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Vol. II.                               Utica, NY, May 17, 1825.                              No. 4.


Messrs. Editors. -- This is truly an age of wonders, at least in the moral and intellectual world if not in the natural, the truth of which will be seen by perusing the following extract from Josiah Priest's "Expected Christian Millenium," pages 345-6. As there seems to be no little dispute among our orthodox friends, with respect to the olcality of hell and the materiality of its fire, this may, perhaps produce more uniformity of opinion on the subject, and at the same time inform "infidels," "heretics," (alias Universalists) of their destiny between death and the resurrection. At any rate, the idea is quite a novel one, at least to me, and if you think the publication of it in your paper will amuse or edify your readers, you are at liberty to publish it.

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hgell delivered up the dead which were in them. Rev. xx. 13. This verse should be understood, that the sea and the earth is here personified by the word death under his power in the gravel and the word Hell or Hades personifies the place where are confined the souls of the wicked dead, till the final judgment, which is unquestionably in the subterranean fires of the earth, the volcanoes and burning mountains. -- This idea gathers strength from the recollection that it is said in Rev. xx 14, "And death abd Hell were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. This is the second death," from which it is abundantly certain that the first death and the first Hell spoken of, appertain to this earth; else how can they be taken and cast into a lake of fire, which St. John says was the second death, and is that Hell or lake of fire which was prepared for the Devil and his angels, into which the first death and the first Hell which appertain to this earth, shall be cast at the day of judgment; else how can the revelator say that death and Hell are cast into the lake of fire, if they are not considered two separate places? The place, therefore of departed spirits, who have died in their sins, is the subterranean fires of this globe. There, in those flames, in the literal sense, did the soul of the rich man, spoken of by St. Luke, xvi. 24, "lift up his eyes, being tormented."

Now for proof to the above wonderful discovery, which is undoubtedly the best that can be produced.

"It is supposed by philosophers, Boerhaave, Boyle and various others, who devoted their lives to the study of nature, that the centre of the earth contains a mass of lava, in a state of perpetual fusion. This ocean of flame they call a second sun. Various observations tend to support this idea. In the firts place, the rays of the sun have scarcely any power ten feet below the surface of the earth. Secondly, M. de Luc, on the fifth of June, 1777, descended the mines of Hartz, to a depth of 1359 feet, where he found the air somehwat warmer than on the surface: but in the mines of Hungary, which are 3000 feet deep, the heat becomes very great and almost insupportable."

"If the sun is not the cause of this heat, it must arise from internal fires."

N. B. The book containing the above extract, was handed me by one who "really wishes the doctrine of Universal Salvation were true," but dares not believe. O, Superstition, how strong art thou!

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS Vol. I.                               Utica, NY, August 7, 1830.                              No. 32.

(For the Magazine and Advocate.)

Mr. Editor -- Permit me sir, to state to you a new use of parenthesis, "( )" including these words, "for the benefit and control of the Methodist Episcopal church." In an adjoining township, some two years since, the inhabitants were induced to erect a small chapel, under the plausible pretext that christian professors of every denomination might worship therein. The methodists at that time were the most numerous sect. Since that time a very great proportion of the contributors have become "Christian Baptists," or (to use the more common appellation) "Campbellites," leaving some four or five, who yet adhere to the Methodist connexion. The presiding Elder of this circuit, not long since forbid the Campbellites using the house, and pointed them to the "Parenthesis" for his authority. The like trick is about to be played off on the inhabitants of this place, in a subscription for a meeting house; it has also a ( ). What a wonderful invention! How important must be the parenthesis become in all future subscriptions for meeting houses, especially where it is necessary to deceive the public!     J. M. H.
Chagrin, Ohio, July 23d, 1830.

Note 1: The above account appears to fit well the circumstance of the Methodist meeting house that was built atop the "heights" in Kirtland twp., Geauga Co., Ohio in the late 1820s. This is the "adjoining township" on the east boundary of Chagrin and was a place of early Campbellite victories over the local Methodists and Regular Baptists. Consider the following account, as published in 1893: "In the early days of Kirtland the Methodists were more numerous than all the other denominations put together... Their church was organized about 1820. They erected a small building on the corner of Kirtland cemetery. This was burned, and afterwards rebuilt on the same foundation."

Note 2: The Campbellites may have been excluded from using the Methodist chapel at Kirtland, through the summer of 1830, but by the fall of 1830, it appears that the theologically akin Rigdonites and Mormonites were able to secure use of the church for preaching services. See Kirtland resident Josiah Jones' 1831 account, where he says: "In the last part of October, 1830... Cowdery, Pratt, Whitmar and Peterson... appeared in the town of Mentor at Elder Sidney Rigdon's on Thursday evening about the 6th [sic - 26th?] of October... The next Wednesday evening they held a meeting at the Methodist Meetinghouse in this place..."



Vol. VII.                        Auburn, N. Y., Wednesday, December 8, 1830.                         No. 28.


THE BOOK OF MORMON. -- Most of our readers have probably heard of the Golden Bible, which it is asserted was found not long since, in some part of Ontario county. Some of the circumstances attending the remarkable discovery of this truly remarkable work, may not be uninteresting to some of our readers, as they serve to show how easily ignorance and superstition are made to support whatever doctrines may be advanced -- no matter how revolting they may appear in the light of reason. An angel appeared to an ignorant man near Palmyra and directed him to dig at a designated place, with a promise that he would there find a new revelation engraved on plates of metal. The man obeyed the messenger, and on digging, soon discovered an oblong box tightly cemented together. Upon opening this, he found enclosed a bundle of plates similar to gold, about 7 inches long, 6 broad, and all about 6 inches deep[,] each sheet being of about the thickness of tin. They were united at one edge with 3 silver wires, so that they opened in a manner similar to a book. "They were engraven in a character unintelligible to the learned men of the United States, to many of whom it is said they have been presented. The same angel afterwards appeared to three individuals, who call themselves Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, and showed them the plates. To Smith was given the power to translate the character which he was enabled to do by looking through two semi-transparent stones, but as he was ignorant of the art of writing, Cowdry and the others wrote as Smith, the person who was first directed to dig for the plates, interpreted. -- They say that part of the plates escaped from them in a supernatural manner and are to be again revealed when the events of time shall require them." The book which these men have pretended to translate from these sheets of gold has been printed, and they are now busily engaged in scattering copies of it throughout the country. They were recently in Painesville, Ohio on their way to a land of promise, which is before them -- they do not know exactly where -- but somewhere beyond the Mississippi, where they intend establishing a New Jerusalem, into which will be gathered all the descendants of Mannassah.

These men assert that this book "was written by the prophets of God during the period embracing the time for 600 years before and several hundred after the Christian era. It predicts, we understand, almost all events which have come to pass, such as the American Revolution, &c. and that there should be secret societies and that men should be led on to destruction as by a rope of flax, said to mean Cable tow. All which they believe is proven by profane history -- thus supporting the authenticity of the new revelation. But why the Deity should predict events, the knowledge of which would be so useful to the human race, merely to hide them in the earth until after their completion, we are not informed." They also say that the world will shortly -- within fifteen years at most -- come to an end: But by this they only mean, that the incorrigible and perverse unbelievers will be destroyed, while the earth will become the abode only of the true believers.

In Painesville, the three persons named above as the translators of the Bible, (who are looked upon by their followers as prophets,) preached in the Methodist chapel, and then proceeded to Kirkland. At this place is a "common stock family" under the charge of Elder Rigdon, a Campbellite leader, who, together with nearly one hundred of his followers, were immediately baptised according to the ordinances of the new religion!

Note: The above article clipping was supplied by Erin Jennings. It agrees almost exactly with its Dec. 18th reprint in The Philadelphia Album.



Vol. I.                        Ithaca, N.Y., December 22, 1830.                         No. 43.


The Ithaca Journal seizes with avidity upon the notice of the recent marriage at Batavia, of George Washington Harris, Esq. to Mrs. Lucinda Morgan, widow of the late Capt. Wm. Morgan, and parades it in a prominent position; and the editor in the overflowing of his charitable heart, exclaims:

"She has done right to quit a sinking ship, and accept a lawful, and we doubt not a worthy protector. Both before and after the disappearance of her late husband, Mrs. Morgan experienced the unostentatious aid of Masonick Charity; and she has manifested her sense of it by marrying a mason!"

Truth, for once, Mr. Knight Templar! Mrs. Morgan has married a mason. But as your word always needs confirmation, and especially so since your unexplained falsehood in relation to the forged handbill, we prove this assertion by the following document.

       State of New-York, Genesee Co. ss.

George W. Harris being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that he has been regularly initiated an entered apprentice in the institution of Free Masonry, and taken the degrees of Fellow Craft and Master Mason in said Institution. And this deponent further saith that he has examined, read and heard read a book entitled Illustrations of Masonry &c., as published by David C. Miller, and compiled and prepared for the press by William Morgan, late of Batavia in said county, and that the ceremonials and obligations as contained in said book are substantially correct and true as they were administered to this deponent, and as he has seen and heard them administered to others. And this deponent further saith that he has been a member of the masonick institution for more than twenty years, and sat in different lodges in this state and other states of the Union, and further saith not.   GEO. W. HARRIS.

Subscribed and sworn to this 15th day of December 1828, before me TIMOTHY FITCH, Justice of the Peace, Genesee county.

See also the signature of George W. Harris to the Declaration of Independence from the masonick institution, in Bernard's Light on Masonry, page 448.

You say too, that Mrs. Morgan has accepted of a "worthy" protector. Two truths! There is some hope, notwithstanding the lie about the forged handbill, that you may still establish a tolerable character for "truth and veracity." But as the publick will be incredulous when told that, against your natural propensity, you have actually perpetrated two truths in one paragraph, we propose to prove this assertion also. This we are enabled to do by the following documents:

The Undersigned are acquainted with George W. Harris who subscribed and swore to the foregoing affidavits and do hereby certify that he is a man of truth and veracity, and otherwise good character.

Batavia, December 15th, 1828.

From the "Masonic Mirror."

==> At a regular ennumeration of Batavia Lodge, No. 433, held Aug. 15, 1826, GEORGE W. HARRIS was expelled by a unanimous vote of said lodge, for the enormous depravity of his masonick conduct. Lodges and Brethren throughout the United States are particularly notified that they may govern themselves accordingly. By order of the Lodge.
               R. MARTIN.
    Secrtetary of Batavia Lodge No. 433.

We consider your credit now so well established that we may venture to quote another assertion, viz: "Both before and after the disappearance of her late husband. Mrs. Morgan experienced the unostentatious aid of Masonick charity." -- Yes, the fraternity advertised her husband as a swindler in the Messenger at Canandaigua and the Gazette at Black Rock -- they imprisoned him in close jail at Batavia, and broke into his room, and purloined his manuscripts to send to the Grand Lodge of the State -- they kidnapped him, and finally murdered him. -- "Unostentatious" indeed! They robbed her of her husband and the father of her children, and boast that their deeds of violence and assassination were unostentatiously performed! Nor did the "aid of masonick charity" end here. They strove to consign the character of the bereaved widow to living infamy! These are the unostentatious charities of the fraternity -- they are true masonic charities, -- such as the worthy Knight Templar who has sipped his libation from a human skull, may well boast of!

Note 1: George Washington Harris (1780-1857) was a practicing Master Mason in Batavia, as well serving as a Worshipful Master of a "blue lodge" in Virginia. On Aug. 15, 1826 he was expelled from the Masons. After the disappearance of her husband, this same George W. Harris (who operated a silversmith's shop in the same building where she lived in Batavia) was among those who contributed to Lucinda Morgan's financial needs. George's first wife, Margaret, died in 1828, so he was in a position to court Lucinda before his marriage to her a few months later. Not long after their marriage in Batavia, George and Lucinda relocated to Indiana.

Note 2: Mr. and Mrs. George W. Harris were baptized as Mormons in Oct. (Nov.?) 1834, at Terre Haute, Vigo Co., Indiana by Elder Orson Pratt. Within a year of that date the couple moved to Missouri and were among the earliest LDS settlers at Far West, the county seat of the newly created Caldwell Co. When Joseph Smith reorganized the Church government in that place, early in 1838, Harris benefited from that action by being appointed to the reconstituted Far West High Council. He owned one of the most substantial houses in the Mormon capital and offered a portion of the building to Joseph Smith, for his living quarters and office. It is supposed that during the summer of 1838 Lucinda became one of Smith's concubines. She was sometimes referred to as one of the LDS leader's "wives," but no record of a marriage ceremony exists, or is even alleged.

Note 3: Harris operated a silversmith's shop in Quincy, after he and his wife left Far West early in 1839. Claims of his involvement with William B. Smith in the Nauvoo "bogus operation" remain unsubstantiated; however Harris was the President of the short-lived Nauvoo Coach and Carriage Manufacturing Association. As such he may have reaped some profits in outfitting the thousands of departing Mormons in 1845-47. At Kanesville, following the defection of Bishop Miller, Harris took on the duties of his office on July 17, 1846. George was a member of the High Council in Far West, Nauvoo, and Council Bluffs. When Brigham Young ordered the straggling Mormons to moved to Utah, George remained in Iowa, expecting to "redeem Zion in Missouri." His refusal to relocate westward amounted to a self-induced disfellowshipping and Harris was stripped of his Bishop's duties and his office on the High Council.

Note 4: There appears to be some grounds for believing that Oliver Cowdery knew the William Morgan family at Batavia before Morgan's abduction. If so, Oliver may have become acquainted with George W. Harris, in that same town, in about 1826. Harris, as head of the LDS High Council, shepherded and won approval for Oliver's re-baptism at Council Bluffs in Nov. 1848.


The  Watch-Tower.

Vol. XVII.                      Cooperstown (N.Y.), Monday. January 31, 1831.                       No. 879.


Messrs. Editors -- The account of the dark day in Quebec, which was given it a late Evening Post, has brought so freshly to my recollection a similar occurance, that I feel disposed to give a little sketch of a day, which I think, in darkness and gloom, far exceeded the one so recently witnessed in Quebec. I think it was the 13th of April, 1780, the spring had previously been uncommonly pleasant, and the husbandman were all busily employed in planting; the active housewife was early stiring, that a plentiful breakfast might be seasonably prepared; and the members of every family felt the invigorating influence of the vernal season. But the morning was gloomy, a bright brassy belt encompassed the horizon, while all above was dark and dismal; when the sun arose, the singularity of its appearance attracted the attention of all. It had at first the appearance of emerging from an eclipse -- then its upper ridge was obscured by the cloud above, and it presented the appearance of the middle of the circle or rather a long square; and in a short time it was lost in darkness -- not a ray was to be seen, and the bright bolt had disappeared.

At eleven in the morning lights were found necessary to perform domestick business; and before twelve, every man laid aside his work, and retired to the adjoining dwelling, in expectation of some violent convulsion in nature. A thunderstorm or hurricane was momentarily expected. Dinner was taken by candelight. A slight shower of rain now fell, and the water was impregnated with sulphur. The afternoon continued dark. At sunset the belt was again discernable, and the god of day sunk beneath the horizon in a similar manner with its rising; and in twenty minutes the darkness was such as had never been witnessed since the plagues of Egypt. It might indeed be felt, and had the appearance of a pall of black velvet, which obscured every object; the lights in the windows of the nearest houses resembled a lamp faintly shining through the aperature in the cloth. The evening continued in this state of gloom and darkness; and when the family retired, it was with a sad forboding that the sun would never rise upon them again. "We are told that before that great and dreadful day, the sun and moon shall be darkened, and give no light," said a good woman in going to her chamber, "the time has come, and to-morrow we shall witness the day of judgement; how poorly we are prepared, and how shall we meet the son of man, and the son of God." But sleep, that balmy blessing, which rests and refreshes the weary, demanded his clue, and slumber stole upon senses, that vainly endeavoured to watch through the night. How great was the joy that awaited the moment of awakening. At half past twelve the veil was withdrawn, the darkness had fled, the sky was clear and bespangled with millions of sparkling stars, and the beautiful moon appeared riding in all her grandwur. Not a breeze moved the small blades of grass, not stirred the now budding foliage of the trees -- all was still, tranquil and serene. Every insect seemed to hail the Great Creator of all things. Whole families arose to inhale the balmy influence of the preset scene; and to welcome as a blessing the glorious light which from being withdrawn for one day, now appeared decked in beauty and fraught with blessings that had never witnessed before, the voice of congratulation was heard on every side, and men loved and feared God with a double ardor. Vessels coming in from sea met this cloud five leagues from shore, and those three leagues off, were enveloped in darkness. This darkness extended through the New-England States, but no farther. It was the subject of many sermons. Philosophers and Astronomers in vain endeavoured to account for a phenomenon that had never ocured at any period previous to the present. Many accidents happened in the course of the evening, some of a ludicrous kind, and some of a serious nature. The forebodings of crying prophets have turned out to be false. Our revolution has ended in a glorious peace; tranquility and prosperity have crowned their endeavours, and nothing has followed the dark day in half a century to credit the prognostics of the day. -- N. Y. Gaz.

Note: The correspondent was not too far off in his dating of this extraordinary event: the New England "Black Friday" of May 19, 1780 was remembered and talked about for decades. The "Dark Days" web-site attributes the shadowy effect of that day to "high level smoke," adding: "Candles were lighted at noon in Providence; in N. E. Massachusetts print could not be read outdoors for several hours; in Worcester, 'a sickly melancholy gloom overcast the face of Nature." Soot-coloured rain fell, and this was enough to reveal the cause of the darkness to most people. A Massachusetts farmer disagreed, saying that to attribute the darkness to the 'smoke of burnt leaves' was absurd; it was time to repent, as 'the day of the Lord draws nigh." The descriptions of "dark day" seem to be more consistent with the effects of both low level and high level smoke -- though people were not choking on the floating particles. Whether or not would-be writer Solomon Spalding took notice of this strange phenomenon remains unknown. Dr. Samuel Mitchell reportedly once described a similar event with the term "vapour of smoke."


NS. Vol. II.                               Utica, NY, February 5, 1831.                              No. 6.


A friend in Chagrin, Ohio, gives us the following information, which, with additional explanations, will, we trust, be as interesting to our readers, as it was to us. -- We say interesting, though it is shocking and abhorrent to every good principle and better feeling of the human heart.

"It would be highly gratifying to the friends of universal holiness and happiness, in this region of fanatics, if some ministering friend of commanding talents, would visit them. There is not an individual, to my knowledge, in the whole Lake country, who pretends to speak, in public, of the universal love of God.

I said 'region of fanatics,' for the like has not occurred since the days of the Crusaders to redeem the holy Sepulchre. Hundreds, in this vicinity, have become fanatics, complete -- call themselves apostles, prophets, &c. -- perform miracles -- call down fire from heaven -- impart the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and say that they shall be renovated and live a thousand years. The old women say that they shall again become young, and become fruitful and replenish the earth. They have all things in common, and dispense with the marriage covenant. They assume the general name of Mormonites. They have a new bible which they call the Book of Mormon. Many have joined from whom we might expect better things."
                    J. M. H.

The above named sect (if sect it can be called) took its rise within the last two or three years, in this state, from a man by the name of Joseph Smith, Jr., a man of subtlety and cunning, but of no learning, and as we are informed, much worse than no character. Judging from the book he has published, we are satisfied he must be a real, unprincipled, villainous impostor. A book of nearly 600 pages, entitled 'The Book of Mormon,' bearing Smith's name as author and proprietor, has been published during the past year. It claims to be a translation of "An account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi." The author says in his preface to the reader, "I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, N. Y."

The miserable impostor who publishes this book, pretends that the plates were plates of gold containing the record written by Mormon -- that having "by the gift and power of God," translated a part of the ancient record contained on the golden plates, some person or persons stole from him what he had translated; he was commanded by God not to translate that over again, but to translate other parts of the record on the plates; which thing he did, and had thus failed satan's attempt to overthrow the revelation, &c. This volume is divided into the 1st and 2d Book of Nephi, the Books of Jacob, Enos, Jarem, Omni, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, Nephi, Mormon, Ether and Moroni. At the close, there is what is called "The testimony of three witnesses," stating that they saw the plates of gold from which this Smith translated his book, and know that he did it by the gift and power of God, that it is "a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower of which hath been spoken." -- That "an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates" &c., signed by Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. Then follows another page of about the same import, entitled, "And also the testimony of eight witnesses," and signed by four Whitmers, one Page, and three Smiths. The whole book is filled with blasphemous nonsense, silly stories, pretended prophecies, history, &c. of people and events immediately succeeding the flood, and during the reign of the kings of Israel and Judah, and extending to the time and events connected with the Messiah's reign; interlaced with unnumbered profanations of the names of the Deity and Jesus Christ. It is a most bungling attempt to imitate the ancient English and Bible phraseology. Much of the language is borrowed from the Bible, and inserted in the book, after murdering the English of it: and the Almighty, by the sentences ascribed to him, is made out a most miserable grammarian; insomuch that some have sarcastically remarked that, "if the Deity ever indi[c]ted the language here ascribed to him, it must have been in his younger days, before he had become much acquainted with the proper analogy of language!"

On the whole, it is one of the most abominable pieces of imposition and blasphemy, that has of late been attempted to be palmed upon community, in the name of a new revelation. And one would suppose that in this enlightened age, none could be found ignorant and stupid enough to be cheated by the imposture. There is, however, one remarkable fact which should be stated in connexion with this subject. It is this: That notwithstanding mankind will be rational on all other subjects but that of religion, there is scarcely any imposture of this character, however absurd or monstrous it may be, that has ever been introduced into the world, but what has had its supporters and made its proselytes. And we have very little doubt that were a person now to appear on the stage and assert that he had been an inhabitant of the moon for five hundred years, and had finally fallen on this earth to make a new revelation to men, he would find followers and make proselytes, who would be fools enough to believe and profess faith in his new theory. So prone are mankind to the marvelous in religion, when backed, as in this case, by the threats of endless misery!        S.

Note: This letter included the first mention in the columns of the Evangelical Magazine of the Mormonite sect. The letter and the editor's accompanying comments were published at about the same time that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr.'s family came to Kirtland, after Rigdon's lengthy visit with Smith in New York. The administration of the Mormonite congregation in Ohio during Rigdon's absence was apparently entrusted to Elder John Whitmer. It is unlikely that Elder Whitmer would have approved of any bigamy or polygamy among his flock, so the phrase "dispense with the marriage covenant" perhaps means that he allowed converts to leave their non-convert spouses, in order to participate in the experience of having "all things in common" with their fellow disciples of Joseph Smith, Jr.



Vol. I.                                 Albany, N.Y., Wed., February 16, 1831.                                 No. 281.


Fanaticism. -- We noticed, some time since, the progress of a new religious order in the Western [sic - Eastern ?] part of Ohio. It would seem that good materials are found in that district for such a work. The Painesville (Ohio) Gazette contains the following additional particulars:

                         The Golden Bible, or the Book of Mormon.

The believers in this miserable production, are known by the name of "Mormonites," and their book is commonly called "The book of Mormon." It is asserted by them that their number in this vicinity is four hundred. In a conversation a few days since with a gentleman from Kirtland, well informed, and every way concerned to give us the truth, we are assured that their numbers in the families in that town were two hundred souls. We doubt not then, that their whole number in this county and Cayahoga, are [sic] at least four hundred.

They have recently received an additional revelation from the prolific prophet, Smith, which is generally understood to say that Kirtland is within the precincts of the holy land; but by others, is said to mean only, that in that town will be a great gathering of mighty multitudes, preparatory to their westward general migration. They are, therefore, admonished to sell no more of their possessions, but rather purchase, lest there shall not be room for the faithful. The admonition, however, arrived too late, as they have but fifty acres left, and the land-holders refuse to sell to them.

They profess to receive sensible demonstrations of the presence of the Deity. A few days since, a young man gave information to some of his brethren that he was about to receive a message from heaven. -- They repaired to the spot designated, and there, as they solemnly assert, a letter descended from the skies, and fell into the hands of the young man. The purport was to strengthen his faith and inform him that he would soon be called to the ministry. They declare their solemn belief that this letter was written in heaven by the finger of God. The style of writing was the round Italian, and the letters of gold. The favored youth immediately attempted to copy the communication, but as fast as he wrote, the letters of the original disappeared, until it entirely vanished. It is alleged that some of them have received white stones promised in the 2d chapter of the Revelations. Such of them as have "the spirit" will declare that they see a white stone moving about the upper part of the room, and will jump and spring for it, until one more fortunate than the others catches it, but he alone can see it. -- Others however, profess to hear it roll across the floor. These two stories, and others of a similar character, are told by them with solemn asseverations of their truth.

Among them is a man of color, a chief man, who is sometimes seized with strange vagaries and odd conceits. The other day he is said to have jumped twenty-five feet down a wash bank into a tree top without injury. He sometimes fancies he can fly.

In Chardon, one man has torn away all the partitions of the lower part of a good two story dwelling house. Here a large number live together. The food, consisting of meat and vegetables, it is said, are [sic] placed on the table in a large pan, which is the whole table furniture. From this every inmate takes a piece of meat and potatoe in his hand, and devours them as he walks about the room. As to matters of apparel, and indeed other things, [where] any one wants what he has not, he takes it any where in the family where he can find it unoccupied. All things are common.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. VII.                        Auburn, N. Y., Wednesday, February 23, 1831.                         No. 40.



  AGUE. Also his remedy for the NERVOUS
and also remedy for piles.

 => For sale by Steel, Cook & Co. sole agents,

Note 1: It is perhaps only a coincidence, but "Dr. P. R. Hulbert's Remedy" was sold exclusively through a store in Auburn, NY, only a few miles from Penn Yan, where Dr. Philastus Hurlbut (of Anti-Mormon fame) reportedly grew up. Hurlbut was baptized a Mormon in Jamestown, NY, in 1832 -- about the same time that this patent "remedy" evidently went off the market. After moving to Kirtland, early in 1833, Dr. P. Hurlbut attempted to start up a herbal medicine practice, but was instead sent off to Pennsylvania by LDS leaders, on an ill-fated proselytizing mission.

Note 2: For a possibly related advertising item, see the Oct. 11, 1854 issue of the Ohio Painesville Telegraph.


The  Onondaga  Standard.

Vol. II.                        Syracuse, N. Y., Wednesday, March 9, 1831.                         No. 78.


The Painesville, Ohio, Telegraph, has an interesting paragraph with respect to these fanatics, believers in the Golden Bible -- Their number in the vicinity of Painsville is said to be four hundred. We quote the following from an editorial article in the Telegraph:

"They have recently received an additional revelation from the prolific prophet..."

Note: The above excerpt [abbreviated] was taken from the Painesville "Gazette," rather than from the "Telegraph."


The  Watch-Tower.

Vol. XVIII.                      Cooperstown, N.Y., Monday, March 16, 1831.                       No. 894.

Singular Developments -- Trouble in the antimasonic party -- A rather curious and highly interesting account of certain matters has lately appeared from the pen of W. W. Phelps, editor of the Ontario Phoenix, an antimasonic paper published in Canandaigua. He states that while he was lately at Palmyra, whither he had gone for the important purpose of comparing the "Book of Mormon" with the Bible to find out the truth and investigate the matter for the public good, certain persons, members of the church and pretended antimasons, living at Canandaigua, caused him to be arrested for a debt and put him in jail, where he will have to stay thirty days, though his family are sick at home.

After remarking in bitter terms on the hardness of his case, &c. he speaks as follows: "Is this one of the principles of antimasonry? If it is, save me from its ransacking scourge, for it is cruel as the grave, parting man and wife, and vaunting in the dregs of Imprisonment for Debt!

"Three years have I led the freemen of Old Ontario to victory. I have always meant good, and have had the name of so doing -- then for what act have I been cast into prison? Let public opinion declare! I have risked all and spent all in the cause of Antimasonry -- my just dues are somewhat more than my debts: therefore, if those concerned, and who have had the benefit of my services, will take the whole, and square all, by giving me $150, which is only fifty dollars a year for three year's hard labor, they are welcome to it; otherwise I shall send a fire brand abroad, which may light an unquenchable flame! I shall not be severed from the Ontario Phoenix by Lord ____, for nothing, nor go into it again disgraced. The people of Ontario will not suffer "CHURCH AND STATE" to mix and fat federalism. They will glory in seeing what has been divided in April, scattered in November, unless I receive the meed of my merit."

It plainly appears from this, that there is trouble among the fraternity of antimasons in Ontario and the expression of Mr. Phelps. "that what has been divided in April will be scattered in November," would seem to indicate their downfall at the autumn election.

Mr. Phelps is one of the prominent leaders of antimasonry, and he is one of those who have damned and demeaned himself by the insinuation that the sudden death of DeWitt Clinton was heavenly punishment on him for a dark crime. -- Alb. Gaz.

Note 1: The above excerpt is from a William W. Phelps letter addressed to the Geneva Gazette, and reprinted from an early May issue of that paper into the Wayne Sentinel of May 13, 1831 in full.

Note 2: In an 1835 letter published in the LDS Messenger & Advocate William W. Phelps wrote: "On the 30th of April, 1830, I was thrown into prison at Lyons, N.Y. by a couple of Presbyte[rian] traders, for a small debt, for the purpose, as I was informed, of "keeping me from joining the Mormons" (Letter No. 6," Latter Day Saints' Messenger & Advocate, Vol. I. No. 7.[April, 1835]). The "April, 1830" date printed in the Mormon newspaper was obviously a typographical error; the date have read "April, 1831." See Bruce A. Van Orden's "By That Book I Learned the Right Way to God: The Conversion of William W. Phelps" in Regional Studies in LDS History: New York.

Note 3: It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Phelps' temporary imprisonment in the Lyons jail was a publicity stunt cooked up by Phelps himself. He was arguably the last man in the State of New York ever held in confinement exclusively upon the charge of not having paid a small debt. The Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a law voiding such sentencing about the time W. W. Phelps went behind bars. In his open letter to newspaper readers he says things objectionable to Freemasons and anti-Masons alike, as though tailoring his words to the needs of a country editor in search of printable "news." If this was indeed Phelps' purpose, the results (only a few mentions in western New York papers) hardly seem to have been worth the effort.


Vol. VIII.                           Binghampton N.Y., Thursday, April 7, 1831.                          No. 49.


Progress of Mormonism. -- The Editor of the Painesville (Ohio) Gazette says: "Martin Harris, one of the original Mormon prophets, arrived in the village last Saturday, on his way to the 'Holy Land.' He says he has seen Jesus Christ, and that 'he is the handsomest man he ever did see.' He has also seen the Devil, whom he describes to be a very sleek haired fellow, with four feet, and a head like a jackass."

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS. Vol. II.                              Utica, NY, April 9, 1831.                             No. 15.

(For the Magazine and Advocate.)


Messrs. Editors -- In the sixth number of your paper I saw a notice of a sect of people called Mormonites; and thinking that a fuller history of their founder, Joseph Smith, jr., might be interesting to community, and particularly to your correspondent in Ohio, where, perhaps, the truth concerning him may be hard to come at, I will take the trouble to make a few remarks on the character of that infamous imposter. For several years preceding the appearance of his book, he was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending, by means of a certain stone, or glass, which he put in a hat, to be able to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, &c. Although he constantly failed in his pretensions, still he had his dupes who put implicit confidence in all his words. In this town, a wealthy farmer, named Josiah Stowell, together with others, spent large sums of money in digging for hidden money, which this Smith pretended he could see, and told them where to dig; but they never found their treasure. At length the public, becoming wearied with the base imposition which he was palming upon the credulity of the ignorant, for the purpose of sponging his living from their earnings, had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of Justice. But considering his youth, (he being then a minor,) and thinking he might reform his conduct, he was designedly allowed to escape. This was four or five years ago. From this time he absented himself from this place, returning only privately, and holding clandestine intercourse with his credulous dupes, for two or three years.

It was during this time, and probably by the help of others more skilled in the ways of iniquity than himself, that he formed the blasphemous design of forging a new revelation, which, backed by the terrors of an endless hell, and the testimony of base unprincipled men, he hoped would frighten the ignorant, and open a field of speculation for the vicious, so that he might secure to himself the scandalous honor of being the founder of a new sect, which might rival, perhaps, the Wilkinsonians, or the French Prophets of the 17th century.

During the past Summer he was frequently in this vicinity, and others of baser sort, as Cowdry, Whitmer, etc., holding meetings, and proselyting a few weak and silly women, and still more silly men, whose minds are shrouded in a mist of ignorance which no ray can penetrate, and whose credulity the utmost absurdity cannot equal.

In order to check the progress of delusion, and open the eyes and understandings of those who blindly followed him, and unmask the turpitude and villainy of those who knowingly abetted him in his infamous designs; he was again arraigned before a bar of Justice, during last Summer, to answer to a charge of misdemeanor. This trial led to an investigation of his character and conduct, which clearly evinced to the unprejudiced, whence the spirit came which dictated his inspirations. During the trial it was shown that the Book of Mormon was brought to light by the same magic power by which he pretended to tell fortunes, discover hidden treasures, &c. Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses to the book, testified under oath, that said Smith found with the plates, from which he translated his book, two transparent stones, resembling glass, set in silver bows. That by looking through these, he was able to read in English, the reformed Egyptian characters, which were engraved on the plates.

So much for the gift and power of God, by which Smith says he translated his book. Two transparent stones, undoubtedly of the same properties, and the gift of the same spirit as the one in which he looked to find his neighbor's goods. It is reported, and probably true, that he commenced his juggling by stealing and hiding property belonging to his neighbors, and when inquiry was made, he would look in his stone, (his gift and power) and tell where it was. Josiah Stowell, a Mormonite, being sworn, testified that he positively knew that said Smith never had lied to, or deceived him, and did not believe he ever tried to deceive any body else. The following questions were then asked him, to which he made the replies annexed.

Did Smith ever tell you there was money hid in a certain glass which he mentioned? Yes. Did he tell you, you could find it by digging? Yes. Did you dig? Yes. Did you find any money? No. Did he not lie to you then, and deceive you? No! the money was there, but we did not get quite to it! How do you know it was there? Smith said it was! Addison Austin was next called upon, who testified, that at the very same time that Stowell was digging for money, he, Austin, was in company with said Smith alone, and asked him to tell him honestly whether he could see this money or not. Smith hesitated some time, but finally replied, "to be candid, between you and me, I cannot, any more than you or any body else; but any way to get a living." Here, then, we have his own confession, that he was a vile, dishonest impostor. As regards the testimony of Josiah Stowell, it needs no comment. He swears positively that Smith did not lie to him. So much for a Mormon witness. Paramount to this, in truth and consistency, was the testimony of Joseph Knight, another Mormonite. Newell Knight, son of the former, and also a Mormonite, testified, under oath, that he positively had a devil cast out of himself by the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, jr., and that he saw the devil after it was out, but could not tell how it looked!

Those who have joined them in this place, are, without exception, children who are frightened into the measure, or ignorant adults, whose love for the marvellous is equalled by nothing but their entire devotedness to the will of their leader; with a few who are as destitute of virtue and moral honesty, as they are of truth and consistency. As for his book, it is only the counterpart of his money-digging plan. Fearing the penalty of the law, and wishing still to amuse his followers, he fled for safety to the sanctuary of pretended religion.   A. W. B.
   S. Bainbridge, Chen., co., March, 1831.

Note: The "A. W. B." who signed this letter was Abraham W. Benton of South Bainbridge, Afton twp., Chenango Co., New York. Compare his writing style, letter content and initials to the "A. W. Benton" of "South Bainbridge" who wrote letters to the Magazine & Advocate in 1834 and for several years thereafter, mostly upon the topic of temperance. A contemporary account of the 1826 trial, spoken of in the above letter, mentions the a presence of a "young man named Benton."



Vol. XIV.                             Ithaca, N.Y., Wednesday, April 27, 1831.                              No. 39.

A company of "Golden Bible Pilgrims" passed through our village a day or two since, on the way to their "Land of Promise" in Ohio. They numbered 100, men, women and children.

Note: These traveling Mormons were the Colesville branch, on their way to Kirtland and points west. According to Larry Porter: "The exact date of departure for the Colesville Saints in their journey to Ohio is difficult to establish. It is probable that there was more than one group on the move at about the same time. Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York, was evidently the appointed rendezvous for the respective parties on the road. Joseph Knight, Jr., states that 'In 1831, we met at Ithaca and came to Buffalo together...'" ("The Colesville Branch and the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon," BYU Studies X:3.)



Vol. XIV.                             Ithaca, N.Y., Wednesday, May 18, 1831.                              No. 42.


W. W. Phelps, editor of the Ontario Phoenix, and formerly of the "Lake Light" in this county, has been kidnapped by his brethren of the same principle, and confined in prison. It seems that Mr. Phelps, who is a very intelligent Mormonite, besides being a very "Moral and Religious Anti-mason," took a trip to Palmyra in order to compare "The Book of Mormon" with the Bible; and while absorbed in the investigation, he was arrested by certain persons from Canandaigua and thrown into jail. Poor Phelps, since his incarceration, thus comes out against his former comrogues and cronies:

"Is this one of the principles of anti-masonry? If it is, save me from its ransacking scourge, for it is cruel as the grave, parting man and wife, and vaunting in the dregs of Imprisonment for Debt!

"Three years have I laboured for the public good, and three times have I led the people of Old Ontario to Victory. I have always meant good, and have had the name of so doing -- then for what act have I been cast into prison? Let publick opinion declare! I have risked all and spent all in the cause of anti-masonry -- my just dues are somewhat more than my debts: -- therefore, if those concerned, and who have had the benefit of my services, will take the whole, and square all, by giving me $150, which is only fifty dollars a year for three years hard labour, they are welcome to it; otherwise I shall send a fire brand abroad, which may light an unquenchable flame! I shall not be severed from the Ontario Phoenix by Lord ____, for nothing, nor go into it again disgraced. The people of Ontario will not suffer "CHURCH AND STATE" to mix and fat federalism. They will glory in seeing what has been divided in April, scattered in November, unless I receive the meed of my merit."

We would advise the "freemen of Old Ontario," either immediately to bestow upon our "Lake Light" friend "the meed of his merit," and restore him to his wife, or else to Morganize him as speedily as possible. If they determine upon the latter, we would recommend to them Edward Giddins, the hero of Fort Niagara, and the Atheistical Almanack maker, as a very fit instrument for their purposes.

Note: It is difficult to understand why W. W. Phelps felt it necessary to travel from his home in Canandaigua, to Palmyra, in order to inspect a copy of the Book of Mormon, in May of 1831. Phelps' own newspaper had advertised the book as being for sale in Canandaigua, during the spring of 1830.


The  Watch-Tower.

Vol. XVIII.                        Cooperstown (N.Y.), Monday, June 20, 1831.                         No. 899.

Latest from the Mormonites. -- The following is from the Western Courier of May 26th, published at Ravenna, Portage county, Ohio:

"We understand that a new arrival of Mormonites has taken place -- some two hundred men, women and children having lately landed in Geauga county, their holy land, from New York. They commenced a new settlement, in the township of Thompson, near the line of Ashtabula county, thus extending the holy land farther east than the limits originally fixed. -- They have full faith in the Mormon doctrine, having as they say, worked a miracle in clearing a passage through the ice at Buffalo, by which they sailed several days sooner than other vessels.

In June they are all to meet, and hold a kind of [jubilee] in this new 'land of promise,' where they are to work diverse miracles -- among others that of raising the dead. It is said there are soon to be miraculous births among them, and the number it is expected, will [be] materially increased after the general meeting.

Strange as it may appear, it is an unquestionable fact, that this singular sect have, within three or four weeks, made many proselytes in this county. The number of believers in the faith, in three or four of the Northern Townships, is said to exceed one hundred -- among whom are many intelligent and respectable individuals. The prospects of obtaining still greater numbers in this county, is daily increasing.

Note: Those "Mormonites" moving and settling (or simply converting) in Thompson township, Ohio eventually came to include several families, members of which interacted with D. P. Hurlburt prior to his excommunication. These included the Copley family. the Hodges family, the Gee family, etc. The "Colesville branch" of eastern Mormons were the "some two hundred men, women and children" who were scheduled to settle in Thompson. But when wavering convert Lemon Copley did not make his farm available for their settlement, many of those pioneers continued on to Jackson County, Missouri, arriving there about the time of the first special conference of the LDS Church in that place, during the summer of 1831.


Daily  Albany  Argus.

Vol. ?                                    Albany, Tues., June 21, 1831.                                     No. ?

THE MARCH OF MORMONITISM. -- The Lockport (Niagara co. N. Y.) Balance of the 31st ult., after giving a history of what it terms "Golden Bible Imposition," speaks of it as follows: --

"It has no parallel in folly and stupidity from the days of Johanna Southcote, to those of Jemima Wilkeson. In its character or practical operations, it has no redeeming feature. It is with regret, however, that we are obliged to add, that it has not proved unsuccessful. There are now, probably, 1000 disciples of the Mormon creed!. 'Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon.' Their prophet, Jo. has selected a spot in the state of Ohio, which he calls the promised land! It is in and about the town of Kirtland, Geauga county. Thither the deluded followers of the false prophet are repairing. -- It is but a few days since, that an entire boat load of them passed this village, principally from the counties of Ontario and Wayne. Such as have property, convert it to a common stock, and thus create an inducement which is not overlooked by the idle and vicious. Families, in some instances, have been divided; and in others, mothers have been obliged to follow their deluded husbands, or adopt the disagreeable alternative of parting with them and their children."

The Balance states that the founder of Mormonism is Jo. Smith, an ignorant and nearly unlettered man, living near the village of Palmyra, Wayne county; the second, an itinerant pamphlet pedlar and occasionally a journeyman printer, named Oliver Cowdry; the third, Martin Harris, a respectable farmer at Palmyra. The latter, as will be seen in the following paragraph, has recently departed for the land of promise: --

Mormon Emigration. -- Several families, numbering about fifty souls, took up their line of march from this town last week for the "promised land," among whom is Martin Harris, one of the original believers in the "Book of Mormon." Mr. Harris was among the early settlers of this town, and has ever borne the character of an honorable and upright man, and an obliging and benevolent neighbor. He had secured to himself by honest industry a respectable fortune -- and he has left a large circle of acquaintances and friends to pity his delusion. -- Palmyra Sentinel.

Notes: (forthcoming)


NS. Vol. II.                              Utica, NY, June 25, 1831.                             No. 26


Almost every week brings new reports of the fatal infatuation of the Mormonites. It will be recollected that when they made their appearance here, they declared themselves immortal. Death, however, has paid them no respect, other than by frequent visits. In defiance of repeated instances of mortality they profess the power of healing, refuse to call medical assistance, and many fall the miserable victims of their faith, The latest reports are, that a few days since the wife of a Mr. Madock [sic], daughter of Judge Clapp, of Mentor, and a believer in Mormonism, died among them in child bed for want of professional assistance. The wife of the prophet Smith hardly escaped the same fate.

Fresh Arrival. -- Within the last week there have arrived from the state of New-York, some by the lake and others by land, at least 200 Mormonites. They brought with them their household furniture entire, [log and luggage], and roots, and herbs and plants ready for the soil. They passed on to the "holy land," and we understand are scattered about in the common stock families. We are told that the wife of the prophet Harris refused to be a Mormonite, and he has left her among "the Gentiles." She it was who purloined several pages of the first revelation, and which by the direction of the Angel have never been supplied. Another fellow had left his wife and children, and openly declared they never should live with him until they embrace the new faith.

Every breeze wafts to us some new rumour from this prolific source of fanatics, some of which proved true and some false. Fame now whispers in sly and obscure hints, something about a miraculous conception, from which we conclude the Mormon public mind is being prepared for the nativity of some wonderful personage.
           Painesville (O.) Gazette.

Note 1: These two articles were evidently copied from the May 17, 1831 issue of the Painesville Geauga Gazette The New York Mormons mentioned by the Gazette arrived at Fairport, on a steamer from Buffalo, about May 12-13, 1831.

Note 2: Julia Clapp Murdock died on April 30, 1831 at Warrenville, Ohio, while giving birth to twins: Julia and Joseph Murdock. At practically the same time, in Kirtland, Emma Hale Smith lost her two newly born twins, perhaps due to lack of proper medical care. A few days later the convalescing Emma took the Murdock infants into her keeping; the boy died young but the girl, Julia, grew up in the Smith family and did not realize she was adopted until past her childhood. The passing of Julia Clapp Murdock must have been doubly difficult for the anti-Mormon "Judge" Orris Clapp -- not only did he lose a daughter to death but a granddaughter to his enemy, Joseph Smith, Jr. One of Judge Clapp's sons married the sister of Disciples of Christ leader, Alexander Campbell, putting Rev. Campbell in the uncomfortable position of being a shirttail in-law of "Joe Smith," whom Campbell despised.

Note 3: Joseph Smith, Jr. apparently learned from his wife's near brush with death in 1831. The following year, when his wife Emma give birth to Joseph Smith III, on Nov. 6, 1832, the Mormon leader disobeyed his own religious tenets and called in the Gentile physician, Dr. George W. Card of Willoughby, to attend to the delivery.

Note 4: The "miraculous conception" referred to so obliquely by Editor Perkins, was almost certainly the unexpected pregnancy of Catherine Smith, a daughter of Joseph, Sr. and Lucy Smith. Catherine married William Jenkins Salisbury on Jan. 8, 1831 and her first child of record was Elizabeth Salisbury, born on Apr. 12, 1832. The matter of this lady's previous experience with conception has long been considered a subject too delicate for polite discussion. On the other hand, rumors that Sidney Rigdon was a hopeful parent, along with one of the unmarried Smith girls, were made openly during the early years of the Mormon experience.



Vol. XV.                                 Ithaca, N.Y., Wed., August 24, 1831.                                  No. 4.

W. W. Phelps, late editor of the Ontario Phoenix, an anti-masonick paper, has embraced the Mormon faith, (a belief in the revelations of the and has been ordained as an elder, and been commissioned to preach.

(Phelps is much more consistent than many other anti-masonick editors: he has chosen a religion which corresponds admirably with his politicks.)

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. II.                                 Albany, N.Y., Mon., August 29, 1831.                                 No. ?


It is certainly strange, yet nevertheless true, that this infatuated people, if we may place confidence in the reports of the newspapers, are becoming more numerous, and assuming a more formidable appearance.

We had hoped, that ere this [time] believers of the Book of Mormon would have been entirely extinct, and that no individual, however credulous, could be found so blind to reason and common judgement, as to permit himself to be carried away by the absurdities of the Mormon doctrine. The frailities incident to human nature, have in all ages, invariably shewen themselves, either in remarkable lethargy, or an enthusiastic excitement unsanctioned by reason or common sense. But the followers of the Book of Mormon, if the accounts received be not inconceivably exaggerated, are amongst the most blind and deluded people we have upon record.

They believe that their leader is the real Jesus Christ, and that both he and his disciples have infinite power to work miracles, raise the dead, cleanse lepers -- and they testify that he has cast out many devils -- that the millennium is nigh, and that Philadelphia is the place where Jesus Christ will meet his disciples and followers. --

They are now removing to the promised land -- some indefinite spot on the Mississippi -- some have gone, and others are disposing of their property, often to an immense pecuniary sacrifice, that they may join their companions gone before. To such an enthusiastic pitch have they raised their imaginations that the entreaties and persuasive arguments of friends have no weight whatever.

Their religious ceremonies and observances are forms of obsceneness and blasphemy, and are conducted in a manner shocking to the sense of rational creatures. In their excesses, unrestrained by the presence of the opposite sex, and in one assembly, they roll naked on the floor, and exhibit a variety of grotesque and unseemly forms, that humanity would blush to name, It is truly lamentable that such a state of things exists -- yet nevertheless these fanatics are daily receiving new accessions from New-York, Indiana, &c. -- Buck's Co. Int.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Watch-Tower.

Vol. XVIII.                       Cooperstown (N.Y.), Monday, Oct. 3, 1831.                        No. 914.


                                   St. Louis, Missouri, Sept. 6.
The Mormonites. -- We learn from the Painesville Gazette, that this infatuated people are again in motion. In their own cant phrase "they are going to inherit the promise of God to Abraham and his seed." Their destination is some indefinite spot on the Missouri river, they say about 1500 miles distant. About eighty of them have recently been ordained and some have gone, others are about going, two and two, part by the western rivers and part by land, to their distant retreat, far away from the cheering voice of civilized man. -- Those who have disposed of their property go now, and such as have property, are making market for it so eagerly as often to disregard pecuniary interests, and all are to follow with all convenient dispatch. They still persist in their power to work miracles. They say they have often seen them done: the sick are healed, the lame walk, devils are cast out; and these assertions are made by men heretofore considered rational men, and men of truth. The Gazette expresses the opinion that although the leaders of this sect are great impostors, a great portion of its members are sincere and honest.

Some of the leaders of this sect, we are told, passed through this place two or three weeks since, on their return to Ohio. We understand, that they have determined to migrate to Jackson county, on the extreme edge of this state; for which purpose they have purchased a sufficiency of land whereupon to locate the whole of the believers of Mormonism. We have some hope that the latter part of the paragraph may be true; as in any other event, we should not rejoice much in the acquisition of so many deluded enthusiasts.

Note: The above Watchman article was reprinted from a notice published by the Daily Missouri Republican on Sept. 6, 1831. The Republican, in turn, took the first part of its article from the Painesville, Ohio Geauga Gazette of June 21, 1831.



Vol. VI. N. S, No. 95.                        Albany, Tues., Oct. 4, 1831.                         Vol. 19, No. 1951.

BIOGRAPHY OF DR. MITCHELL. -- The Lyceum of Natural History in New-York, we are informed, has requested Dr. Sam'l. Ackerly to prepare a biographical memoir of its late eminent member, Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, to be delivered in public at some future time. Dr. Ackerly who has consented to prepare the memoir, possesses some peculiar facilities for execution [of] the work, as we understand that Dr. Mitchell has left to him by his will "all his books, maps, charts, prints, drawings, port folios and collections, including the files of letters from distinguished persons" &c. Many valuable letters and communications eill no doubt be found among the papers of our deceased countryman, who was in the habit of preserving every thing. -- {Eve. Post.

Note 1: In Feb., 1828, Martin Harris, a neighbor of Joseph Smith, obtained a reproduction of the "Nephite characters" Joseph Smith claimed comprised the original text to the Book of Mormon. Harris carried the copy of these characters to Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell (or "Mitchill") at Columbia College, New York City, hoping to obtain Mitchell's certification of them as a specimen of ancient writing. Harris failed to obtain any such affidavit from Mitchell or any other New York academic. Mitchell died in Sept., 1831. Although he seemingly had little interest in Joseph Smith's "reformed Egyptian," Mitchell did cultivate an interest in the pictorial antiquities of Mexico and Central America. This inspired Dr. Francois Corroy to open a correspondence with Mitchell in 1830 and to ship to New York various items from the Palenque ruins for Mitchell's inspection. Had Mitchell lived a few months longer, his scholarly exchanges with Corroy might well have inspired him to attempt a preliminary translation of the glyphs found at Palenque.

Note 2: As things turned out, it was Felic Pascalis-Ouviere, rather than Dr. Ackerly, who wrote Dr. Mitchell's 1831 "Eulogy." However, on Sept. 23, 1833, Samuel Ackerly presented a paper on the "Antiquities of America" (including many important references to the late Dr. Mitchell) before the Lyceum of Natural History, in New York City, as reported by the Jan. 11, 1834 issue of the Family Magazine. In his address Ackerly reported on his continuation of a correspondence between Mitchell and Dr. Francisco Corroy, of Tabasco, one of the early explorers of the ancient Mayan site near Palenque, Mexico. In 1833-34 the editor of the Family Magazine published drawings of some of the first Mayan bas reliefs ever seen by American readers. The drawings (and a good deal of the text published by the magazine, in explanation of them) came from the 1822 publication of Capt. Antonio Del Rio's exploration of the Palenque site -- one of the very few original sources on Mayan ruins available to American readers (such as Joseph Smith, Jr.) prior to the early 1830s.

Note 3: Among the first members of the Lyceum of Natural History was Constantine S. Rafinesque (1783-1840), whose early scientific career was mentored by Dr. Mitchell. Rafinesque derived his knowledge of Mayan glyphs from examples published by von Humbolt and from reproductions appearing in the 1822 edition of the Del Rio account. Although Rafinesque denounced Mormonism in his 1831-32 Atlantic Journal, Mormons were happy for many years to selectively quote Rafinesque's description of the Mayan "glyphs of Otolum" as being something closely akin to the "reformed Egyptian" of the Book of Mormon. See Rafinesque's Jan. 1, 1827 letter for his first published description of Mayan writing.



Vol. VI.                        Albany, Saturday, Oct. 15, 1831.                         No. 1866.

(From the Illinois Patriot, Sept. 16.)

THE MORMONITES. -- A Preacher of this sect visited us last Saturday. We heard a part of his lecture, which occupied more than two hours. From account, this sect came into existence a little more than a year since in the following manner. A young man about 23 years of age, somewhere in Ontario county, N. Y., was visited by an angel! (here the preacher looked around him apparently to see if the credulity of the people in this enlightened age could be thus imposed on,) who informed him three times in one night that by visiting a certain place in that town he would have revealed to him something of importance. The young man was disturbed, but did not obey the summons until the following day, when the angel again visited him. At the place appointed he found in the earth a box which contained a set of thin plates resembling gold, with Arabic characters inscribed on them. The plates were minutely described as being connected with rings in the shape of the letter D, which facilitated the opening and shutting of the book. The preacher said he found in the same place two stones, with which he was enabled, by placing them over his eyes and putting his head in a dark corner, to decypher the hieroglyphics on the plates! This we were told was performed to admiration, and now, as the result, we have a book which the speaker informed us was the Mormon Bible -- a book second to no other -- without which the holy bible, he seemed to think, would be of little use.

It appears from his statement, that three of the offspring of Joseph, by his youngest son Ephraim, whose names were Laman, Nephi and Lehigh, as near as we could understand, were the persons from whom sprang Mormon. Laman and Nephi rather declined from walking in the right way, but Lehigh was firm in the faith -- Mormon, who was a prophet, led them eastward until they came to the sea, as we suppose, where they built a ship and came to this western world. To prove this, the preacher referred us to Genesis, 49th chapter and 22d verse, and said the branches running over the wall was neither more or less than the progeny of Joseph, leaving their own and coming to this country! He went into a detail of the reasons which induced him to join himself to this people -- that on account of so many sects being in the world, and the discrepancies in their opinions, he became sceptical -- that hearing of these people in July last, he joined himself to them, believing them to constitute the true church -- and that he came this way to meet a convocation of elders in Jackson county, Missouri, which is to be their New Jerusalem, but was disappointed in not seeing them there. He insisted on the bible being joined with his book, by quoting the 16th and 17th verses of the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, and comparing the bible and Mormon's book to the two sticks there spoken of. We thought this part of his subject too ludicrous to be refuted by any man in his right mind. We cannot now enter into the merits of his discourse, nor should we have given this hastily written sketch, had we not been requested to say something on the subject. Some of these men may be sincere; but does this prove they are in the right? The worshippers of Juggernaut are sincere, or they would not sacrifice their lives by throwing themselves under the wheel of its life-destroying car. As far as we are acquainted with the Bible we now have, we are satisfied that the Mormonites are a deluded sect of men, whose doctrines are not only dangerous, but, notwithstanding all their professions, they are calling down the curse of God on their own heads.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                              Utica, NY, November ?, 1831.                             No. ?


The Mormon Delusion. -- By information from the west, some are falling off, as well as others uniting with Joe Smith, the impostor from Palmyra. One who has recently left them, by the name of Ezra Booth, of Portage county, Ohio, is publishing, in the Ohio Star, [the] purpose of their diabolical pretensions and impositions. -- They pretend an ability, as in ancient times, to speak with tongues; and that Smith is able to hold [contact] with celestial spirits whenever he pleases. One of them pretends to have received a commission to preach the gospel, directly from heaven, on a piece of parchment; another to have received his on the palm of his hand and witnesses are found to attest to these lies. Visions are in great repute. One has seen the New Jerusalem and passed through its apartments, &c. The ten tribes of Israel are locked up, they say, by the ice at the North Pole, where they enjoy the society of Elijah and John, and by and by the ice is to give way, and then they are to return to their own land. Such are some of their absurdities, which this young man is exposing.

Note: The exact date of this article remains unknown. It was evidently published in the Baptist Register in late November, and from there it was reprinted in the Dec. 29, 1831 issue of the St. Louis Beacon.

Note 2: The Baptist Register of this period probably also published reports on the Mormons, written by the Rev. John M. Peck of Rock Spring (near Alton), Illinois. No such Mormonism articles from the early 1830s have yet been located however.


& Country Literary Gazette.

Vol. I.                             Binghampton, N.Y., Thurs., December 29, 1831.                             No. 22.


From a correspondent of the Salem Gazette, dated Marietta, (Ohio,) Nov. 16, 1831.

You are sensible how celebrated has become western New-York, and the adjacent counties of Ohio, for their sects -- their parties -- their fanaticism, religious, political and anti-masonic. Their conceits are wild to the very farthest bounds of imagination. Wild in invention, and singularly successful in carrying into effect their solemn fooleries. You have heard of the Mormonites; the newspapers have given detailed accounts of those fanatics, but perhaps their origin is not so well known. Mormonism is the fruit of religious excitement in this quarter, combined with roguery, ingenuity and ignorance; frequently operating successfully on those who ought to know better.

The inventors of this species of fanaticism are very simple personages, and were unknown till thus brought into notice. They are old and young, Joe Smith, one Harris, a farmer, all of New-York, and one Ringdon, a sort of preacher, from Ohio, with several other infatuated, cunning hypocrites. Old Joe was once a pedlar, and possessed all that cunning and shrewdness and small intrigue characteristic of that description of persons. He had a smooth tongue, was a ready story-teller, full of anecdotes he had picked up [in] his peregrinations, and had been more fortunate in picking up materials for his tongue thus [sic - than?] for supplying his purse. He at one time set up the manufacture of gingerbread [sic - ginseng?], but on the fall of that article, failed in business. -- Young Joe was an idle, strolling, worthless fellow, although he afterwards flourished so largely in the Mormon religion. He was, however, the son of a Yankee pedlar and brought up to live by his wits. Harris, whom I have mentioned, was considered as a substantial farmer near Palmyra, of a wild imagination, full of passages of scripture, had heard and seen much of the extravagance of the day produced by moderm revival meetings, and believed fully in the wonders and miracles wrought on these occasions.

The Smiths had conceived the idea of getting rich by some short cut: the usual expedient of digging for hidden treasures was hit upon. Having heard many wonderful stories of men getting rich by digging and stumbling upon chests of money on the shores of New-England, the fellow succeeded by his oratorical powers, in exciting the imaginations of a few auditors, and made them so anxious to possess themselves of these hidden treasures, that at it they went with shovel and spade, excavating the ground in many places between Canadaigua Lake and Palmyra. These excavations are still to be seen in many places. They continued their labors until, at length, one of the party, tired of laborious and unsuccessful search, spoke of a person in Ohio, near Painesville on Lake Erie, who had a wonderful facility in finding the spots where money was hid, and how he could dream of the very spots where it was to be found. "Can we get that man here?" asked the infatuated Smiths. "Why," replied the other, "I guess as how we might by going after him; and if I had a little change to pay my expenses, I would go myself." Away they went, some to his farm, and some to merchandise, to gain his money to pay the expense of bringing the money-dreamer from Ohio. The desired object was at length accomplished, and Rigdon the famous Ohio man, made his appearance. He had been a preacher of various religions, and a teacher of almost all kinds of morals. He was experienced in all sorts of camp meetings, anxious-meetings, and revival, or four days meetings. He knew every turn of the human mind relative to these matters. He had considerable talent and great plausibility. -- He partly united with the money-diggers in making an excavation in what has since been called the "Golden Bible Hill."

These were times and these are a people admirably suited to the promulgation of a new Bible, and a new religion. Such fanatics as these, were the murderers of Morgan. In such times and under such circumstances, was bred the Mormon religion.

In this age of wonders, the cunning expreacher from Ohio suggested to the money diggers to turn their digging concern into a religious plot. It was therefore given out that a vision had appeared to Joe Smith, that there was deposited in the hill I have mentioned an iron chest containing golden plates on which was engraved the "Book of Marmon." These engravings were said to be in unknown characters, to all but the inspired translator, and were deposited there by a wandering tribe of the children of Israel, before the Christian Era. It was now given out that young Joe Smith was the chosen one of God to reveal this ministry to the world -- to be the second Messiah to reveal to the world this word of life, and to reform it anew. So, Joe from being an idle, lounging fellow, became a grave, parson-like man, with a respectable looking sort of a black coat, and with the salvation of the whole world upon his shoulders. Old Joe, the ex-preacher, and several others were the converts to the new faith, which they asserted was foretold in the Bible. But Harris was undoubtedly a true convert, and the first man who gave credit to the whole story. He was the Ali of the New York Mahomet. Ringdon the preacher knew well how to work upon the credulity of a people already excited to religious enthusiasm. His aspect was grave and contemplative, and he could quote abundance of scripture to prove his assertions. This exparson is no doubt the author of the book. -- It is full of strange narrative, in the style of the scriptures, and appears to evince some ingenuity.

A fac-simile of the characters on the golden plates was carried to Dr. Mitchell, by Harris. The Doctor gave some learned observations on them, but wiser heads than he were employed in the translation. Harris raised money on a mortgage on his farm, and got the translation printed at Palmyra. The book came out to the world, and the diggers soon found they had not dug for money in vain, for by its precepts money could be raised in a twinkling from the new converts, who were daily flocking to the new standard. Another revelation now came upon them. -- The prophets were directed to lead the way to the promised land, a place near Painesville, Ohio, and subsequently to some place on the Mississippi river, where they have adopted some of the worldly views of the Shakers, having formed a sort of community system. The roads in Trumbull county were at times crowded with these deluded wretches, with their wagons and effects, on their way to the promised land.

The infatuation of these people is astonishing beyond measure. Husbands tearing themselves from their wives and such of their families as refuse to go, and wives deserting their husbands, to join the infatuated clan. -- A respectable physician of Trumbull county, who informed me of the latter proceedings, also informed me of several instances where the sick have died, refusing medical aid, persisting in the belief that faith in the Mormon religion would save their lives. That he had actually been called in cases of the last extremity, where their faith had finally failed them.

Note 1: The above article was uncovered, during the 1930s, by the LDS resident elder at Palmyra, Willard Bean, who published excerpts on page 79 of his 1938 A.B.C. History of Palmyra. The article is a reprint of an original letter, published in the Salem Gazette of Dec. 6, 1831. The first part of the account generally paraphrases James G. Bennett's two-part, on-the-scene report, published in the Morning Courier & New York Enquirer of Aug. 31, and Sept. 1, 1831. Possibly the Salem editor "padded" his correspondent's letter with paragraphs from Bennett's article: more likely, the writer from Ohio provided that textual padding himself. The Ohio correspondent corrected a few erroneous items from Bennett's articles -- such as replacing the name "Henry Rangdon" with the closer-to-correct spelling of "one Ringdon." The Ohio writer also adds a few items of local news from Trumbull (Geauga??) Co., Ohio respecting the Mormons. From the Salem paper, this article was copied into the Philadelphia U. S. Gazette, thus giving James G. Bennett's New York observations an extended life in the popular press.

Note 2: The Broom County Courier's reprinting of this article is some of the earliest known reporting regarding Mormonism, to be published in the former area of Joseph Smith's southern New York operations (Binghampton is about ten miles from Colesville, where the third branch of the Mormon church was established). For subsequent reports see the Herald of Gospel Truth for Dec. 19, 1832 and the Susquehanna Register of May 1, 1834. See also the Bethany Wayne County Inquirer of May 1830 (a reprint in the Massachusetts New-Bedford Mercury of May 28, 1830 attributes its source as Pennsylvania's "Wayne County Republican."

Note 3: The Courier editor left out of his reprint the following paragraph: "About this time, western New-York became the seat of a very considerable religious excitement. This was fondly denominated a revival of religion, but it was also a revival of the baser passions of the heart; religious pride and religious controversy predominated. All were denounced as infidels who refused to join in the general enthusiasm and become dupes to party zealots. Attempts were made to set up and organize a kind of religious hierarchy, which should regulate all the pursuits of social life; to control the affairs both of church and state; to regulate and control the public mind; and particularly to stop the Sunday mails, and at the same time neglecting the appointed ordinance of the Sabbath, for the newly invented extra week day meetings. Attempts were made to give a sectarian character to the excellent cause of temperance; indeed every occupation in life, every thought and every feeling must partake of sectarianism, at the hazard of a denunciation almost as terrible as that of a Spanish Inquisition. The religion prevalent here, was that of pomp and show -- of glorious controversy -- the artificial religion of human creeds -- of sending missionaries -- of sending tracts, many of which were of doubtful authority, to enlighten the ignorant. Every thing relating to religion was wearing a new face."

Note 4: The Courier also dropped the final two paragraphs of the Salem Gazette article, which read: "Thus we see some of the effects of that zeal which is not according to knowledge. Little do some of our worthy religious partisans think what may be the result of encouraging a blind zeal. Little do they think what spirit many of those converts are of, a catalogue of whose conversions we see emblazoned in the public religious newspapers. It should be borne in mind, that inquiry-meetings, whispering-meetings, and perhaps four-days revival meetings, may not always be prudently mannaged. The preaching of the celebrated _______, (who is now gone to Boston) whose moral character is too well known to need description, I am told, has had great effect in producing these detailed results. Heated party zealots first sowed the seeds of Mormonism. -- But we should rejoice at a revival of pure and genuine religion, the religion that makes men better and wiser -- that makes women more benevolent and amiable -- the religion of the heart and conduct -- that religion that purifies the soul -- that represses ambition -- that seeks the closet, rather than the highway to pour forth its aspirations -- Such a religion is the result of sober, serious meditation, guided by scripture precepts, and not by human creeds. Such a religion seems adapted to the case of rational beings; but it was not the religion of the people of whom I have spoken.   Yours, &c."

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