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Capt. John W. Gunnison, U.S. Army Engineer
Murdered near Sevier Lake, Utah, in 1853

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Articles Index   |   National Intelligencer   |   Niles Register


The Sentinel of Freedom.
Vol. XLIX.                         Newark, N. J., Tuesday, May 26, 1846.                         No. 48.


We have reeived an extra of the Hancock (Illinois) Eagle, with a proclamation from General Warren, commander of the State troops at Nauvoo, announcing his determination to prevent a threatened outbreak against the Mormons. It appears that ten thousand Mormons have left the State, and that the rest are following as fast as possible, and yet a disposition is manifested to attack them. A Mormon of near sixty had been taken from his horse and severely scourged, and attempts were made to muster militia companies to harass the Mormons. We have little doubt that the firmness and promptness of Maj. Warren will strike terror into the outlaws and preserve peace.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Sentinel of Freedom.
Vol. ?                               Newark, N. J., Tuesday, July 28, 1846.                              No. ?


(under construction)

Note: The above item reports on the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo to Council Bluffs and beyond.


The Sentinel of Freedom.
Vol. ?                           Newark, N. J., Tuesday, August 18, 1846.                           No. ?


(under construction)

Note: The above issue contains two items on the Mormons. One article reports the situation in Hancock Co. and the other gives a short notice about the Mormons traveling through Council Bluffs.


Vol. XVI.                           Newark, N. J., Friday, July 30, 1847.                           No. 180.

The Mormons in California. -- The Union discredits this report, which has been current for a few days, that the Mormon regiment and the settlers of that sect, now in California, had risen and rebelled against the American government region, and adds: "that no accounts of this effect have been received at any of the departments, nor have we heard of any private letters which confirm it. The last letter from Gen. Kearny is to the 17th of March, and it makes no mention of the Mormons at all."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVI.                           Newark, N. J., Monday, August 9, 1847.                           No. ?

Deserted  Temple  in  the  West --
A  Lesson.

A city of 18,000 inhabitants, including among many other substantial buildings a stately Temple erected at a cost of $750,000, has grown up and run to decay within the brief period of ten years! -- a fresh warning against the building on "sandy foundations." The city is situated on the left bank of the Mississippi, in the state of Illinois, on a site gently and gradually sloping down to the water, but extending back over a prairie some two or three or more miles. It has had eighteen thousand inhabitants; it is now mostly deserted. Every thing looks forlorn and desolate. Not half the buildings are occupied, and of these not half are full. The stores are closed. The farms are running to waste, the streets are overgrown with grass, and everything tells of ruin and decay. A letter from the Boston Courier gives this account of the Temple:

Our first object, of course, was the far-famed Mormon temple, which stands upon the top of the hill, can be seen for some miles up and down the river. The first sight we had of it gave us a pang of disappointment, for it looked more like a white Yankee meeting-house, with its steeple on one end, than a magnificent structure which had cost, all uncompleted as it is, seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But as we approached nearer, it proved to be something worth seeing. It is nearly a mile from the landing, the most conspicuous, in fact the only conspicuous object, in the city. It is built of white limestone. The front is ornamented with sunken square columns of no particular style of architecture, having capitals representing half a man's head -- the upper half -- showing the forehead, eyes and the top of the nose, and crowned with thorns, or perhaps what was intended for the points of stars. Over the head are two bugles or horns, with their largest ends outward, and the handles, on the upper side, forming a sort of festoon protection. On all sides of the temple are similar columns with similar capitals; the base of each column is heavy, but in good proportion and of a fanciful design, which it would be difficult to describe. There is a basement with small windows. Ten steps lead to the front and only entrance to the main building. Three arches enable you to enter the grand hall, and at the sides are the entries to the staircases, to ascend to the upper apartments.

The front of the temple is apparently three stories high, and is surmounted by an octagonal tower or steeple, which itself is three stories, with a dome, and having on four sides a clock next below the dome. There is a line of circular windows over the arched entrance, ornamented with carved work between each, and over that again a line of square windows. In this upper row is a large square entablature, on which is cut the following inscription: --

built by
Commenced April 6th, 1841.

A similar entablature is on the front of the interior vestibule, over the doors of entrance, with the same inscription. The letters on each are gilt.

The man in attendance demanded twenty-five cents each as fee for showing us the temple, and asked every one to subscribe a visitor's book. I looked over this book, and saw but two names of persons hailing from Boston for the last six months, neither of which was familiar to me. We were then taken to the very top of the building, and enjoyed there for some time a view of the surrounding country which, of itself, well paid for the trouble of ascending, as the whole valley of the Mississippi for miles and miles lay exposed to view on the north and south, while the prairie lands of Illinois, and Iowa, and Missouri, were to be seen at the east and west, overlooking the few hills lying near to the shore in the latter state, and showing the tortuous course of the Des Moines river for some distance.

Coming down, we were ushered into the Council Chamber, which is a large low room, lighted by one large half circular window at the end, and several small sky-lights in the roof. On each side are six small ante-chambers, said to have been intended for the twelve priests, councillors, or elders, or whatever they may have been called. The chamber itself is devoid of ornament, and I was unable to ascertain whether it was intended to have any when completed.

In the entry, on each side of the door to the Council Chamber, is a room called the wardrobe, where the priests were to keep their dresses. On one side was a room intended for a pantry, showing that the priests did not mean to go supperless to bed. Under the council chamber was another large hall, with seven windows on each side, and four at the further end.

On the lower floor was the grand hall for the assem-blage and worship of the people. Over the windows at the end, was inscribed in gilded capital letters -- "THE LORD HAS BEHELD OUR SACRIFICE: COME AFTER US." This was in a circular line, corresponding to the circle of the ceiling. Seats are provided in this hall for the accommodation at one time of thirty-five hundred people, and they are arranged with backs, which are fitted like the backs to seats in a modern railroad car, so as to allow the spectator to sit and look in either direction, east or west. At the east and west ends are raised platforms composed of series of pulpits, on steps one above the other. The fronts of these pulpits were semi-circular, and are inscribed, in gilded letters, on the west side PAP, PPQ, PTQ, PDQ, meaning, as the guide informed us, the uppermost one, President of Aaronic Priesthood; the second president of the Priests' Quorum; the third, President of the Teachers' Quorum; and the fourth and lowest, president of the Deacons' Quorum. On the east side, the pulpits were marked PHP, PSZ, PHQ, and PEQ, and the knowledge of the guide was no better than ours as to what these symbolical letters were intended for. Like the rooms above, this was devoid of any but architectural ornaments.

We next descended to the basement, where is the far-celebrated font. It is in fact the cellar of the building. The font is of white lime-stone, and of an oval shape, twelve by sixteen feet in size on the inside, and about four and a half feet to five feet deep. It is very plain, and rests on the backs of twelve stone oxen or cows, which stand immersed to their knees in the earth. It has two flights of steps, with iron bannisters, by which you enter and go out of the font, one at the east end, and the other at the west end. The oxen have tin horns and tin ears, but are otherwise of stone, and a stone drapery hangs like a curtain down from the font, so as to prevent the exposure of all back of the fore legs of the beasts. In consequence of what I had heard of this font, I was disappointed; for it was neither vast nor gorgeous; every thing about it was quite simple and unostentatious. The basement is unpaved and on each side and at the ends are small alcoves, intended for robing rooms for the faithful.

I don't know that I have been able to give an intelligent description of this far-famed temple of the Mormons, but it is correct as far as it goes. The whole is quite unfinished, and one can imagine what it might have been in the course of time, if Joe Smith had been allowed to pursue his career in prosperity.

After wandering about Nauvoo for some time, a small party concluded we would call on the widow of Joe Smith, the prophet, and dine with her -- she now keeps a public house, at the sign of the "Nauvoo Mansion." We found her at home, and had considerable conversation with her. She is an intelligent woman, apparently about fifty years of age, rather large, and very good looking, with a bright sparkling eye, but a countenance of sadness when she is not talking; she must have been a handsome woman when some years younger. She answered all our questions as we sat at dinner, although perhaps some of them might have been rather impertinent under a strict construction of the rules of etiquette, with great readiness and great willingness. After obtaining considerable information, and fully gratifying a not altogether useless curiosity, we separated, highly pleased with our visit.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVI.                         Newark, N. J., Tuesday, September 14, 1847.                         No. ?

THE MORMONS: -- A passenger in the Lake of the Woods, from the Upper Missouri, informs us that the Mormons are in a flourishing condition in their new location on the fine lands of the Pottawotamie Purchase on both sides of the river, above Council Bluffs. They have planted immense fields of corn -- to the extent, it is estimated, of 30,000 acres -- and other grain, and produce. They have built, also, a town, called "Winter Quarters," which already contains a population of some seven thousand souls. This town is entirely picketed in. It is represented, that the Mormons are on friendly terms with the Indians, and rarely molest them, although they are accused of occasionally stealing cattle.

Immense herds of Buffalo were seen on the plains, and crossing the Missouri, at the mouth of a stream called Stillwater.   St. Louis Republican.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Sentinel of Freedom.
Vol. ?                           Newark, N. J., Tuesday, September 21, 1847.                           No. ?

THE MORMONS. -- A passenger in the Lake of the Woods from the Upper Missouri, informs us that the Mormons are in a flourishing condition, in their new location on the fine lands of the Pottawotamie Purchase on both sides of the river, above Council Bluffs. They have planted immense fields of corn -- to the extent, it is estimated, of 30,000 acres -- and other grain and produce. They have built, also, a town called "Winter Quarters," which already contains a population of some seven thousand souls -- This town is entirely picketed in. It is represented that the Mormons are on friendly terms with the Indians, and rarely molest them, although they are accused of occasionally stealing cattle. Immense herds of buffalo were seen on the plains and crossing the Missouri, at the mouth of a stream called Stillwater.

Note: This item was evidently copied from the Sept. 17, 1847 issue of the Liberty, Missouri Weekly Tribune.


THE  [     ]   SUN.
Vol. XXV.               Baltimore,  Maryland,  Saturday,  October 20, 1849.               No. 133.

THE MORMONS OF COVINGTON, KY. charge the Mormons of Salt Lake Valley with treasonable designs against the United States. The Kentucky Mormons are those who regard Wm. Smith, the brother of Joe Smith, as the inheritor of his spirit and prophetic character. The application of the Salt Lake branch of the sect to be admitted into the Union as a State does not look like being evilly disposed towards the government.

Note 1: This article's summary was no doubt derived from assertions published by William Smith in his Oct., 1849 Melchisedek & Aaronic Herald, which began publication at Covington on Feb. 1, 1849, under the management of the abolitionist and former Nauvoo resident, Isaac Sheen. Although Isaac Sheen was the ostensible editor, publisher and proprietor of the Covington Herald, the paper's true director was "President" William Smith, and it is unlikely that Sheen published anything in the paper's columns which did not either originate with Smith or at least meet with his approval. Having ceased fellowship with J. J. Strang, and having issued published pronouncements on his own behalf, during the summer of 1847, William must have been delighted to convert Elder Sheen and his printing press to the fledging Smithite cause. William Smith's official residence was in Lee Co., Illinois -- if that constant traveler can be said to have lived anywhere in particular. Therefore, President Smith projected his media voice from a distance of hundreds of miles away from his Kentucky center of administration. -- See notes appended to an article in the Boston Transcript of July 18, 1849 for more on the Covington Mormons.

Note 2: In a small way the above news item anticipates the message William Smith and Isaac Sheen communicated via the columns of the Congressional Globe on Jan. 4, 1850. Smith's primary argument in favor of his own church during the 1849-56 period, was that the Brighamite Mormons out in Utah had formulated "treasonable designs against the United States." This talking point distinguished William's small following from the Utah Church, at a time when hostile public opinion directed against the latter group was continually increasing. Still -- it was a rhetorical over-reach to equate "the Mormons of Covington" with the far larger and more stable set of "Mormons of Salt Lake Valley." If any group of Saints then had a reasonable claim to rival the Utah Mormons, it would have been the Strangites of Wisconsin and Michigan.

Note 3: The presumed loyalty of the Brighamites (because they were applying "to be admitted into the Union as a State") was an optimistic outlook which would fade among the American public and its leaders, all through the coming decade. Communications from Great Salt Lake City would continue to demonstrate Mormon support for the U.S. Constitution, while at the same time revealing an ever decreasing LDS respect for the national government. Statements published by the Mormon leaders in the coming years would frequently identify the eastern citizens as "enemies" and the non-Mormon Christian population as a dangerous religious rival. For a look at William Smith's evolved message, nearly a decade later, see his letters published in the New York Tribune on May 28, 1857 and June 23, 1857. Brigham Young attributed an unsigned contemporary newspaper article to William Smith, in his Salt Lake City discourse of June 7, 1857, but his claims may have been fanciful.


31st Congress - 1st Session.                      Fri., Jan. 4, 1850.                       XXI (N. S. No. 6).

[Dec. 31, 1849]


Mr. Underwood: I beg leave to present the memorial of William Smith and Isaac Sheen, representing themselves to be the legitimate Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and also twelve members of that church. They say in this memorial that they belong to the church or sect which is more commonly known by the denomination of Mormons; and they represent that prior to the emigration of this people from Nauvoo, in the State of Illinois, fifteen hundred of them took the following oath:

"You do solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God, his holy angels, and these witnesses, that you will avenge the blood of Joseph Smith upon this nation, and so teach your children, and that you will from this day henceforth and forever begin and carry out hostility against the nation, and to keep the same a profound secret, now and ever. So help you God."

They further represent that this people, now settled near the great Salt Lake, have in their practice and by their insinuations tolerated polygamy. They charge upon them various offences and crimes, and they call on the authorities of the nation to establish a system of government by which the perpetration of those crimes and offences may be prevented.

Since I have received this memorial I saw in a newspaper what I will read to the Senate.

[The substance of the paragraph read by Mr. Underwood (the reporter being unable to obtain a copy) was, that two Indian agents, whose names were therein stated, had been seized and subjected to trial by Mormons upon a charge of having been instrumental in driving them from the State of Missouri, and were only cleared in consequence of being able to prove that they had not participated in that act. It also charged the Mormons with having imposed duties upon all goods imported into the Salt Lake region from the United States.]

If there be any truth in what I have just read, it will be seen that these people are about to carry out the intention of the oath taken at Nauvoo.

Mr. Foote. Will the Senator allow me to ask him, for I did not hear his preliminary remarks, whose memorial that is?

Mr. Underwood. I will state again, it is the memorial of William Smith and Isaac Sheen, who represent themselves to be Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the legitimate successors of Joseph Smith; and it is signed by twelve others, representing themselves to be members of said church.

Mr. Morton. Where do these men live?

Mr. Underwood. They live in Covington, Kentucky; at least the paper was mailed to me from that place. I trust the memorial will be referred to the Committee on Territories, and that some investigation, at all events, will take place before that committee in regard to these charges.

Mr. Douglas. Before the reference is made, I feel it due that I should make a remark upon one branch of the subject to which the Senator from Kentucky has called the attention of the Senate. In regard to the memorial and the statements contained in it, I know nothing; therefore I can give no explanation in regard to them. But I had observed in the newspapers the article which the Senator has read and, and meeting with the delegate who has been elected and sent here from the provisional government of Deseret, being the government which the Mormons at the Salt Lake have established for themselves, in the absence of any action by Congress in their behalf, I asked Mr. Babbit if he could give me any explanation as to the facts as represented in that publication, and whether the Mormons had assumed the right to impose duties upon goods passing through the valley of the Great Salt Lake. He stated to me that the transaction was alleged to have occurred since he left, but that this was what he understood to be the state of the case: That these people, having assembled in large numbers in the neighborhood of the Salt Lake, with the intention of making their permanent home there, found it necessary to establish a government for their protection until Congress should provide one for them; and they found it necessary when they had established their government to provide the means of raising revenue for its support. The course adopted was to impose duties on all goods brought in and sold within the city of Salt Lake, whether by Mormons or anti-Mormons, residents or non-residents, all being placed upon an equality. I asked Mr. Babbit if this duty was imposed upon goods passing through, going beyond, and not to be vended in the city. He assured me that it was not imposed upon goods that were not sold in the city, and that large quantities of goods, large caravans conveying goods, had passed through without being molested. He assured me, furthermore, that these caravans sold their goods outside of the limits of this Mormon settlement without paying any such duty, and that the duty was only imposed on those who retailed their goods inside of the city, and it was merely for the purpose of providing revenue for the support of the government they had established until Congress should provide one for them. This the explanation which Mr. Babbit, a gentleman elected by the provisional government, and sent to represent them in the other end of this Capitol, gave to me. I felt it due to the Senate, to the country, and to these people, to make this explanation, that it might go out with the statement of the Senator from Kentucky. I know nothing of the facts myself, but have given the authority upon which I make the statement.

The memorial was then referred to the Committee on Territories.

Note 1: The unspoken political maneuvering underlying this exchange on the Senate floor, on Dec. 31, 1849 is both exquisitely subtle and wondrously ironic. Senator Stephen A. Douglas was a leading Democrat (later that party's candidate for the presidency), while Joseph R. Underwood was a slave-owning Whig emancipationist (not quite an abolitionist) of some note. Hidden just behind the scenes of this short transaction on the last day of 1849, were questions as to whether slavery would be condoned in Kansas and "Deseret;" whether the pioneers in those distant places would vote Democratic or Whig-Republican, the extent to which the federal government should regulate legal/social situations on the frontier, etc. etc. The Salt Lake Mormons had sent Almon A. Babbit, a Democrat, to plead their cause, of getting their petition for the acceptance of the "State of Deseret" through Douglas' Committee on Territories and onto the Senate floor for a vote. Douglas had no interest in seeing the Mormon entity organized as anything other than a territory, but he wished to regain the tacit political support of the Mormons for the Democrats -- something that had been lost when Douglas and other Illinois Democrats joined in the popular effort to expel the Saints from Nauvoo in 1846. Underwood fully knew the Whig affiliations of Smith and Sheen (an abolitionist) and he knew the historical tendency of the Mormons to vote for the Democrats rather than the Whigs. Underwood had at least a passing interest in seeing Deseret kept out of the Union, but he must have realized that Brigham Young was positioned to control a great deal of what went on in the West, even if Utah were organized only as a territory. Douglas also knew the political power Young commanded. Douglas knew William Smith as well, and was savvy enough to realize that William Smith had no chance of prevailing in any struggle with Brigham Young, even if the fight were just over some means to protect the western emigrant parties from Mormon taxation. And, under all of this, was the gnawing problem of Mormon polygamy, which Underwood probably only guessed at, but which Douglas comprehended would be a troublesome matter indeed. In the end William Smith's pleas were swept under the same rug as Babbit's petition for Mormon statehood. And Babbit (Sheen's brother-in-law) was left with the unenviable task of reporting back to Brigham Young his failure to obtain statehood for the Mormon colony -- as well as having to explain why it was that Smith and Sheen had recommended him to govern the Mormons, and why he was setting up the Western Bugle, a Democratic newspaper in Council Bluffs, in opposition to Apostle Orson Hyde's Whig-leaning Frontier Guardian.

Note 2: Kentucky Whig Underwood's submission of the anti-Deseret remonstrance before the Senate constituted only half of William Smith's effort to bring the matter before Congress. In the House, a pro-Mormon constitution for Deseret was being proposed by one of Underwood's political enemies, prominent Kentucky Democrat Linn Boyd. For documentation of the other half of William's plan -- the submission of his petition to the House and Boyd's opposition -- see the Feb. 26, 1850 issue of the Congressional Globe.



Vol. IV.                      Trenton, N. J. Wednesday, January 9, 1850.                       No. 919.

For the State Gazette.

The Last Half-Century -- No. IV.

Among the extraordinary declusions that have taken possession of a large, number of minds, and maintained a sway in splle of ridicule and opposition, the Mormon imposture is one of the most remarkable. Its author must have been amazed himself at the success of his clumsy contrivance -- until, perhaps, like the prophet of Mecca, he became the dupe of his own delusion, and was an "eleventh hour" convert to his own faith.

Joseph Smith, Jr. was a nalive of Vermont. When a young lad he came to Western New York, and lived for several years in and about the village of Palmyra. His reputation there was more than questionable -- and he came soon to be regarded as a vagrant and a sharper who made pretensions to divination and finding lost treasures by magical rods, &c. &c. At length he hit upon a singular and somewhat startling mode of arresting attention -- perhaps with no higher motive than gaining some notoriety, and withal recruiting his finances.

He pretended to have discovered in a conical hill in Manchester, Ontario county, a collection of golden plates bearing a divine revelation -- the same that is alluded to as "the stick of Ephraim" in the thirty-seventh chapler of Ezekiel. -- The contents of these plates he pretended to have copied, and these he published in a volume of some 500 pages, under the title of the "Book of Mormon." The volume itself is made up of quotations from the Bible, mingled with a great mass of incoherent and absurd matter, written in imitation of scripture style. Who wrote this "Book of Mormon" is still in dispute. It has been asserted that it was the composition of a clergyman in Ohio, who amused himself in his leisure hours by an imitation of Oriental Iiterature.

Smith prevailed on a farmer in his neighborhood to advance $3000 in publishing a large edition of the new "Bible." This farmer, in conjunclion with two other deluded men, gave certificates of the genuineness of the book, and asserted that they had themselves seen the identical pldtes from which Smith transcribed the Mormon volume. In the year 1830, Smith was visited by a shrewd, active, and unprincipled man named Sidney Rigdon, who had attempted to form a new sect, and whose credit was just then considerably below par. Rigdon took a cargo of the Bibles into Ohio, where he was presently joined by Smith himself. Beginning with Rigdon's small colony of followers, they soon collected a large number of disciples at Kirtland, Ohio. Here they established a bank which soon exploded, and as it was not a chartered institution, the victims of the swindle had small redress.

When the new faith became odious in Ohio, the leaders proposed to try their fortunes in the wilderness, and pushed on to Missouri. They finally pitched their tents in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Here they reared a gorgeous temple in a nondescript style of architecture, which was not long since destroyed by fire. Here Jo Smith established a civil and ecclesiastical polity, which certainly does him credit as an energetic leader whose enterprise succeeding beyond his own expectations, forced into power, distinction, and responsibility. Here he formed a battalion of which he was the commander, and like Mohammed, drew the sword at the head of his own spiritual followers. From this central point he sent forth his apostles to preach the new gospel, and in Great Britain they met with extraordinary success. Before his death his disciples had increased to many thousands, and at this moment they are in possesion of a large and fertile region about the head of the Californian Gulf.

With the circumstances of Smith's unhappy end -- the persecutions of his followers -- their long painful journeyings through the wilderness -- and their present position in the would be state of Deseret, our readers are generally familiar. Smith's religious system was a curious compound of religion and secularity mingled in grotesque confusion. At his meetings he was wont to preach after his fashion, and at the close of the religious services, the business affairs of the community uere discussed, advertisements were published, descriptions of stray horses and cattle were announced, &c. Some of his followers seem to be devout men of much sincerity and consistency of Iife; but a large portion maintain and practice the most disgusting Iicentiousness. Their enterprise in planting colonies, and their skill in amassing properly are unquestionable. What the future history of this extraordinary sect will be we do not pretend to conjecture; but as the most remarkable of the indigenous products of American cunning and superstition, it is well worthy a place among the marvels of the last half-century.

Notes: (forthcoming)


31st Congress - 1st Session.                    Tues., Feb. 26, 1850.                     XXI (N. S. No. 26).

[Feb. 25, 1850]


Mr. Wentworth presented a petition from A. Morgan. Thomas Hunt, and other citizens of Shelbourn, Lee county, Illinois, praying Congress to protect the rights of American citizens while traveling through the valley of the Salt Lakes, and setting forth other matters concerning the treasonable designs of the Salt Lake Mormons. Also, representing that some of the prominent movers for the organization of a State Government in Deseret are in favor of a Kingly Government, are robbers and murderers, and that these men are all in favor of polygamy, &c., &c.

Mr. Wentworth asked that the petition be read, with the view to its reference to the Committee on Military Affairs.

Mr. Bowlin objected to the reading of the petition through.

Mr. Jones gave notice of his intention to debate the motion to refer.

The Chair stated that the reading of the petition having been objected to, the question of permission would have to be decided by the House.

Mr. Wentworth said he preferred to have the petition read by the Clerk; but if the objection was persisted in he would read the petition himself, as he had the right to do under the rules.

The Chair stated that the rule regulating the presentation of petitions allowed only a statement of the substance of the petition.

Mr. Conrad inquired whether it was a remonstrance.

Mr. Wentworth said it was a remonstrance from the State of Illinois against the admission into the Union of the Salt Lake Mormons, as a distinct political organization.

After some further conversation by Messrs. Richardson and Wentworth with the Chair -- The question whether the petition be read was put to the House and agreed to; and the petition having been read --

Mr. Wentworth moved its reference to the Committee on Military Affairs...

Note 1: Having already engineered the submission of a petition against the establishment of a State of Deseret in the Senate, through the assistance of Isaac Sheen's Whig connections with Senator Underwood, William Smith played the opposite political card in the House, by having the noted Illinois Democrat, John Wentworth, introduce a similar remonstrance among his fellow Representatives. It does not seem that William attached his name to the document -- perhaps the House was best not reminded of Wentworth's previous political support for the Nauvoo Mormons, and his ties to William's late brother, Joseph Smith, Jr. The identities of "A. Morgan and Thomas Hunt" remain unknown; they may have been William's gentile neighbors in Lee Co., Illinois. On May 4, 1850, William's former follower, Isaac Sheen, wrote a letter to the Hon. R. H. Stanton, (published May 17, 1850) stating: "I have been credibly informed that to the memorial which William Smith sent from Illinois he attached the names of persons who never authorized him to do so."

Note 2: Among the various newspapers noticing this activity in the House by Mr. Wentworth, was the Warsaw Signal of Mar. 30, 1850. There the editor guesses, "The petitioners represent themselves to be Mormons residing in the State of Illinois, and we presume are Strangites belonging to Mr. Wentworth's District." The petitioners "residing in the State of Illinois" were not exactly "Strangites;" rather, they were former Strangites, allied with William Smith at Shelbourne, Lee Co., Illinois. Shelbourne was the western terminus of Palestine Grove, immediately south of what is now Amboy, Illinois. This was the headquarters of William Smith's "Palestine Stake of Zion." In Chapter 5 of his 1901 book on the Mormons, William Alexander Linn provides the following information: "The constitution of Deseret was presented to the House of Representatives by Mr. Boyd, a Kentucky Democrat, on January 28, 1850, and referred to the Committee on Territories. On July [sic] 25, John Wentworth, an Illinois Democrat, presented a petition from citizens of Lee County, in his state, asking Congress to protect the rights of American citizens passing through the Salt Lake Valley, and charging on the organizers of the State of Deseret treason, a desire for a kingly government, murder, robbery, and polygamy." According to the Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Wentworth's presentation was made on February 25, 1850 -- the relevant entry for that date reads: "Mr. Wentworth presented the petition of Thomas Hunt and other citizens of the State of Illinois, praying Congress to protect the rights of American citizens while trading through the valley of the Salt Lake, and setting forth other matters concerning the treasonable designs of the Salt Lake Mormons. On motion of Mr. Wentworth, the said petition was read. Mr. Wentworth moved that the petition be referred to the Committee on Military Affairs. And debate arising thereon, the petition was laid upon the table under the rule." See Feb. 26, 1850 issue of the Washington D. C. Congressional Globe for further information on this petition.

Note 3: According to the Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, on July 19, 1850, "Mr. Robert M. McLane reported that the... Committee of Elections, to whom were referred the credentials of Almon W. Babbitt, esq., and his memorial, praying to be admitted to a seat in the House as a delegate from the provisional State of Deseret, together with the resolution reported by the said committee, had come to no resolution thereon." The issue for July 20, 1850 records that John Wentworth voted against tabling the resolution to admit Almon W. Babbitt, Esq., as the "delegate from the alleged State of Deseret."



Vol. IV.                        Trenton, N. J., Wednesday, March 13, 1850.                        No. 972.

THE MORMONS OF DESERET OR SALT LAKE: -- The brother and successor of Joseph Smith has published the following letter:

I am in possession of proofs to show that bands of Salt Lake Mormons, clothed and armed as Indians, and in perfect disguise, with their bodies and faces painted like Indians, have taken positions on the high road from Oregon and California, in order to plunder the companies of emigrants. Many murders and robberies have already been committed by these devils in human shape, which are all published to the world as if committed by Indians.

The Mormon church on Salt Lake is under the government of a secret lodge. In this lodge Brigham Young has been crowned as king, and sits there upon a throne erected for him.   (Signed,)
                                  WILLIAM SMITH.

Note: The above item was reprinted from a notice in the Feb., 1850 issue of William Smith's church newspaper.


31st Congress - 1st Session.                      Fri., Mar. 15, 1850.                      XXI (N. S. No. 33).


Thursday, March 14, 1850


Mr. Underwood. I also have a petition from the President, I believe he styles himself, of the Mormon Church of Latter-day Saints, together with the twelve apostles. They present very grievous complaints against their brethren of Deseret, and charge that the Mormons about Council Bluffs, who have possession of that region of the district, and control the post-office, obstruct the free circulation of information through their papers, by which they are prevented from enlightening that sect, and spreading useful information among them. They wish the interposition of Congress, and particularly the Post-Office Department, and that free information may be circulated among their brethren. (The petition was sent to the Secretary's desk.) It is a petition from Isaac Sheen, who represents himself as a first counsellor to the prophet, Wm. Smith, and president of the Aaronic priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, together with two apostles and some twelve high-priests, urging very grave complaints against their brother Mormons, whom they designate as the Salt Lake Mormon banditti. These people set forth that Council Bluffs is principally settled by Salt Lake Mormons, who are governed in political as well as spiritual affairs by the secret lodge of fifty men, that also rules the Salt Lake territory, and by Brigham Young, their governor, president, prophet, seer, revelator, and inquisitorial chief. They assert that these people obstruct the receipt of the religious newspaper called the "Melchisedek and Aaronic Herald," and letters to their friends and relations in that quarter, and implore the protection of Congress from the tyranny, injustice, and political intrigues of the Salt Lake banditti, and insist that the treasonable acts and designs of the Salt Lake combination are sufficient, not only to show the impropriety of admitting Deseret into the Union, but also to convince government that no Salt Lake Mormon should be allowed to hold any office, either at Salt Lake valley or Council Bluffs. They charge them also with having commenced a warfare against the liberty of speech and of the press, and against the religious rights of American citizens who do not acknowledge their supremacy.

The memorial was referred to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads.

Note 1: The petition above paraphrased has apparently not survived. Unlike the previous petition from the Smithite church at Covington, its full text has not survived. See the Mar. 22, 1850 issue of the Gettysburg Star and Banner for a typical reprint of the summary, as it appeared in the popular press of that time.

Note 2: The "petition from Isaac Sheen" mentioned above was an entirely separate document from the memorial William Smith and Isaac Sheen previously presented to Congress and to the President of the United States. This second petition, requesting that no Mormon hold the position of Post-Master at Council Bluffs, etc., was sent to Washington, D. C. at about the same time as the Smith-Sheen document, but the second petition was submitted under Sheen's name alone, and mentioned William Smith only in passing. Here is how H. H. Bancroft described the situation in his 1889 book: On Dec. 31st, Joseph R. Underwood of Kentucky presented a memorial from William Smith and Isaac Sheen -- the former a brother of the prophet -- representing themselves to be the legitimate presidents of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints, and from twelve members of that church... The memorial was referred to the committee on territories. Cong. Globe, 1849-50, xxi. 92. A second memorial from the same parties was presented to Mr. Underwood on March 14, 1850, preferring grievous complaints against the people of Deseret, and stating that the Mormons around Council Bluffs controlled the post-office in that district and obstructed the free circulation of newspapers. It was referred to the committee on post-offices and post-roads. Ibid., 524."

Note 3: As an anti-slavery editor, Isaac Sheen evidently developed a special interest in the problem of non-delivery of the federal mails by parties who disagreed with the purpose of certain publications sent out though the postal system. Sheen himself had served as a mail-carrier (or "papers-carrier") and understood the serious consequences of anyone's tampering with the post. Beyond that, Sheen was probably able to gather first-hand accounts of postal irregularities in western Iowa from his brother-in-law, the Hon. Almon W. Babbitt, who was then in the process of establishing a newspaper at Council Bluffs. The Council Bluffs Frontier Guardian of June 13, 1851 mentions this newspaper, The Bugle, in these words: "Our readers will recollect that this is the paper he [Babbitt] brought to Kanesville, to start in opposition to us [Orson Hyde and Whig-affliated Mormons]..."


Vol. ?                           Washington, D. C., Saturday, March 16, 1850.                           No. ?


Mr. Underwood. I have also a petition from the President, I believe he styles himself, of the Mormon Church of Latter-day Saints, together with the twelve apostles. They present very grievous complaints against their brethren of Deseret, and charge that the Mormons about Council Bluffs, who have possession of that region of district, and; control the post-office, obstruct the free circulation of information through theirpapers, by which they are prevented from enlightening that sect, and spreading useful information among them. They wish the interposition of Congress, and particularly the Post-Office Department, and that free information may be circulated among their brethren. (The petition was sent to the Secretary's desk.) It is a petition from Isaac Sheen, who represents himself as first counsellor to the prophet, Wm. Smith, and president of the Aaronic priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, together with two apostles and some twelve high-priests, urging very grave complaints against their brother Mormons, whom they designate as the Salt-Lake Mormon banditti. These people set forth that Council Bluffs is principally settled by Salt-Lake Mormons, who are governed in political as well as spiritual affairs by the secret lodge of fifty men, that also rules the Salt Lake territory, and by Brigham Young, their governor, president, prophet, seer, revelator, and inquisitorial chief. They assert that these people obstruct the receipt of the religious newspaper called the "Melchisedek and Aaronic Herald" and letters to their friends and relations in that quarter, and irtfplore the protection of Congress from the tyranny, injustice, and political intrigues of the Salt- Lake banditti, and insist that the treasonable acts and designs of the Salt-Lake combination are sufficient, not only to show the impropriety of admitting Deseret into the Union, but also to convince the Government that no Salt-Lake Mormon should be allowed to hold any office, either at the Salt-Lake valley or Council Bluffs. They charge them also with having commenced a warfare against the liberty of speech and of the press, and against the religious rights of American citizens who do not acknowledge their supremacy.

The memorial was referred to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads. ...

Note: This is a reprint from the Congressional Globe of the previous day. Isaac Sheen's religious association with William Smith did not survive long past this period -- see notes appended to the Covington Daily Union of June 5, 1850


Vol. ?                            Washington, D. C., May 17, 1850.                            No. ?

The Mormons.

To the Editors of the Union:
  I shall consider myself under particular obligations to you, if you will have the goodness to give a conspicuous place in the Union to the note, of the Hon. Richard H. Stanton, of the House of Representatives, and of the Hon. Joseph R. Underwood, of the United States Senate, and to the accompanying extracts of a letter from Mr. Isaac Sheen, of Kentucky.     Respectfully yours,
                                           JOHN M. BERNHISEL.
Washington, May 16, 1850.

                            House of Representatives, May 14, 1850.
Sir: It is proper I should submit to you the enclosed letter from Mr. Isaac Sheen, one of the signers of a petition which I presented to the House at an early part of the present session, remonstrating against the admission of Deseret into the Union, and charging the Mormon population of that Territory with immorality, treason and other crimes. Mr. Sheen, I presume, desires by this recantation to remove all prejudices against the interests of the people of Deseret which may have been produced by that memorial; and I know of no more effectual means of accomplishing his wishes than by publishing so much of his letter as may be necessary to show his withdrawal of the charges and his reasons for doing so.     With much respect,
                            your obedient servant,
                                  R. H. STANTON.
Dr. J. M. Bernhisel.

                                    May 14, 1850.
Sir: Having seen a letter from the Hon. R. H. Stanton to yourself, in which you propose to publish, containing an extract of a letter written by Isaac Sheen, I deem it [best] to the Mormons in Great Salt Lake Valley to [state] that I have received a letter from Mr. Sheen of the same purport with that addressed by him to Mr. Stanton. You are authorized to publish this statement, should you think proper to do so.     Yours respectfully,
                            Your obedient servant,
                                  J. R. UNDERWOOD.
Dr. J. M. Bernhisel.

                              Covington, Kentucky, May 4, 1850.
Dear Sir: About 5 months since a memorial was sent to your address signed by William Smith and several others, to which my name was attached, remonstrating against a State organization for the people of Deseret. Now, sir, permit me to say that although I cannot fellowship the religious doctrines of the people resident there, known as Mormons, yet I have become satisfied that there are many false statements in that memorial, and also in the memorial of Wm. Smith and others from Illinois. It was my firm belief at the time that the representations of William Smith, on which those false statements were based, could be relied on; but I have ascertained that I have been greatly deceived in regard to his veracity. His complaints against the Deseret Mormons are unworthy of any attention. I cannot think of troubling you with a detail of all the disclosures which have been made concerning the hypocrisy, licentiousness, treachery, deceit, slanders, and lies of William Smith. *  *  *  I find that his accusations against the Deseret Mormons are the ebulitions of a malicious heart, and have been made by him to divert attention from his own outrageous villainy and licentiousness. I have been credibly informed that to the memorial which William Smith sent from Illinois he attached the names of persons who never authorized him to do so.     I have the honor of being
                            Your obedient servant,
                                  ISAAC SHEEN.
Hon. R. H. Stanton, Washington, D. C.

Note 1: The above text is copied from its reprint in the June 26, 1850 issue of the Frontier Guardian. Editor Orson Hyde must have been overjoyed to receive the news that William Smith and Isaac Sheen had parted ways, after the disastrous Smithite church conference which was held at Covington during the first week of April, 1850. It is unclear whether Smith ever made it to Covington to participate in the conference, and the precise details of what transpired between those two men at that time have never been published, but Orson Hyde insinuated that William had inserted his debauched "corruption" into Elder Sheen's "domestic circle" in a seduction or molestation "too near his own home" for Sheen's comfort. In less Victorian language, President William Smith was being charged with a sexual indelicacy, perpetrated upon a member of the Sheen household in Covington -- probably with Drucilla Babbitt Sheen, the Elder's wife. The telling statement from Isaac Sheen, is that William "claims that he has authority from God to raise up posterity from other men's wives, and says it will exalt them and their husbands in the eternal world." This sounds very much like the words Sheen had published in the Cincinnati Daily Commercial on May 22, 1850, that William Smith was a "hypocritical libertine," who, though he "has professed the greatest hostility to the plurality wife doctrine... on the 18th [of April]... told me that he had a right to raise up posterity from other men's wives. He said it would be an honor... and that they would thereby be exalted to a high degree of glory in eternity.... He offered me his wife on the same terms that he claimed a partnership in other men's wives." Sheen is not explicit in his letter, as to whether William Smith's legal wife, Roxie Ann Grant Smith, was ever present in Covington, to participate in such a holy wife-swapping program -- probably she was not. The most straightforward interpretation of Sheen's remarks is that he caught William Smith in the initial stages of a seduction (or learned of an earlier, consummated seduction) with Mrs. Drucilla Babbitt Sheen, and that Smith offered Sheen similar intimate access to the person of Mrs. Roxie Ann Grant Smith, as a sort of celestial compensation. Three years later, William Smith would accuse Roxie of having been a Nauvoo initiate into "'seven degrees' in spiritual wifery," implying that the lady was a sort of John C. Bennet-style "sacred Cyprian." Prior to marrying Roxie, William Smith divorced a previous Mormon wife, in Illinois, on the complaint that she functioned as a "common prostitute."

Note 2: Apostle Hyde had sense enough, not to speculate in print, just how William Smith came to hold such unorthodox "religious" views on relations between the sexes. Given the fact that William's elder brother had once carried on an intimate, Priesthood-sanctioned relationship with Hyde's own wife, perhaps the LDS Apostle decided that the less said of such "sacred things" in public, the better. Roxie Ann Grant Smith's LDS brother was less reticent to relate such bygone adulterous amours in public; see his remarks of Feb. 19, 1854: If Joseph had a right to dictate me in relation to salvation, in relation to a hereafter, he had a right to dictate me in relation to all my earthly affairs... What would a man of God say, who felt aright, when Joseph... came and said, 'I want your wife?' 'O yes,' he would say, 'here she is; there are plenty more.' ... Did the Prophet Joseph want every man's wife he asked for? He did not, but in that thing was the grand thread of the Priesthood developed."

Note 3: It is difficult to believe that Elder Isaac Sheen suddenly felt morally compelled to renounce his previous accusations against the Utah Mormons, just because he had renounced William Smith and his church. True enough, Sheen could no longer hope to hold the moral high ground, in publicized denunciations of Brighamite spiritual wifery, secret combinations, and treasonable intentions -- but he might have at least stood his previous position in regard to Brigham's usurpation of power and to Mormon tampering with the mails in and around Council Bluffs. Sheen reportedly received a $1000 payment (in gold?) from his Utah Mormon brother-in-law, Elder Almon W. Babbit, just prior to his May, 1850 letter writing project. The modern reader might be forgiven for wondering aloud whether this Pillar of the Reorganization might not have lined his own pockets at the Smith family's expense, ten years before he nominated Joseph Smith III to be the first RLDS President, at the Amboy Conference.


G. Bailey, Editor and Proprietor;     John G. Whittier, Corresponding Editor.
Vol. IV.                         Washington, Thursday, August 15, 1850.                           No. 33.


Between four and five thousand feet above the ocean level, on the eastern rim of the Great Basin, in whose unexplored deserts the waters of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada of California are lost, and island salt sea stretches northwesterly from latitude 40 degrees to 42 degrees, and between 112 degrees and 114 degrees of longitude. Up to the year 1843, little was really known of this vast body of water, its shapes and tributaries, as the accounts given by half-breed hunters and wandering Indians, in their visits to Fort Hall abd other trading posts on the route from Missouri to Oregon, had been as vague and unsatisfactory as they were marvelous.

It was reserved for the adventurous Fremont to explore, with something like scientific accuracy, these strange regions. Follwing the windings of the Bear River -- its principal tributary -- through a wild maze of Mountains, of the vast Utah Range, on a gusty September morning he looked down upon the great object of his toilsome exploration, the Sea of the mountains. Checkered with the shadows of clouds, broken here and there by rocky islands and mountain headlands, it stretched westerly beyond the limit of vision. The annals of modern discovery have nothing of more exciting interest than the partial exploration of this unknown sea, by the young adventurer and his companions, in a frail and ill-constructed boat of India-rubber cloth. The Indians whom they encountered had never launched a canoe upon the lake, and, as it had no apparant outlet, they imagined there was a great whirlpool in its midst, which swallowed up its surplus waters. Our travellers were the first to visit its mysterious islands, and break with the cheerful sound of human voices its long solitude and silence

      "They were the first that ever burst
     into that silent sea."

The lateness of the season rendered the stay of Fremont brief, and his explorations imperfect. After spending a night on an island in the Lake, listening to the roar of the salt-surf beating on the rocks, and making two or three days' marches along its marshy borders, and having settled its latitude and longitude, and taken some notice of the characteristics of the soil and vegetation of the valley in which it lies, he left, regretfully, this strange and interesting region, to pursue his journey to California, along the skirts of the Great Basin, and across the Snowy Sierra. For two or three years, nothing further was known of the Great Salt Lake.

In the mean time, the Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, as they love to call themselves, had been expelled by mob violence from Illinois. A city of some twenty-thousand inhabitants was left untenanted; and square miles of ripened grain were abandoned to the sun and rains of autumn and the snows of winter. The wretched exiles had little leisure for preparation for their long, uncertain journey into the wilderness in search of a new home, out of the reach of civilized inhumanity. Bearing with them their aged and infirm, their sick and dying, they passed in mournful processions through the streets of Nauvoo, and through their corn fields and orchards, the fruit of which they could no longer gather. Pausing on the swell of the last wave of prairie from whence the gilded spire of the great Temple was visible, they bade farewell forever to their homes, hearths, and altars, and then set their faces resolutely towards the setting sun:

      "Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon
     The world was all before them, where to choose
     Their place of rest, and Providence their guide."

The last sad cavalcade left Nauvoo in the autumn of 1846. It had been preceded by several others, who had engaged to prepare the way for those who should come after. Delayed by sickness and want of the necessary vehicles and tems for their journey, and desirous to unite the numerous camps of exiles, scattered from the Mississippi to the Missouri, the early summer of 1846 found the pioneer encampment at Council Bluffs, near the Pottawattomie Indian agency.

On the hills of the "High Prairie," which here crowd upon the river, and on the broad alluvial flats below them, the tents of the modern Israel were pitched. A traveller, Thomas L. Kane, Esq., of Philadelphia, from whose graphic and brilliant "Discourse before the Pennsylvania Historical Society" we have derived many of the materials of this sketch, has described their appearance as he first reached them, on a bright June morning. Each hill was crowned with its great camp. white with canvass, and alive with the stir of swarming occupants. The smoke of a thousand cooking fires streamed lazily upwards. Herd-boys were dozing on the slopes, with sheep and oxen, cows and horses, around them, numbering many thousands. Children, almost as numerous, were playing about the camps. Women were washing clothes along a little creek; blacksmiths, tailors, and shoemakers, were busy in the open air, or under the shade of tents. Great arbors made of poles and brush, and wattled with willow and birch, served them for places of religious worship and halls of council. It was here that the famous Mormon battalion for the Mexican war was recruited. On the eve of its departure, a farewell ball was got up in primitive style, under the shelter of the largest arbor. Grave Elders and Chiefs of the High Council led off the dance, which was kept up with great animation until the sun had dipped behind the sharp outline of the Omaha hills. "Then," says the writer to whom we have referred, "silence was called, and a well-cultivated mezzo-soprano voice, belonging to a young lady with a fair face and dark eyes, gave, with quartette accompaniment, a little song, a version of a text touching to all earthly wanderers:

      "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept;
     We wept when we remembered Zion!"

There was danger of some expression of feeling when the song was over, for it had begun to draw tears; but, breaking the quiet with his hard voice, an Elder dismissed the gathering, and asked Heaven to bless all who, with purity of heart and brotherhood of feeling, had mingled in that society." After the departure of the battalion, the exiles moved on, organized in companies of tens, fifties, and hundreds, all under the direction of the High Council of the Church. Upon the rich but unhealthy delta between the Nebraska and Missouri, they again pitched their tents, and waited for the straggling emigrants of their faith to overtake them. Decimated by sickness, the winter found them still in the border regions of Missouri and Iowa, where, divided into several encampments, they were enabled to sustain themselves and a considerable portion of their cattle. Early in the spring of 1847, a body of one hundred and forty picked men, with seventy wagons, started, under the direction of the members of the High Council, in search of a favorable location for a permanent settlement. They carried with them little save seed and farming tools, it being their aim to plant crops at the place selected. Crossing the South Pass, they struggled through the defiles and over the spurs of the Rocky Mountains, forcing their way over the Utah range, sometimes creeping along the stony bed of torrents, and sometimes cutting their way through heavy timber. At length, in midsummer, they reached the valley of the Great Salt Lake. The High Council, after a careful survey of the country, decided that the Land of Promise had at last been reached, and that the Tabernacles of the Mormon Israel should be set up. Late as was the season, roots and seeds were planted, from which a partial harvest was obtained. They were soon joined by other detachments from the main body, and also by a part of the Mormon Battalion from California. They sowed large fields of grain for the next season, bult themselves houses of sun-dried brick, fortifying themselves with walls and block-houses, and safely passed the winter of 1847-'8. In the course of the next year, the residue of the Nauvoo emigrants reached the valley, loaded with grain raised on the plains of their encampments on the Missouri and Nebraska. A detailed history of this remarkable Exodus would exhibit in strange alliance the shifty enterprise, practical energy, and shrewd calculation of modern utilitarianism, and the undoubting faith of the middle ages, unshaken by manifest inconsistency or detected imposture; the enthusiasm of the old Crusaders and the fanaticism of Musselman propagandists; an old oriental drama acted over in the New World, by men and women of Yankee origin, united in devout belief in a prophet-martyr who could only be properly characterized as a cross between Sam Slick and the Mokanna of Khorassin. It would do more than this. It would contain the record of a persecution as cruel and remorseless as that which hunted the Huguenots from France, and the Jews from Spain, endured, for the most part, with a patient firmness and heroic persistence, under circumstances of suffering and danger, which go far to reconcile liberal and generous minds to those absurdities or novelties or worship and faith, which were made the excuse of a new Christian crusade on the part of the blackleg and nomadic rascality of the Mississippi valley. In the language of the author of the "Discourse" before us, it would tell of "a people whose industry had made them rich, expelled by lawless force from the comforts and luxuries of refined life, into the Great Wilderness, seeking an untried home, far away from the scenes which their previous life had endeared them, moving onward, destitute, hunger-sickened, and sinking with disease, bearing with them wives and children, the old, the poor, the decrepid; renewing daily on their march the offices of devotion, the ties of family, and friendship, and charity; sharing necessities and braving dangers together, cheerful in the midst of want and trial -- of men who, menaced by famine, and in the midst of pestilence, with every energy taxed by the urgency of the hour, were building roads and bridges, laying out villages, and planting corn-fields, for the benefit of the stranger who might come after them, their kinsmen only by a common humanity, or, peradventure, by common suffering -- of men who have renewed their prosperity in the homes they have founded in the desert; and who, in their new-built city, walled round by mountains like a fortress, are extending pious hospitalities to the destitute emigrants from our frontier States."

As yet we can scarcely form an accurate idea of the geographical peculiarities of the new Territory. We only know that, hemmed in by successive chains of rugged mountains, and by vast unexplored deserts, it combines within its limits the most inconsistent characteristics of other countries. The climate of its mountains is more severe than that of Switzerland; descending towards the great valley, the varied climates of Italy are successively encountered. Barren salt wastes -- desolate and unsightly as the shores of the Dead Sea -- alternate with valleys of extraordinary fertility and beauty. Streams strongly impregnated with salt flow down from the mountains in close proximity with others of the purest and sweetest water. Hot springs, and ice-cold ones, are found in the same neighborhood. The resources of the country, in an agricultural point of view, were not overlooked by its first explorer. "The bottoms," says Fremont, "are extensive, the water excellent, timber sufficient, the soil good, and well adapted to the grains and grasses of an elevated region. The lake furnishes abundant supplies of salt. All the mountain sides are covered with a valuable and nutritious grass, called bunch grass, which has a second growth in the fall; its quantity will sustain any amount of cattle, and make this truly a bucolic region." On some of the best lands it appears that irrigation is necessary to secure the full advantages of the rich virgin soil. Fifty bushels of wheat may thus be raised to the acre, and in the present price current of the country, it is $4 the bushel. Promimity to the gold region secures a ready and sure market for all kinds of provisions.

The City of Salt Lake, if we may credit the statements of recent travellers, now numbers from 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants. The houses are of sun brick, generally of one story, with gardens, distributed over an area as great as that of New York, and surrounded by square miles of wheat fields. There are several other settlements, extending forty miles north and two hundred miles south of the great city.

"It is to these homes," says the author of the Discourse, "in the heart of our American Alps, like the holy people of St. Bernard, they hold out their welcome to the passing traveller. Some of you have doubtless seen in the St. Louis papers the reported votes of thanks to them of companies of emigrants to California. These are often reduced to great straits after passing Fort Laramie, and turn aside to seek the Salt Lake colony, in pitiable plight of fatigue and destitution." The route from the Oregon road to the Salt Lake is one of great difficulty, over mountains, and through deep and narrow ravines. The poor struggling emigrant at length comes abruptly out of the dark pass into the lighted valley of the Mormons, on a level terrace of its high table land. "No wonder if he loses his self-control here. A ravishing panoramic landscape opens out below him, blue, green, and gold, and pearl; a great sea of grassy plain, all set as in a silver-chased cup, within mountains whose peaks of perpetual snow are burnished by a dazzling sun. It is less these, however, than the foreground of the old country farms, with their stacks, thatchings, and stock, and the central city, swarming with its working inhabitants, and smoking from its chimneys, that tries the men of fatigue-broken nerves. The Californians scream, they sing, they give three cheers, and do not count them, a few pray and more swear, some fall on their faces and cry outright."

Several hundred emigrants, in more or less distress, have, during the past year, received gratuitous relief from the Mormons, whose indomitable industry has enabled them to exercise to the fullest extent the rites of hospitality. They boast that they have no loafers, idle gentlemen, or vagabonds. Their glorious valley must be the grand central station of the future railroad which is to unite the two oceans, and to open to us the golden stream of oriental traffic by the way of California. The peculiarity of their religious faith and customs may have the effect to divert from them some of the emigration which would otherwise flow towards so inviting a region; but even this cannot essentially retard their growth. Fifty thousand of their order in Great Britain are already preparing to join them. They have shrewd, intelligent men at the head of affairs, and are evidently losing a great deal of the fanaticism of their early time. They have a regularly organized Government, and all accounts agree in representing them as an orderly and peaceful people. The author of the "Discourse" before us, denies emphatically the charges which have been preferred against their habitual purity of life, integrity of dealing, their toleration of religious differences, their regard for law, and their devotion to constitutional government.

In the dispute now going on in respect to New Mexico and California, the Territory of Utah has been measurably forgotten. But its importance cannot be overlooked much longer. Slavery has already, like the serpent of old, stolen into the Garden of the Mountains. Senator Seward, in his late speech, stated that he had positive information that slaves are now held in Utah. Hon. P. R. Thurston, the delegate from Oregon, in his late letter to a member of the Massachusetts delegation, gives it as his opinion, that the working of slaves in Utah, under the existing circumstances of a great and increasing demand for labor, and the probability of the discovery of valuable mines, would be profitable to the masters. He is well acquainted with the country, and sees no Providential enactment of the Wilmot Proviso in its soil, climate, or "Asiatic formation." Here, them should New Mexico and California take their places in the Union, with their respective Constitutions and boundaries, the contest will be renewed. The policy of the inhabitants, thus far, has been to blink [at] the subject of slavery, hoping thereby to propitiate the Southern propaganda. How far this policy has been successful, may be seen in the unceremonious rejection of their delegate, by a more decisive vote than that which denied a seat to the delegate from New Mexico, although the latter made no secret of his hostility to the institution of slavery, and although the anti-slavery Constitution of his constituents was on the desk of Congress, and the question of his admission was complicated with the claim of Texas. This timid, indecisive policy on the part of Utah, while it has failed to secure the favor of the South, has awakened suspicion and doubt on the part of the North. no possible good can come of it. Let Utah take her stand by the side of California and New Mexico as a free State, and, like them, present herself at the door of the Union with the Declaration of Independence embodied in her Constitution. This will settle the question more effectually than twenty compromise bills. It would not be possible for the ultra slave faction to resist the united will of the inhabitants of the entire acquisition from Mexico. The three-fold cord could not be broken. Besides, it becomes the people of Utah to consider that, in their peculiar circumstances, the religious faith for the quiet enjoyment of which they have made so many sacrifices will be justly held responsible for their action in this matter. Toleration of slavery will not be likely to facilitate the popular recognition of their claim as Saints of the Latter Day. The condition of many of the older sects in this country, rent and divided on the question of slavery, should be an effectual warning to them to meet the evil at the outset, and exclude forever from their community an element of perpetual contest and disturbance. The time for action has fully come. A decision between freedom and slavery is pressed upon them. God grant that it may be made in accordance with sound policy and the claims of humanity.   J. G. W.

Note: See also John Greenleaf Whittier's 1847 article, "A Mormon Conventicle," in which he says of Joseph Smith and the Mormons: "They speak a language of hope and promise to weak, weary hearts, tossed and troubled, who have wandered from sect to sect, seeking in vain for the primal manifestation of the divine power."


G. Bailey, Editor and Proprietor;     John G. Whittier, Corresponding Editor.
Vol. IV.                         Washington, Thursday, September 26, 1850.                           No. 39.

For the National Era.


Dr. Bailey: Under this caption in the National Era of August 15th, I notice an article over the signature of "J. G. W." In that article our esteemed Quaker friend has expressed his sympathies for the unfortunate and oppressed. This is characteristic of him, and I rejoice he so often manifests his good feelings for the sin-cursed race of man. There is but one Being whose sympathies are true and righteous, and who, in their exercise, will not cover the faults of the oppressed, nor unjustly condemn the instrument of oppression. Our friend "J. G. W." is not infallible, neither is he, I perceive, fully acquainted with the subject of which he treats. He has not held his residence in Jackson and the surrounding counties of Missouri, nor in Hancock and surrounding counties in Illinois. Had he been a neighbor to the Mormons in those States, I doubt not his sense of justice would have dictated a different conclusion, regarding some of the facts connected with their unhappy expulsion from those two States. The writer has been in the State of Illinois near twenty years, and his residence has been adjacent to the Mormon difficulties, and he may be as well qualified to judge of the right and wrong of the matter as our esteemed Massachusetts friend, and lest no one else, more accustomed to writing for the public should feel disposed to correct a few mistakes in the article alluded to, I attempt to do it in my plain and homely way.

When the expulsion from Missouri occurred, in the winter of 1838-39, affidavits concerning the affair were "given before the civil authorities of Missouri, and filed, and forwarded, and published by the Senate of the United States. The sympathies of Illinois were elicited on the occasion, and as the fugitives fled across the Mississippi to our State, they were met by the hospitalities of the people, and sheltered, and fed, and clothed. A large number arrived opposite Quincy in February and March, when the ice in the river was running so fast they were obliged to encamp in the open woods, without clothes or shelter. The citizens of Quincy, to the honor of themselves, of civilization and humanity, expressed their abhorrence and detestation of the principles of the authors of their calamity and entered on a course of vigorous and systematic efforts to relieve their necessities, and provide for their future wants. As a community, we felt that they had been outraged in our sister State, and they were welcome to our borders. Had they taken up their abode among us, like other emigrants, they would now, doubtless, be enjoying our privileges in common with others, but this was not according to the genius of Mormonism. Their famous leader Joe Smith, stuck a stake at Nauvoo, and there gathered his followers. He, as is well known, had full control over their consciences, and regulated all their religious and political acts. Party spirit was a powerful engine at the time among our public men. The vote of the Mormons would weigh heavily in one or the other of the scales of political strife, and, of course, each was anxious to conciliate those who perhaps held or would hold the balance of power. Joe Smith applied to our Legislature for sundry charters, all of which he obtained without modification. Some of them were of an extraordinary character for a sober, judicious legislative body to grant. One "incorporated their city with peculiar privileges," another incorporated a standing army, under the name of the Nauvoo Legion, a third was for a company to build a temple worth $100,000, a fourth for a company to build a tavern house of the same value, another for a university and a sixth for a manufactoring company. These privileges, thus granted, placed them above all other communities in the State and the writer of this article, on learning how much the Legislature had granted them, made the remark to his friends, as early as 1841, "These charters will end in bloodshed!"

As they gathered from various points in the Union, and from England even, to this favored city, they soon obtained ascendancy over the older inhabitants of the county, and controlled the election of all county officers. Every man in office was a Mormon or a Mormon tool. Now, had any other religious sect assumed the same amount of political power, the community would have regarded them with a suspicious eye and why should they not them? Would that this had been all! Would that their "officers had been peace, and their exactors righteousness." They had been, still, the happy possessors of their beautiful city. But the inhabitants of Hancock county soon found, to their sorrow, that the same complaints, made against these same people as, and in which was the ostensible reason for their expulsion from Missouri, were still chargeable on them. Their prophet and their leaders taught them that they were the Lord's people, that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof," and that it all belonged to them. At least, there was a sufficient number among them to act on that principle, and depredation upon depredation followed upon the property of the citizens, till none held his rights secure. Their cattle and their swine would disappear from their prairies, and their bee-hives and their tools from their out-houses. Nothing was safe. If any were prosecuted on proof sufficient to convict in a court of justice, they had the sheriff, the justices, the constables, and the juries, and no conviction could be obtained.

Such was the condition of Hancock county, and that county was not the only sufferer. The Lord's people did not confine themselves to Nauvoo, or Hancock county. They were scattered abroad among us, and we had all come to feel the we could place no confidence in a Mormon. He would be a good neighbor, and deal fairly, till he had you in his grasp, then you were bitten, and the Mormon was in Nauvoo -- verily, the "city of refuge!" Such has been the experience of hundreds, not inhabitants of Hancock county. And what could the old settlers of that county do? They could take the remains of their personal property, and migrate to other parts in penury and distress. Their farms they could not sell but to Mormons, and at their own price. They were in a desperate case. And since they could not get redress at law, they took the case into their own hands. They rose in their might, and determined to defend their property and their homes. And who were they? As respectable a community as in any other county in the State, and I hope our friend here does not think we are all "the blackleg and nomadic rascality of the Mississippi valley," for such are his own words. No, sir, as good men as society affords rose, as our ancestors rose in the Revolutionary struggle, to defend the rights that they could not otherwise retain. Nor could they have contended successfully, had not the friends of order and peace from surrounding counties volunteered for their assistance. It was a common cause. And for any to assert or insinuate that the Mormons were persecuted here for their religion, is a gross, though it may be an ignorant slander unless lawlessness, robbery, and the spiritual wife system, are the religion of the sect. These were "those absurdities or novelities of worship and faith, which were made the excuse of a new Christian crusade on the part of the blackleg and nomadic rascality of the Mississippi valley."

Our friend quotes from a "brilliant discourse before the Pennsylvania Historical Society," and says he derives "many of the materials of his sketch" from it. If such is the character of History, I, for one, can put no trust in its records. Our friend again says, "the author of the Discourse before us denies emphatically the charges which have been preferred against their habitual purity of life, integrity of dealing, * * * their regard for law and their devotion to constitutional government." His denial will not blind the eyes of ten thousand witnesses to the existence of facts, proving the contrary. We have those in our families who left Nauvoo, and father and mother and friends, and cast themselves upon strangers, rather than be subject to insults from those of high standing in the church! Purity? We feel that a poison has been spread around us, that to this day rankles and festers among our population!

But the Mormons suffered -- yes, extremely. The expulsion was cruel in its effects on individuals. It is so in all the dispensations of Providence. The innocent suffer with the guilty. But we are not charged with plundering them. They were permitted to take all they had, and the sympathies of the people, that responded amen to their departure, sent clothing and provisions and medicine to the destitute and sick, and the little city of Quincy, a near neighbor to Hancock, while they in public meeting felt constrained to guard against an access of population from their sister city, Nauvoo, made up a contribution of some five to seven hundred dollars, to help them on their pilgrimage. Probably no county in the State of Illinois would have dealt more mercifully with them than did the county that determined on their expulsion. That every act of the expelling power was the most judiciously chosen, or most kindly executed, would indeed be a wonder, in such scenes of excitement. And we need not doubt, that sincere and earnest prayer for their best welfare followed them from the lips of many who had been personally engaged in the "mob violence" that "expelled" them "from Illinois."

The article asserts that "the wretched exiles had little leisure for preparation for their long, uncertain journey," &c. The first campaign against them closed with an agreement with them that they would leave the State as soon as the opening of the next spring would permit, "as soon as the grass grew," and a small military force was left on the ground, to secure peace to both parties. But the spring came, and the summer was passing, and their agreement was not fulfilled, and if "square miles of ripened grain were abandoned," it was when the inhabitants of the county believed they did not intend to leave at all.

Their city was left to the care of a committee of their own responsible men, to dispose of the real estate they had been forced to abandon, as that committee should deem most proper, and they remained months after the "Exodus" of their people.

And now let it be submitted to the judgment of a candid public whether they have claim to the style in the words of our friend, of "the modern Israel," and whether their expulsion, in its moral bearings, would, in his words again, "contain the record of a persecution as cruel and remorseless as that which hunted the Huguenots from France."

He indeed frankly says of them, that as inhabitants of the territory of Utah, "their policy thus far has been to blink the subject of slavery." And again "Toleration of slavery will not be likely to facilitate the recognition of their claim as Saints of the Latter Day." And he may well question whether such would have been the policy of the persecuted Huguenots. Those best acquainted with the Mormons as a people, would not expect, in them, a decisive stand for morals, and the Union may well fear trouble from that Territory, unless Mormonism in its transit from Illinois to Utah has become regenerated. Had our friend only expressed his favorable opinions of that people and thrown no shade on the fair name of an injured and outraged community the foregoing defence would not have been needed, but doubtless he desires justice to all, and a fair investigation of the history of that people would correct many false views of them, and of others.
Yours, for truth and justice,             W.
Adams County, Illinois, August 21, 1850.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. IV.                           Trenton, N. J., Wednesday, Oct. 9, 1850.                           No. ?


(under construction)


Note: The above item is copied from the Manchester, England Examiner, and tells of a disturbance at a Mormon meeting, etc.



Vol. IV.                           Trenton, N. J., Friday, Nov. 29, 1850.                           No. ?


We yesterday had an interesting interview with one of the Saints, fresh from Beaver Island, by the name of R. F. Mills, from whom we gathered many particulars respecting the condition and prospects of this peculiar people. Mr. Strang has been imprisoned four times, but has each time got clear, on some technical informality. When asked if the authorities did not collude with Strang, for the sake of getting the Mormon vote, he said, he guessed there was some wire-pulling. The District Attorney made strenuous efforts to clear him, and the Saints voted the Democratic ticket. Strung has two wives, -- his first, about his own age, say 35, -- his last, married last summer, 17 years old. The Prophet had an eye to the beautiful and sensible, in choosing her.

Mr. Mills lived a year with a Mr. Cheeseman, who had three wives -- one old, and two young ones; all have separate beds -- the younger have one child each, the oldest has four or five. Mr. Cheeseman has had two more wives, but one bolted, and the other poisoned herself.

Mr. Mills says, it is generally supposed that families composed of a plurality of wives live peaceably and happily, but that it causes bickerings, heart-burnings, and continual strife. He says there is a division of sentiment among them in regard to the practice, the women advocating it as strongly as the men; that a year ago they were about equally divided in regard to it, but that the tide of public sentiment is setting strong against it, and that this change of sentiment against polygamy, is owing to discussion, and the practical developements of the system. He thinks it might be defended from the old Testament, but that strict morality forbids it -- that it makes men, tyrants, and women, brutes, and that very few of the saints practice it.

They number about 400, are generally poor, but most of them industrious. Their tabernacle progresses slowly. Adams, who, for ambitious purposes of his own, got Strang proclaimed king the 5th of last July, has fled to Mackinaw, where he is now conducting a theatre. Strang's authority is now undisputed in that region, and every thing indicates the continuance of his reign.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                 Washington: September 15, 1851.                                 No. ?


(read article in context in D.C. paper)

notes: (forthcoming)


32nd Congress - 1st Session.                         Sun., Nov. 16, 1851.                         Appendix (XXV)

Published in the Washington Union of Nov. 16, 1851


(Great Salt Lake City, September 20, 1851.)

I shall leave for the States on the 1st October, and most gladly will I go, for I am sick and tired of this place -- of the fanaticism of the people, followed by their violence of feeling towards the "Gentiles," as they style all persons not belonging to their Church. I have had a feeling and personal proof of their fanatical intolerance within the last few days. I will give you a cursory view of the circumstances and the scene.

As soon after my arrival here as my illness would permit, I heard from Judge B. and Mr. Secretary H. accounts of the intolerant sentiments of the community towards Government officers and the Government itself, which filled me with surprise. I learned that not only were the officers sent here treated with coolness and disrespect, but that the Government of the United States, on all public occasions, whether festive or religious, was denounced in the most disrespectful terms, and often with invectives of great bitterness. I will mention a few instances. The 24th July is the anniversary of the arrival of the Mormons in this valley. It was on that day of this year that they assembled to commemorate that interesting event. The orator of the day, on that occasion, spoke bitterly of the course of the United States toward the Church of "Latter Day Saints," in taking a battalion of their men from them for the war with Mexico, while on the banks of the Missouri river, in their flight from the mob at Nauvoo. He said the Government of the United States had devised the most wanton, cruel, and dastardly means for the accomplishment of their ruin, overthrow, and utter extermination.

His Excellency Governor Young, on the same occasion, denounced, in the most sacrilegious terms, the memory of the illustrious and lamented General and President of the United States, who has lately gone to the grave, and over whose tomb a nation's tears have scarcely ceased to flow. He exclaimed, "Zachary Taylor -- dead and gone to hell, and I am glad of it!" and his sentiments were echoed by a loud amen from all parts of the assembly. Then, rising in the excess of his passion to his tiptoes, he vociferated, "I prophesy, in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the priesthood that is upon me, that any other President of the United States, who shall lift his finger against this people, will die an untimely death and go to hell." This kind of feeling I found pervading the whole community, in some individuals more marked than in others.

You may remember that I was authorized by the managers of the Washington National Monument Society to say to the people of the Territory of Utah, that they would be pleased to receive from them a block of marble or other stone to be deposited in the monument "as an offering at the shrine of patriotism." I accordingly called on Governor Young and apprised him of the trust committed to my hands, and expressed a desire to address the people upon the subject, when assembled in their greatest number. He replied that on the following Monday the very best opportunity would be presented. Monday came, and I found myself at their Bowery, in the midst of at least three thousand people. I was respectfully and honorably introduced by "His Excellency" to the vast assemblage. I made a speech, though so feeble that I could scarcely stand, and staggered in my debility several times on the platform.

I spoke for two hours, during which time I was favored with the unwavering attention of my audience. Having made some remarks in reference to the judiciary, I presented the subject of the National Monument, and incidentally thereto (as the Mormons supposed) I expressed of the people here from the Government of the United States. I endeavored to show the injustice of their feelings towards the Government, and alluded boldly and feelingly to the sacrilegious remarks of Governor Young towards the memory of the lamented Taylor. I defended, as well as my feeble powers would allow, the name and character of the departed here from the unjust aspersions cast upon them, and remarked that, in the latter part of the assailant's bitter exclamation that he "was glad that General Taylor was in hell," he did not exhibit a Christian spirit, and that if the author did not early repent of the cruel declaration, he would perform that task with keen remorse upon his dying pillow. I then alluded to my nativity; to my citizenship; to my love of country; to my duty to defend my country from unjust aspersions wherever I met them, and trusted that when I failed to defend her, my tongue, then employed in her advocacy and praise, might cling to the roof of my mouth, and that my arm, ever ready to be raised in her defence, might fall palsied at my side. I then told the audience if they could not offer a block of marble in a feeling of full fellowship with the people of the United States' as brethren and fellow-citizens, they had better not offer it at all, but leave it unquarried in the bosom of its native mountain.

At the close of my speech the Governor arose and denounced me and the Government in the most brutal and unmeasured terms.

The ferment created by his remarks was truly fearful. It seemed as if the people (I mean a large portion of them) were ready to spring upon me like hyenas and destroy me. The Governor, while speaking, said that some persons might get their hair pulled or their throats cut on that occasion. His manner was boisterous, passionate, infuriated in the extreme; and if he had not been afraid of final vengeance, he would have pointed his finger at me, and I should in an instant have been a dead man. Ever since then the community has been in a state of intense excitement, and murmurs of personal violence and assassination towards me have been freely uttered by the lower order of the populace. How it will end I do not know. I have just learned that I have been denounced, together with the Government and officers, in the Bowery again today by Governor Young. I hope I shall get off safely. God only knows. I am in the power of a desperate and murderous set. I however feel no great fear. So much for defending my country.

I expect all the officers of the Territory, at least Chief Justice B., Secretary Harris, and Captain Day, Indian Agent, will return with me, to return here no more .

Note 1: The above letter (from Judge Perry A. Brocchus to the U.S. President) was first printed in the Washington, D.C. newspapers. See the New York Herald of Jan. 4, 1852 and the Saint Joseph Gazette of Feb. 4, 1852 for lengthier reports from Judge Brocchus, Judge Lemuel G. Brandenbury, and their fellow "escaping" federal officers.

Note 2: See also "Three letters to the New York Herald, from J. M. Grant."



Vol. IV.                           Trenton, N. J., Oct. 25, Monday, 1852.                           No. 1757.

==> A writer says that the widow of the great Mormon leader, Joe Smith, is married to a tavern-keeper, who keeps his rum-mill in Smith's old residence in Nauvoo; that one-half of the houses built by the Mormons are torn down, and the other half are tenantless; and that out of [the] former 20,000, there are now only about 200 Mormon population left. About 400 French Socialists own a great part of the city, including the ruins of the temple. (Exchange Paper.)

The Cincinnati Atlas adds: "The rum-mill is the same old hotel that Joe Smith kept in his day. For Joe had so many visitors to entertain that found it rather expensive, and opened a large hotel, where in his life time he furnished 'entertainment for man and beast.' After the death his widow, who by the way was never a very devout Mormon, kept the hotel on her 'own hook' till she married her present husband, and handed him over the keys of the establishment. The last time we visited Nauvoo, some time last winter, it was the very picture of desolation. The long table at the hotel had some half a dozen guests seated at it; and as we rambled the deserted streets and gazed upon the tenantless houses and dilapidated temple, we could not but pity the poor infatuated Mormons, who have been persecuted and driven from their homes, not, we are sorry to say, in every case without cause. The site of Nauvoo is the most beautiful on the Mississippi, and had the great Yankee Mahomet and his followers acted more prudently it might be the loveliest and most flourishing city in the Far West, instead of the desolate and deserted place it is at present."

Note: The above article first appeared in the New Yotk Tribune.


Vol. 2.                           Washington, D. C., February, 1854.                           No. 2.


NEW WORK. -- "JOSEPH SMITH THE PROPHET." This is the title of a very interesting work, written by the direction, and under the immediate inspection of the Prophet himself. It is now, for the first time, printed. It contains the genealogy and a brief sketch of his ancestors back for six or seven generations. Several remarkable dreams and visions of his father are related. But what renders the work doubly interesting is the early history of the Prophet, including many remarkable occurrences and important facts, never before published. Copies of this work would be valuable to every lover of truth, and would adorn the libraries of the honest and patriotic descendents [sic] of our pilgrim fathers, who will be pleased to learn that one of the greatest and most renowned Prophets that ever graced our earth, descended from that hardy illustrious race who first peopled the dense forests of New England, and formed the nucleus of a great and independent nation of freemen. We have on hand a few copies, procured from England, printed on superior paper, and bound in the most superior style of morocco, neatly gilted. Price $2; common paper, calf $1 50; Roan, $1.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                               Washington, D. C., March, 1854.                               No. 3.



For the edification of the Saints we will give some explanation concerning certain names in connexion with several revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. By reference to section 76th, it will be perceived that the Lord gave a revelation to "Enoch in relation to a permanent and everlasting establishment and order" for the benefit of the poor. Many of the Saints, unacquainted with the circumstances, have wondered whether thenames "Enoch," "Gazelam," "Ahashdah," "Pelagoram." &c., mentioned in that section, together with those of a similar character mentioned in sections 87, 94, 97, 99, 101, and 102 were really ancient personages and ancient places and things, or those of the present age. All these names have reference to modern persons, places, and things of our day. Indeed when these revelations were first received by the Prophet Joseph, the real names were given; and it was not until months, and in regard to some of them, even years, had passed away before the names were altered, and others bearing an ancient appearance were substituted.

We often had access to the manuscripts when boarding with the Prophet; and it was our delight to read them over and over again before they were printed. And so highly were they esteemed by us, that we committed some to memory; and a few we copied for the purpose of reference in our absence on missions; and also to read them to the Saints for their edification. These copies are still in our possession. When at length the time arrived to print the manuscripts, it was thought best not to publish them all on account of our enemies, who were seeking every means to destroy the Prophet and the Church, on account however of the great anxiety of the Church to see them in print, it was concluded, through the suggestions of the Spirit, that by altering the real names given in the manuscripts, and substituting fictitious ones in their stead, they might thus safely aappear in print without endangering the welfare of the individuals whose real names were contained therein. It was by this means that several revelations were permitted to appear in print in the first edition, that otherwise would have been withheld from the knowledge of the Saints, perhaps for many long years, or at least until more favorable circumstances would have permitted them to be made public.

It may be asked had the Prophet a right to alter names given by revelation, and substitute fictitious ones in their stead? We reply that it is only the printed edition that contains the substituted names, while the original manuscripts that are safely preserved in the hands of the Church contain the names as they were originally given. Moreover, the substitution of fictitious names for persons and places does not alter or destroy the sense or ideas contained in the revelations. But what the Prophet did in relation to this thing was not of himself; he was dictated by the Holy Ghost to make these substitutions for the time being, until it should be wisdom for the true names to appear. That he was thus inspired is certain from the fact that at the very time that he made these substitutions he also received much additional light; and by revelation line was added upon line to several of the sections and paragraphs about to be published. But some may inquire, are not the Almighty's revelations perfect when they are first given? and if so, where was the propriety of the Lord's adding any thing to them when, they were already perfect? We reply that every word of God is perfect; but he does not reveal all things at once, but adds "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little," revealing as the people are able to bear, or as circumstances require. But these were not the only revelations to which the Lord made additions; for when the king of Judah burned the book of revelations, which God gave by the mouth of Jeremiah God commanded Jeremiah to rewrite the same. "Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiachim, king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides unto them many like words." -- Jer. xxxvi 32.

The Lord therefore, adds to his own revelations whenever He thinks proper; but He has expressly forbidden man to make any additions. The high prerogative of adding to an inspired revelation belongs to the Lord only; hence the Lord added by the mouth of Joseph "line upon line, here a little and there a little," to some of the manuscript copies which were about to be published.

A similar thing transpired in ancient America. God expressly forbade the Prophet Mormon to write all the revelations contained in the numerous records of his forefathers. He was only permitted to make a small abridgment called the Book of Mormon, and he states that not one hundredth part was permitted to be copied into the abridgment. The Lord declaring to him that He would try the faith of the Gentiles and of the nations of the latter times, to see whether they would receive this abridgment: if so, He would give them more; but if not, He would withhold the greater things to their condemnation.

To add to or diminish the light to be offered to a generation or individual is in strict accordance with the wisdom, justice, and mercy of God.

When a generation or individual is faithful to the light already given, God has promised to add more, and will cause that the light shall grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day. But when men despise the light and treat it with contempt, He will withhold from them and diminish that which they already have, until their minds become entirely enveloped in darkness, and they thus prepare themselves to dwell with the prince of darkness, and to be cast into outer darkness, where there are wailing and gnashing of teeth, and where no ray of heavenly light can penetrate their dark and dismal abode. This will be the fearful state of the wicked, because they love darkness rather than light, and will not come to the light that their deeds may be reproved...

As it may be satisfactory to the Saints to know the original names in the manuscripts we here present them so far as our memory serves.

In Section 76, p. 2, for "Enoch or Gazelam" read Joseph Smith, Jr.
Sec. 76, p. 2, for "Ahashdah" read Newel K. Whitney.
Sec. 76, p. 2, for "Pelagoram" read Sidney Rigdon.
Sec. 94, pp. 1, 2, for "Shederlaomach" read Frederick G. Williams.
Sec. 97, p. 2, for "Zombre" read John Johnson.
Sec. 97, p. 2, for "Seth" read Joseph.
Sec. 99, p. 3, for "Tahhanes" read "The Tannery, (or "The Tan Yard.")
Sec. 99, p. 3, for "Shinehah" read Kirtland.
Sec. 99, p. 5, for "Olihah" read Oliver Cowdery.
Sec. 99, p. 5, for "Laneshinehouse" read printing office.
Sec. 99, p. 7, for "Ozondah" read store.
Sec. 99, p. 7, for "Shule" read ashery.
Sec. 99, p. 10, for "Shinelah" read print.
Sec. 99, p. 11, for "Shinelane" read printing.
Sec. 99, p. 12, for "Talents" read dollars.
Sec. 99, p. 13, for "Cainhannoch" read New York.
Sec. 101, p. 4, for "Baurak Ale" read Joseph Smith, Jr.
Sec. 102, p. 8, for "Baneemy" read Sidney Rigdon.

In Section 87, paragraph 4, there occur five names, viz: Alam, Mahalaleel, Horah, Shalemanasseh and Mehemson. But we have forgotten the individuals whom they represent; the original manuscripts being in Utah, we are unable at present to gratify the desires of the saints in pointing out the individuals for whom they stand.

As the circumstances have changed since the substitution of those fictitious names we do not apprehend that any danger can arise from a restoration of the original ones; and we should be most happy to see them as they stand in the manuscripts in the future editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Note: For some critical commentary on the logic basic to Apostle Pratt's assertions, see the Salt Lake Tribune of Oct. 3, 1879, as well as the strictures contained throughout William H. Whitsitt's 1891 manuscript and the numerous examples of problematic early textual changes documented in H. Michael Marquardt's 1999 book The Joseph Smith Revelations.


Vol. 2.                           Washington, D. C., May, 1854.                           No. 5.

U T A H.

Our latest intelligence from Utah is up to the l2th of Dec. All things apparently were in a prosperous condition. Two volunteer companies, under the direction of Elder Orson Hyde, had started in the month of Nov. to form a settlement between one and two hundred miles east of Salt Lake City, on Green river. They were well fitted out with farming utensils, and every thing necessary for the formation of a permanent settlement. A colony formed in that vicinity will be of great importance in rendering aid and assistance to the weary emigrant, as he pursues his tedious and lonely track towards Oregon and California. The emigrating Saints will, also, reap much benefit in finding settlements of their own brethren near two hundred miles east of their destination. It is to be hoped that this little colony will flourish and prosper.

The Indians of the territory appear to be more friendly than they were a few months since. The massacre of Captain Gunnison and party was by a band of the Par-van-tes who were highly exasperated by the brutal conduct of a company of California emigrants, under the command of a man by the name of Hillsworth, who had wantonly killed one of their number and wounded two others; previous to this, that small tribe had been friendly with the whites. The Saints have constantly studied the welfare of the red-men, although they have, in some few instances, been reluctantly compelled to defend themselves against their depredations. The Indians in that territory, near our settlements, are in a ten fold more prosperous condition than they were previous to the location of the Saints in the country. Through the wise and humane policy of Governor Young, and of the people generally, there is a bright prospect of extending civilization and Christianity among the uncultivated and savage tribes of the interior. Already many of their children are being comfortably clothed and fed, and are acquiring the first rudiments of an English education. And it is to be hoped, that not many years hence, we shall see whole tribes laying aside the tomahawk and scalping knife, and pursuing the peaceful avocations of a civilized life.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., September 26, 1854.                           No. ?


(From the Deseret News to July 26, six weeks later than previous advices.)

On the 16th of June, the workmen began at the southeast corner to lay the foundation for the Temple Block, in Salt Lake City. It is to be of stone, two hundred and forty feet square.

The News says it is quite probable that the richest product of Green River county will be the coal from the extensive, rich, and thick coal beds of Bitter creek, unavailable at present, merely from the lack of facilities for transportation to our settlement.

PEACE WITH THE INDIANS -- PROSPERITY. -- The Deseret News says: Our red neighbors remain friendly towards the whites; but there are rumors of slight disturbances, and one or two small fights between the Green River Snakes and the Uinta Utahs

All kinds of vegetation is growing rapidly, and give indication of an abundant harvest/ The wheat especially looks unusually well.

A correspondent writing from, Manti July 5, says" On the 4th instant, Walker and his band all left with friendly feelings; we gave them fat cattle and a quantity of flour. About the first of June last, some Indians came in and reported that the two Spaniards which Fremont sent back for some cached articles had been killed. They said that soon after the Spaniards took out the articles, some Indians rushed upon them, killed them and took the property, scattering the contents of the mail sacks, and destroying the surveying instruments.

I have not been able to learn what Indians committed this outrage. "All's well," and Manti will soon become a beautiful and populous city; and a good portion of the coming emigration would do well to settle in Sanpete valley, where they will find timber and fuel in abundance and easy of access, water plenty, and soil and grazing excellent.

Harmony, about three hundred miles south of Great Salt Lake City, is the extreme southern settlement of the Mormons. The News says: The southern settlements are reported to be full of industry, energy, and enterprise in farming, building, and various other useful avocations, and rejoicing in the midst of prosperity, in peace, general health, and union.

The wheat fields of Utah are very extensive this year, and promise a most abundant harvest.

AID FOR THE NEW CONVERTS. -- Brigham Young has called upon the heads of families to send out teams and supplies for the brethren on the road, and to receive them and give them employment and food until the harvest of 1855.

The News states that goods to the value of one million dollars are on the road from Missouri to Deseret.

JOHN SMITH TO BE PATRIARCH. -- At a meeting of the Saints on the 28th of June, missionaries were appointed to many distant lands, and John Smith, the eldest son of Hiram Smith, was voted to be ordained the Patriarch over the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., October 5, 1854.                           No. 261.


We quote from the London Times an account of the trial of a Scotchman indicted for disturbing a meeting of Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints, in London recently. The defense was, the meeting was called for immoral and impious purposes. The London Times thinks the court erred in finding the prisoner guilty. It says:

"We do not propose that a man shall be persecuted because he is a Mormonite, but we submit to the good sense of the country that he should not be entitled to call himself a 'Protestant dissenter,' and as such to claim rights and privileges which were intended for others. We should be grieved, indeed, to see the great principles of religious toleration infringed; but are we, under the name of religious toleration, to sanction and protect assemblages of persons gathered together for the purpose of setting Christianity at defiance, turning its doctrines into ridicule, and bringing its practice into contempt?

"Be it observed, we are not pleading the cause of the Church of England, as by law established in any peculiar manner. If we are not supported by the common opinion of English churchmen, of Protestant dissenters of every form, of Roman Catholics, of Unitarians, and others, being the Queen's subject, let our words go for nothing. We are pleading the cause of religion against blasphemy -- of reason against Bedlam -- and decline at once entering into the consideration of any analogy which an expert casuist might suggest between the situation of Roman Catholic minorities in Protestant countries, or vice versa, and of the Mormonites in Christian England. If a man does not see the profound absurdity and wickedness of a recognition on the part of the state of the 'Mormonites' as a sect of Protestant dissenters, we will not trouble him with more argument upon the subject. These men call themselves Christians, it is true; but at the same time they proclaim that the Christian dispensation has been superseded by the Mormonite Bible -- Christ has been dethroned, and Joe Smith, the Yankee swindler, reigns in His place. Nor do they leave the question simply as one of theory. Their rules of practice -- such as the one which provides for a plurality of wives -- most certainly disentitle them to the protection of any orderly and decent community."



(see original article in London paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., October 11, 1854.                           No. ?


We have noticed in the Globe several times within the last four or five years, the purposes, propositions, and doings of M. Cabet, the father, founder, and gerent -- manager of the Society of French Communists, now established at Nauvoo, but finally to be translated to the Slate of Iowa. Icaria was to have been established originally somewhere in the northwest of Texas, and a detachment of communists left France, under the direction; of M. Cabet, for that land of promise, of the whereabouts of which, however, they could hear nothing on their arrival at New Orleans -- became disheartened, dissatisfied, disgusted, and finally incensed against M. Cabet, whom they accused -- unjustly it afterwards appeared -- of having swindled them out of their money. His standing in the world is that of an honest, intelligent, benevolent, and well meaning man, rather too enthusiastic, and in some things a little visionary. The Icaria in Texas having been abandoned, or rather never having been found, M. Cabet pitched his tent at Nauvoo, temporarily, where for four or five years his colony, as he calls it, has been exerting itself to prosper, though it has not so far prospered in any remarkable degree, or to our apprehension, encouraging degree. But M. Cabet thinks differently, and as he has all our good wishes, we hope that we are the party mistaken. He is now publishing a little newspaper in French, which he calls the Icarian Colony, and in it he gives a good deal of information about this society. It is "based," he says, "upon fraternity, solidarity, equality, liberty, and unity; upon education and labor; marriage and the ties of family. It is a mutual and universal insurance company, the realization of democracy, of a republic and of Christianity in its primitive purity."

A society with such a foundation as this to rest upon, ought to be permanent and prosperous. We think Christianity had better been left out, for the reason that it may mislead some and induce them to believe that it is in some way a religious society, which is not the fact. Christianity and every other religion is completely ignored; that is, none is recognized and none is prohibited. Everyone is at liberty to believe what he pleases, and worship as he pleases provided he lives according to the Icarian constitution. This is the sine qua non, and after that a member may be a Jew, a Turk, a Christian, or a Mormon -- polygamy, however, is not recognized by the Icarian laws and regulations.

The colony is now composed of between four and five hundred individuals, among which are to be found one American and one Englishman. We are surprised that there is even one of our countrymen there. Communism is little suited to the genius, or habits, or tastes of our people. They are too fond of doing what they please, of going whither they please, and of their freedom from any sort of restraint, ever to become communistic in their ideas. Communism will therefore never flourish in this country except as an exotic. Foreigners may form communities and prosper, but the native accessions will be very few. The French are so social in their habits, and so fond of talking, that it suits them better than it does either the Englishman or the Anglo-American, who retains always something more or less of Johnbullism or of Jonathanism, about them that would render them not a very great acquisition to the French communists. A dozen Americans would be likely to break them up, for they would agitate forthwith for more personal liberty, and if they did not get it, would come out with a platform, and raise the standard of revolt, and then delenda est Icaria.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., October 17, 1854.                           No. ?


A Utah correspondent of the St. Louis Republican says that Lieutenant Beckwith has succeeded in finding a new route from Great Salt Lake City to Carson Valley, which, in addition to being as good or better than the old northern routes for grass and water, &c., shortens the distance to California at least one hundred and fifty miles. The road is considered good, and, on many accounts, it will doubtless be far preferable to the old one. This is the route for the railroad from Great Salt Lake City to the coast, according to the views of men who appear to take an interest in the matter, and is doubtless not only feasible but far more direct than any which has been heretofore suggested. It has long been supposed that a practicable route could be found in that direction, but it is now reduced to a certainty.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., October 20, 1854.                           No. ?

(From the Independence Agrarian.)

Great Salt Lake.

The mail arrived on the evening of the 1st, bringing full files of the Deseret News, from which such extracts have been taken as were deemed likely to interest our readers. What fellows la from information furnished by Mr. Magraw, one of the contractors, who came through with the mail:

In the United States court, Chief Justice Kinny presiding, assisted by John Schaffer. Longhair and Antelope, two Utah Indians, were tried for murder, committed in Utah county on the 8th day of August, 1854, on the bodies of two Mormon lads, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung on the 15th ultimo. Affairs in Utah are prosperous.

Mr. Magraw heard that gold had been discovered on Sweet Water, and that quite a number of persons were prospecting on that river and its tributaries. Reports represented that the prospects were flattering.

There are now on the way across the plains about forty Mormon missionaries, under charge of Elder Taylor; destined for all quarters of the world. They travel in company with about an equal number of returning Californians; and together with about twenty traders and explorers, they make a party of about one hundred; probably the last considerable party that will come eastward this season.

The trading house on Deer Creek, about eighty miles west of Laramie, when passed, was almost entirely consumed, and most of the outbuildings were in flames, everything indicated it was the work of hostile Indians. The inmates were understood to have left in consequence of the previous difficulties at Laramie. Saw no Indians that day except four Arapahoes.

Seventy-five miles west of Salt Creek, passed a party of fourteen Pawnees, supposed to be the same which attacked a party of Californians, wounding one, a few nights previous, on that stream. From signs of blood on the ground of the attack, the supposition was, that at least one Indian had been killed, and the party worsted in the fight.

The company has been compelled to abandon its station, built at considerable expense, at Ash Hollow, on the North Platte, in consequence of a notification from the head chief of the Sioux nation, that he would cut the throats of all found there after a given day. The employees of the company chose the alternative of going to Scott's Bluffs, eighty miles further west.

Met, this side of Kearney, half a dozen different trains ,belonging to resident Indian traders, being probably all that are on the route. They are getting on well.

Grass remarkably scarce west of Laramie, partly in consequence of the immense number of stock driven across the plains, and partly owing to the work of the grasshoppers.

All was quiet at Laramie, the Sioux having disappeared after the massacre, and supposed to have gone to White river, or Old Woman's Fork, from seventy to a hundred miles distant from the fort.

Two days before arriving at Kearney, Indians, supposed to be Sioux, stampeded twenty-two head of Government horses and mules, about an hour before sun in the morning, and within half a mile of the fort. They were pursued by the soldiers, but with what success is not known.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., October 25, 1854.                           No. ?


The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a letter from James McKnight, a Mormon Elder, with two wives, in which he defends polygamy, and says:

"Our young ladies, accomplished and beautiful, often choose a man with ten, or twenty, or forty wives, in preference to an attractive young gentleman who has not one; thus showing their good taste, and regard for age and experience. If one of your most polite, fashionable, and fascinating young gentlemen should come here, he would find it very difficult to get a wife; and if he succeeded at all, she would in all probability be one whom our gray-headed and infirm old men would refuse."

He also contends that there is more humanity among the Mormons in the family of a man who has ten wives, than in the mass of families elsewhere, where one wife presides mistress of the house, husband and children. This is attributedto the fact, that in the Mormon belief "the husband is the head of the wife, and her Lord and Saviour, and unless she is obedient and submissive to him, she cannot be saved." He says further: "There are instances of from six to ten wives habiting one dwelling and living amicably; though for the most part each wife has her own house, and rules her own children. The children are under the mother's care until they arrive at maturity, or at an age when the father needs their services."

There is more of the same vulgar pretensions and degrading sophistry with which these miserable polygamists attempt to excuse themselves, and commend their salacious theories to the world.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., November 4, 1854.                           No. ?

From Utah.

Louisville, November 1. -- The Salt Lake mail arrived at Independence, Missouri, on Sunday last, but brings little news of interest.

Business in the valley was recovering, although money was not very abundant.

More amicable relations existed between the Mormons and the various tribes of Indians, and the latter were very quiet and had discontinued their depredations.

Messrs. Ward and Gurry had moved their trading post further up the mountains.

Two companies of United States troops were met near Fort Kearney.

The prairies had been pretty well burnt off by the Indians and grass was only to be found in certain spots.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., November 17, 1854.                           No. ?


THE MORMONS -- WHAT OF THEIR FUTURE? -- The newspapers from various parts of the country are discussing the anomalous position of the Mormons, and especially the policy that should be pursued by the United States, should application be made for the admission of Utah as a member of the Confederacy. Generally speaking, the ground taken is, that the Mormons should at once be made to yield obedience to the laws, and that the longer this duty is postponed, the greater will be the difficulty on the part of the national authorities. It is now conceded that the Mormons are, in the first place, polygamists; that in the second, they consider themselves saints, or superior beings; and in the third, they are governed by so-called prophets or priests, the chief of whom is Brigham Young. Should such people, with such principles, be admitted into the Union? Or if admitted, should they not be compelled, as a preliminary step, to abolish the odious features of their system? But, suppose that Brigham Young and the other elders and priests, seeing this condition of affairs, should not apply for admission, should the Mormons be allowed to increase and multiply, and to form a peculiar Empire, within the soil of the American Republic. And this, indeed, is the question which the Government and people of the United Stales will be called upon, sooner or later, to decide.

The Charleston Mercury, we perceive, expresses the opinion that the Mormons have acquired the "right to possess the peculiar region of country that they occupy, and if they cannot enjoy its possession in common with the United States, they have the right to enjoy it to themselves." This is a novel view of an interesting question, but one, we incline to the opinion, that will not bear the test of investigation. If the Mormons have any right to establish such a government within the Republic, other bands of adventurers would have a similar right, and in the course of time we should find many singular fanaticisms, combinations, and dynasties, occupying important points of our territory, and fomenting all sorts of mischief. -- Penn. Enquirer.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., November 24, 1854.                           No. ?


THE MORMONS have sent out more Elders as Missionaries, one of whom, John Taylor, is one of the Twelve Apostles. His destination is New York City, where he is to publish a newspaper. He is accompanied by assistants and counselors.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VII.                           Washington, D. C., December 15, 1854.                           No. ?

Governor of Utah.

We understand that the President has nominated to the Senate Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Edward J. Steptoe, of the United Stales Army, to be Governor of Utah, in the place of Governor Young, who was appointed by President Fillmore. Colonel Steptoe, who is in lineal rank a captain of artillery, and who has been twice breveted for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec, is, of course, well known to the whole country in that relation. In addition to this, all who are acquainted with him, either personally or in his official capacity, bear testimony to the dignity and manliness of his character, his intelligence, his extensive information upon subjects not connected with his profession, his eminent discretion, and to the conscientious and religious temper of his mind. All these are qualities which signally fit him for the delicate and important duty of Governor of a Territory so peculiar in its condition and population as Utah.

We do not apprehend that the substitution of Colonel Steptoe for Governor Young will be attended with any inconvenience. We confide much in the practical good sense of the inhabitants of Utah, notwithstanding their peculiar institutions, and not less in the combined moderation, firmness, and sagacity of Colonel Steptoe, who has been for some time encamped with his command near Salt Lake City. -- Union of this morning.

Note: The "eminent discretion... and religious temper" of Col. Steptoe served him well enough to decline the President's nomination, after that "meritorious" gentleman was caught in a compromising and embarrassing "woman trap" engineered by the Mormon leaders in Utah.


NS Vol. VII.                           Washington, D. C., December 28, 1854.                           No. 20.

The New Governor of Utah.

We have announced the appointment of Colonel Steptoe as Governor of the Territory of Utah. The following account of the appointee is from the pen of the Washington correspondent of the New York Evening Post:

"Edward Jenner Steptoe, now about forty years of age, is a native of Virginia, and was graduated with high reputation in the artillery corps of West Point. He was for many years stationed at Fort Adams, Newport, and at the beginning of the Mexican war obtained a command as captain of artillery in the American Army. For his gallant conduct he was breveted at Chepultepec and Cerro Gordo. During the whole war he was an intimate friend of General Pierce, and was greatly in favor with the officers and soldiers, from whom, on account of his strict observance of the rules of the Episcopal Church, to which he belongs, and his general uprightness, he received the title of 'the immaculate Steptoe.' After the war he was again placed at Newport, where he remained as lieutenant-colonel by brevet until his departure, in the fall of the present year, to the Territory of Utah.

"Colonel Steptoe arrived at his camp at the Great Salt Lake City, where he now has command of over three hundred men. His management of the Mormons is said thus far to have evinced a firmness and accommodation that have produced a favorable impression upon a class of people not easily pleased. I am told that he is the first of the 'Gentiles' that has been honored by the hospitality of Brigham Young, who, however, may not be so placably disposed after the arrival of the order for his removal.

"Whether Colonel Steptoe accepts or not is yet undecided. Before his departure he was spoken to on the subject by the President, but returned no definite reply. If he should enter upon the office, great prudence will be required even for the preservation of his little army, surrounded, as it is, by an armed force of seven thousand men, completely at the disposal of Brigham Young. There were reports lately that a division was existing among the Mormon soldiery; but the last arrival from there indicates that they are without foundation -- Brigham having formally propounded the question to them, whether they regarded him as God's vicegerent, and receiving a unanimous reply in the affirmative.

"Colonel Steptoe is, as his friends say, a man of remarkably handsome and commanding appearance, courteous and dignified manners, irreproachable private life, and his qualifications, as a scholar and a civilian, would secure him eminence should he turn his attention to legislative and political life. He wields a ready pen, and was thus of great service in promoting the election of General Pierce to the Presidency.

"Whether his mission will prove efficacious in settling the troubles which threaten our Government from the decisive course it has chosen to pursue is regarded by the Administration as extremely problematical. They are, however, resolved to face and suppress them at all hazards -- by the iron hand if necessary. It has been proposed, to obviate the embarrassments which will result from the organization of an exclusively Mormon Territory, to divide Utah into four parts, annexing one to California and distributing the remaining three among the three surrounding Territories. In this way the Saints would be mingled with the populations of other governments, so as to prevent their exercising a dangerous influence as a single concentrated political organization. The geographical divisions might thus be somewhat irregular and inconvenient, but the counter-balancing advantage would perhaps justify the measure."

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VII.                           Washington, D. C., December 29, 1854.                           No. ?

Interesting from Utah -- Mormon Opinion
of Colonel Steptoe, &c.

October 26, which is one week later than the intelligence received by the last steamer from California. The News says:

"Governor Young and suite returned on the 18th, having been absent eight days on a trip to Manti and the intervening settlements. Talks were had with the Indians on the route, who, with few exceptions, manifested friendly feelings, and a strong desire for the continuance of peaceful relations. Much counsel and instruction on the policy to pursue with our red neighbors, and on other matters, was given to the inhabitants in each settlement.

"The notorious Washcar, or Squash-head, told Governor Young 'that he had been mad, and had acted foolishly, but had got over it now, and would do better; and as he was very poor, if he would give him a blanket he would go out hunting, and get his living honestly.' The Governor overlooked Squash-head's past folly, and gave him a blanket, being well aware that, as we have been twenty-four years in severe drill to learn what we know; we should be very lenient to the natives, who have to start from a position so far below the vantage ground we had at the beginning."

The following is from the some paper:

"While tending Governor Young's large circular saw, the man who carries off the slabs, and boards, accidentally let a loose board touch the teeth of the saw, when it was hurled from his hands like lightning, and the end of it struck Brother Bingham Bement on his left side and in front, passing across his bowels. Notwithstanding all the help that medical and other skill could afford, Brother Bement failed rapidly, and died on the morning of the 23d October. He was about 35 years old. In him our community has suffered the loss of an industrious, intelligent, and faithful saint."

Elder Orson Hyde, one of the big guns of the Mormon church, and second only to Brigham himself in regulating the affairs of Utah and Great Salt Lake City, endorses Col. Steptoe in the following mandate:

"Col. Steptoe, of the United States Army, with his command, is now in our Territory, and expects to winter with us. This gentlemanly officer and his associates, have the good will of our society, and have, thus far, acted in a manner becoming officers of their rank. The colonel wishes his men to conform to the best principles and rules of moral society, and, if we mistake not, has given orders to this effect. Will the trading citizens of this town sell to the soldiers liquor, by which their own peace, and that of their families, may be disturbed? If they will, do not attach the blame to the officers, but to our own citizens, who, for paltry gain, will corrupt the soldiers, and themselves also, by a traffic that worketh death instead of life. So far as I am a witness, the officers and the men, with few exceptions, of the United States Army, now in our midst, take extra pains to have all things move on happily and amicably, and it affords me pleasure to be able to bear this testimony in their behalf. It is hoped that all the citizens in the southern country will receive Colonel Steptoe and his command with cordiality and kindness, for his high minded and gentlemanly bearing merit this testimonial of our respect and esteem.
                  Respectfully,        ORSON HYDE.

When the news reaches Salt Lake that Brigham Young is displaced, and that Colonel Steptoe is to take the reins of government, and administer to the wants of the Mormons after the style that it is done in New Hampshire, we should not be surprised to hear quite a different story from Elder Hyde.

We find the following notices in the News:


The Seventies of Lake City, Utah county, have withdrawn the hand of fellowship from Arza Adams and Robert Plunkett. October 13, 1854. D. D. HUNT, President.


Enoch M. King is disfellowshipped from the Church of Jesus Church of Latter Day Saints, for repeatedly refusing to conform to the rules of said church, in the law of tithing.   JAMES HENDRIX, Bishop.
A. H. RALEIGH, Clerk.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VII.                           Washington, D. C., December 30, 1854.                           No. ?


THE MORMONS. -- Speaking of the possibility of a collision between the Mormons of Utah and the United States authorities, growing out of the appointment of Colonel Steptoe to the governorship of that Territory, the Louisville Journal says:

"Terrible as a collision at this time between the General Government and the Mormons might be, we say, unhesitatingly, let it come, if it must. Let the legitimate authority of the United States be maintained in the Territory of Utah, even if, in order to that end, the whole Mormon population have to be driven out or annihilated. All appearances indicate unerringly, sooner or later, a conflict between the Mormons and the lawful authorities of the nation must take place, and if so, surely the sooner it takes place the better. And it is especially desirable, and vastly important that, whenever the conflict occurs, our Government shall be clearly and indisputably in the right, as it certainly will be in asserting and maintaining, by force, its right to appoint the Governor of Utah. The Mormons are a most pestilent people, and a great many persons insist that the General Government shall put down polygamy among them. We have no idea that the Government has a right to attempt this, but it has a right to govern Utah as it governs other Territories; and, as a conflict at no distant day must, from the very character of Mormonism, and the whole conduct of its devotees, occur from one cause or another, we are not unwilling that those horrible fanatics should take ground for the maintenance of their profligate prophet as Governor, and bring on the issue now."

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VII.                           Washington, D. C., January 1, 1855.                           No. ?

Mormonism --Polygamy.

Polygamy, just now, seems to be the all engrossing subject, and in the Deseret News we find a number of columns devoted to a lecture upon the subject by Elder Orson Hyde. He says:

I know that this doctrine is made the subject of a great deal of ridicule. I know that the world at large who profess to be pious, or, if not pious, morally upright, look upon it as a damning sin -- as a stain upon the bright escutcheon of their country, here in the very heart of the United States Territory, surrounded by tall mountains -- they consider it a dark spot in the country's history. Many of the great politicians of the day view it in this point of light. Religionists are still more scrupulous; they regard it as a heinous and damning sin.

Jesus Christ a Polygamist. -- Now, suppose I should set out myself, and travel through the cities of the nation as a celebrated reformer, preaching revelations and sentiments as lofty as the skies, and rolling out ideas strange and new, to which the multitude were entirely unaccustomed, and wherever I went, suppose I had with me three or four women -- one combing my head, another washing my feet, and another shedding tears upon them and wiping them with the hair of her head. Suppose I should lean upon them and they upon me -- would it not appear monstrous in the eyes of the world? Would they ride me into Jerusalem upon an ass's colt, and cast branches of palm tree beneath my feet, shouting "Hosanna! blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!" I guess they would give me a coat of tar and feathers, and ride me on a rail; and it is my opinion they would serve the Saviour the same, did he go about now as he did eighteen hundred years ago.

Mary and Martha, Wives of Jesus. -- How was it with Mary and Martha, and other women that followed him? In old times, and it is common in this day, the women, even as Sarah, called their husbands Lord; the word Lord is tantamount to husband in some languages; master, lord, husband, are about synonymous. In England we frequently hear the wife say, "Where is my master?" She did not mean a tyrant; but as Sarah called her husband Lord, she designated hers by the word master. When Mary of old came to the sepulcher on the first day of the week, instead of finding Jesus, she saw two angels in white. "And they said unto her, woman, why weepest thou? She said unto them, because they have taken away my lord, or husband, and I know not where they have lain him. When she had thus said, she turned back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary; she turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni, which is to say master." Is there not here manifested the affections of a wife? These words spake the kindred ties and sympathies that are common to that relation of husband and wife. Where will you find a family so nearly allied by the ties of common religion? "Well," you say, "that appears rather plausible; but I want a little more evidence, I want you to find me where the Saviour was actually married."

The Marriage of Jesus Christ. -- We will turn over to the account of the marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Yes, and somebody else, too. You will find it in the second chapter of John's Gospel; remember it, and read it when you go home.

Gentlemen, that is as plain as the translators or different councils over this Scripture dare allow it to go to the world; but the thing is there; it is told; Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, and he told them what to do.

Now, there was actually a marriage; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Saviour of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error. We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby we could see his seed before he was crucified. Has he, indeed, passed by the nature of angels, and taken upon himself the seed of Abraham, to die without leaving a seed to bear his name on the earth. No. But when the secret is fully out, the seed of the blessed shall be gathered in, in the last days; and he who has not the blood of Abraham flowing in his veins;who has not one particle of the Saviour apos; in him, I am afraid is a stereotyped Gentile, who will be left out, and not be gathered in the last days; for I tell you it is the chosen of God, the seed of the blessed that shall be gathered. I do not despise to be called a son of Abraham, if he had a dozen wives; or to be called a brother, a son, a child of the Saviour, if he had Mary and Martha, and several others, as wives;and though he did cast seven devils out of one of them, it is all the same to me.

Jesus Christ was a Father. -- I shall say here, that before the Saviour died, he looked upon his own natured children, as we look upon ours; he saw his seed, and immediately afterwards he was cut off from the earth; but who shall declare his generation ? They had no father to hold them in honorable remembrance; they passed into the shades of obscurity, never to be exposed to mortal eye as the seed of the Blessed One. For, no doubt, had they been exposed to the eye of the world, those infants might have shared the same fate as the children in Jerusalem in the days of Herod, where all the children were ordered to be slain under such an age, with the hopes of slaying the infant Saviour. They might have suffered by the hand of the assassin, as the sons of many Kings have done who were heirs apparent to the throne of their fathers.

History is replete with circumstances of neck or-nothing politicians dyeing their hands in the blood of those who stood in their way to the throne or to power

A Mormon Millennium coming. -- "Well, but," says one, "there was certainly an injunction laid upon the bishops in New Testament times, that they should have but one wife." This is brought up as a great argument against the position the Latter Day Saints have taken. In olden times they might have passed through the same circumstances as some of the Latter Day Saints had to in Illinois. What would it have done for us if they had known that many of us had more than one wife when we lived in Illinois? They would have broken us up, doubtless, worse than they did. They may break us up, and route us from one place to another, but, by-and-by, we shall come to a point where we shall have all the women, and they will have none. Yon may think I am joking about this, but I can bring you the truth of God to demonstrate it to you. I have not advanced anything I have not got an abundance of backing for. There is more truth than poetry in this, as sure as you live.

Old Bachelors Cast Off. -- There are many living now who are bachelors. I do not complain of the very old men, for they cannot help themselves at all times, but I am going to complain of the old bachelors; and I tell you what it is, if you do not step forward and marry, and try to carry out the great work of Jehovah, it will be left for a better man to do than you. (A voice in the stand, "there is but one bachelor in the Territory, and he has gone to the States.") O! I beg your pardon; President Young says he does not know of but one old bachelor in all the Territory of Utah, and he has gone to the States.

Elder Hyde's discourse was followed by one upon the same subject by President Brigham Young in which he took for his text a portion of the third chapter of Paul's first epistle to Timothy, as follows: "This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop, then, must be blameless, the husband of one wife," &c.

The Bible as President Young Understands it. -- Instead of my believing, for a moment, that Paul wished to signify to Timothy that he must select a man to fill the office of bishop that would have but one wife, I believe directly the reverse; but his advice to Timothy amounts simply to this: it would not be wise for you to ordain a man to the office of a bishop unless he has a wife; you must not ordain a single or unmarried man to that calling.

If you will read this chapter carefully, you will learn the qualifications necessary for deacons and bishops, and also for their wives.

I will simply give my views with regard to this matter, and then leave it.

I have no testimony from the Bible, neither have I from any history that I have any knowledge of, that a man was ever prohibited in the church, in the days of Paul, from taking more than one wife.

Paul, knowing by observation and his own experience the temptations that were continually thrown before the elders, gave instructions paramount to this, before you ordain a person to be a bishop, to take the charge of a branch in any one district or place, see that he has a wife to begin with; he did not say, "but one wife;" it does not read so; but he must have one to begin with, in order that he may not be continually drawn into temptation, while he is in the line of his duty, visiting the houses of widows and orphans, the poor, the afflicted, and the sick in his ward.

The claim constantly made by the advocates for polygamy, is, that it prevents crime which so stalks over other communities, where plurality of wives are not permitted, and Great Salt Lake City is held up as a pattern city for purity. Elder Hyde is condemned out of his own mouth, for he winds up his lecture with a curse which beats Uncle Toby's all to pieces.

Elder Hyde's Curse. -- I will tell you what shall happen to those men and women who commit lewdness, and go and boast of it, and laughing the face of Heaven. The day shall come when their flesh shall rot upon their bones, and, as they are walking, it shall drop, and become a nauseous stink upon the highway. Now, go and boast that you can get all you want for a dress pattern, or a yard of ribbon; go and boast of it, and the Lord Almighty shall curse you all the day long. (Voice in the stand, "Amen.") And when you step, chunks of your flesh shall drop off your bones, and stink you enough to sicken a dog.

I speak this to both men and women that practice this iniquity in the midst of this people; and if you do not refrain from such intercourse, this prediction shall begin to take effect, and by this you shall know whether I have spoken in the name of the Lord, or in the name of Orson Hyde. For such abominable practices to come in our midst under the robes of sanctity, because there are liberal, holy, and religious principles practiced by the saints; I say curse their habitation, and their persons; and, if this is your mind, let all Israel say, "Amen," (the whole of the congregation, at the top of their voices, said, "Amen!") and let these contemptible wretches feel the Mormon spirit -- not by Mormon hands, but by the power of God on high.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VII.                           Washington, D. C., January 8, 1855.                           No. 29


THE MORMONS AND THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT. -- Speaking of the possibility of a collision between the Mormons of Utah and the United States authorities, growing out of the appointment of Colonel Steptoe to the Governorship of that Territory, the Louisville Journal says:

"Terrible as a collision at this time between the General Government and the Mormons might be, we say, unhesitatingly, let it come if it must. Let the legitimate authority of the United States be maintained in the Territory of Utah, even if, in order to that end, the whole Mormon population have to be driven out, or annihilated. All appearances indicate unerringly that, sooner or later, a conflict between the Mormons and the lawful authorities of the nation must take place; and, if so, surely the sooner it takes place the better. And it is especially desirable and vastly important that, whenever conflict occurs, our Government shall be clearly and indisputably in the right, as it certainly will be in asserting and maintaining by force its right to appoint the Governor of Utah. The Mormons are a most pestilent people, and a great many persons insist that the General Government shall put down polygamy among them. We have no idea that the Government has a right to attempt this, but it has a right to govern Utah as it governs other Territories; and as a conflict at no distant day must, from the very character of Mormonism, and the whole conduct of its devotees, occur, from one cause or another, we are not unwilling that those horrible fanatics should take ground for the maintenance of their profligate prophet as Governor, and bring on the issue now."

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. VI.                           Washington, D. C., January 10, 1855.                           No. ?


In another part of this impression our readers will find a communication from the Hon. Mr. Bernhisel, written with a view of correcting "one or two errors" respecting the governmental affairs of the Territory of Utah, which we insert at the request of that gentleman. If the press has given an "injurious circulation" to errors, as he assumes, it is just and fair that the press should publish the correction of them. Into the question of the loyalty of ex-Governor Young, and of his co-religionists, towards the General Government, and towards the Union, we do not enter. We hope that it is as manifest and as unreserved as Mr. Bernhisel alleges it to be, and that all that has been printed, or said, or insinuated, to the contrary, is false and unfounded. This is a matter about which temporization and concealment will answer no good purpose. Utah is either one thing or the other --- loyal and true to the Union, or she is not and if not -- which God forbid! -- it cannot be long before there will be some overt act on her part demonstrative of her disaffection. That there may not be any, we most earnestly pray.


                                                Washington City, January 3, 1855.
To the Editors of the Globe:

Gentlemen: As the Delegate in Congress from the Territory of Utah, I have the right to debate any question which may engage the attention of that body; and, doubtless, a liberal interpretation would be given to the language by which the right of a Delegate is secured to me. The practice, in the House of Representatives has given an extensive range to debate, and sometimes matters personal have been mingled with those that are national. That which affects the constituency, has been generously allowed to be personal to the representative, and I have precedents which would justify me in troubling the House, in which I have it honor to occupy a seat, with the correction of errors which have been infused into the public mind respecting the administration of the governmental affairs of the Territory of Utah. The propriety of such a course, however, appeared to me, in many cases, to be questionable, and I avail myself of the press to correct one or two errors, to which the press has given an injurious circulation

Governor Brigham Young has been superseded by a distinguished military gentleman, whose appointment the Senate has confirmed. I may, therefore, by a brief explanation, vindicate the character of Governor Young, without suspicion of motive to secure his reappointment, which might create distrust of the facts to which I appeal. By the 12th section of the act of the 9th of September, 1850, entitled an act to establish a Territorial Government for Utah, the sum of $20,000 was appropriated to the Territory, to be applied by the Governor and Legislative. Assembly to the erection of suitable public buildings at the seat of Government. That sum was advanced to Governor Young in the month of July, 1851, and he has been unwarrantably charged with a misapplication of that money. Of that accusation a very simple statement will be an ample refutation.

On the 30th of September, 1853, Governor Young rendered an account and vouchers, setting forth the expenditure of $10,373 48. Of this sum the Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, First Comptroller of the Treasury, allowed $8,703 98, but disallowed $1,669 paid for the services of various persons, as committee and otherwise, including traveling expenses on an expedition to select a site for the seat of Government. Mr. Whittlesey objected to it as an unusual charge, though its necessity must be apparent. However, that sum deducted, the balance amounts to $11,296.02, for which Governor Young holds himself ready to account. The Indian hostilities which have troubled the Territory, and other causes, have delayed the completion of the public buildings, but Governor Young has given notice to the Secretary of the Treasury, as the best refutation of the accusation against him, that he will honor a draft at sight, if that officer of the General Government will draw upon him for the unexpended balance in his hands.

Can other evidence be necessary to show the wantonness of Governor Young's assailants? Papers that have borne the character of respectability, with intemperate zeal have pandered to prejudice on no more substantial basis. On the one hand, Governor Young is represented as defiant to the General Government, threatening hostilities towards any gentleman that may be sent to succeed him, and on the other, the people are said to be disloyal to the General Government; and, in the imagination of zealots, armies are marshaled in battle array, and Utah is already a field of blood. Captain Stansbury, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers of the United Stales Army, who, in his exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, had ample opportunity to form a correct estimate of the people among whom he so long dwelt -- and he will not be suspected of partiality to Mormonism -- in his report to his superior officer, which the United States Senate and the House of Representatives published, says he feels confident that the imputations which have been made against the personal character of Governor Young are without foundation, and that his personal reputation is above reproach.

"Certain it is (says he) that the most entire confidence is felt in his integrity; personal, official, and pecuniary, on the part of those to whom a long and intimate association, and in the most trying emergencies, have afforded every possible opportunity of forming a just and accurate judgment of his true character."

The disloyalty of Governor Young and the people of Utah is disproved by the same unquestioned and unquestionable authority. An illustrative incident in the history of that people may put to shame their assailants. I quote again from Captain Stansbury:

"In their progress westward through the northern part of Missouri, they were again driven from that State by violent threats into the southern borders of Iowa, whence, after much hardships and suffering they reached. in the course of the summer, the banks of the Missouri, beyond the limits of the States. Here they enclosed land and planted crops, leaving some of their number to reap the fruits, which were to be applied to the sustenance of other companies that were to follow as soon as they should be able to procure means.

"They were about crossing the river to pursue their journey westward, when an officer of the United Suites Government presented himself with a requisition for five hundred men to serve in the war with Mexico. This demand, though sudden and unexpected, was promptly and patriotically complied with; but, in consequence, the expedition was broken up for the season. Those that remained being principally old men, women, and children, prepared to pass the winter in the wilds of an Indian country, by cutting hay and erecting log and sod huts, and digging as many caves as time allowed and their strength enabled them.

In another portion of the work Captain Stansbury says:

"From all that I saw and heard, I deem it but simple justice to say, that notwithstanding these causes of irritation, a more loyal and patriotic people cannot be found within the limits of the Union. This, I think, was emphatically shown in the promptitude and cheerfulness with which they responded to the call of the Government to furnish a battalion for service during the Mexican war, while in the heart of an Indian country, and on the eve of a long and uncertain pilgrimage into an unknown wilderness; they were suddenly called upon to surrender five hundred of their best men to the hazards of a hostile campaign, and the exposure and vicissitudes of a march of two thousand miles across trackless deserts and burning plains, to fight the battles of their country. Their peculiar circumstances presents almost insuperable objections to a compliance with the requisition, yet not the slightest hesitation was evinced. 'You shall have your battalion at once,' was the reply of Mr. Young, 'if it has to be a class of our Elders;' and in three days the force, recruited principally among the fathers of families was raised and ready to march. Here certainly was no evidence of a lack of patriotism.

The same author quotes from addresses delivered by Brigham Young, in which he expressed his exalted estimation of the Constitution of the United States, and the laws enacted in subordination to it, exhorting the people to magnify the laws, and assuring them that "there is no law in the United States, or in the Constitution, but I am ready to make honorable." The author then adds:

"The following language, used by General D. H. Wells at the celebration of the fourth anniversary of the advent of the Mormons into the valley, will show, I think, what were the feelings of the people:

"It has been thought by some that this people, abused, maltreated, insulted, robbed, plundered, murdered, and finally disfranchised, and expatriated, would naturally feel reluctant to again unite their destiny with the American Republic. * * * No wonder that it was thought by some that we would not again submit ourselves (even while we were scorned and ridiculed,) to return to our allegiance to our native country. Remember that it was by the act of our country, no ours, that we were expatriated; and then consider that the opportunity we had of forming other ties. Let this pass, while we lift the veil and show the policy which dictated us. That country, that Constitution, those institutions, were all ours; they are still ours. Our fathers were heroes of the Revolution, under the master spirits of an Adams, a Jefferson, and a Washington they declared and maintained their independence; and under the guidance of the spirit of truth, they fulfilled their mission whereunto they were sent from the presence of the Father. Why should we relinquish our interest in that country made dear to us by every tie of association and consanguinity? * * * Those who have indulged such sentiments concerning us, have not read Mormonism aright; for never, no, never, will we desert our country's cause; never will we be found arrayed by the side of her enemies, although she, herself, may cherish them in her own bosom; although she may launch forth the thunderbolt[s] of war which may return and spend their fury upon her own head, never; no, never, will we permit the weakness of human nature to triumph over our love of country, our devotion to her institutions, handed down to us by our honored sires, made dear by a thousand tender recollections.'"

Such, surely, is neither the language nor the spirit of a disloyal people.

Captain Stansbury elsewhere says:

"Direct charges have been widely published, seriously affecting the patriotism and personal reputation of the Mormon leaders, as well as of the feelings of the people toward the General Government. Such doubts and apprehensions are, in my judgment, totally groundless, and the charges I believe to be either based upon prejudice or to have grown out of the want of accurate information. A residence of a year in the midst of the Mormon community, during the greater part of which period I was in constant intercourse with the rulers and people, afforded much opportunity for ascertaining the real facts of the case."

But persons who never approached the longitudes in which Utah lies, hesitate not to denounce the Mormons as rebels and traitors, and by perversion of language, attribute to Governor Young a defiant spirit. Governor Young has never threatened opposition to the General Government, or violence to a successor, nor have the people of the Territory of Utah failed to respect the Federal laws. The language which has been perverted was the exposition of his confidence in the government of God, and the expression of his devout submission to the Providence which rules all created things. He believes that if it is God's good pleasure that he shall retire to a private life or continue Governor of the Territory of Utah, distinguished station in the General Government, and political preeminence among men, will be powerless to change the designs of Omnipotence, and hence he has said how futile it is for man to be solicitous about that which man cannot control. Will it be questioned that God rules in the armies of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth? Why then should it be deemed presumptuous in Governor Young to gives utterance to unquestioned truth?

Nor is it true that Governor Young and the Mormon people refuse to comply with the requisition of the General Government, "so far even as to transmit a copy of their laws or a statement of their public expenditures." Of the latter enough has been said already, and of the former it will be sufficient to say that it was not their duty.

The Federal Government provides its own officer to discharge that and other duties, as will be seen on a perusal of the law itself.

"Sec. 3. There shall be a Secretary of said Territory, who shall reside therein, and hold his office for four years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States; he shall record and preserve all the laws and proceedings of the Legislative Assembly hereinafter constituted, and all the acts and proceedings of the Governor in his executive department; he shall transmit one copy of the laws and one copy of the executive proceedings, on or before the first day of December in each year, to the President of the United States, and, at the same time two copies of the laws to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate, for the use of Congress."

If there had been neglect in the discharge of these duties, it would not have been the neglect of Mormons; but truth and justice require the statement to be made that the laws have been transmitted to the executive authority, and to the Congress of the United States.

Governor Young's assailants have also charged that he is sustained by a military force in opposition to Federal authority. Thirty thousand men in arms, says one writer, and seven thousand disciplined troops, another, support Governor Young in his contumacy. That there are arms in Utah to keep the Indians in check, no one will deny. What frontier settlement has them not? That there may be volunteer companies of militia, is also true, and in this respect Utah is not unlike every village in the land. But Governor Young is like the governor of every State and Territory in the Union in his means of defense. He has no military power that is not possessed by all men in his station. An army is not necessary in Utah. Of the people of that Territory, General John Wilson, of whom Mr. Smith writes as a citizen of the first respectability, and officer of the Federal Government in California, has said in a letter to the Hon. Truman Smith, then a member of the Senate of the United States:

"A more orderly, earnest, industrious, and civil people, I have never been amongst than these, and it is incredible how much they have done here in the wilderness in so short a time. In this city, (Salt Lake,) which contains now, as I believe, about from four to five thousand inhabitants, (they are now nearly double that number,) I have not met in a citizen a single idler, or any person who looks like a loafer. Their prospects for crops are fair, and there in a spirit and an energy in all that you see that cannot be equaled in any city of any size that I have ever been in, and, I will add, not even in "Old Connecticut."

Of Governor Young the Hon. L. H. Read, the late chief justice of Utah, who was sent out by the Federal Government from the Stale of New York, says:

"I was received by Governor Young with marked courtesy and respect. He has taken pains to make my residence here agreeable. The Governor in manner and conversation is a polished gentleman, very neat and tasty in dress, easy and pleasant in conversation, and I think a man of decided talent and strong intellectual qualities. I have heard him address the people once on the subject of Man's Free Agency. He is a very excellent speaker. His gesture uncommonly graceful, articulation distinct, and speech pleasant. I was extremely edified by his address and manner. The Governor is a first rate business man. His private business is extensive; he owns several grist and saw mills; is extensively engaged in farming operations. All of which he superintends personally. I have made up my mind that no man has been more grossly misrepresented than Governor Young, and that he is a man who will reciprocate kindness and good intentions as heartily and freely as any one."

That Colonel Steptoe will dissent from the testimony of the late Chief Justice Read, is not anticipated. He has had the means of observation, and is enabled to know that the inhabitants of Utah have been maligned by men who, to secure the reputation of writing con spirito, sacrifice truth and decency. As a people, they are hospitable to strangers, respectful to authority, and loyal to the Government. To prove themselves good members of civil society, they can point to the labor they have performed, and the thriving villages, and fertile farms into which they have converted a distant wilderness. They desire to enjoy in peace the fruit for which they have toiled.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                John M. Bernhisel,
                                                Delegate from Utah.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXV.                   Newark, N. J., Wednesday, August 13, 1856.                     No. 193.

Correspondence of the Newark Daily Advertiser.

Mormonism in its Infancy.

Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y., Aug. 8.          
It is not generally known that this county was the birth-place of Mormonism, and the starting point of those God forsaken doctrines, which have since spread themselves over Christendom, carrying desolation to thousands of happy families, destroying the pleasure of social circles, and putting out the light hearthstone: for what reason this beautiful section of Western New York was cursed with this foul stigma, its inhabitants are totally unaware; and to their credit be it said, that the prophet had no honor in his own country, but was compelled, with very few exceptions, to go from home to find his followers. Having been quite interested in the history of the Smith Family, and the finding of the Gold Bible, as related to me by an old gentleman who was cognizant of the whole affair, being a neighbor to them, I have written out a few of the principal points.

Joseph Smith, father of the Prophet, came from Merrimac River, N. H., and first settled in Palmyra but in 1819 removed to this place. He was a Methodist; but had formerly been a Universalist, and was quite an adept at Scriptural arguments. Credulity seems to have been a pretty large ingredient in his composition, as he was a great money digger, always seeing "sights;" but never realizing his expectations; he was noted for his indolence, and for generally being in some difficulty with his neighbors. Joe's mother was a far different person from his father: she is described as a woman of strong uncultivated intellect, artful and cunning, and strongly imbued with an illy regulated religious enthusiasm, and much given to vague visions of riches and greatness. As is usually the case, she had much more to do with forming the character of the son than his father, though he had more of the atrocities of the latter, so far as his habits were concerned. Mrs. Smith seems to have been the head and front of the movement; she is was who first gave vague hints that a prophet was to arise from her humble household, and as arrangements progressed towards a consummation, she named those who had been fixed upon as instruments to assist them in getting out the new revelations -- always selecting men who were noted for their credulity. In those affairs her husband assisted, and was her executive officer.

Alvah, the eldest son, was originally intended for the prophet, but alas for all human designs, "the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak;" and one day, Alvah being rather hungry, he indulged too freely in raw turnips, sickened and died; so the incipient prophet was lost to the world and to Mormonism. Joe Smith thereby became a great man, for it was immediately given out that the mantle of Alvah had fallen upon him, unworthy though he was -- for rumor says he was as lazy as his father, rather intemperate in his habits, and possessed of less than ordinary intellect. He had previously professed religion at a camp meeting, and was quit an exhorter at evening meetings; but this did not last long. "Mormon Hill" had been long designated as the place in which countless treasures were buried; Joseph, the elder, had "spaded" up many a foot of the hill side to find them, and Joseph Jr., had on more than one occasion accompanied him. Taking all these circumstances together, how perfectly natural was it for the Smith family to be selected as the means of finding, and Mormon Hill as the repository of the long buried revelation, known at the "Gold Bible."

It has been generally believed that this celebrated book was written by Mr. Spaulding of Ohio, but for this belief there is no foundation; the original production undoubtedly emanated jointly from the Smith family, and a schoolmaster of this village by the name of Oliver Cowdery, who was intimately connected with the Smiths in all their movements. Any one by observation can be convinced that the author must have been uneducated, and totally ignorant of Geography and Chronology. An imitation of the style of the Scriptures is attempted, but the expression, "and it came to pass," is about the only approach to it. Modern sayings a are curiously interspersed with ancient language, and taking it altogether, no can doubt its vulgar origin.

The original design of the movers was undoubtedly to make money and to gain a certain notoriety, of which, as we have said, Mrs. Smith had often had visions, and they had no idea, at this time of founding a sect. Joe Smith has himself said as much. As soon as the Bible had been discovered Joe commenced to prophesy and to name individuals who were, as he said, called of God, as chosen instruments to assist him in the translating, &c., of the revelation. The most noted of their assistants was Martin Harris, a respectable and honest farmer residing at Palmyra -- much given to new creeds, and a monomaniac upon the subject of "spiritual manifestations." He mortgaged his farm to pay for the printing of the Gold Bible, but a contract signed by Joseph, and witnessed by Cowdery, secure[d] to Harris and his heirs one half of the proceeds of the sale of the Gold Bible, until he was reimbursed in the sum of $2500 -- the cost of printing. This, together with the fact that Harris had procured the services of a village jeweler to help him estimate the value of the plates, taking as a basis Joe Smith's description, leaves us in doubt as to whether he was altogether a dupe.

The Prophet's account of finding these plates was -- that an angel appeared, and directed him where to dig; he was then compelled, against his will, to interpret them, and promulgate their contents to the world; that on the plates were the names of the ancient residents in this country, "engraved by Mormon the son of Nephi; that in the box containing them was "a pair of large spectacles, the stone or glass set in them being opaque to all but the prophet;" that "these belonged to Mormon the engraver, and that the plates could not be read without them." Harris was the principal amanuensis, and having nearly a hundred pages of the manuscript translation in his house, his wife, who was an unbeliever, seized them, and either burned or secreted them -- It was supposed the former -- but for fear that she should confront them with the lost documents at some future day, the Smiths, Cowdery and Harris, agreed not to transcribe these again, but to let so much of the new revelation drop out, lest "the evil spirit should get up a story that the second translation did not agree with the first."

Sidney Rigdon of Ohio, is entitled to the notoriety of having made the first suggestions in regard to enlarging the plan of operations; he united himself with the Smiths at about the time that the book was issued from the press. He had previously been a Baptist Elder, but had been deposed for some dereliction of duty; he is said to have been "designing, ambitious and dishonest," and soon became the Hamlet, or more properly the Maw-Worm of the play. Under his direction the "Mormons" were projected, and Joseph belched forth prophecies, long and loud; here and there, in this vicinity, a fool or knave could be found to help it along, but soon it became known, far and wide, and the disciples of Joe Smith were numbered by thousands. Even Europe has its regularly organized societies, and is sending forth its myriads to increase the number of the faithful at Salt Lake City. What will it be? Who will tell it? A sect without dignity, without a single doctrine worthy of consideration, with knavery and fraud for its companions all through, with the disgusting doctrine of polygamy incorporated as a part of its creed, I ask again what is it coming to? Is Congress to aid and abet this great fraud to sanctify and legitimatize so gross a humbug, by admitting the Territory of Deseret as a State of this glorious Union? Shade of Washington forbid the calumny! I trust that will never be, and it never can be, so long as Congress has any respect for itself, or for the people represented.     Yours,     Ashes.

Note: The above article reads more like a political editorial masquerading as a letter from a correspondent than as a true account from the birth place of Mormonism. Practically all of the article is derived from Orsamus Turner's 1851 text, and precious little Ontario "local color" shines through those sentences not directly quoting or closely paraphrasing Turner.


The  State  Gazette.
Vol. ?                         Trenton, N.J., Saturday, September 6, 1856.                         No. 2950.

MORMONS IN NEW JERSEY. -- There are a considerable number of Mormons in this state; in Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington counties. Bill Smith, a brother of the prophet, lived for several years in Monmouth county, where he was an apostle of the new faith and made many converts. He was himself a man of vicious character, and a strong advocate of the spiritual wife system before the church had declared in favor of polygamy as one of its doctrines. This part of the creed, however, did not meet with much favor, and his attempts to reduce it to practice finally led to his expulsion. We do not understand that, even now, the New Jersey Mormons accept polygamy as an article of their faith. Of course, a practical application of it would ensure for them the crown of martyrdom, as they would infallibly be made acquainted with the inside of the State Prison. The largest congregation of "Latter Day Saints now in this state is at Tom's River where they have a church usually attended by about fifty persons. Their numbers were greater, but some thirty members have emigrated to Utah. A correspondent of the Mount Holly Mirror, writing from Hornerstown, gives some information of this peculiar sect. The shepherd of the flock was one Curtis, known as Elder Curtis -- a tailor by trade, but like many individuals who assume clerical robes, not particularly fond of labor. He appeared to be well posted in the creed of his church, and professed to be a firm believer in the genuineness of the Prophet Joe Smith. -- He was one of the large number who left this State for Nauvoo, during the first excitement produced by the advent and preaching of Mormonism. Returning, however, after the destruction of that city, he again settled in Hornerstown -- where he continued to practice the duties of his Eldership until November last, when he died suddenly. He had but one wife.

The Saint upon whom the mantle of Elder Curtis seems to have fallen, is an Englishman by birth, named Richard Traceder, who emigrated to America after his conversion to the faith. He is, seemingly, a man of considerable intelligence -- has but one wife -- and though not an old man, has thirteen children.

A Mormon Camp Meeting is to be held near this place, shortly, under the charge of Elder Traceder. The time is not yet fixed, but it will most likely commence on Thursday, Sept. 12th. A large delegation of Saints is expected from Tom's River and vicinity, where they are quite numerous.

The society has embraced a number of respectable and wealthy farmers of this neighborhood; but now new converts are seldom made, and, with emigration and the constant falling from grace, the number is gradually dwindling down, and a few years will witness the entire extinction of Mormonism in that section of Monmouth and Ocean.

Note: Although William Smith did not live in New Jersey "for several years," he was especially active in that area between 1843 and 1845. See his defensive reply to misconduct charges brought against him by his former followers in New Jersey, as well as more accusations of a similar nature originating among the Mormons of his Boston congregation.


The  State  Gazette.
Vol. ?                         Trenton, N.J., Monday, October 6, 1856.                         No. 2950.

Correspondence of the State Gazette.

Mormonism in New Jersey.

Cream Rigde, N. J., Sept, 25th, 1856.
In looking over the columns of your very valuable, and popular of the 12th, inst., I observed an article headed "Mormons in New Jersey" -- the greater portion of the article purporting to be from "a correspondent of the Mount Holly Mirror, writing from Hornerstown."

Being formerly acquainted with the facts which drew forth the remarks by said correspondent, and also familiar with the faith of the "Latter Day Saints" or Mormons, as I have heard them preached; justice to "a number of respectable and wealthy farmers of this neighborhood," I think, demands of me, the correction of some of the statements contained in said article; also a brief recapitulation of what the faith and hopes of the Mormons are.

"Bill (William) Smith" the brother of the Prophet, did not "live for several years in Monmouth County," neither in New Jersey, only a few months, and was expelled [from] the Church, by the authorities at Nauvoo, for vicious habits; because the Mormons believe in virtue and chastity.
At the same time, they do not believe the acts of one man, or many, have any thing to do with the principles of truth emanating from heaven, or ought to millitate against the same....

Pardon me for thus intruding upon your columns, as my only wishes are to correct erroneous impressions, that have been sent abroad by the "correspondent of the Mirror," who, by the by, is a gentleman of Mount Holly, and who was stopping, some few weeks since, with a gingerbread merchant of Hornerstown, who is very much prejudiced against the Mormons, and all the information the correspondent had, he serived from said merchant. I am no Mormon -- never expect to be -- but I like free toleration and fair play. I trust you will make the foregoing public, and gratify a number of your subscribers here.  E. Y. W.

Note: Whether or not correspondent "E. Y. W." was a Mormon, his reluctance to identify William Smith's former transgressions among the Saints of New Jersey was typical of LDS critics of that period. They perhaps had good reason to refrain from making comparisons between William Smith's version of "spiritual wifery" and that practiced by Mormon elders who elected to follow Brigham Young to Utah. One such hazy-talking Utah leader was Apostle George A. Smith, who in 1857 voiced this obscure criticism of William Smith: "...excuse me for naming this; but I was so disgusted with the conduct of William, that, when I was in the Eastern States, I almost took pains to obliterate the fact from the earth that my name was Smith; for I considered it was the worst thing a man could do... for cousin William to go and endeavour to pull down the work of his brother, I feel that he has disgraced the family and the name.... -- The Saints could have carried William upon their shoulders; they could have carried him in their arms, and have done anything for him, if he would have laid aside his follies and wickedness, and would have done right.... This was the conduct of William Smith in the days of Joseph and afterwards, up to the present time. The principle that a man should stand upon in this world is simply this -- He should do right himself, and thereby set an example to others. But for a man to have good blood in his veins, and then to go and disgrace that blood, is perhaps a double responsibility."


Vol. ?                   Washington, D. C., Wednesday, January 13, 1858.                   No. ?

Spiritual Indecencies. -- A few years since, there was a sect in Vermont calling themselves 'Puritans,' who left the churches because of their alleged want of spiritual conduct, and complete emancipation from the control of human passions; and, to demonstrate and exhibit their beautific condition, men and women stripped themselves naked in the public assemblies, and gloried in their shame. Men of considerable intelligence and good sense were swept away by this foul fanaticism, and participated in its heathenish orgies. Such consequences as might have been anticipated followed this crisis of the fanaticism, and, having accomplished the ruin of many families, it became as stench in the nostrils of society, and soon relieved the world of its vile presence. A similar history was that of the Cochranites in Massachusetts within the present century. Their public exhibitions were even more gross than those of the 'Puritans,' and the civil power was in some instances obliged to intervene for the vindication of public decency. The Mormons have followed the same track. Polygamy was not an original article of their faith. It has crept in gradually, through the absolute power granted to their unscrupulous and beastly spiritual guides, and it is not unlikely to prove, in a very brief period, the dispersion and destruction of the sect. It is said that there are actually companies of Spiritualists in Boston who sit in circles, perfectly undisguised with clothing -- that is to say, in puris naturalibus, men and women indiscriminately!"   J. DORAN.

Note 1: The above excerpt was taken from a reprint featured in the Burlington Daily Hawk Eye of Jan. 22, 1858. Other papers added this final line: "We should not credit this statement, did it not come to us directly from those that know the facts. We do not believe that a large proportion of the Spiritualists approve these indecencies; but it will be a bad sign if they refrain from indignant denunciation of them, or affect to consider the exposure of them an attack upon Spiritualism itself; as it is not, unless the doctrine and believers assume the responsibility."

Note 2: One of the first writers to notice a religious link between the Vermont "Pilgrims" sect and early Mormonism, was James H. Kennedy -- see page 4 of his 1888 Early Days of Mormonism. An early side-by-side report on the Cochranites and Mormons, was published in the St. Louis Western Examiner of Nov. 1, 1834.


35th Congress - 1st Session.                     Thurs, Mar. 18, 1858.                     N. S. No. 65.


Thursday, March 18, 1858.


Mr. GWIN. I offer the following resolution, and if there be no objection I should like to have it considered at the present time:

Resolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to communicate to the Senate what steps have been taken, if any, to punish the parties implicated in the massacre of one hundred and eighteen emigrants to California, at the Mountain Meadows, in the Territory of Utah.

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution.

Mr. GWIN. I have not called attention to the subject-matter embraced in this inquiry before this for the reason that I had supposed that a military expedition would have been organized in California for the purpose of cooperating in Utah Territory with Colonel Johnston. When it is considered that a force composed of as fine a material as the world affords could have left California, and, long before this, could have traversed half their journey to Salt Lake City, it cannot be denied, if the Federal Government need additional troops in Utah, that my supposition had some foundation. Contrary to my own ideas and vote, the executive authority has been denied by Congress the increased military means which were asked; and hence it is now apparent that no large force can be sent from California to Utah.

I am afraid that in this we have committed a grave error. I am afraid that if the Federal arms should be resisted by misguided and rebellious men, the power and dignity of our country will not be vindicated by so imposing a force as the serious necessities of the case may require.

But, sir, I am induced by reasons peculiar to my position as Senator from California, to invite your attention to the incidents referred to in my resolution.

In September last, an emigrant train, composed of fifty-six men and sixty-two women and children, according to the best information that I can procure, were passing through Utah Territory, on their way to my own State. They were on our own soil, engaged in no unlawful pursuit; and yet, Mr. President, they were all murdered except a few children. I am unable to give to you the details of this horrid massacre, as they still remain shrouded in mystery. All that I can tell you, sir, is that one hundred and eighteen American citizens, including in this number sixty-two women and children, have been massacred without cause, and that as yet their blood is unavenged.

It is true, sir, that this outrage was not committed within the limits of California, or we, ourselves, without awaiting the tardy action of the Federal Government, would have sought and obtained a bloody vengeance; but the murdered victims had an intention to become Californians. They had left their homes in what you call the Far West, and, gathering their household goods, had taken up their march for our golden land of promise. Nay, sir, when they had reached the fatal Mountain Meadows, their longing eyes could almost behold the snow-covered peaks of our mountain ranges.

In all that constitutes unity of feeling and interest, they had become citizens of California, and as such, sir, as a Senator of that State, I am here to ask an account of the blood of my constituents.

As I before remarked, the details of this awful massacre are not known. There is no doubt that the various Indian tribes in the vicinity of the Mountain Meadows were the immediate agents in this butchery; and, sir, it is lamentable to say that, in the opinion of many well-advised parties, the Mormons themselves were their instigators and approvers. Upon this point no such positive evidence has been received as would justify me in asserting positively that they were guilty; and charity will gladly avail herself of any doubt which would hold our common nature to be free from so horrible a crime.

It is true, sir, that an intelligent and respectable meeting of citizens of Los Angeles, after an examination into the facts, expressed their deliberate conviction that the Mormons were equally guilty with the Indians, and asked the interposition of the President.

But, sir, there is no doubt that the Indians are culpable, and whether their guilt be shared by the Mormons or not, still their responsibility is the same, and the exactions of vengeance against them are undiminished.

Mr. President, since the Americans commenced to travel over the plains, since our hunters and adventurous trappers penetrated the remote valleys and gorges of the vast country lying between the Mississippi and the Sierra Nevada, since the Indian tribes between the Oregon and Sonora lines first heard the American name, no such reverse, no such loss, has been inflicted on us as the destruction of these one hundred and eighteen emigrants. We are accustomed to pity the poor Mexicans along our frontier line who suffer from the fierce inroads of the Camanches and Apaches; but, sir, the sad history of their border warfare will show but few, if any, more mournful and disgraceful massacres than the one of which I am speaking.

The intelligence of this massacre has spread throughout the numerous Indian tribes. The impunity with which it was effected, and the richness of the plunder that rewarded it, will be incentive to similar acts. Heretofore, when American citizens traveled together, particularly in large numbers, no Indian tribe would dare to attack them, for fear of the vengeance of a Government represented to them as strong and warlike; but, sir, if this matter be permitted to go unavenged; if this reverse be unrepaired, our prestige is destroyed, and new and more frequent massacres will take place.

We are now opening up the center of this continent, we are crossing it with wagons roads and mail lines, and unless we crush these vile and savage tribes with a strong hand, we expose to dreadful massacres our citizens, invited to travel in these inhospitable regions by our own action.

I have before remarked that these emigrants were murdered without cause. There was a report, derived from the Mormons, that the emigrants had poisoned the Indians back at Corn creek; but investigation has proved this statement to be utterly unreliable, and I have no hesitation in stating my belief that it is a calumny on the unburied dead. Yes, sir, on the unburied dead! No Christian has ever extended the rites of sepulture to the bodies of these victims; and an American who traveled near there, in a Mormon train, a few days after, was informed, by Mormons living in the vicinity, that it would be unsafe to attempt their burial.

Therefore, sir, I ask that the Secretary of War may be charged to investigate this matter. If this be proved true, I hope that an expedition will be sent from southern California to inflict upon the guilty parties a vengeance so summary as to be talked of with terror in every wigwam in the great Salt Lake basin.

MR. HOUSTON, I think the resolution would be more perfect if it were to require an inquiry to ascertain who did this act -- to find out first who perpetrated the act. Before we punish them, I think we had better ascertain who they were.

MR. GWIN. We know that our fellow-citizens were murdered. There is not one left to tell the story.

MR. HOUSTON. Some persons killed them. The Mormons are suspected of it. Some Indians must have been in the vicinity. Now, Indians frequently go several hundred miles to start an expedition for the purpose of killing the Indians resident near that place; and Indians from another quarter may come there, and be inculpated and brought into jeopardy, while those who committed the crime escape. I think the inquiry would be more proper to ascertain who perpetrated the act, and not make war without any foundation.

MR. GWIN, It is well known that the Indians in the neighborhood had a part of the spoils. That has been ascertained. They were implicated; they ought to be punished, and every one to whom it can be traced. I have no doubt that an expedition, if sent there, could soon ascertain the tribe of guilty Indians, and the white persons, if any, who instigated it, as has been charged.

MR. HOUSTON, That would be very unsatisfactory evidence, because Indians traffic, as well as white people, and exchange commodities. The murderers may have stripped them, and in passing back may have disposed of the articles to the tribes contiguous to where the massacre was perpetrated. I am opposed to this indiscriminate warfare upon Indians, or Mormons, or any other people, until their guilt is ascertained. I want the facts as to who perpetrated the crime ascertained, and then inflict punishment according to the offense. But to imagine that somebody has done it, and therefore that some one must be killed or massacred in retaliation, is not the way to retaliate; it is the way to produce war by inflicting chastisement, as they call it, on people who have perpetrated no offense on the Government. That is the way our Indian wars are kept up. The Treasury would be drained by hundreds of millions annually, if every occasion of an outrage were immediately to be redressed by falling upon the first Indians upon our extended frontier that are suspected, or upon any tribe, because they had in their possession articles taken on the occasion of a massacre.

A resolution requiring the Secretary to ascertain and to report the facts, I should be glad to pass; and if it can be ascertained who were the perpetrators of the deed, inflict upon them a punishment commensurate with their offense; but do not fall indiscriminately on the Indians who are at peace on our borders, and thus provoke hereafter the massacre of perhaps ten for every one that has fallen. We know that the Indians, if they can, never go unavenged of injuries done to them, and you may attack an innocent tribe that had no participancy in this transaction, and inflict on them a great wrong. Redress on their part is the consequence, and other innocent persons have to fall victims to this indiscriminate mode of warfare that we are conducting on our frontier.

MR. GWIN., I did not think that a member of the Senate of the United States could be found who would object to punishing what we know has been one of the most outrageous massacres that has ever been committed in the country. What does the Senator propose? That we shall make inquiries; that is to say, send persons there to be murdered as these emigrants were. I ask that a force shall be sent there that shall punish these persons, and they will only punish them when it is ascertained who they are. That is what I propose. I want a force sent there of sufficient power to inflict the most condign and summary punishment on these murderers, who have massacred men, women, and children -- American citizens -- passing peacefully through the country, and then, after they are murdered and left unburied, bring forth a false accusation that they had attempted to poison the Indians, as some excuse!

It is a charge which has never been sustained by any testimony. All that I ask is that the murderers shall be punished. I do not want innocent Indian tribes attacked, and I do not expect they will be attacked. They have made this attack on American citizens. On nearly the only emigrant route now open to California this massacre has taken place. We hear a great deal of sympathy for the massacres of citizens by the Apaches and other tribes of Indians, but there is nothing like this atrocious deed in the history of our country. Not one of the whole party of one hundred and eighteen was left. They only spared a few children under five years of age, in order to make slaves of them; all the adults were murdered so that they should not have an opportunity to divulge who committed this terrible crime. I want force to be sent there to make the inquiry, and then to inflict punishment. That is all I ask.

MR. FOOT. I move to postpone the further consideration of this question and all other orders, and that the Senate now proceed to the consideration of the bill for the admission of the State of Kansas into the Union, which was the unfinished business yesterday.

MR. GWIN. Does the Senator from Texas object to the passage of the resolution?

MR. HOUSTON. I do not, if the gentleman will amend it in such a way as to ascertain --

THE VICE PRESIDENT, The Senator from Vermont is on the floor and has made a motion....

The motion was agreed tp; and the Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the bill (S. No. 161) to provide for the admission of the State of Kansas into the Union...

Note 1: See the Washington, D.C. Daily National Intelligencer of Mar. 19, 1858 for another report of Senator Gwin's resolution. These 1858 congressional activties are briefly summarized in Bancroft's History of Utah, in Dunn's Massacres of the Mountains, pp. 305-06, and a mention of local gratitude for Gwin's efforts is given in the Fayetteville Arkansian of Oct. 7, 1859.

Note 2: Senator Gwin's resolution was passed by the Senate the following day (March 19th) and on March 30th the initial response was had (as published in the Congressional Globe p. 1412, for March 30th): "The President pro tempore laid before the Senate a report of the Secretary of War, in compliance with a resilution of the Senate calling for information respecting the massacre of California emigrants at the Mountain Meadows in the Territory of Utah; which was, on motion of Mr. Hunter, ordered to lie on the table....



Vol. XXIII.                           Camden, N. J., Saturday, July 3, 1869.                           No. 26.

STARTLING STORY ABOUT SECRET MORMON SOCIETY IN UTAH. -- A certain number, said to be twelve, of the most desperate characters in the church were selected from among the Danites to commit such assassinations as might be found neccesary by the prophet for the "welfare" and "advancement" of his holy cause. The murder of Gov. Boggs, and many others, was planned in the secret conclaves of the Danites, and executed by the chosen "twelve." The attempt to murder Gov. Boggs, fortunately failed, and at least one of the would-be murderers is now known to live in Utah. Both of these secret societies now exist in Salt Lake City. The discipline is more perfect under Brigham Young than under Joe Smith, and consequently the aims more sure, the objects more certainly accomplished. No sooner does a Gentile enter Salt Lake City than he is placed under the surveillance of the secret police. A member of the Danite organization is deputed to watch him from the time he comes until he leaves. His habits. words and careless expressions of opinion are noted and reported, that the Mormon authorities may determine whether he is a friend, a secret enemy, or an open and avowed opposer of Mormon iniquity. The day has been when expression of opinions inimical to the Mormon leaders would result in assassination to the bold defender, and sometimes even the mere suspicion that a Gentile was opposed to Mormon rule would produce such a result. -- Salt Lake Reporter.

Note: For a lengthier reprint from the Salt Lake Reporter, see the June 7, 1869 issue of the Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin.


Daily  State  Gazette.

Vol. XXIV.                           Trenton, N. J., Saturday, May 7, 1870.                           No. 109.


Among the incidents of the place is the fact that at an early day Mormonism found disciples here, among families as respectable as any in the state -- such names as Burtis, Wyckoff, Ivins, Wilson and Curtis are associated with the early organization of this peculiar people.

In 1837, a man named Benjamin Winchester, from the state of New York, one of the original disciples of Joseph Smith, preached the first Mormon sermon in New Egypt. He continued for some time to hold regular meetings in the school house. He gave in his discourses a minute account of the original discovery of the golden plates near Palmyra, in New York, by Jos. Smith, and their translation by him and Sidney Rigdon; and claimed that they were deposited by a people two thousand years before -- the lost tribe of Israel. He operated in this neighborhood for some time. Mr. Abraham Burtis became a preacher; but a larger number flocked to the Mormon standard at Hornerstwon, where they finally built a church, and a good many very respectable people adhered to the faith. The church and the interest, however, has gone down. A few still remain Mormons. Some went to Salt Lake. The excitement extended as far as Toms River, and here too they built a church. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, visited New Egypt, Hornerstown and Toms River in 1840, and sealed a large number to the church, some of whom are still living. Rev. William Smith, a brother of Joseph, preached frequently at New Egypt. He preached the funeral sermon of Alfred Wilson, who was originally a Methodist and became a Mormon preacher. James L. Curtis, originally a Methodist, also became a Mormon preacher. The excitement carried off quite a number from the Methodist church. But of late years the interest has entirely died out, and it is now remembered only as one of those remarkable religious peculiarities that sometimes find "a local habitation and a name."

Note 1: See also the State Gazette for Sept. 6, 1856 and Oct. 6, 1856.

Note 2: The following biographical excerpt is taken from David J. Whittaker's Fall, 1995 article from the Journal of Mormon History, entitled "East of Nauvoo: Benjamin Winchester and the Early Mormon Church," copyright © 1995 by David J. Whittaker:
...on 16 February 1843, Peter Hess [presiding elder of the Philadelphia LDS branch] wrote Hyrum Smith an overview of the Philadelphia difficulties as he saw them. Hess reviewed the events of the October conference, describing increasing disagreements between George J. Adams and [Benjamin] Winchester over Winchester's continued insistence on dealing harshly with "refractory" members who had been meeting at the Marshall Institute. Thus, he felt that the conference had failed to support Winchester's leadership between April and October. Winchester also made numerous charges of adultery, which later turned into accusations of polygamy and spread to include members in Boston and New York. Hess had opposed these recommendations, recalling that Hyrum Smith had counseled "mildness" in dealing with transgressors. --- It is clear that Winchester was again out of favor with the Philadelphia leaders, but the exact problem is not clear... George J. Adams, back from Boston, agreed with others that Winchester was guilty of "back-biting and bickering." He had also said that Sybbella Armstrong of Philadelphia had been seen publicly drunk. The witnesses against him failed to give any information that was not hearsay, Winchester strongly denied all charges, and the meeting adjourned to the next day in "some little confusion." No record of a second meeting exists, and both women wrote to Joseph Smith in May "complaining of the slanderous conduct of Benjamin Winchester." Joseph Smith immediately directed the Twelve to act upon the matter, then met with the apostles, Adams, and Winchester five days later on 27 May to investigate Winchester's conduct.

About two months after the investigations in Nauvoo, Adams wrote to Peter Hess: "Winchester was entirely used up by Bro. Joseph and Bro. Young before the council of the Twelve and his license [was] taken from him. It was his last kick until he reformed. I never heard a man get such a scoring since the Lord made me as Winchester got at that time."

...The group heard several letters read, including Sybbella Armstrong's complaint, then Winchester made a lengthy speech justifying himself. Adams gave testimony against Winchester, to which Winchester again responded in his own defense. At this point, Joseph Smith stood up and "rebuked Elder Winchester in the sharpest manner; said he had a lying spirit and had lied about him, and told him of his many errors." ...After Winchester had asked for time to investigate the merits of Armstrong's letter, of which he had just learned the contents, Young suggested that the Nauvoo high council hear the matter. Joseph Smith instructed the Twelve that they were "to regulate the churches and elders abroad in all the world" while the high council concerned itself only with Nauvoo. --- ...Joseph Smith then counseled that Winchester be silenced and that his license for preaching be taken from him, that he and his family move to Nauvoo, "and if he would not do that, let him go out of the church." The body unanimously accepted this counsel, and Winchester agreed not to preach... Two days later, the Twelve sent a special message to the Saints in Philadelphia, counseling in the strongest tenus that these members gather without delay to Nauvoo.

Winchester obediently went back to Philadelphia and prepared to move his family to Nauvoo. We have little information on his activities during this period, but Brigham Young traveled with Winchester and Heber C. Kimball in the Philadelphia area in August 1843, and he became involved with personal conflicts Apostle William Smith was having in New Jersey in the fall of 1843. According to a pamphlet Smith published in early 1844, Winchester told Smith that Abraham Burtis, the presiding elder in the branch at New Egypt, New Jersey, was planning to sue Smith for defamation of character, claiming that Smith had forged a letter purporting to be from a Dr. Lee that slandered his wife's morals. Smith gave Winchester Lee's letter, which convinced Burtis that the letter was valid. At a special conference on 18 October 1843 at New Egypt, Burtis was excommunicated for rejecting the authority of the Church, for circulating slanderous reports, and for unchristian-like conduct. Winchester's vote was negative, suggesting either hurt feelings about his own May trial in Nauvoo or possibly stronger ties to Burtis. Winchester had opened this area of New Jersey to missionary work in 1838, and Burtis may have been one of his converts. William Smith calls Burtis "a particular favorite of Bros. Winchester and [E.] Snow."

Eighteen forty-three was obviously a critical year for Benjamin Winchester. His commitment to the Church had reached both a high and a low point. His History of the Priesthood was in many ways his best work, but his trial had brought him rebuke and rejection from the very priesthood leaders whose authority his book had sought to legitimize.... --- When Joseph Smith declared his candidacy for U.S. president in February 1844, Winchester was among the 340 missionaries called to carry both Smith's campaign views and the religious message throughout the country in April. He was obviously in full fellowship, for he was put in charge of a group of fourteen, and these instructions appeared at the bottom of the published minutes: "Elder B. Winchester is instructed to pass through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, to visit the churches, hold conferences, and preside over them." His departure date from Nauvoo is not known; but by June he and Elder John Brown were in Noxubee County, Mississippi, with "special instructions for the saints." When he received word on 1 July of Joseph Smith's death, he left for Nauvoo.



Vol. CXXVII.                     Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, May 13, 1873.                     No. 19.

The Mormon Bible.

I find in my scrap-book, set down there thirty years ago, an item which may of interest at the present time, when the Mormon problem is evidently approaching a civilized solution. The truth of the statement herein given was vouched for in my presence by a mnn who was above deceit. The origin of the "Book of Mormon," so called, has been a puzzle to many, much of it being evidently the production of a cultivated mind, and yet springing to light from the hands of illiterate men.

lt was written, in 1812-13, as a literary recreation, by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, at that time residing in New Salem, Ohio; and, as he wrote it, it professed to be a historical romance of a lost race, the remains of whose numerous mounds and inscriptions are found on the banks of the Ohio. After the work had been completed the author had thoughts of having it printed, and for that purpose he gave the manuscript into the hands of the printer, in whose office it remained for several years, but the design of printing was not carried into execution. As foreman in the printing office where Mr. Spaulding's romance was lodged was employed Sidney Rigdon, who afterward figured conspicuously in Mormon history; and there is no doubt that he copied the manuscript and subsequently gave it to Smith. Upon the appearance of the Book of Mormon, in 1830, there were those living to whom Mr. Spaulding had read parts of his romance, and they recognized his verbiage in the book. Upon search the originaI manuscript was found among the papers of the deceased clergyman, and on comparison the Mormon Bible proved to have been not materially altered from this parent text. Of course the discovery soon made considerable talk. A great many people went to see the manuscript, and at the expiration of a few weeks it mysteriously disappeared. As there was a Mormon preacher in New Salem at the time, with proselytes at his heels, the mystery of the disappearance was not very deep.

Note 1: The above item, from the writer's "scrap-book" appeared in Vol. 28 of the New York Ledger. It is a somewhat extended paraphrase of an article that originally appeared in the Boston Advertiser in April of 1839. In the process of the telling and re-telling of this old story, Sidney Rigdon gets promoted from, at first having a "connection" with the printing office where Solomon Spalding's manuscript was taken; to being a journeyman printer there; and finally, to being the foreman of the shop! There is absolutely no historical evidence to indicate that Rigdon ever worked in the printing trade. As for the allegation that "a great many people went to see the manuscript" while it was being exhibited in New Salem, Ohio -- that too is a gross exaggeration of the probable facts. In the final days of December, 1833, the ex-Mormon preacher D. P. Hurlbut reportedly displayed in public, in and around Geauga Co., Ohio, what he claimed was Spalding's "Manuscript Found." There is no testimony on record saying that he ever exhibted that document in New Salem (or Conneaut, as the place was being called by 1833). The manuscript Hurlbut was displaying in Geauga Co. did quickly disappear from public view. Also, he is known to have taken another Spalding manuscript to Conneaut, at the end of Dec. 1833, and to have shown it to a small number of people there. This document survived in the keeping of Painesville newspaper editor Eber D. Howe throughout the year 1834 and was subsequently misplaced among his news office files. The writer of the above article has either conflated these two incidents of manuscript exhibition, or, more likely, has simply exaggerated yet another part of the old report from the Boston Advertiser. See also a reprint in the Salt Lake Tribune of May 02, 1874, which attributes the article to "S. C. Jr."

Note 2: See the report of Rev. Clark Braden in his second debate with RLDS Bishop Kelley, for information on some eye-witnesses who reportedly attended D. P. Hurlbut's meetings where Spalding's writings were "displayed in public, in and around Geauga Co., Ohio."


The Palisade Guardian.

Vol. I.                         Jersey City, N. J., Saturday, September 23, 1876.                         No. 46.


The Mormon Church Sacrifices Lee for
Its Own Protection.

In the second trial of Mormons charged with being engaged in the Mountain Meadow massacre, several new witnesses testified. Samuel Knight's testimony went to show that he was driving one of the wagons which contained arms; heard the first gun fired after the immigrants had been decoyed out; saw Lee blow a woman's brains out, beat another to death with his gun, and murder several others, and at the same time saw the Indians make a rush on the women and children, whom they slew.

Samuel McMurdy testified that he drove the other wagon after the immigrants had been decoyed out by a flag of truce, and the whole column commenced moving up the meadow; heard the command to halt, and, looking round, saw Lee put his gun to a woman's head and fire; she fell; heard Lee beating a man's brains out with a gun; Lee then came to witness' wagon and shot all the wounded men with his pistol and dragged the bodies to the ground; only the children in the wagon were saved. This witness refused to tell whether he took part in the killing, but on the former trial it came out that he was the man who, while in the act of firing on one of the wounded immigrants, said: "Oh, Lord, receive their spirits, for it is for Thy sake we do these things!"

Nephi Johnson, who went to the meadows as an Indian interpreter, testified that he saw Lee shoot the woman referred to, and cut a man's throat as he dragged him from the wagon. This witness was extremely careful to tell nothing implicating any one but Lee, and continually forgetting names and incidents not relating wholly to the defendant. His cross examination, which was searching, showed that he could tell sufficient to hang every man who took part in the massacre. All he said damaged Lee materially.

Jacob Hamlin testified as to a conversation between himself and Lee four days after the butchery, in which the defendant justified himself by claiming that it was necessary as a military measure. Hamlin stated that Lee further told him that an Indian chief, who lived at Cedar, brought two girls, who had been hiding in the brush, to him (Lee) and asked what he should do with them, that they were too pretty to kill; Lee answered that he must shoot them, that they were too big; the Indian then shot one and Lee threw the other down and cut her throat; that when Hamlin returned to his ranch he went over the ground and found the bodies of two girls about the age described, from thirteen to fifteen years, lying near together, with their throats cut as described to him by Lee; that one of the children, who was about eight years old, was at his house, and claimed the two bodies as her sisters, and that their name was Dunlap. Hamlin, on being asked by the defense if he had ever told this to any one replied that he had, and more too. He said that soon after the occurrence, when he remembered better than he did now, he had told it to President Young and George A. Smith, and that President Young told him that when the right time came, we could get a court of justice to state it in; being further pressed, Hamlin said he had not seen the officers of any court of justice from that time to this, but he thought now was just the right time to tell it.

Johnson, on being recalled, stated that subsequent to the massacre he was sent to protect the next company of immigrants to the Santa Clara river; that on his way he stopped at Harmony, where he saw John D. Lee, who proposed to him to get the immigrants into an ambush to destroy them by the Indians, and so get their property; also that he (Johnson) replied: 'There has been too much bloodshed by you already. I have been instructed to see them safely through, and I will do so or die with them;" that he then abused him, calling him ugly names; that he identified the prisoner at the bar as being John D. Lee.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Herald & Torch Light.

Vol. 65.                         Hagerstown, Md., Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1877.                         No. 4.

Death  of  Brigham  Young.

A despatch under date of August 29, from Salt Lake City, announces the death of Brigham Young, which occurred in that city on that day, after an illness of some days. It seems that Brigham was born at Whitingham, Vermont, June 1, 1801, being the son of a farmer, and was therefore a little over 76 years. It appears further that he was educated in the Baptist Church, and that his trade was that of a pointer and glazier, but being a man of much natural ability, and seeking every opportunity to place himself in a position where he could lead and govern his fellow men; Mormonism in 1832, at [Kirtland] Ohio, presented that opportunity, and from thence forward, he was very successful as a preacher of Mormon doctrines. --

We remember of meeting him in our town, in company with Sidney Rigdon, another great Mormon light, in the year 1837, about forty years ago, and of hearing him in a controversy with a good old Presbyterian Elder, who, according to our judgment, so quickly floored him upon all the material points involved in the controversy, that his friend and co-laborer, Rigdon, had to come to his rescue, and who made a far more plausible argument in defense of Mormonism than Young. But after the death of Smith, Young seemed to take the lead of the Mormons, and really became one of the greatest aristocrats in the Western world. He continued for many years to wield an almost unlimited and despotic power over his people, and over a large and valuable territory in the United States, Latterly, this territory has attracted many hundreds, if not thousands of miners, who hate a Mormon about as earnestly as Satan does Holy water, and these have made vigorous warfare upon Brigham and his followers, and their system of religion, and we think he died but a very short time before the departure of his power and the death of his religion.

Note: According to M. R. Werner's 1925 Brigham Young, the Mormon leader "succeeded in disposing of $10,000" in worthless Kirtland Safety Society banknotes, while "on a missionary trip to the eastern states." Presumably this excursion to the east occurred in March of 1837. Rigdon's reported presence on Young's eastern tour is not otherwise recorded.


The Washington Post.
Vol. ?                   Washington, D. C., Wednesday, February 16, 1881.                   No.1,042.


The Original Manuscript Claimed to
Have Never Been Destroyed.

From the Chicago Tribune.

PITTSBURG, Pa., Feb. 9. -- The proposed celebration in Washington county in memory of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, author of the "Book of Mormon," is creating considerable comment in religious circles here. It has for many years been announced that the Rev. Mr. Spaulding was the original author of the "Mormon Bible," which is more commonly known as the "Book of Mormon;" but now comes a Latter-Day Saint, or Mormon preacher, T. W. Smith by name, who for some time past has been preaching in a hall on Fourth avenue, in this city. Mr. Smith says that the Rev. Mr. Spaulding was not the author of the "Book of Mormon," and adds: "Mrs. McKinstry, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, and wife of Dr. A. McKinstry, of Monson, Mass., states that her father died in Amity, Pa. in 1816; that directly after, with her mother, she went to visit an uncle named Sabine in Onondaga county, New York;" that she "saw manuscript about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some stories my father had written for me;" on the outside of this manuscript were written the words, "Manuscript Found;" that in 1834 a Mr. Hurlbert came to her mother (who had in 1820 married a Mr. Davidson), and from her. by an order on Mr. Jerome Clark, with whom she had placed the manuscript, he obtained the same. This Hurlbert was an excommunicated Mormon, and, in retaliation for his expulsion, sought to destroy the Book of Mormon, thinking. from what he had heard, that this manuscript found was the basis of the Book of Mormon, the latter being the same work with "slight alterations." Mr. Smith now claims that Hurlbert never returned the MS. to Mrs. D.; that he still possesses it; and that it can be obtained by law.

Note 1: The above Chicago Tribune reporting is obviously faulty. RLDS Apostle Thomas Wood Smith (1838-1894) appears to have been referring to the "printer's" copy of the Book of Mormon manuscript, then in the possession of David Whitmer.

Note 2: Apostle Wood was preaching in the Pittsburgh area during the early months of 1881. He evidently submitted a letter for publication to the Pittsburgh Dispatch around the end of January, 1881. In a Feb. 28, 1881 letter written to anti-Mormon, James T. Cobb, Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr. says, "I mail herewith Pittsburgh 'Dispatch' of this date with your reply to Mr. T. W. Smith..." Thus, it appears that Cobb (then living in Salt Lake City) had sufficient time to receive Smith's article, respond to it, and have his reply received in Pittsburgh well before the end of February, 1881. -- See notes appended to "That Plagiarized 'Book of Mormon,'" in the January 1881 Pittsburgh Leader.


The Washington Post.
Vol. ?                             Washington, D. C., Sunday, July 27, 1884.                             No. ?

The only survivor of the little band of dupers and duped who were co-Iaborers of Joseph Smith in the work of founding the Church of the Latter Day Saints is David Whitmer, an aged man now residing in Richmond, Mo. He is spoken of as a man of "blameless life," and the probability is that he was one of the duped. He claims that he now has in his possession the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, an object of great interest to all devout saints. Recently there has been a strong anti-polygamy movement among that branch of the Mormon Church which does mot believe in or practice the peculiar patriarchal custom, and some of the brethren have called on Mr. Whitmer to compare the copies of their Bible with the original text, and they find that, instead of upholding polygamy, the revered original actually denounces it. The origin of the Mormon Bible is well known. It was a novel written by the Rev. Solomon Spalding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, and stolen by Sidney Rigdon. Joe Smith declared that it was a translation of hieroglyphics insecribed on metal plates, and that an angel of the Lord had revealed to him the pIace where the plates were concealed, in Ontario County, New York. It was some years after the original "revelation" when Smith had another "revelation" commanding the saints to take as many wives as they deemed expedient. These are the well-known facts in relation to the origin of the book and the church, but most of the Mormons may fairly be assumed to be honest in their belief.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIX.                         Trenton, N.J., Monday, February 1, 1886.                         No. 231.

A REPORT is now going through the newspapers of Mr. Rice, of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, of the original manuscript of what is known as the "Mormon Bible," which Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon first published. The manuscript was written as a sort of religious or scriptural novel or romance, by Rev. Solomon Spalding, who then resided in Northern Ohio, having removed thither from Vermont, as Joe Smith did also. This is not a new story to us. We knew it, in all its details, more than forty years ago, from relatives of our family, who lived at Conneaut, Ohio, and who knew both Spalding and Rigdon. It was then asserted, and the proof was very strong, that the story was true that Sid Rigdon, who was a journeyman printer, stole, or got access to, the Rev. Mr. Spalding's manuscript, and from it he and Smith concocted the Mormon Bible, and also the story about the marvelous revelation and the alleged digging up of the metal plates in a field near Attica [sic], New York, on which Smith pretended the "holy writings" were inscribed. The original manuscript was lost, and it was supposed that Rigdon had destroyed it, but now it is said that Mr. Rice has found it, but does not know how it came to be in his possession and among his papers of long ago. Mr. Rice was forty years ago a newspaper publisher in northern Ohio, and it is probable that Rigdon, instead of destroying the stolen manuscript, left it in Mr. Rice's office. There is, we think, no doubt of the identity of the old Spalding romance manuscript with the Joe Smith Mormon Bible.

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 10,576.                   Washington, D. C., Saturday April 9, 1887.                   Two Cents.

A Mormon Manifesto.


At the general conference of the Mormon Church in Provo, Utah, yesterday, an epistle was read from Presidents Taylor, Cannon, and Smith, who comprised the first presidency of the church. It congratulates the people upon their peace and prosperity and upon the increased growth of Mormonism, notwithstanding the efforts of its enemies to the contrary, and exhorts the people to be vigorous observers of their duties and to stand true to the principles espoused from the organization of the church. The epistle goes on to say that various agencies have been employed to effect the overthrow of the church; that falsehood and violence, having been tried in vain, a new crusade has been inaugurated in the form of legislative tyranny, carried on by cunning adventurers and reckless fanatics. Referring to the Edmunds law of 1882, it says: "In the haste and zeal of madness to destroy Mormonism, all settled principles of jurisprudence are disregarded and evil precedents are established. Men talk and act as if it were absolutely essential to the happiness of the people of the republic to override every true principle of government in order to strike down a majority of the people of Utah. There is danger that the precedent now being made will in the future be fruitful of evil to the people of this republic."

The epistle is chiefly remarkable for its silence on the subject of polygamy, to which it makes no allusion whatever.

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 10,577.                   Washington, D. C., Monday April 11, 1887.                   Two Cents.


The Report of the First Presidency --
How the Lord Punishes His People.

SALT LAKE CITY, April 9. -- The April conference of the Mormon Church, held at Provo, adjourned yesterday after a three days' thinly-attended session. The address of the first presidency was read, all the members signing. The first presidency report themselves in good health and spirits. Twelve have been laboring with great effeciency. The people are all diligent in the observance of their religious duties and attend the meetings faithfully. The afflictions of the saints are now passing through are the scourge of the Lord upon them for their past remissness and disregard of His will. "Yet bow the spiritual condition of the flock is rather satisfactory, and the Lord will not permit our enemies to triumph over us for any length of time. It was the prayers of the faithful that defeated the vicious legislation aimed at this people during the past year. Although the law is harsh the saints will be able to bear its operation patiently and without grievous loss. The teachings heretofore given to the church must be kept in mind, and the inner lives of the people ordered thereon; then all will be well and the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be with us." After this there follows a violent condemnation of cirgarette smoking, and a call for the teachers to stop the young from indulging in it. The bishops and presidents are urged to give attention to the temporal welfare of the people and to see that all have employment. Retrospect is indulged in, and the report says that the adversary of souls has always been stirring up the wicked to destroy this people. Everything said against Mormonism is denounced as false, and everything done against it as unconstitutional. A sort of history of the recent legislation is put forth in which bills and laws are hopelessly intermixed, and the conclusion is arrived at that "no such law was ever enacted in this country before." The address deprecates persecutions of the Saints, and advises them to follow the advice of the priesthood in all things. A review of the material prosperity of the Territory closes with a renewed expression of confidence in the "triumph of righteousness" and the overthrow of "the enemies of the Lord." The afflictions the saints now endure will be made to appear very trifling. Full confidence is expressed that the clouds which darken the horizon will soon be dissipated.


Where the First "Stake of Zion" was Planted.


Special Correspondence of the EVENING STAR.

KIRTLAND, OHIO, April 8.        
Few events have occurred since the time [of] Mahomet, more marvelous than the rise and progress of the Mormon Church, or, as they prefer to be called, "The Church of Latter Day Saints."

That branch of the Smith family from which sprang the Mormon prophet possessed many traits of character which to the close observer would, in many respects, distinguish them from the other members of the race, and from the community at large. We gather from a small volume, written by the mother of this extraordinary man, that the family were English; that they were in this country as early as 1663, and from that time down to Joseph many of them, at divers times and places, saw visions, and were dreamers of dreams.

The father of the prophet was thus distinguished -- could see a vision and dream almost equal to Joseph himself , but those wonderful revelations which were to usher in upon the worls a new dispensation, and to be the foundation of a new religion, in the light of which the churches of Christendom were to wax old as a garment and disappear -- were revered for the son, now regarded as a marytr, and served as a prophet by 200,000 people. He was born at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1815 [sic]. At ten years of age he, with his father and family, moved to Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, and, settling on a farm, his father followed, as before, the business of farming, till young Joseph was of age. During all this time his education was sadly neglected. He knew little of arithmetic, was a poor speller, an indifferent reader, and his writing was hardly legible. We cannot learn that he had any knowledge of grammar whatever. When quite young, as he declares, he was often the subject of deep religious impressions, sometimes moving him to ecstacies.


During one of these strange experiences an angel of God met him, and they for a time held sweet converse together. The angel told the boy, for he was only 17 years old, that wonderful events were about to be given to the world; that the American Indians were descendants of the lost tribes; that the records of that ancient people were preserved, and that if he was faithful God would make him an honored instrument, through whom these great blessings -- this new gospel -- should be brought to the children of men; and finally was told that his sins were forgiven. The angel did not leave him, however, without instructions in regard to the finding of the lost records. The next day he proceeded to a high hill, which he called Gomorrah, in Palmyra, and under a large stone found the mysterious plates and with them were found two transparent stones, set in the rim of a bow. This was called the Urim and Thummim, and through its aid only could the writing on the plates be made known. The whole were enclosed in a massive stone chest, and there these records had lain, since Maron [sic]. the last of the scribes and the last of his race, had hidden them away and then died.

But at this time the young prophet was permitted only yo look at them, not to handle or to possess them, and not till after four years did the angel deliver them into his hands. The reason why he had not obtained them before was because he had not implicitly obeyed the directions given by the angel. His mother declares that a few days before he did have them fairly in his hands, but thinking he saw a treasure where the golden plates had lain, he dropped them in order to secure it, and when he would take them again, behold! they had vanished, and he went home sorrowing.


Having finally gained the records, and the knowledge getting among the neighbors, they gathered into mobs and would have robbed him; so he fled to Penn., the plates concealed in a barrel of beans. Here, by inspiration of God, and the use of the "Urim and Thummim," this strange writing was deciphered and made known to the world. A scribe was employed to write the translation, word by word, as it came from the lips of the prophet. At length the translation was complete, was published, and 3,000 copies were sent out. In subsequent editions the text was in many cases revised. It is quite difficult now to obtain a copy of this first edition.

To the saints, this book of Mormon is of equal authority with any book of the common Bible, or all together. It was often called, years ago, the "Golden Bible." It is as implicitly believed as the Psalms of David, or the writings of the apostles; more than that, it stands in relation to the New Testament as the new does to the old. As the New Testament is the evidence of a new dispensation, superseding the old where not confirmed, so this supersedes the new. Smith declares himself, in one of his visions, that the Angel of the Lord told him in answer to the question, "Which sect is right, which sect shall I join?" "None; all are wrong. They are abominations in the sight of the Lord." So a new church was organized, Smith being baptized by his scribe, and he baptized his scribe in return. Soon four others submitted to the ordinance, and on the 6th day of April, 1830, they came together Latter Day Saints." Such was the beginning of Mormonism. It claims to have restored the ancient faith of the church, that in consequence all the gifts, such as prophecy,revelation, healing, &c., are in it, and even raising the dead, lie within its possibilities.


The church grew and increased mightily, and in 1831 the prophet came to Kirtland. Its soil was fertile, the climate salubrious, and here he stuck the first "stake" of Zion, and here the faithful were commanded to gather. But Lirtland was not the only place. Missouri was selected as another point where a stake of Zion should be placed. Men were sent there, preaching by the way, bought land, quarreled with the people, and were barbarously driven out; bought again, and again were driven from their homes by murderous mobs.

Meantime Lirtland was booming. One ever-continyous stream of Mormon emigrants poured over and into her borders. Some possessed means, but the great majority were poor. The hamlet grew into a village, and the village into a city, abd at one time there were said to be 3,000 Mormons in Kirtland, The writer of this article lives in the township, was born there, and knows whereof he speaks. For two miles and more, in any direction from the temple, the land was almost entirely settled by Mormons. You may discover to-day, in wandering over this sacred land, the signs of former habitations. The plow has obliterated many, but in the fields, in the woods, down in some ravine, or by some spring, many may still be seen. A stone or two, reddened by the hearth-fires that glowed with heat and comfort so many years ago; an apple tree, gnarled and old; a flower set by fair hands, still blooming and dying, gives mournful testimony of the desolation that overtook that people. But, whatever faults the Mormons may be justly charged with, want of economy, energy, and thrift are not among them. Not much more than a year had passed since the prophet appeared in Kirtland, than a revelation was received commanding that a house of the Lord should be built and giving directions how to build it.


The work was immediately commenced, and in the short time of two years completed. The building was simply magnificent. No building the whole West could compare with it. It was of stone found in the hill a mile south. Its length is 79 feet, width 60, and 50 feet to the eaves. The cost was $40,000. There was great rejoicing when the day of dedication came. Rigdon, one of the most eloquent men among them -- and many think that but for him Mormonism had not been known -- took a prominent part in the ceremonies. In the two pulpits, at either end of that immense audience room, were twenty-four seats, all filled with the dignataries of the church, in accordance with their respective ranks. The father of the prophet, upon whom was conferred the title of patriarch, sat high up among the honored ones, and near the west window. Now, it is related, a strange thing happened. When the interest of the occasion was at its height an angel was seen to glide noiselessly in at the open window, and after a moment, folded his winga, taking a seat beside the patriarch. The account of this heavenly visitant, substantially as I have given it, may be found in one of the church books, out of which it was read before the conference when assembled here for the first time four years ago, as a part of its proceedings. The inscription on the tablet facing the street, and on the east end, declares that this temple was built in 1834, but a Mormon who lived here at the time says that it was not finished till 1836. The prophet wished to establish a bank. A charter was applied for, which the legislature refused. But the bank was established nevertheless. If I am not mistaken it went down in less than a year. But in the meantime thousands of its bills had been put out, property bought with them, goods and cattle mainly, and whoever held the bills when the bank went down lost them. As we have said, the founder of Mormonism appeared in Kirtland in 1830..


In 1838 the great emigration from Kirtland took place. From a noisy, bustling, thriving village it sank at once into a condition of dullness painfully apparent to the people who had been here and witnessed all. The prophet never returned to Kirtland, but a fair devition of the faith refused to leave the temple, and here a remnant of them remain. The main audience-room of the temple was so arranged that thick curtains, almost impervious to sound, could be let down from the ceiling, dividing it into four rooms; and it is said that religious services could be held in all four at the same time with little or no interruption. When the Mormons left it fell into decay. Windows were broken, doors swung loose, slamming with every gust of wind. During these fifty years, nit one has come and gone that did not bring a hundred, at least, of believers and unbellevers, the former to gape with moistened eye and troubled heart on the ruins of this once splendid edifice -- the house of God, in which His power, glory and majesty had been so often made manifest, the latter to muse on this stupendous folly of fanatical man. The fourth point of Mormon gathering was at Nauvoo, Ill. But a strange fatality followed them. Five years, perhaps [but?] saw their dispersion from that stake of Zion, their temple destroyed, their city plundered, and their leader and prophet murdered.
J. C.              

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 10,578.                   Washington, D. C., Tuesday April 12, 1887.                   Two Cents.

About  Mormonism.


To the Editor of the EVENING STAR:

In the article on Mormonism published in last evening's STAR the writer says: Smith was born in 1815; that the angel appeared to him when he was 17 years old, and told him of the wonderful events that were to occur, while further on he says Smith and others organized the church in 1830, when Smith could have been no more than fifteen.

A book in my possession gives a number of affidavits made by neighbors of the Smith family, asserting that the whole tribe were a shiftless, intemperate, visionary pack. The following may prove interesting to some who read yesterday's article:

"Peter Ingersol testifies: 'One day he (Smith) came to me with a joyful countenance. Upon asking the cause of his happiness he replied: "I found yesterday in the woods some beautiful white sand. I took off my frock and tied up several quarts of it and then went home. On my entering the house I found the family eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment I happened to think of what I had heard about a history found in Canada called the Golden Bible and very gravely told them it was the Golden Bible. They believed what I said. I told them I had received commandment to let no one see it, for no man could see it with the naked eye and live. However, I offered to show it, but they refused to see it and left the room. "Now," said Jo., "I have got the damned fools fixed and will carry out the fun."

The real book of Mormon was written by Solomon Spaulding, a Dartmouth man, and was entitled "The Manuscript Found." It was a historical romance on the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show (a favorite notion of many minds) that the Indians are descendants of the Jews. The manuscript fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, a Campbellite preacher, who became prominent in the new church, but managed to keep his operations completely hidden from the public.

The original promoters, made bold by their influence over other ignorant persons, tried to obtain the approval of the learned Dr. Anthon, by showing him some hieroglyphic characters found on the alleged golden plates and requesting a translation. Dr. Anthon says: "It was a singular scrawl, consisting of crooked characters, disposed in columns, evidently prepared by some person who had before him various alphabets, and consisted of Greek and Roman letters, crosses, flourishes, ending with strange marks, evidently copied after the Mexican calendar given by Humboldt."

The book to which I refer is a small duodecimo, published by Carlton & Phillips, 200 Mulberry street, New York, 1856.     W. J. H. H.
April 12, 1887.

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 10,579.                   Washington, D. C., Tuesday April 13, 1887.                   Two Cents.

More About the Book of Mormons.

To the Editor of The Evening Star:

Referring to the communication publishd in The Evening Star of yesterday's date, headed "About Mormonism," and signed "W. J. H. H.," I find the following paragraph:

"The real book of Mormon was written by Solomon Spaulding, a Dartmouth man, and was entitled 'The Manuscript Found.' It was a historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show (a favorite notion of many minds) that the Indians are descendants of the Jews. The manuscript fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, a Campbellite preacher, who became prominent in the new church, but managed to keep his operations completely hidden from the public."

In answer to the above permit me to say that the original manuscript of the story written by Spaulding, entitled "The Manuscript Found," is now in the library of Hyrum College, at Hyrum, Ohio; that strangely enough it was found in Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, where the surviving member of the firm of printers in Cleveland, Ohio, is now living. Spaulding, when he died, left this manuscript with his wife, who gave it to one of the Josephite Mormons, and it thus found its way to the printing firm in Cleveland. "The Manuscript Found" is unquestionably in the handwriting of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, and having been subjected to numerous tests, over the signature of the president of Hyrum College, the announcement, over a year ago, was made that it was unquestionably the original of the famous story, so long claimed to have been the ground-work of the Book of Mormon. Quite recently the authorities of Hyrum College permitted a copy to be made, and it has been published and widely read. Any one who cares to take the trouble will, upon comparing this short story with the Book of Mormon, be convinced that the latter was not based upon any part of the Spaulding story; in fact, the Spaulding story is not what it has been represented to be -- a story based upon the migration of one of the Ten Tribes of Israel to the American continent.
JOHN IRVINE.              

Note: Probably the Star's correspondent was Elder John Irvine (1848-1909), a clerk in the office of the LDS First Presidency, who typically transcribed the discourses of LDS leaders during the 1880s, for publication in the Church's Deseret News. Elder Irvine was a member of the Mormon delegation residing in Washington, D. C., seeking statehood for Utah, during the year 1887. If so, then he should have been aware of the fact that the Deseret News had published a copy of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript the year before. Irvine's several reporting blunders concerning Spalding's writings were corrected by James A. Briggs, in the columns of the Star a few days later.


No. 10,583.                   Washington, D. C., Monday April 18, 1887.                   Two Cents.

Book  of  Mormon.

To the Editor of THE EVENING STAR:

The article in the Evening Star of a recent date, referred to by John Irvine, is full of errors. "The Manuscript Found," written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and from which the "Book of Mormon" or "Mormon Bible," was made, is not in the possession of Hiram College.

"The Manuscript," found by the late Mr. L. L. Rice at Honolulu among his papers when President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, was there on a visit, and now in the library of Oberlin College, is not "The Manuscript Found" written by Mr. Spaulding. In a letter to me, written by Mr. Rice, a friend of fifty years, at Honolulu, February 26, 1886, says: "I should as soon think that the book of Revelations was written by the author of Don Quixote, as that this 'Manuscript" and the Book of Mormon were written by the same author. The package containing the 'Manuscript' was in my possession from 1839 to 1884 -- forty-five years -- without my having ever examined it.  *  *  * At President Fairchild's request, I was overhauling my pamphlets and manuscripts to find anti-slavery documents for presentation to the Oberlin library, when, for the first time I examined this package. The words 'Manuscript Found' do not occur on the wrapper, or in the manuscript at all. The wrapper was marked in pencil 'Manuscript Story' -- Conneaut Creek.'"

This manuscript story was printed by the Mormons at Lamoni, Iowa, of which I have a copy, and it is no more like the Book of Mormon than it is like Homer's Iliad."

Mr. Lewis L. Rice died at Honolulu, April 14, 1886. He was for many years publisher and editor of several papers on the Western Reserve, and when he bought the Painesville Telegraph in 1839, of Mr. E. D. Howe, the manuscript in question came into his possession, among other papers.

Of this "manuscript" Mr. Rice in his letter to me wrote: "It is not of much importance except it may be useful to the Mormons to show that it is not the original of the book of Mormon. But that does not prove that some other writing of Spaulding was not used in getting up the Mormon Bible."
Yours truly,               JAMES A. BRIGGS.       
177 Washington st., Brooklyn, N. Y., April 16, 1887.              

Note 1: The wording that Mr. Briggs used to cite John Irvine's April 13th letter to the Star is a little confusing. Perhaps what he meant to communicate was: "The article in the Evening Star of a recent date, referred to you by John Irvine..." It was Elder Irvine's assertions that Briggs took the trouble to correct, and not anything written by "W. J. H. H." in a prior item published by the Star.

Note 2: James A. Briggs (1811-1889) was a former lawyer and newspaper man who pursued a hobby of contributing newsworthy remarks to various contemporary publications. He penned a number these missives, in connection with the Mormons and their unique scriptures, to various eastern newspaper editors during the 1880s. Briggs' April 15th letter to the Star was reprinted in the Cleveland Leader of Apr. 19, 1887. The essential information in this letter was compiled for the reading public by Mr. Briggs, as early as 1875 -- (see his letter in a John Codman, published in the prestigious International Review of Sep. 1881).


Vol. X.                             Frederick, MD., Thursday, April 21, 1887.                             No. 157.


They Are Reviving the Faith of
The Prophet Joe Smith.

(Special Correspondence.)

                                                    KIRTLAND, April 18.

Twenty-three miles east of the city of Cleveland and about seven miles south from the shore of Lake Erie was driven, in the year 1831, the first stake of Zion. Fifty-six years ago it was not so evident as it now is where the large cities and towns of the lake region would be. It then seemed an assured fact that Kirtland would be larger than either Cleveland or Buffalo.

In the latter part of the winter and early spring of 1831 there was the most wonderful ingathering of people on Kirtland Flats that had ever been seen in this part of the world. It was impossible to build houses fast enough to accomodate those that came. Rude shanties were extemporized. Many people continued to reside, like gypsies, in the Conestoga wagons and ox carts in which they came. The sound of the hammer was heard incessantly. Houses and shops grew as if by magic. It was a busy mart. To supply the wants of this multitude was no small task. There were men, women and children of many grades, but the rude, squalid and poor seemed to be the prevailing type. Hon. A. G. Riddle, of Washington, then a young man residing in the vicinity, who visited the Flats at this time, says that one could see in their faces evidences of the wild fanaticism that had brought this assemblage of odds and ends together.

This was a season of religious agitation in all portions of the country. Alexander Campbell and his father, Scotch Presbyterians, had recently begun to preach some new doctrines in regard to the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. They had made a decided sensation in various quarters and had organized many churches. Those who accepted the preaching of the Campbells were called "Campbellites," and some people were disposed to persecute the new denomination. This only added strength and coherence to the new sect, and it grew rapidly. Among the ambitious preachers who had come from the Baptists and accepted the views of the Campbells was a fluent and somewhat brilliant young man named Sidney Rigdon. He often complained to his friends that the Campbells were obtaining more credit than they deserved. It was not long after that Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr., were preaching Mormonism. Rigdon was the principla orator of the new dispensation. But again he was disappointed, for Smith was the prophet and founder.

The prophet and Rigdon soon decided that it would be convenient to have a bank. They had no capital to speak of, except faith, but the bank was organized. It was called "The Kirtland Saving [sic] society." Smith was made cashier and Rigdon president, and the faithful were advised to deposit their funds with the concern. An unlimited amount of paper was issued, and for a time money was plentiful in the community.

Under the direction of the Lord, Smith set about the construction of a temple. It was made two stories high, with dormer windows in the roof, which utilized the garret as a third story. The walls were made of stone and covered on the outside with a cement that has stood the ravages of fifty-five years, and is still as perfect as the day it was put on. This cement was made by an Englishman (one of the faithful), who alone knew the secret of its composition. It has often been examined by expert builders, who would be willing to pay a large sum for the recipe from which it was made, but all in vain. Its ingredients and their proportions are as much a mystery as the manner in which the pyramids of Egypt were constructed. The fact that the temple stood intact for more than half a century is cited by believers as certain proof that the Lord was its architect.

Smith and Rigdon added to their bank and temple a mill and a store. The prophet by this time also had a comfortable house of his own, well furnished considering the times. Things thus went on very well for a time, but finally the natural results of "wild cat" banking began to be felt. There was no redeming basis for the bank circulation, and depositors who had put in "hard money" did not feel contented to take out irredeemable paper. One thing followed another, and the crash at length came all at once. Smith disposed of his earthly effects as hastily as possible, and, in company with Rigdon, fled in January, 1838, to Independence [sic - Far West?], Mo. They did not get away, however, until they had been arrested on charges of swindling. The suit was instituted by citizens who were incensed over the losses they had sustained. They were joined by disaffected and apostate Mormons. The prisoners excaped from the sheriff.

Before leaving Kirtland the saints encountered many schisms and dissensions among themselves. These troublous elements were transpored to Missouri and Illinois.

Only one family, that of Mr. and Mrs. Stratton, remained in Kirtland. They still believed in the prophet, but not to the extent of fleeing with him to Missouri. They held the key of the temple and claimed to have the title to it.

After the trouble at Nauvoo, Ills. and the death of the prophet,the leades split up and separated. There was much dissatisfaction with the sudden prominence and leadership of Brigham Young. That worthy, however, took the larger part of the people with him and made the wonderful hegira to Salt Lake. For more than thirty years the world heard very little of any Mormons except those in Utah. Brigham Young had shown himself to be of great strength as a leader. He kept down schism by the force of his iron will. But the scattered leaders kept the fires of faith alive on their hearthstones. With the lapse of time halo around the life and work of the prophet who had been murdered grew, and at length there was a gathering and an organization of the fragments into a body called the "Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints." This new body is aggressive, dogmatical [and] earnest. Its missionaries go forth into all regions and preach the gospel to the lowly. They returned four years ago and laid claim to the old deserted temple here; Mrs. Electa Stratton still held the key. A few dollars spent in renovating made the old building a presentable structure, as good or better than the ordinary country church. The "Reorganized" branch laid claim to the property and have obtained at length a clear title to it. Kirtland, which for fifty years has been stranded away from the beaten routes of travel, is again having a "boom." It is the Mecca of a church. It is the center of a conference, and here resides one of the principal bishops.

The conference which has just closed its sessions here is the largest ever held by the church denomination. Its deliberations were participated in by all the prominent men of the church, and near its close Joseph Smith III, the son and heir of the prophet, on whom the prophetic mantel fell, delivered an important revelation from the spirit. These anti-polygamous Mormons are growing in the estimation of the public. Barring their alleged fanaticism and their faithful belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet, they do not differ materially from other Christian sects. They very strenuously oppose the use of liquor or tobacco, and are particular about the observance [of] ordinances of the New Testament as they understand them. They are certain to take no mean place, so far as membership goes, in the denominations of the world.
                                          George A. Robertson.

Note: Albert G. Riddle's 1874 book, The Portrait, was obviously the source for much of the first paragraphs of the above article. Although Riddle was an eye witness to the advent of Mormonism in Ohio, his book was written as a semi-fictional novel. The remainder of the piece ties in the story of the RLDS to the Kirtland area -- where their spring 1887 annual conference drew the attention of both the local and national press.



Vol. ?                           Washington, D. C., Thursday, April 12, 1888.                           No. ?



An unpleasing picture has been drawn of Joseph Smith by one who knew him as a boy, and by another, who perhaps studied his character at closer range and from a more intimate personal acquaintance. Between twelve and thirteen years of age he is remembered by this witness as "a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, prevaricating boy, noted only for his indolent and vagabondish character, and habits of exaggeration and untruthfulness. He seldom spoke to anyone outside of his intimate associates, except when first addressed by another, and then, by reason of his extravagances of statement, his word was received with least confidence by those who knew him best. He could utter the most palpable exaggeration or marvellous absurdity with the utmost apparent gravity. He nevertheless evidenced the rapid development of a thinking, plodding, evil-brewing mental composition -- largely given to inventions of low cunning, schemes of mischief and deception, and false and mysterious pretensions. He was, however, proverbially good-natured, very rarely, if ever, indulging in any combative spirit toward any one, whatever might be the provocation."

As the boy advanced in years he developed a mental attitude that, amid more favoring circumstances, and under the stress os some moral encouragement, might have grown to fullness. His reading took a theological turn, and the Bible became a book of daily study. His mind was retentive; he was possessed of a rude eloquence of speech, and had that rare power of expression that, to the strangers or the simple, would seem the outward form of a sincere belief within.

A Remarkable Document.

It has been again and again quoted that even Brigham Young declared that "the prophet was of mean birth; that he was wild, intemperate, even dishonest and tricky in his youth." Smith's neighbors gave the same testimony. Eleven of the most prominent and respectable citizens of Manchester, N. Y., under date of November 3, 1833, affixed their names to this emphatic declaration: We, the undersigned, being personally acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen., with whom the so-called Gold Bible originated, state: that they were not only a lazy, indolent set of men, but also intemperate, and their word was not to be depended upon; and that we are truly glad to dispense with their society."

As if the above did not cover the ground with force and exactness, a supplemental declaration was made on December 4, 1833, and signed by sixty-two residents of Palmyra: "We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying that we consider them destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for visionary projects; spent much of their time in digging for money which they pretended was hid in the earth, and to this day large excavations may be seen in the ground not far from their residence, where they used to dig for hidden treasures. Joseph Smith, Sen., and his son Joseph, were in particular considered destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits."

Smith's Own Confession.

Despite the attractive ingenuity of the story Smith gave to his followers about the revelation and discovery of the gold plates, there is substantial reason for the belief that the whole fabrication grew out of an impromptu jest on the part of young Smith, which was received in such earnest, that his subtle cunning saw in it a new way to distinction and possible gain. The story is told plainly and fully by Peter Ingersol, a near neighbor of the Smiths, and at that time one of Joseph's most intimate friends. He declares that one day the future founder of Mormonism called upon him, his countenance and manner betraying evident enjoyment of some hidden jest. Upon being questioned he made the following statement: "As I was passing yesterday across the woods after a heavy shower of rain, I found in a hollow, some beautiful white sand that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock and tied up several quarts of it and then went home. On entering the house I found the family at the table eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment I happened to think of what I had heard of a history found in Canada, called the 'Golden Bible,' so I very gravely told them it was the 'Golden Bible. To my surprise they were credulous enough to believe what I said. According, I told them I had received a command to let no one see it; 'for,' said I, 'no man can see it with the naked eye and live.' However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refused to see it, and left the room. 'Now,' said Jo, 'I have got the fools fixed, and we will carry out the fun."

* From "Early Days of Mormonism" by J. H. Kennedy. A narrative compiled from original sources, clearly showing how the pernicious fraud originated and the circumstances that fostered its growth. 275 pages; Price $1.50. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons, 745 Broadway New York.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Washington Post.
Vol. ?                             Washington, D. C., Monday, February 8, 1892.                             No. ?


A Reunion In Missouri of the Founders
of the Church.

Kansas City Star: The courtroom at Independence has of late witnessed a reunion of the old men who saw the beginnings of Mormonism, including the eldest son of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, and the brother of the prophet, William B. Smith, now a man of elghty years. Much that the world had forgotten has been revived in the testimony of these and others concerning the early history ot the Mormon Church. Personally, the church may be said to have started in New England. William B. Smith testified that he was born in Royalton, Vt. and probably that was the birthplace of several of his seven brothers and sisters. That same Vermont county has produced other men who have been the founders or most powerful advocates of several other forms of religion. Mormonism seems to have been originally a rural and vilIage faith, propagated in small towns in New York and Ohio, and in a new country in Missouri, moving about from place to place, like the Jewish church in its earliest history, the greater portion finally withdrawing into a distant desert and building a city of their own. The smaller portion of the original community, comprising the survivors of the prophet's family not taking part in the exodus, seem to have maintained the faith in its oldest form, and have preached it all these years in country places and have added to their numbers. This history, as narrated by the old men at Independence, shows how strong is the hold which faith takes on men. It is easy to ask flippantly the question, "What was Joe Smith that men should believe on him?" Yet they did believe, and believe still.

Note: See also excerpts from the 1893 testimony offered by William Smith and Joseph Smith III in the "Temple Lot Case."


The  Trenton  Times.
Vol. 11.                         Trenton, N. J., April 11, 1893.                        No. 4100.




(Special Correspondence.)

Nauvoo, Ills., April 10. -- Scattered over vine-clad hills that rise from the shores of the Mississippi river is the historic city of Nauvoo. It would be unkind to history, as well as to the kindly, thrifty folk who now inhabit the place, to call their well beloved habitation aught else but a city, for Nauvoo was once a city teeming with thousands of busy people, while the music of their forges and workshops filled the air.


Joseph Smith could hardly have selected a more beautiful location. The city is situated on the river's bank in the north-western portion of Hancock county, Ills. On a clear day glimpses of the cities of Burlington and Keokuk, equally distant, about 20 miles can be had from the steeple of a church.

About 30 miles overland to the south-east lies Carthage, the county seat, where still stands the historic old stone jail in which Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob on June 27, 1844. South of Nauvoo, a distance of perhaps 15 miles and also located on the Mississippi river, is Warsaw, whence, as charged, the majority of the avenging mob went forth on that 27th day of June.

The history of Mormonism in Illinois is much the same as previous histories of the doings of these peculiar people prior to their arrival on Illinois soil. Their sojourn in Ohio, and Missouri particularly, was marked with tribulation and no little persecution. It was clearly because of their persecution in Ohio and Missouri that the pioneers of Illinois extended to the Mormons a hearty welcome.

Joseph Smith, the chief founder of the Mormon church and its creed as proclaimed by the earlier Mormons, was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vt., Dec. 23, 1805. All histories agree that he was of humble origin, and his enemies say that he was an idle, wicked lad who shunned the schoolroom and the workbench, but rather passed his days in roaming through the woods, seeking for buried treasure.

Smith fell into the companionship of a man named Sidney Rigdon, and they conceived the idea of formulating a new religion. The most plausible theory advanced regarding the foundation of the religion is that Rigdon and Smith had obtained a religious romance said to have been written by a Presbyterian minister of the name of Spaulding.

In the meantime Smith had a "vision" from the Lord, who instructed him to go to a locality near Palmyra, N. Y., where he would find some golden plates hidden in the earth. Upon these plates would be found a wonderful record inscribed in unknown characters, which could be translated by looking at them through a certain stone which Smith had in his possession. Smith gave due heed to the alleged command of the Lord and did unearth the plates. Enemies of Smith and the Mormons are so unkind also as to charge Smith and Rigdon with having buried the plates in the earth, some time previous to their alleged discovery.

From these plates, however, by the aid of the wonderful stone in Smith's possession, the translation was made, which is said to have been none other than the Spaulding romance. The Book of Mormon is said to have been thus originated.

Not only did the Mormons in both Lee county, Ia., and Hancock county Ills., flock into Nauvoo, but they came from all parts of the United States, from Great Britain, India, Germany, Australia and all quarters of the globe, a mighty army of saints and proselytes (for Joseph Smith had his emissaries in all these countries). Here they were to gather around "the corner-stone of Zion." Thus was the population of Nauvoo vastly increased until at one time it was estimated that the city contained a population of 20,000 people. Joseph Smith was mayor.

During their sojourn in Nauvoo these people made it a city that should become famous throughout the world. In it they erected a temple which at that time was regarded as a wonder of modern architecture.


The temple was built of particularly substantial and handsome gray limestone quarried from the bluffs a short distance above the city. Its length was 128 feet, its breadth 88 feet, total height to the apex of cupola 210 feet. The exterior walls f the building were strengthened with 30 pilasters of hewn rock, giving it the effect of great strength and architectural beauty. The base of each pilaster was a massive hewn rock on which was engraved in relief a quarter moon and face. The capstones were ornamented in like manner with a full moon represented as a face, underneath which were two hands holding trumpets. The dome of the cupola was surmounted by the image of an angel blowing a trumpet.

In the basement was an immense baptismal font supported on the backs of 12 oxen of life size, all of which, including the font, were most ingeniously carved from Italian marble [sic]. The audience room had a capacity of at least 2,000 sittings. The seats were arranged with swinging backs to face preaching stands located at opposite ends of the room. The total cost of the temple is said to have been $1,000,000. At the final hegira of the Mormons from Nauvoo in 1846 the temple was stripped of its ornamentation, and the various vessels, implements and insignia of its devotional character were carried away by the Mormons.

On the night of Nov. 10, 1848, the slumbering citizens of Nauvoo were awakened by a brilliant light illuminating their chambers with almost the intensity of sunlight. The cupola of the grand and beautiful temple was wrapped in flames the work of an incendiary, a virulent anti-Mormon. All of the temple save its blackened walls was destroyed.

In 1849 a body of Icarian French communists under the leadership of M. Cabet purchased the temple lot and ruin together with other property adjacent and established a colony at Nauvoo. With a portion of the rock from the temple walls they built a 2-story schoolhouse, which still stands a short distance south of the old temple site. The colony was a failure, however, and the Icarians sold out and went away. The remnant of the temple ruin was subsequently taken down to supply material for building purposes.

The present location of Nauvoo is marked on the old maps of 1838 and prior as the village of Commerce. The site of the city as laid out by Joseph Smith in 1839-40 is claimed to be in all points the finest on the Mississippi river. Fronting on the majestic river that in a grand sweep of nearly half a circle environs the original municipal territory, is embraced that portion of the city known to Mormondom as "The Flats." The area of this part of the city is probably two miles long in a single straight line from the western sweep of the river on the north to the eastern sweep on the south and one mile from the base of the bluff to the center of the river's curve on the west. On this part of the city plat were located the chief commercial interests of the Mormon population. Here were the hotels, stores, shops, newspaper, armory, tithing house, Mansion hall and the residences of most of the chief officers and dignitaries of the city and church.

Still standing on this plat at its southern limit near the river is an antique 2-story wooden building having the appearance of an old inn. Such it was in the period of 1840-1, its proprietor and innlord being Joseph Smith. Across the street from the building to the south and standing sheer by the river's edge is a large building of brick upon a stone basement. The stone and brick work of this building was built by Joseph Smith for a hotel. It stood in this incomplete condition probably until 1860, when Major L. C. Bidamon, who married the widow of Joseph Smith, partially finished the building and occupied it for some years as a hotel.

The Nauvoo of today is a pleasant little city noted for its vineyards and ample wine cellars. Few Mormons now reside there, and there are comparatively few of these people remaining in Hancock county. The objects of interest now remaining in Nauvoo relating to the Mormon period are the old mansion house and Joseph Smith's old residence. They show the ravages of time, but the mansion house, which was never completed, has the appearance of being a new structure, yet it is an old building. There are a number of other quaint structures in the place that were built by the Mormons, whose tottering walls are mute witnesses to the departed glory of a once famous city.   GAY DAVIDSON.

Note: This same illustrated article was syndicated and appeared in a number of American newspapers, such as the April 14, 1893 Bismark Daily Tribune and the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of April 13, 1893. For information on Gay Davidson see the notes appended to his article in the Quincy Whig of April 15, 1886.


The Washington Post.
Vol. ?                             Washington, D. C., Sunday, October 3, 1897.                             No. 6,782.


How the Celebrated Book of Mormon
Came to be Written.

Washington County, Pa., the stronghold of Presbyterianism, where religion flourishes and polygamy is under the ban of the law, is also intimately connected with the origin of Mormonism, and the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints leads back to the region of the labors of John McMillan. In the village of Amity, about a mile from the tracks of the Washington and Waynesburg railroad, stands the house in which the author of the Book of Mormon died, and in the burying ground of the Presbyterian Church in the village is his grave. He was the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian minister, to whom the creed of the Mormons would doubtless be the most obnoxious thing under the sun, should he return again to this mundane sphere. The old house is weather-beaten and warped with the rains and winds of almost a century, but it is old and decaying, and fast nearing its last days.

Still, it is the home of a happy family. It is occupied by A. E. Bolton, the village blacksmith, and his family. The grave has been uncared for, and now the tombstone has disappeared into the earth. The tombstone has been carried away in bits by relic hunters until now the tourist is able to find it only by digging a number of feet into the ground. The Book of Mormon was written by Rev. Spaulding to beguile the time while he was searching for health in New Salem, Ohio, and was stolen by imposters, who called it the Golden Bible, and upon it founded their iniquitous religion.

The story of the origin of the Golden Bible as accepted by the Mormons themselves is an interesting one. Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet and the founder of Mormonism, was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vt., December 23, 1805, and was the son of Joseph Smith, Sr., and his wife Lucy, The family embraced nine children -- Alvin, Hyrum, Sophronia, Joseph, Samuel, William, Catherine, Carlos and Lucy -- and constituted the chief earthly possessions of the parents. When Joseph, Jr., was eleven years of age the family moved to Palmyra, N. Y., and the elder Smith opened a "cake and beer shop," as described by his signboard. It was a clerk in this line of business that the rising Joseph, the prophet to be, learned his first lessons in commercial and monetary science. In this connection it may not be out of place to state, in way of illustrating of the beginning of human greatness on his part, that the boys of those bygone days used to delight in obtaining the valuable goods intrusted to the care of Joseph in exchange for worthless pewter imitation two-shilling pieces.

The larger proportion of the time of the Smiths, however, was spent in hunting, fishing and trapping, and in lounging around the village stores. Existing, as they did, from year to year in this thriftless manner, with no visible adequate means for their maintenance, it is not to be wondered at that the good people in the community came to observe with more than their former vigilance the care of their sheepfolds, hen coops, smokehouses, and other domestic interests, but none of the popular inferences in this direction was ever sustained by judicial inquiry.

At this period in the career of Joseph Smith, Jr., he was considered to be the most worthless of the generation. From the age of twelve to twenty he was a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, prevaricating boy, taciturnity and indolence being among his characteristics,. He nevertheless developed a thinking mental composition given to inventions of cunning schemes and mysterious pretensions. He was proverbially good-natured, and yet was never known to laugh. As Joseph grew in years he learned to read comprehensively, his literary tastes leaning to works of fiction and records of criminality. As he grew older he assumed a religious turn of mind, and became quite familiar with the Bible, the prophecies being his especially favorite reading. He at one time became interested in church revivals, and professed conversion, but afterward came to the conclusion, in common with the rest of the family, that the churches were on a false foundation and the Bible a fable.

When Joseph was about fourteen years of age his brother dug a well for a neighbor, and during the excavating they found a whitish, opaque stone, resembling quartz, to which Joseph took a fancy and carried it home. He kept it, and soon it transpired that he could see wonderful things by its aid, and in a short time his spiritual endowment was so developed that, with the stone at his eyes, he could see both things existing and things to come. The most glittering sights revealed to him were hidden treasures of great value buried in the earth in the immediate vicinity of his home. In the spring of 1820 he raised some contributions from the people to defray the expenses of digging for buried treasure, and, with a number of dupes and hired laborers, went to the revealed hiding place. Silence was the condition of success, and after digging for two hours, when the money box was just in the seer's grasp, some one, tempted of the devil, spoke, and the treasure vanished. Such was Joseph's explanation.

These impostures were repeated frequently for a period of seven years in the various localities, and always with the same result. Once he secured the donation of a sheep, the blood of which was poured on the spot, where the digging was to begin, and while the digging was in progress the elder Smith converted the carcass of the sheep into mutton and took it home with him. Smith's money diggings had been heralded in the newspapers and were known far and near. About this time he received a number of mysterious visits from a stranger. Soon after he had a remarkable vision and saw an angel, who told him his sins were forgiven. In the fall of the same year he had a still more remarkable vision, and he was commanded to go to a certain spot upon a secretly fixed day and hour and take from the earth a metallic book of great antiquity, in which was a record of the long-lost tribes of Israel, and which no other person on earth was to have the power to translate, or even to see and live.

Accordingly, on the appointed day and hour, Smith went into the depths of the forest, and, after an absence of three hours, returned with his sacred charge concealed within the folds of a napkin. He told a frightful story of the display of celestial pyrotechnics and the ten thousand devils who confronted him to deter him from his purpose. With the metallic book Smith secured an immense pair of spectacles, which he called the Urim and Thummim, and with which he was able to read the writing on the plates. With this revelation Smith translated the writing into a book which was heralded as the Golden Bible of the Book of Mormon and as the beginning of a new gospel dispensation. From these circumstances sprung the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and the first preacher was one Sidney Rigdon, who proved to be the mysterious stranger who so frequently visited Smith before his celestial revelations.

Here comes in for reflection the facts concerning Rigdon's connection with the Book of Mormon, which proved beyond a doubt that he and Smith were confederates in a grand scheme of cupidity and imposture. About the year 1809 Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a clergyman, who had graduated from Dartmouth College, went to New Salem, Ohio, to reside. He was an enthusiastic archaeologist, and the region to which he removed was rich in American antiquities. The mounds and traces of former fortifications abounding there attracted his attention. On account of failing health he had been forced to abandon the active practice of his profession, and sought to beguile his time by writing a fabulous record of a long-lost race, adopting as a hypothesis that his manuscript was found in one of the mounds. He accepted the theory that the American continent had been peopled by a colony of ancient Israelites. The work progressed slowly for some time. Portions were read by Mr. Spaulding to his friends at various intervals as they were completed. After three years of labor -- about 1812 or 1813 -- the work was completed, and bore the title of "The Manuscript Found."

Mr. Spaulding submitted his work to a printer named Patterson, at Pittsburg, with a view to publication on joint account. For some reason the proposal was not carried out, and the manuscript remained in Patterson's office until 1816, when it was removed by the author, who that year removed to Amity, this county, where he died in 1827 [sic], and was buried in the Presbyterian Church burying grounds at that place. The manuscript remained in the possession of the widow until it was missed from a trunk about the time the "Book of Mormon" began to be publicly mentioned. These facts are derived from the statements of Mrs. Spaulding and others who recognized in the Golden Bible the Spaulding manuscript.

In the employment of the printer (Patterson) was a versatile genius named Sidney Rigdon, who was working for Patterson as a journeyman printer. Disputations on theology were the particular delight of Rigdon, and the probable solution of the mystery of this "Book of Mormon" is found in the fact that he made a copy of Spaulding's manuscript and communicated the information of the fictitious record to Joseph Smith, jr., after becoming acquainted with Smith's money digging operations. From all the evidence possessed there is no doubt that the scheme of founding a new plan of religion was concocted by these two shrewd and unscrupulous persons, and the Spaulding manuscript was its basis. Joseph Smith died in the hands of a mob in Carthage, Mo., in 1844, and Rigdon was expelled from the colony and the saints soon afterward. He was afterward importuned to relate the history of the "Book of Mormon," but refused, giving as his reason his fear of the vengeance of the Mormons.

Note: As late as 1905 the Amity blacksmith, Alexander E. McClure Bolton (1848-1943), and his family were still living in the old tavern Solomon Spalding had once operated.


Vol. ?                         Washington, D. C., July 10, 1899.                        No. ?


Subject of Address Before the Anthropological Society.


Hierarchy's Power Described as Danger Sign to Civilization.


The original "Book of Mormon. "The Mormon Congressman, B. H. Roberts, and "Brief History of the Church" were the principal subjects of an interesting and analytical paper by Dr. P. B. Pierce of this city which he read last night before the Anthropological Society.

Dr. Pierce said that the "Book of Mormon" is not in itself immoral.

"There is no polygamy in it," he continued. "On the contrary, it is expressly prohibited. The Mormons have been slandered and traduced, unjustly and without warrant, for an immoral 'Bible.' Whatever the practices may be under their doctrine of a 'new revelation,' however, which springs directly from their invention of the 'Book of Mormon' itself, there is nothing immoral in the book. It is, on the contrary, only grotesque. It is a melange of plagiarisms from the Old and New Testaments, without order or regularity, easily traced, and intermingled with watery parodies of nothing in particular, signifying nothing. But in this monstrosity, born of deceit and bred in falsehood, obliged to defend itself and its origin with inventions, claiming miraculous interpositions of divine power; its adherents have discovered a most dangerous weapon against the moral world. A hierarchy of subtle brains, equipped with the wealth of the entire community, reinforced with a million dupes, willing to accept with unquestioning obedience any dispensation formulated in the terms of 'thus saith the Lord' is a portentous danger sign to enlightened civilization. This is the menace to the world from Mormonism."

Joseph Smith, Author.

In opening his remarks Dr. Pierce showed that the title page of the original "Book of Mormon" contained these announcements: "The Book of Mormon: an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi;" "By Joseph Smith, Jr., author and proprietor," "Palmyra, 1830." Dr. Pierce gave a graphic description of Palmyra, N. Y., the birthplace of Mormonism, as it existed then, and said that to Palmyra came from Windsor, Vt., in 1815, a middle-aged farmer named Joseph Smith, with his wife and a large family of children. The years passed by, but the family did not prosper. The boys grew up without desire for education. Their days were passed in the woods with guns and dogs.

One of the sons of this family was Joseph Smith, jr. He was born in Sharon, Vt., December 23, 1805, and was therefore, in his tenth year when his father emigrated to Wayne county, N. Y. And in this environment grew up the 'Author and Proprietor' of the Book of Mormon.

The 'Book of Mormon' was printed in 1830. Joseph Smith, jr., was at the time twenty-four years old. He was, according to some authorities, unable to read or write. By others it is asserted that, while able to read and write, to some extent, he did so with difficulty. By no authority is it contended that he was in any respect more than very poorly educated. And yet in this publication we have a work of the greatest anthropological, ethnological and archaeological interest, struck off in one complete, full, perfect act, at the hands of an uneducated, uncultivated country boor of equivocal reputation and low origin.

The Alleged Record.

This 'Book of Mormon' purports to be a record delivered to Joseph Smith, jr., when he was in a vision, September 21, 1823, at the age of eighteen years, by an angel of God, named 'Moroni,' said record being in the words of the author:

'A book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. * * * He also said that there were two stones in silver bows, (and these stones fastened to a breastplate constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim), deposited with the plates, and the possession and use of these stones was what constituted seers in ancient or former times, and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book. * * * Again he told me that when I got those plates of which he had spoken, for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled, I should not show them to any person, neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim, only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them. If I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited and that so clearly and distinctly that I know the place again when I visited it. Times and Seasons, vol. 3, p. 753.

Western New York Dialect.

After giving the history of the publication and the details of a trip he made to Palmyra in 1861, in this connection, Dr. Pierce said that, notwithstanding the Urim and Thummim device of Smith, a more than accidental trace of the vernacular of the backwoods of western New York is found on every page of the work.

Solecisms which would delight the heart of the modern dialect writer crop out in every sentence. In turning the leaves a well nigh new orthography of words stares the reader in the face, Out of its 588 pages I venture one or more cagographic examples.

(several illegible sentences follow)

The Corrections Necessary.

After showing the absurdity of the claim that God produced a work which since has had more than 3,000 corrections in orthography and grammar, Dr. Pierce said:

These 3,000 changes, then, are not typographical corrections. Comparison of the first edition with the latest shows that the pronoun 'which' in the first is changed to 'who' in the latest over 700 times. The word is constantly found in the first edition, in such sentences as 'those men which we sent,' 'and those men which had been wounded,' 'our brethren which were slain,' Seven hundred printer's errors in the illiterate use of the one word 'which,' for the relative pronoun 'who' in a single volume!

Let us see if we can explain why the word 'which,' for example, was used 700 times instead of the word 'who.' Let us suppose, for the sake of argument only, the 'Book of Mormon; to have been written by an impostor, of illiterate mind, who yet had an ear attuned to revival Bible readings, such as the new settlements in western New York were familiar with in the first quarter of this century. What would be more natural to such an impostor than ignorance of the fact that in the days when King James' version was made the word 'which' was commonly used as referring to persons, but that after the lapse of more than 200 years the word had in actual use come to be universally employed as referring only to things? If such a person should undertake to originate a work like the original 'Book of Mormon,' to be in sound, irrespective of sense, as like the sonorous English of the seventeenth century as possible, how easily would he fall into the trap set by that innocent-looking little word 'which?' More than 700 'whiches' in the Book of Mormon,' by actual count of Dr. Lamoni Call of Bountiful, Utah! If the prophet and his councilors had only known that the pronoun 'which' in King James' time was good English when referring to persons, but that it is not good English now, nor was it good English in 1829, they would have been spared the pain of that Jules Verne-like invention of the Urim and Thummim stone, by the operation of which their God has been made to masquerade as an idiot!

Cause and Effect.

The Mormons have from the first repudiated with great intensity of feeling the Gentile charge that their book is but an illiterate plagiarism of a parodic romance on the Old Testament, written as a literary diversion in the early part of this century by a superannuated Congregationalist minister, Rev. Solomon Spalding, entitled 'The Manuscript Found.' I believe the evidence to be overwhelming, and that it establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt the fact that had Spalding's romance never been written Joseph Smith, jr., would have never found the box of plates in the Manchester hill-side.

Note: Although the writer goes to some trouble to attribute a good deal of the language of the Book of Mormon to the semi-literate slang of a "western New York dialect," he also includes the presumably more polished and intelligible prose of the educated New Englander, Solomon Spalding as part of the same book. How Smith and his associates overlaid their own "western New York dialect" upon Spalding's original production, the writer does not elucidate. Compare the above article by P. B. Pierce with the writings of Davis H. Bays, I. Woodbridge Riley, and Walter F. Prince, all of whom, at about this same time, were abandoning the Solomon Spalding authorship claims and crediting Smith (or Smith and his cousin Cowdery) with writing the Book of Mormon without help from the outside.


The Washington Post.
Vol. ?                             Washington, D. C., Friday, June 1, 1900.                             No. ?


Springfield, Mass., May 31. -- Dr. John A. McKinstry, sixty-nine years of age, died at his home in Long Meadow to-day. He was for many years a pension examiner in Washington, D.C. His grandfather, Rev. Solomon Spaulding, is believed to have been the author of the Book of Mormon, which was written as a story, and afterwards palmed off by Joseph Smith as a revelation from heaven.

Note: See also the on-line feature The McKinstries of Monson.


                            Washington, D. C., Saturday, January 28, 1905.                            


Recollections of One Who Knew Joe Smith Well.
Earliest Converts Were Farmers of Wayne County Proslyted by
Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
The picture of Mormonism presented in the testimony at the Smoot investigation by the Senate committee on privileges and elections is one of a powerful religious institution with possible political remifications reaching into several states. But whatever its power and influence now for good or evil the "Book of Mormon" had an obscure, not to say suspicious origin, and the first of the Latter Day Saints were rural people of Wayne county, N. Y. The facts of Mormonism's beginning were well remembered by one man who was intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith and his associates in Palmyra, where the institution had its inception.

This man was Daniel Hendrix, who lived in Palmyra in his early life and spent his declining years at San Jacinto, Cal., in the home of his son. Mr. Hendrix preserved a few proof sheets of the original Mormon Bible, printed by Major John Gilbert, in Palmyra in 1834 [sic]. Though never a Mormon himself, and having no faith in its teachings, he had a lifelong interest in the movement and its history, retaining to his death a vivid recollection of how it started, as well as of the persons connected therewith. Mr. Hendrix, with the help of his neice, wrote out an account of the early history of Mormonism in the form of a reminiscence, which was seen and read recently by a visitor in San Jacinto from Washington. In his essential part the story follows:

Ragged Joe Smith.

"As a young man I worked in a store in Palmyra, and among the daily visitors there was Joseph Smith, jr. Every one knew him as 'Joe' Smith. He was the most ragged, lazy fellow in the place, about twenty-five years old. I can see him now, with his torn and patched trousers, held to his form by a pair of suspenders made of sheeting, with his calico shirt as dirty as the earth, and his uncombed hair sticking through the holes in his battered hat.

"In winter I used to pity him, for his shoes were so old and worn he must have suffered in the snow and slush, yet Joe had a jovial, don't care way about him that made lots of friends. He was known among the young men I associated with as a romancer of the first water.

"I never knew so ignorant a man as Joe to have such a fertile imagination. He never could tell a common occurence without embellishing the story, yet I remember that he was grieved one day when old Parson Reed told him he was going to hell for his lying habits.

His Mother Has Faith.

"Mrs. Smith, Joe's mother, was a staunch Presbyterian, and a great admirer of her son, despite his shiftless ways. She declared he was born with a genius and did not have to work.

"'Never mind about my son Joseph,' said she one day when my employer rallied her upon Joe's useless ways, 'for the boy will be able some day to buy the whole of Palmyra and all the folks in it. You don't know what a brain my boy has under that old hat.'

"For two years and more Joe Smith's chief occupation was digging for gold at night and sleeping in the daytime. He was close-mouthed on the subject of his gold-seeking on the farms of Wayne County, where not a speck of gold was ever mined, and where people joked him too severely concerning the precious metal he would turn his back upon the jokers and go home as fast as possible. With some of us young men who were serious with him and affected an interest in his work he was more confidential.

"Joe in his excursions after gold carried a divining rod to tell him where there was hidden treasure, and he left many holes in the ground about that region which testified that he could work if the spirit moved. He had all the superstitions of the money diggers of the day, one of which was that the digging must be done at night, and not a word spoken.

Joe's Great Find.

"Finally, in the fall of 1823, Joe went about the village of Palmyra telling people of the great bonanza he had found. I remember his sitting upon some boxes in the store and telling a knot of men, who did not believe a word they heard, all about his vision and his find. But Joe went into such minute details about the size, weight, and beauty of the carvings on the golden tablets, the strange characters and the ancient adornments, that I confess he had some of the smartest men in Palmyra guessing. The women were not so skeptical as the men, and several of the leading ones in the place began to feel at once that Joe was a remarkable man.

"Joe declared with tears in his eyes and the most earnest expression that he had found the gold plates on a hill six miles south of Palmyra, on the main road between that place and Canandaigua. Joe had dug there for gold for years, and from that time the hill has been known as Gold Hill.

"For the first month or two Joe did not say himself that the plates were any new revelation or that they had any religious significance, but simply said that he had found a valuable treasure in the shape of a record of some ancient peoples which had been inscribed on imperishable gold for preservation. The pretended gold plates were never allowed to be seen, though I have heard Joe's mother say that she had lifted them, when covered with a cloth, and they were heavy -- so heavy she could scarcely raise them, though she was a robust woman.

"What Joe expected at that time to accomplish seems difficult to understand, but he soon began to exhibit what he claimed to be copies of the characters engraved on the plates, though the irreverent were disposed to think he was more indebted to the letters found on China tea chests and in the histories of the Egyptians and the Babylonians than any plates he had dug up near Palmyra. Before long, however, a new party appeared on the scene in the person of one Sidney Rigdon, and thence forward a new aspect was out on the whole matter.

Rigdon a Shrewd Man.

"I remember Rigdon as a man of about forty years, smooth, sleek, and with some means. He had much assurance, and in these days would be a good broker or speculator. He was distrusted by a large part of the people of Palmyra and Canandaigua.

"He and Joe Smith fell in with one another and were cronies for several months. It was after Rigdon and Smith were so intimate that the divine part of the finding of the golden plates began to be spread abroad. It was given out that the plates were a new revelation and were a part of the original Bible, while Joe Smith was a true prophet, to whom it was given to publish the truth among men.

"Rigdon, who was regarded as the brains of the movement, seemed satisfied to be the power behind the throne. Pretended copies of the engraved plates exhibited, and also whole chapters of what were called translations were shown; meetings were held at the Smith house, and in the barns on the adjoining farms, which were addressed by Smith and Rigdon, and an active canvass for converts was inaugurated.

"Strange as it may appear from the absurdity of the claims set forth and the well-known character of Joe Smith, these efforts were to a degree successful, particularly among the unsophisticated farmers of the vicinity, and a number of them, who were regarded as the equal in intelligence with the average of the rural population, became proselytes of the new faith.

The Wonderful Spectacles.

"One claim in relation to the translations from the plates was quite in character with the pretenses that have been set up by the Mormon Church down to the present day. Joe Smith was an illiterate man, and some way had to be contrived for the translation of his record. But Joe or Rigdon was equal to the emergency, for he said he found with the gold plates a wonderful pair of spectacles, which he described as having large round glasses, larger than a silver dollar, and he asserted that by placing the plates in the bottom of a hat or other deep receptacle, like a wooden grain measure, he could put on the spectacles, and, looking down upon the plates, the engraved characters were translated into plain English and he had only to read it off and have it recorded by a copyist.

"This claim, with all its absurdity, was not more ridiculous than one made to me personally by Martin Harris, who was one of the early and most faithful proselytes. Harris was a farmer residing about a mile from the village, with whom I was well acquainted. On one occasion I had been out on horseback and was returning in the evening. As I passed the house of Mr. Harris he came out, and joining me, we rode together toward the village. It was a beautiful evening, and as we were on elevated ground sloping toward the village, the full moon, which was just rising, made everything before us look most charming.

A Trip to the Moon.

"As I made some remark on the beauty of the moon, he replied to the effect that if I could see it as he had done I might well call it beautiful. I was at once curious to know what he meant and plied him with questions; but beyond the assertion that he had actually visited the moon in his own person and seem its glories face to face he was not disposed to be communicative, remarking that it was only the faithful that were permitted to visit the celestial regions, and with that he directed the conversation into other channels.

"For three or four years Smith, Rigdon, and Harris worked for converts to the new faith. They all became, from constant practice, good speakers, and Smith was at that time as diligent and earnest as he had previously been careless and negligent.

"The three men traveled all over New York state, particularly up and down the Erie canal. They were rotten-egged in some places, booted and howled to silence in others, and had some attention in a few communities. Their meetings were generally poorly attended, and people regarded the men as fools, whose cause would soon die out. I attended several of the meetings in Wayne county. Smith would tell with some effect how the angel had appeared to him, how he felt an irresistible desire to dig where he did, and how he heard celestial music and the chanting of a heavenly host as he drew the golden plates from the earth and bore them to his home.

Transported His Hearers.

"Smith became so proficient in his description of the ecstatic joy in heaven when he found the plates, that I have known a large audience to hold its breath as the sentences rolled from Smith's mouth. I have seen farmer's wives powerless and almost unconscious in the spell of religious enthusiasm that Smith and Rigdon created.

"The latter told in scores of meetings, how he was transported to the celestial spheres at night while his body lay on his bed at home; how he actually walked in flowery beds and down golden streets in converse with Moses and Elisha on some far-off planet.

"Of the printing of the 'Book of Mormon' I have a particularly keen recollection. Smith and Rigdon had hard work to get money together for the new Bible. Smith told me the world was so wicked and perverse that it was hard to win converts: that he had a vision to print the Bible, and that as soon as that work was done the cause would be prospered.

"A new convert named Andrews, a plain old farmer in Auburn, N. Y., mortgaged his property for $3,000 to start the printing. The Wayne Sentinel, published at Palmyra, did the work on a contract for 5,000 copies. The printing office was on an upper floor, near the store where I worked, and I was one of the few persons allowed about the office while the publishing was going on.

Helping Read the Proof.

"I helped to read proof on many pages of the book, and at odd times set some of the type. The copy was about half ready for the printer when there came a halt in the proceedings. Mrs. Harris, wife of Martin Harris, had become so disgusted with her husband's conversion to the new religion and the abandonment of his farm to preach Mormonism, that she threw in the fire all the Bible manuscript that had been brought to him by Smith for review. It was weeks before Joe Smith and Rigdon recovered from their dismay at this act. Harris went down into his pocket for $300 to pay the loss caused by his wife's destruction of the manuscript.

"The copy for the Book of Mormon was prepared in a cave that Smith and others dug near the scene of the finding of the golden plates on Gold Hill. I went out there frequently on Sunday for a walk during the process of the translation of the plates and the printing of the book. Some one of the converts was constantly about the mouth of the cave, and no one but Smith and Alvin [sic, Oliver?] Cowdry, a school teacher there, who had proselyted that season, were allowed to go through the mouth of the cave. Rigdon had some hopes of converting me, and I was permitted to go near the door, but not so much as to peep inside. Smith told me later that no one had ever seen the golden plates but himself, and that he wore the glasses found with the plates and was thus able to translate the new message from heaven to the people. He read aloud, and Cowdry, who was seated on the other side of a screen or partition in the cave, wrote down the words as pronounced by Joe.

Spelling Was Pretty Bad.

"The penmanship of the copy furnished was good, but the grammar, spelling and punctuation were done by John H. Gilbert, who was chief compositor in the office. I have heard him swear many a time at the syntax and orthography of Cowdry, and declare that he would not set another line of type.

"During the work of printing the book, Joe Smith kept in the background. He was wanted several times at the printing office to explain some obscure sentences and apparent blunders in composition, but he never came near the printers. He sent word by his brother that the work of translating absorbed his mind and functions so that he could not attend to mundane business. Every morning Hyrum Smith appeared at the office with installments of copy of twenty-four pages, buttoned in his vest, and came regularly and punctually for them at night.

Pushed to Completion.

"The publication of the book of 538 pages was pushed with spirit, but until it was completed not a copy was allowed to leave the office. Every volume was packed in an upper room, and the pile they made struck me as comparing in size and shape with a cord of wood, and I called it 'a cord of Mormon Bibles.'

"Not long after the publication was completed Smith and his followers began their preparations for removal, and ere long, with their converts, packed up their belongings and left for Kirtland, Ohio.

"This removal was not on compulsion from any complaints of their neighbors, like those they were subsequently compelled to make from Kirtland and Nauvoo, but all seemed to enter into it readily and with the utmost cheerfulness, though many abandoned homes of great comfort and comparative wealth. In the exodus there were farmers who sold their farms to the amount of $15,000. all of which was committed to the care and tender mercies of Joe Smith, and the votaries committed themselves to his care and guidance."

Note 1: See the Aug. 6, 1899 issue of the Buffalo Courier, for an earlier version of this same set of purported Daniel Hendrix reminiscences. In both articles several of their supposed historical "facts" are open to question. While portions of this story of the rise of Mormonism appear to be accurate, a number of details in the alleged eye witness account conflict with other, more generally relied upon sources.

Note 2: The narrator's supposed recollections of the "convert named Andrews" are unique among the early New York witnesses and may be a fabrication. Also, the narrator seems to have confused the person of Sidney Rigdon with that of Oliver Cowdery at some points in his account. Whether or not Rev. Rigdon visited Palmyra at an early date remains debatable, however it appears highly improbable that "For three or four years Smith, Rigdon, and Harris" really "worked for converts to the new faith" in and around the Palmyra area. See Wade Englund's on-line comments regarding the unreliability of some of the details related in the various "Hendrix" accounts.

Note 3: Henry G. Tinsley professed to have conducted an interview with "Hendrix" in 1893 and the text supplied by Tinsley is preserved in the Chicago Historical Society Library. Portions of that 1893 "Hendrix" statement were reprinted on pages 135-139 of the 1977 book, Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? and the entire document was subsequently reprinted in Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents III. The 1899 Buffalo Courier article was adapted from previous printings of the 1893 statement. See the Oct. 18, 1887 issue of the Springfield Republican for the actual, original source for much of the "Hendrix" account, that testimony communicated by Joseph Franklin Peck (1810-c.1890), a member of the extended Peck family of Lima, Livingston Co., New York.

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