From Palmyra to Independence
(Independence: Ensign Pub., 1894)
pp. 1-150 | pp. 151-300 | pp. 301-445
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Time is on its eternal march must yet exonerate Joseph Smith as it did Wesley who was also calumniated in his day by all classes.
HOW WESLEY WAS USED IN HIS DAY!"March 2 1891, is the centenary of the death of John Wesley...
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way even into private rooms...
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Jesuit, and the dictatorial authority of a Pope;' and described him as 'the most rancorous hater of the gospel system that ever appeared in England.' Bishop Lavington of Exeter, denounced the Methodists as a dangerous and presumptuous sect, animated with an enthusiastic and fanatical spirit, and said that they were 'either innocent madmen or infamous cheats.'" -- Archdeacon Farrar, D. D., in The Contemporary Review.
JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO.From figures of the past, From the leaves of old journals, page 376, by Josiah Quincy, Class of Harvard College, 1821. published at Boston, Massachusetts, by Messrs. Roberts Brothers, 1883.
It is by no means improbable that some future textbook, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious commonplace to their descendants. History deals in surprises and paradoxes quite as startling as this. The man who established a religion in this age of free debate, who was and is today accepted by hundreds of thousands as a direct emissary from the Most High, -- such a rare human being is not to be disposed of by pelting his memory with unsavory epithets. Fanatic, impostor, charlatan, he may have been; but these hard names furnish no solution to the problem he presents to us. Fanatics and impostors are
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living and dying every day, and their memory is buried with them; but the wonderful influence which this founder of a religion exerted and still exerts throws him into relief before us, not as a rogue to be criminated, but as a phenomenon to be explained. * * *
Joseph Smith, claiming to be an inspired teacher, faced adversity such as few men have been called to meet, enjoyed a brief season of prosperity such as few men have ever attained, and, finally, forty-three days after I saw him, went cheerfully to a martyr's death.
A fine-looking man is what the passer-by would instinctively have murmured upon meeting the remarkable individual who had fashioned the mould which was to shape the feelings of so many thousands of his fellow-mortals. But Smith was more than this, and one could not resist the impression that capacity and resource were natural to his stalwart person. I have already mentioned the resemblance he bore to Elisha R. Potter, of Rhode Island, whom I met in Washington in 1826. The likeness was not such as would be recognized in a picture, but rather one that would be felt in a grave emergency. Of all men I have met, these two seemed best endowed with that kingly faculty which directs, as by intrinsic right, the feeble or confused souls who are looking for guidance. * * *
"On the right hand, as we entered the house, was a small and very comfortless-looking bar-room; all the more comfortless, perchance, from its being a dry bar-room, as no spirituous liquors were permitted at Nauvoo. * * *
"Polygamy, it must be remembered, formed no part of the alleged revelations upon which the social life at Nauvoo was based."
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R. D. FOSTER'S TESTIMONY.
"LODA, Ill., Feb. 14th, 1874."Joseph Smith President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Plano, Illinois.
"DEAR SIR: -- Accept my sincere thanks for the favors that came to hand this day, by mail, namely, a copy of the Book of Mormon and a copy of Parley P. Pratt's Voice of Warning, as well as your very welcome letter with your photograph enclosed; the same now occupies a place in my daughter's album and is very highly appreciated. Next in order comes many familiar names that you enumerate as co-workers in advancing the cause of gospel truth. While reading them over I was carried back some thirty odd years, and many incidents of, or about that period were made vivid in my memory; scenes that occurred when you was quite a little boy and I was in the prime of manhood. One particular circumstance I will mention, as it appears to me to be incontrovertible evidence of the fact that your father was no false pretender, but that he was a true prophet of the living God. I was practicing my profession in Kingston, Illinois, in the year 1837, and boarding with a Benjamin S. Wilber, a member of the Latter Day Saints' Church; his wife was also a member, and a most excellent little lady and very intelligent. In the fall of this year President Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Judge Elias Higbee and Porter Rockwell, came to this house on their way to the city of Washington, in accordance with a revelation given to the church at Commerce, (afterwards Nauvoo), through Joseph Smith, the prophet, to lay their grievances before the President of the United States,(Martin Van Buren), for the sufferings they underwent in Missouri, from
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which state the church had been driven by mob law, after many of them had been inhumanely murdered, and others driven from the lands they had purchased of the United States government in that state. On the arrival of this company at Mr. Wilber's I was told by Joseph Smith, the prophet, that if I was willing to obey the will of God, and, be obedient to his commandments, I must quit my practice and start the next day with them to the city of Washington. * * *
"I have many incidents, dottings and jottings, taken during our journey, one of which I will mention. After we got to Dayton, Ohio, we left our horses in care of a brother in the church, and proceeded by stage, part of us; and the same coach that conveyed us over the Allegheny Mountains also had on board, as passengers, Senator Aaron of Missouri, and a Mr. Ingersol, a member of congress, from New Jersey or Pennsylvania, I forget which and at the top of the mountain called Cumberland Ridge, the driver left the stage and his four horses drinking at the trough in the road, while he went into the tavern to take what is very common to stage drivers, a glass of spirits. While he was gone the horses took fright and ran away with the coach and passengers. There was also in the coach a lady with a small child, who was terribly frightened. Some of the passengers leaped from the coach, but in doing so none escaped more or less injury, as the horses were running at a fearful speed, and it was down the side of a very steep mountain. The woman was about to throw out the child, and said she intended to jump out herself, as she felt sure all would be dashed to pieces that remained, as there was quite a curve in the road, and on one side the mountain loomed up hundreds
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of feet above the horses, and the other side was a deep chasm or ravine...
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were both traveling incog., as if their real names had been made public on the way, especially that of Mr. Smith, we should have been very much annoyed by the inquisitive. Little did those gentlemen think that Joseph Smith was the identical man that was instrumental in the hands of God in saving that coach load of human beings from a terrible death.
"We made our first stop at Gadsby's hotel, in Washington City. * * *
"We staid there during the winter of 1839 and 1840 to testify before committees and attend to all we could in the premises and in the meantime to preach and talk to the heads of the nation upon the mission and calling of Mr. Smith in this latter day. Curiosity was on tip-toe, until many believed, and some were baptized and went back to Nauvoo, or Commerce, as it was then called.
"Benjamin Winchester and Elder Barnes were preaching at that time in Philadelphia, and Mr. Smith and Mr. Higbee went there and did some preaching, leaving myself in the city of Washington to take care of Mr. Rigdon, and also to wait upon every preacher in the city, irrespective of his church organization, and particularly to declare unto them the tidings of the Latter Day Saints, committed to this generation through Joseph Smith, Jr., and to warn them against the danger consequent upon its rejection. I commenced my duties as soon as I had any time, and called upon all the leaders of the different organizations of religion in the city. As a general thing I was pretty well received and very kindly treated. * * * I thought that my report would be uniform;y favorable, but I had one ore visit to make; that was to Geo. C. Cookman, the chief preacher and elder of the other branch of the Methodist
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Church; and he was then chaplain of the United States Senate. On my introduction he was rigid as marble and cold as an icicle. He was proud, tonguey and arrogant in the extreme. * * * I begged him to take time and consider the matter; not to decide hastily; that it was unwise to give a decision until both sides were fairly and fully before him. I asked him for his church, and told him that either Mr. Smith or Mr. Rigdon would be glad to illustrate the subject any time before him and his congregation. He said that my impudence could only be attributed to one of two causes, and he was constrained to believe it was not from ignorance, but was intended as an insult; that he would neither let me have his church nor hear anything further on the subject, and should take good care to warn his brethren and sisters against listening to any such blasphemy. With this he opened his library door, conducted me to the outer hall, and refused to give me his hand. I reported this to Mr. Rigdon, and wrote to Philadelphia to Mr. Smith the result of my labors. On the following Sunday this same George C. Cookman preached in his church, and told some strange tales; that he had had an interview with Joe Smith, that arch impostor, and that the doctrines he taught were very irreligious and inconsistent with Bible truth; that he, Smith did not believe in the Bible, but had got a mew one, dug up in Palmyra, New York; and that it was nothing but an irreligious romance, and that Smith had obtained it from the widow of one Spaulding, who wrote it for his own amusement. I wrote this to Mr. Smith, and he said there must be some preaching in Washington to counteract these statements, as he was sure God had some people in that city. We first got an upper room
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of an engine house to speak in, but half, no, not a quarter of the people could get in. We had speaking then in the open air, on Pennsylvania Avenue, near that place, and gave out that there would be further services as soon as a room could be obtained. Before night some people secured the use of Carusi's saloon, one of the largest and most comfortable rooms in the city, outside the capital building, and at night there was held service. A great many of the members of Congress and the heads of departments were present, as well as Martin Van Buren. We, of the committee from Illinois, all took the speaker's desk. And when near the close, who should come into the hall but Joseph Smith himself. We speedily got him on the stand, and I had the honor of introducing him to that vast audience. He had just come in on the train from Philadelphia, and was tired, but he arose by the invitation of many who called for him, and on that occasion he uttered a prophecy, one of the most wonderful predictions of his life. He advanced to the statements made by this George C. Cookman, declaring them to be willfully and wickedly false, and that if he, Cookman, did not take it back and acknowledge that he had dealt falsely of him, his people, and his own congregation, also that he must turn and preach the truth and quit deceiving the people with fables, he should be cut off from the face of the earth, both he and his posterity. And he said that this should be so plainly manifest that all should know it. At this, many gentlemen took out of their pockets their tablets and began to take notes of the prophecy; and Mr. Smith noticing them, 'Yes,' said he, 'write it on your tablets; write it in a book; write it in your memory; for as sure as God ever spoke
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by my mouth, all these things shall come to pass.'
"Henry Clay, Felix Grundy, Tom Benton, John Q. Adams and many other celebrated characters were present at this time. Now, instead of Cookman doing according to justice and truth, he became more virulent than ever, and laid all the obstacles in our way the he could during our stay in the city. The matter appeared to be forgotten by many, and I thought often upon the subject, having taken notes also. Soon after this there was an extraordinary excitement in the religious world, and they appointed a conference of all orthodox religions to assemble in England, at a certain time, to adopt measures of harmony between all the sects; the United States were invited and accepted a part in these proceedings to break down the partition wall that separated the various churches. George C. Cookman was elected or appointed as a delegate for the District of Columbia to represent his views on the subject, standing, as he did, at the very head of the church, and Chaplain of the United States Senate. Now he, being an Englishman by birth, and his family in suitable circumstances for a pleasure trip, at the appointed time he (Cookman) thought it would be very pleasant to take his whole family with him, and this he did. Both he, his wife, and all his children went on board the steamship 'President,' and neither the ship nor a soul is left to tell what was their sad end. But the prophecy is fulfilled to the letter, and the words uttered on that occasion have never been forgotten by me, nor I presume by hundreds of others. Had Cookman gone alone, it might be charged to chance, but why was it that his whole family were suddenly cut off, both root and branch!
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"This sir, is one of many wonderful evidences that Joseph Smith was as much a prophet as Jonah, who foretold the destruction of Nineveh; or Nahum, who prophesied concerning the present locomotion for traveling; both of them took centuries and one of them thousands of years for their fulfillment, but the prophecy by Joseph Smith on George C. Cookman has been literally fulfilled in the shortest possible period; and that too in its fullness, beyond the possibility of question from any source. * * *
"I will tell you also another prophecy that Joseph Smith uttered in my presence, that has been proved true. This was in relation to Stephen A. Douglas. He said he was a giant in intellect, but a dwarf in stature, that he would yet run for President of the United States, but that he would never reach that station; that he would occupy a conspicuous place in the counsels of the nation, and have multitudes of admiring friends; and that in his place he would introduce and carry out some of the most gigantic measures in the history of the nation. This was said when Douglas was Judge in that district of Illinois, and before he ever went to Congress. Has it not been fulfilled? Did he not get Andrew Jackson's fine remitted by law, a thing that was by all considered impossible? Did he not introduce the bills for the covering of Illinois with railroads, without one cent's expense to the general government? Under his management, were not the Illinois bonds raised from a condition nearly worthless to a value nearly par with currency? Did he not rule in and through the State of Illinois, work and carry out its destiny for twenty consecutive years, more than any and all other men together? Was he not always one of
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the greatest men in the Senate? Did he not do more for the line of compromise on slavery than any other one man? Did he not say, 'and cursed be the ruthless hand that attempts to remove it?' Did he not run for President and get defeated? Did he not take the most active part in removing or breaking down that line of compromise? Let the history of Kansas and Nebraska tell the story! Did he not fulfill his destiny, and at last, on his dying bed, bequeath his children to his country, and counsel them to obey the laws and the constitution? Did he not utter these memorable words at the commencement of the rebellion, 'That there were only two parties in all the land; the one called Patriots, the other Traitors?' Was it not true? Did he not throw his adhesion to A. Lincoln at the time of deep trouble? And does he not now occupy an honored spot in the memory of his many friends, and a sacred spot in his own loved city of Chicago? Yes, this prophecy has been literally fulfilled in my day, and I bear testimony to its truth, when compared with history. * * *
"I know something about some of the leaders at Salt Lake City, and to my sorrow too, as many of them forgot to settle claims that I still hold against them. I and my whole family were driven from the city, (of Nauvoo, Author.) my property confiscated, and thousands, yes, tens of thousands of dollars worth of my property was taken and sold, and I was defrauded out of the whole by wicked and corrupt men, aided by the head men that now live in Salt Lake City. The records of my property were carried away, and never could be obtained, and I was reduced from affluence and wealth to poverty by their means. And they claim to have done all these things in obedience to the commands and will of God.
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"With consideration of very kind regards, I am, sir, yours for the truth.
"ROBERT D. FOSTER."From Saints' Herald, April 15th, 1875.
Joseph Smith, speaking of his angel visitor at the time of his early experience, said...
The remainder of this chapter has not yet been transcribed.
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being warm with the love of God..
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would take the earth for God...
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States, and the Southern States...
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"1. Was Joseph Smith, the Mormon leader, really a prophet...
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"When a knowledge of Avard's rascality came to...
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injury have been taught by Dr. Avard...
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in the fall of 1830, and continued until the autumn of 1832. During the first two years of their residence in the county, they and the citizens got along together very peacebly, and no one had any thought of a difficulty until the spring of 1833. In the latter part of 1831 the Mormons established a newspaper in Independence, called the 'Morning and Evening Star,' which was edited by one W. W. Phelps. This paper published the so-called revelations of Joseph Smith and other leading elders of the church, and other doctrines of their religion. The Mormons, as a rule, were an ignorant and a fanatical people, though there were some very intelligent men among them. The troubles of 1833, which led to their expulsion from the county, were originated by these fanatics making boasts that they intended to possess the entire county, saying that God had promised it to them and they were going to have it. This of course caused ill feeling toward them, which continued to grow more and more bitter, until the final uprising took place. One Saturday, about the middle of July, 1833, a citizens' meeting was held at the Court House in Independence, to declare what was to be done with the Mormons who were pouring into the county, and to devise some means to put a stop to their seditious boasts as to what they proposed to do, etc. This meeting determined to destroy the Mormon printing office, located a short distance south of where Chrisman & Sawyer's bank building now stands, which determination was carried into effect that afternoon.
"'Did the citizens give the Mormons any notice of what they intended to do?'
"'No, I don't think they gave them any notice whatever, but when they had determined upon destroying
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the printing office, they immediately proceeded to do it.'
"'Did the Mormons make any resistance?'
"'No, they did not. Some of them tried to argue the case, but it was of no avail. The printing office was a two story brick building, and I don't think its destruction occupied over an hour.'
"'How many citizens were engaged in the affair?'
"'I suppose there must have been over a hundred, altogether.'
"'Was there any personal violence or other indignities offered the Mormons at that time?'
"'Nothing of any particular consequence. Several were knocked down, but as a general thing the Mormons had sufficient discretion to keep out of the way.' * * *
"'Were the Mormons allowed to dispose of their lands and other property before they left the county?'
"'No, they did not have time, but afterwards, a great many came back and disposed of their lands without molestation.'
"'Did they own much property in the county?'
"'Yes, they owned a large amount of land all over Independence.' * * *
"'Do you think, colonel, that the slavery question had anything to do with the difficulties with the Mormons?'
"'No, I don't think that matter had anything to do with it. The Mormons, it is true, were northern and eastern people, and "free soilers." but they did not interfere with the negroes and we did not care whether they owned slaves or not.' * * *
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"Did the Mormons practice polygamy or advocate polygamy while in Jackson county?'
"'No, they did not. Polygamy, at that time, had not been heard of.' -- Kansas City Journal." -- Herald, June 15, 1881.
"There is probably no man in Western Missouri who is better acquainted with the various causes of the difficulties between the citizens of Jackson and Caldwell counties and the Mormons during the years of 1833 and 1838, than Gen. Alexander W. Doniphan, then a resident of Clay county, but now of Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, and there is, perhaps, no one who took such an active part in the events of those years who can now look back and relate the history of these troubles as dispassionately as he can. In view of these facts a representative of the Journal called upon Gen. Doniphan at his rooms at the Hudgins' House at Richmond, for the purpose of interviewing him upon the subject. The general, after learning the object of the visit, seemed very willing to communicate all he knew in regard to the history of the Mormon troubles, and after a few introductory remarks, related the following:
"'I came to Missouri in 1830, and located in Lexington, where I lived until April, 1833, when I removed to Liberty, Clay county. The Mormons came to Jackson county in 1830, and I met Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and Christian Whitmer, three of the Elders, in Independence, during the spring of 1831. Peter Whitmer was a tailor and I employed him to make me a suit of clothes.'
"'What kind of people were the Mormons?'
"'They were northern people, who, on account of their declining to own slaves and their denunciation of
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the system of slavery, were termed "free soilers." The majority of them were intelligent, industrious and law abiding citizens, but there were some ignorant, simple minded fanatics among them, whom the prophet said would steal.' * * * 'Governor Boggs used the expression "that the Mormons leave the state or be exterminated," whereas this order was entirely illegal. I paid no attention to it. In my report to Gov. Boggs I stated to him that I had disregarded that part of his order, as the age of extermination was over, and if I attempted to remove them to some other state, it would cause additional trouble. The Mormons commenced immediately after this to move to Nauvoo, Illinois, and I know nothing further about them. While the Mormons resided in Clay county, they were a peaceable, sober, industrious and law-abiding people, and during their stay with us not one was ever accused of a crime of any kind.'
"Gen. Doniphan is now in his seventy-third year, but is still hale and hearty. He is a man of fine appearance and intellect, and is well known and highly respected all over the State. He has resided in Richmond during the past several years. His statements as given above may be relied upon as strictly the truth in every particular. There are a few old citizens still living near Independence who were in this county during the troubles of 1833, whose statements will be given in the near future. -- Kansas City Journal." -- Herald, July 1, 1881.
Not a crime -- not even a personal misdemeanor -- of any kind could the mob find to charge the Saints with.
An account from the Western Monitor, of Fayette, Missouri, the 2d of August, 1833. In this will be
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seen the alleged grounds and all the reasons the mob could trump up in justification of their barbarous doing:
:MORMONISM!"At a meeting of the citizens of Jackson county, Missouri, called for the purpose of adopting measures to rid themselves of the sect of fanatics, called Mormons, held at Independence on the 20th day of July, 1833; which meeting was composed of gentlemen from every part of the county, there being present between four and five hundred persons.
"The meeting was organized by calling Colonel Richard Simpson to the chair, and appointing James H. Flournoy and Col. Samuel D. Lucas, secretaries. It was resolved that a committee of seven be appointed to report an address to the public, in relation to the object of this meeting; and the chair named the following gentleman, to wit: Russell Hicks Esq., Robert Johnson, Henry Chiles Esq., Colonel James Hambright, Thomas Hudspeth, Joel F. Chiles, and James M. Hunter. The meeting then adjourned; and convened again, when Robert Johnson, the chairman of said committee, submitted for the consideration of the meeting, the following address, &c.:
"This meeting, professing to act not from the excitement of the moment, but under a deep and abiding conviction, that the occasion is one that calls for cool deliberation, as well as energetic action, deem it proper to lay before the public an expose of our peculiar situation, in regard to this singular sect of pretended christians, and a solemn declaration of our unalterable determination to amend it.
"The evil is one that no one could have foreseen,
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and is therefore unprovided for by the laws, and the delays incident to legislation, would put the mischief beyond remedy.
"But little more than two years ago, some two or three of this people made their appearance in the Upper Missouri, and they now number some twelve hundred souls in this county; and each successive autumn and spring pours forth its swarm among us, with a gradual falling of the character of those who compose them; until it seems that those communities from which they come, were flooding us with the very dregs of their composition. Elevated as they mostly are, but little above the condition of our blacks either in regard to property or education; they have become a subject of much anxiety on that part, serious and well grounded complaints having been already made of their corrupting influence on our slaves.
"We are daily told, and not by the ignorant alone, but by all classes of them, that we, (the Gentiles,) of this county are to be cut off, and our lands appropriated by them for inheritances. Whether this is to be accomplished by the hand of the destroying angel, the judgments of God, or the arm of power, they are not fully agreed among themselves.
"Some recent remarks in the Evening and Morning Star, their organ in this place, by their tendency to moderate such hopes and repress such desires, show plainly that many of this deluded and infatuated people have been taught to believe that our lands were to be won from us by the sword. From this same Star we learn that for want of more honest or commendable employment, many of their society are now preaching through the states of New York, Ohio, and Illinois, and
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that their numbers are increased beyond every rational calculation; all of whom are required as soon as convenient, to come up to Zion, which name they have thought proper to confer on our little village. Most of those who have already come, are characterized by the profoundest ignorance, the grossest superstition, and the most abject poverty.
"Indeed, it is a subject of regret by the 'Star' itself, that they have come not only to lay an inheritance, which means some fifteen acres of wild land for each family, but destitute of the means of procuring bread and meat. When we reflect on the extensive field in which the sect is operating, and that there exists in every country a leaven of superstition that embraces with avidity, notions the most extravagant and unheard of, and that whatever can be gleaned by them from the perils of vice, and the abodes of ignorance, it is to be cast like a waif into our social circle, it requires no gift of prophecy to tell that the day is not far distant when the civil government of the country will be in their hands. When the sheriff, the justices, and the county judges will be Mormons, or persons wishing to court their favor from motives of interest or ambition.
"What would be the fate of our lives and property, in the hands of jurors and witnesses, who do not blush to declare, and would not upon occasion hesitate to swear that they have wrought miracles, and have been the subjects of miraculous and supernatural cures; have conversations with God and his angels, and possess and exercise the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, and fired with the prospect of obtaining inheritances without money and without price, may be better imagined than described. * * *
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"One of the means resorted to by them, in order to drive us to emigrate, is an indirect invitation to the free brethren of color in Illinois, to come up, like the rest, to the land of Zion.-True, they say this was not intended to invite, but to prevent their emigration; but this weak attempt to quiet our apprehension, is but a poor compliment to our understandings. The article alluded to, contained an extract from our laws, and all necessary directions and cautions to be observed by colored brethren, to enable them upon their arrival here, to claim and exercise the rights of citizenship. Contemporaneous with the appearance of this article, was the expectation among the brethren here, that a considerable number of this degraded cast were only awaiting this information before they should set out on their journey. With the corrupting influence of these on our slaves, and the stench both physical and moral, that their introduction would set afloat in our social atmosphere, and the vexation that would attend the civil rule of these fanatics, it would require neither a visit from the destroying angel, nor the judgments of an offended God to render our situation here insupportable. True, it may be said, and truly no doubt, that the fate that has marked the rise and fall of Joanna Southcote and Ann Lee, will also attend the progress of Joe Smith; but this is no opiate to our fears, for when the fabric falls, the rubbish will remain.
"Of their pretended revelations from heaven -- their personal intercourse with God and his angels -- the maladies they pretend to heal by the laying on of hands-and the contemptible gibberish with which they habitually profane the Sabbath, and which they dignify with the appellation of unknown tongues, we have nothing to say, vengeance belongs to God alone. But as to the
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other matters set forth in this paper, we feel called on by every consideration of self preservation, good society, public morals, and the fair prospects, that if not blasted in the germ, await this young and beautiful county, at once to declare, and we do hereby most solemnly declare:
"That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county.
"That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice.
"That the editor of the 'Star' be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same.
"That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisition.
"That those who fail to comply with these requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them.
"Which address being read and considered, was unanimously adopted. And thereupon it was resolved that a committee of twelve be appointed forthwith to
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wait on the Mormon leaders, and see that the foregoing requisitions are strictly complied with by them; and upon their refusal, that said committee do, as the organ of this county, inform them that it is our unwavering purpose and fixed determination, after the fullest considerations of all the consequences and responsibilities under which we act, to use such means as shall ensure their full and complete adoption, and that said committee, so far as may be within their power, report to this present meeting. And the following gentlemen were named as said committee:
"Robert Johnson, James Campbell, Colonel Moses Wilson, Joel F. Chiles, Hon. Richard Fristoe, Abner F. Staples, Gan Johnson, Lewis Franklin, Russell Hicks, Esq., Colonel S. D. Lucas, Thomas Wilson, and James M. Hunter, to whom was added Colonel R. Simpson, chairman.
"And after an adjournment of two hours, the meeting again convened, and the committee of twelve reported that they had called on Mr. Phelps, the editor of the Star, Edward Partridge, the bishop of the sect, and Mr. Gilbert, the keeper of the Lord's store house, and some others, and they declined giving any direct answer to the requisitions made of them, and wished an unreasonable time for consultation, not only with their brethren here, but in Ohio.
"Whereupon it was unanimously resolved by the meeting, that the Star printing office should be razed to the ground, the type and press secured. Which resolution was, with the utmost order, and the least noise and disturbance possible, forthwith carried into execution, as also some other steps of a similar tendency; but no blood was spilled nor any blows inflicted. The meeting
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then adjourned till the 23d inst., to meet again to know further concerning the determination of the Mormons.
"Resolved that a copy of these proceedings be posted up at the post office in this place, for the information of all concerned; and that the secretaries of this meeting send copies of the same to the principal editors in the eastern and middle states for publication, that the Mormon brethren may know at a distance that the gates of Zion are closed against them-that their interests will be best promoted by remaining among these who know and appreciate their merits.
RICHARD SIMPSON, Chairman.
S. D. Lucas, }
J. H. Flournoy, } Secretaries. Times and Seasons, vol. 6, pp. 832, 833, 834.
In the official address of Major General Clark to the forces driving the Saints out of Missouri, November, 1838, he said: "It now devolves upon you to fulfill the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I shall now lay before you. The first requires that your leading men be given up to be tried according to law. Second, that you deliver up your arms -- this has been attended to. The third is that you sign over your properties to defray the expenses of the war -- this you have also done. Another article yet remains for you to comply with, and that is, that you leave the state forthwith; and whatever may be your feelings concerning this, or whatever your innocence, it is nothing to me"
[ 334 ]
"DEAR SIR: -- One week ago today I arrived in this city, to look after the interests of the Reorganized Church in its action in the state courts, to recover the possession of the Kirtland Temple property, in Lake county, * * *
"So far, among the former acquaintances of Joseph Smith, Jr., I have failed to find one who will say that he was not a good citizen and an honest man. 'Joe Smith,' they say, 'was an honorable man and a gentleman in every particular, let the histories say what they may,' Now, if these things are true, history greatly belies the man and in the eternal fitness of things, time must correct the false and fickle stories and vindicate his memory. My information is derived from such men as Messrs. Quinn, Storm, Burrows and Axtell, who are foremost citizens of the country. These parties say that among some of the fanatical and ignorant there is existing great prejudice and hatred against the early Mormons, and I have found in Kirtland two persons who are terribly bitter, but neither of these had any
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 335.
acquaintances with the parties and base their knowledge on the 'stories told.' One of these is the present pastor of the Methodist church in Kirtland, and who us now under the charge of being not only a fanatic, but crazy, and his congregation ask his removal; the other, a Mr. Harvey, of Kirtland, a member of the Baptist Church, but ignorant, can neither read nor write, and abuses his own wife for differing from him in religion, and teaches his children to abuse their mother.
"As a sample of my testimony I give you my conversation with I. P. Axtell, Esq., a large farmer and director in the First National Bank of Painesville for many years; a man of energy and experience, and as early as 1844, a member of the Whig convention at Baltimore, which nominated Henry Clay for President. The conversation was as follows:
"Q. -- When did you come to this country, Mr. Axtell?
"A. -- My father moved here with his family in the year 1830. I was but a boy then.
"Q. -- What was your father's business?
"A. -- He was a Baptist minister, and kept a hotel then.
"Q. -- Did you know Joseph Smith?
"A. -- Yes, sir. I have seen him many a time; he was often at my father's house; and I with many young people, often went to Kirtland to see him and his people. I knew his father also, who at the time I knew him had charge of the Kirtland Temple. He took me with others through the Temple at one time; he appeared to be a fine old man.
"Q. -- When did your father become acquainted with Mr. Smith?
336. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"A. -- In about six weeks after he came to the county he first met him; he went out of his way one day six miles to see Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. He said he found them in Kirtland township, they had been there but a short time and occupied a small log house. He found them to be quite intelligent men, and he said pleasant talkers, and quite free to converse upon their religious views, which at that time was known as the 'new sect.' My father always said Joseph Smith was a conscientious and upright man.
"Q. -- Did you know any other persons of the new society?
"A. -- O, yes, a great many. I knew Mr. Pratt very well. He was a smart and a square man all around. These men were neither knaves nor rogues; that is my opinion of them. I suppose some of them may have been. It was just as in all bodies of the kind, there will be some bad ones, but I don't know of any that were. There were a good many stories circulated about them that I knew to be false. At one time an ox was found in Kirtland township, killed and skinned; and there was a great to do about the Mormons having killed it. My brother was sheriff at the time, and with others went up to investigate the matter, and he says that there was not the least evidence which showed that the Mormons had any hand in killing the ox. Persons around, however, who hated their religion would tell that they did.
"Q. -- How was it that people did not like them? Were they not good citizens?
"A. -- Yes, they were as good citizens as those of any society. It was the fanatics in religion that tried to drive those men out. There were a great many conservative men,
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 337.
men in our county at that time who held these fanatics back, and if it had not been for this they would have gone in and killed them all. But our intelligent and honorable citizens prevented this.
"Q. -- What about the Kirtland Bank swindle? Mr. Axtell, you are a banker, and know how that was, do you not?
"A. -- Yes, I know about that bank; they started in Kirtland. These parties went into the banking business as a great many others in the state of Ohio and other states. They got considerable money out at first, and their enemies began to circulate all manner of stories against them and as we had a great many banks then that issued what was known as "wild cat" money, the people began to get alarmed at so many stories, and would take the other banks' issue instead of the Kirtland; and so much of it was forced in at once that the bank was not able to take it up. Had the people let those people alone there is no reason that I know of why the Kirtland bank should not have existed to this time, and on as stable a basis as other banks.
"Q. -- Then you think it was the fault of the enemies of the bank that it failed?
"A. -- Yes, I do; and it was not the only one that failed either by a good many, and with which Smith had nothing to do.
"Q. -- What then do you consider the prime causes of the expulsion o the Mormons from Kirtland?
"A. -- The ignorance and fanaticism of their accusers did it; they thought public sentiment would tolerate it and they did it. The same as Roger Williams was driven out and the witches burned in Massachusetts. My position is that no fanatic, either in
338. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
religion or politics, should be permitted to hold an office of trust in this country.'
"The above is a fair average sample of the testimony of those I have met and talked with as to the character of the early Mormons in this county, among those who lived here and knew these people. A gentleman of Willoughby, this county, suggested to me, that another reason was, their persecutors wanted their property, and said he, 'They got from them thousands of dollars worth too.' After canvassing the sentiment here of these men, I feel a good deal like Col. R. G. Ingersoll when he offered the gold for the evidence of Tom Paine's dying declarations; and I now affirm that if any of the great newspapers of the day, like the Chicago Times, Tribune, or Inter-Ocean wish to test the truth of the statements and publish the facts by a correspondent through their columns, I will undertake the task of accompanying their correspondent and if the general integrity, uprightness, honesty and patriotism, of these men are not maintained by the evidence, I will forfeit to the one so publishing one hundred dollars in gold. A letter will reach me at any time directed, Glenwood, Iowa.
Hastily, I am very respectfully yours,
SAMUEL MURDOCK PROTESTS."Elkader, Iowa, April 13th, 1893.
"Editor Dubuque Daily Times:
DEAR SIR: -- In your article on the Mormon Church contained in your daily issue of April 12, you say: 'It was founded by an ignorant, dissipated member of a vicious family which had a well-earned reputation
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 339.
of being thieves and drunkards, etc.' Knowing your reputation for kindness, fairness, and sympathy, I do not believe that you would willfully or knowingly inflict a pang or a pain in the bosom of any one of our fellow creatures unless it was done without a knowledge on your part of the true facts in any case.
"I have no more sympathy or feeling for either branch of the Mormon Church than you have, but I have a strong sympathetic feeling, and friendship for some of the Smith family who are still living, and to whom your language above quoted does great injustice, and I also know that when you hear from me a few facts, your kindness will prompt you to repair in some manner the wrong you have inflicted upon them.
"Kirtland is situated in the country in which I was raised from youth to manhood, and at the time Smith and his Mormons settled there I was nearly a man grown, and some of them were my immediate neighbors, with whose children I was often schoolmates, and I often met their prophet, Joseph Smith, although I was not personally acquainted with him. I was, however, intimately acquainted with Mr. Cowdery, one of his scribes, and to whom I was indebted for his special kindness to me, as well as for the many lessons of instruction I received from him as my preceptor in the schoolroom, and a Mormon as he was, I shall ever cherish his memory. A more amiable, generous, kind-hearted man, I have not met since. I lived among the daily talk and excitement of the 'New Faith' or 'Latter Day Saints,' as they were sometimes called at that time. From the time they settled in my county until they left it, I must say that during all that time I never heard Joseph Smith called a thief, a drunkard or a vicious
340. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
man, even by his worst enemies, and my recollection of him to this late day is that he was a tall, graceful, good looking man, continually wearing a smile on his face for everyone, and that he was a kind-hearted, generous friend and companion, and that it was his winning manners by which he succeeded more than anything else.
"Dupe, impostor, crazy fanatic, were the common words applied to him by the Gentiles of these days, but never thief, drunkard, or vicious.
"But all this is not where your language referred to, cuts the deepest, and inflicts the most pain, for this same Joseph Smith has a brother, the Rev. William B. Smith, who is one of the old pioneers of Clayton county, and who is still living among us, and a man whom I have known for nearly forty years, and for nearly half of that time, he has lived within a stone's throw of my swelling, and I do know that the citizens of Elkader, and those of the county generally, will sustain me when I say there is not a single stain upon his character. A kind, honest, just, and upright man is his life long reputation here.
"He has preached to us, lectured to us, pronounced funeral services over our dead, sat upon our juries, mingled in our conversations, acted as chaplain on our national holidays, and may be seen mingling with his fellows at every reunion of both the old settlers and the G. A. R., and, although he is a strong defender of his brothers, and a devoted Mormon of the anti-polygamy sect, yet, unless he is drawn out, no one would ever know from any of his public or private talk that he was a Mormon. When the first gun was fired on Fort Sumpter he took the stump to arouse the people to the impending danger, and then shouldered his
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 341.
ride, bid adieu to his family, enlisted in the Union army, and when the war was over came him with an honorable discharge. He has raised up in this county a bright and honorable family, all of whom are doing well, and not one of whom has ever caused him to blush, and it is here again where the language of your article cuts like a knife. Deluded as they were, there was among the Mormons the best and noblest of mankind, and where they missed it, was by admitting among them without knowing it, rascals, horse thieves, and murderers, and then defending them without investigation on the belief that the charge against them was Gentile persecution.
CITIZENS OF PALMYRA, NEW YORK, INTERVIEWED.Elders W. H. and E. L. Kelley, having visited and interviewed the old settlers in and around Palmyra, New York, reported the following to the Saints' Herald, regarding what they learned about Joseph Smith and his family associations.
"Here is where they lived, and where, the stories say, lived those who knew of their bad character, etc. We were among some of their old neighbors, all unbelievers in the faith they taught and we remembered
342. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
some of the names of the parties published by their enemies as knowing facts against them, and determined to "brand the lion in his den," and hear the worst, let it hurt whom it would. So we set about in good earnest, to interview, if possible, all of those referred to by the enemies of these men, as having knowledge of them; and with one writing during each interview, we obtained the following as the result:
"Having the names of Messrs. Bryant, Booth, and Reed, obtained from a published communication in the Cadillac News, of Michigan, about a year ago, by Reverend A. Marsh, of that place, who had received it from a brother reverend, one C. C. Thorn, of Manchester, New York, who claimed to have interviewed the above-named gentlemen, and obtained from them wonderful revelations about the Smith family, Cowdery, etc.; making Mr. Bryant to say that Smith was a "lazy, drinking fellow, loose in his habits every way," and Mr. Booth to say that their reputation was "bad," and that Oliver Cowdery was a "law pettifogger," and a "cat's-paw of the Smiths, to do their dirty work," etc.; and Mr. Reed to say, "they were too low for him to associate with," with a recitation of the black sheep story, etc.; all of whom were "astonished beyond measure" at the progress of this "imposture, which they thought would not amount to anything." All of which was sent to Reverend A. Marsh, of Cadillac, in order to counteract the influence which had been created in favor of the faith in that place, by the efforts of M. H. Bond and myself.
"Believing then that the whole story was a trumped-up thing, I was determined to call on those gentlemen, and ascertain whether this pious Reverend told the truth about what they said or not.
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 343.
"At about 10 a.m. we called at the house of Mr. Bryant, and knocked at the door, which was answered by a lady who gave her name as Mary Bryant. She gave us seats in the room where her husband, William Bryant, was sitting. He is now eighty-five years of age, tall, and lean in flesh, and, during our interview, sat in a stooping posture, with open mouth. His wife informed us that for the last few years his mind had been somewhat impaired. She has a good memory, is seventy-five years of age, intelligent, and seemingly a great talker. We announced that the purpose of our visit was to ascertain some facts from the old settlers with reference to the people known as Mormons, who used to live there, as it is understood to have been the home of the Smith family and others, at the time the Book of Mormon is alleged to have been discovered.
"To this Mr. Bryant in a slow voice replied, "Yes, that big hill you saw coming along, is where they say Joe Smith got the plates; you must have seen it coming along. Well, you can't find out much from me; I don't know much about them myself; I have seen Joe Smith once or twice; they lived about five miles from where I did; was not personally acquainted with any of them -- never went to any of their meetings, and never heard one preach.'
"What do you know about the character of the family? How were they for honesty? Were they industrious or lazy? We want to know their character among their old neighbors.
"'Well, I don't know about that. I never saw them work; the people thought young Joe was a great liar.'
"What made them think that?
344. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"'They thought he lied when he said he found that gold bible.'
"Before this what was thought of him, as to his telling the truth?
"'I never heard anything before this.'
"What else did he lie about? And how did he get the name of being such a great liar?
"'The people said he lied about finding the plates; I don't know whether he lied about anything else; they were all a kind of a low, shiftless set.'
"What do you mean by that?
"'The people said they were awful poor, and poor managers. Joe was an illiterate fellow. If you come from Palmyra, you could have got Tucker's work there, and it would have told you all about them. I have read a great deal about them.'
"Yes; we have seen Tucker's work, but there are too many big stories in that. Thinking people don't believe them; they ridicule them, and demand the facts; we wish to get some facts which we can stand by.
"'I don't know anything myself: I wish I did. Have you been to see Mr. Reed? He lives up north of Manchester; he knows.'
"Mrs. Bryant. -- 'My husband don't know anything about them; they did not live in the same neighborhood that we did, and he was not acquainted with them; he don't know anything.'
"Well, were they drunkards?
"Mr. Bryant -- 'Everybody drank whiskey in them times.'
"Did you ever see Joe Smith drunk, or drinking?
'No, I can't say that I did; I only saw him once or twice, when he came to the woolen mill where I worked.'
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 345.
"Did you not see Joe drink sometime?
"Mrs. Bryant. -- 'He ought not to say anything, for he knows nothing about them; then it has been a long time ago.'
"Have you stated now all you know about them?
"Mr. Bryant. -- 'Yes; I never knew much about them, anyway.'
"Did you know any of their associates -- Cowdery, Harris, or others?
"'No, I never knew any of them.'
"Mrs. Bryant. -- 'I knew Cowdery; Lyman Cowdery, I believe, was his name. They lived next door to us; they were low shacks, -- he was a lawyer, -- he was always on the wrong side of every case, they said.'
"Did he ever teach school?
"'No, not this one.'
"Did you know any other one?
'No, I only knew this one and his family; I know they borrowed my churn once, and when it came home, I had to scour it all over before I used it. My father owned the largest house there was in the country at that time.'
"How were they about being honest, and telling the truth?
"'I don't remember anything about that, now.'
"Were they religious people -- pious?
"'No; they did not belong to any church; I know they didn't, for there were only two churches there, the Baptist and Methodist, -- sometimes the Universalists preached there, -- they did not belong to either of those churches.'
"Mr. Bryant. -- "He (Cowdery), was strong against
346. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
the Masons; he helped to write Morgan's book, they said.'
"What do you know, now, about the Smiths, or others; you have lived here about seventy-five years, have you not, Mrs. Bryant?
"'Yes, I have lived here all my life; but I never knew anything about the Smiths myself; you will find it all in Tucker's work. I have read that. Have you been to see Mr. Booth? He lives right up here, on the road running south; he knows all about them, they say.'
"Very good; we will call and see him. Thank you for your kindness in allowing us to trouble you.
"'Oh, it is no trouble; I wish we knew more to tell you.'
"We then called upon Mr. David Booth, an intelligent gentleman, hale and hearty, and upwards of seventy years of age -- and made known our business.
"Mr. Booth promptly stated that he knew nothing of the Smiths, or their character; did not live in their neighborhood, and never saw either of them; did not know anything about them, or their book.
"Did you know the Cowderys?
"'I knew one -- the lawyer.'
"What kind of a character was he?
"'A low pettifogger.'
"What do you mean by that?
"'Why, he was not a regular lawyer, but took small cases and practiced before justices of the peace. We call them pettifoggers here.'
"What was his given name?
"'Lyman; he never taught school; guess he was no church member; he was a Mason; that was all there was to him. They called him "loose Cowdery."'
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 347.
"What did they mean by that?
"'Why, he would take small cases; would be on the wrong side, and pettifog before justices, was the reason, I suppose.'
"Are you certain his name was Lyman? Wasn't it Oliver?
"'It has been a long time ago. I think maybe his name was Oliver.'
"Did he drink?
"'Everybody drank then. I never saw Cowdery drink.'
"Mr. Bryant, here in the village, told us that he was a strong anti-Mason, and helped to write Morgan's work.
"'Oh, that is all nonsense; they don't know anything about it. Mr. Bryant hasn't been here more than thirty-five years; his wife was raised here -- is his second wife. Cowdery was a strong Mason, so they all said; that is all the religion he had.'
"Do you know Reverend Thorn, a Presbyterian minister at Manchester?
"'Yes; I know him.'
"What kind of a fellow is he?
"'He is a pretty sharp fellow, and will look after his bread and butter, you may depend on that.'
"Did he ever interview you on this subject?
"'No, sir; he never did.'
"Did he not call to see what you knew about the Smiths and Cowderys about a year ago?
"'No, he never did to my recollection.'
"Did you know he had a statement of yours published in Michigan in regard to this, last year?
".No, sir; I never heard of it before.'
348. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"Did you ever give him one to publish?
"'I never did -- did not know he wanted one.'
"He will look out for himself, will he?
"'He will that; that is him.'
"You have lived here all your life. Tell us of someone who can tell us all about the people we wish to learn about -- some of the old settlers.
"'Squire Pierce and Mr. Reed live a few miles north from here, in the neighborhood where the Smiths lived; they know all about them they say. The Smiths never lived in this neighborhood.'
"Do you know Thomas H. Taylor, of Manchester?
"What kind of a fellow is he?
"'He is a pretty smart fellow; can do most anything he undertakes; he is a lawyer, and lectures sometimes.'
"Mr. Booth, we were told, is a Free Methodist. His address is Shortsville, Ontario County, New York.
"Following the directions of Mr. Booth, we re-passed the town of Manchester, and at one o'clock p.m., arrived at the house of Ezra Pierce, a very pleasant and hospitable New York farmer, quite well- informed in the political history of the country, especially on the Democratic side. Approaching the subject of the desired interview to him, he quickly answered by saying:
"'Well, gentlemen, I must first ask you a question; because I went on to give my statement to some parties once, and as it did not suit them, they got mad and began to abuse and insult me; said that I lied about it. Let me ask: Are you Mormons?'
E. L. -- I am a lawyer, myself; this other gentleman can speak for himself. We don't propose to be
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 349.
anything, especially during this interview; we are here to try to find out some facts, and we don't care who they hit; it is facts that we are after, and you may be sure there will be no abuse, no matter which side they are on.
"'All right; that's fair; go ahead.'
"Were you acquainted with the Smith family?
"'Oh, yes; I pulled sticks with Joe for a gallon of brandy once at a log rolling; he was about my age. I was born in 1806. I lived about three miles from the Smiths. Was not very well acquainted with them; but knew them when I saw them. I knew young Joe, who claimed to have found the plates, and old Joe, his father.'
"Did young Joe drink?
"'Everybody drank them times.'
"Did you ever see young Joe drink?
"'No, I never did; it was customary in those early days for everybody to drink, more or less. They would have it at huskings, and in the harvest field, and places of gathering; the Smiths did not drink more than others.'
"What about Joe's learning?
"'I know that he was ignorant; and he knew no more about hieroglyphics than that stove,' pointing to the stove in the room.
"Well; go on and state what kind of a family they were -- all about them.
"'They were poor, and got along by working by the day; the old man had a farm up there, and a log house upon it. The old man Smith and Hyrum were coopers; I never went to the same school that the boys did -- they dug for money sometimes; young Joe, he had a stone that he could look through and see where
350. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
the money was; there were a good many others who dug with them, and Joe used to play all kinds of tricks upon them.'
"Who said they dug for money?
"'Oh, I have heard it lots of times. If my brother was living, he could tell you all about it.'
"Others dug besides the Smiths, did they?
"'Yes; there were others who dug; but I always heard that the Smiths dug the most; one of the Chase's, a young lady, had a stone which she claimed she could look through and see money buried.'
"Did anybody dig for her?
"'Yes; I guess they did. They said so.'
"Then young Joe had some opposition in the seeing-money business?
"'That is what everybody said.'
"Who was this Miss Chase? Where does she live?
"'She is dead now; she was a sister to Abel Chase, who lives upon the Palmyra Road. Have you seen him? He will know all about this. He has been in the cave with the Smiths where the sheep bones were found -- people used to think they were making counterfeit money.'
"Did you ever see any of it?
"Did any of the neighbors?
"'No; I never heard any say they did.'
"Did anyone ever catch them trying to pass counterfeit money?
"'No; oh! I don't say they made any; it was only talked around.'
"Who talked it; their friends or enemies, and when was it talked?
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 351.
"'Well; they were not their friends, of course; I never heard it while they lived here; after they went to Kirtland, Ohio, people were talking it.'
"Young lady, a daughter of Mr. Pierce:
"'The sheets, the sheets, Pa; what was it about the sheets? Ma said old Mr. Smith come here with the sheets -- and she told him to leave. How was it?' (looking to other members of the house).
"The sheets; what kind of sheets? (I began to think of ghosts and hobgoblins).
"'The sheets, or the leaves, he was carrying around in an old sack, or something.'
"Our feelings were relieved somewhat when we learned, on further inquiry, that Mr. Smith had called upon them when the Book of Mormon was first published, with a few unbound volumes for sale, and was ordered out of the house by "Ma;" nothing like ghosts being connected with the event.
"Squire, did you really think they were in the counterfeit money business?
"'No; I never thought they did that.'
"Tell us about the cave you spoke of.
"'The cave is over there in the hill now -- a large cave.'
"In what hill? The hill they call "Mormon" Hill?
"'No; it is about a mile from that; but what are you so particular about it for?'
"We want to go and see it -- we want to see the thing itself. Now you have been there; give us the description, while we write it down, so that we can find it.
"'No; I never saw it; besides it is all caved in now, so you could not see anything. There is no cave there now, it is all fallen in.'
352. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"The young lady. -- 'Well, why are you so particular for, anyway; what good will it do?'
"We wish to know just how much truth there is to these stories; and get some facts that we can stand on.
Y. L. -- "But what good will it do?'
"Just this; there have been a great many stories told about these people, and the finding of the plates; some believe there is truth in the stories, and some believe they are lies. We are investigating the matter to satisfy ourselves what there is in it.
"Y. L. -- 'Now, you had better turn your backs upon it, and let it go; that is the way to do, there is no truth in it.'
"That is just the thing at issue. Some say there is truth in it, some say there isn't. It is right to investigate and prove all things; and we wish to find what there is in this.
"Y. L. -- 'But what good will it do to find out the truth about the Book of Mormon?'
"If it is what it claims to be, we wish to know it; if false, we wish evidence to prove that. "Y. L. -- 'What; you spending your time trying to find out about that? If I only knew where your wives are, I would write to them and let them know just what you are doing.'
"All right; do so. (Here we gave our names and addresses).
"Did you ever read that book?
"Y. L. -- 'No; I never saw one.'
"Well, I have; and there is something strikingly strange about it. It is certain that no one, or multitude of men, ever possessed sufficient inventive genius to produce it, or one similar to it, and have it so perfect
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 353.
in its doctrinal teachings, history and general makeup, as to baffle the skill of learned critics to detect the error and deceptions. This book bids defiance to the whole learned world to prove it false; did you ever think of that?
"Y. L. -- 'No; but what good will it do, if it is true?'
"If really true; Joseph Smith obtained the plates, and men are telling falsehoods about him; and there has been a divine communication from heaven in our own day, which is contrary to the whole of the traditionary religious belief of the age. It unites with the testimony given in the Bible concerning Jesus being the Christ; and that he is indeed, the Redeemer of the world; hence, another witness testifying in favor of His mission and work. Quite a necessary thing, when we take into consideration the unbelief and skepticism there is in the world at the present time, and it is on the increase. Then it is very gratifying and instructive to know about the ancient inhabitants of this country, their origin, habits of life, form of government, laws and religion.
"Y. L. -- 'But does this book teach the same as the Bible -- our Bible?'
"The teachings of the two books are the same so far as religious duties and life are concerned. Besides it is urged that many prophecies of the Bible refer to the coming forth of this book, and we confess that we are not enabled to explain satisfactorily the passages referred to, in any other light.
"Y. L. -- 'Why, what are some of them? I never heard of that before.'
"The twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah is one directly in point, where the prophet speaks with reference to a
354. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
sealed book coming forth, the words of which were to be delivered to a learned man, but he could not be able to read them, and the book itself was to be delivered to an unlearned man, and he would be enabled to read it. Also the stick of Joseph in the land of Ephraim, recorded in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel. It is interpreted by the learned that the stick of Judah, there mentioned is the Bible; and the Latter-day Saints hold the stick of Joseph referred to, is the Book of Mormon. Then in the tenth of John, where Jesus says: 'Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold,' etc. relates to Israelitish people who had come to this continent, and were unknown to the Jews, but known to Jesus. It is held, too, that the fourteenth chapter of the book of Revelations refers to this event, where John saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach to all people, just previous to the hour of God's judgment; and many other passages. Did you never read them?
"Y. L. -- 'No; write some of them down, and I will examine them.' (Here we wrote down some references.)
"Y. L. -- 'Doesn't this book teach polygamy?'
"Oh, no; it is much more outspoken and emphatic against that sin than the Bible (quoting a passage from the Book of Jacob). The people in Utah, known as Mormons, treat it as you would a last year's almanac. They say it was good in its time, but they have outgrown it.
"Y. L .-- 'Are there any other people who believe in that book?'
"Yes, the Latter-day Saints, who may be found in almost every State and Territory in the Union, and
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 355.
other parts of the world. An intelligent class of people, who have taken pains to examine all sides relating to this subject, and have become convinced that there is truth in it. They do not believe in going to Utah; neither are they more like them in faith and doctrine than are the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. They have a publishing house at Plano, Illinois, about fifty-six miles from Chicago, and are an orderly class of people. It was very easy for people in the days of Jesus to say that He was an impostor -- was possessed of the devil -- born of fornication -- a glutton and a wine bibber; an enemy of mankind generally, but He was true, and the Christ just the same. Sensible people examined into the facts, then, relating to Him, and his doctrine, and the foolish were moved by gossip, stories and popular rumor, until they raised their hands and rejected the best friend of the human race. It is just as easy for people to cry in this age "old Joe Smith -- Gold Bible -- Money digger, Impostor," etc. But what are the facts in the case? That is what we wish to know. I am a Latter-day Saint minister myself, not of choice, but from conviction, by force of evidence adduced on that side of the question; I expect to continue to be one until convinced that it is not right, and it will take something more than stories to do it.
"The Squire. -- 'Well, if he believes that Joe Smith was a prophet, that's enough; you can't do anything with him. I never knew one to change yet.'
"No, Squire, what do you know about it?
"'I don't know anything about it.'
"Now, I am ready to affirm that the Book of Mormon is a work of divine authenticity, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; and I say that I can
356. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
prove it from the Bible and other evidences, and am willing to undertake to do it right here, or in Palmyra, or Manchester, where it is admitted the thing first started.
"Y. L. -- 'Why, I don't believe you would be safe to do that here.'
"You don't? Have you such a class of people here, that they will break the laws of the country, and refuse liberty of speech and conscience? Don't dare to speak my sentiments in a country in which I have followed the flag, and bore arms for its defense, in order to continue a perpetual union? A country in which every ounce of powder and pound of lead is pledged to maintain human rights and religious equality and freedom?"
"'Oh, I guess they would let you, too; I will take that back. It is right to let all have the privilege of speaking their minds.'
"Of course, Squire, I should not expect you to believe in this, for it is difficult for anyone to believe a matter without evidence; and you say you never heard one of them preach; never attended their meetings; never read one of their books, and have read a great many things written against them. Now would any of us have ever believed in Jesus if we had never read anything that he and the apostles said; never read any of their books; but just took the stories their enemies circulated about them -- read the books put out by the pretended pious Jews against them? And don't you know that it is from that standpoint that the Jews reject Jesus and the teachings of the apostles, unto this day? They say they have hundreds of witnesses to one that Jesus was a lawbreaker, and a deceiver; and the apostles false witnesses.
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 357.
"'Yes, that is true.'
"Y. L. -- 'Can you speak in tongues and prophesy?'
"Suppose I can't, what has that to do with the principle? Jesus says, "These signs shall follow them that believe.' It is in the Bible. I am not responsible for it.
"'But can you speak in tongues? That is my question.'
"I have heard a great many of the Saints speak in tongues and interpret. Have heard them speak in prophecy, and have seen the sick healed many times.
"'But can you prophesy and speak in tongues?'
"Well, what would you think, if I was to tell you that I can?
"'Why, I should say you was crazy.'
"That is just what I thought.
"'We have institutions in which ministers are educated now, and we don't need such things.'
"Yes, I know there are a good many who seem to think they know more than Paul and Peter did about Christ and his doctrine: have gone on to invent creeds and systems; but did you never think that this is the greatest evil of the age--the very thing that keeps men in fetters, ignorance and superstition. Here is a Roman Catholic institution, that educates its priests to teach Catholicism; and after they go through the training, they know nothing else; hence, start out in their little groove to make Catholics. They do not know anything else, nor will they listen to others, in order that they may become informed. It is the abominable system of training is the difficulty. Take the Methodist ministers, or Baptist, or Episcopalian, or Quakers, or Disciples, or Adventists, or others; and each has to
358. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
pass through their respective institutions of training; and when through, they start out, not to preach what is in the Bible, for many of them are forbidden to talk doctrine, but to proselyte to their peculiar creeds; fortify and build them up. One to teach sprinkling for baptism; another pouring, or immersion; another no baptism at all, or only that of the Spirit; one that you must keep Sunday, and others, Saturday; another that you will be saved by works; another by faith and grace, without works; one sprinkles infants, and others don't; all owing to what school he was educated in. If any courageous spirit endeavors to break away from the creed, they will whip him into the traces, or throw him out. There is no genuine Christian unity and love between them, but each rejoices at the other's downfall, for the sake of the advantage; not because it is according to the Bible, but according to the Creed.
"'Well, I guess there is a good deal of truth in that.'
"In this age of the conflict of ideas and investigation, people are getting tired of myths, and are digging deep and searching for facts in religion as well as everything else. If religion is a truth, the facts should show it; if false, the world ought to know that. We believe in discussion -- 'proving all things, and holding fast that which is good.' Hearing everybody; investigating everything possible. But we must go.
"Mr. Pierce having referred us to Mr. Reed, Orlando Saunders, and Abel Chase, we took leave of him and his intelligent family, and called next at the residence of Mr. Orin Reed.
"He was at his home, doing some work about the barn. He is a gentleman of about seventy years of age,
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 359.
hard of hearing, and of pleasant and intelligent countenance. Breaking the object of our call to him, he readily informed us that he knew nothing whatever in regard to the character of Joseph Smith, or his family.
"Mr. Reed; were you not acquainted with the Smith family, or some of those early connected with them?
"'No, I was not. I lived in the town of Farmington when the Smiths lived here. I knew nothing about any of them; was not personally acquainted with them, and never heard any of them preach, nor never attended any of their meetings. I have seen Hyrum Smith. He bought a piece of land near here, and lived on it sometime after the others left; but I don't know anything against him.'
"We were given your name by a number of persons, who claimed that you did know all about them, Mr. Reed.
"'Is that so? Well, they are mistaken; I don't know anything about it. I think Mr. Orlando Saunders, living up on the road to Palmyra, will know more about that people than anyone around here. He was better acquainted with them; or lived right by them, and had a better opportunity of knowing them.'
"Yes, we have his name already; but have not seen him yet. Do you know Mr. Thorn, the Presbyterian minister at Manchester, over here?
"'Yes, I know him slightly.'
"Did you not make a statement to him in regard to the character of these men; that they were low persons, and not good associates, or something of the kind?
"'I never did.'
360. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"Did he call on you to find out what you knew about it?
"'No, sir, he never did; at least he never let me know anything about it, if he did.'
"Did you ever see a statement he sent to Michigan, last year, and had published, purporting to be what you and others knew about the Smiths and Cowderys?
"'No, I never did; did not know that one was ever published before.'
"You think we can find out about these persons from Mr. Saunders, then, Mr. Reed?
'Yes; he is more likely to know than anyone round here.'
"Leaving Mr. Reed, we at once drove to the house of Mr. Orlando Saunders, and found that gentleman, with his wife and two sons, at supper. Mr. Saunders is a man seventy-eight years old, in April 1881; a fair type of the intelligent New York farmer; seemingly well-to-do in this world's goods, and quite active for a man of his years; and withal, has an honest and thoughtful face.
"Entering upon conversation with reference to our business, Mr. Saunders at once said:
"'Well, you have come to a poor place to find out anything. I don't know anything against these men, myself.' (Evidently judging that we wanted to get something against them, only.)
"Were you acquainted with them, Mr. Saunders?
"'Yes, sir; I knew all of the Smith family well; there were six boys; Alvin, Hyrum, Joseph, Harrison, William, and Carlos, and there were two girls; the old man was a cooper; they have all worked for me many a day; they were very good people; Young Joe, (as we called him then), has worked for me, and he was a good
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 361.
worker; they all were. I did not consider them good managers about business, but they were poor people; the old man had a large family.'
"In what respect did they differ from other people, if at all?
"'I never noticed that they were different from other neighbors; they were the best family in the neighborhood in case of sickness; one was at my house nearly all the time when my father died; I always thought them honest; they were owing me some money when they left here; that is, the old man and Hyrum did, and Martin Harris. One of them came back in about a year and paid me.'
"How were they as to habits of drinking and getting drunk?
"'Everybody drank a little in those days, and the Smiths with the rest; they never got drunk to my knowledge.'
"What kind of a man was Martin Harris?
"'He was an honorable man. Martin Harris was one of the first men of the town.'
"How well did you know young Joseph Smith?
"'Oh! just as well as one could very well; he has worked for me many- a-time, and been about my place a great deal. He stopped with me many-a-time, when through here, after they went west to Kirtland; he was always a gentleman when about my place.'
"What did you know about his finding that book, or the plates in the hill over here?
"'He always claimed that he saw the angel and received the book; but I don't know anything about it. Have seen it, but never read it as I know of; didn't care anything about it.'
362. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"Well; you seem to differ a little from a good many of the stories told about these people.
"'I have told you just what I know about them, and you will have to go somewhere else for a different story.'
"Mr. Saunders giving us the directions to the house of Abel Chase, we next called upon him and ascertained the following:
"Mr. Chase. -- 'I am sixty-seven years old. Knew the Smiths; the old man was a cooper. I was young and don't remember only general character. They were poorly educated, ignorant and superstitious; were kind of shiftless, but would do a good day's work. They used to call Joe, "Lobby Joe." He got a singular-looking stone, which was dug up out of my father's well; it belonged to my brother Willard, and he could never get it. His mother, old Mrs. Smith, got the stone from mother.'
"How do you know Joe ever had it?
"'Oh, I don't know that; but my brother could never get it back.'
"Your sister had a stone she could look through and see things, so they have told us; did you ever see that, Mr. Chase?
"'Yes, I have seen it; but that was not the one that old Mrs. Smith got.'
"Well; could you see things through that?
"'I could not; it was a dark-looking stone; it was a peculiar stone.'
"Do you really think your sister could see things by looking through that stone, Mr. Chase?
"'Well, she claimed to; and I must say there was something strange about it.'
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 363.
"Where is your sister now?
"'She is not living now: my brother Willard is dead, also. He would know more than I do about those things.'
"How did the stone look, you say Mrs. Smith got?
"'I don't know; I never saw that.'
"How do you know she got it?
"'They said she did; I was young, and don't remember myself.'
"Did you ever see the Smiths dig for money; or did you ever see the cave where they say they met at?
"'No. I never saw them dig, myself; I never saw the cave.'
"Well; you were a young man then, how did it come you lived so near, and never saw them do these things?
"'I was young, and never went where they were. Don't know anything about it but what I have heard. If you will see Mr. Gilbert at Palmyra, he can tell you more about it than any person else; he knows it all, and has been getting everything he could for years to publish against them; he was in with Tucker in getting out Tucker's work.'
"All right, Mr. Chase, we will see him this evening if possible. Good day, sir. Much obliged for the trouble.
"'Oh! it is no trouble; I only wish I could tell you more.'
"Early in the evening we called upon Mr. John H. Gilbert, at his residence, and made known our desire for an interview, etc. He seemed quite free to give us all the information he had upon the subject,
364. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
and said he had been for the past forty-five or fifty years doing all he could to find out what he could about the Smiths and Book of Mormon. He is a man seventy-nine years of age, and quite active even in this time of life.
"What did you know about the Smiths, Mr. Gilbert.
"'I knew nothing myself; have seen Joseph Smith a few times, but not acquainted with him. Saw Hyrum quite often. I am the party that set the type from the original manuscript for the Book of Mormon. They translated it in a cave. I would know that manuscript today if I should see it. The most of it was in Oliver Cowdery's handwriting. Some in Joseph's wife's; a small part though. Hyrum Smith always brought the manuscript to the office; he would have it under his coat, and all buttoned up as carefully as though it was so much gold. He said at the time it was translated from plates by the power of God, and they were very particular about it. We had a great deal of trouble with it. It was not punctuated at all. They did not know anything about punctuation, and we had to do that ourselves.'
"Well; did you change any part of it when you were setting the type?
"'No, sir; we never changed it at all.'
"Why did you not change it and correct it?
"'Because they would not allow us to; they were very particular about that. We never changed it in the least. Oh, well there might have been one or two words that I changed the spelling of; I believe I did change the spelling of one, and perhaps two, but no more.'
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 365.
"Did you set all of the type, or did someone help you?
"'I did the whole of it myself, and helped to read the proof, too; there was no one who worked at that but myself. Did you ever see one of the first copies? I have one here that was never bound. Mr. Grandin, the printer, gave it to me. If you ever saw a Book of Mormon you will see that they changed it afterwards.'
"They did! Well, let us see your copy; that is a good point. How is it changed now?
"'I will show you,' (bringing out his copy).
"'Here on the title page it says,' (reading)
"'Joseph Smith, Jr., author and proprietor.' Afterwards, in getting out other editions they left that out, and only claimed that Joseph Smith translated it.'
"Well, did they claim anything else than that he was the translator when they brought the manuscript to you?
"'Oh, no; they claimed that he was translating it by means of some instruments he got at the same time he did the plates, and that the Lord helped him.'
"Was he educated, do you know?
"'Oh, not at all then; but I understand that afterwards he made great advancement, and was quite a scholar and orator.'
"How do you account for the production of the Book of Mormon, Mr. Gilbert, then, if Joseph Smith was so illiterate?
"'Well, that is the difficult question. It must have been from the Spaulding romance -- you have heard of that, I suppose. The parties here then never could have been the authors of it, certainly. I have been for the last forty-five or fifty years trying to get
366. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
the key to that thing; but we have never been able to make the connecting yet. For some years past I have been corresponding with a person in Salt Lake, by the name of Cobb, who is getting out a work against the Mormons; but we have never been able to find what we wanted.'
If you could only connect Sidney Rigdon with Smith some way, you could get up a theory? "Yes; that is just where the trouble lies; the manuscript was put in our hands in August 1829, and all printed by March 1830, and we cannot find that Rigdon was ever about here, or in this state, until sometime in the fall of 1830. But I think I have got a way out of the difficulty now. A fellow that used to be here, by the name of Saunders, Lorenzo Saunders, was back here some time ago, and I was asking him about it. At first he said he did not remember of ever seeing Rigdon until after 1830 sometime; but after studying it over awhile, he said it seemed to him that one time he was over to Smith's, and that there was a stranger there he never saw before, and that they said it was Rigdon. I told him about Cobb, of Utah, and asked him if he would send Cobb his affidavit that he saw Rigdon before the book was published, if he (Cobb), would write to him; he finally said he would, and I wrote to Cobb about it, and gave Saunders' address, and after a long time, I got a letter from him, saying he had written three letters to Saunders, and could get no answer. I then sat down and wrote Saunders a letter myself, reminding him of his promise, and wrote to Cobb also about it; and after a long time Cobb wrote me again, that Saunders had written to him; but I have never learned how satisfactory
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 367.
it was, or whether he made the affidavit or not.'
"Is that Saunders a brother of the Saunders living down here, Orlando Saunders? "'Yes, sir: they are brothers.'
"Is he older or younger?
"'Younger; about fifteen years younger.'
"Then he must have been quite young before the Book of Mormon was published?
"'Yes, he was young.'
"This Saunders down here don't talk like a great many people; he seems to think the Smiths were very good people; we have been there today. "Oh, I don't think the Smiths were as bad as people let on for. Now Tucker, in his work, told too many big things; nobody could believe his stories.'
"Did the Smiths ever dig for money?
"'Yes; I can tell you where you can find persons who know all about that; can take you to the very place.'
"Can you? All right, give us their names.
"'The Jackaway boys -- two old bachelors, and their sister, an old maid, live together, right up the street going north, near the north part of the town; they can tell you all about it, and show you the very places where they dug.'
"What will you take for your copy of the Book of Mormon; or will you sell it?
"'Yes, I will sell it.'
"How much for it?
"'I will take five hundred dollars for it, and no less; I have known them to sell for more than that.'
"Well, I am not buying at those figures, thank you.
"What kind of a man was Martin Harris?
368. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"'He was a very honest farmer, but very superstitious.'
"What was he before his name was connected with the Book of Mormon?
"'Not anything, I believe; he was a kind of skeptic.'
"What do you mean by his being superstitious? Was he religious?
"'Well, I don't know about that; but he pretended to see things.'
"What do you think of the Book of Mormon, as a book; you are well-posted in it?
"'Oh, there is nothing taught in the book but what is good; there is no denying that; it is the claim of being from God that I strike at.'
"Well, is it any more wonderful than that God gave the Bible?
"'No, not a bit; and there is a good deal more evidence to show that that is divine than there is for some of the books in the Bible. Why, it is all nonsense to think that Moses wrote some of the books attributed to him, in the Bible.'
"Then you don't believe the 'fish story,' either, Mr. Gilbert?
"'No; nor that Jonah swallowed the whale.'
"How about Sampson catching the three hundred foxes, and the firebrands?
"'Yes, that is a good one; you fellows will do.'
"Much obliged, Mr. Gilbert.
"'You are quite welcome. I wish I could give you more than I have.'
"Acting upon Mr. Gilbert's advice, we at once called upon the Jackways, and found the older of the
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 369.
boys and the sister, ready to talk of what they knew. They had Tucker's work on the small table by, which they offered to sell us for three dollars, and then we could read for ourselves; but being quite familiar with its weaknesses, we declined to purchase at the price.
"The conversation upon the main topic was as follows:
"What is your age?
"'I will be sixty-six years old on my next birthday,' said Mr. Jackway. (The lady did not answer.)
"How far did you live from town at the time the Smiths, and those of their comrades, were in this country?
"'One-half mile south of Palmyra.'
"Were you acquainted with Joseph Smith and his early followers?
"'Yes, I knew them; saw them a many-a-time -- old Joe and young Joe.'
"How far did you live from them?
"'It was about a mile.'
"You know about their digging for money, so Mr. Gilbert said; he sent us to you?
"'Oh, yes. I can show you the places now; there are three places over there where they dug.'
"Well, we want to see them. Did you help them dig?
"'No, I never helped them.'
"Well, you saw them digging?
"'No, I never saw them digging.'
"How do you know they dug the holes you refer to?
"'I don't know they dug them; but the holes are there.'
"Did anybody else dig for money at that time there?
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"'I believe there were some others that dug; but I did not see them.'
"Do you know any of them?
"'I only know one now; he lives up at Canandaigua.'
(Mr. Jackway gave us the name, but for some cause we fail to find it in our notes.) "What do you know about the Smiths' character?
"'I don't know much about that.'
"Would they steal, get drunk, etc.?
"'Don't know anything about their stealing. Joe and his father got drunk once.'
"Where was that?
"'It was in the hayfield; Joe and his father wrestled, and Joe threw the old man down, and he cried.'
"What did he cry for?
"'Because Joe was the best man I guess.'
"What did they drink to make them drunk?
"'They drank cider.'
"Got drunk so they could not walk, on cider, did they?
"'No; they could walk, but they cut up and acted funny.'
:"Did you ever see them drink, or drunk, any other time?
"'No; not as I remember.'
"What kind of a woman was the old lady Smith?
"'I don't know; I never was at the house. She was kind in sickness.'
"Quite a number here in town, today, have told us it was two and a half to three miles from Palmyra to where the Smiths lived; how is that?
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 371.
"'Yes; it was about three miles.'
(How Jackway lived within half a mile of town and only a mile from them he did not explain.)
"Where was Joe when he was translating his book?
"'At home; it was translated in the farmhouse.'
"Mr. Gilbert, across here, said it was done in a cave; now you don't agree? What does Tucker say? (reading Tucker).
"'They all differ. Now, Tucker has a statement from Willard Chase in his book, and Chase said Tucker never called on him at all to find out what he knew.'
"Lady. -- 'Yes; I have heard Willard Chase say Tucker never even asked him for what he knew, and Chase lived next door to him, too. Chase is dead now.'
"Well; did you ever see Hulbert or Howe, that published works?
"'Yes; Hulbert came around first, I believe, soon after the thing started, and they had gone to Kirtland, Ohio, trying to find things against them; and there have been a good many around trying to connect Sidney Rigdon with them.'
"What kind of men were Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery?
"'Harris was an industrious, honest man; lived north here, two miles. The Cowderys were as good as the general run of people. Have you seen Dr. Stafford? He lives at Rochester. His father, William Stafford, is the one that furnished the `black sheep' Tucker tells about there.'
"He is? Well; do you know about that?
"'No; only what Tucker says there.'
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"Taking leave of the Jackways, in due time we called upon Dr. John Stafford, at Rochester, New York. He is now a retired physician, being too aged and infirm to practice. Answering a question as to the character of Joseph Smith, he said:
"'He was a real clever, jovial boy. What Tucker said about them was false, absolutely. My father, William Stafford, was never connected with them in any way. The Smiths, with others, were digging for money before Joe got the plates. My father had a stone, which some thought they could look through; and old Mrs. Smith came there after it one day, but never got it. Saw them digging one time for money; (this was three or four years before the Book of Mormon was found), the Smiths and others. The old man and Hyrum were there I think, but Joseph was not there. The neighbors used to claim Sally Chase could look at a stone she had, and see money. Willard Chase used to dig when she found where the money was. Don't know as anybody ever found any money.'
"What was the character of Smith, as to his drinking?
"'It was common then for everybody to drink, and to have drink in the field; one time Joe, while working for someone after he was married, drank too much boiled cider. He came in with his shirt torn; his wife felt bad about it, and when they went home, she put her shawl on him.'
"Had he been fighting and drunk?
"'No; he had been scuffling with some of the boys. Never saw him fight; have known him to scuffle; would do a fair day's work if hired out to a man; but were poor managers.'
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 373.
"What about that black sheep your father let them have?
"'I have heard that story, but don't think my father was there at the time they say Smith got the sheep. I don't know anything about it.'
"You were living at home at the time, and it seems you ought to know if they got a sheep, or stole one, from your father?
"'They never stole one, I am sure; they may have got one sometime.'
"Well, Doctor, you know pretty well whether that story is true or not, that Tucker tells. What do you think of it?
"'I don't think it is true. I would have heard more about it, that is true. I lived a mile from Smiths; am seventy-six years old. They were peaceable among themselves. The old woman had a great deal of faith that their children were going to do something great. Joe was quite illiterate. After they began to have school at their house, he improved greatly.'
"Did they have school in their own house?
"'Yes, sir; they had school in their house, and studied the Bible.'
"Who was their teacher?
"'They did not have any teacher; they taught themselves.'
"Did you know Oliver Cowdery?
"'Yes; he taught school on the Canandaigua road, where the stone schoolhouse now stands; just three and a half miles south of Palmyra. Cowdery was a man of good character.'
"What do you know about Martin Harris?
"'He was an honorable farmer; he was not very
374. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
religious before the Book of Mormon was published. Don't know whether he was skeptical or visionary. Old Joe claimed he understood geology, and could tell all kinds of minerals; and one time, down at Manchester, in the grocery, the boys all got pretty full, and thought they would have some fun, and they fixed up a dose for him.' (We omit the ingredients of the dose, because improper for publication.)
"If young Smith was as illiterate as you say, Doctor, how do you account for the Book of Mormon?
"'Well, I can't; except that Sidney Rigdon was connected with them.'
"What makes you think he was connected with them?
"'Because I can't account for the Book of Mormon any other way.'
"Was Rigdon ever around there before the Book of Mormon was published?
"'No; not as we could ever find out. Sidney Rigdon was never there, that Hurlbert, or Howe, or Tucker could find out.'
"Well; you have been looking out for the facts a long time, have you not, Doctor?
"'Yes; I have been thinking and hearing about it for the last fifty years, and lived right among all their old neighbors there most of the time.'
"And no one has ever been able to trace the acquaintance of Rigdon and Smith, until after the Book of Mormon was published, and Rigdon proselyted by Pratt, in Ohio?
"'Not that I know of.'
"Did you know the Pratts, -- Parley or Orson Pratt?
"'No; have heard of them.'
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 375.
"Did you know David Whitmer?
"'No; he lived in Seneca County, New York.'
"'Have you told now all you know about the Smiths and the Book of Mormon?
"'All that I can recollect.'
"Here we bade the Doctor, whom we found to be quite a gentleman, -- affable, and ready to converse, -- good day.
"During the time of making the interviews in Manchester, we accidentally met the Thomas H. Taylor, referred to by Mr. Booth in the interview with him. He is a Scotchman by birth, of advanced age, but very robust and active. Somewhat of the knock-down and drag- out style; is a public speaker and lecturer, and practices law to some extent. He claims to be one of the original parties with John Brown at Harper's Ferry -- all through the fight there -- and previous to the war of the rebellion, was engaged in piloting the darkey to Canada and freedom. He was a soldier throughout the war, and saw hard service. In religion he follows Colonel Robert G. Ingersol. To our enquiries if he was acquainted with the Smiths, and the early settlers throughout that part, sometimes called Mormons, he said:
"'Yes; I knew them very well; they were very nice men, too; the only trouble was they were ahead of the people; and the people, as in every such case turned out to abuse them, because they had the manhood to stand for their own convictions. I have seen such work all through life, and when I was working with John Brown for the freedom of my fellowman, I often got in tight places; and if it had not been for Gerritt Smith, Wendell Phillips and some others, who gave me their influence and money,
376. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
I don't know how I would ever got through.'
"What did the Smiths do that the people abused them so?
"'They did not do anything. Why! these rascals at one time took Joseph Smith and ducked him in the pond that you see over there, just because he preached what he believed and for nothing else. And if Jesus Christ had been there, they would have done the same to him. Now I don't believe like he did; but every man has a right to his religious opinions, and to advocate his views, too; if people don't like it, let them come out and meet him on the stand, and shew his error. Smith was always ready to exchange views with the best men they had.'
"Why didn't they like Smith?
"'To tell the truth, there was something about him they could not understand; some way he knew more than they did, and it made them mad.'
"But a good many tell terrible stories, about them being low people, rogues, and liars, and such things. How is that?
"'Oh! they are a set of d--d liars. I have had a home here, and been here, except when on business, all my life -- ever since I came to this country, and I know these fellows; they make these lies on Smith, because they love a lie better than the truth. I can take you to a great many old settlers here who will substantiate what I say, and if you want to go, just come around to my place across the street there, and I'll go with you.'
"Well, that is very kind, Mr. Taylor, and fair; if we have time we will call around and give you a chance; but we are first going to see these fellows who, so rumor says, know so much against them.
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 377.
"'All right; but you will find they don't know anything against those men when you put them down to it; they could never sustain anything against Smith.'
"Do you think Smith ever got any plates out of the hill he claimed to?
"'Yes; I rather think he did. Why not he find something as well as anybody else. Right over here, in Illinois and Ohio, in mounds there, they have discovered copper plates since, with hieroglyphics all over them; and quite a number of the old settlers around here testified that Smith showed the plates to them -- they were good, honest men, and what is the sense in saying they lied? Now, I never saw the Book of Mormon -- don't know anything about it, nor care; and don't know as it was ever translated from the plates. You have heard about the Spaulding romance; and some claim that it is nothing but the books of the Bible that were rejected by the compilers of the Bible; but all this don't prove that Smith never got any plates.'
"Do you know Reverend Thorn, here in Manchester?
"'The Presbyterian preacher?'
"Yes, that is the one.
"'I know him.'
"What kind of a fellow is he?
"'Well, originally he was nothing. He got some money, and went off to college awhile, and came back a Presbyterian preacher. He knows just what he got there, and feels stuck up, and is now preaching for his bread and butter; and if they should take away his salary, he wouldn't last twenty-four hours.'
"We are much obliged, Mr. Taylor, for your kindness.
378. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"'You are welcome, and if you will drive back, I will go with you and show you persons who can tell you all about those people.'
"We thus left Mr. Taylor, but for want of time, could not then return and accept his kind offer to show us around; hope to be able to do so sometime in the future.
"These facts and interviews are presented to the readers of the Herald impartially -- just as they occurred -- the good and bad, side by side; and allowing for a possible mistake, or error, arising from a misapprehension, or mistake in taking notes, it can be relied upon as the opinion and gossip had about the Smith family and others, among their old neighbors. It will be remembered that all the parties interviewed are unbelievers in, and some bitter enemies to, the faith of the Saints; and it is not unreasonable to suppose that they all told the worst they knew. So we submit it to the readers without comment, with the expectation of sending each one of the parties interviewed a copy when published.
"WM. H. KELLEY."COLDWATER, Michigan. March 1881."
[ 379 ]
In 1880 Elder T. W. Smith wrote something for the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Leader; that paper declined to publish the article, the matter was disposed of, setting forth solid facts in the following terse and pithy manner:
"In reply to many criticisms, Mr. Smith, the Mormon preacher of Pittsburgh, sends us a small letter of about forty pages, which he requests us to print as 'an act of justice' to him. * * * We have to be just to our readers as well as to Mr. Smith, and can not therefore surrender the space where they have a right to look for news, to the missionary efforts of any sect whatever. It should be sufficient justice to Elder Smith to say right now and here, as we frankly do, that the evidence by
380. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
which it is sought to prove that 'Joe' Smith or Sidney Rigdon stole the manuscript copy of Rev. Solomon Spaulding's romance, and made the Book of Mormon out of it, is FATALLY DEFECTIVE. The thing can not be proved. The Mormons SUCCESSFULLY RIDDLE the testimony of those who assert it, and very fairly demand that Spaulding's romance be produced and the comparison made or the slander be dropped. The fact that this romance. though alleged to have remained in Gentile hands, never has been produced, and can not be now, is prima facie evidence that it is not the original of the Book of Mormon." -- Pittsburg Leader, February 20, 1880.
The following year Mr. Smith wrote E. D. Howe who replied as follows:
"PAINESVILLE, Ohio, July 26th, 1881."Sir:-- Your note of 21st is before me, -- and I will answer your queries seriatim.
"1st. -- The manuscript you refer to was not marked on the outside or inside 'Manuscript Found.' It was a common-place story of some Indian wars along the borders of our Great Lakes, between the Chicagoes and Eries, as I now recollect -- not in Bible style, but purely modern.
"2d. -- It was not the original "Manuscript Found," and I do not believe Hurlbut ever had it.
"3d. -- I never saw or heard read the "Manuscript Found," but have seen five or six persons who had, and from their testimony, concluded it was very much like the Mormon Bible.
"4th. -- Never succeeded in finding out any thing more than was detailed in my book of exposure published about fifty years ago.
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 381.
"5th. -- The manuscript that came into my possession I suspect was destroyed by fire forty years ago.
"I think there has been much mist thrown around the whole subject of the origin of the Mormon Bible and the 'Manuscript Found,' by the several statements that have been made by those who have been endeavoring to solve the problem after sleeping quietly for half a century. Every effort was made to unravel the mystery at the time, when nearly all the parties were on earth, and the result published at the time, and I think it all folly to try to dig out anything more.
Howe being unable to use the manuscript to defeat the Book of Mormon, suppressed it and concluded that "much mist" has been thrown around the "whole subject," and that "every effort had been made to unravel the mystery at the time."
The "mist has cleared away!" Extracts from Prof. J. H. Fairchild and L. L. Rice on the matter:
"'There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.' Signed, James H. Fairchild." -- Bibliotheca Sacra, p. 173.
382. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands,
"It happened that President Fairchild was here on a visit, at the time I discovered the contents of it, and it was examined by him and others with much curiosity. Since President Fairchild published the fact of its existence in my possession, I have had applications for it from half a dozen sources, each applicant seeming to think that he or she was entitled to it. Mr. Howe says when he was getting up a book to expose Mormonism as a fraud at an early day, when the Mormons had their headquarters at Kirtland, he obtained it from some source, and it was inadvertently transferred with the other effects of his printing office. A. B. Deming, of Painesville, who is also getting up some kind of a book I believe on Mormonism, wants me to send it to him. Mrs. Dickinson, of Boston, claiming to be a relative of Spaulding, and who is getting up a book to show that he was the real author of the Book of Mormon, wants
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 383.
it. She thinks, at least, it should be sent to Spaulding's daughter, a Mrs. Somebody -- but she does not inform me where she lives. Deming says that Howe borrowed it when he was getting up his book, and did not return it, as he should have done, etc.
"This Manuscript does not purport to be 'a story of the Indians formerly occupying this continent;' but is a history of the wars between the Indians of Ohio and Kentucky, and their progress in civilization, etc. It is certain that this Manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible, whatever some other manuscripts may have been. The only similarity between them, is, in the manner in which each purports to have been found -- one in a cave on Conneaut Creek -- the other in a hill in Ontario county, New York. There is no identity of names, of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them. As I told Mr. Deming, I should as soon think the Book of Revelations was written by the author of Don Quixotte, as that the writer of this Manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon. * * *
"Deming and Howe inform me that its existence is exciting great interest in that region. I am under a tacit, but not a positive pledge to President Fairchild, to deposit it eventually in the Library of Oberlin College. I shall be free from that pledge, when I see an opportunity to put it to a better use.
384. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other. Finally I am more than half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretence that Spaulding was in any sense the author of the other, is a sheer fabrication. It was easy for any body who may have seen this, or heard anything of its contents. to get up the story that they were identical. L. L. R."
Now the following extract:
"HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands, May 14th, 1885."Mr. Joseph Smith. "Dear Sir: -- I am greatly obliged to you for the information concerning Mormonism, in your letters of April 30th and May 2d. As I am in no sense a Mormonite, of course it is a matter of curiosity, mainly, that I am interested in the history of Mormonism
"Two things are true concerning this manuscript in my possession: First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spaulding; and second. it is not the original of the Book of Mormon. Very respectfully, yours,
"The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above named gentlemen are now in my possession. (Signed) D. P. HURLBUT."
Extract from Mr. Rice's letter:
"HONOLULU, H. I., June 12, 1885."PRESIDENT J. H. FAIRCHILD: -- Herewith I send you the Solomon Spaulding Manuscript, to be deposited
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 385.
in the Library of Oberlin College, for reference by any one who may be desirous of seeing or examining it. * * *
"OBERLIN COLLEGE, OBERLIN. O.,
The correspondence in full on the matter, from these gentlemen is contained in the "Manuscript Found," published from the copy President Fairchild prepared. Can be bought at Herald Office, Lamoni, Iowa, at 25 cents.
This entire batch of Spaulding story nonsense and alleged evidences in support of it was exposed by Benjamin Winchester in a pamphlet in 1840, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; by John E. Page in a pamphlet in 1843, at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and by various others at divers times and places, especially in the Braden-Kelley debate on sale at Herald Office, Lamoni, Iowa; also White-Box debate on sale at Ensign Office, Independence, Missouri. Also treated in brief in J. R. Lambert's late work issued at Herald Office, entitled "Objections to the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants Examined and Refuted."
[ 386 ]
"KENDALL COUNTY. }
"I, Katherine Salisbury, being duly sworn, depose and say, that I am a resident of the State of Illinois, and have been for forty years last past; that I will be sixty-eight years of age, July 28th, 1881.
"That I am the daughter of Joseph Smith, Senior, and sister to Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of the Book of Mormon. That at the time the said book was published, I was seventeen years of age; that at the time of the publication of said book, my brother, Joseph Smith, Jr., lived in the family of my father, in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, New York, and that he had, all of his life to this time made his home with the family.
"That at the time, and for years prior thereto, I loved in and was a member of such family, and personally knowing to the things transacted in said family, and those who visited at my father's house, and the friends of the family, and the friends and acquaintances of my brother, Joseph Smith, Jr., who visited at or came to my brother's house.
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 387.
"That prior to the latter part of the year A. D. 1830, there was no person who visited with, or was an acquaintance of, or called upon the said family, or any member thereof to my knowledge, by the name of Sidney Rigdon; nor was such person known to the family, or any member thereof, to my knowledge, until the last part of the year A. D. 1830, or the first part of the year 1831, and some time after the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ, by Joseph Smith, Jr., and several months after the publication of the Book of Mormon.
"That I remember the time when Sidney Rigdon came to my father's place, and that it was after the removal of my father from Waterloo, N.Y., to Kirtland, Ohio. That this was in the year 1831, and some months after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and fully one year after the Church was organized, as before stated herein.
"That I made this statement, not on account of fear, favor, or hope of reward of any kind; but simply that the truth may be known with reference to said matter, and that the foregoing statements made by me are true, as I verily believe.
"KATHERINE SALISBURY."Sworn to before me, and subscribed in my presence, by the said Katherine Salisbury, this 15th day of April, A. D. 1881
"PRINCEVILLE, Ill., March 14th, 1872."BRO. JOSEPH: -- I learn of late that some of the opposers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are resorting to an old story, that the Book of Mormon was manufactured from a romance of one
388. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
Solomon Spaulding, and was accomplished by one Sidney Rigdon * * *
"In the spring of 1833 or 1834 at the house of Samuel Baker, near New Portage Medina County, Ohio, we whose signatures are affixed, did hear Elder Sidney Rigdon, in the presence of a large congregation, say he had been informed that some in the neighborhood had accused him of being the instigator of the Book of Mormon, Standing in the door way, there being many standing in the door yard, he, holding up the Book of Mormon, said 'I testify in the presence of this congregation, and before God and all the Holy Angels up yonder, (pointing towards Heaven), before whom I expect to give account at the judgment day, that I never saw a sentence of the Book of Mormon, I never penned a sentence of the Book of Mormon, I never knew that there was such a book in existence as the Book of Mormon, until it was presented to me by Parley P. Pratt, in the form that it now is.'
"MARY D. BRONSON.
"PHINEAS BRONSON."Herald, June 6, 1891.
"Statement of William B. Smith, the surviving brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who is the closing years of a long life is waiting the summons of the pale reaper to call him to his answer and his rest:
"' * * * No such man as Elder Rigdon ever visited my father's house, to my certain knowledge, prior to
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 389.
the publication of the Book of Mormon. And the first knowledge I ever had of Elder Rigdon was not until it was publicly announced that he had become a convert to the faith and doctrine of Mormonism, through the instrumentality of P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery, who had presented him with the Book of Mormon while on a mission from the state of New York to the town of Kirtland, state of Ohio, where Elder Rigdon at the time held a prominent position as a Disciple minister in the Christian Church * * * No stranger from a distance could have visited your father, holding private or public conference with him, without the family knowing it; and to my certain knowledge no strangers visited about my father's house during that period of time in which the work of translating the found record was going on.
The following is from the Braden-Kelley debate, at Lamoni, Iowa, as reported by the Independent Patriot:
KELLEY. -- "I will offer an affidavit of Jno. W. Rigdon, son of Sidney Rigdon, a lawyer of Cuba, New York. This affidavit was given a short time ago. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 17 of April, 1891. W. F. Bement, Notary Public. Seal.
I read this to show you where his witnesses are with reference to this matter.
"(All testimony condensed.)"About 1832, while my father was preaching at Mentor, O., Martin Harris [sic] and Oliver Cowdery called upon him and presented to him the Book of Mormon, and told him it was found by Joseph Smith engraved
390. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
on gold plates, and that Smith translated the engravings, and the book was a true translation. That they had seen the plates, that Harris had written the translation given by Joseph Smith. They asked him to read it and give them his opinion of it. He gave them permission to preach in his church, and went to hear them. At the close he told the congregation that they had listened to some strange doctrine, but it was their duty to investigate. Cowdery and Harris left next morning, but returned in about six weeks [sic]. They asked my father if he had read the book, and he said he had. They asked what he thought of it. He asked if Joseph Smith was a man of intelligence. Cowdery said Smith had about as much knowledge as he had. Father replied if that was the case Smith was not the author of the book.
"Some time after this father met Joseph Smith for the first time in the state of New York. After being in Smith's company for some time, he joined the Mormon Church, removed to Kirtland, and began preaching Mormonism. He afterward went to Missouri, thence to Nauvoo, Ill. After Smith's death, my father claimed it was his right to lead the church, but B. Young was chosen. In 1847, father removed to Friendship, New York, where he remained until his death. July 14, 1876, aged 84. He retired to private life after removing to Friendship. Would occasionally lecture. Large crowds always came out when it was announced he would speak. By his calm and dignified demeanor he gained the respect of all.
"In answer to the statements of Clark Braden in 'Saints' Herald,' under 'Christianity vs. Mormonism.' I have only to quote Horatio Seymour who pronounced
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 391.
Rigdon a very eloquent man; Martin Grover, one of New York's greatest jurists, who said Sidney Rigdon's knowledge of the history of the world, and the political history of our country, was perfectly surprising to him, and that he was a very learned and eloquent man. Prof. Hatch frequently said Rigdon was the best historian he ever saw and one of the most eloquent men he ever listened to. Also Rev. Braden's statements about Rigdon's extravagant yarns, highfalutin rant, his visions, the power while speaking, and falling in trances in the pulpit, have no truth in them whatever.
"Sidney Rigdon was a devout Christian from his youth to his grave. He preached and talked the Bible on all occasions when necessary, to his children and all. He died having a firm belief in the Christian religion. I never knew one who was a stronger believer in the Christian religion than he. I therefore pronounce such assertions as positively untrue.
"I am probably better acquainted with S. Rigdon than any living person. Had better opportunities through business and family relations to know the character, history, and religious belief than any one else. Religion was his favorite theme.
"On returning from Salt Lake City in 1865, where I had interviews with the leading dignitaries of the Mormon Church at that place on the subject of Mormonism and the Book of Mormon, I asked my father to tell me the facts as to the production of this book. My father stated that all he knew of the origin of the book was what Harris, Cowdery and J. Smith told him. That Smith during the fifteen years he was intimate with him, never stated anything else than that he found it engraven on gold plates which he found in a hill in New
392. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
York. He said after investigation he was confident that the story about Spaulding writing the Book of Mormon was untrue. He said the same story about his writing the book was false. That he never saw the book until it was presented to him by Oliver Cowdery at Mentor, O. Knowing my father as I do, I am confident he told me the truth.
"My father never saw Solomon Spaulding in his life, nor did he steal any of his MSS. as stated by Rev. Braden.
"My mother survived my father about ten years. After father's death, in conversation with her about the Book of Mormon, she always told me that my father obtained it from Cowdery and Harris [sic] at Mentor, O., and that the stories about father having written it were untrue. Father and mother told me this same story in my youth and manhood, and they told me in their old age, and they never told any other. I am not a member of any religious denomination, and do not pretend to say how that book came into existence. But I am as certain as that I exist, that S. Rigdon never wrote any part of the Book of Mormon, and that he never saw it until Harris [sic] and Cowdery presented it to him at Mentor, O."
This affidavit shows up all those tales from Howe's work. This man testifies to nothing but what he knows. And the way he writes and the intelligence he [h]as shown in getting up his own affidavit that his father might be placed correctly before the world, show that he is a gentleman in the highest sense.
Extract from Elder E. L. Kelley's article to Herald, bearing date November 7, 1894:
"Whatever may have been the opinion of the
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 393.
enemies of Elder Rigdon touching his bold denunciation of the story implicating him in plotting or aiding in any wise in the production of the Book of Mormon, it must be admitted that all subsequently discovered facts corroborate the statements of the witness, Rigdon, and are at variance with the questionable yarns hawked about the world by the enemies of this man, who hoped to accomplish by these tales his overthrow, together with the new faith which he had espoused.
"The times and places definitely settled by the corroborative evidence, as to the whereabouts, occupation, and business of Elder Rigdon during the years mentioned, are as follows.
"1. November 2, 1826. Solemnized a marriage contract between John G. Smith and Julia Giles, in Geauga county, Ohio
"2. December 13, 1826. Returns and record of marriage.
"3. January, 1827. Held public meetings in Mantua, Ohio. ('Hayden's History of the Disciples of the Western Reserve.' page 237.)
"4. February, 1827. Preached funeral discourse of Hannah Tanner, Chester, Ohio.
"5. March, April, 1827. Held protracted meetings at Mentor, Ohio; baptizing Nancy M. Sanford, William Dunson and wife, and others.
"6. June 5, 1827. Solemnized Marriage between Theron Freeman and Elizabeth Waterman, Geauga county, Ohio.
"7. June 15, 1827. Baptized Thomas Clapp, and others, Mentor, Ohio.
"8. Solemnized marriage between James Gray and Mary Kerr, Mentor, Ohio
394. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"9. July 19, 1827. Solemnized marriage betweem Alden Snow and Ruth Parker, Kirtland, Ohio...
"10. August 23, 1827. Meeting with the ministerial Association, New Lisbon, Ohio. (Hist. Disc., pp. 55-57.)
"11. October 9, 1827. Solemnized marriage of Stephen Sherman and Wealthy Matthews, Mentor, Ohio. "12. October 20, 1827. Ministerial Council at Warren, Ohio. (Hist. Disc., pp. 137.)
"13. November, 1827. Preaching at at New Lisbon, Ohio. (Hist. Disc., pp. 72-75.)
"14. December 6, 1827. Solemnized marriage of Oliver Wait and Eliza Gunn, at Concord, Geauga county, Ohio.
"15. December 13, 1827. Solemnized marriage of Roswell D. Cottrell and Matilda Olds, Concord, Ohio.
"16. January 8, 1828. Return of marriage made at Chardon.
"17. February 14, 1828. Solemnized marriage between Otis Harrington, Lyma Corning, Mentor, Ohio.
"18. March, 1828. Instructing class in theology at Mentor, Ohio, Zebulon Rudolph being a member; also held great religious meetings in Mentor and Warren, Ohio. (Hist. Disc., p. 198.)
"19. March 31, 1828. Returns made to Chardon, Ohio.
"20. April, 1828. Holds great religious revival at Kirtland, Ohio. (Hist. Disc., p. 194.)
"21. May, 1828. Meets Campbell at Shalerville, Ohio, and holds protracted meetings. (Hist. Disc., p. 155.)
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 395.
"22. June, 1828. Baptized Henry H. Clapp, Mentor, Ohio.
"23. August, 1828. Attended great yearly association at Warren, Ohio.
"24. September, 1828. Solemnized marriage between Luther Dille and Clarisa Kent.
"25. September 18, 1828. Solemnized marriage between Nachore Corning and Phebe E. Wilson, Mentor, Ohio.
"26. October 13, 1828. Returns made to Chardon, Ohio.
"27. January 1, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Albert Churchill and Ana Fosdick, Concord, Ohio.
"28. February 1, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Erastus Root and Rebccca Tuttle.
"29. February 12, 1829. Returns made to Chardon, Ohio.
"30. March, 1829. Protracted meeting, Mentor, Ohio.
"31, April 12, 1829. Protracted meeting, Kirtland, Ohio.
"32. July 1, 1829. Organized church at Perry, Ohio. (Hist. Disc., p. 346.)
"33. August 13, 1829. Solemnized the marriage between John Strong and Ann Eliza More, Kirtland, Ohio.
"34. September 14, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Darwin Atwater and Harriett Clapp, Mentor, Ohio.
"35. September, 1829. Meeting at Mentor, Ohio' baptized J. J. Moss, disciple minister of note.
"36. October 1, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Joel Roberts and Relief Bates, Perry, Ohio.
396. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"37. October, 1829. At Perry, Ohio. (His, Dis., pp. 207-409.)
"38. November, 1829. Wait Hill, Ohio; baptized Alvin Wait. (Hist. Disc., pp. 204-207.)
"39. December 31, 1829. Solemnized marriage between David Chandler and Polly Johnson, Chagrin , Ohio.
"40. January 12, 1830. Returns to Cleveland, Ohio.
"41. March, 1830. Mentor, Ohio.
"42. June 1-30. Mentor, Ohio. (Millennial Harbinger, p. 389.)
"43. July, 1830 Protracted meeting at Pleasant Valley, Ohio; baptized forty-five.
"44. August, 1830. With Alexander Campbell at Austintown, Ohio. (His, Dis., p. 209.)
"45. November 4, 1830. Solemnized marriage between Lewis B. Wood and Laura Cleveland, Kirtland, Ohio.
"46. December, 1830. Was converted to the faith of and united with the Church of Jesys Cjrist of Latter Day Saints, under preaching of P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery.
"The following certificates of the proper officers, touching the record -- evidence of the marriages, will show the correctness of transcript as to these dates:
"The State of Ohio, } ss. Probate Court.
"Geauga county. }
"I. H. K. Smith, Judge of the Probate Court in and for said county, hereby certify that the above and foregoing certificate, numbering from one to sixteen were truly taken and copied from the record of marriages in this county, preserved in this office, where the same, by law, are required to be kept. In testimony
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 397.
whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court, at Chardon, this 27th day of April, A. D., 1891.
"(SEAL) (Signed H. K. SMITH, Probate Judge.
"IN THE PROBATE COURT."The State of Ohio, } ss. Probate Court.
"Cuyahoga county. }
"I, Henry C. White, judge of the said court, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct transcript taken from the marriage records, in this office, where the same is by law required to be kept.
"(SEAL) By. H. A. Schwab, Dep. Clk."
EMMA SMITH'S TESTIMONY.Interview with Emma Smith shortly before her death, April 30, 1879:
"QUESTION. -- Who performed the marriage ceremony for Joseph Smith and Emma Hale? When? Where?
"ANSWER. -- I was married at South Bainbridge, New York; at the house of Squire Tarbell, by him, when I was in my 22d or 23d year.
"We here suggested that Mother Smith's history gave the date of the marriage as January 18, 1827. To this she replied:
"I think the date correct. My certificate of marriage was lost many years ago, in some of the marches we were forced to make.
"In answer to a suggestion by us that she might mistake about who married father and herself; and that it was rumored that it was Sidney Rigdon, or a Presbyterian clergyman, she stated:
"It was not Sidney Rigdon, for I did not see him for years after that. It was not a Presbyterian clergyman.
398. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
I was visiting at Mr. Stowell's who lived in Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but, during my visit at Mr. Stowell's, your father visited me there. My folks were bitterly opposed to him; and, being importuned by your father, sided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him to any other man I knew, I consented. We went to Squire Tarbell's and were married. Afterward, when father found that I was married, he sent for us. The account in Mother Smith's History is substantially correct as to date and place. Your father bought your Uncle Jesse's (Hale) place, off father's farm, and we lived there until the Book of Mormon was translated; and I think published. I was not in Palmyra long.
"Q. How many children did you lose, mother, before I was born?
"A. There were three. I buried one in Pennsylvania, and a pair of twins in Ohio.
"Q. Who were the twins that died?
"A. They were not named.
"Q. Who were the twins whom you took to raise?
"A. I lost twins. Mrs. Murdock had twins and died. Brother Murdock came to me and asked me to take them, and I took the babes. Joseph died at eleven months. They were both sick when your father was mobbed. The mob who tarred and feathered him, left the door open when they went out with him, the child relapsed and died. Julia lived, though weaker than the boy.
"Q. When did you first know Sidney Rigdon? Where?
"A. I was residing at father Whitmer's when I
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 399.
first saw Sidney Rigdon. I think he came there.
"Q. Was this before or after the publication of the Book of Mormon?
"A. The Book of Mormon had been translated and published some time before. Parley P. Pratt had united with the Church before I knew Sidney Rigdon, or heard of him. At the time of Book of Mormon was translated there was no church organized, and Rigdon did not become acquainted with Joseph and me till after the Church was established in 1830. How long after that I do not know, but it was some time.
"Q. Who were scribes for father when translating the Book of Mormon?
"A. Myself, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and my brother Reuben Hale.
"Q. Was Alva Hale one?
"A. I think not. He may have written some; but if he did, I do not remember it.
"Q. What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?
"A. There was no revelation on either polygamy or spiritual wives. There were some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, 'Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not; and besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.'
"No such thing as polygamy or spiritual wifery was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.
"Q. Did he not have other wives than yourself?
400. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"A. He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.
"Q. Did he not hold marital relations with women other than yourself?
"A. He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.
"Q. Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?
"A. At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and never should be with his knowledge or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.
"Q. What of the truth of Mormonism?
"A. I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the Church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it. In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.
"Q. Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read, or dictated to you?
"A. He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.
"Q. Could he not have had, and you not know it?
"A. If he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.
"Q. Are you sure that he had the plates at the time you were writing for him?
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 401.
"A. The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.
"Q. Where did father and Oliver Cowdery write?
"A. Oliver Cowdery and your father wrote in the room where I was at work.
"Q. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?
"A. Joseph Smith (and for the first time she used his name direct, having usually used the words, 'your father' or 'my husband') could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, 'a marvel and a wonder,' as much so as to anyone else.
"Q. I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?
"A. I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor uncover them to look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so;
Major Bidamon here suggested: Did Mr. Smith forbid your examining the plates?
402. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"A. I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not specially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.
"Q. Mother, what is your belief about the authenticity, or origin, of the Book of Mormon?
"A. My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity -- I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he could at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.
"Q. What was the condition of feeling between you and father?
"A. It was good.
"Q. Were you in the habit of quarreling?
"A. No. There was no necessity for any quarreling. He knew that I wished for nothing but what was right; and, as he wished for nothing else, we did not disagree. He usually gave some heed to what I had to say. It was quite a grievous thing to many that I had any influence with him.
"Q. What do you think of David Whitmer?
"A. David Whitmer I believe to be an honest and truthful man. I think what he states may be relied on.
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 403.
"Q. It has been stated sometimes that you apostatized at father's death, and joined the Methodist Church. What do you say to this?
"A. I have been called apostate; but I have never apostatized nor forsaken the faith I at first accepted; but was called so because I would not accept their new-fangled notion.
"Q. By whom were you baptized? Do you remember?
"A. I think by Oliver Cowdery, at Bainbridge.
"Q. You say that you were married at South Bainbridge, and have used the word Bainbridge. Were they one and the same town?
"A. No. There was Bainbridge and South Bainbridge; some distance apart, how far I don't know. I was in South Bainbridge.
"These questions and the answers she had given to them were read to my mother by me, the day before my leaving Nauvoo for home, and were affirmed by her. Major Bidamon stated that he had frequently conversed with her on the subject of the translation of the Book of Mormon, and her present answers were substantially what she had always stated in regard to it.
[ 404 ]
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 405.
attacked the fort with small arms and one piece of artillery.
"In 1837 a series of mobs took place in Alton, which resulted in the destruction of an abolition press, and in the death of one of the rioters and one of the abolitionists." (then follows ten pages relating to the killing of abolitionist, Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, a Presbyterian preacher, p. 234). "Previous to the year 1840, other mobs were rife in the northern part of the state." -- p. 245. "Then again, the northern part of the state was not destitute of its organized bands of rogues, engaged in murders, robberies, horse-stealing, and in making and passing counterfeit money. These rogues were scattered all over the north; but the most of them were located in the counties of Ogle, Winnebago, Lee, and De Kalb. In the county of Ogle, they were so numerous, strong, and well-organized, that they could not be convicted for their crimes." -- p. 246. Hancock, where the Mormons lived, is not one of the number.
Of Nauvoo regulations: "The common council passed many ordinances for the punishment of crime. The punishments were generally different from, and vastly more severe than the punishments provided by the laws of the state." -- p. 266.
"A vast number of reports were circulated all over the country, to the prejudice of the Mormons." -- p. 269.
"The people affected to believe that with this power in the hands of an unscrupulous leader, there was no safety for the lives or property of any one who should oppose him. They affected likewise to believe that Smith inculcated the legality of perjury, or any other crime in defence, or to advance the interest of
406. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
true believers. * * * It was likewise asserted. * * * -- p. 327. The readers attention is called to the phrases in the above, "affected to believe." "affected likewise to believe," "it was likewise asserted."
"This one principle and practice of theirs arrayed against them in deadly hostility all aspirants for office who were not sure of their support, all who have been unsuccessful in elections, and all who were too proud to court their influence, with all their friends and connections. These also were the active men in blowing up the fury of the people, in hopes that a popular movement might be set on foot, which would result in the expulsion or extermination of the Mormon voters. For this purpose public meetings had been called; inflammatory speeches had been made; exaggerated reports had been extensively circulated; committees had been appointed, who rode night and day to spread the reports and solicit the aid of neighboring counties, and at a public meeting at Warsaw, resolutions were passed to expel or exterminate the Mormon population." -- p. 330.
EXTRACTS FROM BANCROFT'S NEW HISTORY OF
On page seven of preface, say of works written against Mormonism: "Most of these are written in a sensational style, and for the purpose of deriving profit by pandering to a vitiated public taste, and are wholly unreliable as to facts."
"Thus is organized the Church of Jesus Christ of
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 407.
Latter-Day Saints,22 in accordance with special revelations and commandments, and after the manner set forth in the New Testament. -- p. 66.
The same night Joseph was arrested by a constable on a charge of disorderly conduct, and for preaching the Book of Mormon. * * * Again he was acquitted, and again escaped from the crowd outside the court-house, whose purpose it was to tar and feather him, and ride him on a rail. These persecutions were instigated, it was said, chiefly by Presbyterians. While Joseph rested at his home at Harmony further stories were circulated, damaging to his character, this time by the Methodists. -- p. 68.
"On the night of the 25th of March, Smith and Rigdon were seized by a mob, composed partly of the Campbellites, methodists, and baptists of Hiram, twelve or fifteen being apostate Mormons." -- p. 90.
The spirit of mobocracy was aroused throughout the entire country. -- p. 91.
Thus it appears that the Missouri state militia, called out in the first instance to assist the Mormon state militia in quelling a Missouri mob, finally joins the mob against the Mormon militia. In none of their acts had the saints placed themselves in an attitude of unlawful opposition to the state authorities; on the other hand, they were doing all in their power to defend themselves and support law and order, save in the matter of retaliation. * * *
General Atchison was at Richmond, in Ray county, when the governor's exterminating order was issued. "I will have nothing to do with so infamous a proceeding," he said, and immediately resigned. -- p. 131.
408. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"'In the name of humanity...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 409.
Gov. Ford made an inspection...
410. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
in the summer about one half of the Josephites in Salt Lake City started eastward, so great being the excitement that General Connor ordered a strong escort to accompany them as far as Green River. To those who remained protection was also afforded by the authorities." -- p. 645.
EXTRACTS FROM "MORMONISM" BY MRS. E. M. AUSTIN
Of those in Kirtland in the early days of the church, she says: "The members now numbered about one hundred persons, the greater part of whom were the brightest and best of the community, merchants, lawyers and doctors. All were united in the belief that God had set his hand again -- the second time -- to recover the house of Israel." -- Mormonism, pp. 58, 59.
copied from Herald.
[ 411 ]
412. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
counsel; on the consideration whereof...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 413.
Smith; and the Court finds that said Smith had no title...
414. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"THE DECISION."Rev. V. Dickhout. --
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 415.
law of the country...
416. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
"Joseph Smith was killed at Carthage...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 417.
and my servant William Law...
418. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
inability to interpret human language...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 419.
of polygamy) was in the Utah Church...
420. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
in the (Book of Doctrine and Covenants) edition...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 421.
Does the Complainant Church represent...
422. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
the church connection,,,
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 423.
"A considerable number of the officers...
424. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
confronted, as he was...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 425.
If so, how can this be held...
426. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
Hebrew. It is also charged...
COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE. 427.
the doctrine taught by the church...
428. COMPENDIUM OF EVIDENCE.
deeds to this property...
[ 429 ]