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T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. 50.          Salt Lake City, Wed., Jan. 16, 1878.          Vol. XXVI.


An article has been going the rounds of the papers about "the original Mormon Bible." It started in the Detroit Post and Tribune, a reporter of which interviewed Major J. H. Gilbert, of Palmyra, who claims to have set up in type nearly all the matter for the first edition of the Book of Mormon, and worked it off on a hand press. He has the unbound sheets as he took them from the press and exhibits them as a great curiosity.

There is a great deal of nonsense talked about this first edition. It is said to be a very rare book, and in many respects essentially different from the subsequent editions. There are quite a number of copies of the first edition of the book in this Territory, and its contents are substantially identical with all other editions of the work. The chief difference is in the printing and binding, which are better in the later editions than in the first.

The article to which refer states that "nobody but Joe himself ever saw the golden tablets." It is evident that the writer of this statement is ignorant of the history of the book and of the facts in the case, and that he has never examined the work about which he talks so positively. The book is prefaced with the testimony of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, who state with words of truth and soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven and showed them the plates and engravings thereon, while the voice of God declared to them that the record was translated by the gift and power of God. And lest this testimony might be objected to, as partaking too much of the supernatural, the testimony of eight witnesses is appended who state that Joseph Smith had shown them the plates, which they handled with their hands. Thus eight persons saw the plates naturally, and three others in addition to Joseph Smith testify that they were exhibited to them by the power of God.

It has been represented that the three last named witnesses subsequently apostatized and denied their former statements. This is as grossly incorrect as the allegation that there were no witnesses. Those men, having been greatly favored, were tempted in a corresponding degree, and failing to endure were severed from the Church. But they never denied their statement concerning the plates and the heavenly manifestations in relation to them. On the contrary, they always maintained the truth of their testimony under every circumstance. Two of them -- Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris -- returned to the Church, and died within its fold, reiterating their first testimony to the last. The article in the Post and Tribune states that Martin Harris did not follow the "Mormons" eastward [sic] but "remained near his home where he died two years ago." This is also inaccurate. Martin Harris came to Utah asking forgiveness for his faults, was received into the Church and died in Cache Valley in this Territory, bearing testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon. David Whitmer has not yet returned to the fellowship of the Church but, like the other two witnesses, when questioned concerning the Book of Mormon repeats his former statement in the firmest manner, and, so far as we are aware, and we have conversed with many persons who have interrogated him, he has never denied his original testimony in the least degree.

There is one point connected with theis argument about the expulsion from the Church of the three witnesses, which our opponents do not appear to perceive. If these persons were in league with Joseph Smith, to palm upon the world as a divine revelation a work written or adopted with the intention to deceive, would the chief conspirator have had the temerity to excommunicate his chief associates in crime on their infraction of the rules of his church? Does not the fact of his dealing with them as with ordinary members prove, if it proves anything, that the notion of a conspiracy between those four persons is a fallacy? And if they were not conspirators and deceivers does it not follow that their testimony is true?

The article closes with a repetition of the Solomon Spaulding story, which has been so often refuted during the last thirty years or more that we will not waste space upon the matter further than this: The connection between the supposed Spaulding and his manuscript about the "lost ten tribes," and Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is always made to be Sidney Rigdon. He is represented as a printer in the Pittsburg office, where the manuscript was said to have been deposited, and to have cooked it up with Joseph Smith into the Book of Mormon. Passing by the fact that the Book of Mormon is not a history of the "lost ten tribes" and only mentions them once and that incidentally, it is well known that Sidney Rigdon never saw Joseph Smith nor had any connection with this Church until after the Book of Mormon had been printed for some time. Sidney Rigdon, a Campbellite preacher, was converted to "Mormonism" by Parley P. Pratt, and the latter was not baptized until September, 1830, several months after the Book was published. Elder Pratt first saw the Prophet Joseph Smith at Manchester, New York and being sent by him on a mission to the Western States, on his way met Sidney Rigdon in Ohio, to whom he presented the Book of Mormon, and whom, with many other Campbellites he convinced of its truth. This is well established history.

Those who desire to devise or accept some plausible story of the origin of the Book of Mormon, should be shy of such silly inventions as the Spaulding nonsense. Yet it is copied from paper to paper, and standard Cyclopaedias print it with the utmost gravity. When the story was started it was exploded and so entirely shattered that its inventors never touched it again. But of late years it has been picked up and patched together, as the only means by which the production of such a work as the Book of Mormon by an uneducated youth can be accounted for. All that any person need do to disprove the Spaulding story to his own entire satisfaction is, to hear it carefully and then read the Book of Mormon.

The testimony of the witnesses of that book cannot be gainsayed nor disproved. They could have no object in making it except to tell the truth. It was of no pecuniary benefit to them. They had no prospect of reaping any reward for it but persecution and contumely. And it stands to-day unproven and unshaken as a witness to this generation of the work commenced for the consummation of all things, and of the re-opening of the long lost communication of man with his Maker. The "Mormon Bible" is the same Bible that all Christian sects profess to believe. The Book of Mormon corroborates and supports the Jewish record, but does not supplant it, and both unite in bearing testimony to all nations, Jew and Gentile, that Jesus is the Christ and that the day of His everlasting dominion is near at hand.

Note 1: The "the original Mormon Bible" article referred to in the above report's first paragraph was the "Joe Smith" piece published by the Post and Tribune on Dec. 3, 1877. The Detroit paper printed a chance interview given by John H. Gilbert during a visit to that city. It is likely that the Detroit article came to the attention of Salt Lake City journalist James T. Cobb early in 1878, perhaps due to its citation in the weekly Deseret News. Cobb later corresponded with Gilbert at his Palmyra residence, acquiring first-hand information concerning the origin of Mormonism. Cobb soon began to investigate other elements of early Mormonism through similar correspondence with other persons, and eventually used much of the information he gained to write an unattributed series of article on the Mormons for the Salt Lake Tribune, Throughout 1878-79 the editors of the Deseret News responded indirectly to issues raised by Cobb in the anti-Mormon Tribune, by publishing their own, faith-promoting series of articles. Quite inadvertently, the Mormon editors' rebuttals helped to spawn news readers' prolonged frenzy of fascination with the "true origin" of the Book of Mormon, a publishing phenomenon lasting well into the mid-1880s.

Note 2: Although the Deseret News editors express an unwillingness to "waste space upon the matter" of the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, they launch into a tirade against "the Spaulding nonsense" which appears to betray their true apprehension with the possible further popularization of those claims. See the follow-up presentation of Daniel Tyler's letter on the "often exploded," but still evidently bothersome "Spauldin' story" in the daily Deseret Evening News for this same date.


view graphic of this article

T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XI.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Wed., Jan. 16, 1878.          No. 46.


Editor Deseret News:

The Spauldin' story so often exploded and so often revived I am somewhat familiar with and have been since about the year 1824 or 1825. In 1823 my father, with his family, moved from New York State to what is now West Springfield, Erie County, Pennsylvania, about four miles from the village of Salem, now Conneaut, in Ashtabula County, Ohio where "the mound builders" had made their mark. A superannuated Presbyterian preacher, Solomon Spauldin by name, had written a romance on a few mounds at the above named village, pretending that the ten tribes crossed from the eastern hemisphere via the Behring Straits to this continent, and that said mounds were built by a portion of them, to bury the dead after some hard fighting. The novel, as I was told by those who heard it read, referred to them as idolaters and not otherwise religious.

I think Spauldin removed to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, prior to my information of his tale on the mounds. In 1832 Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith preached a few times in our neighborhood and baptized three persons, among them Erastus Rudd, in whose house much of the romance was formerly written, and from whom I received much of my information. In 1833 a large branch of the Church was raised up in our township, but no talk of the Spauldin romance being connected with the Book of Mormon until about 1834 or 1835, when Henry Lake began to claim that Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith's counselor, had made the latter from the former, while it has often been proven that Sidney Rigdon never had any acquaintance with or even knew said Spauldin or even heard of him, and at the time, in public print, averred that until one Doctor Philander Hurlbut, well known to the writer of this article, who had been cut off the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for adultery, published said false statement, he had never heard of the romance of its author, and demanded the proof. To this day it has not been forthcoming.

Previous to the publication of E. D. Howe's book (virtually the adulterer Hurlbutt's) which went in his name as everybody understood because of Hurlbutt's reputation, the said Doctor, who was not a doctor or anything else but an ignoramus, but so named by his parents because he was a seventh son, went to Pittsburg with the avowed intention of obtaining the romance to publish in Howe's (Hurlbutt's) book. He returned and the book was published minus the romance. The statement was that the novel could not be found.

Thus the story went the rounds until the year 1839 or 1840 when a relative of Mrs. Spauldin, now Mrs. Davidson, wrote her, asking certain questions, among others what became of the "Manuscript Found," this being the title of the tale. Mrs. Davidson, former widow of Solomon Spauldin, wrote for [an] answer, that this same Doctor Hurlbutt came to her house and got it with the promise of publishing it in his book, and of a consideration and the return of the manuscript. Subsequently she said he wrote her that it did not read as they expected and they should not publish it, but never returned it or any consideration. Some day it will probably be found among E. D. Howe's or Hurlbutt's "old letters." Mrs. Davidson's letter will be found in files of Quincy papers and the Times and Seasons published in Nauvoo at the time.

                                  DANIEL TYLER.

Note 1: Having written (for the weekly Deseret News of Jan. 16th), a resolute rebuttal of the "the original Mormon Bible" articles then circulating in some eastern newspapers, the LDS editors apparently solicited the above letter from Mormon old-timer Daniel Tyler, in order to further discredit what they called "the Spaulding nonsense." Rather than put an end to the origins controversy, the information conveyed in Tyler's letter simply opened new possibilities for further developing the old Spalding authorship claims.

Note 2: Daniel Tyler (1816-1906) was baptized a Mormon in Springfield township, Erie Co., PA, on Jan. 16, 1833. He later traveled to Kirtland and was married there in 1836 before moving on to Far West, Missouri and Hancock Co., Illinois. Elder Erastus Rudd (who told Daniel Tyler about Spalding's writings), once lived just east of Spalding's old house on Conneaut Cr. (very near the north end of the OH/PA state line). Erastus was baptized an LDS in 1832-33, in or near western Erie Co., Pennsylvania. He died in Missouri, while a member of the Mormons' Zion's Camp march of 1834. Tyler moved west after the fall of Nauvoo, served in the "Mormon Battalion" during the Mexican War, and later wrote a popular history of that experience. Given his early residence in the Conneaut area and his demonstrated abilities in historical reporting, Tyler was likely a reliable witness in his telling what he knew of Solomon Spalding and Spalding's neighbors. Andrews Tyler, Daniel's father, was excommunicated from the Mormons at the end of 1833, and was probably the first Mormon to become disaffected over D. P. Hurlbut's circulation of the old Spalding authorship claims. However, Andrews rejoined the Saints a few days after D. P. Hurlbut's April, 1834 trial ended in Ohio.


Vol. VII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, September 1, 1878.               No. 7.



We prospered in all our efforts to accumulate wealth, so much so, that among our friends it came to be remarked that nothing of my husband's ever got lost on the lake, and no product of his exportation was ever low in the market, always ready sales and fair prices. We had neither of us ever made any profession of religion, but, contrary to my early education, I was naturally religious, and I expressed to my husband a wish that we should unite ourselves to one of the churches, after examining into their principles and deciding for ourselves. Accordingly we united ourselves with the Campbellites, who were then making many converts, and whose principles seemed most in accordance with the scriptures. We continued in this church, which to us was the nearest pattern to our Saviour's teachings, until Parley P. Pratt and another Elder preached the Everlasting Gospel in Kirtland.

Sidney Rigdon was then a great Campbellite preacher. He received the Gospel at the house of Isaac Morley, who was the first to embrace the truth in that vicinity.
When I heard that these Elders were preaching without money or remuneration of any kind, and more especially when I knew Bro. Morley had received them into his house and had united himself to their faith, and that they were opposed to all priestcraft, I felt an earnest desire to hear their principles proclaimed, and to judge for myself; accordingly, I went immediately to hear, and as soon as I heard the Gospel as the Elders preached it, I knew it to be the voice of the Good Shepherd, and went home rejoicing, to tell my husband the news; he was convinced that I was entirely sincere, and wished to hear them, that he might also receive with me a full assurance; he asked me if I would wait for him to become convinced, that we might together enter the fold through the waters of baptism; but a strong "impression bore witness in my heart, that now was the accepted time, and the day of salvation" I had then a babe in arms and two older children living, and two I had laid away until the Resurrection. My convictions were so strong, that much as I desired my husband to participate in these blessings, I felt impressed that I must not wait, and I was baptized immediately. My husband, however, examined the doctrine and was himself baptized within a few days. This was in Nov., 1830. Soon after this many false spirits began to manifest themselves, and many were deceived by these misrepresentations; the power of these spirits was terrible; some persons under their influence imagined they could read the word of the Lord out of their own hands; in letters of gold; it was a terrible time of temptation.

In December of the same year, Joseph Smith, with his wife, Emma, and a servant girl, came to Kirtland in a sleigh; they drove up in front of my husband's store; Joseph jumped out and went in; he reached his hand across the counter to my husband and called him by name. My husband; not thinking it was any one in whom he was interested, spoke, saying: "I could not call you by name as you have me." He answered, "I am Joseph the Prophet; you I have prayed me here; now what do you want of me?" My husband brought them directly to our own house; we were more than glad to welcome them and share with them all the comforts and blessings we enjoyed. I remarked to my husband that this was the fulfillment of the vision we had seen of a cloud as of glory resting upon our house. And during the time they resided with us, and under our roof, were many of the revelations given which are recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

Just previous to tho Gospel being preached in Kirtland I had made all needful preparations for a visit to my parents in Connecticut; but after receiving the Gospel I abandoned tho idea, determining todevote my life my energies and all that I possessed, towards sustaining and building up the Kingdom of God upon the earth. My whole heart was in the great work of the last dispensation, and I took no thought of my own individual comfort and ease. Joseph and Emma were very dear to me and with my own hands I ministered to them, feeling it a privilege and an honor to do so.

Aunt Sarah who had always lived with me and felt a sort of supervision of everything pertaining to my welfare and happiness, and who had been a true and faithful friend to us under all circumstances, was very much disconcerted by the turn things had taken; she looked upon Joseph like all other preachers, and did not like to see us made the dupes of priestcraft, which was her version of all religious doctrine and opinions; and acting upon her own theory and responsibility when my husband was absent with the Prophet Joseph upon business, and I was in delicate health, and unable to attend to any domestic duties, she took the opportunity to rid herself and us of the family, considering it not only an incumbrance, but an entirely unnecessary inconvenience. I would have shared the last morsel with either of them, and was grieved beyond comparison when I found what she had done; but she had a good motive in it, and really thought she was consulting the best interests of those who were far dearer to her than her own life; her devotion and her power of self-sacrifice towards us individually were unlimited, but her efforts, like those of many other sincere and ardent friends, were misdirected.

(To be contunued)

Note: Note: A similar, but more detailed description of the Whitneys' experience as members of Sidney Rigdon's Campbellite congregation, is provided in Edward Tullige's interview of Elizabeth Ann Whitney. The following is recorded in his 1877 Women of Mormondom, pp. 38-42: "...first came the famous Alexander Campbell and his compeer, Sidney Rigdon, to the West with the "lamp." Seekers after truth, whose hearts had, been strangely moved by some potent spirit, whose influence they felt pervading but understood not, saw the lamp and admired.

Mr. Campbell, of Virginia, was a reformed Baptist. He with Sidney Rigdon, a Mr. Walter Scott, and some other gifted men, had dissented from the regular Baptists, from whom they differed much in doctrine. They preached baptism for the remission of sins, promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, and believed in the literal fulfillment of prophesy. They also had some of the apostolic forms of organization in their church.

In Ohio they raised up branches. In Kirtland and the regions round, they made many disciples, who bore the style of "disciples," though the popular sect-name was "Campbellites." Among them were Eliza R. Snow, Elizabeth Ann Whitney... Light came to Sidney Rigdon from the Mormon Elijah, and he comprehended the light; but Alexander Campbell rejected the prophet when his message came; he would have none of his angels.... Now there dwelt in Kirtland in those days disciples who feared the Lord. -- And they "spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name."

"We had been praying," says mother Whitney, "to know from the Lord how we could obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost. My husband, Newel K. Whitney, and myself, were Campbellites. We had been baptized for the remission of our sins, and believed in the laying on of hands and the gifts of the spirit. But there was no one with authority to confer the Holy Ghost upon us. We were seeking to know how to obtain the spirit and the gifts bestowed upon the ancient saints.

Sister Eliza Snow was also a Campbellite. We were acquainted before the restoration of the gospel to the earth. She, like myself, was seeking for the fullness of the gospel. She lived at the time in Mantua.

One night -- it was midnight -- as my husband and I, in our house at Kirtland, were praying to the father to be shown the way, the spirit rested upon us and a cloud overshadowed the house.

It was as though we were out of doors. The house passed away from our vision. We were not conscious of anything but the presence of the spirit and the cloud that was over us.

We were wrapped in the cloud. A solemn awe pervaded us. We saw the cloud and we felt the spirit of the Lord.

Then we heard a voice out of the cloud saying:

'Prepare to receive the word of the Lord, for it is coming!'

At this we marveled greatly; but from that moment we knew that the word of the Lord was coming to Kirtland."

T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Sat., April 12, 1879.          No. 119.


A few days ago we took occasion to notice in a general way an article in Sunday Afternoon for April, written by T. L. Rogers, and entitled "The Mormons." There is one point in it on which we offer some special remarks, not because it contains anything new or remarkable, but because it is being put forth in other quarters and is attracting some attention. It is the revival of the old and thoroughly exploded fiction called "The Spaulding Story." Our apology to our readers for alluding at any length to this dead and almost forgotten issue, is the attempt now being made to resurrect and fan it into life, as a desperate resource of a few priests and editors to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon. Rogers says:

"The evidence is complete that Smith discovered only what he and some associates had hidden in a box of their own making in a hole of their own digging. Smith came into possession of a copy of the work of Spaulding made by Sidney Rigdon, a workman in Patterson's printing office. Rigdon confessed the fact afterwards when he was cut off from the Mormon Church by Brigham Young. The three witnesses also quarreled with Joseph and Rigdon, and confessed to having sworn falsely. Rigdon on leaving the work of a printer, became a preacher of peculiar doctrines. Smith had quite a large following in certain views peculiarly his, and these two religious Ishmaelites coming together set to work to give the world a new Bible."
The above embodies the theory put forth many years ago, but which was fully refuted at the time of its invention. Rogers says "the evidence is complete." The fact is not a particle of this "evidence" is offered, neither can it be produced. Who is the "associate" referred to? When and where was the box made and the hole dug? Sidney Rigdon was never a printer in Patterson's printing office; he never "confessed the fact" asserted either verbally or in writing, neither did the three witnesses, or either of them, ever confess to "having sworn falsely." Not a particle of evidence to substantiate any of Rogers' statements can be adduced. On the contrary, an abundance of positive proof has been published repeatedly establishing the falsity of such charges.

All the absurd accusations and stupid remarks which have emanated from the pulpit and the press in regard to this Spaulding matter, are based upon a letter to the Boston Recorder, written by one John Storrs, a Congregational preacher of Holliston, Massachusetts. It was published in that paper, April 19, 1839 and contained an alleged statement of Matilda Davieson, widow of Solomon Spaulding. It gives what purports to be a brief history of Spaulding's life, from which it appears that he was a retired preacher, who, while living in New Salem, Ohio, amused himself in his latter days by writing a romance which he called the "Manuscript Found," in which was a pretended history of the early inhabitants of this country, which he read from time to time for the delectation of his friends, about the year 1812. He then removed to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he handed the manuscript to a Mr. Patterson, who edited a paper and who would have published it if Mr. Spaulding had furnished the title page and preface, which he refused to do for some cause not mentioned. The manuscript was returned to the author, who removed to Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816, and the manuscript was preserved by his widow. In the year 1834, extracts from the Book of Mormon having been read by a "woman preacher" at New Salem, the similarity between it and the Spaulding manuscript was perceived by persons present, and one, Dr. Philaster Hurlburt was deputed to obtain the original manuscript, for the purpose of comparing it with the "Mormon Bible," and by exposing the imposture, preventing the spread of the delusion. This letter of Mr. Storrs, with the alleged statement of Mrs. Davieson, has been reproduced in the Pittsburgh Telegraph, and appears in its issue of March 27, 1879. It forms the entire foundation for the books, articles and sermons that have been put forth to account for the Book of Mormon. Let us examine it a little.

We will admit, for argument's sake, that there was such a person as Solomon Spaulding, and that the pious old gentleman spent his last years on earth in composing this work of fiction, also that he made some attempt to get it printed, that the manuscript fell to his widow, and that she surrendered it to Dr. Philaster Hurlburt. The question now is, what became of this valuable document? If it formed the material from which the Book of Mormon was fabricated, why was it not published, or portions of it given side by side with extracts from the Book said to be made up from it? What did Mrs. Davieson pretend to know about the resemblance between the Book of Mormon and the "Manuscript Found?" She knew nothing but what Hurlburt told her. What did she know about Sidney Rigdon's residence in Pitttsburg, or connection with Patterson's printing office? Nothing whatever. Who wrote the letter signed by Mrs. Davieson and working up this theory? It was plainly the work of John Storrs, the pious preacher who was anxious to stop the spread of "Mormonism," which put his craft in danger. Who was the prime originator of the Spaulding story? This same "Dr." Philaster Hurlburt, whose history is too vile to present here in full, but we will give a small chapter from it because it is connected with the subject.

Hurlburt was a "seventh son," and hence received his title of "Dr.," a common appellation for such septenaries. He was a member of the Methodist Church, but was expelled for immorality, and afterwards imposed himself upon the "Mormon" Church from which he was excommunicated in the year 1833 for a similar cause. He swore that he would murder Joseph Smith, and for this was bound over to keep the peace in the sum of $500. It was after this that he, in company with E. D. How, of Painesville, Ohio, undertook to overthrow this Church by publishing a book called "Mormonism Unveiled." In this work the Spaulding story first appeared and it was claimed that the "Manuscript Found" was:

"A romance purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment in a cave, but written in modern style, giving a fabulous account of a ship being driven upon the American coast proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time previous to the Christian era; this country being inhabited by the Indians."

After the publication of that work an interview was held with Mrs. Davieson, and her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, a report of which was published in the Quincy, (Ills.) Whig, from which we extract the following:

Q. -- Have you read the Book of Mormon?
A. -- I have read a little of it.

Q. -- Is there any similarity between Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon?
A. -- Not any.

Q. -- Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?
A. -- An idolatrous.

Q. -- Where is the manuscript?
A. -- Mr. Hurlburt came here and took it away, and said I should have half the proceeds.

Q. -- Did Hurlburt publish the manuscript?
A. -- No, he informed me by letter that the manuscript after having been examined did not read as they expected, and that they would not publish it.

Q. -- What was the size of the manuscript?'
A. -- About the third part of the Book of Mormon.

Mrs. McKinstry corroborated Mrs. Davieson in every particular.

Sidney Rigdon wrote to the Boston Recorder, [sic] under date of May 27th, 1839, in reply to the Storrs letter, in which he stated that he had never worked in a printing office in Pittsburg; never knew Mr. Patterson; that there was no such person in that town while he was there; but he had learned that a man by that name had previously owned a printing office in that place, but had failed; that he had never heard of Spaulding or his romance until he saw Hurlburt and How's book. He also related some of Hurlburt's history and character.

Parley P. Pratt in his auto-biography gives an account of his own conversion to "Mormonism," and his first visit to Joseph Smith, the prophet, who was in Ontario County, New York, and his journey in October, 1830, with others to Ohio as a missionary, where he met with Sidney Rigdon with whom he had formerly been acquainted. We extract the following paragraph:

"We called on Elder S. Rigdon, and then for the first time his eyes beheld the "Book of Mormon; I myself, had the happiness to present it to him in person. He was much surprised, and it was with much persuasion and argument that he was prevailed on to read it; and after he had read it, he had a great struggle of mind before he fully believed and embraced it; and when finally convinced of its truth, he called together a large congregation of his friends, neighbors and brethren, and then addressed them very affectionately, for near two hours,  *  *  *  The next morning, himself and wife were baptised by Elder Cowdry.  *  *  *  Early in 1831, Mr. Rigdon having been ordained under our hands, visited elder J. Smith, Jr., in the State of New York, for the first time."

Now, what foundation is there for this stupid Spaulding story? An elderly retired preacher is said to have written a romance about an idolatrous people from Rome, whose records, written in Latin, on twenty-four rolls of parchment, were hid in a cave. This manuscript was handed to Mr. Patterson in Pittsburg, in 1812, for publication, but he did not print it. Sidney Rigdon, who did not live in Pittsburg until after Patterson had left, saw the work and copied it, although it had been returned to the widow, and Joseph Smith, many hundreds of miles away, in the year 1827, made up a book from it about religious people who left Jerusalem, and whose records were inscribed in modified Egyptian characters on plates of gold, the translation of which contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, being assisted in the work by Sidney Rigdon, whom he never saw until more than a year after the book was published! Another account of the same affair says the Spaulding story was a history of the ten tribes. The Book of Mormon is not a history of the ten tribes, and makes but one brief allusion to them as being in a distant country.

Any one who has read the Book of Mormon can easily see that it is impossible to eliminate the religious from the historical part of the work, each being identified with growing out of and essential to the other, forming one harmonious and consistent whole. The witnesses to the book are unimpeachable. Eight testify that they saw and handled the plates from which it was translated. Three declare that an angel of God came down from heaven and showed them the plates, while the voice of God from on high pronounced the translation correct. The testimony of the eight proves the natural existence of the plates; the testimony of the three proves the supernatural character of the work of their revelation and translation; the witness of the Holy Ghost to scores of thousands, as well as the manifestations of angels, visions, dreams, healings and the gifts of the gospel in confirmation of the book, accord with the statements of Joseph and the eleven persons whose names are signed to their testimony; and the book itself bears to all who accept its message the promise of a divine witness to its truth, which has been amply and surely fulfilled.

None of these signatory witnesses have ever denied their testimony. The fact that the three witnesses were excommunicated is evidence in favor of the book rather than against it. If the work was an imposture, Joseph would not have dared to discard them, no matter what might be their offence. Two of them are dead, but returned to the Church before their demise, and whether in or out of its communion, among friends or foes, always maintained before God the truth of their testimony. One of them still lives, and, though unconnected with the Church, is as firm and steadfast as ever in his declaration as published to the world.

Those who are anxious to overthrow the claims of the Book of Mormon as a record divinely revealed and translated will have to adopt some other means than the reconstruction of the shattered and baseless Spaulding story, which was utterly refuted as soon as concocted, resort to which is the refuge of our opponents and is one of the strongest proofs of the lamentable weakness of their cause.

The Book of Mormon remains unshaken and unaffected by all that has been said and done against it. Corroborated in its history by the discoveries of modern travelers, established in its doctrines by the Old and New Testaments, and accepted as a Divine record by many thousands of people of various nations who have received numberless proofs of its authenticity from heavenly sources, it stands out before the world as the "Stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim." side by side with the "stick of Judah," as a witness for the Son of Man in the latter times, and a harbinger of the swiftly approaching day when the Lord will gather in one all the remnants of the chosen race, and make them "one nation upon the mountains of Israel." Let the priestly and editorial enemies of this wonderful record find some more potent weapon to fight it with than the Spaulding fiction, or hide their heads henceforth in shame.

Note 1: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Apr. 16, 1879. The LDS editors continued print faith-promoting articles on the Book of Mormon throughout 1878-79 (Jan. 30, 1878; Nov. 16, 1878; Nov. 23, 1878, etc.), but in April of 1879 they again concentrated their attention upon the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. The stimulus for this renewed response was apparently the articles on Book of Mormon origins published in the Pittsburgh Telegraph of Feb. 6 and Mar. 27, 1879 (at least somewhat more so than the T. L. Rogers comments, as referenced at the beginning of their response). By this time, the editors of the News had also become distressingly aware of the efforts then underway by local anti-Mormon researcher James T. Cobb, to attack LDS origins and revive interest in the Spalding-Rigdon claims for Book of Mormon authorship. Cobb was then authoring a serious of biting articles for the Salt Lake Tribune, as well as helping to generate and sustain the flurry of news reports on these subjects then being published in the eastern press. The several allegiant responses published throughout 1879 by the Deseret News (to combat attacks by non-Mormon writers) can be seen as part of an virtual campaign to defuse Cobb's anti-Mormon literary efforts.

Note 2: The Deseret News response provides a faulty reading in its excerpt from the Jesse Haven letter (originally published in 1839 in the Quincy Whig.) Also, the LDS writer mistakenly conveys the notion that President Rigdon's May 27, 1839 letter was written for publication in the Boston Recorder. It was not -- and it is not known to have been printed in any eastern newspaper.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Monday, April 21, 1879.          No. 126.


In reference to the exhumed Spaulding story, we have had a visit from Bro. Anson Call, of Bountiful, who was well acquainted with Sidney Rigdon in Lake County, Ohio, some years before he joined the Church, and who was familiar with the circumstances attending his first reception of the Book of Mormon. Brother Call says Sidney Rigdon went into that part of the country as a Campbellite preacher, being as much the founder of that faith [as] was Alexander Campbell whose name it bears. Brother Call's grandfather was a Baptist preacher, who raised up a number of churches in that region, and these were all converted to Campbellism when Sidney Rigdon came among them with the doctrines of the new sect. This was in 1827, and the popular preacher remained in that vicinity, highly respected and esteemed by the community.

In 1830, Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, and Peter Whitmer, arrived on their way to fill a mission on the western boundary of the State of Missouri. Parley had been formerly associated with Sidney as a Campbellite preacher, having received that doctrine from him in Loraine County, and it was while on a mission for that sect in the State of New York that he became acquainted with and convinced of the truth of the Book of Mormon. This book he now presented to Sidney Rigdon. Brother Call says that at first he spurned it, and ridiculed the idea of paying any attention to a book with such claims. He knew of the controversy between the two men, and says that the only reason why Rigdon consented to examine it at all was because Parley said, "You brought truth to me, I now ask you as a friend to read this for my sake." He studied and prayed over the matter for two weeks, and at length accepted it as true, and soon after he and his wife were baptized as were a few others of the Campbellites. In the following December, Sidney went to the State of New York, where for the first time he saw the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Bro. Call says he was acquainted with Hurlburt, the originator of the Spaulding story, and also with How, the publisher of "Mormonism Unveiled," in which the story was first promulgated, and says the people in that region paid no attention to the story whatever, as they were acquainted with Sidney Rigdon's antecedents, and also with those of Hurlburt and How.

The connection of Sidney Rigdon with the Spaulding myth is alleged to have taken place in Pittsburg, where it is said he worked as a printer in the office of Mr. Patterson, to whom it is claimed Solomon Spaulding showed his manuscript; and it is supposed that by some unexplained means Sidney Rigdon got hold of it and copied it, that Joseph Smith obtained it from him and that the Book of Mormon was manufactured therefrom. And all this, notwithstanding the fact that Sidney and Joseph never met until long after the Book of Mormon was translated and published, the well authenticated facts of his first acquaintance with the Book as above related. But in looking over Sidney Rigdon's history, we find the date of his residence in Pittsburg and the circumstances which led him there. He went to that city from Warren, Trumball County, Ohio, in February, 1822, having been called there to take the pastoral charge of the First Baptist Church. After obtaining much popularity there, his views changing in regard to the Baptist doctrines, he resigned his ministry, and while plying the new faith afterwards known as Campbellism, he supported himself by working as a tanner, and he moved back into Ohio, where he entered the ministry again as above related.

Now it should be understood that the authors and promoters of the Spaulding story say that Patterson received this manuscript about 1812 or 1816, but it is clear that it was not in Pittsburg after the latter date. Sidney Rigdon did not arrive in Pittsburg till six years after that, and by this time there was no printing office in the place owned by Patterson, who had become a bankrupt, and Sidney Rigdon was no printer at all.

The story which has been brought out of the tomb to which it was consigned by its own defeated concocters many years ago, is thus shown to be without any foundation in fact, and we now refer to it again, so that our readers who have not made themselves familiar with its particulars may be able to meet, when necessary, the stupid story which impudent preachers and auditors have revamped for the purpose of blinding enquirers into the merits of the Book of Mormon, which was preserved for centuries and has been revealed and translated by the power of God for the enlightenment of a scoffing and skeptical generation.

That Sidney Rigdon knew nothing of the Book of Mormon or its origin until Parley P. Pratt presented it to him in the early part of the fall of 1830 is as certain as that the Book is in existence; that the Spaulding manuscript was totally unlike the Book in every respect is equally certain, or the manufacturers of the Spaulding story would have been only too glad to publish some of its paragraphs in support of their statements; and that the Book of Mormon is truly what it purports to be is as sure as that the sun shines, and thousands of people of various nationalities have been thoroughly convinced of it as of the reality of the glorious luminary of day. The Spaulding story was killed at its birth by the two-edged sword of truth; its ghost is too shadowy to avail anything for them who are now attempting to invoke it, and who thereby only show that in opposing the Book they are reduced to desperation by their utter failure to find a substantial argument.

Note 1: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Apr. 30, 1879. It was apparently written following the expenditure of considerable effort on the part of the LDS editors to locate a surviving early member of the Church who had known Sidney Rigdon during his years as a Campbellite in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The report of Anson Call (1810-1890) appears as one in a series of refutations of the Spalding claims published by the Deseret News throughout 1879.

Note 2: Anson Call's recollection of Elder Parley P. Pratt having gone "on a mission" in 1830 to New York (where Pratt encountered the Book of Mormon) for Rigdon's "sect," is an important point and should not be lost sight of. Rigdon himself confirms this fact in his biographical sketch, as published in the Times and Seasons on Aug. 15, 1843. He there makes the statement that "Parley Pratt had been a preacher in the same church with elder Rigdon... and had been sent into the State of New York, on a mission." By the fall of 1830 Rigdon and his coreligionists in Geauga Co., Ohio had broken with Rev. Alexander Campbell over matters of doctrine and church administration. Sidney Rigdon had essentially initiated his own splinter "sect" apart from the rest of the Ohio Campbellites. When Elder Pratt was "sent" east to perform his 1830 "mission," the "sect" he was representing was Rigdon's -- he was not acting as an official representative of Alexander Campbell and Campbell's associates. In fact, Pratt was operating as a Rigdonite missionary and was almost certainly dispatched eastward upon the instructions of Sidney Rigdon himself.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Friday, May 16, 1879.          No. 147.


Editors, Deseret News:

You have left little to be said in regard to the old "Manuscript Found" story, which, for the want of anything more substantial, is being revived just now. But, if you admit to your columns ideas which do not always coincide with your own, perhaps a line or two as to how this matter impresses one unconnected with your Church may not be inappropriate.

Whatever the facts in relation to the Book of Mormon, a careful perusal of it and of the statements of its opponents' long since convinced me of the absurdity as well as the falsity of this "Spaulding story" -- romance it may well be termed, for the whole story appears extremely mythical, and a more appropriate name would be "Manuscript Lost," for as no one seems to know what has become of it.

Having no time to spend on mere suppositions -- which as a general thing only excite antagonism -- permit me to ask, if the "manuscript found" ever existed and so much resembled the Book of Mormon" that the latter could be in the [slightest?] degree justly termed a plagiarism of it, is it likely that the opponents of "Mormonism" would have suffered such positive evidence of its fraudulent character to be lost or to pass out of their hands? Or, if in their possession, would they have allowed it to remain in obscurity until the believers in the Book of Mormon number hundreds of thousands. The eagerness with which they have grasped at every shadow of a weapon to use against "Mormonism" proves that they would not.

Would such evidence as that upon which this "Spaulding Story" rests be for one moment considered in any court of justice, even where only pecuniary considerations were at stake?

Your opponents find ground for sarcasm at the account given by Joseph Smith of the final disposition of the "plates." But Joseph's story has at least the merit of consistency and straightforwardness; while the disappearance of the "Manuscript Found" is abrouded in mystery, if not downright dishonesty. The facts no doubt are that the "manuscript" -- whatever it was -- proved to be so utterly unlike the "Book of Mormon," that it was deemed advisable to either secrete or destroy it.

Now, although I not only believe, but know, from personal experience that immortality is true and that God manifests Himself to those who earnestly and purely seek to know and do His will, as much to-day as at any time in the world's history, yet I am not and do not expect to be connected with any earthly "church," so should the writer be charged with being secretly a member of your Church, it is simply untrue. But can any sincere believer in the Bible and in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, read the account of his visit to the Nephites on this continent, after his crucifixion and resurrection in Palestine, as given in the Book of Mormon, and believe for one moment that a corrupt and designing impostor, or set of impostors, would have concocted and palmed that account in the world? Permit me to quote what has long been considered a strong argument in favor of the truth -- in the main -- of the New Testament. "Bad men could not, and good men would not have written it unless true."

If you do not object I may hereafter add some reflections as to the "divine authenticity" of the "Book of Mormon" as a whole, though they may not concede with your own.

Allow me to subscribe myself an ardent lover of Truth and Justice, and on all subjects -- political, social or religious, in thought, at least, an absolute.

Note: The correspondent who used the pen-name "Independent" wrote a number of letters generally favorable to LDS views during this period. The writer may have been a Mormon who assumed the stance of an outsider, to provide a certain degree of credibility to these letters to the Deseret News. For more on this correspondent's views regarding Book of Mormon origins, see the letter, headed "Independent on the Book of Mormon" in the Deseret Evening News of May 26th.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. 16.             Salt Lake City, Wednesday, May 21, 1879.             Vol. XXVIII.


The Carthage (Ill.) Republican of the 7th inst., announces the death at Nauvoo, on the 30th April, of Mrs. Emma Bidamon, formerly the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith; she was in the 76th year of her age.

This lady was the daughter of Isaac Hale, and was married to Joseph Smith the Prophet, at South Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York, on the 18th of January, 1827. The following particulars of her second marriage are clipped from the paper above named:

"In the final exodus of the Mormons from Nauvoo, in 1846, Mrs. Smith was not molested either by word or act, or her preference to a continued residence in city, questioned by anybody.

On the 23d of December, 1847, Mrs. Emma Smith was united in marriage to Major L. C. Bidamon, by Rev. William Haney, a Methodist clergyman, as appears of record in the county clerk office in this city.

Major and Mrs. Bidamon continued their residence in the Old Mansion House -- formerly built and run as a hotel by Joseph Smith -- until about ten ago, a brick structure on the river bank, which was partially built by the Mormon prophet in his lifetime, was completed and their residence changed to it."

To the old members of this Church the deceased was well known, as a lady of more than ordinary intelligence and force of character. Her opposition to the doctrine of plural marriage which however she at first embraced, led to her departure from the faith of the gospel as revealed through her martyred husband. She chose to remain at Nauvoo, when the Saints left for the West, and in consequence lost the honor and glory that might have crowned her brow as "the elect lady."

She wasw the mother of four children, all the sons of the Prophet Joseph, viz. Joseph, now leader of the sect which commonly bears his name, Frederick, (deceased,) Alexander and David. It was mainly through her influence that they were led into the by-path wherein they were led into the by-path wherein they have gone astray. She has now gone behind the vail to await the great day of accounts. There is no feeling of bitterness to the hearts of the Saints toward Sister Emma, but only of pity and sorrow for the course she pursued. May her remains rest in peace.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Mon., May 26, 1879.          No. 155.


The revival of the old "Spaulding Romance" legend is only another exhibition of the flimsy and illogical hypotheses which either weak and indolent, or conceited and arrogant minds will adopt in preference to a careful, patient and scientific investigation of any new or strange phenomenon. This is no new phase of human nature nor has the manifestation been confined to religious subjects. Every new truth, so-called, whether in physics, politics or religion, has been opposed at first with the same weapons of falsehood, misrepresentation and ridicule.

No sane man would ever have dreamed of obtaining the slightest attention to or success for the Book of Mormon, as a romance. The genuine beauty, style and literary ability displayed in the works of Scott, Bulwer, and Dickins, and that so fascinate the reader, are wanting. Considered as a work of fiction, the intellectual mind cannot help regarding it as an exceedingly dull, uninteresting, awkwardly told story. No disrespect is intended by these remarks; the point is, that this book is not and could not be of the slightest possible interest or value to anybody unless it be true, or -- what is the same thing to the individual mind -- at least believed to be true. How utterly illogical and absurd to suppose that the men who first presented it to the world could expect it to be received, as it has been, by thousands of intelligent men and women, and to build upon it a mighty religious and political system, unless they had been convinced that it was just what it professed to be.

The more intelligent among its opponents will hardly dare to assume that the manuscript from which they profess to believe the Book of Mormon was compiled, was purposely mutilated and disfigured by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, in order that their enemies might not be able to charge their success to its plausibility and attractive style. This would be attributing to them a power of foresight and a mode of action utterly inconsistent with human nature. Impostors always use the most plausible methods and neglect nothing however trifling, that will attract and fascinate those whom they wish to deceive. Had the Book of Mormon been an imposition no effort would have been spared to make it suit the popular taste; but, if it be true, then there certainly appears to be a profound degree of wisdom in permitting it to go before the world just as it is, for upon that feature alone does it depend for success.

There is one peculiarity among others, about the Book of Mormon, which is not possessed by any other book having no greater claim to genius or literary ability, or, indeed, by any work of fiction, namely, that when even the possibility of truth is admitted it becomes one of the most interesting books in the world. There are abundant evidences, however, both internal and external, that the man or men who wrote that book believed what they wrote, and if so, then it is not an imposture and they were not impostors. To those at all acquainted with the facts of their life and the history of your people no argument is necessary to prove this, and for others the facts are accessible in your own works if a knowledge of them is desired.

One of the prominent objections formerly made by smatterers in science to the Book of Mormon has recently been swept away by the logic of facts. The Book says that horses were used by the ancient inhabitants of this continent. Now, when America was discovered and its unfortunate people were subjected by such diabolically religious people as Cortez and Pizarro, not only were no horses found on the continent but the aborigines were utterly unacquainted with them. What sneers from the world over at Joseph Smith's ignorance and stupidity in putting "horses" into his book. But recent geological discoveries prove that there were -- at some former period -- numerous herds of horses on this continent. Had Mr. Smith and Mr. Rigdon concocted an imposture would they not have carefully excluded from their book this animal that was, for so many years, pressed into the service of their enemies? But, as one falsehood needs to be supplemented by another, perhaps it will be said that these gentlemen had, by some human means, become acquainted with this fact, although it was not then recognized in any geological work of which we have any knowledge.

The all-important question, as it appears to me, is not so much where the Book of Mormon originated, how it was translated, or why it was not clothed in more acceptable style and language, but, Is it true? That is what all men decide for themselves, not by the sneering criticisms of newspaper scribblers, but by careful, unbiassed investigation.

It is but a few years since it was the fashion to denounce Mahomet as a vile impostor; but a better acquaintance with the facts of his life has changed the opinion of most Christian scholars upon that point, whatever they may think of the religio-political system which he founded, and, to-day, those who thus speak of him are considered by literary people as uninformed and unphilosophical. And so will it be before many years in regard to Joseph Smith. This cry of "impostor" is worn threadbare -- indeed it always was "too thin." The men who resort to it are, in most cases, either impostors themselves or else shamefully ignorant of the ten thousand facts connected with the work they oppose, and upon which common sense would dictate they should thoroughly inform themselves before entering the lists against it. The time is not far distant when, unless they wish to become ridiculous in the eyes of all intelligent men, they will have to change their tactics.

Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of May 28, 1879. It is likely that the author was a Mormon who assumed the supposed stance of a non-member in order to add a certain kind of credibility to the views expressed in this letter. Oddly enough, Solomon Spalding also placed full-sized, domesticated horses in his romance of the pre-Columbian Americas. Of course, nobody has seen fit to attempt to justify Spalding's mistake on this point by demonstrating that tiny paleo-horses once ran wild in the uninhabited Americas, long before the onset of the last ice age.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Mon., June 23, 1879.          No. 178.


At a meeting of the Historical Society of Washington County, Pennsylvania, on the 6th inst., among other resolutions adopted, was the annexed:

"Resolved that a committee of ten be appointed to take action to perpetuate the memory of Solomon Spaulding, the author of the Mormon Bible, of which A. M. Gow shall be chairman, the remaining members to be appointed by the executive committee."

The minutes of the meeting are published in the Review and Examiner of Washington, Pennsylvania, of June 11th, which makes the following arguments:

"As will be seen by the minutes elsewhere, the Historical Society has appointed a committee to take measures to perpetuate the memory of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a citizen of this county and the author of the so-called Bible of the Mormons. The collection of marvelous statements which make up that wonderful piece of sacred fiction was written, it is generally believed by the above gentleman as a sort of intellectual gymnastic exercise, and to pass away the idle hours, never thinking it would become the standard of faith for a people gathered from all parts of the world controlling one of the richest territories belonging to the United States. The work was never printed, but the manuscript was left to careless hands as a thing of no value. How Joe Smith, the high priest of Mormonism, got possession of it, we have not heard, but it is said that it can be clearly proven that the story which Solomon Spaulding, the Washington county preacher, wrote for fun, is substantially the same that Joseph Smith, the apostle of polygamy, palmed off for gospel. The work of this committee will be, in addition to making this fact well understood beyond quibble, to devise some permanent memorial of the obscure country preacher, who, however unwittingly, shaped the foundation stones for the religion of Utah."

Of all the follies of memorial and monument building fanatics, this is the hugest and most absurd. In the first place, the story that the defunct religious romancer ever wrote anything like the manuscript of which he was the reputed author, rests upon the most insubstantial of foundations. It is probable, from the evidence, that there was such a person as Solomon Spaulding, and that he wrote some kind of novel concerning an imaginary people, of idolatrous character, who settled Ancient America. But the nature and character of the work, such contrary reports having been given, it is impossible to decide with certainty. Whatever it may have been it is beyond question, with those who have investigated the matter as closely as is possible in the absence of the manuscript, that it had no connection with or likeness to the Book of Mormon in any manner whatever. Take all the statements that have been made on this matter, by those who desire to foist the authorship of the Book of Mormon upon that "intellectual gymnast," separate and apart from their illogical deductions and gratuitous assumptions, and there is not a single link between that pious novelist and the Prophet Joseph Smith, nor any similarity between the described features of his alleged production and the volume translated from the sacred plates.

The nonsense, then, of an attempt to perpetrate the memory of Spaulding as "the author of the so-called Mormon Bible" is ludicrous in the extreme, and if the members of the Historical Society of a Pennsylvania county cannot find anything better to employ their time than in such a work, with an object, to say the least, of so doubtful a character, they had better be provided with some humming tops and marbles, or be initiated into the mysteries of "Simon says thumbs up," wherewith to beguile the hours when not engaged in historical debate.

But supposing the surmises of the jumpers at conclusions who connect the "Manuscript Found" -- which by the by nobody has found -- with the Book of Mormon to be correct, what claim has the author to public consideration, and why should his memory be perpetuated? The only remarkable thing reported of him is that he, a preacher of the gospel, wrote a work of fiction "just for fun," and could find nothing more attractive wherewith to while away his leisure time than to manufacture an imposition which he tried, in vain, to publish for the holy purpose of making money. This is a nice example to offer to succeeding generations! He is a splendid specimen of the American ecclesiast! He forms a striking subject for a monument or a memorial! Has that county historical society gone crazy? Or is it composed of a number of Pennsylvania Pickwicks, with less than the mental capacity of the famous antiquarians, who addled their learned brains over the mystic letters which, correctly deciphered, spelt "Bill Stubbs, his mark?"

We will offer a suggestion to this society which appears so anxious to keep the name and fame of an obscure story-making country parson before the world. That is, invest the means to be appropriated to the proposed memorial in the publication of his alleged work. Send out the Book of Mormon to all nations. Publish it in the leading languages of modern times. Let the world read what he wrote. If he is the author, and if any sane person of ordinary intellect who carefully peruses that book comes to the conclusion that it was concocted in deception and fabricated for gain, let Spaulding have all the glory which the Washington Historical Society desire to cover him with.

We will venture the guess that none of its members ever read the whole of the book, and that the Review and Examiner editor is densely ignorant of its contents. For, to a candid mind the best refutation of that thoroughly exploded but newly revived fabrication, the Spaulding story, is the Book of Mormon itself. There is not a sacred record of any religious body in the world, Christian, Mohammedan or Heathen which is so well authenticated; and to any honest-hearted person of fair understanding, it bears on its own pages the most convincing proofs of the fallacy of that foolish story concerning its origin and which evil men invented and craft-failing priests have promulgated, to blind the eyes of the multitude to the mission of the Prophet of the nineteenth century.

Should the Washington County resolvers carry out their absurd project -- rejecting our suggestion -- they will succeed in erecting a monument to their own folly, and making a memorial of their own fitness for an asylum for the harmless insane.

Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of July 2, 1879. The only known "monument" erected by the Historical Society of Washington County was a replacement headstone for the grave of Solomon Spalding in the Presbyterian churchyard at Amity, Pennsylvania. The need for such a replacement headstone is mentioned in the closing note of an article published in the Jan. 7, 1881 issue of the Washington Daily Evening Reporter. The writer of the Review and Examiner article and the Mormon reviewer both make the historical mistake of portraying Solomon Spalding as having been a clergyman during his declining years. He was, in fact, no such thing and had not assumed such a role for many years prior to his residence in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The title "Rev." is occasionally used to prefix Spalding's name, purely as an honorific remembrance of his ordination as a young Dartmouth graduate, long before he gave up his Christian orthodoxy.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XII.         Salt Lake City, U. T., Wed., Sept. 3, 1879.         No. 238.


A suggestion having been offered in the Cincinnati Gazette that Joseph Smith discovered the plates from which the Book of Mormon was written, by means of "the divining rod," a long article in relation to that instrument subsequently appeared in the Gazette, by Henry Reed. We do not propose to copy the article, but clip from it the following, as the opinion of an intelligent opponent of "Mormonism" in regard to the old, exploded, but recently revived Solomon Spaulding story.

"From whatever quarter the Book of Mormon may have come, no person of much critical acuteness will attach any credit to the Solomon Spaulding theory of its origin. No scholar -- and Spaulding is represented a man of considerable erudition -- writing a romance of the "ten lost tribes," would have written in that manner. The notion that the American Indians were descendants of the Israelitish clans which seceded from the House of David under Jeroboam was, at the date of the appearance of the Book of Mormon, very prevalent in the United States; and many books and pamphlets were written, newspaper articles printed, and sermons preached, to give credibility to the idea of such relationship. Any one of these may have served as a hint. if hints were necessary, for the undertaking. Smiths announcement of the discovery of the golden plates and the crystal spectacles was as early as 1823, whereas his acquaintance with Rigdon who is supposed to have copied the Spaulding romance, did not commence until 1829 so that the revelation was, to say the least, projected before Smith could have had any knowledge of the production from which its substance has been putatively derived, and, to some extent, in the way of names, he may have made use of the Spaulding manuscript, is not improbable; but the Book of Mormon bears palpably, the evidence that it was produced for the purpose for which it was used, and by those who had such purpose distinctly in view in its production. in short, the end of the creation was not literary, as was the same with the Spaulding chronicle, but dogmatic and practical. And however amenable it may be to the rules of literary criticism, there is no denying the skill and knowledge of human nature with which it was adapted to the service for which it was employed. Besides this, although the Spaulding document was sent to a committee at Conneaut for the express purpose of being compared with the book, the silence that ensued, and mysterious disappearance of the manuscript, are tolerably strong evidence that the expected identity was not demonstrated by the comparison."

It is amusing to see the shifts and twistings to which men resort in an endeavour to account for the Book of Mormon, when they reject the truth in relation to its origin. The divining rod theory only leaves the matter where the true account places it, after the plates with hieroglyphics came into the hands of Joseph Smith, leaving the translation and object of the book to be accounted for; and the Spaulding story is too baseless and inconsistent with known facts and the nature and character of the book, to make any impression on the minds of thoughtful people. The testimonies prefacing the work give the only reliable account of its origin and they are plain, simple, straightforward, consistent and irrefutable.

Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Sep. 17, 1879. There is convincing evidence to indicate that one or more members of the Mormon Smith family made use of the divining rod. Whether Joseph Smith, Jr. made use of this particular instrument at the time he reported first learning of the "Nephite record" remains possible but unsubstantiated.


Vol. XLII.                          Monday,  Dec.  6, 1880.                         No. 49.

[pp. 776-79]


As the old skeleton of falsehood, called "The Spaulding Story," has been revived of late by the enemies of the Church, and thinking that perhaps some of the present generation may not be posted in regard to the complete refutation it met with in earlier days, we publish a letter of Elder Parley P. Pratt, written in New York on the 27th of November, 1839, and published in No. 3, Vol. 1, of the Times and Seasons, being copied from the New York Era, in which it was first published, having been written in reply to an article which appeared in that paper, taken from the Boston Recorder, headed "Mormon Bible," and signed "Matilda Davidson."


See the Times and Seasons of Jan., 1840 for this text)

In the same number of the Times and Seasons, the following Editorial comment on the above letter shows that the statements of Brother Pratt were fully endorsed by the Saints, at the time: and the matter being thus settled by an unanswerable announcement of things as they really existed, the subject dropped more or less from the public mind, until of late years the bones of this defunct carcass of romance have been stirred up in all their rottenness to disturb the peace of the unwary who may not have been living at that time or were too young to comprehend and realize the wickedness of the plot devised for the destruction of God's work. It is found on the 43rd page of the first volume of the Times and Seasons, and reads as follows: --

"In this No. will be seen an article which we copy from the New York "Era," signed P.P. Pratt; it's in contradiction to the foolish simple priest fabricated tale that has been going the rounds, charging Sidney Rigdon with the crime of making the Book of Mormon, out of the romantic writings of one Solomon Spaulding..."

See the Times and Seasons of Jan., 1840 for the above text)

The letter above alluded to, written by a Mr. Haven, and copied by a Mr. Badlam, was taken from the Quincy Whig, and published on page 47 of the third number of the Times and Seasons, and shows in itself, without anything else, the utter fallacy and wicked design of the fabrication called the "Spaulding Story." But take this, with Elder Pratt's communication, and we maintain that the two letters combined must show that the matter was fully and ananswerably met at the time of its origination. No one did or could answer the contents of those letters, and the honest public mind was satisfied on the subject; but to some extent a new generation has arisen to investigate the Gospel, and as the romantic fable of Spauldingism is again introduced to defeat the work of God, we allude to it for the benefit of that class; and lest some should not have access to the works from which we quote, we publish the letter, with the comments by Mr. Badlam, as the article appeared in the pages of the Whig, and copied into the Times and Seasons in January, 1840: --


See the Times and Seasons of Jan., 1840 for this text)

Note 1: Although he devoted considerable space to the topic of the "romantic fable of Spauldingism," the writer for the Millennial Star here avoids detailing any of the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. The writer also thus avoids having to respond to any of the then freshly gathered evidence various authors and editors had and compiled and published in support of those claims.

Note 2: Generally speaking, the writer of this article is correct in saying that no opponents of Mormonism had answered "the contents of those letters" published in the Jan., 1840 number of the Times and Seasons. The 1839 Pratt letter apparently never did receive wide circulation; Pratt's rebuttal of the Spalding claims consisted primarily just in his bearing of his own subjective testimony, to the effect that he knew the claims were false. Likewise, the 1839 Haven and Badlam letters were largely unavailable to critics of the Mormons, until the Mormons themselves began to make their contents more widely obtainable to interested readers. Despite LDS allusions to the contrary, the 1839 Haven-Badlam articles were created and promulgated fully by the Mormon leadership -- from the disingenuous "interview" conducted with Spalding's family by Haven, a disguised Mormon, to Elder Badlam's planting that document in a non-Mormon newpaper's columns, to disguise the origin and purpose of the deceptive "interview." Given these facts, it is not surprising that few non-Mormons had ever taken the trouble to respond to this obscure LDS defense against the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XIV.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Mon., Jan. 3, 1881.          No. 34.


Since the publication in Scribner of Miss Ellen E. Dickenson's article on the Book of Mormon, and in Lippencott of F. G. Mather's contribution on the early days of "Mormonism," several papers have taken up these subjects, making copious extracts from the magazines we have mentioned. The Troy Times published Mather's article in full; the Syracuse Journal reproduced some portions of Miss Dickenson's and other papers have copied the affidavit of Mrs. McKinstry.

We have been requested to notice some of these effusions, and would be pleased to do so if the statements which are repeated with such great sameness had not been replied to over and over again. But we do not think it would be at all profitable to answer all the silly stories that are invented about the Latter-day Saints, nor to attempt to state that Joseph Smith did not try to walk on the water; pretend to raise the simulated dead, put salt in a water-hole and try to make out that he had discovered a salt spring; declare that the devil he cast out of a man was in the shape of a black cat; nor any of the absurd things that are gravely attributed to him by writers who ought to make better use of their talents.

However, as the old fable of the Spaulding origin of the Book of Mormon seems to be regarded with considerable credulity, notwithstanding its inherent weakness, and the complete refutation which ought to have buried it long ago in the grave of exploded theories, we will once more refer to it, chiefly to give place to the testimony of Bro. J. E. Johnson, of St. George, in relation to the man who first attempted to make capital out of the stupid Spaulding story. Our friend writes as follows:

St. George, Utah,          
December 28, 1880.        

Editor Deseret News:

We enclose affidavit of Mrs. McKinstry, from Scribner's August No., bringing to light an important fact in regard to the relation of Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. At an early day it was asserted by the enemies of the Church, that the Book of Mormon was copied from, or founded on the manuscript of Spaulding, and year after year new recruits have appeared and made unproved assertions to this same statement, and here is the last, with an appearance of being substantiated -- but really acting just the reverse of what was intended.

It would be ridiculous to suppose that man, woman or child, could thoughtlessly listen to the reading of a book or manuscript in 1812 and then in 1834 or 1880, be able to say with the least prospect of fact, on reading the Book of Mormon, that names and incidents were the same. But the facts are clear and startling, that in 1834 Dr. Hurlburt did write a book claiming to expose Mormonism -- that he went east to obtain the Manuscript Found -- that he absolutely obtained the work -- that when he returned he declared he could not find it -- and that his book was published without a sentence copied from Manuscript Found.

These facts, when coupled, should prove to any reasonable mind that the publishers of the first book exposing Mormonism well knew that their pretenses were false, and that "Manuscript Found" would never do as a foundation even for the Book of Mormon, and so fearing their falsehood might be brought to light, probably destroyed it. Dr. Hurlburt's book is still extant in many libraries, and doubtless a copy may he found in Salt Lake City. In A.D. 1834, I was 17 years old, and well remember Dr. Hurlburt from the time he first came to Kirtland and was fully acquainted with him till after his book was published.

[[Here Elder Johnson inserts the Matilda McKinstry statement of Apr. 3, 1880, as published in Aug. 1880 issue of Scribners. Johnson then continues with his own recollections.]]

In the year A.D. 1833, then living in Kirtland, Ohio, I became acquainted with a man subsequently known as Doctor Hurlburt, who came to investigate the truth of Mormonism. Claiming to be satisfied, he was baptized and became a member in full fellowship. He was a man of fine physique, very pompous, good looking and very ambitious, with some energy, though of poor education. Soon after his arrival he came to my mother's house to board, where he remained for nearly a year, while he made an effort to get into a good practice of medicine, sought position in the Church, and was ever stirring to make marital connection with any of the "first families."

Finally in 1834 he was charged with illicit intercourse with the [opposite] sex, was tried and cut off from the Church. He denied, expostulated, threatened, but to no use, the facts were too apparent, and he at once vowed himself the enemy of the Church -- threatened to write a book that would annihilate Mormonism, and went to Painesville, ten miles, and allied himself to a publisher there who agreed to print his book if he would furnish the matter. A fund was raised by the "Anti-Mormons" in the village around, and enough means raised to send Hurlburt east to hunt up and obtain the writings of Solomon Spaulding, called "Manuscript Found," which had already become famous as the alleged matter from which the Book of Mormon was written.

Hurlburt went east and was absent some two or three months -- and on his return publicly declared that he could not obtain it, but instead brought several affidavits from persons who claimed to have heard Solomon Spaulding read his Manuscript Found in 1812, and believed as well as they could remember that the matter and story was the same as printed in the Book of Mormon. And these were published in his book of "Mormonism Exposed," in that or the subsequent year, but not a sentence from the Manuscript Found, which it appears by the above that he did really obtain, but finding no similarity between the two, suppressed the Spaulding manuscript, while he publicly announced in his book that he had entirely failed to obtain it. Hurlburt proved himself to be a man of gross immorality, untruthful and unreliable.

According to the sworn statement of M. S. McKinstry, Dr. Hurlburt did obtain the Manuscript Found, and the only conclusion that can be reasonable is, that finding it would spoil his case and ruin his purposes, that manuscript was destroyed or suppressed, and may never come to the light, as it seems he still refuses to return it to the owners, no doubt fearing it would bring to light his falsehood and villainy.
                           J. E. JOHNSON.

The affidavit of Mrs. McKinstry is valuable because it establishes several points. First, that Spaulding's manuscript was but a small affair compared with the Book that is said to have been written from it -- it was but an inch thick of written, not printed, matter. Second, that it was only out of the author's hands a short time, and that as far back as 1812. Third, that afterwards it was in Mrs. Spaulding's possession until Hurlburt obtained it, and therefore could not have been used by Joseph Smith. Fourth, that Hurlburt never produced it, which he would have done if there had been any similarity between it and the Book of Mormon. Fifth, that the supposed identity of a few names in the two works depends on the memory of an old lady of 74, of what took place when she was six years old.

Against a mere supposition, unsupported by the slightest evidence, of some mysterious connection between this manuscript and Joseph Smith -- who never saw Spaulding or his people -- is the testimony of thousands to whom God has given a witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon, as well as the testimony of the eleven who saw and handled the plates and of the three who were shown them by Divine Power and angelic hands, and to whom the voice of God bore record. Need anything more be said on the subject?



WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 1880.  

So much has been published that is erroneous concerning the "Manuscript Found," written by my father, the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and its supposed connection with the book called the Mormon Bible, I have willingly consented to make the following statement regarding it, repeating all that I remember personally of this manuscript, and all that is of importance which my mother related to me in connection with it, at the same time affirming that I am in tolerable health and vigor, and that my memory, in common with elderly people, is clearer in regard to the events of my earlier years, rather than those of my maturer life.

During the war of 1812, I was residing with my parents in a little town in Ohio called Conneaut. I was then in my sixth year. My father was in business there, and I remember his iron foundry and the men he had at work, but that he remained at home most of the time, and was reading and writing a great deal. He frequently wrote little stories, which he read to me. There were some round mounds of earth near our house which greatly interested him, and he said a tree on the top of one of them was a thousand years old. He set some of his men to work digging into one of these mounds, and I vividly remember how excited he became when he heard that they had exhumed some human bones, portions of gigantic skeletons, and various relics.

He talked with my mother of these discoveries in the mound, and was writing every day as the work progressed. Afterward he read the manuscript which I had seen him writing, to the neighbors, and to a clergyman, a friend of his who came to see him. Some of the names that he mentioned while reading to these. people I have never forgotten. They are as fresh to me to-day as though I heard them yesterday. They were Mormon, Maroni, Lamanite, Nephi.

We removed from Conneaut to Pittsburg while I was still very young, but every circumstance of this removal is distinct in my memory. In that city my father had an intimate friend named Patterson, and I frequently visited Mr. Patterson's library with him, and heard my father talk about books with him. In 1816 my father died at Amity, Pennsylvania, and directly after his death my mother and myself went to visit at the residence of my mother's brother, William H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, Onondaga county, New York. Mr. Sabine was a lawyer of distinction and wealth, and greatly respected. We carried all our personal effects with us, and one of these was an old trunk, in which my mother had placed all my father's writings which had been preserved. I perfectly remember the appearance of this trunk, and of looking at its contents. There were sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father in had written for me, one of which he called "The Frogs of Wyndham." On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, "Manuscript Found." I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years of age at this time.

After we had been at my uncle's for some time, my mother left me there and went to her father's house at Pomfret, Connecticut, but did not take her furniture nor the old trunk of manuscript with her. In 1820 she married Mr. Davison, of Hartwicks, a village near Cooperstown, New York, and sent for the things she had left at Onondaga Valley, and I remember that the old trunk, with its contents, reached her in safety. In 1828, I was married to Dr. A. McKinstry, of Hampden county, Massachusetts, and went there to reside. Very soon after my mother joined me there, and was with me most of the time until her death in 1844. We heard, not long after she came to live with me -- I do not remember just how long -- something of Mormonism, and the report that it had been taken from my father's "Manuscript Found"; and then came to us direct an account of the Mormon meeting at Conneaut, Ohio, and that, on one occasion, when the Mormon Bible was read there in public, my father's brother, John Spaulding, Mr. Lake and many other persons who were present, at once recognized its similarity to the "Manuscript Found," which they had heard read years before by my father in the same town. There was a great deal of talk and a great deal published at this time about Mormonism all over the country. I believe it was in 1834 that a man named Hurlburt came to my house at Monson to see my mother, who told us that he had been sent by a committee to procure the "Manuscript Found" written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, so as to compare it with the Mormon Bible. He presented a letter to my mother from my uncle, Wm. H. Sabine, of Onondaga Valley, in which he requested her to loan this manuscript to Hurlburt, as he (my uncle) was desirous "to uproot" (as he expressed it) "this Mormon fraud." Hurlburt represented that he had been a convert to Mormonism, but had given it up, and through the "Manuscript Found" wished to expose its wickedness. My mother was careful to have me with her in all the conversations she had with Hurlburt, who spent a day at my house. She did not like his appearance, and mistrusted his motives, but having great respect for her brother's wishes and opinions, she reluctantly consented to his request. The old trunk, containing the desired "Manuscript Found," she had placed in the care of Mr. Jerome Clark, of Hartwicks, when she came to Monson, intending to send for it. On the repeated promise of Hurlburt to return the manuscript to us, she gave him a letter to Mr. Clark to open the trunk and deliver it to him. We afterward heard that he had received it from Mr. Clark, at Hartwicks, but from that time we have never had it in our possession, and I have no present knowledge of its existence, Hurlburt never returning it or answering letters requesting him to do so. Two years ago I heard he was still living in Ohio, and with my consent he was asked for the "Manuscript Found." He made no response, although we have evidence that he received the letter containing the request. So far I have stated facts within my knowledge. My mother mentioned many other circumstances to me in connection with this subject which are interesting, of my father's literary tastes, his fine education and peculiar temperament. She stated to me that she had heard the manuscript alluded to read by my father, was familiar with its contents, and she deeply regretted that her husband, as she believed, had innocently been the means of furnishing matter for a religious delusion. She said that my father loaned this "Manuscript Found" to Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburg, and that when he returned it to my father, he said: "Polish it up, finish it, and you will make money out of it." My mother confirmed my remembrances of my father's fondness for history, and told me of his frequent conversations regarding a theory which he had of a prehistoric race which had inhabited this continent, etc., all showing that his mind dwelt on this subject. The "Manuscript Found," she said, was a romance written in Biblical style, and that while she heard it read she had no special admiration for it more than other romances he wrote and read to her. We never, either of us, ever saw, or in any way communicated with the Mormons, save Hurlburt, as above described; and while we have no personal knowledge that the Mormon Bible was taken from the "Manuscript Found," there are many evidences to us that it was and that Hurlburt and others at the time thought so. A convincing proof to us of this belief was that my uncle, William H. Sabine, had undoubtedly read the manuscript while it was in his house, and his faith that its production would show to the world that the Mormon Bible had been taken from it, or was the same with slight alterations. I have frequently answered questions that have been asked by different persons regarding the "Manuscript Found," but until now have never made a statement at length for publication.
(Signed)                                         M. S. MCKINSTRY.

Sworn and subscribed to before me this 3rd day of April, A.D. 1880,
at the city of Washington, D.C.

CHARLES WALTER, Notary Public.    

Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Jan. 12, 1881 and, nine years later, in Thomas Gregg's The Prophet of Palmyra. Elder Johnson avoids explaining why the apostate Hurlbut continued to live in the Johnson home at Kirtland for months after his 1833 excommunication. The answer is found in the fact that the head of that household, Mr. Ezekiel Johnson, never joined the Mormons (as did his wife and children). Ezekiel presumably associated with some of Hurlbut's anti-Mormon friends in nearby Mentor, where both he and Hurlbut eventually relocated. D. P. Hurlbut no doubt moved out of Kirtland following the adverse outcome of his January 1834 pre-trial hearing in Painesville.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XIV.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Sat., Feb. 19, 1881.          No. 75.




In the Salt Lake Assembly Hall,
Sunday Afternoon,

December 12th, 1880.

Reported by John Irvine.

When we hear a young man get up in our midst -- twenty-six years of age -- and say that he was born and reared in this city, it conveys to our minds in a limited measure something of the length of time we have dwelt here...

There has been a great deal said by our enemies since the organization of this church concerning Joseph Smith; concerning the Book of Mormon having been written by Spaulding as a novel; and of this work being a deception. Yet, after all, it is rather a wonder to the world that an illiterate boy like Joseph Smith, if he was not taught by the God of Israel and by the spirit of revelation, could possess the power to bring forth such principles as are recorded in the Book of Mormon and in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and to organize a system of government, a system of religion, a system of the church upon the face of the earth, that was far beyond all the combined power of the whole Christian world. You may take all the learned men of the earth, all the doctors of divinity, with all the knowledge that they possess, put them all together, and they had not the power to oeganize such a church as has been organized by Joseph Smith.

This should be some evidence, a little evidence at least, to the world, and to the unbeliever, that there is something connected with Mormonism that they do not comprehend and understand. Let any man take the Book of Mormon and read it through from beginning to end -- read that history, read what the prophets say upon the principle of faith, hope and charity, the administrations of Jesus Christ upon the land, the organization of the Church, and the miracles wrought there upon the land of America -- and let them ask themselves if they suppose that Solomon Spaulding could sit down in a corner and write a novel covering these principles? No; they know better. Any reflecting mind on earth knows very well that the Book of Mormon never originated from a source of that kind, any more than they can accuse the Bible of having been brought forth by the same cause. If one originated from God, the other did.

Again. Let any man read the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; let him read the revelations therein... and see if any man could go to work and get up anything of the kind. Do they sould like the compositions of a man trying to write a novel? No...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XIV.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Wed., Sept. 28, 1881.          No. 259.


Scribner's Magazine for August, contained an article on the Book of Mormon by Ellen E. Dickinson, in which the writer revived the oft-refuted fable known as "The Spaulding Story." In the October number of the same magazine the lady has another communication on the same subject, containing letters and affidavits which we reproduce, as they form important links in the chain of evidence which encircles the Spaulding romance, axes it as a failure, and holds it up as a baseless attempt to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon. The lady may not see it in this light, but it will so appear to all unprejudiced eyes.

In order that the reader not acquainted with the Spaulding Story may understand what follows, we will briefly recapitulate. It is alleged that a preacher named Rev. Solomon Spaulding, just after the opening of the present century, wrote for pastime a work called "Manuscript Found, or the Lost Tribes." It purported to be a transcript from parchment written in Latin, found in a cave, and giving the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel in a journey from the old world to this continent, It described them as an idolatrous people and the builders of the mounds now seen in Ohio. It is said that in 1811-12 it was read by Mr. Donaldson to several persons and the preacher handed the manuscript shortly afterwards to a printer in Pittsburg, named Patterson, who did not think it worth printing at his own risk and so returned it. His widow, who afterwards became Mrs. Davison, had it in 1834, when it was obtained from her by one D. P. Hurlburt, from which time it seems to have disappeared.

The reason for Hurlburt's acquisition of the manuscript was this. After the Book of Mormon was published, the preachers of different denominations being very much stirred up concerning it made frequent efforts to account for its origin. People who had heard Mr. Spaulding read the manuscript in 1811 and 1812 -- about twenty years previous -- wereinterrogated as to their remembrance of the mames Mormon, Moroni. Lehi, Lamanite, &c., and they thought they could remember those names. Upon repetition they became sure they had heard them. It was then assumed that while in the possession of the printer Patterson, some one must have copied it and from him the matter must have been conveyed to Joseph Smith. Sidney Rigdon was the person selected as the probable go-between, and it was given out that he had been a printer, had worked for Patterson, had copied the document, and with Joseph Smith had worked it up into the Book of Mormon. The story obtained no credit in Ohio where it was started because the known facts did not bear out the theory. There was no connection between Rigdon and Patterson, nor between the former and Joseph Smith until long after the Book of Mormon was published. Parley P. Pratt, an old associate of Sidney Rigdon's in the Campbellite Church, being the first person to acquaint Sidney Rigdon in Ohio, several months after the Book of Mormon was printed, of the discovery of the plates in New York and the translation made by Joseph Smith.

But in the year 1834, D. P. Hurlburt, who had been a member of our Church, and had been excommunicated for adultery, swore vengeance against Joseph Smith and the Saints, and formed a partnership with one E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, to get up a work exposing "Mormonism." He it was who obtained the manuscript from the relict [sic - widow?] of Mr. Spaulding, but it was never published, no comparison was made between it and the Book of Mormon, but when Hurlbut and Howe's pamphlet was published they had evidently abandoned the Spaulding theory, which has since been resurrected several times by anti-"Mormons" in frantic endeavors to account for a work which thousands know to be of divine origin.

The writer is Scribners obtained from Mrs. Davison and her daughter Mrs. McKinstry, affidavits about their knowledge of the manuscript, and in the October number adds the following, to which we invite special attention:

"Sir -- In the number of this magazine for August, 1880, appeared an article by myself entitled "The Book of Mormon." The article contained a statement, together with evidence substantiating it in part, by Mrs. McKinstry, a daughter of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, that the Book of Mormon was derived from a novel called "The Manuscript Found," written by her father in 1812, and that the manuscript of this novel was in 1834 delivered to one D. P. Hurlburt.

When the article appeared, there seemed to be no other proof that this manuscript was delivered to Hurlburt. Believing it to be important to follow up this clue, I recently visited Hurlburt at his home near Gibsonburg, Sandusky County, Ohio, in company with Oscar Kellogg, Esq., a well known lawyer of that vicinity. As the result of this visit, I have received the following sworn statement:

           GIBSONBURG, OHIO,
                        January 10th, 1881.

To all whom it may Concern:

In the year eighteen hundred and thirty-four (1834), I went from Geauga County, Ohio, to Monson, Hampden County, Massachusetts, where I found Mrs. Davison, late widow of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, late of Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Of her I obtained a manuscript, supposing it to be the manuscript of the romance written by the said Solomon Spaulding, called the 'Manuscript Found,' which was reported to be the foundation of the 'Book of Mormon.' I did not examine the manuscript until I got home, when upon examination I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Geauga County, Ohio, now Lake County, Ohio, with the understanding that when he had examined it, he should return it to the widow. Said Howe says the manuscript was destroyed by fire, and further the deponent saith not.
          (Signed)            D. P. HURLBURT.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 10th day of January, 1881.
          "(Signed)           J. Kinniger,
Mayor of the Village of Gibsonburg, Sandusky County, Ohio.

In this statement, Hurlburt gives the impression that he procured this manuscript from Mrs. Davison, at Munson, Massachusetts; but Mrs. McKinstry, in her statement, says he got it by an order addressed to Jerome Clark, at Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, and this is undoubtedly the truth. In fact, Hurlburt admitted as much to me before Mr. Kellogg, in the conversation I had with him at his house in Gibsonburg. This is further confirmed by George Clark, a son of the above-mentioned Jerome Clark, and his wife, in two letters copied below.

In a former statement signed by Hurlburt -- the original of which is in my possession -- dated August 19, 1880, he says: "I do not know whether or not the document I received from Mrs. Davison was Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found,' as I never read it."

In the conversation I had with Hurlburt at his house, and before Mr. Kellogg, he admitted that he "just peeped into the manuscript, and saw the names Mormon, Moroni, Nephi and Lamenite."

The original "Manuscript Found" was in existence at Onondaga Valley, Onondaga County, New York, in 1818, as appears in the following statement, never before published. Mrs. Redfield is now living at Syracuse, New York.

                "Syracuse, June 17th, 1880
In the year 1818 I was principal of the Onondaga Valley Academy, and resided in the house of William H. Sabine, Esq. I remember Mrs. Spaulding, Mr. Sabine's sister perfectly, and hearing her and the family talk of a manuscript in her possession, which her husband, the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, had written somewhere in the West. I did not read the manuscript, but its substance was so often mentioned, and the peculiarity of the story, that years afterward, when the Mormon Bible was published, I procured a copy, and at once recognized the resemblance between it and Mrs. Spaulding's account of 'The Manuscript Found.' I remember also to have heard Mr. Sabine talk of the romance, and that he and Mrs. Spaulding said it had been written in the leisure hours of an invalid, who read it to his neighbors for their amusement. Mrs. Spaulding believed that Sidney Rigdon had copied the manuscript while it was in Patterson's printing office, in Pittsburgh. She spoke of it with regret. I never saw her after her marriage to Mr. Davison of Hartwick.
                    Ann Treadwell Redfield.

The original "Manuscript Found" was in existence at Hartwick, N. Y., in 1831, as appears by the following letters never before published, of George Clark, the son of the Jerome Clark above referred to:

                "Sonoma, Cal., Dec. 30th, 188[0].
Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson.
DEAR MADAM: I remember that Mrs. Davison spent a winter in my father's house nearly fifty years ago, and left there to go to Munson, Massachusetts. A year or two later she wrote to my father to sell her effects, bureau, feather-bed, linen, etc., and remit the proceeds to her, which he did. The old trunk still remained in the garret when I sold the farm in 1864, and was given away, to whom I know not. It was worthless and empty. My wife remembers that Mrs. Davison gave her a manuscript to read during her stay with us, and that she read a part of it and returned it to Mrs. Davison, who told her it was written by Mr. Spaulding as a pastime to while away the days of sickness.
           "Respectfully yours,
                "GEORGE CLARK."

Letter No. 2.

           "Sonoma, Cal. Jan. 24th, 1881.
Mrs. E. E. Dickinson.
"DEAR MADAM: My wife does not remember the words 'Mormon, Maroni,' etc., nor anything else of the contents of the Spaulding manuscript in question. She remembers perfectly that it looked soiled and worn on the outside. She thought it dry reading, and, after reading a few pages, laid it aside. She remembers perfectly, too, what Mrs. Davison said about it as being the origin of the Mormon Bible, and she thought it would die out in a few years. It was in 1831 Mrs. Davison left our house for Munson, Massachusetts.
           "GEORGE CLARK."

My interview with Hurlbut is too long to be inserted here. The gist of it is that he admitted before Mr. Kellogg and myself that he obtained a manuscript at Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, through an order from Mrs. Davison, in 1834, which he believes was written by Solomon Spaulding, that it was called "Manuscript Found," etc., that he peeped into it and saw the words Mormon, Maroni, Nephi, Lamanite, etc.

What is the fair conclusion from these new facts? Is it not that Hurlburt got the original "Manuscript Found" in 1834? It has probably disappeared. It was obviously of value to the Mormons. They have probably had it in their control, and the fate of it will never be known.

The writer of the above adds a couple more affidavits and some remarks concerning President Garfield's and his wife's residence in the neighborhood of Kirtland, Ohio, none of which are important to the subject in consideration.

It will be perceived from the foregoing that the manuscript about which so much has been said and imagined was preserved by Mr. Spaulding's widow from her husband's decease till 1834, when it passed into Hurlburt's hands. He was a notorious scoundrel and did all that lay in his power to destroy "Mormonism" and its founder. If this Manuscript Found had been anything like the Book of Mormon, it would then have been published by Hurlburt and Howe. But it is clear that there was no resemblance whatever between the two productions. It was obtained for the express purpose of exposing "Mormonism," and to show that the Book of Mormon was taken from it, and the fact that it was destroyed by the man who obtained it, or that they did not publish a line of it after gaining possession of it, should be proof enough that there was no connection whatever between it and the Book of Mormon. Hurlburt's statement about peeping into the manuscript and seeing certain names, contradicted by himself when he said he never read it at all, is not worthy of any credence. It is clear that the "Manuscript Found" turned out to be altogether different to the theory based upon its existence, and thus the stupid story once more bears his own refutation.

To one who has carefully read the Book of Mormon, the Spaulding story has no chance of serious consideration. It does not purport to have been found in a cave in Ohio, but in a hill in New York; it was not written in Latin, but in Egyptian characters, "reformed" by the writer; it was not on parchment, but plates resembling gold; it is not a history of the ten lost tribes, and only mentions them incidentally in one short paragraph; it does not give an account of an idolatrous, but a religious people; it does not confine their history to Ohio, but ranges from Chili in South America to the lakes of Canada in the north, and it is not the history of one colony, but several, the earliest of which came to this land hundreds of years before there was a tribe of Israel in existence.

We apologize to those of our people familiar with the controversy that was waged over forty years ago and the many statements that have been given of the absurd Spaulding fiction, for elaborating on the matter in this way. But while they are familiar with the facts, others are not informed on the subject, and it is for their benefit that we once more devote space to a story that never had the slightest foundation, but was conceived in the depraved minds of men, who hated the Book and the Church which swept away their congregations from under their very presence and influence, and flourished in spite of their malice and inventions. The Book of Mormon stands unshaken by all the assaults of its adversaries, and while it bears internal evidence of its divine origin, the relics left by the people whom it describes are continually being brought forth from the silence of centuries, to bear witness of the truth before the world.

Note: The article was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Oct. 12, 1881.


Vol. XVII.                       Salt  Lake  City,  May 15, 1882.                       No. 10.


Or False and True Prophets.



Mahomed and Swedenborg offered no evidence to the people of the divinity of their missions, other than their own statements. They dared not promise the people that if they would receive their doctrines they should have a witness from God of the truth of them. They durst not say with Christ, "these signs shall follow them that believe," etc., and, "he that will do the will of my Father shall know of the doctrine whether I speak of myself or whether it be from God." They could not say with Peter "repent and be baptized every one of you, and you shall receire the gift of the Holy Ghost."

These false prophets could only bear an individual testimony relative to the things of eternity, upon which they pretended to have gazed. "But," say the people, "we are famishing for the same knowledge; if we obey the principles you teach may we not be permitted to have some revelation, or vision, or dream, or manifestation, and thus know from God of these things, as you say you do?"

These pretended prophets could only answer, "No," and let the people continue to perish for the knowledge of God. Says one: "If performing miracles proves the divinity of a man's mission, then the magicians of Egypt, who by their miracles withstood Moses, were divinely called.

I answer that miracles alone never proved or disproved the divine authority of any man, but correct theological principles, such as were understood and practiced by the Saints of all ages and generations, always opened a channel of communication between the heavens and the earth, and the power of God among men was the result, while a perversion of these principles was generally attended by more or less of the opposite power.

Any man pretending to be called of God to minister salvation, whose ministrations among the people does not bring a direct testimony from God to the people, could safely be rejected, or else there is no justice in God; for, if he give a testimony to the priest, why not to the people? Does He love the priest more than the people? Are the people and priest not equally His children?

Joseph Smith claimed to be sent of God with a message to this generation. He offered the people the same old principles of theology which had placed man in communicationwith God for over four thousand years, but which had been lost sight of for about eighteen centuries. He claimed that God had restored all the keys of this ancient science to man, attended with all the power that ever characterized it in generations past. He organized a Church, with twelve Apostles at the head, whose business it was to look upon the glory of Christ and be especial witnesses of' Him to all nations. He included in his organization, quorums of Seventy. whose business it was to gaze upon eternal things and partake of the power of God, that they also might assist the Apostles in bringing this testimony to all nations. He organized cuorums of High Priests, and their special business was to preside over the Church at home by the direct spirit and power of revelation. He included in His organization Elders, Bishops. Priests. Teachers. Deacons, etc., whose business in the Church could not be done correctly except by revelation from God.

He instructed these various officers to proclaim the principles of faith. repentance. baptism, laying on of bands, the gathering of Israel, the destruction of the wicked, the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judement; and to promise the people of all nations, kindreds and tongues. who would receive these principles and obey them in sincerity and lowliness of heart, that they should receive the Holy Ghost, which would open up a communication between them and the eternal heavens as in days od old.

Now, a query! Would Joseph Smith have dared to organize a church with all these officers, appoint and set them apart and promise them revelation from God unless he had known beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would be sure to receive the same? Would Joseph Smith have promised all people in every nation the Holy Ghost, upon condition of obedience, if he had not positively known that they would receive it? Would not his disciples have denounced him as an impostor when they had believed and obeyed, if they had failed to receive the promised blessings?

Failing to receive them, would they have undergone every kind of hardship and persecution to spread a delusion over the whole earth that had brought them nothing but disappointment? Common sense and all human experience cry "No” to these questions.

At the judgment seat of Christ, what excuse can the people of this generation offer for rejecting Joseph Smith's message? Can they say as they could of Mahomed, he offered us no testimony by which we could know of the truth or falsity of his doctrines? No. The Lord can justly say "I offered to bear witness to the truth of the message of my servants; in their illiteracy, I clothed them with power to confound the wise and the mighty. The doctrines they taught you were incontrovertible. The ancient mounds, fortifications, cities and fossils discovered by your scientific explorers all bear the most positive testimony to the truth of the ancient records which I brought forth through my servants, and yet you rejected these things. You helped to cry delusion and spread falsehood until my servants were whipped, imprisoned or killed, or at best you raised no voice against these things; and thus you have fulfilled the scripture which saith, 'Behold I was sick and in prison and you visited me not, etc., therefore depart from me, ye accursed!'"

In that day many will weep and wail and gnash their teeth in anguish and despair because they lifted their puny arms against the God of Israel, or, for the praise of men or fear of persecution, neglected to receive the message of the great Jehovah to this generation, given through Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLIV.                          Monday,  October 23, 1882.                         No. 43.

[pp. 676-79]


Doctor Philastus Hurlburt was the originator of the "Spaulding Story."

He was not a doctor by profession, but his mother gave him that name because he was the seventh son, a very common custom in some parts at the time he was born.

Those who adopt his fabrication with regard to the authority of the Book of Mormon would have people believe that he really was a doctor. It gives an air of respectability to their tale, and tends to make the public think that he must have been a man of good education, though he really was not.

We will now give some statements with regard to his life, and the causes that led to the invention of the desperate lie, regarding the Book of Mormon, which has tended to deceive so many people. These statements are, for the most part, abridged from the writings of one who was intimately acquainted with him.

Hurlburt embraced the gospel in 1832. Previous to this he had been a local preacher in the Methodist church, but had been expelled therefrom for unchaste conduct. Soon after his baptism he went to Kirtland, where he was ordained an Elder. In the spring of 1833, he labored and preached in Pennsylvania. Here his self-importance, pride and other undesirable traits of conduct soon shook the confidence of the members of the Church in him as a man of God; and before long his unvirtuous habits were so plainly manifested that he was cast off from the church, and his license taken from him by the conference.

Some may here ask, "How is it that men who leave the Church of Christ and come out in opposition to its truths are so often proven to have previously been men of immoral lives?" The answer is plain and simple: pure, honest, virtuous men do not apostatize and turn against the principles of the gospel. They remain faithful. But men who have been wicked, and who do not sincerely repent when they enter the Church, though they may profess to do so, are very apt to turn aside and fight against God's cause. It is for this reason that so many men of Hurlburt's stamp have unfortunately for them been proven to have led very wicked lives before their baptism. Had their repentance been sincere, their after lives would have been different.

Hurlbut went to Kirtland, the seat of the government of the Church, and appealed in the general conference. His case was there re-heard, and because of his confession and apparent repentance, his license was restored to him.

On his way back to Pennsylvania he stopped in Ohio. There he attempted to seduce a young lady, but his design was frustrated. For this crime he was expelled from the Church. Finding he would be tolderated by the Saints no longer, he determined to be revenged by injuring them all in his power. He went to Springfield, Pennsylvania, and commenced to preach against "Mormonism." Here he was received with open arms by those who had been vainly endeavoring to stay the progress of God's work in that region, and churches, chapels, and meeting-houses were crowded to hear him.

He was now dubbed the Rev. Mr. Hurlburt, and was petted and patronized by priest and people; but for all that he did very little in staying the progress of the truth. As an anti-Mormon lecturer he was a failure.

During his stay in Pennsylvania Hurlburt formed many acquaintances, and mingled with all sorts of people.

While in a small settlement called the Jackson, he became familiar with a family of the same name (possibly the persons who had given the name to the settlement). Some of this family had been acquainted with the now widely-known Mr. Solomon Spaulding, and from them, Hurlburt learned that the gentleman had once written a romance called "The Manuscript Found," which professed to recount the history of the ancient inhabitants of this continent.

Hurlbut had now given himself up to the work of opposing "Mormonism." He quickly perceived that this romance could be used as a weapon to carry on the warfare. If he could obtain possession of it and find any points in common between it and the Book of Mormon, he could exaggerate those seeming resemblances and falsify other statements. If he found no agreement between the two he could contrive to have "The Manuscript Found" accidently (?) destroyed and then claim that its contents were almost identical with the record of Mormon. He found it necessary to pursue the latter course.

In carrying out his design he repaired to Kirtland, and there made an appointment to deliver a lecture, calling upon all who were opposed to "Mormonism" to attend. They did so in force. At this lecture Hurlburt told his audience that in his travels in the State of Pennsylvania, lecturing against "Mormonism," he had learned that one Mr. Spaulding had written a romance, and that the probability was that it had by some means fallen into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, and that he had transformed it into the Book of Mormon. Hurlburt further stated that he intended to write a book, and call it "Mormonism Unveiled," in which he would reveal the whole secret.

His anti-Mormon hearers were delighted. One mobocrat, a Campbellite, advanced the sum of $300.00 towards the prosecution of the work. Others contributed for the same purpose, and Hurlburt, being thus provided with the funds, at once proceeded to hunt up the manuscript.

With this view he proceeded to New Salem or Conneaut, Ohio, the place where Mr. Spaulding had formerly resided. There he called a meeting and made known his intentions, His harangues created quite a stir. He told the same story about the manuscript and Sidney Rigdon, that he had told in Kirtland. The idea was new to his hearers, but as it was something which was to destroy "Mormonism," they did not object to it, and some helped him with more money. He was here advised to visit Mrs. Davidson, formerly the wife of Mr. Spaulding, who now resided at Monson, Massachusetts. This he determined to do.

It should here be mentioned that the gospel had already been preached with considerable success in the neighborhood of New Salem (Conneaut); and though it was the place where "The Manuscript Found" was written, the Spaulding story was never dreamed of there until Hurlburt mentioned it. But it was too good a thing for those who had rejected the truth to let pass. It afforded them some slight excuse for not receiving the doctrines of "Mormonism." Such persons clutched at it eagerly, as drowning men are said to grasp at straws. Nevertheless the work of the Lord did not stand still in those parts. Numbers were afterwards baptized in that very section, so little effect had Hurlburt's fabrication upon the minds of the people.

Hurlburt at once carried out the advice given to him by his New Salem acquaintances. He proceeded to Monson, called on Mrs. Davieson, and by representing his wishes in his own unscrupulous and not over-truthful manner, obtained from her the writings of her former husband. Further she told him that there was a trunk somewhere in the State of New York, that also contained papers which he might have, if they were found to suit his purpose;

Mrs. Davidson positively asserts that she gave Hurlburt the original of "The Manuscript Found," and that he promised to publish it, which however he never did. He claimed that it did not read as he expected, or he found nothing that would suit his purpose. In this he for once undoubtedly told the truth. Quite lately, however, he has made the following affidavit.

                          January 10th, 1881.

"To all whom it may Concern:
In the year eighteen hundred and thirty-four (1834) I went from Geauga County, Ohio, to Munson, Hampden County, Mass., where I found Mrs. Davidson, late widow of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, late of Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Of her I obtained a manuscript, supposing it to be the manuscript of the romance written by the said Solomon Spaulding, called the 'Manuscript Found,' which was reported to be the foundation of the 'Book of Mormon.' I did not examine the manuscript till I got home, when upon examination I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Geauga County, Ohio, now Lake County, Ohio, with the understanding that when he had examined it, he should return it to the widow. Said Howe says the manuscript was destroyed by fire, and further the deponent saith not.
     "(Signed)   D. P. HURLBURT.

Mrs Davidson says she gave Hurlburt "The Manuscript Found." He, in the above, says it was nothing of the kind, but was a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. What was that subject? Hurlbut in his original statement says: "It is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty four rools of parchment, in a cave, but written in modern stl;e -- giving a fabulous account of a ship being driven upon the American coast, while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time previous to the Christian era, this country then being inhabited by the Indians."

Such is his description of the manuscript he received. No wonder it did not suit his purpose. No work treating on the ancient inhabitants of America could be more unlike the Book of Mormon than this. But Mrs. Davidson says this was the original of "The Manuscript Found," and we believe her. We regard it altogether more probable that this was the plot of Mr. Spaulding's romance than the ten tribe version, which we consider to be a later invention, manufactured by some ignorant "Anti-Mormon," who really imagines that the Book of Mormon carried that idea. We have nothing more than unauthenticated gossip for the assertion that Mr, S. ever believed that the American Indians were of Israelitish descent. In fact, it is stated that during the later years of that gentleman's life he was strongly inclined to infidelity.

If the papers given to Hurlburt contained "The Manuscript Found," as stated by Mrs. Davidson, we know what became of it. It was burned, if we can believe D. P. Hurlburt. It was destroyed so that it might never be brought up to confront those who claim that in it is to be found the origin of the Book of Mormon. If Hurlburt did not receive it, Mrs. Davidson must have retained it. Then what became of it? Solomon Spaulding's family could have no possible motive for not publishing it. To them it would have been a mine of wealth; at least they thought so, as evidenced by the agreement between Mrs. D. and Hurlburt, that she was to have half of the profits accruing from its publication.

There is another fact that strongly bears out Mrs. Davidson's statement. It is this, that it is highly improbable that Mr. Spaulding would write two entirely distinct and varying romances on the ancient inhabitants of America. We never hear of him writing more than one on this subject. If, then. the Roman story was not the "Manuscript Found," what was it? It certainly in many particulars agrees with the statements of those who profess to know something about Mr. Spaulding's writings. Both (if there were two) are said to have been written in the Latin language; both were found in a cave near Conneaut, Ohio. This is altogether unlikely. The evidence we believe to be overwhelming that Hurlburt did receive "The Manuscript Found," and not finding it what he wanted, he destroyed it, or had it destroyed.

We have previously referred to the Jacksons of Jackson settlement, Pennsylvania, from whom Hurlburt first heard of Mr. Spaulding's writings. In justice to Mr. Jackson it must be stated, that on one occasion Hurlburt called on him and asked him to sign a document which testified to the probability of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript having been converted into the Book of Mormon. This he indignantly refused to do. He had read both books, and knew there was no likeness between them. He then and there stated that there was no agreement between the two; adding that Mr. Spaulding's manuscript was a very small work in the form of a novel, which said not one word about the children of Israel, but professed to give an account of a race of people who originated from the Romans, which, Mr. Spaulding said, he had translated from a Latin parchment that he had found. The Book of Mormon, Mr. Jackson continued, purports to be written by a branch of the House of Israel; written in a different atyle, and altogether different. For this reason he refused to lend his name to the lie, and expressed his indignation and contempt at Hirlburt's base and wicked project to deceive the public.

Mr. Jackson's recollection of the plot of "The Manuscript Found" tallies exactly with Hurlburt's description of the contents of the manuscript he received from Mrs. Davidson, and is confirmatory evidence of the truth of her statement, that she gave that work to Hurlburt. It is also the strongest kind of testimony in favor of the theory that Spaulding's romance had nothing Israelitish in its narrative, but was Roman from beginning to end, in detail, incident, language, writing, parchment and all. 

To return to Hurlburt's work: those who were anxious that it should be published, discovered that it would be better that it should not appear in his name, his reputation having grown too bad. The manuscript was therefore sold to Mr. Howe of Painesville, Ohio, for $500 and was published by him. It did not prove a financial success, its circulation was but small. Mr. Howe eventually offered the copies at half price, but they would not sell even at that reduction. Hurlburt rapidly spent his ill-gotten gains in drink, and for many tears bore a most undesiable reputation. He is now an old man, residing at Gibsonburg, Ohio. -- Juvenile Instructor.

Note 1: This George Reynolds article (taken from Juvenile Instructor of Sept. 1, 1882) begins with a re-casting of the narrative written by Elder Benjamin Winchester in 1840, into a somewhat simplified story about D. P. Hurlbut and his supposed manufacturing of the Spalding authorship claims in 1833. Elder Reynolds also introduces unattributed quotations from E. D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed, from an 1881 article in Scribner's Monthly and other sources which Reynolds allowes to remain nameless.

Note 2: Reynolds re-working of Winchester's report concerning "Mr. Jackson" is imaginative, but wholly unwarrated. Winchester, in his telling of the story, was no doubt talking about Lyman Jackson of Albion, PA, who had died before Winchester ever wrote a word about the Spalding claims. Winchester's story about Mr. Jackson adds no unique information about Spalding's writings that he (Winchester) could not have gleaned from reading of the final chapter of E. D. Howe's 1834 book. Lyman Jackson was an elderly man (with Mormons in his immediate family) when Winchester was still a farm-boy. Lyman's own son, Rev. Abner Jackson, provides an entirely different account about his father, Solomon Spalding, and Spalding's writings. While it is probable that Winchester knew Lyman Jackson, and knew that Jackson had not provided a sworn statement for D. P. Hurlbut, the remainder of Winchester's recollections about the man are questionable. Reynolds' enhancement of the story is downright ludicrous.

1883: George Reynolds' Myth of Manuscript Found

T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XVII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Sat., Jan 5, 1884.          No. 37.


DEATH OF MARY V. YOUNG. -- Sister Mary Van Cott Young, wife of the late President Brigham Young, and daughter of the late President John Van Cott and his wife Lucy L., died at twenty-five minutes to 9 o'clock this morning at the residence of Apostle Brigham Young, 18th Ward. While the sad event will surprise many who were unaware of her illness, it has been feared by those who were cognizent of her condition, although the utmost faith was exerted and everything done that could be to-wards her recovery.

She had been an invalid for the last 14 years. About a week previous to her death, she had undergone a surgical operation for the relief of an affection which had been undermining her health for many months. The operation itself proved successful, but was followed by an unavoidable septicemla or blood-poisoning, which set in and resulted in death on the seventh day subsequent.

The deceased was in her 40th year and would have attained it on the 2nd of next February. She leaves two children, both daughters, and numerous friends and relatives to mourn her loss. The funeral it is thought will take place at the White House, where she died, but the details of the time, etc. have not yet been decided upon.

Note: Mary Van Cott Cobb Young (1844-1884) was the first wife of Spalding authorship claims researcher, James T. Cobb (1830-1910). James and Mary were apparently married in Salt Lake City in 1858. Their one child, Luella Van Cott Cobb, was born there on Oct. 21, 1860. The couple divorced in mid-1867. Then, on Jan. 8, 1868, Brigham Young attached Mary to his own harem. She was married to Brigham while her former mother-in-law, Augusta Cobb Young, was still technically Brigham's wife as well -- making James T. Cobb simultaneously both the son and ex-husband of the two "Mrs. Youngs." Brigham and Mary had one child, Fannie Van Cott Young, born Jan. 15, 1870 in Salt Lake City.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XVII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Tues., Mar. 25, 1884.          No. 104.




NEW YORK, March 18th, 1884.    

Editor, Deseret News:
En route to this city I called on David Whitmer, who had invited me to visit him again and examine the manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon, etc. On the 10th last, I had a pleasant interview, a few items of which may not be without interest to many of your readers. He greeted me with a happy smile as he remembered my former visit and the lines written commemorating the interview, which he endorsed as a correct expression of his sentiments.


Knowing the object of my visit, he brought the manuscript, which was carefully wrapped...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIX.                       Salt  Lake  City,  April 1, 1884.                       No. ?

[A Glorious Personage Appeared]
[George Q. Cannon]

...On my return from my visit to the east I took the opportunity of calling at Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, to see the last surviving witness of the three to whom the angel exhibited the plates of the Book of Mormon -- David Whitmer.

From Kansas City I took train for Lexington Junction, and there changed cars for Richmond. Upon arriving at the station I inquired of a gentleman who was standing there if he knew Mr. Whitmer. He told me that his son, David J. Whitmer, would be there presently, as he owned the omnibus which carried passengers from the station to the hotels. In a short time the omnibus drove up, and the gentleman of whom I had made the inquiry pointed Mr. Whitmer out to me. I found him very courteous, and upon informing him who I was he appeared to have been expecting me, having heard through some of the papers that I was intending to make such a visit. He said his father was growing very feeble and he did not like to have him interviewed, but he would arrange for me to see him as soon as he could.

I drove to the hotel, and after dinner Mr. Whitmer called upon me and conducted me to the residence of his father. On our way there he pointed out the track of a cyclone which had visited the town in 1878, and which had left their house, or rather the room in which the manuscript of the Book of Mormon was kept, in such a condition as to astonish all the people. The roof of the house was blown off; but nothing in this room was disturbed. The glass was not even broken. This was a cause of astonishment to the neighborhood, and the family evidently ascribe the protection of the room and its contents to the fact of the manuscript being there.

David Whitmer, who was born in January, 1805, is growing feeble, but his mind is bright and apparently unimpaired. He is rather slender now and probably stood in his early manhood five feet ten or perhaps five feet eleven inches in height. I noticed in shaking hands with him that the thumb of his right hand is missing and the hand has a long scar in the center from some injury that he had received. His hair is thin and he is rather bald. His nose is aquiline; his eyes black, or a dark brown. I noticed a slight German accent or tone in his talk. The Whitmer family is of German origin, his mother, I believe, having been born on the Rhine. He has evidently been a man who in his prime must have been quite interesting, and, I should think, fine looking. I was shown a likeness of his, painted in oil, when he was thirty-two years old. This makes him appear as handsome, of marked features, rather Jewish looking, with a head of thick hair inclined to curl.

After some little conversation he inquired of me if I would like to see the manuscript, and gave his son a key and told him to bring it in. I found it wonderfully well preserved, written in different handwritings. He says they are the writings of Oliver Cowdery, Emma Smith, Martin Harris, and perhaps, some of it that of his brother Christian, who assisted the Prophet Joseph. This is the manuscript, Mr. Whitmer says, from which the printers set the type of the Book of Mormon, and he pointed out to me where it had been cut for conveniences as "copy." I noticed some printer's marks on the manuscript. Still it seemed unusually clean for "copy" that printers had handled. I commented upon the cleanness of the manuscript and he explained that it was in consequence of the care taken of it by Oliver Cowdery in watching it while in the printer's hands. It was fastened together, not as a whole, but a few sheets -- probably not more than a dozen -- with woolen yarn, which he said was his mother's. I examined this manuscript with great interest and with a feeling of reverence. How many associations cluster around this! What wonderful changes have occurred since the few who were interested in this work labored in its preparation under the direction of the Prophet! Everything connected with the work then was in the future. Their minds were filled with anticipation concerning the greatness of the work, the foundation of which they were assisting to lay. But how little conception after all, probably, these men had, with the exception of Joseph, of the wonderful character of the work to be accomplished. Thoughts like these passed through my mind while looking at this manuscript.

But there was a paper with this, which, if anything, was still more interesting than the manuscript. It was the characters drawn by Joseph himself from the plates for Martin Harris to take to show the learned professors, so wonderfully predicted in the 29th chapter of Isaiah. There were seven lines of these characters, the first four being about twice as large in size as the last three. In English Joseph had written over the lines the word "characters." He had spelled this word, "caractors." Though these characters had evidently been written for a long time, they were as clear and distinct as though just penned. Here was the very paper which Isaiah saw in vision about 2,600 years before, and which he called "the words of a book." How wonderfully God in his own way brings to pass the fulfillment of the predictions of his servants! To the ordinary person it might seem like a trifling thing to copy these characters and send them "to one that is learned;" but it was of sufficient importance in the mind of the Lord for him to inspire his servant Isaiah to describe exactly the occurrence. This shows how much importance the Lord attached to these details connected with the foundation of this work and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

David Whitmer told me he was plowing when Joseph and Oliver came to him to speak about his being one of the witnesses. He already knew that the Lord had promised to show the plates to three witnesses. Joseph then informed him that he was chosen to be one of the three. They went out and sat upon a log, conversing upon the things to be revealed, when they were surrounded by a glorious light which overshadowed them. A glorious personage appeared unto them and exhibited to them the plates, the sword of Laban, the Directors which were given to Lehi (called Liahona), the Urim and Thummim, and other records. Human language cannot, he said, describe what they saw. He had had his hours of darkness and trial and difficulty since that period; but however dark upon other things his mind had been, that vision had ever been a bright and beautiful scene in his memory, and he had never wavered in regard to it. He had fearlessly testified of it always, even when his life was threatened. Martin Harris was not with them at the time Joseph and Oliver and he saw the angel; but he and Joseph afterwards were together, and the angel exhibited the plates to Martin Harris also, and he thus became a witness.

I spent several hours there, and to me they were very interesting. The old gentleman was able to stay in the room only a portion of the time; he had to retire to rest; but I had the company of his son, David J. Whitmer, and his nephew, John C. Whitmer (who is a son of Jacob Whitmer, one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon), while I remained....

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XXXIII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Thur., June 17, 1884.          No. ?.


A short time ago the Pittsburg, Pa., Leader, published a statement made by Rev. W. R. Coovert, to the effect that Sidney Rigdon had acknowledged that the manuscript said to have been written by Solomon Spaulding, was stolen by him (Rigdon) while he was working at a printing office in Ohio, where Spaulding had left it for publication, and that after stealing it he gave it to Joseph Smith who, with his aid, fixed it up as the Book of Mormon. This story was swallowed with avidity by anti-"Mormon" preachers and papers, and the statement was copied as supplying the missing connection between Rigdon and Smith previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon.

The generally disseminated story is that Spaulding left his manuscript with one Patterson, a printer in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and that by some means Sidney Rigdon, perhaps working as a printer, got hold of it and conveyed it to Joseph Smith. But investigation has demonstrated that Spaulding's manuscript whatever it may have been -- it is clear that it was not anything like what has been claimed for it -- was taken to the printer Patterson in Pittsburg not later than 1814; that it was not suitable for publication and was taken by its author to Amity, where he died in 1816, and a trunk containing it was removed by his widow and daughter to Sabine, Onondaga County, New York; that in 1820, after Mrs. Spaulding's marriage to Mr. Davidson, her second husband, it was conveyed to her new home at Hartwicks, New York, where it remained till 1834, when one Hurlburt, a bitter and wicked apostate "Mormon," obtained it for the purpose of proving that the Book of Mormon was made up from it, but the book was never published, nor was the manuscript seen afterwards. It is also certain that Sidney Rigdon was not a printer; that he was not in Pittsburg until 1822, when he was called to be Pastor of the First Baptist Church at that place; that he never saw the Book of Mormon or knew anything of Joseph Smith until the fall of 1830, when Parley P. Pratt showed it to him for the first time; and that he did not see Joseph Smith until early in 1831, about a year after the Book of Mormon was published. It is established that when Spaulding's manuscript was said to be in Patterson's office at Pittsburg, Sidney Rigdon was a youth of twenty years working at home on a farm and living with his mother in St. Clare township, Allegheny County; and that Joseph Smith was but nine years of age and living with his parents in Sharon, Windsor County, New York, removing with them shortly after to Palmyra in the same State.

The connection of Spaulding and Rigdon, of Patterson and Rigdon, and of Rigdon with the Prophet Joseph has never been established or even approached. It was but the wildest kind of conjecture, and every attempt to bolster it up by pretended affidavits and the alleged recollections of old ladies and gentlemen under a cross-fire of interested quotations, have only resulted in displaying the weaknesses of such endeavor, and in furnishing facts which refute the nonsensical theory. But it was thought that this statement of Coovert's, although it was contradictory of known facts and data, and of statements previously quoted by anti-"Mormons," in support of their notion, would supply the connection hithertofore impossible to make and establish the theory of the Spaulding origin of the Book of Mormon.

But alas! for the hopes of the Spauldingites -- if we may use that term -- the same paper in which Coovert's fabrication appeared has recently published a refutation thereof, which we clip from the Pittsburg Leader as follows:

It will be remembered by our readers that just previous to the commencement of the debate with Rev. Kelley on the Mormon question, Rev. W. R. Coovert stated to a Leader reporter that Sidney Rigdon, a former resident of Pittsburg, had stolen the manuscript of the Mormon Bible, which had been written by a Doctor Spaulding, of Ohio, as a romance and which the latter had left with a publisher named Patterson, father of the editor of the Presbyterian Banner; that after stealing it he submitted it to Joseph Smith, of Palmyra, N. Y., who, in connection with Rigdon, published it and palmed it off as a revelation from God.

Learning that a daughter of Rigdon was living in Pittsburg, a reporter called on her yesterday, and at first she declined to say anything at all on the subject, but finally, on the scribe promising not to use her name -- she is married -- she said: "I have never had the honor of seeing this so-called Rev. Coovert, who of late has been so free in his use of dead men's names, but I understand he parts his hair in the middle of his head, a fact which, from what I have heard and read of him, is no surprise to me. Now, while I most emphatically decline to be drawn into any controversy over that story of Coovert, which if there was any foundation for it, I can not for the life of me, see why it was allowed to remain quiet for years after all the actors are laid in their graves; yet I will say this, that my father, who had the respect of all who knew him, and at a time when he had but little hope of living from one day to another, said to the clergymen around him, of which there was a number belonging to various denominations: these were his words: "As I expect to die and meet my Maker, I know nothing about where the manuscript of the Mormon Bible came from."

The lady said further that she believed as firmly as she "believed anything, that Joseph Smith (who was, she believed, at one time a good man) had a revelation, and that the Mormon Bible was founded on that revelation. But she was satisfied the Rev. Coovert had never seen a copy of it and consequently did not know what he was talking and writing about."
Further comment is needless. The Spaulding story was thoroughly and completely exploded years ago, and never had a leg to stand upon. It was a mixture of mere conjecture, wild imagination, and desire to oppose by improper means that which could not be suppressed by truth and fair argument. And those who desire to investigate this matter fully, will find that all the necessary data, pro and con, in the little work by Elder George Reynolds, which can be obtained at this office, entitled: "The Myth of the Manuscript Found."

Note 1: The May 18, 1884 Pittsburgh Leader was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of June 25, 1884 and in Saints' Herald for June 7, 1884. The unnamed daughter of Sidney Rigdon who was interviewed for the article was Nancy Rigdon Ellis, who died in Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, 1887.

Note 2: The Book of Mormon origins allegations relayed by Rev. Coovert originally came from the a spring 1884 number of the Baltimore Observer. This news report (based on a statement made by former Rigdon associate James Jeffries) was reprinted by various newspapers in mid-1884, including the Keokuk Gate City of May10, 1884. James Jeffries (then of Harford Co., Maryland) apparently knew Sidney Rigdon at Nauvoo in the early 1840s. Years later he claimed to have heard about Rev. Spalding's "lost tribes of Israel" story directly from Rigdon himself. Presumably this confession of Rigdon's was made when the recently excommunicated Mormon leader passed through St. Louis in mid-September, 1844. Rev. Clark Braden also repeated Mr. Jeffries' story, in the course of his 1884 debate with RLDS Elder Edmund L. Kelley.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XXXIII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Fri., Aug. 8, 1884.          No. ?.



The stupid invention known as the Spaulding story has been thoroughly exposed and itsassumptions completely overturned, but it is continually repeated and appears to be the only refuge of those who want to account for the Book of Mormonon any other than the true hypothesis, namely, that it is a divine record translated by divine power. The Spaulding story was chiefly concocted by D. P. Hulburt or Hurlburt, who was excommunicated from the Church at an early day, and who made it up to fulfill his threat of veageance against the Church authorities. The character of the man, the falsity of his statements, proofs that Sidney Rigdon -- who, he claimed, stole the Spaulding manuscript and helped Joseph Smith work it over into the Book of Mormon, -- never saw the Prophet nor the book until after it was published, have been repeatedly shown up, but of course have no weight with those who will not be convinced. However, as additional testimony on this subject, we publish below the statement of a gentleman familiar with some points bearing on this matter. It will be interesting to the Latter-day Saints, if not to their enemies. We clip it from a letter written by Mr. Hyram Rathbun to the Lamoni, Iowa, Herald of August 2nd, 1884, and dated Lansing, Michigan, July 17, 1884:
I remember very distinctly when my father, Robert Rathbun, and uncle George Miller both lived in Mantua, Ohio in the years of 1828, 1829 and 1830. My father had been a minister in the Close Communion Baptist persuasion, But he, with uncle George Miller, had more recently been carried away with the reformation which had swept through the Western Reserve in Ohio. It was a kind of a reform Baptist movement. One Sidney Rigdon was regarded at the time as the one towering above all others in ability, and consequently a leader in the reformation. During the year of 1830, one Parley P. Pratt, and one Oliver Cowdery, came along. Father opened his doors and received them kindly; and they preached in father's house. Mr. Pratt gave father a Book of Mormon, and requested him to read it. He also gave Sidney Rigdon one, making the same request of him that he did of father. My father was much more a preacher than he was a debater. Uncle George Miller was not much of a preacher but an indomitable biblical debater, and a sharp shrewd critic. They agreed to read the book through on this wise: 1st. They covenanted together to pray each day at ten o'clock in secret while reading the book through, for divine wisdom, and for the direction of the Holy Spirit, that they might know of a truth and be directed of God for or against the Book of Mormon. 2d. Father was to read, and Uncle George Miller was to criticise. 3d. They were to lay aside all prejudice, all partiality; and with all Christian candor and righteous fairness, endeavor to reach their conclusions. The result was that they both embraced the new faith, and through all the checkered scenes of life maintained it and finally died in the triumph of that faith.

Sidney Rigdon at once rejected the Book of Mormon given him as an imposition, and boldly withstood Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery. But Uncle George Miller set right in upon Sidney Rigdon with all his indomitable and unconquerable perseverance, as though it was a life and death struggle and never gave up the contest until Mr. Rigdon became convicted and finally converted to the new faith also. This was not a public but a private controversy. They called it then, "the faith once delivered to the Saints."

This was Sidney Rigdon's first acquaintance with the Book of Mormon. And it was a very trying time with these Reformed Baptists to see their standard bearers with a good many others go over to what was then called "The Church of Christ," and "the faith once delivered to the Saints."

In regard to D. P. Hulburt, sometimes called Dr. P. Hulburt, I have this to say: That it so turns out in the wonderful providence of God, that I have had quite an acquaintance with this very peculiar sort of a man. The facts in his case are these: 1. He was excommunicated from the Methodist Episcopal Church for improprieties with the opposite sex and lying. 2. He was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for improprieties with the opposite sex and lying. 3. Upon this event he swore vengeance upon the Latter-day Saints and undertook to destroy them. 4. He then went into the more western and newer part of the state of Ohio, where he was not known, and wormed himself into the "Church of the United Brethren in Christ," and was ordained an Elder among them. Here, both in the conference and in the church, there was a constantly growing uneasiness about his improprieties; until in the fall of 1851, when he was held before the Sandusky Annual Conference of said church, for a trial on charges of gross improprieties toward the opposite sex, lying and intemperance. Each charge to wit, First improprieties toward the opposite sex; Second, lying; Third, intemperance, was clearly and fully sustained; and he was suspended from the ministry one year and as that year he grew from bad to worse, he was entirely excommunicated at the next, session of the conference which was held In the fall of 1852.

How do I know all these things? I will tell. In regard to the first item, my mother's people were all Methodists, so that I was blessed with seven Methodist preachers as near relatives. Hence the excommunication of said Hurlbut from the Methodist Church was familiar household talk whenever any of them met together. In regard to the second and third items first above enumerated, my father had something more to do with than the former. I remember of hearing him tell about said Hurlbut imposing upon the church; what a bold, impudent, lying man he was, and when excommunicated from the Latter-day Saints, how he swore he would have vengeance upon the Mormons. I remember of hearing all of these things talked over and over again. But in after life, I heard him tell what a time he had with the Methodists, what a time he had with the Mormons; he boasted how he swore vengeance upon them. He said that [the] Spaulding Manuscript was a little insignificant thing of only about twenty pages, and had no more relation to the Book of Mormon than he had to the inhabitants of the moon; "but," said he, "I made it tell upon them to their eternal damnation." And here he seemed to glut himself in what he had done, what a great thing he had done out of nothing. The obscene language I heard him use to an old minister in abusing him when all alone, and as he supposed, no one hearing him, was so disgraceful and black that I would not tell it under any consideration, except under oath, confirmed me in all the charges brought against him.

In regard to the fourth item, I only have to say that at that time I was an Elder with Mr. D. P. Hurlbut, of the aforesaid Sandusky Annual Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and personally knew of those grievances. I was one of that honorable, august body of Elders, who for over two days before Bishop Edwards patiently heard his trial, and thoroughly and faithfully investigated all the testimony in his case. And we all came to the same conclusion, that he was a very bad man, and guilty of each charge made against him. We all voted yes, I Hyrum Rathbun, voted on the case to suspend him from the ministry for one year, and by so doing give him a chance to redeem himself; but he went on from bad to worse, and at the next Annual Conference of 1852, by vote, we excommunicated him from the Church for improprieties with the opposite sex, for lying, and for intemperance.
               HYRAM RATHBUN.

Note 1: This article was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Aug. 20, 1884. Hyram Rathbun (or Hiram Rathbone,1820-1898) was an RLDS Elder at the time he made this statement. He had previously been a an Elder in the United Brethren Church, and before that, with the Mormons. He was the son of Robert Rathbun, Jr. (1798-1856) and Hannah Warner (1797-?). Robert Rathbun seems to have been a member of Sidney Rigdon's Mentor congregation prior to 1830. He was later the missionary companion of notable Mormon Luke S. Johnson.

Note 2: Hyram was baptized a Mormon on Nov. 20, 1831, in Independence, Jackson Co., MO and re-baptized an RLDS on Oct. 16, 1884, in Vassar, Tuscola Co., MI. Several years prior to his association with the RLDS, Hyram Rathbun edited the Christian Ambasador, an obscure source for some interesting insights into early Mormon history. Rathbun's claims regarding D. P. Hulbut's excommunication are confirmed by printed reports in the Oct. 5, 1852 issue of the Religious Telescope.

Note 3: Hyrum's mother was born in Gnadenhutten, Tuscarawas, OH. No record has been located concerning her Methodist minister relatives who were acquainted with D. P. Hurlbut. It is likely that they knew him in Ontario Co., NY in 1830 or 1831, before he moved to Jamestown, NY.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XVIII.          Salt Lake City, U. T., Mon., March 23, 1885.          No. 101.



"One by one the roses fade." So are the props of those who make a hobby of seeking to show that "Mormonism" is a fraud, kicked from under them. And they find themselves sitting in the mud puddle of disappointment and perplexity. The religious denouncers of polygamy have gradually receded from the untenable ground that the Bible does does not sanction, sustain, nor cojoin plural marriage. It is now generally acknowledged that such a proposition has not the shadowof a leg on which to stand. In consequence fanatical anti"Mormon" religionists, having no argument to offer, keep up the unreasoning whoop about a "superior civilization" and demands for the application of force to suppress that which they cannot exhibit as an error by argument.

Another of the piles which have supported the opponents of "Mormonism," has been swept down the swiftly flowing river of later development. The story about the Spaulding manuscript and the Book of Mormon being identical is now proved, by incontrovertible evidence, to be a part of the fabric of "The refuge of lies," as we always knew it to be.

Before us is the April number of Frank Leslie's Illistrated Sunday Magazine. It contains a fac simile of the New York Observer of February 5th, 1885, on which appears this interesting statement:


The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. That manuscript is doubtless now in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, formerly an anti-slavery editor in Ohio, and for many years State printer at Columbus. During a recent visit to Honolulu, I suggested to Mr. Rice that he might have valuable anti-slavery documents in his possession which he would be willing to contribute to the rich collection already in the Oberlin College library. In pursuance of this suggestion Mr. Rice began looking over his old pamphlets and papers, and at length came upon an old, worn, and faded manuscript of about 175 pages, small quarto, purporting to be a history of the migrations and conflicts of the ancient Indian tribes which occupied the territory now belonging to the States of New York, Ohio and Kentucky. On the last page of this manuscript is a certificate and signature giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that, to their personal knowledge, the manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Rice has no recollection how or when this manuscript came into his possession. It was enveloped in a coarse piece of wrapping paper and endorsed in Mr. Rice's handwriting "A manuscript story."

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.
                                JAMES H. FAIRCHILD.
From Bibliotheca Sacra,

We wonder who will be the ingenious fabricator who will furnish the "other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon," for doubtless some of the conscienceless enemies of "Mormonism" will consider that another subterfuge is "required."

Note 1: This article was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Apr. 8, 1885. The report was clipped from the pages of this paper and sent to Elder Joseph F. Smith on Oahu, Hawaii. Smith subseuently contacted Lewis L. Rice there and was eventually able to obtain a transcript of Spalding manuscript then in Rice's possession. From that transcript the LDS Church printed the Spalding story in 1886.

Note 2: President Fairchild's statement originally appeared in the Jan. 1885 issue of Bibliotheca Sacra. Fairchild placed increasingly limiting restrictions upon his opinions in this matter in laters years, eventually saying, in substance, that he did not know whether Solomon Spalding had written any texts that were incorporated into the Book of Mormon, or whether or not the manuscript discovered in Hawaii was the only story Spalding ever wrote about the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XVIII          Salt Lake City, U. T., Wed., May 20, 1885.          No. 196.



Some time since we published a statement from Bibliotheca Sacra to the effect that a manuscript story by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding had been discovered at Honolulu, Hawaii, in possession of Mr. L. L. Rice. As the discovery completely upsets the anti-"Mormon" theory that the Book of Mormon owed its origin to the Spaulding story, the subject has awakened considerable interest. We learn from the Saint's Herald that the editor of that paper wrote to Mr. Rice in relation to the matter and received a reply, from which we make the following extract:

The Spaulding Manuscript in my possession came into my hands in this wise. In 1839-40 my partner and myself bought of E. D. Howe the Painseville Telegraph, published at Painesville, Ohio. The transfer of the printing department, types, press, etc., was accompanied with a large collection of books, manuscripts, etc., this manuscript of Spaulding among the rest. So, you see, it has been in my possession over forty years. But I never examined it, or knew the character of it, until some six or eight months since. The wrapper was marked, "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek." The wonder is, that in some of my movements, I did not destroy or burn it with a large amount of rubbish that had accumulated from time to time.

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 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 the bank of 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 says Spaulding made three copies of "Manuscript Found," one of which Sidney Rigdon stole from a printing office in Pittsburg. You can possibly tell better than I can what ground there is for such an allegation.

I knew Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, when they were located at Kirtland; and I once visited Smith, in 1841, when he was at Nauvoo. I have heard Rigdon preach, both as a Campbellite and as a Mormon. I knew Eliza R. Snow well; she was a poetic correspondent of mine when I published a paper at Ravenna, Ohio.

    *     *     *     *     *     *  

As to this Manuscript, I cannot see that it can be of any use to any body, except the Mormons, to show that it is not the original of the Mormon Bible. But that would not settle the claim that some other manuscript of Spaulding was the original of it. I propose to hold it in my own hands for a while, to see if it cannot be put to some good use. 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.

Upon reflection, since writing the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spaulding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. It is unlikely that any one who wrote so 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.

Note: Well before Lewis L. Rice's letter of March 28th, 1885 was published in the Saints' Herald on May 16th, the Mormons in Hawaii were already striving to examine and obtain the Spalding manuscript then in Rice's possession. For the story of these LDS efforts, see the Deseret Evening News for July 14 and for July 21 1885.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XVIII          Salt Lake City, Utah Terr., Tues., July 14, 1885.          No. 196.



HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands.    
May 11, 1885.       

Editor, Deseret News:

On the morning of the 16th of April my companion and I made our way to Punahou, about two miles from Honolulu, to the residence of Mr. J. M. Whitney, son-in-law of Mr. L. L. Rice, with whom the latter is at present living.

On going to the house we met a very aged, but intelligent looking man at the rear of the dwelling, whom we found to be Mr. Rice. After introducing ourselves, I informed him that I had seen an article, published in the papers by Mr. James H. Fairchild, relative to

Mr. Spaulding's Romance,

from which it was alleged the Book of Mormon was derived, and that interest and curiosity had led us to call on him in hopes of seeing it, and of having some conversation with him on the subject.

He invited us into the parlor, and when we were seated he asked "Are you Mormons?" Of course to this we had but one unequivocal answer. He then enquired how long we had been in the country, our business, etc., to all of which we gave appropriate answers, so that he seemed satisfied that we had come no great distance for the special object of our visit. He then began to talk about as follows (to the best of my recollection):

"I have no objection to show you the manuscript; you shall see it; but it is of no value to anybody. I have, with others, compared it with the Book of Mormon, and I undertook to copy it but ran out of paper before I got it finished and so discontinued it. There is not one word nor sentence in it in common with the Book of Mormon.

The Only Possible Resemblance

is: they both purport to give an account of American Indians. This manuscript is nothing but a simple story about the tribes of Indians supposed to have inhabited the country in the vicinity of Conneaut, Ohio, where some ancient mounds existed, and it is a very poor story at that.

"It came into my possession in 183_ when Mr. [Philander Winchester] and I bought out the printing establishment formerly owned by Mr. E. D. Howe in Painesville, Ohio, in connection with a large amount of old papers found in the place and turned over to us with it. I have had it ever since in my possession. I have looked at it scores of times, and often thought I would look into it to see what it was, but never did until a year ago, on the occasion of President Fairchild's visit. Since then I have often wondered that I did not long ago destroy it with other worthless papers. I have recently had letters from several parties making inquiries, and all desiring to obtain possession of it.

"Mr. Howe thinks he has a claim upon it, but I have told them all they cannot have it. When I get through with it, I shall most likely deposit it in the Oberlin College Library, as I have promised President Fairchild."
I remarked: "There is no use disguising the fact that we would like to obtain it or a copy of it," to which he very emphatically replied: "Well, sir, you can't have it."

He went into another part of the house and soon returned with a parcel wrapped in a piece of old brown wrapping paper and fastened with an old tow string. I judge

The Manuscript

to be 6 1/2 inches wide, and 8 inches long and about an inch in thickness. Holding the parcel before my eyes, he said: "This is just as I received it, and as it has been in my possession for over forty years, tied with that same string. You see that pencil writing? That was written there before it came into my hands."

This writing in pencil, quite legible, was -- "Manuscript Story."

"But," continued he, "this writing in ink I foolishly wrote there myself very recently; I suppose I ought not to have done it, but with that exception it is just as it came into my hands and as it has remained for over forty years."

This writing in ink was as follows: -- "Writings of Solomon Spaulding," and was inscribed partly over the "Manuscript Story" written in pencil.

Mr. Rice then untied the tow string and took off the wrapper, when we saw a time-worn, dingy, somewhat dilapidated old manuscript. I glanced over a portion of

The Preface,

which set forth that in consequence of the existence of large mounds in the vicinity of Conneaut, indicating the former occupation of the country by a numerous people, etc., the author had been induced to write, etc. etc. I do not pretend to give the text, but merely the sense as I gathered it from a hasty glance.

Mr. Rice called our attention to the certificate on the last page, which was referred to by Mr. Fairchild in his article published in the New York Observer of Feb. 5th, 1885. This certificate gave the names of several persons, known to the writer and signer of the same, who had made affidavits, which the certificate says were "on file in this office," to the effect that, they "personally knew this manuscript to be the writing of Solomon Spaulding." The certificate and the signature are in the same handwriting, and are that of

"Doctor Philastus Hurlburt,"

or rather the signature is plain "D. P. Hurlbut."

Mr. Rice is now 84 years of age, but he is in good mental and physical condition. He chatted freely relative to his early recollections and acquaintances, not forgetting to give us his mind respecting plural marriage. He said: "I was well acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, both before and after he became a Mormon, and have heard him preach as a Campbellite and as a Mormon. He was a very smart man, but I never knew the cause of his leaving your Church, or whether he ever denounced Mormonism and the Book of Mormon, or not."

I said: "One cause of his leaving the Church was that he assumed to be the guardian and leader of the Church after the death of the Prophet Joseph, while that authority had been conferred through Joseph Smith upon the Twelve Apostles, and that to my knowledge Mr. Rigdon had never at any time denied or denounced either Mormonism or the Book of Mormon."

He said: "I was very well acquainted with Joseph Smith in Kirtland, and I saw him once in Nauvoo."

He was also quite well acquainted with Sister E. R. S. Smith; said she used to write poetry for his paper, and he always thought her "a very nice, intelligent young lady," and wanted to know if she was still living.

As he had refused so emphatically to part with the manuscript or allow it to be copied, I asked him if he would part with the copy he had made, so far as he had gone, for a reasonable compensation for his time and labor. At first he refused, but after some talk on the subject, he promised to write Mr. Fairchild by the next mail, and if he made no objection he would perhaps do so.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the identical, much-talked-of, long-lost, much-belied, but very innocent

"Manuscript Found."

The facts already demonstrated beyond contradiction stamp its identity with unmistakable certainty. In 1834 it was obtained by Hurlbut from Jerome Clark at Hartwicks, New York upon an order of Mrs. Davison, the widow of Solomon Spaulding, certified to as being the writing of Solomon Spaulding by several persons personally knowing the fact, and subscribed to by D. P. Hurlbut himself, by whom it was taken to the printing establishment of Mr. E. D. Howe, the reputed author of "Mormonism Unvailed," and transferred to Mr. L. L. Rice on his purchasing the printing establishment, and by Mr. Rice preserved until now, without even knowing what it was for some forty years. It seems that

The Hand of Providence

is plainly visible, for some wise purpose, in the whole affair. And now it has been carefully examined and compared with the Book of Mormon by Mr. L. L. Rice, Mr. James H. Fairchild of the Oberlin College Library, Ohio, and by others, and by them declared without similarity in name, incident, purpose or fact with the Book of Mormon.

Mr. L. L. Rice declared to Brother Farr and myself that he believed it to be the "only romance of the kind ever written by Mr. Spaulding," and, said he, "somehow I feel that this is a fact." From his remarks we inferred that it was his belief that

The Reason It Was Not Published

by Spaulding himself was because it was not worth publishing. "For," said he, "it is only a very simple story, and a very poor one at that."

Taking this statement as the unreserved judgment of an old editor and newspaper man, who has not only carefully read it and compared it with the Book of Mormon, but with his own hand copied about two-thirds of it, his opinion must be accepted as of great weight; and it corresponds with the alleged message sent by Mr. Patterson with the Mss., when it is said he returned it to Spaulding, "declining to print it," and said, "Polish it up, finish it and you'll make money out of it." It no doubt needed and still needs a good deal of "polish."

On the 1st instant, Brother Farr and I called again on Mr. Rice, when he allowed us to examine the Mss. of the "Manuscript Found." We read the preface and two chapters of the Mss. which we found to be what I should call a far-fetched story about the discovery of some "28 sheets of parchment" in an "artificial cave" about "8 feet deep," situated in a mound on the west side of the Conneaut River." With this parchment, which was "plainly written upon with Roman letters in the Latin language," was a "roll of parchment containing the biography of the writer."

The first two chapters which we read purport to be a translation of this biography, which sets forth that the writer's name was Fabius, that he was "born in Rome and received his education under the tuition of a very learned master, at the time that Constantine entered Rome, and was firmly seated as Emperor," to whom Fabius was introduced and was appointed by him one of his secretaries.

Soon after this, Fabius was sent by Constantine "with an important message to a certain general in England." On the voyage the heavens gathered blackness, obscuring sun and stars, and a terrific storm arose, which continued unabated for five days, when it lulled, but the darkness continued. They were lost at sea. They began to pray "with great lamentations," etc., when a voice came telling them not to be afraid, and they would be taken to a "safe harbor." For five days more they were swiftly driven before the wind and found themselves in the mouth of a very "large river" up which they sailed "for many days," when they came to a village and cast anchor. The natives were alarmed, held a council, and finally extended towards them the hand of friendship, and made a great feast for them, sold them a "large tract of land for fifty pieces of scarlet calico and fifty knives," and established with them a covenant of perpetual peace.

Not daring to venture the dangers and uncertainties of the unknown deep over which they had been so mysteriously driven, they concluded it was better to remain than to attempt to return to Rome, etc., etc. The ship's company consisted of 20 souls, seven of whom were young women who had embarked at Rome to visit their relatives in England. Luian or Lucian was the name of the captain of the vessel and Trojenous was the name of his 1st Mate, one of the sailors is called Droll Tom, another Crito. There were three ladies of rank among the women. On motion of one of the sailors the women chose their husbands, Lucian, Fabius and Trojanus were of course selected by the three ladies of rank, but six poor fellows had to go without wives, or marry the natives, etc.

This is about the thread of the story, so far as we have read.

Note 1: This article was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of July 22. The correspondent from Hawaii (who here calls himself "Islander"), was Joseph F. Smith, an LDS Apostle as well as Second Counselor to President John Taylor. Smith was hiding out in Hawaii incognito, in order to avoid being arrested for practicing polygamy. While in Hawaii he assumed the name of Mr. "Speight." Thus, he was not fully truthful in his dealings with Lewis L. Rice. Rice probably never knew that he was talking to such a high ranking Mormon, the nephew of Joseph Smith, Jr. When Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild's notice concerning the Spalding manuscript discovered in Hawaii appeared in the March 23, 1885 issue of the Deseret Evening News, Elder George Reynolds clipped out the report and sent it to Smith in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii. It was probably Reynolds who suggested that Joseph F. Smith contact Rice (using his cover-name of "Speight") in order to attempt to obtain his Spalding holograph for the LDS Church. Smith wrote a second report back to Utah on June 24, 1885. These two letters by President Smith, although addressed to the editors at the Deseret News, were almost certainly originally addressed to Elder George Reynolds.

Note 2: As President Smith admits, the only title associated with the old story was the "Manuscript Story" written on its wrapper -- a title not even known to have originated with Solomon Spalding. Smith's use of the term "Manuscript Found" in reference to this manuscript is not justified by anything written in the story itself.

Note 3: President Smith further says that Rice's "opinion" regarding the history of the manuscript "must be accepted as of great weight." Howver, the "opinion" relayed by Smith to his readers back in Utah was not L. L. Rice's final conclusion regarding Spalding and his writings. After several months' further consideration and study of the matter, Rice provided his mature, final "opinion" in a letter written on March 4, 1886 and published on Mar. 11th, saying: "The mooted question now is what became of the Manuscript... My belief is from ... testimony in my possession, that either Hurlburt or Howe sold it to the Mormons, who of course destroyed it, or put it out of the way." In saying this Lewis L. Rice clearly advocated the belief or "opinion" that the Spalding manuscript found in his possession was not the famous "Manuscript Found." It was also his final "opinion" that the latter story had indeed formed the basis of the Book of Mormon, but that the sole surviving draft of that Book of Mormon seed narrative had been lost to the world when "Hurlburt or Howe" placed it in the hands of top Mormon leaders at Kirtland during the early 1830s.

Note 4: For more details regarding President Smith's encounter with the Spalding manuscript in Hawaii, see Lance Chase's "Horse Soldiers and the Spaulding Manuscript," in Proceedings: Fourth Annual Conference, Mormon History in the Pacific, April 30, 1983, pp. 9-16, which includes excerpts from Elder Isaac Fox's 1884 Hawaii missionary journal.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XVIII          Salt Lake City, Utah Terr., Tues., July 21, 1885.          No. 202.



HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands.    
June 24, 1885.       

Editor, Deseret News:

Among those who had written to Mr. Rice for the MS were Eber D. Howe of Painesville, Ohio, (since which Mr. Rice informs us he had a stroke and was supposed to be on his death-bed); Mr. A. B. Deming, also of Painesville; Albert D. Hagar, Librarian of the Chicago Historical Society, Chicago; and Mrs. Ellen S.[sic] Dickenson, of Boston, grand-niece of S. Spaulding. Mrs. Dickenson demanded that the MS be sent forthwith to her or Mrs. McInstry, from whose mother it had been "stolen by D. P. Hurlburt." She also asserts that she is writing a book against the "Mormons," and desires the manuscript from which to make extracts, provided it is the one that Hurlburt stole "which she scarcely thinks is the one." Mr. Demming says he does "not think it is the Manuscript Found," for it is rumored that Hurlburt sold it to the Mormons and they destroyed it, which, he says, "I believe to be true," He was nevertheless clamorous to have this MS sent to him immediately, for writes he, "I desire to make extracts from it, as I am writing a book, to be entitled 'The death-blow to Mormonism.'" Joseph Smith did not ask for the MS for himself, but that it might be sent to the Chicago Historical Society, 140 and 142 Dearborn Street, Chicago, for preservation. Mr. Hager, secretary or librarian of said society, desired it also sent there, and promised to defray the postage or expressage, and to have it neatly bound, etc., etc. But Mr. E. D. Howe laid claim to it on the ground that when he sold his printing establishment to his brother, from whom it was turned over to Messrs. Rice and Winchester, in 1839, the MS was inadvertently turned over to them with the office. He further states in his letter that the MS was left in his office by D. P. Hurlbut, pending efforts to obtain evidence against the Book of Mormon. Mr. Rice showed us all these letters, which we carefully read and noted. Mr. Demming, who is a Rev. gentleman, wrote two letters, both of which seemed to savor of a spirit smarting under the sting of conscious imbecility, and reeking with venom and the bitterness of gall.

Mr. Rice informed us that his friends, among them the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop, of Honolulu, had advised him not to allow the Mormons to get hold of a copy of the MS. When I asked him for what reason, he replied "What, indeed?" The old gentleman has a son in the States who is a minister (to whom Mr. Demming's letters were addressed), and he wrote him to make enquiry respecting the existence of Messrs. Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and John N. Miller, who testified to the identity of the MS, as Spaulding's writings, and he found them to have been "veritable persons, but they are now all dead." This was the statement which Mr. Rice made to us. Here is a copy of the certificate: "The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.     (signed)     D. P. Hurlbut." (The signature is written as here given.)

I made another visit to Mr. Rice a few weeks ago, and read several more chapters of the MS. The following passage occurs on the 38th page, but is crossed out:

"Let thy citizens be numbered once in two years, and if thy young women who are fit for marriage are more numerous than the young men; then wealthy men, who are young and who have but one wife, shall have the privilege, with the permission of the king to marry another until the numbers of the single young men and the single young women are made equal; but he who has two wives shall have a house provided for each, and he shall spend his time equally with each one."

We again took a good look at the MS, which had been returned to him by Mr. Hyde, a minister to whom it had been loaned for a time, and by whom I suspect it was copied, although I do not know. We counted the pages and found 169 numbered pages and one and two-thirds pages not numbered, and two loose sheets not apparently belonging to the MS, which made in all 175; less pages 133 and 134 which are missing.

Mr. Rice said that when he was publishing a newspaper, the Republican Monitor, at Cazenovia, N. Y., he published a very interesting story entitled the "Manuscript Found," and some ten or fifteen years later while editing the Ohio Star, at Ravenna, Ohio, he republished this story, which was a romance predicated upon some incidents of the Revolutionary War. He was of the opinion that the name of this story by some means had been confounded with Spaulding's MS or writings, and that this is the only novel that Spaulding ever wrote.

I also read another letter from Mr. A. B. Demming, fairly clamoring for the possession of the MS. He said he had called on E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlbut, and had spent several days with one and the other of them on the subject of the MS, and urged it be sent at once to Mr. Rice's son (in Painesville, Ohio,) with instructions to let no one know of the fact but Mr. D.

On the 15th inst., I called upon Mr. Rice again, in company with a couple of the brethren, to read a little more in the MS. He informed us that he had that day forwarded the original to the Oberlin College Library, in the care of a lady who was going there, and made us the following proposition: to let me have the copy he had now finished, provided I would have it printed verbatim, complete, with erasures, or crossed-out parts in italics, and explanation in preface; and after printing, to send fifty copies to Oberlin, twenty-five copies and the MS back to him. I accepted the proposition, and he was to draw up a paper setting forth these terms, and he would deliver the copy of the MS and a copy of the agreement into my hands at six p. m.

When I returned at the appointed hour he took me to his room and said: "Mrs. and Mr. Whitney (his daughter and son-in-law) have protested against my letting you have the MS until I get the consent of President Fairchild. Now, in view of my promise to you, this places me in a very embarrassing position; for I want to please them, and I regret having to fail in my promise to you; but I think it best to postpone the matter for two or three weeks, until I can hear from President Fairchild."

"What reason," I asked, "do they give for their objection? We agree to your proposition -- it is all your own way. The original is beyond our reach and we could have no other than the most honest motives, with all the expense on our part, in carrying out your proposition." The only answer was -- "They are not as liberal as I am." I do not know whether this meant they wanted something more for it, or that they were not as liberal in their sentiments or feelings towards us. I took the last meaning.

I then said, "Well, Mr. Rice, my curiosity leads me to desire to read it, and I will be pleased if you would lend it to me to read."

To this he consented, provided I would return it when I got through. So I brought it home with me, and had it from the evening of the 15th to the morning of the 21st, when I sent it back. I got home with the manuscript on the evening of the 16th.

We read it. It is a shallow, unfinished story, but withal somewhat interesting in parts, as containing some ideas which the author gathered from the traditions of the Indians. I have but little faith that Mr. Fairchild will recommend or give his consent for us to publish it. Mr. Rice claims that his copy is a verbatim et literatim copy, with scratches, crosses and bad spelling all thrown in.

The names "Sambol," "Hamboon," "Labaska," "Labona." "Lamasa," "Mamoons," occur in the story which might easily be changed. Mammoths were the author's beast of burden. The two principal tribes of Indians were "Ohions" and "Kentucks," with numerous adjacent tribes -- "Sciotans," "Ohons," etc.

Note 1: This and the previous "Islander" letter (printed in the Deseret News on July 14, 1885), were written by Second Counselor in the LDS Presidency, Joseph F. Smith, from Hawaii, and were almost certainly originally addressed to Elder George Reynolds in Utah. See Joseph Fielding Smith's 1938 biography of his father for more details regarding President Smith's (or "Mr. Speight's") clandestine activities in Hawaii in 1885. The second "Islander" letter was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of July 21, 1885.

Note 2. The President of the Reorganized LDS Church also had his representatives in Hawaii call upon Lewis L. Rice near Honolulu and inspect the Spalding manuscript discovered there. See letter of Elder John M. Horner, dated May 21, 1885, printed in the RLDS Saints' Herald of July 11, 1885. Joseph F. Smith's second "Islander" letter from Honolulu was reprinted in the Saints' Herald on Aug. 8, 1885.

3. Lewis L. Rice later modified the opinion attributed to him here by Joseph F. Smith, (i. e., "...this is the only novel that Spaulding ever wrote." -- see notes accompanying Smith's first Honolulu letter, as well as the content of Lewis L. Rice's letter of Mar. 4, 1886, as published in the Honolulu Daily Bulletin of Mar. 11, 1886).


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XIX          Salt Lake City, Utah Terr., Fri., Dec. 4, 1885.          No. 11.


Our readers will no doubt remember the account we published some time ago of the discovery of the "Manuscript Found," the story written by Solomon Spaulding, from which it was stated by anti-"Mormons" the Book of Mormon was fabricated. This story, as it came from the hands of the writer, with the errors of grammar, orthographical peculiarities, lines through which the pen was drawn for erasure, all printed for the examination of the reader has been literally copied, and the copy made in the Sandwich Islands, is now in the hands of the printer, and will shortly be issued from the office of the Deseret News in pamphlet form. The only real interest the work will have to the public will be as a positive and certain proof that the Book of Mormon and Solomon Spaulding or his story have no more connection than the Bible has with Ali Baba or the "Arabian Nights."

The manuscript from which the pamphlet has been printed is now in the possession of Professor James H. Fairchild, or rather of Oberlin College, Ohio, of which he is President. It was sent there, to be deposited in the college library, by Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, among whose papers it was found at that place. Mr. Rice lived formerly in Ohio, and in 1839-40 he and his partner bought the Painesville Ohio Telegraph of E. D. Howe, and in the transfer of type, presses, stock, etc., there was a large collection of books, manuscripts, etc., among them the manuscript in question. E. D. Howe was the publisher of a book against "Mormonism," called "Mormonism Unveiled," and obtained the "Manuscript Found" from the notorious "Dr." P. Hurlburt, who obtained it from Mrs. Davidson, Solomon Spaulding's widow, who has re-married. Hurlburt never returned it. The reason assigned to Mrs. Davidson for its non-publication as an expose of the Book of Mormon was, that when examined it was found not to be what had been expected. One has only to glance through it to see the propriety of that conclusion.

When Mr. Rice moved to Honolulu this manuscript, with other literary rubbish that had not been destroyed, was taken with him. It was not until Prof. Fairchild, being on a visit to Mr. Rice, questioned him concerning any old papers he might have in his possession relating to anti-slavery matters, that in looking for them this manuscript was turned up. It bore the followinf endorsement:

"The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.     (signed)     D. P. Hurlbut."

The chain of evidence is complete. There can be no doubt that this is the long lost "Manuscript Found" about which there has been so much speculation. Mr. Rice and Prof. Fairchild both examined it critically, compared it with the Book of Mormon, and came to the conclusion that there is not the slightest connection between the two books and no similarity whatever in matter, purpose, narrative, names, language, style or anything else. The manuscript looks old and faded, has one hundred and seventy odd pages, small quatro, and was tied up with a string in a coarse paper wrapper. Mr. Rice made a literal copy, errors, erasures, and all, before sending it to Oberlin College, and a copy was made after his arrival under the Professor's supervision, for the Reorganized or Josephite church, who have published it at Plano, Illinois. Mr. Rice, who has no connection with the "Mormons" in any way says:

"It is certain that this Manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible... There is no identity of names, of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them. 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."

Professor Fairchild says:

"The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished."

"There seems to be no name or incident common to the two."

Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required."

Rev. C. M. Hyde, D. D., of the North Pacific Missionary Institute, contributes an article to the Boston Congregationalist, in which he gives a history of the manuscript from the beginning and of the attempts made by Hurlburt, Howe and others to connect it with the Book of Mormon, and thus concludes his lengthy and interesting contribution:

"The story has not the slightest resemblance in names, incidents or style to anything in the Book of Mormon. Its first nine chapters are headed:Introduction; An Epitomy of the Author's Life, and of his Arrival in America; An Account of the Ship's Company; Many Particulars respecting the Natives; A Journey to the N. W.; A Description of the Learning, Relion; An Account of Baska, Government and Money. The Introduction begins thus: "Near the west Bank of the Coneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character, situation, and numbers of those people who far exceeded the present Indians in works of art and ingenuity, I hapened to tread on a flat stone." This is then described as being the cover of an artificial cave, eight feet deep. In the side of this cave a recess is seen, in which an earthen jar is found, containing twenty-eight parchment sheets "written in eligant hand with Roman letters and in the Latin Language." Then follows what purports to be a translation of one of these sheets, relating the adventures of Fabius, a young Roman sent by the Emperor Constantine from Romw to Britain, but driven by a storm to the coast of America. The wanderings of the ship-wrecked party to the west are next described, and account given of the people, the Ohons, then living in the interior, with their manners and customs and their wars with King Bombal and the Kentucks, Hadoram, king of Sciota, the Emperor Labmak and the allied nations under Haboman, king of Chiauga, Ulipoon, king of Michegan, etc. Here is a specimen of the style: "While Labanco was engaged in combat with another chief, Sambol thrust his sword into his side. Thus Labauka fell. lamented and beloved by the subjects of Kentuck. His learning, wisdom and penetration of mind, his integrety and courage had gained him universal respect and given him a commanding influence over the emperor & his other counselors."

There is no attempt whatever to imitate Bible language, and to introduce quotations from the Bible, as in the Book of Mormon. On the contrary, Rev. Solomon Spaulding seems to have been a man who had no very high regard for the Bible. There are two manuscript leaves in the parcel of the same size and handwriting as the other 171 pages of manuscript. A few sentences will show the views of the writer. "It is enough for me to know that propositions which are in contradiction contradiction to each other cannot both be true and that doctrines and facts which represent the Supreme Being as a barbarous and cruel tyrant can never be dictated by infinite wisdom. * * * But notwithstanding I disavow my belief in the divinity of the Bible, and consider it as a mere human production, designed to enrich and aggrandize its authors, yet casting aside a considerable mass of rubbish and fanatical rant, I find that it contains a system of ethics. or morals which cannot be excelled on account of their tendency to ameliorate the condition of man." It would seem improbable from such avowed belief that Rev. Solomon Spaulding was an orthodox, minister, who wrote the Book of Mormon in Biblical style, while in poor health, for his own amusement. The statement is more probable that he wrote this Manuscript Found, with the idea of making a little money, if he could find some one to print it for him.

It is evident from an inspection of this manuscript, and from the above statements that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon, Solomon Spaulding did not. The testimony of the Conneaut people after the lapse of twenty years, as to their knowledge of the contents of Spaulding's story, the Manuscript Found, is not to be relied upon, imperfect and contradictory as it is. The supposition that Spaulding wrote another story, which he carried with him to Pittsburgh, to the office of Patterson and Lambdin, to be printed; that he left it there, where it was found in 1822 by Rigdon when he worked in that office, and that Rigdon took this manuscript with him and published it through Joe Smith in 1830 as the Book of Mormon, is a most violent supposition, unsupported by any evidence whatever; Rigdon in fact, having never met Smith till after the publication of the Mormon Bible. That Spaulding ever wrote any other romance seems to have been disproved by the date, 1812, found in the latter part of this manuscript, and by the correspondence of its contents with what it was found Spaulding had actually written, while, on the contrary, all that is known of Joe Smith, his money digging, his religious ranting, his schemes for getting a livelihood, corroborate the belief, in view of all the facts of the case, that he, and he alone, is the author of the Mormon Bible, and the founder of the Mormon Church."

Thus the fable which has been floated upon the world to hinder inquiry into "Mormonism" and to prejudice mankind against the Book of Mormon as a Divine revelation, is thoroughly exploded and [all] doubts to the falsity of the story, if any remained, are set at rest. The "Spaulding story" is dead, buried and decayed. But we do not expect that the clerical deceivers who have made capital out of it will let it rest. Its ghost will be invoked to do service against the "Mormons" and "Christian" ministers will gravely assure deluded audiences that the Book of Mormon was manufactured by Joseph Smith out of a religious romance written by Rev. (?) Solomon Spaulding. Those who want a full and complete history and refutation of the disreputable fabrication will find it in Elder George Reynolds' well written little work, "Myth of the Manuscript Found," and in the "Manuscript" itself, which will soon be ready for the public.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XIX          Salt Lake City, Utah Terr., Thurs., Feb. 4, 1886.          No. ?


Augusta Adams Cobb, born December 7, 1802, in the town of Beverly, Mass., died in this city Feb. 3.

History bears record of few lives such as hers. Like a shock of corn, fully ripe has she laid down this mortal life, full of good works, to reap the harvest rich in store for her of a life immortal.

She died, as she has lived, a Latter-day Saint, and with her closing breath attested to the truth of the Gospel, for which, over forty years ago, she sacrificed all worldly honors and the tender ties of children and friends, of home and all that word implies.

She was the first woman in New England who expoused this Gospel, and at that time the Church, which now numbers its thousands, could not count its tens. She was a lady richly endowed by birth and education and with a highly spiritual nature, and great strength of character, which gave her courage to carry out her convictions. When the word of God came to her, calling her to forsake all for the kingdom of God, she responded, and none but God, in whom she put her trust, can ever know what sacrifices that command to her implied, but refering in the promises to such, insomuch as they forsake all, for His kingdom, she obeyed.

She left a home of luxury in the city of Boston to dwell in a tent in the wilderness, and endured the earthly privations incidental to a life in these valleys uncomplainingly and this for her religious faith.

While some may disagree with her religious views, certainly no one can question her motives. She sealed her purity of motives with her sacrifices, and would have done so with her blood, as necessity required it.

Much could be said of the beautiful life of faith and trust that buoyed her up under every trial. She has sown a rich field, full of good works, and has gone where a golden harvest awaits her.

Note 1: Augusta Adams was born Dec. 7, 1802 in Beverly (near Lynn), Essex, MA and died Feb. 3, 1886 in Salt Lake City, UT. She married Henry Cobb, Dec. 22, 1822; in Charleton, Worcester, MA and together they had seven children. She was baptized a Mormon by Samuel H. Smith near Boston on June 29, 1832. Augusta apparently continued living with her non-Mormon husband and family until September 1843, when she left Massachusetts in company with LDS President of the Twelve, Brigham Young. Augusta's worshipful infatuation with President Young probably began well before her elopment with him; she gave her last child with Henry Cobb the suggestive name of "Brigham." Brigham Cobb, was born in Massachusetts in late April 1843 and died Oct. 12, 1843 in Cincinnati, while accompanying Augusta and Brigham Young to Nauvoo. Augusta married Brigham Young at Nauvoo on Nov. 2, 1843.

Note 2: According to the 1832 missionary journal of Elder Orson Hyde, he and Samuel H. Smith arrived in Boston on Friday, June 22, 1832. On June 26the they baptized four persons. On June 28th they preached at the home of Mr. Adams -- perhaps a relative of Augusta Adams Cobb. The next day they held meetings at "Sister Brown's" and "Sister Granger's." and in the evening "Miss and Mrs. Cobb" came forth and "confessed their faith in the work..." On June 30, 1832 they baptized three more converts. On July 2 they spoke with Henry Cobb, who chose not to join the Mormons. It appears unlikely that Sister Cobb was truly the first female LDS convert in New England -- certainly she and her daughter (probably Mary Elizabeth Cobb) were not the first females baptized there.

Note 3: According to Mrs. C. W. Waite, James T. Cobb "came to Salt Lake, and after some years, through the influence of his, joined the church. Previous to becoming a Mormon, he expressed much anxiety about his [Mormon] mother and sister..." According to Joseph Smith III, writing in 1883, "Mr. James T. Cobb is the son of the woman known as Brigham Young's Boston wife. He was an inmate of Brigham's family and partaker of his bounty, and a member of the church in Utah, as I am informed. His domestic life was poisoned by the defection of his own wife; and subsequently still, his daughter, Luella, became the polygamous wife of John W. Young... For these reasons he is an intense hater of Mormonism." Smith's comments appear to indicate that Brigham Young enjoyed carnal relations with Augusta Cobb long before their 1843 marriage at Nauvoo. For more on this tale of apostolic seduction, see the Dec. 22, 1847 issue of the Illinois Quincy Whig, as well as episode 10 of the on-line feature, "The Spalding Saga."


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. XIX          Salt Lake City, Utah Terr., Fri., May 24, 1886.          No. 154.


The Hawaiian Gazette of April 20th contains an announcement of the death of Mr. L. L. Rice, whose name has figured prominently in connection with the notorious Spaulding story. It will be remembered that Professor Fairchild of Oberlin College, while on a visit to Mr. Rice in the Sandwich Islands, induced him to hunt among the old papers brought by the latter from Ohio, where he had been an editor, for the purpose of finding something in regard to the slavery question. And that the old "Manuscript Found." which was written by Solomon Spaulding was discovered.

It was the identical manuscript which Dr. Hurlburt obtained from Mr. Davidson, Spaulding's re-married widow, on the supposition that it formed the basis of the Book of Mormon, and that did not read as was expected and so passed out of sight. Mr. Howe was to have published it, if it suited. Mr. Rice and his partner succeeding Mr. Howe in the printing business, this with other papers fell into their hands, and when Mr. Rice moved to the Sandwich Islands it was taken there with other effects. The manuscript is now in Oberlin College and an attested copy will soon be published from the office of the Deseret News, verbatum, with all its errors and erasures, and it will be seen how much resemblance it has to the Book of Mormon.

The sudden death of Mr. Rice not long after the resurrection of the manuscript and his unimpeachable testimony concerning it, makes its production appear quite providential. We recognize the hand of the Lord in its opportune discovery, for it effectually puts the quietus on the silly story that connects in the public mind the Spaulding story with the sacred record translated by the gift and power of God bestowed on the great Prophet of the Nineteenth Century. The Gazette gives the following account of the demise of Mr. Rice:

Mr. L. L. Rice, father of Mrs. J. M. Whitney, died suddenly on the morning of the 14. The deceased gentleman has resided with his daughter since 1879 and his venerable figure was well known about our streets.

Mr. Rice was born in Otsego Co., N. Y., in 1801. When a young man he became a printer and after following the business some time in New York City, he removed to Ohio in 1830, and remained their for nearly 50 years. While in Ohio he was a prominent figure in the politics of the state, occupying at various times the position of editor and also that of state printer. He was an ardent advocate of total abstinance, which cause he championed with both pen and tongue. He was also, before the war, strongly opposed to slavery and published an Anti-Slavery paper. Sympathy is felt for Dr. and Mrs. Whitney in their bereavement.

Note 1: Ohio newspaperman Lewis L. Rice was certainly no stranger to the early Mormons, and he apparently maintained some special interest in that peculiar people right up to the last days of his life. See the Western Courier of Feb. 14, 1829 for Rice's printing of a proto-Mormon poem written by Eliza R. Snow. A few years later Rice opened the columns of his Ohio Star to Ezra Booth's 9-part exposure of early Mormonism; part one of the series was published on < a href="">Oct. 13, 1831. Lewis L. Rice's initial letter to Joseph Smith III (regarding the Oberlin Spalding story) was printed in the RLDS Saints' Herald on May 16, 1885, and Mr. Rice's last communication on the same topic appeared in the Honolulu Bulletin of Mar. 11, 1886.

Note 2: The editors of the Deseret News apparently overlooked the Lewis L. Rice death notice published in the Honolulu Bulletin of Apr. 14, 1886 -- perhaps, in part, due to the Bulletin's having recently published Rice's turn-about in opinion regarding the validity of the Spalding authorship claims. Another, more lengthy, Rice obituary was also published in the Honolulu Daily Press of Apr. 15th. The Deseret News editors also ignored this death notice -- perhaps because it was accompanied by an article saying that a copy of Spalding manuiscript recently held by the late Mr. Rice had been "furnished to the Josephites, an offshoot of the church, and by them published in Iowa." At this time the Mormons of Utah still had not managed to publish their own copy of the same document; their much delayed edition was finally offered for sale a few weeks later.


Vol. XXII.                       Salt  Lake  City,  Feb. 15, 1887.                       No. 4.

A Visit to David Whitmer.

[By Edward Stevenson]

I recently had great pleasure in visiting and conversing with David Whitmer, the only surviving witness of the three whose names are prefixed to the Book of Mormon, testifying that an angel came down from heaven and laid the plates before their eyes, and they were commanded to bear witness of the truth of what they saw and knew to be correct. Though now very aged, his testimony is still undimmed, and his countenance always brightens in speaking of this most memorable event in his history. Already I had visited this witness on two previous occasions, and in neither of my visits did I find his demeanor, belief or assertions changed concerning this important matter.

On the 2nd day of this year I left Kansas City, Mo., and rode forty-two miles on the cars to Lexington Junction, where I unfortunately failed to make train connection to go five miles further to Richmond, Ray Co., the home of him I sought. But, determined not to be baffled, I decided to walk the distance though the cold was intense, the thermometer going to 17 degrees below zero. I subsequently felt repaid for my pains in the pleasant reception and agreeable conversation with Mr. Whitmer.

He wore a black suit of clothes and dark close-fitting cap on his head. He appeared very noble to me, and his face seemed to beam with intelligence.

He told me that in the beginning of June, 1829, he received a letter from the Prophet asking him to come to Palmyra and convey him to his father's house, that he might there be able to work on the translation of the Book of Mormon. The journey required about three days each way, and it was necessary to put up at inns on the way. David having forgotten the names of the inns and their proprietors, Joseph looked through the seer stone and told him them. Oliver Cowdery made a note of these, and by inquiry on the journey found that the Prophet had stated correctly.

Soon after arriving at his father's, David was baptized in Seneca Lake. This was about the middle of June, and shortly thereafter he was ordained an elder, he being the third in the Church, as he claims, to receive this ordination.

While on the return journey from Palmyra, David noticed a somewhat aged-looking man who approached them on the road. He had a very pleasant face, about which, however, there seemed something [peculiar], and he carried a knapsack on his back fastened with straps which crossed his breast. David asked him to take a ride, but he declined, saying: "I am going over to Cumorah," and then disappeared very suddenly, though there was no chance for him to secrete himself in the open country through which the party was then passing. All felt very strange concerning this personage and the Prophet was besought to inquire of the Lord concerning him. Shortly afterwards, David relates, the Prophet looked very white but with a heavenly appearance and said their visitor was one of the three Nephites to whom the Savior gave the promise of life on earth until He should come in power. After arriving home, David again saw this personage, and mother Whitmer, who was very kind to Joseph Smith, is said to have seen not only this Nephite, but to have also been shown by him the sealed and unsealed portions of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. 23         Friday, December 17, 1887. Salt Lake City, Utah Terr.,         Vol. XXI.




BREKINRIDGE Mo., September 27. 1887. -- In the afternoon of Tuesday, October 30, 1838, during the Mormon war in Missouri, there occurred in Caldwell County, a dreadful incident, generally termed "The Haun's Mill Massacre." From official documents and other records, from affidavits of witnesses, and from statements made by actual participants, I have prepared the following account. If any newspaper publication of this affair has ever before been made, I am not aware of the fact.

The Mormons made their first settlement in Missouri, in Jackson County, in the year 1832 [sic], under the leadership of their "Prophet," Joseph Smith. I have not the space here to describe their experiences in that county, their expulsion therefrom, their sojourn in Clay and Ray, the "treaty" by which they were given Caldwell County as a sort of reservation, the founding of the city of Far West, nor can I narrate the circumstances leading to the Mormon war (so called), and finally to the banishment of those unhappy people from the State. All of these incidents may form the subject of a future paper. I may state, however, that the massacre was perpetrated on the very day that the militia under Gens. Lucas and Doniphan, arrived at Far West, with orders from Gov. Boggs to "expel the Mormons from the State or exterminate them."

At Jacob Haun's mill, on Shoal Creek, in the eastern part of Caldwell County, about eight miles south of Breckinridge, there had collected about twenty Mormon families. Haun himself was a Mormon and had come to the site from Wisconsin a few years before. He had a very good mill, and clustered around it were a blacksmith shop and half a dozen small houses. The alarm that the troops were moving against them had driven nearly all the Mormon families in the county to Far West for safety. A dozen or more living in the vicinity repaired to Haun's mill, which was twenty miles to the eastward of Far West. As there were not enough houses to accomodate all of the fugitives, a number were living in tents and temporary shelters. A few families, perhaps four, had come in on the evening of the 29th, from Ohio, and were occupying their emigrant wagons. Not one member of the little community had ever been in arms against the "Gentiles." or taken any part whatever in the preceding disturbances.

Word that the militia of the State had been ordered to expel them from the country had reached the Mormons of the Haun's mill settlement, and following this intelligence came a report that a considerable number of men in Livingston County, together with some from Daviess, had organized in the Forks of Grand River, near Spring Hill, in Livingston, and were preparing to attack them. Whereupon a company of about twenty-five men and boys, indifferently armed with shotguns and squirrel rifles, was organized at the mill, and David Evans was chosen captain. It was resolved to defend the place against the threatened assault. Some of the older men urged that no resistance should be made, but that all should retreat to Far West. The day after the skirmish on Crooked River (October 25) Haun himself went to Far West to take counsel of Joe Smith. "Move here, by all means, if you wish to save your lives," said the prophet. Haun replied that if the settlers should abandon their homes, the Gentiles would burn their houses and other buildings and destroy all of the property left behind. "Better lose your property than your lives," rejoined Smith. Haun represented that he and his neighbors were willing to defend themselves against what he called "the mob," and Smith finally gave them permission to remain. Others at the mill opposed a retreat, and when an old man named Myers reminded them how few they were, and how many the "Gentiles" numbered, they declared that the Almighty would send His angels to their help when the day of battle should come. Some of the women, too, urged the men to stand firm, and offered to mold bullets and prepare patching for the rifles if necessary.

North of the mill was a body of timber about a mile in width, skirting Shoal Creek; beyond was a stretch of prairie. For a day or two Captain Evans kept a picket post in the northern border of the timber, but on the 28th he entered into a sort of truce with Captain Nehemiah Comstock. commanding a company of Livingston "Gentiles" from the settlements near Mooresville and Utica, and the post was withdrawn. By the terms of this truce, which was effected by a messenger who rode, between Evans and Comstock, the Gentiles were to let the Mormons alone as long as the latter were peaceable, and vice versa. Each party, too, was to disband its military organization. But on the morning of the 29th the Mormons learned that a company of Livingston militia, a few miles to the eastward, were menacing them, and so they maintained their organization and that night set watches. The latter company was commanded by Capt. Wm. Mann, and for some days had been operating at and in the vicinity of Whitney's mill on Lower Shoal Creek (where the village of Dawn now stands, stopping Mormon emigrants on their way from the East to Caldwell County, taking their arms from them in others, etc.

On the 29th at Woolsey's, northeast of Breckinridge, an agreement was reached by the Gentiles for an attack upon Haun's mill. Three companies, numbering in the aggregate about 200 men, were organized. They were commanded by Capts. Nehemiah Comstock, Wm. O. Jennings, and Wm. Gee. The command of the battalion was given to Col. Thomas Jenning[s], an old militia officer, then living in the Forks. Nearly all of the men were citizens of Livingston County. Perhaps twenty were from Daviess, from whence they had been driven by the Mormons during the troubles in that county a few weeks previous. The Daviess County men were very bitter against the Mormons, and vowed the direst vengeance on the entire sect. It did not matter whether or not the Mormons at the mill had taken any part in the disturbances which had occurred: it was enough that they were Mormons. The Livingston men became thoroughly imbued with the same spirit, and all were eager for the raid. The Livingston had no wrongs to complain of themselves, for the Mormons had never invaded their county, or injured them in any way, but they seemed to feel an estraordinary sympathy for the outrages suffered by their neighbors.

Setting out from Woolsey's, after noon, on the 29th, Col. Jennings marched swiftly out of the timber northwest of the present village of Mooresville, and out on the prairie stretching down southwards toward the doomed hamlet at Haun's mill. The word was passed along the columns, "Shoot at everything wearing breeches, and shoot to kill."

All of the Gentiles were mounted, and they had with them a wagon and two Mormon prisoners. Within two miles of the mill the wagon and the prisoners were left, in charge of a squad, and the remainder of the force pressed rapidly on. Entering the timber north of the mill, Col. Jennings passed through it, unobserved, right up to the borders of the settlement, and speedily formed his line for the attack. Capt. W. O. Jennings' company had the center. Capt. Comstock's the left, and Capt. Gee's the right/

The Mormon leader had somehow become apprehensive of trouble. He communicated his fears to some of the men, and was about sending out scouts and pickets. It had been previously agreed that in case of an attack the men should repair to the blacksmith's shop and occupy it as a fort or blockhouse. The structure was built of logs, with wide cracks between them, was about 18 feet square, and had a large, wide door. The greater portion of the Mormons were, however, unsuspicious of any imminent peril. Children were playing on the banks of the creek, women were engaged in their ordinary domestic duties, the newely arrived immigrants were resting under the trees, which were clad in the scarlet, crimson and golden leaves of autumn. The scene was peaceful and Acadian. It was now about four o'clock in the afternoon, and the sun hung low and red in a beautiful Indian summer sky.

Suddenly, from out of the timber north and west of the mill, the Gentiles burst upon the hamlet. The air was filled with shouts and shots, and the fight was on. It can not fairly be called a fight. Taken wholly by surprise, the Mormons were thrown into extreme confusion. The women and children cried and screamed in excitement and terror, and the greater number, directed by some of the men, ran across the mill dam to the south bank of the creek and sought shelter in the woods. Perhaps twenty men, Captain Evans among them, ran with their guns to the blacksmith shop and began to return the fire. Some were shot down in their attempts to reach the shop.

The fire of the Mormons was wild and ineffective; that of the militia was accurate and deadly. The cracks between the logs of the shop were so large that it was easy to shoot through them, and so thickly were the Mormons huddled together on the inside that nearly every bullet which entered the shop killed or wounded a man. Firing was kept up all the while on the fleeing fugutives, and many were shot down as they ran.

Realizing very soon that he was placed at a decided disadvantage, Capt. Evans gave orders to retreat, directing every man to take care of himself. The door of the shop was thrown open, and all of the able-bodied survivors ran out, endeavoring to reach the woods. Some were shot before reaching shelter. Capt. Evans was much excited, and ran all the way to Mud Creek, seven miles south, with his gunloaded, not having discharged it during the [flight]. The Gentiles advanced and began to use their rough, home-made swords, or corn-knives, with which some of them were armed. The fugitives were fired on until they were out of range but not pursued, as the few who escaped scattered in almost every direction.

Coming upon the field after it had been abandoned, the Gentiles perpetrated some terrible deeds. At least three of the wounded were hacked to death with the "corn knives" or finished with a rifle bullet. Wm. Reynolds a Livingston County man, entered the blacksmith shop and found a little boy, only 10 years of age, named Sardius Smith, hiding under the billows. Without even demanding his surrender, the cruel wretch drew up his rifle and shot the little fellow as he lay cowering and trembling. Reynolds afterward boasted of his exploit to persons yet living. He described, with fiendish glee, how the poor child "kicked and squealed" in his dying agonies, and justified his inhuman act by the old Indian aphorism, "Nits make lice." Charley Merrick, another little boy only 9 years old, had hid under the bellows. He ran out, but did not get far until he received a load of buckshot and a rifle ball, in all three wounds. He did not die, however, for nearly five weeks. Esquire Thos. McBride was 78 years of age, and had been a soldier under Gates and Washington in the Revolution. He had started for a blacksmith shop; but was shot down on the way, and lay wounded and helpless, but still alive. A Daviess County man named Rogers, who kept a ferry across Grand River, near Gallatin, came upon him and demanded his gun. "Take it," said Mr. McBride. Rogers picked up the weapon and seeing that it was loaded deliberately discharged it into the old veteran's breast. He then cut and hacked the body with his "corn-knife" until it was frightfully gashed and mangled.

After the Mormons had all been either killed, wounded, or driven away, the Gentiles began to loot the place. Considerable property was taken, much of the spoil consisting of household articles and and personal effects. At least three wagons and ten horses were taken. Two emigrant wagons were driven off with all their contents. The Mormons claim that there was a general pillage, and that even the bodies of the slain were robbed. The Gentiles deny this, and say that the wagons were needed to haul on their three wounded men and the bedding was taken to make them comfortable, while the other articles taken did not amount to much. Two of the survivors have stated to me that the place was "pretty well cleaned out."

Col. Jennings did not remain at the mill more than two hours. Twilight approaching, he set out on his return to his former encampment. He feared a rally and return of the Mormons with a large re-inforcement, and doubtless he desired to reflect leisurely on his course of future operations. Reaching Woolsey's he halted his battalion, and prepared to pass the night. But a few hours later he imagined he heard cannon and great tumult in the direction of Haun's mill, betokening, as he thought, the advance of a large Mormon force upon him. Rousing his men from their sweet dreams of victory, he broke camp, moved rapidly eastward, and never halted until he had put the West Fork of Grand River between him and his imaginary pursuers. He and his men had won glory enough for one day, anyhow! They had not lost a man killed and only three wounded. John Renfrow had his thumb shot off, Allen England was shot in the thigh and _____ Hart in the arm.

The Mormons killed and mortally wounded numbered seventeen. Here are the names:

Thomas McBride,
Levi N. Merrick,
Elias Benner,
Josiah Fuller,
Benj. Lewis,
Alex. Campbell,
Geo. S. Richards,
Wm. Napier,
Sardius Smith, aged 10.
Augustine Harmer,
Simon Cox,
Hiram Abbott,
John York,
John Lee,
John Byers,
Warren Smith,
Chas. Merrick, 9.

The severely wounded numbered eleven men, one boy (Alma Smith, aged 7), and one woman, a Miss Mary Stedwell. The latter was shot through the hand and arm as she was running to the woods.

[I tes true] Bloody work and woeful. What a scene did Col. Jennings and his men turn their backs upon as they rode away in the gloaming from the little valley once all green and peaceful! The wounded men had been given no attention, and the bodies of the slain had been left to fester and putrify in the Indian summer temperature, warm and mellowing. A large red moon rose and a fog came up from the stream and lay like a face-cloth upon the pallid countenances of the dead. Timidly and wearily came forth the widows from their hiding places, and as they recognized one a husband, one a father, another a son. and another a brother among the slain, the wailing of greif and terror were most pitiful. All that night were they alone with their dead and wounded. There were no physicians, but if there had been many of the wounded were past all surgery. Dreadful sights in the moonlight, and dreadful sounds on the night winds. In the hamlet the groans of the wounded, the moans and sobs of the grief-stricken, the bellowing of cattle, and the howling of dogs, and from the woods the dismal hooting of owls.

By and by, when the wounded had been made as comfortable as possible, the few men who had returned gathered the women and children together, and all sought consolation in prayer. Then they sang from the Mormon hymn book a selection entitled "Moroni's Lamentation," a dirge-like composition, lacking in poesy and deficient in rythm, but giving something of comfort, let us hope, to the choristers. And so in prayer and song and ministration the remainder of the night was passed.

The next morning the corpses had changed and were changing fast. They must be burried. There were not enough men left to make coffins or even dig graves. It could not be determined when relief would come or when the Gentiles would return. There was a large unfinished well near the mill, which it was decided should be used as a common sepulchur. Four men, one of whom was Joseph W. Young, a Brother of Brigham Young, gathered up the bodies, the women assisting and bore them one at a time, on a large plank, to the well and slid them in. Some hay was strewen upon the ghastly pile and then a thin layer of dirt thrown upon the hay.

The next day Capt. Comstock's company returned to the mill, as they said, to bury the dead. Finding that duty had been attended to, they expressed considerable satisfaction at having been relieved of the job, and after notifying the people that they must leave the State, or they would all be killed, they rode away. The pit was subsequently filled by Mr. C. R. Ross, now a resident of Black Oak, Caldwell County.

A day or two after the massacre Col. Jennings started with his battalion to join the State forces at Far West. He had not proceeded far when he met a messenger who informed him that the Mormons at Far West had surrendered, and gave him an order to move to Daviess County and join the forces under Gen. Robert Wilson, then operating against the Mormons at Adam-ondi-Ahmon. The battalion was present at the surrender at "Diamon," as it was generally called, and a day or two thereafter, Capt. Comstock's company was ordered to Haun's mill, where it remained in camp for some weeks. Herewith I give an extract from an affidavit made by Mrs. Amanda Smith, whose husband and and little son were killed in the massacre, and who resided at the mill during the stay of Comstock's company.

* * * The next day the mob came back. They told us we must leave the State forthwith or be killed. It was bad weather, and they had taken our teams and clothes; our men were all dead or wounded. I told them they might kill me and my children and welcome. They said to us, from time to time, if we did not leave the State they would come and kill us. We could not leave then. We had little prayer meetings; they said if we did not stop them they would kill every man, woman and child. We had spelling schools for our little children; they pretended they were "Mormon meetings," and said if we did not stop them, they would kill every man, woman and child. * * * I started the 1st of February, very cold weather, for Illinois, with five small children and no money. It was mob all the way. I drove the team, and we slept out of doors. We suffered greatly from hunger, cold and fatigue; and for what? For our religion. In this boasted land of liberty, "Deny your faith or die," was the cry.

While in camp at the mill, according to the statements to me of two of its members, Comstock's company lived off the country, as did the State troops at Far West. The Mormon cattle and hogs had been turned into the fields and were fine and fat. The mill furnished flour and meal, and other articles of provision were to be had for the taking. The Mormon men were either prisoners or had been driven from the country. By the 1st of April following all had left the State. Many of them had been killed, their homes burned, their property taken, their fields laid waste and the result was called peace.


Note: This article was subsequently reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Dec. 28, 1887. The writer was apparently not a member of the LDS Church. Although there were early members with the surname Joyce, they did not live in Missouri.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. 55         Thurs., January 26, 1888. Salt Lake City, Utah Terr.,         Vol. XXI.


The dispatches of this afternoon bring intelligence of the death of David Whitmer, at his house yesterday, in Richmond, Missouri. He was the sole survivor of the witnesses to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon whose testimony appears in connection with that record. He was one of the three who had the glorious privilege of beholding the angel of the Lord exhibit the original plates before their eyes from which the book was translated, and who heard the voice of God declaring the record to be true. Not one of the entire thirteen witnesses whose testimonies appear at the opening of the book ever denied the declarations contained in [that]. but solemnly affirmed them to the last. [----] [----] the that three weeks, Mr. Whitmer, in the presence of his grandson, with uplifted hand made the declaration, so often enunciated by him, to President Angus M. [Ca----], who recently paid a visit to the part of the country where the deceased veteran resided. He [had] repeatedly made it to numbers of people, many of whom would gladly have [listened] to a renunciation of his original testimony, but but he was in that regard [honest]. He [was] consistent to the end.

His testimony, and that of his associates, in the same convictions, are in force in all the world. They are sustained by overwhelming internal evidence within the work itself, and by the discoveries that are constantly being made in the form of relics found upon this continent of highly civilized peoples who dwelt upon it ages ago and whose history is succinctly given in the record.

The memory of David Whitmer is entitled to respect, if for no other reason than that he honestly adhered to his testimony to the last, and withstood all the persuasions of men used to induce him to take a different course.

If we are not mistaken, Mr. Whitmer reached the ripe age of [83] years.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. 58             Mon., Jan. 30, 1888, Salt Lake City, Utah Terr.,             Vol. XII.



On Thursday, January 26th, the dispatches brought the intelligence briefly that David Whitmer, who at the time of his demise was the last living witness to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon whose testimony appears on the certificates on the opening page of the record, had, the day previous died at his house in Richmond County [sic], Missouri. He was born in Harrisburg, Penn., January 7, 18025 and had therefore entered upon his 84th year. He had resided in Richmond half a century, and was much respected by the community of that town. He leaves a wife, two grandchildren and several great grandchildren.

[Seeing that] Mr. Whitmer's name occupies an exceedingly conspicious place in connection with the coming forth of the work of God in this last dispensation, the Saints will doubtless be interested in learning the details connected with his demise. A friend has kindly sent us a copy of the Richmond Democrat of Jan. 26, and we are therefore enabled, to present some particulars, so far as they are given by that journal. In connection with the details of Mr. Whitmer's death, the paper named gives the annexed account of the miraculous manifestations witnessed by him in reference to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, as frequently in substance told by himself. The writer seems to have made some omissions, as the name of Martin Harris, another of the witnesses does not occur in what follows:

"When he was 24 years of age and working on his father's farm near Palmyra, New York, all that section of the country was more or less excited over the reported discovery by Joseph Smith, of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Oliver Cowdery, the village school teacher, mentioned the matter to him and announced his determination to visit Smith and investigate the matter for himself, promising Mr. Whitmer, at the latter's request, to advise him of the result. A few days later he received a letter from Cowdery, urging him to join him, which he did, being received by the "Prophet" with open arms. After remaining long enough to satisfy himself of the divine inspiration of Smith the three returned to Whitmer's home, where it was agreed that the work of translation should be prosecuted.

"Shortly after his return, and while he was ploughing in the field one afternoon, he was visited by Smith and Cowdery, who requested that he should accompany them into the woods on a hill across the road, for the purpose of witnessing a manifestation that should qualify him and Cowdery to bear witness to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Smith explaining that such procedure was in accordance with explicit instructions he had received from an angel of the Lord.

"Repairing to thye woods they engaged in prayer for a short time, when suddenly a great light shone round about them far brighter and more dazzling than the brilliancy of the noon-day sun, seemingly enveloping the wood for a considerable distance. A spirit of elevation seized him as of joy indescribable, and a strange influence stole over him, which so entranced him that he felt he was chained to the spot. A moment later and a divine personage clothed in white garments appeared unto them, and immediately in front of the personage stood a table on which lay a number of gold plates, some brass plates, the 'urim and thummim' and the 'sword of Laban.' All of these they were directed to examine carefully, and after their examination they were told that the Lord would demand that they bear witness thereof to all the world. * * * * *

"While describing this vision to us, all traces of a severe cold, from which he was suffering, disappeared for the time being, his form straightened, his countenance assumed almost a beautified expression, and his tones became strangely eloquent. Although evidently no studied effort, thr description was a magnificent piece of word painting and he carried his hearers with him to that lonely hill by the old farm and they stood there with him awed in the divine presence. Skeptics may laugh and scoff if they will, but no man could listen to Mr. Whitmer as he talks of his interview with the Angel of the Lord, without being most forcibly convinced that he has heard an honest man tell what he honestly believes to be true."

On the evening of Sunday, Jan. 22nd, at half past five o'clock, Mr. Whitmer called his family and a number of friends to his bedside, and to them delivered his dying testimony. Addressing his attendant physician he said: "Dr. Buchanan, I want you to say whether or not I am in my right mind before I give my last testimony?"

The Doctor answered: "Yes, you are in your right mind, for I have just had a conversation with you."

He then directed his words to all who surrounded him, saying:

"Now you must all be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all that the Bible and the record of the Nephites (Book of Mormon), are true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my death bed. All be faithful in Christ and your reward will be according to your works. God bless you all. My trust is in Christ forever, worlds without end and Amen."

* * * * *

"On Monday last (Jan. 23rd) at 10 o'clock a.m., after awakening from a short slumber, he said he had seen beyond the vail and had seen Christ on the other side. His friends who were constantly by his bedside claim that he had many manifestations of the truths of the great beyond, and which confirm their faith beyond all shadow of doubt.

"He bore his long illness with great patience and fortitude, his faith never for a moment wavering, and when the summons came, he sank peacefully to rest, with a smile on his countenance, just as if he was being lulled to sleep by sweet music. Just before the breath left the body, he opened his eyes, which glistened with the brightness of his early manhood. He then turned them toward heaven, and a wonderful light came over his countenance, which remained several moments, when the eyes gradually closed and David Whitmer was gone to his rest."

It was Mr. Whitmer's desire that there should be no display at his funeral. The service over the body therefore consisted merely of appropriate remarks, at his late residence on Friday, January 27th. On that day the remains of the last of the witnesses to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, whose names appear in connection with the record, were laid away in the New Cemetery at Richmond, Missouri. To that testimony he was true and consistent to the last, which fact alone entitles him to have his memory respectfully cherished.

Note: This article from the Richmond Democrat was also reprinted in the Deseret Weekly News of Feb. 8, 1888. No further comments regarding the passing of David Whitmer were subsequently offered in either Salt Lake paper that year.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. 71         Friday, Feb. 14, 1888. Salt Lake City, Utah Terr.,         Vol. XXI.


A correspondent in the north writes as follows:

"Seeing an enquiry on the origin of the American Indians in the columns of the New York Sun some time ago, on which the editor did not throw much light, I sent a reply which was published as follows: 'In the weekly Sun of Dec. 7th, H. W., of Mavay, Texas, asked: 'Is there any reliable evidence going to explain how the Indians came to be in America?' The reply I would suggest to him and any others who may be interested in this subject is: Read the Book of Mormon. He will at least find it interesting if he does not think it very reliable.'   H. L. J., Fort Logan, Mont."

Following was the editorial comment which appeared in the Sun:

"The 'Book of Mormon' throws no light on the subject of any real value. Everybody knows, though the 'Mormons' won't believe, that the 'Book of Mormon' was written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding in 1810-12 as a romance to account for the peopling of America by the Indians. He sent the manuscript to a printing office with which Sidney Rigdon was connected. Rigdon had access to the manuscript and copied it. The manuscript was returned to Mr. Spaulding in 1816; he died shortly afterward. After Rigdon had 'discovered' the 'golden plates' on which the 'Book of Mormon' was written in an unknown language, and the book had been published by Martin Harris, Mrs. Spaulding produced the original manuscript. Still, as H. L. J. says, the 'Book of Mormon' in small doses, is not uninteresting."

The correspondent also says that he is aware that the veritable Spaulding manuscript was not long since discovered, and found to have no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon, but is not familiar with the particulars. He suggests that they be reproduced in the NEWS.

The Spaulding manuscript theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon has been generally and necessarily abandoned by those who repudiate the latter as an authentic record of the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, but it appears from occasional blunders such as that made by the Sun, that the information regarding the discovery of the paper upon which it was based is not so wide as it should be. The original manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding is now in Oberlin College, State of Ohio, where ot can be inspected by the curious. An exact copy, including all of its crudities has been published by and is on sale at this office. The details of its discovery and other particulars are incorporated in < a href="">the publisher's preface, from which we extract, for the benefit of those who do not believe the testimony of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, the last of whom, David Whitmer, recently retierated his on his death bed:

The history of the discovery of the Manuscript can be told in a few words. D. P. Hurlburt, an apostate, the originator of the fabrication that the Book of Mormon originated in Mr. Spaulding's tale, wrote a bitter assault on the Latter-day Saints in 1836, entitled "Mormonism unveiled," which was published in the name of, and by E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio. During the time Hurlbut was gathering material for this work, he obtained from the family of the then deceased clergyman the original of the "Manuscript Story," but discovering that it would, if published, prove fatal to his assumptions, he suppressed it: and from that time it was entirely lost sight of until about two years ago, when a Mr. L. L. Rice, residing at Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, found it among a numerous collection of miscellaneous papers which he had received from Mr. Howe, the publisher of Hurlbut's "Mormonism unveiled," when in 1839-40, he, with his partner, purchased from that gentleman the business, etc. of the Painesville Telegraph.

In 1884 President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Ohio, was paying a visit to Mr. Rice, and he suggested that the latter look through his numerous papers, in the hope of finding amongst them some anti-slavery documents of value. In his search he discovered a packet marked in pencil on the outside, "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek," which, to their surprise, on perusal, proved to be the veritable, long-lost romance of Dr. Spaulding, to which so much undeserved importance had been ignorantly or maliciously given. After retaining the manuscript some time Mr. Rice presented it to Oberlin College, but before doing so, made an exact copy, with all its peculiarities of style, errors of grammar and orthography, alterations, erasures, etc., which copy he placed in our hands with the distinct understanding that it should be printed and published exactly as he had copied it."

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

No. ?         Friday, Nov. 10, 1888. Salt Lake City, Utah Terr.,         Vol. XXI.


Editor Deseret News:

The foregoing appeared in the Chicago Times of Sunday, Oct. 14, and is a fair specimen of the generality of articles on the subject of Mormonism, with which the eastern press delights to [spread] popular prejudice as regards said subject. The ignorance of the great masses of the journalists so-called, their unwillingness to properly inform themselves on the subjects on which they pretend to inform the public, their mental imbecility and willful mendacity is proverbial, but the foregoing article beats the record. To anyone who knows the least thing about Mormonism, its doctrines and history, and the character of its founders, the absurdity of the statements made therein is patent, but to make sure of the falsehood of these statements your correspondent went to interview Mr. Hyde, and the following conversation ensued:

"You were a resident of Palmyra, N.Y., at the time the Smith's lived there?"

"Yes, sir, I was a merchant in the town of Palmyra. The Smiths lived at some distance from the town, between Palmyra and Manchester."

"Did you come into frequent contact with them in business transactions?"

"Yes, sir, they came into my store quite often. My uncles, Levi and Joel Thayer, the leading merchants of the town, did a rushing business in pork-packing, and the Smiths were in their employ. Thus I saw a great deal of them."

"Did you see much of the Smiths outside of your business -- did you have private intercourse with them?''

"I was well acquainted with the elder Smith; he often came to see me, and we had many long talks together. I did not see much of the younger Smith. He seemed a very quiet, unassuming lad. For the Elder Smith I had the highest regard; he seemed well informed on every imaginable topic, and there was no subject upon which he could not talk intelligently."

"Did you make the statement given in the Times, that the Smiths were known as sheep-thieves and, in fact, as unscrupulous people, in that community?"

"I did not; the Smiths were respected by everyone in the town and vicinity, and up to the time when the discovery of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, that raised a great excitement in those parts and many people went to digging for hidden treasures, their moral character had never been questioned. If they had not been of such unimpeachable character, they could not have been employed by my uncles who were very facetious [fastidious] in the selection of their employees. I never as much as thought of doubting Smith's honesty."

"Did you make the statement that Mormonism in those days was a money-making scheme?"

"No, sir; it appeared to me that the elder Smith was desirous of great wealth, and during the gold-digging excitement following the discovery of the mysterious plates, I was at times led to think it possible that the elder Smith might have planned some deep scheme for making money; but when the religious society called the "Chosen People" was formed, and he became active in proselyting and preaching and baptizing, I was nonplussed, for circumstances went to show that Smith could have had no such aim, or if so, had given it up entirely."

"Do you think that his desire for wealth could ever have overcome his honesty?"

"No, no; I never thought that. So far as I knew Smith, I judged that he would not take as much as the value of a pin from anybody."

"What were the sources from which you derived your knowledge of Mormonism?"

"Most of the knowledge that I possess as regards Mormonism, and the plates from which young Joseph translated the Book of Mormon, was derived from conversations with Smith, Sr., and Martin Harris. Smith told me of the stones his son Joseph had found, and by means of which he could see hidden treasures and many wonderful things. They had formed a society at that time -- not a religious society, however. He wanted me to identify myself with the understanding and promise to make me treasurer, in that event. Before entering upon it, I required to be shown the plates of which he spoke, but he said if I saw and handled the plates I would be struck dead. I told him, if this was the case, it was just the kind of death I would want to die. But he would not consent, and thus gave me up. I was also well acquainted with Martin Harris. In fact, we were great friends, and I thought often of him in after years. Of late I have often desired to make a journey to California, and on going through Utah, to look for Martin Harris. I know he would have received me with open arms.' He often spoke to me of those plates, and I told him that I could not believe that they were what they claimed to be. But he persisted so earnestly in claiming them to be authentic that I was perplexed. I met Martin Harris, several years later, on a steam-boat on Cayuga Lake. He had with him a company of "Saints" -- about two hundred of them -- bound for Missouri. He preached to the passengers on board, on the "last dispensation" and the Book of Mormon as the word of God, and declared that he often communicated with Christ, as one man with another, and many other statements equally strange. In the course of his sermon, he referred to me, and advised his audience, if they doubted his honesty, to inquire of me concerning his reputation, as I was a townsmen of his and knew him well. The captain of the boat was by my side and enquired of me what sort of a man Harris was. I could not do otherwise than speak well of him; only this I said, that on religious subjects I thought him slightly demented. I was thunderstruck when I heard him speak, and was more perplexed than ever."

"What were your religious sentiments at the time -- were you connected with a church?"

"I was then a member, and later a warden, of the Episcopal Church, and have been connected with it the greater part of my life."

"Did any of your relatives join the 'Chosen People,' as they were then called?"

"None, save John Hyde, a cousin of mine. I never saw him, but corresponded with him, when I was a boy and lived in Boston, and he was in London. I afterwards learned that he had come to America."

"Did the elder Smith offer any inducements to you -- did he promise that you should become possessed of great wealth, if you become a member of that society."

"He said that by means of the Urim and Thummim, which were in the possession of his son Joseph, the secrets of all arts and sciences would be revealed, and that these would be carefully guarded and kept within the society, and that there was no doubt that great wealth would be the result, and if I would join them and contribute some money to the funds of the society, I would be sure to become rich. Well, now I have come to think, if I had done so, I would be better off today than I am, even if the great wealth the senior Smith talked so much about did not materialize."

"Did these conversations between you and Mr. Smith take place before the work of translation from the plates had commenced?"

"Yes, sir; Smith used to tell me then that the writing on the plates was a record of a lost race that once inhabited this continent and was highly civilized; that it had possession of many important secrets in all branches of art and science, and that those secrets were laid open by the writing on the plates, but that the then generation was too wicked to receive them, and therefore the Lord would not grant a translation.

Both Smith and Harris told me that the latter took the plates to Dr. Mitchell, of Philadelphia, is a reputed linguist, and well versed in heiroglyphics, that the professor recognized in the writing on the plates an account of a highly civilized race that once inhabited this continent. "

"Are you not mistaken about the plates -- was it not an abstract, or a portion of the writing or characters on one of these plates, that was shown to Dr. Mitchell?"

"No, sir; I remember distinctly to have heard both Smith and Harris say that the latter took the plates to Dr. Mitchell."

"Did this take place before the work of translation had commenced?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you hear of Martin Harris subsequently, that is, after the translation had been entered upon, taking a transcript of some of the writing on the plates to Dr. Anthony of New York, and of this linguist having recognized in the transcript the characters of some oriental language, but declaring himself unable to read it."

"I never heard of such a [translation transcription?."

"Did you ever at any time during your acquaintance with the elder Smith, consider him in the light of a schemer?"

"Not exactly in the common sense of the word. The slight suspicion I entertained at one time, that he might be up to some money making scheme, was entirely obliterated by subsequent occurrences, that is, by his taking such a prominent part in religious affairs. I had at all times the highest regard for him. He used to see me night after night and speak to me of former inhabitants of this continent, how a large portion of the earth now covered by the Pacific Ocean was once occupied by land, etc. Many of the things he told me seemed absurd in those days, but have since been proven to be correct, and I have seen with my own eyes in Wisconsin and other parts of this country, at excavations, a verification of the wonderful things he used

to tell me, and while his knowledge of these things seemed marvelous to me at that time, now that this knowledge is proven to be correct, it is incomprehensible to me how he could have obtained it. He was indeed a marvelous man."

"The Times makes the statement that you declared that young Joseph Smith endeavored to convert you to the new creed, and promised to make you an apostle, if you accepted the doctrine he promulgated. Is this true?"

"I never spoke to Joseph Smith, Jr., upon the subject, and he never made any such statement to me."

"Did you ever read the Book of Mormon?"

"I never saw the book. The printer in Palmyra who printed it sent me several proofs, and I read some, but finally grew tired of them and paid no more attention to them."

"You have no connected idea, then, of the contents of the book in question?"

"No, sir."

"Martin Harris told me that the plates were sewed in a silk sack, and were never opened at such occasions, but lay on the table while young Joseph Smith placed the Urim and Thummim in his hat, and then "read" the translation of the writing in the stones."

"Do you know who acted as scribe on these occasions?"

"No, sir."

"Were you acquainted with the early history of Mormonism -- if so, what was their standing in the community?"

"Did you learn any particulars about the work of translation?"

"I did not personally know any one else, save Oliver Cowdery; my acquaintance with him was, however, but slight. He was greatly respected by all, as far as I know, as indeed were all the people in those parts, who accepted the new creed. They were, for the most part substantial farmers. Martin Harris was universally looked up to, and I never heard any one say a word against him."

"How about that gold-digging affair in the woods, did the Smiths organize it?"

"Young Smith had designated the spot -- about an acre of open ground; there were no woods there -- and said that by means of the Urim and Thummim he could see 'treasures' that were hidden in that ground, and people went to work searching for them. Young Smith was not there then,

but the elder Smith, and when the sudden flash of light frightened and dispersed the diggers, he declared that the Lord had in this manner shown His displeasure."

"You said a little while ago that no one thought otherwise than well of the Smiths until after the discovery of the plates. How did this ill-feeling originate?"

"The failure of the treasure-seeking expedition and the consequent disappointment of many raised a temporary excitement, but there was nothing very serious said or done, until the religious excitement began -- after the translation of the plates and the organization of the 'Church of Jesus Christ' -- when the Smiths and their followers, of which there was a great number then, moved away to Ohio. Then families broke up, and the popular feeling against the Smiths became very bitter, their moral character was never attacked even then; they were considered religious fanatics."

"Were there, to your knowledge, many families broken up in this way?"

"I know personally of only one -- that of Martin Harris. He perpetrated no wrong against his family. He was a nice, kind, man, and very forbearing. His wife was a quakeress and did not sympathize with his religious views; she could not believe as he did, and his faith was too strong to yield. Thus he left her and the children and her property."

"The Times put into your mouth the statement that no less than forty families were broken up, in the village of Palmyra?"

"I repeat Martin Harris' family was the only one in the town of Palmyra, thus broken up."

"Were the Smiths persecuted for speaking and doing as they did? Were they subjected to any kind of annoyance at services and while performing the ceremony of baptism?"

"No sir; their services were orderly and free from annoyance, as I was told, for I never attended any of them. When they went to baptize converts, everything went off quietly and without disturbance of any kind. People went to see, as they would have gone to see a ceremony performed by a Christian minister, and both believers and unbelievers behaved properly."

"Is the account the Times gives of the subsequent history of Mormonism from your pen, or in any way authorized by you?"

"No sir; I know nothing of what transpired after the Smiths and their followers left the parts where I then lived, for Ohio -- save what I could glean from current rumors."

"Did you authorize or encourage the scathing language used in the Times article."

"No sir; I would not speak ill of the Smiths, or Martin Harris, or Oliver Cowdery under any consideration, I wrote an article on the 'Birth of Mormonism,' but it was entirely different from the Times article. The most important items of my article were omitted by the reporter who took charge of my manuscript "

Mr. Hyde, though nearly 90 years old, is as yet of a bright intellect, and displays a marvelous memory. He is of a liberal mind and greatly surprised your correspondent with his views on polygamy and the action of certain politicians on the Mormon question, wondering how many of those who are so active in "extirpating polygamy," or trying to do so, would dare to submit their private life to the scrutiny of the public who applaud their action. Mr. Hyde is about to become an author, being now engaged in writing an autobiography, which promises to be an interesting work, as he is well-read, and an acute observer, and has traveled considerably both in Europe and in America. He desired to know more about the doctrines advocated by the Latter-day Saints, and about the history of the Church, especially the circumstances that led to the tragic death of the Smiths, since, as he said, he could not believe that Joseph Smith could have been guilty of any misdeed deserving of the death penalty.


Chicago, Ill., Oct. 23d, 1888.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIV.                       Salt  Lake  City,  Jan. 1, 1889.                       No. 1.

The Thirteenth Witness to the Plates
of the Book of Mormon.

[By Edward Stevenson]

It is well known that three witnesses as well as Joseph Smith, testify of seeing an angel and hearing his voice, also of seeing the plates containing the characters from which the Book of Mormon was printed.

There are eight witnesses who also testify of seeing and handling the gold plates. Twelve witnesses including Joseph Smith. The thirteenth witness is Mary Musselman Whitmer, the wife of Peter Whitmer, sen., and mother of five of the witnesses. In 1887, we had the pleasure of visiting Uncle David Whitmer, as he is so familiarly known, and at other times since we have visited him, and held many familiar conversations with him on the subject of the coming forth of the plates, the translation of them, and the visit of an angel, which never failed to inspire him with enthusiastic delight. On one occasion while sitting with Uncle David by the fireside, he said: "My mother died while sitting in that very chair you are now occupying." He feelingly spoke of the virtues and good acts of his mother, and her kindness to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his party, while they were translating the Book of Mormon at his father's house in Fayette, Seneca County, New York.

While in this mood of conversation he related to me, a visit of the angel

Moroni to his mother. Uncle David said: "My mother went to the barn to milk the cows, where she met a mysterious personage who showed her the golden plates, turning them over leaf by leaf, with the exception of a portion of them which were fastened together with rings["] (the sealed part of the plates).

David said this occurred after he had seen the same messenger on the way from Harmony to Fayette. When he brought Joseph and Oliver in his wagon from Harmony, Pa., he appeared walking with a knapsack on his back with the straps crossed on his breast. Uncle David asked him to ride with them, to which he replied, "No, I am going over to Cumorah," and suddenly disappeared in the midst of a plain.

David said that they felt a very strange feeling come over them, and Joseph, the Prophet, inquired of the Lord concerning it, and then said to the brethren that the mysterious stranger was Moroni with the plates of gold. It will be remembered that Joseph, the Prophet, was beset with a wicked class of men who sought to steal the plates from him, so much so that his life was in danger; therefore he sought to know of the Lord the best mode of transferring the plates from Harmony to Fayette. They were finally taken in charge by the angel to deliver them to the Prophet again at the end of their journey. David told me that they felt the same heavenly influence after their arrival at his father's home previous to his mother's visitation and view of the plates. He expressed his firm conviction of the truth of his mother's testimony.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVII.                      Salt  Lake  City,  May. 15, 1892.                      No. 10.


Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

[By Elder Philo Dibble]

(In addition to what was published in these columns a short time since, Elder Philo Dibble relates the following concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith:)

I saw Joseph Smith the Prophet when he first came to Kirtland, and was with him in the first conference held in that place, which was in a small schoolhouse. When he arose in our midst he said that before the conference closed there were those present who should see the heavens open and bear record of the coming of the Son of Man, and that the man of sin should be revealed.

While he talked he laid his hand upon the head of Lyman Wight. He then laid his left hand upon the head of Harvey Whitlock. Lyman Wight stepped into the middle of the room and bore record of the coming of the Son of Man. Then Harvey Whitlock stepped into the middle of the room with his arms crossed, bound by the power of Satan, and his mouth twisted unshapely.

Hyrum Smith arose and declared that there was an evil spirit in the room.

Joseph said, "Don't be too hasty," and Hyrum sat down.

Shortly Hyrum rose the second time, saying, "I know my duty and will do it," and stepping to Harvey, commanded the evil spirits to leave him, but the spirits did not obey.

Joseph then approached Harvey and asked him if he believed in God. Then we saw a change in Harvey. He also bore record of the opening of the heavens and of the coming of the Son of Man, precisely as Lyman Wight had done.

Next a man by the name of Harvey Green was thrown upon his back on the floor by an unseen power. Some of the brethren wanted to administer to him by laying on of hands, but Joseph forbade it. Harvey looked to me like a man in a fit. He groaned and frothed at the mouth. Finally he got upon his knees and came out of it.

Next thing I saw a man came flying through the window from outside. He was straight as a man's arm as he sailed into the room over two rows of seats filled with men, and fell on the floor between the seats and was pulled out by the brethren. He trembled all over like a leaf in the wind. He was soon apparently calm and natural. His name was Lemon Copley. He weighed over two hundred pounds. This I saw with my own eyes and know it is all true, and bear testimony to it.

I was with Joseph the next morning after he was tarred and feathered by a mob in the town of Hiram. After he had washed and dressed in clean clothes, I heard him say to Sidney Rigdon, who was also tarred and feathered, "Now, Sidney, we are ready to go on that mission," having reference to a command of God to go to Jackson County, Missouri, and which they had deferred to comply with until they should have accomplished some work which they had planned, but never did accomplish.

The vision which is recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 76] was given at the house of "Father Johnson," in Hiram, Ohio, and during the time that Joseph and Sidney were in the spirit and saw the heavens open, there were other men in the room, perhaps twelve, among whom I was one during a part of the time-- probably two-thirds of the time,--I saw the glory and felt the power, but did not see the vision.

The events and conversation, while they were seeing what is written (and many things were seen and related that are not written,) I will relate as minutely as is necessary.

Joseph would, at intervals, say: "What do I see?" as one might say while looking out the window and beholding what all in the room could not see. Then he would relate what he had seen or what he was looking at. Then Sidney replied, "I see the same." Presently Sidney would say "what do I see?" and would repeat what he had seen or was seeing, and Joseph would reply, "I see the same."

This manner of conversation was repeated at short intervals to the end of the vision, and during the whole time not a word was spoken by any other person. Not a sound nor motion made by anyone but Joseph and Sidney, and it seemed to me that they never moved a joint or limb during the time I was there, which I think was over an hour, and to the end of the vision.

Joseph sat firmly and calmly all the time in the midst of a magnificent glory, but Sidney sat limp and pale, apparently as limber as a rag, observing which, Joseph remarked, smilingly, "Sidney is not used to it as I am."

Note 1: Compare the above statement with a seemingly contradictory report made by Elder Dibble in his earlier (1882) Early Scenes in Church History, where, on pp. 80-81, he says: "When Joseph was ready to go back to Hiram, I took him in my carriage. Soon afterwards I had occasion to visit [Hiram] again. On my way there I was persuaded to stop at the Hulet settlement and attend a meeting. When I arrived at Father Johnson's the next morning, Joseph and Sidney had just finished washing up from being [tarred] and feathered the night before. Joseph said to Sidney: "We can now go on our mission to Jackson County" (alluding to a commandment given them while they were translating, but which they concluded not to attend to until they had finished that work). I felt to regret very much that I had not been with them the evening before, but it was perhaps providential that I was not. On a subsequent visit to Hiram, I arrived at Father Johnson's just as Joseph and Sidney were coming out of the vision alluded to in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in which mention is made of the three glories. Joseph wore black clothes, but at this time seemed to be dressed in an element of glorious white, and his face shone as if it were transparent, but I did not see the same glory attending Sidney. Joseph appeared as strong as a lion, but Sidney seemed as weak as water, and Joseph, noticing his condition smiled and said, "Brother Sidney is not as used to it as I am."

Note 2: By all standard chronologies the "vision" alluded to by Elder Dibble did not occur "subsequent" to the tar and feathering incident -- nor does Dibble's arrival "just as Joseph and Sidney were coming out of the vision," appear to have allowed him sufficient time to have personally monitored the details he reported in 1892.


"Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that
sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." --
ST. JOHN vii, 16, 17.

Vol. LX.                          Monday,  November  3, 1898.                         No. ?

October 17, 1895. 

J. R. Hindley, Esq.,
DEAR SIR: -- We have in our college library an original manuscript of Solomon Spaulding -- unquestionably genuine.

I found it in 1884 in the hands of Hon. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands. He was formerly state printer at Columbus, Ohio, and before that, publisher of a paper in Painesville, whose preceding publisher had visited Mrs. Spaulding and obtained the manuscript from her. It had lain among his old papers forty years or more, and was brought out by my asking him to look up anti-slavery documents among his papers.

The manuscript has upon it the signatures of several men of Conneaught, Ohio, who had heard Spaulding read it and knew it to be his. No one can see it and question its genuineness. The manuscript has been printed twice at least-once by the "Mormons" of Salt Lake City, and once by the "Josephite Mormons" of Iowa. The Utah "Mormons" obtained the copy of Mr. Rice, at Honolulu,, and the "Josephites" got it of me after it came into my possession.

This manuscript is not the original of the Book of Mormon.

             Yours very truly,
                                      JAMES H. FAIRCHILD.

Note 1: It is remarkable that the editor of Millennial Star took the trouble to publish this letter of President Fairchild's, even after the passage of three years since it was first received by a Mormon official (presumably in England). The message of the letter does the Mormon cause little good and the Star's readers mightf have been better served had the paper simply recycled one of Fairchild's letters or published statements from years gone by. Although Fairchild does not say that the Oberlin Spalding manuscript was but one of many Solomon Spalding manuscripts, he practically admits that fact by his saying nothing about the story one file at Oberlin College being the infamous "Manuscript Found," from which the Book of Mormon was supposedly adapted. Fairchild says that the document under his care "is not the original of the Book of Mormon," but that does little to promote his earlier theory -- that the Oberlin document was "Manuscript Found" and that such an identification effectively put an end to the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. Perhaps the Mormons published this letter because it was the only known communication of this sort that Fairchild ever addressed to an LDS elder.

Note 2: Although the Star prints no ellipses to indicate that the Fairchild letter was edited, it may be that it was shortened and some potentially damaging words edited out. By the end of the century James H. Fairchild had received so much personal correspondence criticizing his old identification of the Oberlin document as Spalding's "Manuscript Found," that Fairchild was obviously having second thoughts on the matter. Consider, for example, the content of a letter Fairchild wrote to one of his old students in 1900: "With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the Library of Oberlin College, I have never stated, and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is certainly the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this Ms. does not prove that there may not have been another, which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me as implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted."

Note 3: The evolution of President Fairchild's opinion in regard to his earlier identification of the Oberlin Spadling story as being the oft-mentioned "Manuscript Found" was paralleled by a similar change of views in his old friend (and discoverer of the Oberlin document), Lewis L. Rice of Honolulu. Rice died less than two years after uncovering the Oberlin Spalding story, but before his passing his opinion about the nature and importance of that story went through a remarkable process of maturation. As Rice learned more and more about various aspects of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, he came to believe in and publicly endorse those same claims. On Oct. 7, 1885, barely 14 months after his discovery of the manuscript, Rice was saying: "Joe Smith or Rigdon, one or both, was the real getter-up of the Book of Mormon, with the aid of Solomon Spaulding's writings;" by Mar. 4, 1886, he was asserting that his discovery was not the "Manuscript Found," and that his belief was, "that either Hurlbut or Howe" obtained Spalding's "Manuscript Found," and then " sold it to the Mormons, who of course destroyed it, or put it out of the way."

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