for by the assertion that Mrs. Emma Smith, the widow, had purloined and destroyed the original. But why had he previously copied it? -- had he done so in anticipation of her act? The story looks very much like a fabrication.
The revelation thus promulgated is entitled: "A REVELATION on the Patriarchal Order of Matrimony, or Plurality of Wives, Given to JOSEPH
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SMITH, the Seer, in Nauvoo, July 12, 1843." It is very lengthy, containing twenty-five sections, and is miserably disgusting and blasphemous. Emanating either from Smith or Young, it furnishes the basis for the introduction of polygamy into the Mormon creed, and as such we give it a place in these pages. It permits, yea, commands, in all its outrageous details, under the threatened penalty of "damnation," for disobedience, the system of polygamy as now practiced by the leaders in Utah. And it must be confessed that it is little, if any, more disgusting than many of Smith's acknowledged utterances. And it contains some things, too, that would seem to have been the work of his own mind; though these may have been introduced by Young to more readily serve his purpose of deception. One of these is the pains taken to conciliate Emma and prepare her for the new dispensation. In it she is directly addressed by name, and commanded to "obey," or she will be destroyed.
Although this utterance of Brigham Young, nine years after its professed delivery from on high, looks much like a forgery on his part, yet still there were many circumstances leading to show that it may have been truly what he claimed for it. There is unquestionable evidence that in 1843 and 1844 both before and after Smith's death -- the subject of
POLYGAMY -- BLOOD ATONEMENT. 397
polygamy (or what was then termed "Spiritual Wifery"), was much discussed at Nauvoo. It had not, of course, been openly incorporated into the creed, by revelation or otherwise. Indeed, such was the force of outside and inside pressure, that it was necessary to meet the charge with the loudest denials. The two organs teemed with those denials, down to 1846 or '47, when they ceased to exist. John Taylor, lately at the head of the church in Utah, and counting several wives, was the editor of both those organs in Nauvoo. If Brigham had this sweet-scented document locked up in his drawer for three or four years in Illinois, and as many more in Salt Lake, would not John Taylor have been likely to know it? The publication of the document as emanating from Smith, whether truly or not, places the whole of them in an awkward dilemma, let them adopt which horn of it they choose.
Although the members of the Reconstructed Branch may successfully show that none of their text-books teach or authorize polygamy, they will not be able to show that Joseph Smith, whom they reverence as a prophet, a man of God, and a martyr, was not the originator of the thought. The facts are too well known to all who were conversant with Mormon history in Nauvoo in the days of his power. We have it from good authority that this
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question is what, with others, caused Oliver Cowdery to separate from him. Public opinion and the laws of the land prevented the doctrine from being openly avowed and practiced in the States. But in the Rocky Mountains, where they erected an independent empire, and wrought out their own system, unrestrained by law, or public opinion, or the decent usages of civilization, the doctrine was soon proclaimed. Had the main body remained in the States, it would have been "Spiritual Wifery " still, with a "we-would-if-we-dare" effort to adopt it as a creed, denied to the world, and practiced in the harems of the leaders. There is said to be one prominent leader high in authority now in Utah, whose legal wife refused to leave Nauvoo with him, because he would not agree to forego the pleasures of the system in the wilderness; and an estimable woman, wife of another leader there, who went with her husband, but who, because of the abominations she witnessed before leaving, still lives in the midst of its corruptions, hating Mormonism as she hates the Prince of Darkness.
It is also well understood that when the great rebellion against the prophet occurred in 1844, and a new church was organized, and a paper started to oppose him, this was one of the chief charges brought against him. That paper, the Nauvoo Expositor,
POLYGAMY -- BLOOD ATONEMENT. 399
under date of June 7, 1844 (a year after the date named by Young as that of the supposed revelation), contained a long protest from the members of the new church, charging the prophet with teaching the doctrine of "Celestial Marriage." One of the affidavits, made by Mr. Austin Cowles, a member of the high council, certifies that a document purporting to be a revelation from heaven authorizing and commanding them to have more wives than one, was read to him as early as THE LATTER PART OF THE SUMMER OF 1843! Other testimonies of similar purport were made at the same time. These affidavits, made in 1844, before the prophet's death, strongly support Brigham Young's statement in Utah, nine years later.
It is remembered, also, that the main body of the prophet's adherents stoutly denied these charges, and denounced those making them as liars and perjurers. Yet, of late years, in Utah, they have thrown off all disguises, and, contradicting their own declarations of former days, now claim that "Joseph" was not only the revelator of the doctrine, but with disgusting particularity, declare that they knew of his practicing it long before it was revealed to him from heaven. The Deseret News, the official daily organ of the church, is said to have lately published affidavits stating this fact, and citing the names of certain women now living in
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Utah, who were in Nauvoo among the prophet's plural wives. One of these, Miss Eliza R. Snow, was well-known in Illinois as a poetess of no mean powers, whose pen often contributed through the Mormon papers to the glory of Zion and the greatness of the prophet. We now learn where she obtained her inspiration.
So that, whether the revelation promulgated by Brigham Young in 1852, was really the work of Smith or not, makes but little difference. It was, at any rate, if nothing more, an offshoot of that poisonous Upas tree planted by him long before his death, and which Young and Hyde, and Kimball and Taylor, and the Pratts, have all these years so assiduously watered and nurtured. The Reconstructed brethren will hardly succeed in shifting the responsibility. Yet they do well in rejecting the creed. But -- and to this question we desire to call their serious attention -- should the genuineness of that latest revelation ever be fully established (as it may be), what then? Will they disown its doctrines still, and denounce its real author, as they now denounce its reputed forger? Or will they make a virtue of necessity, and engraft the whole of their prophet's teachings into their creed, as they now do a part? They should consider well the position they occupy.
And so with the doctrine of "BLOOD ATONEMENT."
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The annals of religious fanaticism can scarcely present a parallel to its atrocity, and yet it claimed to be in obedience to the Divine Injunction, "Love one another!" And, strange to say, this doctrine is so little understood, that it has lately been referred to in a Chicago pulpit, as "one of those tenets of the Christian creed, accepted by Mormons in common with all other denominations!" *
To show what blood atonement really means, let us refer to some of the utterances of Brigham Young and others in Utah. In a sermon delivered in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake, on February 8, 1857, Brigham used the following language:
"When will we love our neighbors as ourselves? In the first place, Jesus said that no man hateth his own flesh. It is admitted by all that every person loves himself. Now, if we do rightly love ourselves, we want to be saved and continue to exist; we want to go into the Kingdom where we can enjoy eternity, and see no more sorrow or death. This is the desire of every person who believes in God. Now, take a person in this congregation, who has knowledge with regard to being saved in the Kingdom of our God and our Father, and being exalted; one who knows and understands the principles of eternal life, and sees the beauties and excellencies of the eternities before him, compared with the vain and foolish things of the world; and suppose that ho is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires,
* Rev. Dr. Thomas, sermon, February, 1882,
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and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood; and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods -- is there a man or woman in this house, but would say, 'Shed my blood, that I might be saved and exalted with the Gods'?
"All mankind love themselves; and let those principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. This would be loving ourselves even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant! He never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness, never! He never meant any such thing. . . .
"I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be), if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil, until our elder brother, Jesus Christ, raises them up,, conquers death, hell and the grave.
"I have known a great many men who have left this Church, for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation; but if their blood had been spilled it would have been better for them.
"THE WICKEDNESS AND IGNORANCE OF THE NATIONS FORBID THIS PRINCIPLE BEING IN FULL FORCE; BUT THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THE LAW OF GOD WILL BE IN FULL FORCE. ( ! ) THIS IS LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES; IF HE NEEDS HELP,
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HELP HIM. IF HE WANTS SALVATION, AND IT IS NECESSARY TO SPILL HIS BLOOD ON THE EARTH, IN ORDER THAT HE MAY BE SAVED, SPILL 1T. ( ! ! )
"Now, brethren and sisters, WILL YOU LIVE YOUR RELIGION? How many hundreds of times have I asked that question? Will the Latter-Day Saints live their religion?"
On another occasion he said: "I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth [sic], that you consider it a strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them. . . .
"There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, of a calf, or of turtle doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man. . . ."
On an occasion, when preaching against apostasy -- and apostasy from the Mormon Church has ever been one of the unpardonable sins, for the punishment of which the blood atonement has always been invoked -- he used the following language:
"Now, you Gladdenites (followers of Gladden Bishop, an apostate), keep your tongues still, lest sudden destruction come upon you. I say, rather than that the apostates should flourish here, I WILL UNSHEATHE MY BOWIE-KNIFE, and conquer or die. Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet. If you say it is all right (to the audience), raise your hands. Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this and every other good work."
During the delivery of the above there was a great outburst of approbation, and when the congregation
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was called to raise hands, all hands were raised, except those under condemnation. The Gaddenites sought other fields of labor. Brigham Young was not the only one who thus preached Blood Atonement. He was echoed by several others. Thus, Jedediah M. Grant, one of the three presidents:
"I say there are men and women here, that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case, and then let a place be .selected, and let that committee shed their blood.
"We have been trying long enough with this people, and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty to be unsheathed, not only in word, but in deed.
The foregoing, and numerous other quotations that might be made if necessary, are not the idle and unproven statements of Gentile enemies; but are faithful transcripts from their own authorized publications. They show clearly what the doctrine of Blood Atonement means in Utah. That doctrine has become a firmly established law in that territory, under the terrible despotism of the Priesthood. Its spirit -- under the guise of love to man -- is as vindictive, and its modes and methods as secret, and silent, and sure, as those of the Spanish Inquisition. It means simply that apostasy, and all other sins against the church -- or whatever the First Presidency choose to define as such -- are to
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be punished with death. It means that all power, temporal and spiritual, is made to reside in the church, and that the one man, whom they call its President, is that church's supreme infallible exponent, whose voice is to be obeyed as the voice of God!
We do not observe that the Reconstructed Mormon branch in the States, have much to say in denunciation of this Blood Atonement doctrine. Is it possible they do not see that it is as great and a more dangerous evil than polygamy? Nor does it appeal that the people of the United States, or our legislators, are as fully alive to its enormity as its nature demands. Destroy that priestly power which is supreme and overrides everything in Utah, and the evils of Mormonism and polygamy even, can soon be eradicated from American soil.
It is interesting, too, to inquire into the origin of this Atonement doctrine. Who, among the band, first inculcated it? Who first made it a tenet of the church creed? Brigham Young's broad shoulders -- much of blood and rapine, and blasphemy, and crime against government and law as they are justly doomed to bear -- must not be laden with more than is just. As we have shown that polygamy had its origin in the States, so we shall show that this Blood Atonement creed was taught
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and practiced there also, years before Brigham's reign in Utah.
David Whitmer, always a good witness with them, when recently interviewed by the Kansas City Journal, says the Danite Band of Destroying Angels, was originated by Smith and Rigdon to be used against apostates, and that he and Oliver Cowdery had to flee for their lives. Orson Hyde, in his quarrel with Rigdon in Nauvoo, in 1845, twits him with hiding slain apostates in the Missouri bush a few years before. Rigdon's celebrated "Salt Sermon," delivered one fourth of July in Missouri, contains the essence of the doctrine; and that sermon was at the time extolled and echoed by the leaders, though afterwards condemned as ill-timed and impolitic. How many of the seceders, in the days of Smith and Rigdon in Missouri and Illinois, were made to atone with their blood for their transgressions -- "fall backward at their horse's heels" -- Mr. Whitmer does not say, and it will never be known.
Like polygamy, Blood Atonement was practiced in the days of the prophet -- not TAUGHT; used as an instrument of power -- not PROCLAIMED as an emanation from the Divine Will. In short, it is safe to say, that the Mormonism, as it existed in Ohio, in Missouri, in Illinois, during the years 1830 to 1847, bore a strong resemblance to that
POLYGAMY -- BLOOD ATONEMENT. 407
of 1856 in Utah, and to-day; differing in degree, and by reason of changed circumstances only; and that the gigantic evils that have been growing up with it in all these years, were planted and nurtured in its soil from the beginning.
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IT has been charged that the Book of Mormon, instead of being a translation from golden plates, bearing a valuable message from heaven, as claimed by Joseph Smith, was really based on a romance known as Manuscript Found, written by a certain Presbyterian clergyman, as long ago as 1814. This charge is, and always has been, stoutly denied by Mormon writers, and the proof demanded. They, some of them at least, doubtless know why it is the document cannot be produced to substantiate the charge. But it so happens that there are other ways of establishing the fact. There are not, probably, now living, any persons outside of the Mormon connection, who are in possession of the secret, as to where, and when, and how it was effected, and by whom; but that the Spalding work did got into the hands of Smith and his co-laborers in deception, and was made the basis of the miserable structure known as the Book of Mormon, is
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now as clear as human testimony can make it, The history of that romance is a curious one; and the proofs of its being the ground work on which the Mormon fraud was built, are so many and so various, that we shall be pardoned for devoting so much space to their consideration.
The reader will remember that the Smith family resided, from 1825 to 1830, during the incubation period of the fraud, at the village of Palmyra, New York, and at Manchester, near by. The Book of Mormon was printed in 1829-30, at Palmyra, and published to the world in the last named year. About the time of its publication a church was formed, and soon afterwards it was decided to emigrate to, and settle and build a Zion in, North-eastern Ohio, At this place, Kirtland, a large settlement was made, a temple begun, and many converts made. Among these converts, was a certain Dr. Philastus Hurlbut. This doctor soon quarreled with the leaders, and was expelled or withdrew from the church; and going to Painesville, induced Mr. E. D. Howe, of the Painesville Telegraph, to get up an expose of Mormonism. This was in 1833 or '34, and the book was published in 1834, only four years after the Book of Mormon had been printed.
When the Book of Mormon appeared in Ohio, during the year of its publication or year after, some
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of the old residents in the region recognized in it an old acquaintance. This old acquaintance was a manuscript work written by Rev. Solomon Spalding, who, sixteen years before, had resided at Conneaut Creek, in the vicinity -- a book which he had denominated The Manuscript Found. Mr. Spalding was a retired clergyman, poor and in debt, and in bad health. He had become interested in some mounds in the vicinity, and his thoughts dwelt much upon the pre-historic inhabitants of this country; so much so, that he resolved to write a pretended history of such a people, and in "Scripture style." It cannot be denied that the Reverend gentleman, though honest and well-meaning, was something of a "crank," and possessed of an ill-balanced mind. While his romance was in progress, he took frequent occasion to read portions of it to his neighbors and friends; and by reason of its peculiarity of style, and the names he introduced, as well as the incidents narrated, it made an impression on their memories. This manuscript, with some others, was written in 1812 to 1814. In the latter year he removed to Pittsburgh, and thence to Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816.
Such was the reception of the Book of Mormon in the vicinity of Spalding's old home, when it first made its appearance among them.
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Aware of this charge of plagiarism Mr. Howe dispatched Dr. Hurlbut to Massachusetts, where the widow Spalding (then Mrs. Davison, having remarried), resided, for the purpose of procuring the Manuscript Found, with which to confront Mormonism. He also went among Spalding's old neighbors at Conneaut, and brought to Mr. Howe a large number of testimonials from them; and he likewise visited the region around Palmyra, Smith's former residence, and procured much testimony showing the character of the Smith family, and the folly and falsity of the prophet's pretensions.
In due time, Howe's Mormonism Unveiled -- (Hurlbut's name not appearing on its title page); was issued; but it contained no citations from the Manuscript Found. A copy of this work -- a later edition, printed in 1840, with its title changed to History of Mormonism -- now lies before us. We copy below what its author says about Spalding's romance, which will explain why no extracts were made from it:
"But our inquiries did not terminate here. Our next object was to ascertain, if possible, the disposition Spalding made of his manuscripts. For this purpose a messenger was dispatched to look up the widow of Spalding, who was found residing in Massachusetts. From her we learned that Spalding resided in Pittsburgh about two years, when be removed to Amity, Washington County, Pa., where he lived about two years, and died in 1816.
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His widow then removed to Onondaga, County, N. Y., married again, and lived in Otsego County, and subsequently removed to Massachusetts. She states that Spalding had a great variety of manuscripts, and recollects that one was entitled the Manuscript Found, but of its contents she has now no distinct knowledge. While they lived in Pittsburgh, she thinks it was once taken to the printing office of Patterson & Lambdin; but whether it was ever brought back to the house again, she is quite uncertain; if it was, however, it was then with his other writings, in a trunk which she had left in Otsego County, N. Y. This is all the information that could be obtained from her, except that Mr. Spalding while living, entertained a strong antipathy to the Masonic Institution, which may account for its being so frequently mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The fact also, that Spalding, in the latter part of his life, inclined to infidelity, is established by a letter in his hand-writing, now in our possession. *__________
* The reader will have occasion to remember this letter hereafter, as establishing an important point in this history.
The reader will have occasion to refer to this description, given by Howe in 1834, when perusing what follows in a chapter further on.
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shown to several of the foregoing witnesses, who recognize it as Spalding's, he having told them that he had altered his first plan of writing, by going further back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no resemblance to the Manuscript Found." -- Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 287.
The reader will have need to remember the foregoing description of the MS. brought to Mr. Howe by Hurlbut. It was evidently not the work sought for, and, of course, could not be used, and, as Spalding's friends stated, bore no resemblance to the Manuscript Found.
Hurlbut has frequently stated that the MS. was obtained from the Spalding family under a promise to return it. The reason this was not done, has never been satisfactorily explained by him or Howe. That it was not so returned is to be regretted; as its return to the family might have been the means of turning their attention to the other, which had disappeared, and led to its recovery, or some more positive knowledge concerning it, than is now attainable.
The surviving members of the Spalding family have always blamed Hurlbut (not knowing anything of Howe until latterly) for refusing or neglecting to return the MS., or to respond when addressed. Both of these gentlemen have frequently been addressed on the subject, and their explanation
414 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
sought, by writers on Mormonism; and it cannot be denied that their explanations are somewhat contradictory and unsatisfactory. Some of these later replies we quote. In one instance, Dr. Hurlbut says, under date of May 7, 1881: "I never had it (Manuscript Found) in my possession. I had some of his writings, but nothing pertaining to Mormonism." To Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, a friend and relative of the Spaldings, he made a sworn statement of similar purport. (See Scribner's Magazine, October, 1881.) But she states that he subsequently admitted to her, that he just peeped into the MS. and saw the names of "Moroni," "Mormon," "Nephi," and "Lamanite." Here is some error, certainly, of fact or memory; for the MS. he brought to Howe contained no one of those names, as will be shown hereafter; and of all Spalding's writings, they are to be found only in the Manuscript Found, and this the doctor says he never had. Another statement of his we give in his own words, in a letter to an inquirer:
THE SPALDING ROMANCE. 415
from Mrs. Davison, was Spalding's Manuscript Found, as I never read it; but, whatever it was, Mr. Howe received it under the condition on which I took it from Mrs. Davison -- to compare it with the Book of Mormon, and then return it to her. I have never received any other MS. of Spalding's from Mrs. Davison or any one else. Of that manuscript I made no other use, than to give it, with all my other documents connected with Mormonism, to Mr. Howe. I did not destroy the MS. or dispose of it to Joe Smith, or any other person. No promise was made by me to Mrs. Davison that she should receive any portion of profits arising from the publication of the manuscript, if it should be published. All the affidavits procured by me for Mr. Howe's book, including all those from. Palmyra, N. Y., were certainly genuine.
The latter portion of the foregoing has reference to suspicions that had been hinted at, that Hurlbut had really obtained the Manuscript Found, and instead of delivering it to Howe, had sold it to the Mormon prophet. There did seem to be ground for suspicion against one or both of these men. They failed to return the work as promised, or to give satisfaction concerning it; and their disagreeing statements as to how and of whom it was obtained, led the Spaldings and the public to doubt their integrity. It is extremely remarkable, too, that Dr. Hurlbut should go all the way to Massachusetts, in order to obtain a certain manuscript, that was expected to be the most important thing of all, in the proposed publication, and return without knowing
416 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
whether the thing obtained was what was wanted. A slight reading of half-a-dozen pages, or even of its title page, would have shown him whether it was the "confounding of language" contained in the Book of Mormon.
In a late letter to the writer of these pages, Mr. Howe says:
"I know the descendants of Spalding are making a great blow about that old MS.; but I am as well satisfied now as I was then, that Hurlbut never had any thing at all similar to what was called the Manuscript Found. All he got of Spalding's was fully described in my book, and was in my possession for several years, and I suppose was destroyed by fire."What the Spaldings say of the matter is reserved for another chapter.
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS.
THE first publication in reference to the Spalding Romance, made by any of the family, was in 1839. It was written for the Boston Recorder, and published in that paper -- purporting to emanate from Mrs. Matilda Davison, the widow of Rev. Solomon Spalding. As an important link in the chain of evidence, we give it entire:
MRS. (SPALDING) DAVISON'S STATEMENT.
"Learning recently that Mormonism had found its way into a Church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some of its members with its gross delusions, so that excommunication has been necessary, I am determined to delay no longer doing what I can to strip the mask from this monster of sin, and to lay open this pit of abominations. Rev. Solomon Spalding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination, and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage he resided in Cherry Valley, N. Y. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula County -- Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated upon Conneaut Creek. Shortly
418 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
after our removal to this place, his health sunk, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem there were numerous mounds and forts supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers, and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spalding being an educated man, and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement and furnish employment for his lively imagination, conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity would of course lead him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible.
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS. 419
Spalding had a brother, Mr. John Spalding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it read. From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here Mr. Spalding found an acquaintance and friend in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and informed Mr. S. that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. S. refused to do for reasons which I cannot now state.
420 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
Spalding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spalding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted, that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he expressed in the meeting his deep sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking.
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS. 421
The foregoing was accompanied by a certificate of good character, etc., from Rev. A. Ely, D. D., Pastor of the Congregational Church, and D. R. Austin, Principal of Monson Academy, Monson, Mass., under date of April 1, 1839. The Mormons met this by a statement, that, on being interviewed two or three years later, Mrs. Davison denied having written such a letter; stating that it was the work of Professor Austin himself, after a conversation with her on the subject; though she affirmed that what was written "was in the main true." -- Times and Seasons, vol. i. p. 47.
This statement of Mrs. Davison's was made five years after the interview with Dr. Hurlbut, and but nine years after the events she mentions as occurring at New Salem. While portions of her story are based upon her own knowledge, other portions depend, of course, upon the statements of others. It is just such a narrative as a wife might be expected to make, who retained a reverence and affection for a deceased husband and a partiality for his writings. Some of her statements may have been, however, founded in error, as they are not all borne out by subsequent developments. The Mormons contradict her statement, concerning the "woman preacher" reading from the Book of Mormon in a public meeting, by the declaration that they never had a woman preacher among them. True; but
422 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
she does not say it was a Mormon preacher. New Salem is in the midst of Quaker settlements, and they have women preachers among them; and it may have been one of these, who in the meeting, was exposing the wickedness of the fraud.
In corroboration of Mrs. Davison's statements, Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, a relative of the Spalding family, published in Scribner's Magazine for August, 1880, a paper on the Book of Mormon, which is reproduced below:
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS. 423
of them was a thousand years old. He set some of his men to work digging into one of these mounds, and I vividly remember how excited he became when he heard that they had exhumed some human bones, portions of gigantic skeletons, and various relics. He talked with my mother of these discoveries in the mound, and was writing every day as the work progressed. Afterward he read the manuscript which I had seen him writing, to the neighbors, and to a clergyman, a friend of his who came to see him. Some of the names that he mentioned while reading to these people I have never forgotten. They are as fresh to me to-day as though I heard them yesterday. They were 'Mormon,' 'Maroni,' 'Lamenite,' 'Nephi.'
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read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years of age at this time.
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS. 425
requested her to loan this manuscript to Hurlburt, as he (my uncle) was desirous to 'uproot' (as he expressed it) 'this Mormon fraud.' Hurlburt represented that he had been a convert to Mormonism, but had given it up, and through the Manuscript Found, wished to expose its wickedness. My mother was careful to have me with her in all the conversations she had with Hurlburt, who spent a day at my house. She did not like his appearance and mistrusted his motives, but having great respect for her brother's wishes and opinions, she reluctantly consented to his request. The old trunk, containing the desired Manuscript Found, she had placed in the care of Mr. Jerome Clark of Hartwicks, when she came to Monson, intending to send for it. On the repeated promise of Hurlburt to return the manuscript to us, she gave him a letter to Mr. Clark to open the trunk and deliver it to him. We afterwards heard that he had received it from Mr. Clark, at Hartwicks, but from that time we have never had it in our possession, and I have no present knowledge of its existence, Hurlburt never returning it or answering letters requesting him to do so. Two years ago, I heard he was still living in Ohio, and with my consent he was asked for the Manuscript Found. He made no response although we have evidence that he received the letter containing the request. So far I have stated facts within my own knowledge. My mother mentioned many other circumstances to me in connection with this subject which are interesting, of my father's literary tastes, his fine education and peculiar temperament. She stated to me that she had heard the manuscript alluded to read by my father, was familiar with its contents, and she deeply regretted that her husband, as she believed, had innocently been the means of furnishing matter for a religious delusion. She said that my father loaned this Manuscript Found
426 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
to Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburg, and that when he returned it to my father, he said: 'Polish it up, finish it, and you will make money out of it.' My mother confirmed my remembrances of my father's fondness for history, and told me of his frequent conversations regarding a theory which he had of a prehistoric race which had inhabited this continent, etc., all showing that his mind dwelt on this subject. The Manuscript Found, she said, was a romance written in Biblical style, and that while she heard it read, she had no special admiration for it more than other romances he wrote and read to her. We never, either of us, ever saw, or in any way communicated with the Mormons, save Hurlburt, as above described; and while we have no personal knowledge that the Mormon Bible was taken from the Manuscript Found, there were many evidences to us that it was, and that Hurlburt and the others at the time thought so. A convincing proof to us of this belief was that my uncle, William H. Sabine, had undoubtedly read the manuscript while it was in his house, and his faith that its production would show to the world that the Mormon Bible had been taken from it, or was the same with slight alterations. I have frequently answered questions which have been asked by different persons regarding the Manuscript Found, but until now have never made a statement at length for publication.This statement by Mrs. McKinstry was communicated to the Salt Lake Deseret News, in December,
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS. 427
1880, in a letter of which the following is a copy:
428 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
Hurlburt's book is still extant in many libraries, and doubtless a copy may he found in Salt Lake City. In A.D. 1834, I was 17 years old, and well remember Dr. Hurlburt from the time he first came to Kirtland and was fully acquainted with him till after his book was published.
SPALDING FAMILY. STATEMENTS. 429
affidavits from persons who claimed to have heard Solomon Spaulding read his Manuscript Found in 1812, and believed as well as they could remember that the matter and story was the same as printed in the Book of Mormon. And these were published in his book of Mormonism Exposed, in that or the subsequent year, but not a sentence from the Manuscript Found, which it appears by the above that he did really obtain, but finding no similarity between the two, suppressed the Spaulding manuscript, while he publicly announced in his book that he had entirely failed to obtain it. Hurlburt proved himself to be a man of gross immorality, untruthful and unreliable.
And to Mr. Johnson's communication the Salt Lake editor adds the following comment:
"The affidavit of Mrs. McKinstry is valuable because it establishes several points. First, that Spaulding's manuscript was but a small affair compared with the book that is said to have been written from it -- it was but an inch thick of written, not printed, matter. Second, that it was only out of the author's hands a short time, and that as far back as 1812. Third, that afterwards it was in Mrs. Spaulding's possession until Hurlburt obtained it, and therefore could not have been used by Joseph Smith. Fourth, that Hurlburt never produced
430 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
it, which he would have done if there had been any similarity between it and the Book of Mormon. Fifth, that the supposed identity of a few names in the two works depends on the memory of an old lady of 74, of what took place when she was six years old.It will be observed that there is a disagreement between the statements made by the Spaldings, and those made by Howe and Hurlbut. We are inclined to the opinion that the former were mistaken, and that the facts, as related by the latter, are substantially correct. Recent developments go to show this. Though whether Hurlbut did or did not obtain the Manuscript Found, and bring it to Ohio, has but little bearing on the main question -- which the next chapter will show.
THE SPALDING WITNESSES.
HOWE'S book, Mormonism Unveiled, is the work referred to by Johnson. Hurlbut had, in addition to his labor of procuring Spalding's manuscript, also gone among his old friends and neighbors about Conneaut, and procured a number of testimonials from them. These were published in Howe's book. As they relate to the main features of the controversy, and as that valuable work is long since out of print, there can be no apology needed for their introduction here. It will be remembered that they were obtained in 1833, about seventeen years after Solomon Spalding's death, three years only after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and about twenty years after Manuscript Found had been written.
"... In a few years he failed in business, and in the year 1809 removed to Conneaut, in
432 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
Ohio. The year following, I removed to Ohio, and found him engaged in building a forge. I made him a visit in about three years after; and found that he had failed, and considerably involved in debt. He then told me had he been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the Manuscript Found, of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of NEPHI and LEHI. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprize I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c. as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr., I am unable to determine.
THE SPALDING WITNESSES. 433
The wife of John Spalding, says:
"I was personally acquainted with Solomon Spalding, about twenty years ago. I was at his house a short time before he left Conneaut; he was then writing a historical novel founded upon the first settlers of America. He represented them as an enlightened and war-like people. He had for many years contended that the aborigines of America were the descendants of some of the lost tribes of Israel, and this idea he carried out in the book in question. The lapse of time which has intervened, prevents my recollecting but few of the leading incidents of his writings; but the names of Nephi and Lehi are yet fresh in my memory, as being the principal heroes of his tale. They were officers of the company which first came off from Jerusalem. He gave a particular account of their journey by land and sea, till they arrived in America, after which, disputes arose between the chiefs, which caused them to separate into different bands, one of which was called Lamanites and the other Nephites. Between these were recounted tremendous battles, which frequently covered the ground with the slain; and their being buried in large heaps was the cause of the numerous mounds in the country. Some of these people he represented as being very large. I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought fresh to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spalding; and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it is the same that I read and heard read, more than twenty years ago. The old, obsolete style, and the phrases of 'and it came to pass,' &c. are the same.
434 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
THE SPALDING WITNESSES. 435
Found. Since that, I have more fully examined the said Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of it is principally, if not wholly taken from the Manuscript Found. I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words 'And it came to pass,' 'Now it came to pass,' rendered it ridiculous. Spalding left here in 1812, and I furnished him the means to carry him to Pittsburgh, where he said he would get the book printed, and pay me. But I never heard any more from him or his writings, till I saw them in the Book of Mormon.
JOHN N. MILLER.
436 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
din of his creditors, finish his book and have it published, which would enable him to pay his debts and support his family. He soon after removed to Pittsburgh, as I understood.
AARON WRIGHT'S STATEMENT.
THE SPALDING WITNESSES. 437
read from the writings of Spalding, more than twenty years ago; the names more especially are the same without any alteration. He told me his object was to account for all the fortifications, etc., to be found in this country, and said that in time it would be fully believed by all, except learned men and historians. I once anticipated reading his writings in print, but little expected to see them in a new Bible. Spalding had many other manuscripts, which I expect to see when Smith translates his other plates. In conclusion, I will observe, that the names of, and most of the historical part of the Book of Mormon, were as familiar to me before I read it, as most modern history. If it is not Spalding's writing, it is the same as he wrote; and if Smith was inspired, I think it was by the same spirit that Spalding was, which he confessed to be the love of money.
438 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
characters, when they first started for America. Their main object was to escape the judgments which they supposed were coming upon the old world. But no religious matter was introduced, as I now recollect. Just before he left this place, Spalding sent for me to call on him, which I did. He then said, that although he was in my debt, he intended to leave the country, and hoped I would not prevent him, for, says he, you know I have been writing the history of the first settlement of America, and I intend to go to Pittsburgh, and there live a retired life, till I have completed the work, and when it is printed, it will bring me a fine sum of money, which will enable me to return and pay off all my debts -- the book, you know will sell, as every one is anxious to learn something upon that subject. This was the last I heard of Spalding or his book, until the Book of Mormon came into the neighborhood. When I heard the historical part of it related, I at once said it was the writings of old Solomon Spalding. Soon after, I obtained the book, and on reading it, found much of it the same as Spalding had written, more than twenty years before.
"I first became acquainted with Solomon Spalding, in December, 1810. After that time I frequently saw him at his house, and also at my house. I once in conversation with him expressed a surprise at not having any account of the inhabitants once in this country, who erected the old forts, mounds, etc. He then told me that he was writing a history of that race of people; and afterwards frequently showed me his writings, which I
THE SPALDING WITNESSES. 439
read. I have lately read the Book of Mormon, and believe it to be the same as Spalding wrote, except the religious part. He told me that he intended to get his writings published in Pittsburgh, and he thought that in one century from that time, it would be believed as much as any other history."
"In the month of October, 1811, I went from the township of Madison to Conneaut, for the purpose of securing a debt due me from Solomon Spalding. I tarried with him nearly two days, for the purpose of accomplishing my object, which I was finally unable to do. I found him destitute of the means of paying his debts. His only hope of ever paying his debts, appeared to be upon the sale of a book, which he had been writing. He endeavored to convince me from the nature and character of the work, that it would meet with a ready sale. Before showing me his manuscripts, he went into a verbal relation of its outlines, saying that it was a fabulous or romantic history of the first settlement of this country, and as it purported to have been a record found buried in the earth, or in a cave, he had adopted the ancient or Scripture style of writing. He then presented his manuscripts, when we sat down and spent a good share of the night in reading them, and conversing upon them. I well remember the name of Nephi, which appeared to be the principal hero of the story. The frequent repetition of the phrase, 'I Nephi,' I recollect as distinctly as though it was but yesterday, although the general features of the story have
440 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
passed from my memory, through the lapse of twenty-two years. He attempted to account for the numerous antiquities which are found upon this continent, and remarked that, after this generation had passed away, his account of the first inhabitants of America would be considered as authentic as any other history. The Mormon Bible I have partially examined, and am fully of the opinion that Solomon Spalding had written its outlines before he left Conneaut.
THE Cincinnati Gazette recently contained a letter from Mr. M. A, Cooper, of Steubenville, Ohio, under date of December 9, 1881, which that journal prints under the heading of, "The Book of Mormon -- One Man in the United States Who Can Give its Origin!" This letter refers to Mr. Joseph Miller, of Pennsylvania, as this "one man," and gives report of an interview with him.
Deeming Mr. Miller's statement concerning Mr. Spalding and his romance to be important, the writer dispatched to him a note of inquiry, and promptly received the following in reply:
442 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
very odd. The words 'Moreover,' 'And it came to pass,' occurred so often that the boys about the village called him 'Old Came to Pass.' He told me he lived in Ohio when he wrote his manuscript. He said he lost his health, and he commenced writing a history of the mounds near where he lived, or of the people who built them. He afterwards removed to Pittsburgh, and kept a little store to support his family, and while there he took his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, then engaged in a publishing house. Mr. Patterson told him if he would write a title page he would publish it. He left the copy and moved to Amity. He afterwards went back to have his MS. published, but it could not be found. He said there was a man named Sidney Rigdon about the office, and they thought he had stolen it. The passage you refer to, on page 148, as Cooper has it, in his reference to being marked with red in their foreheads.Mr. Miller's statement is mainly corroborated by the following paper, communicated to the Washington County (Pa.) Historical Society, by Mr. Abner Jackson, of Canton, Ohio -- forwarded to us under date of March 27, 1882, in the Washington
LATER TESTIMONY. 443
Reporter, by Rev. L. Axtell, of Pike Run, in that county. This venerable writer's contribution gives particulars of the life of Spalding not to be found elsewhere,, and confirms most of the material points mentioned by others. Evidently written with care, and with a view to the truth of history, we deem it worthy of a place entire in these pages:
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it to me as soon as convenient. Please inform me if you receive this. I am not anxious for myself at all, but if you can do anything for those entangled by the delusion, it cannot be published too quickly. I hope your Historical Society may prosper and do much good.ABNER JACKSON'S STATEMENT. It is a fact well established that the book called the Book of Mormon, had its origin from a romance that was written by Solomon Spaulding, in Conneaut, a small village in Ashtabula County, Ohio, about A.D. 1812. Spaulding was a highly educated man about six feet high, of rather slender build, with a dark complexion, black eyes, black hair, rather slow of speech, never trifling, pleasant in conversation, but seldom laughing aloud. His deportment was grave and dignified in society, and he was much respected by those of his acquaintance. He was a clergyman of the Presbyterian order, and for a time a settled pastor in the city of New York. So said his brother John Spaulding and others in the neighborhood, who heard him preach. It was said that failing health caused him to resign the pastorate. He then came to Richfield, Otsego County, New York, and started a store, near where my father lived, about the beginning of the present century.
"Spaulding contracted for large tracts of land along the shore of Lake Erie, on each side of the State line, in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. My father exchanged with him, the farm on which he lived in Otsego County, New York, for land in Erie County, Pa. where the town of Albion now stands, and moved on it A.D. 1805. It was then a dense forest. Shortly after my father moved, Spaulding sold his store in Richfield, and moved to
LATER TESTIMONY. 445
Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio, and built a forge on Conneaut Creek, two miles from Conneaut Harbor and two miles from the State line. In building this he failed, sold out, and about the beginning of the year 1812, commenced to write his famous romance called by him the Manuscript Found.
446 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
subdivisions under different leaders, but two parties controlled the balance. One of them was called the Righteous, worshipers and servants of God. These organized with prophets, priests, and teachers, for the education of their children, and settled down to cultivate the soil, and to a life of civilization. The others were Idolaters. They contended for a life of idleness; in short, a wild, wicked, savage life.
LATER TESTIMONY. 447
The next we heard of them was by report. Spaulding moved to Amity, Washington County, Pa., and soon after died and was buried there. His wife and daughter went to her brother, Lawyer Sabine, Onondaga Valley, Onondaga, Co., N.Y. When I was returning from Clarksburg, W.Va., to my home in New Brighten, Beaver Co., Pa., A. D. 1840, I passed through Amity, hunted the grave of Spaulding and copied from the headstone the following inscription:*
448 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
N. Y., and he would find a gold-leaf Bible. Smith was incredulous and did not go until the second or third time he dreamed the same dream. Then he said he went and, to his surprise, he found the golden Bible, according to his dreams. But it was written in a language so ancient that none could be found able either to read it or tell in what language it was written. Some time after another statement appeared, that an angel had consented to read and interpret it to Joseph Smith, and he should report it to a third person, who should write it in plain English, so that all might read the new Bible and understand its import. Some time after, in 1830, the book was published at Palmyra, N. Y., called a New Revelation: the Book of Mormon. This purports to be a history of the lost tribes of the Children of Israel. It begins with them just where the romance did, and it follows the romance very closely. It is true there are some verbal alterations and additions, enlarging the production somewhat, without changing its main features. The Book of Mormon follows the romance too closely to be a stranger. In both, many having the same name; as Maroni, Mormon, Nephites, Moroni, Lama [sic], Lamanite, Nephe [sic], and others.
LATER TESTIMONY. 449
'I will write and hide up the Record in the earth, and whither I go it mattereth not." -- Book of Mormon, page 344, third American edition. How much this resembles the closing scene in the Manuscript Found. The most singular part of the whole matter is that it follows the romance so closely, with this difference: the first claims to be a romance; the second claims to be a revelation of God, a new Bible! When it was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Esq. Wright heard it, and exclaimed, '"Old come to pass" has come to life again.' Here was the place where Spaulding wrote and read his manuscript to the neighbors for their amusement and 'Squire Wright had often heard him read from his Romance. This was in 1832, sixteen years after Spaulding's death. This 'Squire Wright lived on a farm just outside of the little village. I was acquainted with him for twenty-five years. I lived on his farm when I was a boy and attended school in the village. I am particular to notice these things to show that I had an opportunity of knowing what I am writing about.
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County, Pa., and shortly after this he died and his wife went to her brother's. His daughter's account of the deceitful method by which Hurlburt gained possession of and retained Spaulding's manuscript, is, I think, important and should not be lost sight of. She was no child then. I think she has done her part well in the vindication of the truth by her unvarnished statement of what she remembered of her father's romance. I have not seen her since she was a little girl, but I have seen both of these productions, heard Spaulding read much of his romance to my father and explain his views and reasons for writing it. I also have seen and read the Book of Mormon, and it follows Spaulding's romance too closely to be anything else than a borrowed production from that romance. I think that, Mrs. McKinstry's statement fills a gap in my account from Spalding's removal to Pittsburgh, to the death of his wife in 1844. I wish, if my statement is published that hers also be published with it, that the truth may be vindicated by the truth beyond any reasonable doubt.
The foregoing array of evidence in support of the theory that the Book of Mormon was based on Spalding's romance, is about all that we care to introduce, though more is at hand. And this is what the Salt Lake editor calls a "mere supposition" of some "mysterious connection between the manuscript and Joseph Smith." That there was a mysterious connection is not doubted; indeed, it is directly and very pointedly affirmed by these people.
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What that connection was may yet be shown. These people do not bolster up their story by an array of "angels" and "heavenly messengers," but by plain, honest, common-sense averment; and hence will not be so readily believed by some; but their story will carry conviction to every well-balanced human intellect.
But the Salt Lake editor further assures us that there is an additional "God-given testimony" of thousands in support of Smith's claim; which testimony, when interpreted, means simply the mental ability to believe Smith's absurd and impossible story. Just such "God-given testimony" has been marshaled in support of every silly and ridiculous delusion since the world began.
Reader, let us bring together the points of the foregoing narrations, and examine their bearing. That Rev. Solomon Spalding did reside at Conneaut, Ohio, between the years 1808 and 1814, is made as clear as human testimony can make it. That while there he wrote several manuscript books, is also fully established. That he died in Pennsylvania in 1816, leaving these manuscripts behind him, cannot be disputed. That one of these manuscripts was entitled Manuscript Found, while the titles of the others were not known, is also clearly established. The Mormons themselves do not deny it. No writer anywhere, or of any class, that we are aware
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of, has ever denied any of these propositions. The facts are palpable and would not be more clearly evident, were the manuscripts themselves brought to light. If, then, Mr. Spalding wrote a work so entitled, it must have been about something -- it must have had some specific characteristics. What were they? All his friends and neighbors agree that he had a lively imagination; that he was much interested in the discoveries that had been made near his residence, indicating the existence of a pre-historic race of people in America; that he thought, talked, and wrote much upon that theme, and read portions of his writings to his neighbors and friends.
And now -- no, not now -- but more than fifty years ago, and only seventeen years after his death -- come a number of these neighbors and friends, and say that this book -- this Manuscript Found, the existence of which no one has ever denied -- contained the names of "Nephi," "Lehi," "Moroni," "Laban," "Nephites," "Lamanites," "Zarahemla," and others; that its theme was the history of a supposed race of Jewish emigrants and their descendants in America; that it was ridiculously full of such phrases as "And it came to pass," "I, Nephi," "Lo, and behold," etc.; that it was written in Biblical style, and that it abounded in descriptions of great wars and battles between the
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contending tribes. These statements are made with great unanimity, and no apparent attempt at collusion, by men and women who could have had no object but truth and justice in view. Reader, take up the Book of Mormon -- "Wherefore it is an abridgement of the Record of the People of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites" -- and see if you can find in it any emanations from Rev. Spalding's imaginative mind. See if you can recognize any of the names these friends of his remember so well -- and which were never before found in any other book. See if you can recall any of the themes, the historical allusions, the phrases, they so minutely particularize. In the language of the Salt Lake editor, "What more need be said?" " Lo, and behold," "verily," its title, instead of the "confusion of language" used by Smith, Rigdon, Cowdery & Co., should have read:
"THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND,"
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It can make little difference, therefore, if it should be never fully ascertained how, or in what manner, or by whom, that Manuscript Found came into those men's hands. The fact stands out boldly, clearly, that it was there; that it was this Spalding romance, or a, fraudulent copy of it, and not golden plates, from which the embryo prophet was pretending to translate during the years 1827-8-9. Whether it came to him through Rigdon's hands, as believed by the Spalding family, or through Cowdery's, or Parley P. Pratt's, is of little consequence, except as to gratify curiosity, and need not, perhaps, be further inquired into. There were five men who bore conspicuous parts in bringing this Book of Mormon, before the public; any one of whom may have obtained the manuscript. Its application and working up was evidently the labor of Sidney Rigdon chiefly. Two of these men, Smith and Harris, may never have been in Northern Ohio, previous to 1827; Cowdery, Pratt, and Rigdon had all been there, in the vicinity of where Spalding had resided.
The Spalding family all believed that Rigdon had obtained the MS. and copied it, while it remained in the office of Patterson & Lambdin at Pittsburgh. From Joseph Miller's latest letter it would seem, that even in Rev. Spalding's life-time the impression prevailed that Rigdon had obtained the manuscript.
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The Mormons vehemently deny that Rigdon was ever a printer, or about said Patterson's office.
Robert Patterson, Esq., the capable editor of the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Banner, and son of the Rev. Robert Patterson alluded to, has lately given the subject much attention. In a very lucid and searching paper from his pen, communicated to the Washington County Historical Society, we find the following, bearing on Patterson's possession of the manuscript:
"On being applied to in 1842, by Rev. Samuel Williams, who was preparing for publication a pamphlet entitled Mormonism Exposed, Mr. Patterson wrote the following brief certificate, which we copy in full from Mr. Williams' pamphlet:
"'R. Patterson had in his employment Silas Engles at the time, a foreman printer, and general superintendent of the printing business. As he (S.E.) was an excellent scholar, as well as a good printer, to him was entrusted the entire concerns of the office. He even decided on the propriety or otherwise of publishing manuscripts when offered, -- as to their morality, scholarship, etc. In this character he informed R. P. that a gentleman from the East originally, had put into his hands a manuscript of a singular work, chiefly in the style of our English translation of the Bible, and handed the copy to R. P., who read only a few pages, and finding nothing apparently exceptionable, he (R. P.) said to Engles he might publish it, if the author furnished the funds or good security. He (the author) failing to comply with the terms, Mr. Engles returned the manuscript, as I supposed at that time,
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after it had been some weeks in his possession with other manuscripts in the office.
From Mr. Patterson's pamphlet, we also quote the following"
"Rev. John Winter, M. D., was one of the early ministers of the Baptist Church, laboring in Western Pennsylvania, and Eastern Ohio. During a portion of the time when Sidney Rigdon was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Dr. Winter was teaching a school in the same city, and was well acquainted with Rigdon. Upon one occasion during this period, 1822-23, Dr. Winter was in Rigdon's study, when the latter took from his desk a large manuscript and said in substance, 'A Presbyterian minister, Spalding, whose health had failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it. It is a romance of the Bible.' Dr. Winter did not read any part of it, and paid no more attention to it until after the Book of Mormon appeared, when he heard that Mr. Spalding's widow recognized in it the writings of her husband . . . Mrs. Mary W. Irvine, a daughter of Dr. Winter, writes from Sharon, Pa., April 5, 1881, as follows: 'I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon having Spalding's MS. and that he had gotten it from the printers to read it as a curiosity; as such he showed it to father; and that at that time Rigdon had no intention of making the use of it that he afterwards did; for father always said Rigdon helped Smith in his scheme by revising and making the Mormon Bible out of Rev. Spaulding's manuscript.'"
The foregoing citations would seem conclusive in
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fixing the fraud upon Sidney Rigdon; and notwithstanding his and all other Mormon denials, and the apparent want of agreement among Spalding's friends, we feel sure that an intelligent and discerning public, will forever hold it. And here we let the matter rest.
THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
A STRANGE DISCOVERY -- A SPALDING MS. FOUND IN HONOLULU -- A GOD-SEND TO THE MORMONS -- A FALSE IMPRESSION -- NOT THE "MANUSCRIPT FOUND" -- OF NO HISTORIC VALUE -- MR. PATTERSON'S CLOSING TRIBUTE.
AND now comes one of the most remarkable features of this much discussed and remarkable story. A short time ago President Fairchild of Oberlin College, Ohio, was on a visit with friends residing at Honolulu, in the Sandwich Islands. While at the home of Mr. L. L. Rice, an American citizen there, he became interested in some documents which had many years before accumulated in the latter's possession, and which had been brought with him from Ohio, his former residence.
One of those old and long-neglected manuscripts on examination proved to be one of Rev. Spalding's romances -- to the great astonishment of both those gentlemen. The fact was soon made public here in the States, and was seized upon and heralded to the world by the newspapers, as a discovery of the long lost Manuscript Found of Rev. Solomon Spalding, and the original of the Book of Mormon. The manuscript (after discussion as to the proper disposition
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to be made of it), was deposited by Mr. Rice in the college library at Oberlin. Various extracts from its pages, bearing no resemblance to the matter of the Book of Mormon, have been published; and the conclusion has been quite general that the Spalding story was a fallacy. The Mormons themselves have regarded the discovery as a God-send, and have lost no time in announcing to their readers this marvelous refutation of their enemies' falsehoods. Both the Salt Lake and the Reconstructed branches, it is stated, have procured copies of the work for publication. The former we have not seen; but the latter, issued with much apparent satisfaction, and neatly printed in pamphlet form at Lamoni, Iowa, under authority of the church -- now lies before us. It professes to be a true and exact copy of the original, and certified to as such; yet its very first line is a FALSEHOOD! It entitles the book The Manuscript Found of Solomon Spalding, when no such title is found anywhere on or in the work. The nearest approach to it is the attestation of Dr. Hurlbut on the fly-leaf, as follows:
"The writings of Solomon Spalding, as proved by Henry Lake, John N. Miller, Aaron Wright and others.Thus showing conclusively that it is the manuscript
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obtained by the doctor and brought to Howe in 1834. Besides, it can be traced directly from Howe to Rice -- the latter having purchased the Painesville Telegraph a year or two after Howe's book was printed, with the printing office and all its contents. Howe lost track of the manuscript, and supposed it might have been destroyed in a fire in his office, when, in fact, it had been delivered with other waste matter to his successor, and by him, very strangely, instead of being destroyed, carried to Honolulu. That it is the same manuscript is also shown by another circumstance. It will be remembered that Howe, in his book, refers to a letter obtained with the manuscript indicating that Spalding had imbibed "infidel" opinions. Strange enough, that same letter is still with the MS., as found in Honolulu. Again, the contents of this newly-found manuscript, as described by those having access to it, are identical with those ascribed to it by Howe. So that the evidence is clear:
"1. That this newly-discovered work is really one of Spalding's romances.
"2. That it is the identical one referred to by Howe in his Mormonism Unveiled, and which he received from Hurlbut, and Hurlbut from the Spaldings, in 1833.
"3. That it is NOT the romance known as Manuscript Found, and bears no resemblance to it.
"4. And consequently -- that it can bring no
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comfort to the Mormons, in disproof of the "Spalding Story."
Mr. Patterson, in closing his valuable little book on the subject, thus eloquently refers to Mr. Spalding and his work:
"It is scarcely necessary to say that Spalding himself must be acquitted of all intention to deceive, even though four of the hearers of his romance as read by him have attested his singular presentiment -- was it prescience? -- that in after years his romance would be accepted by thousands as veritable history. But even he could not have foreseen that this coinage of his brain would ever pass current as having been enstamped by the authority of heaven. The unconscious prophet of a new Islam, in all his imaginings he did not dream that his hand was outlining the Koran of a dark delusion; that the fables which beguiled his restless hours would be accepted by hundreds of thousands of his fellow-men as the oracles of God; and that in inglorious yet heroic martyrdom some of them would even seal with their blood their faith in the inspiration of his phantasies. Journeying to Pittsburgh in 1812, with the sanguine hope of soon seeing his romance in print, it never entered his mind that in three-score years and ten thereafter, the shades of Laman and Nephi, of Mormon and Moroni, evoked by his magic wand from the sepulchral mounds of Conneaut, -- the graves of a long-forgotten race, -- would be stalking over two hemispheres, and would be leading through the very city of his sojourn their myriad victims of deception to distant homes of wretchedness and shame. Struggling to escape the burden of his debts, he little imagined how vast the burden he was about unwittingly to lay upon his country,
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"Sleep on, humble dreamer, in thy lowly bed! Thy fond desire to win a public hearing for thy wondrous story was denied thee in thy toilsome life. Thou knewest not that a strange immortality awaited it and thee. Rest peacefully, for from thine eye, which sought to penetrate the past alone, this saddest of future visions was mercifully withheld. Surely never hitherto have passed such sorrowful processions near the grave of so innocent an author of their woe."
With this we conclude the review of the senseless gold-laden story. No one really believes it. Even its originators, its eleven witnesses, and their immediate followers, had no abiding faith in it, else Cumorah Hill would ere this have been prospected from base to crown, in search of those other precious relics said to have been hid away by the angel. Yet its influence has been far-reaching. It has continued to grow, agitating and disturbing every community into which it has made its way, until it now curses half a continent. But it is on the wane; and ere the twentieth century ends, the Story of the Golden Message will have faded from men's memories.
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