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Weekly  Mercury.

Vol. ?                                 Philadelphia, Thurs., March 27, 1729.                                 No. 481.

The Busy-Body.   No. 8.

    ---- Quid non mortalia Pectora cogis
           Auri sacra Fames!

One of the greatest Pleasures an Author can have is certainly the Hearing his Works applauded. The hiding from the World our Names while we publish our Thoughts, is so absolutely necessary to this Self-Gratification, that I hope my Well-wishers will congratulate me on my Escape from the many diligent, but fruitless Enquires that have of late been made after me. Every Man will own, That an Author, as such, ought to be try'd by the Merit of his Productions only; but Pride, Party, and Prejudice at this Time run so very high, that Experience shews we form our Notions of a Piece by the Character of the Author. Nay there are some very humble Politicians in and about this City, who will ask on which Side the Writer is, before they presume to give their Opinion of the Thing wrote. This ungenerous Way of Proceeding I was well aware of before I publish'd my first Speculation; and therefore concealed my Name. And I appeal to the more generous Part of the World, if I have since I appear'd in the Character of the Busy-Body given an Instance of my siding with any Party more than another, in the unhappy Divisions of my Country; and I have above all, this Satisfaction in my Self, That neither Affection, Aversion or Interest, have byass'd me to use any Partiality towards any Man, or Sett of Men; but whatsoever I find nonsensically ridiculous, or immorally dishonest, I have, and shall continue openly to attack with the Freedom of an honest Man, and a Lover of my Country.

I profess I can hardly contain my Self, or preserve the Gravity and Dignity that should attend the Censorial-Office, when I hear the odd and unaccountable Expositions that are put upon some of my Works, thro' the malicious Ignorance of some, and the vain Pride of more than ordinary Penetration in others; one Instance of which many of my Readers are acquainted with. A certain Gentleman has taken a great Deal of Pains to write a KEY to the Letter in my No. 4. wherein he has ingeniously converted a gentle Satyr upon tedious and impertinent Visitants into a Libel on some in the Government: This I mention only as a Specimen of the Taste of the Gentlemen, I am forsooth, bound to please in my Speculations, not that I suppose my Impartiality will ever be called in Question upon that Account. Injustices of this Nature I could complain of in many Instancies; but I am at present diverted by the Reception of a Letter, which tho' it regards me only in my Private Capacity, as an Adept, yet I venture to publish it for the Entertainment of my Readers.

To CENSOR MORUM, Esq; Busy-Body General of the Province of Pennsylvania, and the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware.

Honourable Sir,

I judge by your Lucubrations, that you are not only a Lover of Truth and Equity, but a Man of Parts and Learning, and a Master of Science; as such I honour you. Know then, Most profound Sir, That I have from my Youth up, been a very indefatigable Student in, and Admirer of that Divine Science, Astrology. I have read over Scot, Albertus Magnus, and Cornelius Agrippa above 300 Times; and was in hopes by my Knowledge and Industry, to gain enough to have recompenced me for my Money expended, and Time lost in the Pursuit of this Learning. You cannot be ignorant Sir, (for your intimate Second sighted Correspondent knows all Things) that there are large Sums of Money hidden under Ground in divers Places about this Town, and in many Parts of the Country; But alas, Sir, Notwithstanding I have used all the Means laid down in the immortal Authors before-mentioned, and when they fail'd, the ingenious Mr. P -- d -- l with his Mercurial Wand and Magnet, I have still fail'd in my Purpose. This therefore I send to Propose and desire an Acquaintance with you, and I do not doubt, notwithstanding my repeated Ill-Fortune, but we may be exceedingly serviceable to each other in our Discoveries; and that if we use our united Endeavours, the Time will come when the Busy-Body, his Second-sighted Correspondent, and your very humble Servant, will be Three of the richest Men in the Province: And then Sir, what may not we do? A Word to the Wise is sufficient,

I conclude with all demonstrable Respect,    
Yours, and Urania's Votary,    
Titan Pleiades.    

In the Evening after I had received this Letter, I made a Visit to my Second-sighted Friend, and communicated to him the Proposal. When he had read it, he assur'd me, that to his certain Knowledge there is not at this Time so much as one Ounce of Silver or Gold hid under Ground in any Part of this Province, For that the late and present Scarcity of Money had obliged those who were living, and knew where they had formerly hid any, to take it up, and use it in their own necessary Affairs: And as to all the Rest which was buried by Pyrates and others in old Times, who were never like to come for it, he himself had long since dug it all up and applied it to charitable Uses, And this he desired me to publish for general Good. For, as he acquainted me, There are among us great Numbers of honest Artificers and labouring People, who fed with a vain Hope of growing suddenly rich, neglect their Business, almost to the ruining of themselves and Families, and voluntarily endure abundance of Fatigue in a fruitless Search after Imaginary hidden Treasure. They wander thro' the Woods and Bushes by Day, to discover the Marks and Signs; at Midnight they repair to the hopeful Spot with Spades and Pickaxes; full of Expectation they labour violently, trembling at the same Time in every Joint, thro' Fear of certain malicious Demons who are said to haunt and guard such Places. At length a mighty hole is dug, and perhaps several Cart-loads of Earth thrown out, but alas, no Cag or Iron Pot is found! no Seaman's Chest cram'd with Spanish Pistoles, or weighty Pieces of Eight! Then they conclude, that thro' some Mistake in the Procedure, some rash Word spoke, or some Rule of Art neglected, the Guardian Spirit had Power to sink it deeper into the Earth and convey it out of their Reach. Yet when a Man is once thus infatuated, he is so far from being discouraged by ill Success, that he is rather animated to double his Industry, and will try again and again in a Hundred Different Places, in Hopes at last of meeting with some lucky Hit, that shall at once Sufficiently reward him for all his Expence of Time and Labour.

This odd Humour of Digging for Money thro' a Belief that much has been hid by Pirates formerly frequenting the River, has for several Years been mighty prevalent among us; insomuch that you can hardly walk half a Mile out of Town on any Side, without observing several Pits dug with that Design, and perhaps some lately opened. Men, otherwise of very good Sense, have been drawn into this Practice thro' an over weening Desire of sudden Wealth, and an easy Credulity of what they so earnestly wish'd might be true. While the rational and almost certain Methods of acquiring Riches by Industry and Frugality are neglected or forgotten. There seems to be some peculiar Charm in the conceit of finding Money; and if the Sands of Schuylkil were so much mixed with small Grains of Gold, that a Man might in a Day's Time with Care and Application get together to the Value of half a Crown, I make no Question but we should find several People employ'd there, that can with Ease earn Five Shillings a Day at their proper Trades.

Many are the idle Stories told of the private Success of some People, by which others are encouraged to proceed; and the Astrologers, with whom the Country swarms at this Time, are either in the Belief of these things themselves, or find their Advantage in persuading others to believe them; for they are often consulted about the critical Times for Digging, the Methods of laying the Spirit, and the like Whimseys, which renders them very necessary to and very much caress'd by the poor deluded Money-hunters.

There is certainly something very bewitching in the Pursuit after Mines of Gold and Silver, and other valuable Metals; And many have been ruined by it. A Sea Captain of my Acquaintance used to blame the English for envying Spain their Mines of Silver; and too much despising or overlooking the Advantages of their own Industry and Manufactures. For my Part, says he, I esteem the Banks of Newfoundland to be a more valuable Possession than the Mountains of Potosi; and when I have been there on the Fishing Account, have look'd upon every Cod puli'd up into the Vessel as a certain Quantity of Silver Ore, which required only carrying to the next Spanish Port to be coin'd into Pieces of Eight; not to mention the National Profit of fitting out and Employing such a Number of Ships and Seamen. Let honest Peter Buckrum, who has long without Success been a Searcher after hidden Money, reflect on this, and be reclaimed from that unaccountable Folly. Let him consider that every Stitch he takes when he is on his Shop-board, is picking up part of a Grain of Gold that will in a few Days Time amount to a Pistole; And let Faber think the same of every Nail he drives, or every Stroke with his Plain. Such Thoughts may make them industrious, and of consequence in Time they may be Wealthy. But how absurd is it to neglect a certain Profit for such a ridiculous Whimsey: To spend whole Days at the George, in company with an idle Pretender to Astrology, contriving Schemes to discover what was never hidden, and forgetful how carelessly Business is managed at Home in their Absence: To leave their Wives and a warm Bed at Midnight (no matter if it rain, hail, snow or blow a Hurricane, provided that be the critical Hour) and fatigue themselves with the Violent Exercise of Digging for what they shall never find, and perhaps getting a Cold that may cost their Lives, or at least disordering themselves so as to be fit for no Business beside for some Days after. Surely this is nothing less than the most egregious Folly and Madness.

I shall conclude with the Words of my discreet Friend Agricola, of Chester-County, when he gave his Son a Good Plantation, My Son, says he, I give thee now a Valuable Parcel of Land; I assure thee I have found a considerable Quantity of Gold by Digging there; -- Thee mayst do the same. -- But thee must carefully observe this, Never to dig more than Plow-deep.

Note: The Mercury's edeitor at this time was the young Benjamin Franklin.


Herald  of  Gospel  Liberty. ________________

No. 78.                                 Philadelphia, Aug. 16, 1811.                                 Vol. III.

Religious  Intelligence.

Extract of a letter to the Editor of the Herald,
dated New York, July 25, 1811.

My dear friend and brother in Christ,

I am happy to find your persevering zeal, in so good and divine a work as that in which at present you are engaged, crowned with such glorious success as in different parts of our highly favoured country it manifestly appears to be. I have been for 7 or 8 years past engaged in the Western Country in the same kind of contest, and have sometimes been so repulsed by the multitudes of Babylonish merchants, (who considered themselves universally interested in my destruction) that I have been almost ready to give up and retire; however, the Lord, who commanded me to engage in the work, has still supported me, and by his sufficiency I have been bouyed up, under every trying scene, until now brought to this place to behold the present glorious prospect of universal success. -- While it pleased God that you should be engaged in the Eastern parts of America, it seems to have been his equal pleasure that I should be engaged in the West, until by a strange turn of Providence we have now met, and with a glorious prospect from the East and from the West, after our greatvfatigue and sore travail, smiles upon us to comfort our souls -- Young and able Ministers are rising from each quarter to engage under the Lord with us, in all the important work -- a pleasing door opens in the City of Philadelphia for you, and in the City of New York for me still to go forward in the work of heaven, and no doubt the Lord will grant success and still afford all needful support, until the Man of Sin shall be duly exposed, and superstition with idolatry shall fall as Dagon to the earth; so as the rise no more.

The present system of faith and religion received and vindicated throughout Christendom, commonly called christianity and revealed religion, in reality is not the faith and religion of Chrsit; but strictly a Mythology, falsely called christianity; and the common prevailing Mythology composed of the faith and religion of Anti-Christ -- is, in all respects calculated to counteract, oppose, and make void the true faith and religion of the Lord; to misrepresent the character and work of the true Christ, and equally to introduce a false Christ and a false religion in place of the true.

The common Mythology being made up of a false faith, and a false religion, it is manifest there can be no true salvation connected with it, or obtained under its dominion or influence. This very Mythology has given birth to a false Church, consisting of a great variety of sects and contending parties (a house divided against itself) known under the Assumed Name of the Church of God, and falsely called the Christian Church; -- this is strictly the visible Church of Antichrist, spiritually called BABYLON, the mother of all abominations, &c.

Error and corruption are insepatable, and in proportion to the existence and prevalence of error will be the abounding of corruption in the world. The great design of all divine revelation and of all true preaching is, an exposure of prevailing errors, falsehoods, and corruptions; and the promulgation and vindication of divine truth, of a religious faith, and of a pure and undefiled religion in the world.

Nothing short of a correct faith can possibly give birth to a true, visible Church of God on the earth; the principal design of God's visible Church in the earth is to be "the light of the world," and as it were the salt of the earth; to preserve it from the malignant power and evil effects of corruption. If all the corruptions which together compose the common Mythology were duly exposed anmd eradicated from the earth, there would scarcely be any thing left of what is now commonly termed orthodoxy, for the merchants of Babylon to preach; and, of course, the tables, or systems, of the money-changers would be overthrown. The Lord, with a scourge of small cords will shortly drive these merchants and money-changers out of the temple and overthrow their tables: -- Then many of them will come, as Judas did, and throw down the price of him whom they valued at 30 pieces of silver, and with this very price a field called Aceldama (viz. the world) will be purchased to bury strangers in.

It is the salary systems among the Mythological and political craftsmen, which ever since Saul was crowned king, and among the Heathens long before, have held the world in a state of infernal bondage, contrary to the equal, natural rights of man. I trust, my friend, the times is not far distant when we shall see that noted public character "The Man of Sin," yield up his wicked price of innocent blood, and his Bishoprick given to another.

The Lord will shortly take away the stewardship from the unjust steward -- and although like a rich glutton, he has pulled down his old buildings to build greater, &c. that he might have room to secure his booty -- when it is dark as midnight with him, the Lord will require his soul, his authority, power and influence. The Lord will first bind this old oppressor with the chain that is in the hand of the Angel, and then take away from him all his armour wherein he trusted -- the things of Esau shall be searched out -- the mount of Esau shall be judged, and being found wanting, the kingdom shall be the Lord's.     Yours, &c.
            ABEL M. SARJENT.

Note: For more information regarding the life and labors of the Rev. Abel Morgan Sargent, Sr., see "The Halcyon Inspiration" episode of the on-line Spalding Saga.





Vol. I.                                   Philadelphia,  July, 1817.                                   No. 3.


Of the proceedings of the first annual convention of the
Receivers of the Doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church...
15th day of May... A. D. 1817

In pursuance of a resolution of a number of members of the New Jerusalem Church, from different parts of the United States... a number of members, male and female... convened at the Temple... on Thursday, the 15th day of May... The Manchester and Hawkstone reports, from their first publication to the year 1816... were laid upon the table.

The secretary then read an article from the Manchester Report No. XIII, in the words following, viz.

"There is also a church lately sprung up in America, under the title of the Free Church. They believe in the Unity of God, that God is simply One and Indivisible, and that Jesus Christ is that God. They give charity the pre-eminence above faith, but do not believe the punishment of the wicked will be eternal, for which they quote Isaiah, chap. lvii. verse 16. A preacher of that church, Mr. S____ [Rev. Able M. Sargent], had become acquainted with the writings of E. S. [Emmanuel Swedenborg] and except on the article of the eternity of the punishment of the wicked, gives his most cordial assent to them; but from what I could learn, I have little doubt of his having already rejected the error above-mentioned. I understand he is a man of uncommon eloquence, together with a prepossessing exterior, and that he has had a liberal education. In 1812, he was in the interior of the state of Newq York, preaching the divinity of the Lord's Humanity to thousands, who eagerly followed him."

The society are extremely sorry to feel themselves under the obligation of remarking, respecting the Free Church mentioned in the above extract, that, although the doctrine of the Sole Divinity of Jesus Christ is asserted in that Church, yet some of the tenets maintained by its members, seem utterly at variance with the doctrines of the New Church, as revealed in the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. For, to say nothing of the denial of the eternity of punishments insisted on in the Free Church, it is strongly urged... that
'Since it has been openly declared and made known to the church, by Christ Himself, that all power in heaven and in earth (that is, all authority in church and state) is given into His Hands, it is unlawful, in the sight of God, for the saints to acknowledge any other visible political head; inasmuch as to acknowledge any authority, besides the authority of Christ, is to acknowledge another master besides Him, and to refuse the other dominions and pretended governments, but His alone, are strictly unlawful and equally sinful before God; being a daring encroachment on the original rights of God; the tyranny of hell, in opposition to the authority and dominion of the Lord.' See Circular Epistle from the 9th Concilium of the Halcyon, or Free Church, numbers 11, 12,)
The society therefore most earnestly caution their readers against sentiments of so mischievous a tendency, and which, if conceived to be founded in the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem, must, of necessity, not only bring those doctrines into general and deserved discredit, but also expose the receivers of them to the most just and severe penalties of the law. May, then, every receiver of the blessed truths of the New Church be warned, by the above example, against intermingling his own prejudices and pre-conceived opinions with the eternal truth, recollecting the terrible denunciation on the perverted church of old, where it is written, How is the faithful city become a harlot! Thy silver is become dross: thy wine is mixed with water. (Isaiah i. 21, 22.)

Whereupon it was on motion Resolved, That this convention does hereby fully and explicitly declare, that none of the members here convened, nor any of the members of the New Jerusalem Church, with whom they are acquainted, have any connection or communion whatever with the people called Halcyonists or Halcyonites, and who are alluded to in the said Manchester report...



Steubenville. -- The number of the society of this town consists of about twenty receivers, and there are in the vicinity about ten readers besides. They have service on Sunday morning. Form of worship similar to that of the Presbyterians, without a Liturgy. From twenty to fifty persons usually attend. The leader is Mr. David Powell.

Cincinnati. -- No positive information ws received from this society; but the number is supposed to be about forty-five. Their minister is the reverend Adam Hurdus.

Lebanon. -- The number of receivers at this place and in its vicinity, is about twenty; and in addition thereto, there are about twenty-five persons, who are readers and friends to the doctrines. An extensive spirit of inquiry prevails in the neighborhood, and a strong appearance of a rapid dissemination of the doctrines exists. The leader is Mr. Thomas Newport, who has communicated to us the names of twenty-six professors known to him, who reside in different parts of the western country, and who are not comprised in any of the societies herein enumerated....

Extracts from a letter, dated "Near Lebanon, Ohio, Feb. 6, 1816.

"I received you communication... I have been viewing, for many years, the preparations making by the Lord for the spreading of the glorious Truths of Heaven and the Church. The first line I ever saw, to my knowledge, was "That the LOrd is the God of Heaven." It went like a holy beam of light and heat through my spirit... in my seventeenth year [I] joined the Friends' Society. Soon after my reception of the TRuths, my mind was deeply impressed with the vast importance of them for the renovation and re-establishment of the Church on earth. My zeal was considerable, and I probably should have pretty soon commenced teaching the doctrines, but found the science of correspondencies, as a key to the spiritual sense of the Word, was almost or quite indispensably necessary... I experienced some small degree of the necessary knowledge of correspondencies, and after a lapse of about twelve years, commenced teaching or lecturing from the Word of the Lord.... Conversations, upon the essential principles of the New Church, are very common through our country, and as I am pretty far in the decline of life, I have much leisure to visit my neighbours and converse freely on theological subjects. In those visits, I call on any of the preachers or lay people of any of the societies, such as Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, and often those who are attached to no particular profession of religion, and sometimes Deists. -- At present there are few here who profess Deism, but we have some Universalists, Halcyonists, and many Shakers. -- With some of all those different professions I have had conversations... The Halcyonists derive some principles of theory from Baron Swedenborg, and unite or engraft the false doctrines of annihilation, &c. thereon -- but the members or honest readers of the doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church will be prteserved from such preposterous doctrines...

"As to the state of our society here, in our constitution called 'The Turtle Creek Society of the New Jerusalem Church,' none are acknowledged regular members unless they have, at some time or other, been baptized...

"We have many in this country, who have a standing in other societies, and who read some of our books, who possess the sole and exclusive Divinity of Christ, but who positively deny the Divinity of Humanity, which is a fundamental doctrine of the New Church. One of their principal writers is the Rev. Wm. B. Stone [sic - Barton W. Stone?], of the western country... However, as they become more and more acquainted with regeneration they will become more and more enlightened, for regeneration is an image of the Lord's glorification, and it is a knowledge of the glorification of the Lord's Humanity that seems wanting.

"Your society has our prayers for your welfare, &c."

Note: See the Repository of Oct. 1818 for more information on the theological crossing of paths, involving Swedenborgians and the "Halcyonite" followers of the Rev. Abel M. Sargent. The area around Labanon, in northern Warren Co., Ohio, seems to have been something of a battleground between these two sects c. 1816-18. This was previously the scene of the Ohio expansion of the "Great Kentucky Revival," the spiritual heartland of the Stoneite "New Light," and the first and largest Shaker colony west of the Alleganies. Lebanon, along with the nearby hamlet of Turtle Creek (later Union Village, now Otterbein) was a once important, but now largely forgotten, site in the development of American religion.





Vol. I.                               Philadelphia, October, 1817.                               No. 4.


The following article is copied from the Salem [sic - Sussex] Register of September 15, last. Respecting the character or doctrines of the people spoken of, we know nothing, but what is therein contained.

"Passed through this town, on Wednesday last, ten pilgrims (six men and four women) from Woodstock, in the state of Vermont, on their way to the southward, possessed of very singular appearance and deportment.

"They profess to be the only true followers of Jesus Christ and his Gospel, and are in a special manner called of God to go forth into the world to do, and that continually, his will: for which purpose they have forsaken their houses and lands, relatives and friends, and all this world's enjoyments, and after the manner of the apostles, are travelling from place to place, doing good to the children of men.

"They have a prophet or leader among them, who occasionally preaches; and most of them exhort in the streets and ways, as they pass by. They seem all devotion and humility, and are continually engaged in the service of Christ; holding forth the power of his holy spirit, as communicated unto them, saying that the Millenium is near at hand, and that the lost tribes of Judah are now beginning to be gathered in, and the way is fast opening, when the four quarters of the world will be gathered into one fold of such as will receive the true spirit of faith: not the faith which is received by Christians of the present day, but such as is accompanied with holy fire. They have no abiding place in view, but travel as the Lord may direct. They say the people of the world are of the Devil, for they cannot serve the Lord and be Christ's. They ask no charity; move very slow, with a cart yoke of oxen and one horse, and say the Lord will provide of them, for where they go, thereis he. Their dress is very singular; -- long beards, close caps, and bear skins tied around them. The writer believes them to be a set of deluded enthusiasts."

Note 1: For more information on Isaac Bullard's "Pilgrims" and their 1817-18 stop-over at Woodstock, see the Boston American Baptist Magazine of May, 1818 as well as the Woodstock Vermont Chronicle of June 24, 1831 and the the Palmyra Wayne Sentinel of May 26, 1826. David M. Ludlum reviews the episode in his 1939 Social Ferment in Vermont, pp. 242-245. Although the Joseph Smith, Sr. family had departed Vermont by the time the Bullard Pilgrims arrived on the scene, Oliver Cowdery's Grandfather, (William Cowdery, Sr.) then lived in Woodstock. It is not unlikely that members of the Cowdery family had first-hand knowledge of this particular cult. For a series of interesting newspaper reports on the Bullard Pilgrims, see the Chillicothe Weekly Recorder of Nov. 5, Nov. 12, and Nov 26, 1817.

Note 2: In a 1997 article entitled "Joseph Smith's Testimony: The First Vision and Book of Mormon Evidence," Mark Stepherson has this to say about the Bullard cult and its possible influence on early Mormonism: "Isaac Bullard was noticed and had the public mind excited against him. He wore nothing but a bearskin girdle and a beard. He gathered his "pilgrims" into a community near the Smith's old home in Vermont. When the community moved west, they likely followed the same road the Smith family used when moving to New York. Isaac Bullard taught free love, but I wonder how many members were women willing to practice free love with their leader, a man who regarded washing as a sin and bragged that he had not changed clothes in seven years?"





Vol. I.                               Philadelphia, October, 1818.                               No. 8.


The Editors of the Intellectual Repository, for April last, having expressed a wish that some account of this Sect should be given for the information of our English brethren, we shall devote a portion of the present number to that subject. The Manchester report for 1815, in the account of the Halcyonists, who were confounded with the New Church, gave some pain to the friends here, and produced a correspondence with our venerable friend of Manchester. The error as to the connexion between that Sect and the New Church, was corrected in a letter under date of January, 1817, which produced his reply of the 30th of April, in the same year. When the convention met at Philadelphia in April, 1817, it was found on inquiring of the New York friends, that the gentleman who had given the account of the New Church in America, together with the Halcyonists, was a Mr. L. from Scotland, the extent of whose journeyings, we understood, was between New York and Albany. He had never been seen or heard of in Philadelphia, and in fact knew little of the state of the New Church, in this country. Nothing gives more pain to the people of the United States, than the hasty accounts of travellers, whose short stay and limited means of knowledge, are calculated rather to mislead than to inform. Since the meeting of the convention, a conversation between the writer of this article and a friend in the western country, has added to our knowledge of the Halcyonists, and the whole is now stated in compliance with the request of the Editors of the Intellectual Repository.

Many years ago a Mr. Sergeant lodged in the same house with the friend above mentioned. In the course of the evening, the principles of the New Church were spoken of, and Mr. S. seemed so pleased with the account he received, that he proposed to the gentleman giving him the information, that they should commence the propagation of the doctrines by preaching. This was not agreed to --- some time afterwards, Mr. S. taking up a portion of the system which had been thus explained to him, combined with it the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked. This in fact was the opinion of the celebrated Dr. Watts, as to the children of unbelievers, dying in their infancy. Watts being fully convinced that all out of the church, would finally be condemned; and not being able to reconcile to his ideas of the Divine mercy, the eternal punishment of infants, who had died without actual transgression, and without an opportunity of hearing the glad tidings of the Gospel, took up the opinion that although all the children of believers would be saved, yet those of unbelievers would not partake of the resurrection, and would of course be annihilated. This sentiment Mr. Sergeant extended to all the wicked, without exception. He also alleged thatbhe had had his spiritual sight opened, and had seen a vision. Being a man of some eloquence, he began to preach, and soon formed a sect in the western country, under the name of the Halcyonists. Several active young men joined him, and became preachers, and for a time his proselytes appeared to increase. From the western country he went to New York, where a leading member of our society hearing him preach, was struck with the resemblance of some of his opinions to our doctrines, and believing Sergeant might be useful, with the most correct views patronised him, and lent him money to print his book of hymns. This friend coming to Philadelphia many years ago, gave to the society here an account of Mr. Sergeant and his opinions. The Philadelphia friends at once expressed their disapprobation of any connexion or intercourse with him. stating decidedly that he could not be in the doctrines. Mr. Sergeant and his adherents went on upon their own principles, held their meetings, and published their Conciliums as a separate and distinct people, without any connexion with the New Church. After a short time he left New York, and returned to the western country. -- Last winter the writer of this article was informed by another very respectable friend of the New Church, that he had lent some of our books to Mr. S. who expressed the intention of reading them. Our friends in New York, being about to publish a periodical publication, for the purpose of disseminating the pure and unmixed truths of the New Jerusalem, gave it the title of the Halcyon Luminary. But it was not in the slightest degree connected with the Halcyonists, or their leader Mr. Sergeant....


A letter, whilst the Repository was in press, having been received from the Rev. Thomas Newport, dated Lebanon, Ohio, Sept. 29, 1818... is written in great haste -- rather in the brief style of a diary, than in that of a regular piece of composition. We give it in that form.

... Since the close of the association the Rev. David Powell came. -- He and myself have travelled the chief of the time, and preached many sermons... arrived at Dr. W___d's... had a meeting in the evening -- three ministers attended -- one a Presbyterian missionary from New Hampshire, a Baptist minister from the neighbourhood, and a New Light minister from Lexington, Kentucky -- many interesting particulars in the conversation with the Presbyterian and New Light ministers, too long for a letter... next morning went to Lawrenceburg [Anderson Co., KY]... David Powell went to Wilmington, seven miles, where he preached to an audience of very anxious hearers -- some of them have been halcyonists, but are approaching towards the heavenly doctrines -- are tired of following the eccentric Sergeant...

Note 1: See also the Repository of  July, 1817 and the Spalding Saga episode: "The Halcyon Inspiration."

Note 2: The hymnal above referred to was the Rev. Abel M. Sargent's 262 page book, The New Hymn-book for the use of the Free Church, published/sold by Edward Riley (who promoted Swedenborgian books) and printed in 1811 by John C. Totten, at New York City. This edition includes, as an introduction, Rev. Sargent's "Theology v.s. Mythology, in Vindication of Genuine Christianity;" and, as appendices, Sargent's lengthy "Circular epistle from the 9th Concilium of the Halcyon Church, along with his "Intelligence since the Concilium," and, "The Western Messenger, to the Saints Throughout the World." (Copies are conveniently available in Early American Imprints, Second series; no. 23871). Sargant's "Western Messenger" should not be confused with the Unitarian Louisville Western Messenger, though it may have served as an inspirational precursor to the Cincinnati Western Messenger.

Note 3: The writer of the "Halcyonists" article has not explained entirely the brief but significant intercourse between the Rev. Abel M. Sargent and the New York Swedenborgians. It appears that Rev. Sargent, at an early date became aware of Swedenborg's teachings and subscribed to some of that religious leader's unique tenets. All of this evidently occurred several years before the 1812 formal establishment of a Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church congregation in New York City. The writer does not say who his "friend in the western country" might have been, or where it was that the friend "lodged in the same house" as Rev. Sargent. However, one of the best known Swedenborg adherents "in the western country" at an early date, was John Chapman, the noted itinerent lay preacher and tree-planter, "Johnny Appleseed." Although he was not a Swedenborgian minister or officer, Chapman was known as a distributor of Swedenborg's writings. He made his first recorded appearance in Ohio, in 1800-01 in Licking County -- in what was then practically unsettled country. Chapman's route into Licking Co. was almost certainly up the Muskingum River, from its confluence with the Ohio at Marietta. The Ohio River country, between Kentucky and Ohio was at that time frequented by the Rev. Able Sargent, who seems to have concentrated his visitations along the southern border of Washington County, in Belpre and Marietta. It is not at all unlikely that the writer's "friend in the western country" was John Chapman. Rev. Sargent's "eccentric" exploits in the Valley of the Ohio seem to have dimmed his prospects there, c. 1807-08, and he eventually made an appearance in New York City, after feeling the need to temporarily vacate his old "diggings." In 1793 Rev. Sargent had lived in close proximity to New York City, from whence, as a proto-Universalist minister/editor, he had issued his Free Universal Magazine. Returning to New York City, about 1809-10, Rev. Sargent renewed his millenarian preaching activities there, and soon caught the attention of that city's earliest Swedenborgian residents -- men like Edward Riley, William Mott, James Chesterman, and Samuel Woodworth. One of these co-religionists advanced Rev. Sargent the funds needed to publish his collection of hymns -- which was then offered for sale by Edward Riley in 1811. At that point, and for some time thereafter, the relationship shared between Rev. Sargent and the New York Swedenborgians seems to have been a perfectly comfortable one.

Note 4: Only after word of Rev. Sargent's "Halcyonite" notions reached England, in about 1812, did Swedenborgians there begin to question what, exactly was the relationship between the newly founded American New Jerusalem Church, and the anti-establishment, anti-government Rev. Sargent. These questions appear to have first been raised by the Rev. John Clowes (1743-1831), vicar of St John's, Manchester, England, and spiritual leader of the annual Hawkstone and Manchester Swedenborgian "Meetings." With the end of the War of 1812, close communications between England and America were again restored and the English Swedenborgians' curiosity regarding the Halcyonites was responded to in a summary sort of way, by their being excommunicated by the leaders of the first annual New Jerusalem Church conclave at Philadelphia in 1817. It was too late for the "New Church" in America to totally deny that some of its members had associated with Rev. Sargent -- Samuel Woodworth's Halcyon Luminary was then defunct but not forgotten. However, it not too late for the Swedenborgian leaders to cut the embarassing connection and to warn the New Church members against any futher fellowship with Rev. Sargent and his Halcyonites. The only place that their prohibition presumably had any meaning, at that late date, was in parts of Ohio and Kentucky, where members of the two groups still occasionally came in contact. By 1817, however, Rev. Sargent's following was in serious decline, and he posed no further threat to the followers of Swedenborg.


The  Philadelphia  Union.
Vol. ?                               Philadelphia, January 26, 1820.                              No. ?


The article which follows is from the pen of a friend, on whose information we can rely. -- We have seen an article from a Carlisle paper, purporting to be some account of the 'Pilgrims.' who, some time ago attracted so much public attention. That account informs us of their arrival at Pittsburgh -- embarking thence in a boat -- landing on an island somewhere in the Ohio river -- the desertion of their chief or prophet -- and the consequent distresses of his followers. But the person who gave this information was undoubtedly misinformed himself.

It may be remembered that in the spring of 1816 [sic - 1817?], it was announced in the Eastern journals, that a singular sect calling themselves "Pilgrims," had associated together in Vermont, and were then travelling to the southwestward. In their journey through the New England States, where gossipping surely is thought no sin, their course, their conduct, and their motives were debated upon, and speculated into, by every village and city journal, to the prodigious gratification of the less busy Southerns, who have long and always depended upon their Eastern correspondents for news. -- These Editorial accounts were transcribed throughout the States, from Maine to Savannah -- from New York to St. Louis -- and the Western Country was on tip-toe for the reception of the strange visitors.

Though the interest with which they were formerly regarded has in a degree subsided, perhaps some further account will be read.

The 'Pilgrims' arrived at Pittsburgh in the autumn of 1816 [sic - 1817?], and were accomodated for the time with an out-building belonging to Mr. H____. The general curiosity of that city was excited upon their arrival, and every one was anxious to be gratified with the sight of so novel a sect. Some, that were more curious and who suspected the sincerity of their religion, watched them, unobserved, at hours when it might be supposed they would commit themselves; nor were they disappointed. Many anecdotes are related of them in Pittsburgh, which would represent them as the most abject creatures of the vilest fanaticism.

They did not embark at Pittsburgh. They travelled through the interior. It was in the winter of 1816-17 [sic - 1817-18?], at Rush Creek, a little town that bears the name of the stream it stands on, the writer met with them. Mr. M. of Philadelphia and Mr. G. of Cincinnati were there at the time. We had put up at the only tavern in the place for the night. Upon being told of the 'Pilgrims' being in town, we all went to see them.

We were led to a one-story frame or log house. Upon entering it we heard a confused noise. Passing through one vacant room we entered another, long and narrow. It was nine at night. The Pilgrims were their evening devotions: a motley sight they were. One side of the room, in a range from the farthest end was strewed with dirty blankets upon which some lay asleep. A few men that seemed to be about retiring, were standing, here and there, in different positions, with their eyes eyes shut, muttering in a cadence that corresponded with the see-saw motion of the body, but which was wholly unintelligible. Around a fire, which was the only light afforded, sat perhaps a dozen females in tattered dresses, some nursing their little squalid, half-naked children. Their looks were of the most wretched and disgusting filthiness. Those who were not silent and scratching their heads, were humming some incoherent and tuneless hymn.

Just behind this disagreeable circle stood a middle-aged, short, but remarkably robust man, with course, matted, black hair, and a thick, slovenly, grizzly beard, which he wore long. -- He was profusely loaded with every colour and every kind of rotten garments. He leaned, as if oppressed by infirmity, though his countenance and person belied it, upon a crooked staff. Before him stood a thin looking man, dressed genteely and like a methodist. Him he was about to address when we entered. The old prophet was then groaning a M---O---OH! M---O---OH! with an emphatic motion of his right hand and body, and which came from his loud, hoarse throat like the bellowing of a bull. It was hard to decide whether the ugly looks of the prophet or his solemn nasal groans, were most unplesant.

At length he began to speak: Addressing himself to this man, he told him in an animated, coarse and hollow voice, 'that if he did not immediately leave the world and walk with him, dreadful misfortunes would soon happen to himself and family, which would forever render him miserable!' The poor infatuated wretch trembled at the denunciations, and humbly answered "that he was aware they were the only true children of the Lord, and that only one consideration deterred him from following their holy example." "What's that?" asked the prophet. He replied that his delicate constitution required something warm in the morning.

It seems that these pilgrims lived [only] on bran cakes and other as simple fare! The prophet assured him 'that the Lord would not require what he was unable to perform,' and promised to grant him the indulgence he needed.

During this discourse the women often joined with the prophet in his exhortations, and one of them in particular, a young female with a child at her breast, and whose features and countenance were very good, frequently spoke in a manner elegant and eloquent beyond her rags. We were told that she came from New-York, had left husband and friends and domestic comfort, to accompany these wretched beings!

The man whom they were endeavoring to convert, leaving the room soon after, we also were requested to depart and we left the whole tribe to retire together, like so many swine huddled in one heap.

I have since been informed, indirectly, that this man and his wife have joined the fanatics, abandoning a family of young children and a handsome estate: for, the principles of these pilgrims were, the sacrifice of all earthly considerations, like Peter the Fisherman, to follow the prophet. For the mortification of the flesh, they wore sackcloth and rags, and ate of the most homely provision. They were to forsake all worldly connections, conjugal, filial and parental; marriage was not known among them; and it was wonderful how happily their numerous quotations from Scripture were made to apply. Their Sophistry, tho easily discerned, was not to be out-reasoned. In a word, they were the most singular and most nauseous spectacle on earth. Cleanliness was positively forbidden. They never changed, nor washed, and they seemed to pride themselves upon their filth and vermin. What has become of them I know not.

Note 1: No copy of the above article has yet been located -- the text is from a reprint, featured in the Virginia Alexandria Gazette of Fen. 2, 1820. Compare this account of a close encounter with the "Prophet" Isaac Bullard's band of "Pilgrims," with the report related by Rev. Ira Chase, in a letter published in the American Baptist Magazine of May, 1818.

Note 2: The writer of this article evidently was not aware that Bullard had split his group into two separate caravans in the vicinity of Albany, New York, and that only a small portion of the Pilgrims passed through Pittsburgh, at the end of October, 1817. The two caravans apparently met and re-joined forces in eastern Ohio in November. There is a hamlet named "Rush Run," located on the creek of the same name, in Wells twp., Jefferson Co., Ohio. According to the Pittsburgh Gazette of Oct. 28, 1817, the caravan of Pilgrims that passed through Pittsburgh, three days before, were on their way to Mount Pleasant, in Jefferson County -- an historic Quaker village, located about seven miles southwest of Rush Run.


Vol. II.                            Philadelphia, Wednesday, March 27, 1822.                           No. 435.

From the Hallowell (Maine) Gazette, March 18.

Money Diggers. -- In Pittston, about nine miles below Hallowell, on the eastern bank of Kennebec river, a party of about fourteen men are now engaged in digging for money. This extraordinary enterprise was commenced in 1817 and continued without much interruption for nearly a year, during which time a vast excavation was made, 75 feet deep. The enchanted treasure, however, we understand, completely eluded the search. It was afterwards partially abandoned, but in October last was recommenced with unabated vigor. The leader of this visionary gang is a substantial farmer, an inhabitant of a town not more than twelve miles distant from Hallowell, whose sons hold a reputable rank in society. The old man and his associates maintain an obstinate and mysterious silence upon the subject. As the scene of their labour is a resort for all the mischievous wags in the neighbourhood and of others who come to wonder at the infatuated perseverance of the money diggers, their taciturnity may partly be attributed to the unceasing ridicule which their visitants raise at their expense.

The tradition is, that vast quantities of money were deposited in various places in the earth, by the Buccaniers who infested our coast in the early settlement of the country. On these occasions one of the marauders, who had previously bound himself by an oath to guard the deposit, was killed and buried on the spot.

The work at present is going on with much rapidity, and another excavation about [50] feet deep, has been made but a short distance from the first.

"I conversed," says a gentleman who recently visited the spot, "with the old man who superintended the work, and found him tolerably intelligent upon other subjects. He uniformly evaded my questions which were put to him respecting the motives and expected results of this extraordinary enterprise. His son, however, a lad of 13, who shrewdly suspects they will have their labour for their pains, is more communicative. Having bribed him with a few coppers, he informed us that his father was first induced to undertake the business by a remarkable dream, which was repeated three nights in succession. After consulting an old woman in the neighbourhood, celebrated for her skill in the mystic art, an idiot, generally known by the appellation of "Greely's Fool," who, by the way, although he knows nothing of the material world, is reputed wise in all that relates to the invisible, he was confirmed in the belief of the existence of a subterranean treasure in this spot. Our young informant stated that many of the original partners in the concern had sold out their shares at an advance upon the first cost, and that others who are now concerned, have spent nearly all that they possessed."

Note 1: This Hallowell article was reprinted in abridged form in the Montpelier Watchman and the Apr. 13, 1822 issue of the New Hampshire Sentinel. For a similar, follow-up Montpelier Watchman account, see the reprint in the Aug. 2, 1822 issue of the Batavia Republican Advocate.

Note 2: Note: Pittston is located a few miles downriver from Augusta, Kennebek Co., Maine. This is not far from the colonies inhabited during this same period by the followers of the polygamist cultist Jacob Cochran. The "Cochranites" lived mostly in York and Cumberland counties, thirty to forty miles southwest of Pittston. It is possible that some of the "Cochranites" (who like Augusta Adams, the mother of anti-Mormon researcher James T. Cobb, later became Mormon polygamists) were engaged in money digging activities in southern Maine during the early 1820s.


Vol. III.                                 Philadelphia, June 1, 1822.                                 No. 30.

(From the 'Columbian Star" printed at Washington.)


A periodical publication, bearing this title, has been commenced in Canandaigua (New York) -- It issues once a fortnight, at one dollar a year, payable in advance. The objects of the editors, as stated in their prospectus, are, to "expose the fallacy of the Missionary plans now in operation, and, if possible, to break the spell which is maintained over the public mind, by designing men, relative to Missions; to tear from Hypocrisy her mask, and expose her in her native deformity; to disseminate correct religious intelligence; to encourage home charities; and to combat error and falsehood, upon these subjects, in whatever form they may encounter them."

Remarks: -- We cannot but regret, that publications like the one mentioned above, the Reformer, of Philadelphia, and some others holding similar doctrine and tone, should find countenance from the community. We do not anticipate any serious injury to the Missionary cause, from efforts of this nature, or even from those of a far more imposing aspect. The Missionary spirit is abroad; and it were as impossible for a man to arrest its course, and prevent its ultimate triumph, as to check the torrent of Niagara. * Such publications, too, can have little effect, except among those who are already disaffected towards the pious enterprise of the present times...

* We feel no surprise at the hostility manifested by the conductors of the "Columbian Star" against Plain Truth and the Reformer, when we take into consideration, the schemes and undertakings in which they are engaged, and which we have had occasion before to present to the public. Whatever may be the opinion of these men, with respect to their missionary undertakings, we confidently anticipate the time, when Plain Truth and correct views, will prevail against the pompous proud schemes and money-getting plans now set on foot, under pretence of promoting the cause of religion; for having no foundation in the New Testament, sooner or later they will come to naught. -- Ed. Reformer.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                               Philadelphia, October 5, 1822.                               No. 62.

For the Saturday Evening Post.

In 1817, a group of singular people, called Pilgrims, passed through Pennsylvania to the westward. They were composed of men, women and children, clad like a second company of Giveonites, and looked like the fag end of a hurricane. -- Their leader, who was styled a Prophet, it is said was formerly an inhabitant of Lower Canada. Having been afflicted with a long spell of sickness, he betook himself to the practice of frequent prayer; and finding by this exercise his inner man much strengthened, and his health also improved, he began to have, as he thought, very extraordinary illuminations, which he communicated to his neighbours who visited him. Some of them were converted to his persuasion; and when his health was restored, he set out with his followers, to travel in quest of a land flowing with milk and honey, where he assured them, every thing that was necessary for their sustenance and convenience, would be amply provided, without the agency of labour and toil. As they travelled through the country they availed themselves of the charity of the benevolent, and made use of such opportunities as were afforded for the promulgation of their doctrines. Some were converted, joined in the procession, and went with them. At Mount Pleasant [Liberty twp., Clinton Co.?] in the state of Ohio, they tarried several days; a person who had an interview with them there, enquired why they did not wash themselves and their clothing, and make a more decent appearance. Their answer was, that they had been as decent in these respects as other people, but that they were commanded to appear in their present character, for an outward sign of the inward condition of Christian professors. One article of their creed was, a literal acception of that passage in the New Testament which says, "Except ye be as little children, ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven." -- In order to fulfil this doctrine, we are told that they harmonized with each other, and some of the men in imitation of little boys, were seen riding corn stalks or sticks for horses; and other childish amusements. The story of the Prophet having borrowed the wife of one of his followers is not so well authenticated as to be mentioned as a fact.

The following extract of a letter written by a friend at Waynesville, dated 3d mo. 9, 1818, furnishes some interesting particulars, concerning these curious mortals.

"A company of strange people called Pilgrims, came into Waynesville [Wayne twp., Warren Co.] on Second-day, the 23d of last month -- got into an empty house, and in the evening had a meeting in a wheelwright's shop. Several of them preached; and mnay who went to hear them, seemed to think well of their doctrine. On Third-day, the town was all in a stir; almost every body going to see them. Fourth day was our monthly meeting, and after business was gone through, a request was opened for the Pilgrims to have liberty to hold a meeting in our meeting house: -- Some were very much opposed to it; finally a committee was appointed to visit them, and invested with power to grant or deny, as they should think best, after fathoming their mission. The request was granted by the committee, and a meeting was accordingly appointed at 3 o'clock next day. There were about twenty of them altogether, men, women and children. The men had long beards, and the women short hair. The greater part of both sexes were intollerably ragged, dirty and greasy, and some had their coats on wrong side out. They wore wollen caps on their heads, a strip of coarse linen on the back, reaching from the shoulder to the wrist, and round the waist a belt of sheepskin, or some other sort of raw hide with the hair on. In this kind of rigging, five men and two women marched to the meeting house, and up into the high gallery. Three of the men, and both of the women preached. While one was preaching, another made a long humming sound, beginning with wo-- and ending in the sound of a double o, nearly resembling the cry of a great number of locusts at a distance. They declarted themselves to be the forerunners of a second coming of Christ; that the greater part of professors had fallen, and they were sent to gather the elect. One of the men, we are told, had been a methodist minister; he preached loud and fast, and hammered it in with both hand and foot. I appregended its equal seldom, if ever, graced a Quaker gallery before. On Seventh-day morning, they left the town, and a Friend accompanied them to Lebanon. He tells us, they were joined there, by another company of the same sect, and that that they had a meeting next day, the greatest he was ever at."

A gentleman who saw the Pilgrims at Cincinnati, informed the writer of this sketch, that their number amounted to 70 or 80 persons. He says they were not deranged in their intellects -- they preached well and appeared to be a harmless people. One peculiarity he observed among them, they always took their drink through a quill; but he could not ascertain their reasons for it, only that it was their order. Some rude people abused the Prophet, by taking him on the river Ohio, and setting him adrift in an old boat; but he was brought on shore again by others who were more humane. The same gentleman informs, that the whole company pursued their journey down the Ohio, in search of the good country which the Prophet had taught them to believe, they should certainly find: -- he said that Providence directed their steps, and he should infallibly know the place when they arrived at it. At length their pilgrimage came to an end; for the Prophet took sick and died some distance below Cincinnati; and his followers dispersed; some of them returned to Lebanon and joined the Society of Shakers, and otehrs went elsewhere. The story of the Prophet getting possession of all the money belonging to the company, and making his escape with it, appears to have been a fabrication.

This system of religion, as far as we are acquainetd with it, exhibits various traits of singularity, and yet perhaps not more than might be found in some other eccentricities of the human mind on the same subject. He dates his revelation, like some other foundrs of religious sects, to a spell of bodily indisposition. And how often do we see that fevers and other disorders produce a partial delirium in the mind, and it appears probable that from such a disorganization, may arise many strange ideas, which being mixed and blended by a considerable share of rational understanding yet remaining, result in practices different from those of mankind in general. These people, like Nebuchadnezzar's image are partly sound and partly broken -- where the former quality seems to have the preponderance, it exhibits many excellent and incontestible truths, how liable are weak minds to be dazzled with these, and instead of making a discrimination between the truth at one time and error at another, the whole is swallowed without hestitation. Hence it is, that every system of religion, however strange, has its followers, and when we consider that many strange doctrines and tenets, are the result of minds that are partially deranged, and of ignorance in those who become converts to such doctrines and tenets, we think ourselves justified in extending over them the mantle of charity, so long as they behave with civility and do not encroach upon the harmony pf civil society and the good of the commonwealth.   LUCAS.

Note 1: See the New Jerusalem Repository of Oct., 1817 for an earlier telling of a part of the above story.

Note 2: By October 5, 1822, the Rev. Sidney Rigdon was well ensconsced in the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, as its new pastor -- a position he moved from Ohio to accept at the beginning of that same year. Since the major Philadelphia papers circulated as far west as Pittsburgh, there is good reason to think that Rigdon read the above account of the Prophet Isaac Bullard's "Pilgrims," either in its original source or as a reprint in a local newspaper. As the Woodstock, Vermont Chronicle of June 24, 1831 said, when Mormonism was yet making its initial appearance: "From the resemblance between the Pilgrims and the Mormonites in manners and pretensions, we should think Old Isaac had re-appeared in the person of Joe Smith, and was intending to make another speculation." What, if any, role the Rev. Sidney Rigdon playd in getting up that "speculation" remains an unanswered question.

Note 3: It was obviously not by sheer accident, that two or more of Bullard's Pilgrim bands met at Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio, in March of 1818. That place had already been the scene of a spin-off of the Great Kentucky Revival, the establishment of the Stoneite "New Light" movement, the founding of the earliest and largest Shaker community in the west, a gathering place for Swedenborgians, and a point of attraction for a remnant of the Rev. Able M. Sargent's millenarian "Halcyon Church." Just as Bullard had previously found likely converts on the fringes of the Prophet John Taylor's "Johnites" near Ithaca,New York, in 1817, so also, he must have hoped to convert cast-offs from among the followers of the Prophetess Ann Lee and the Prophet Sargent, in Warren Co., Ohio. As events turned out, however, it was the church of Ann Lee that eventually recruited Bullard's starving cast-offs.


Vol. III.                                 Philadelphia, December 1, 1822.                                 No. 34.


We are pleasewd to find that "Plain Truth," printed at Canandaigua, (N. Y.) is making its way successfully against its numerous foes and opposers. Its price (one dollar a year,) and tyhe independent stand which it has taken, has already given it an extensive circulation. WAnt of room prevents us from copying several interesting articles from its late numbers. It would be well for those who wish to hear both sides of the question, respecting missionary and other works of the day, to subscribe to this publication. Such as re inclined to do so, by leaving their names with the Agent for the Reformer, shall have them forwarded.

Extract of a letter from Geauga County, Ohio,
dated Nov. 12, 1822.

"A large 'Missionary Family,' as they call it, from Pittsburgh, has lately embarked at Painsville in this county, for Fort Meigs on the Maumee River. These Pilgrims have gone well blessed in the means of good living. They are about thirty in all."

Note 1: For another, less supportive opinion of the publication Plain Truth, see the Feb 12, 1823 issue of the New York Palmyra Herald, where its editor is charged with "casting obloquy and contempt on missionaries and all their abettors" and with "lauding, with enthusiasm, the virtues of savages." Plain Truth was a bi-weekly magazine published on the press of the Ontario Republican at Canandaigua, New York. Started on March 8, 1822 by Thomas B. Barnum and Lyman A. Spalding, Plain Truth continued (with one major disruption during 1826-27) until the beginning of 1829, reflecting odd specimens of heterodox religious thought intermixed with anti-clerical and anti-missions views, all of which was probably disdained by most Evangelical Christians of that period.

Note 2: The young Lyman A. Spalding left his partnership with Barnum in 1823 and moved to the new town of Lockport. There he established the first grist mill in that place (see Chipman P. Turner's Niagara County Directory, 1869, p. 81). In 1828, at Lockport, Lyman founded the obscure religious periodical, Priestcraft Exposed and Primitive Christianity Defended. This paper was published on the press of [Edwin] Alanson Cooley. Lyman was also the co-editor of Cooley & Lathrop's 1830 booklet, The Analetic Calendar... to expose the craft of the priesthood in Christendom. It is thought that between 1823 and 1828 Lyman funded the printing of several anti-clerical religious tracts on the press of Orsamus Turner's Lockport Observatory (predecessor of the Lockport Balance.) For more on Lyman A. Spalding and Orsamus Turner (Chipman P. Turner's brother) see Horton, Williams & Douglass' 1947 History of Northwestern New York, II p. 232. [Edwin] Alanson Cooley is several times mentioned in Frederick Follett's 1846 History of the Press in Western New York. He was evidently born at Attica, N. Y. in 1806 and lived in that region of the country until the early 1840s, when he moved to Wisconsin. Cooley was a member of the Genesee Co. Olive Branch Masonic Lodge #215 (at LeRoy, NY), along with William Morgan and Dr. Solomon Spalding (the cousin of Solomon Spalding of Ashford and a near relative of Lyman A. Spalding -- see the Dr.'s marriage announcement in the April 7, 1832 issue of the Rochester Daily Advertiser). Oliver Cowdery joined Cooley in Wisconson, in 1848, as co-editor of their Walworth Co. Democrat. After Cowdery's death in 1850, Cooley appears to have moved to central Wisconson, where he died in 1883.

Note 3: After a less than fully successful attempt to regnerate his lapsed Plain Truth, during 1828, in Rochester, Thomas B. Barnum gave up the publisher/editor business and merged his paper with its more succesful sister periodical, the Lockport Priestcraft Exposed. See the July 1829 issue of The Reformer for a notice of that journalistic merger.


Vol. IV.                                 Philadelphia, November 1, 1823.                                 No. 47.

For the Reformer,

In addition to the various imposing schemes of designing men, that haunt the coffers of industry, we have recently been annoyed with the pressing solicitations of an universal beggar, said to be a converted Jew, the agent and organ of an association "for meliorating (or rather evangelizing) the condition of the Jews," with documented authority to gather in the scattered fractions, if any have escaped the nice calculations and diligent researches of his importunate and successful begging predecessors; who, in order to flatter a hen-pecked and bewildered audience into a munificent mood, pathetically appealed to them as moralists, as philanthropists, as christians refined, to know whether it be not incumbent on us to contribute toward providing an asylum, somewhere in these United States, for the accomodation of poor christianized Jews from any part of the world, coming "well recommended for morals and industry, and without charge to the Society -- whose reception and continuance in the settlement shall be at all times, at the discretion of the directors;" and it seems that instruction and "such employment as shall be assigned them," with other regulations, not mentioned, will be gratuitously and Pharaoh-like administered.... For my part, I see nothing like "melioration" in the scheme -- nothing like relieving "temporal wants," or restoring the long-lost privileges of the house of Israel; but I clearly behold something subversive of the genuine principles of liberty....

When I consider that more than seventeen centuries have elapsed since the total dispersion of the persecuted remnant of Israel over the four quarters of the globe, a query arises in my mind, not easily resolved, namely: what is it that has maintained and preserved them, through the most trying circumstances, a distinct and undivided people, uniformly the same in their worship -- keepong the law and ordinances of their fathers as a perpetual observance through all their generations?... if the Jews are ever to be restored to a national standing, and Jerusalem rebuilt, it must be through the interposition of that God who made the everlasting covenant with their fathers -- and not by the intolerant machinations of conjuring bishops and interested begging priests, so puffed up with pride and ambitious of power, as to assail the government of Heaven...

Wherefore, it appears so far from being incumbant, that it is not even advisible to promote the proposed migration of Jews -- and more especially, when it is conceded that we are already overstocked, not precisely with "christianized Jews," but with Jewish christians! Such I mean as make it an invariable rule to do as they are done by -- to have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! And finally, to imagine that the Israelites will volunteer themselves to come under the dominion of a phalanx of sectarian priests, is one of those ridiculous incongruities not easy to be solved. But for the sake of exposing the absurdity of the project here in question, let us suppose a penniless cargo of Jewidh pilgrims now landing on the banks of the Hudson, and the leaders of the several sects that compose this noted association, assembled there to receive and conduct them to the promised land -- who can avoid anticipating their astonishment and perplexity on perceiving these blind leaders of the blind together by the ears, reviling and reviled -- the right way to Zion undetermined -- no asylum provided -- no means to relieve their "temporal wants;" for behold the expenses of collection, &c. &c. had totally absorbed the whole mass of contributions!! Vut there is still a long and flattering catalogue of auxiliary societies, have they nothing in store? Thus much for the speculative American Jerusalem: thus much for a ludicrous attempt to wheedle the Jews into a submission and vassallage to a company of American Priests.   ELEAZOR.   Long Island, (N. Y.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                                 Philadelphia, Wed., February 18, 1824.                                 No. 7.


(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                 Philadelphia, Fri., April 30, 1824.                                 No. 11,950.


WEREAS the President and Directors of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, in conformity with the powers in them vested, have heretofore made and signed orders for the payment at certain times and in certain proportions of the monies payable by the proprietots of stock... NOw therefore notice is hereby given, that said President and Directors will on the first day of June 1824, at 7 o'clock in the evening, at the Merchants Coffee House in the city of Philadelphia, sell at auction and convey to the purchasers the sahre of the said proprietors so refusing or negelecting payment... H. D. Gilpin, Sec'ry.   James C. Fisher, President....

... Original subscribers... [Mt.] Gilpen.
... Where subscribed... Pennsylvania
... Present Proprietors... George Greatrake...

Note 1: A large number of other "proprietors" are also listed in this auction notice, but only George Greatrake had any tangential connection with incipient Mormonism. His brother Lawrence, Jr. was ordained an elder, to replace Sidney Rigdon in the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh on June 13, 1824. Presumably Lawrence Greatrake, Jr. came to Pittsburgh directly from Baltimore, where he had obtained a letter of dismissal from the Second Baptist church of that city in the spring of 1824. In the early 1800s Lawrence Greatrake, Sr., along with the his sons George, Henry and Lawrence, Jr., was an employee in Joshua Gilpin’s paper-making enterprise, which had its main mill near Wilmington, Delaware (at which Lawrence, Sr. was the manager). Beginning in about 1819, Lawrence, Jr. became connected with the Franklin Paper Mill in Baltimore. George evidently succeeded his father as manager of the paper mill near Wilmington, but in about 1823 he moved to St. Mary's, Georgia, where he died in 1832.

Note 2: George Greatrake's 1824 failure to pay for goods shipped in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was perhaps a consequence of his declining health, following a serious injury sufferd at the Gilpin paper mill in 1822. It seems likely that the goods he abandoned were either paper products or paper mill equipment. The reference to Pennsylvania in the auction notice may indicate that they were destined for some location in that state -- and, since George's brother Lawrence, Jr. was at that time moving from Maryland to Pennsylvania, he may have somehow been involved in the matter. Although no evidence has yet been uncovered, to suggest that Lawrence Greatrake, Jr. was involved in the paper-making industry during his 1824-1830 tenure in Pittsburgh, such a business connection remains a strong possibility.


Vol. V.                                 Philadelphia, May 1, 1824.                                 No. 53.

For The Reformer.

(Communicated  from  the  State  of  Ohio.)

Christ, in relation to his church or disciples, (who then constituted his church) said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing." The disciples of Christ were truly the salt of the earth; and as salt possesses the quality of savouring or saving, so they were appointed for salvation or saving. But mark the latter clause of the text, "If the salt have lost his savour, it is thenceforth good for nothing."

Since the true church fell away -- since the true followers of Christ were persecuted to death, and driven from the earth, and their office and name presumptuously assumed by wicked priests, kings and emperors, by whose joint combination the power of the holy people has been scattered, and the holy city trodden under foot, it is certain that no new church which has arisen out of a false one, no re-organization, revolution of reformation which has taken place, has restored that savour which was lost. From that period christendom has been like a corruptible mass. The different religious societies which have sprung up one after another, instead of possessing that principle of life or salt, which would save them from the corruptions that are in the world, have carried those seeds of corruption along with with them, which as naturally caused them to fall back, and become blinded with the common customs and practices of christendom, as that inherent principle in dead animal bodies causes them to putrify.

But the prophet Daniel has declared that in the latter days the God of heaven would set up a kingdom. Now, it is evident if he had to set up a kingdom, he at the time had none. This, therefore, must take place when all the world are wondering after the beast. But the God of heaven will set up his kingdom on the earth, nor is the time far distant, and this kingdom will break in pieces and consume all the anti-christian and sectarian kingdoms, and fill the whole earth. It is of necessity, that whenever the salt, the power of saving, or the true gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, is again witnessed on the earth, and the true kingdom of God set up, it must be by a special gift and power from heaven. And as certain as this kingdom is established, just so certain it will be distinct from, and in direct opposition to, all the high-sounding religious schemes of the day. No platform which has been laid in the dark night of anti-christ will constitute any part of the foundation. No stone shall be taken from any of them for a corner. And just as certain as the Scribes and Pharisees persecuted Christ in his first appearing, these anti-christians will persecute him in his second. They will be almost the only barrier to the progress of his kingdom, and will stand infinitely more in the way of the work of God than all the heathen and infidels on the earth. But they shall not stand; for God having erected a standard against them, and commenced that work represented by the stone cut out without hands, will go on until there is a full end of them; and in proportion as they are exposed and laid open to view, in the same proportion will the true kingdom of the God of heaven arise and flourish in the earth.   PHILOTHEOS.

The sentiments of Philotheos are not peculiar to himself. There are many who plaininly see that the whole of christendom is in a very fallen and depraved condition, and is becoming daily more so -- and that a change, and a most important one, will sooner or later take place. When and in what manner this will be effected, is a question which time alone can determine -- but a moment's reflection must convince every one that it will be accomplished by the power and hand of the Lord, and that no hireling priests nor bigoted sectarians of any kind, will have either part of lot in the work.

The present is an eventful period. Materials are collecting and combining for producing effects and results of a peculiar character and tendency -- and the admonition in the Revelation, deserves the attention of us all: "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." The floodgates of orthodoxy and heterodoxy are opened and flow like a mighty current, while pompous priests are filled with plans and schemes to propogate the gospel, when the power and principles of the gospel are neither felt nor regarded by themselves. But pompous proud priests will at last sink, and the Lord himself will spread his own gospel in another manner, and with very different effects, from what is now witnessed.

For The Reformer.

(Communicated  from  Niagara  county,  New  York.)

SENECA MISSION. -- This establishment has been broken up in toto, by that "arch Pagan," Red Jacket, and his followers. The act of our Legislature, declaring that the whites should not reside on the Indian reservation, has been used for the accomplishment of this purpose.

A few days since, the Indians applied to the district attorney at Buffalo, whose business it was to remove the whites from the reservation. Having some predilections towards the missionaries, he refused their application, and they were obliged to call on another of the faculty to proceed. The necessary forms gone through, and a writ placed in the hands of the sheriff, the missionaries were advised by their friends to make their departure. Accordingly they journied for the Cataraugus mission, -- leaving the late field of their operations, together with their mission house (a frame building with a bell in the cupola) desolate.

Those who deny the analogy between the missions of former days and the operations of the present, have here exhibited a full length picture -- the beginning and end of one modern establishment, which has cost the credulous citizens several thousand dollars!! and like the crusades of a darker age, done no good! Posterity, no doubt, will pass the sentence of "fanaticism and folly" upon the present generation was as much emphasis and justice, as we do on that which preceded us. The thousands expended by us, so far, have wound up to our disgrace; nor have we reason to look for any greater success from future exertions, under present arrangements. The missionary fever in these parts, to our praise be it said, is decreasing -- public feeling is convalescent, and no doubt a perfect cure will succeed. It is so hoped. A better application of the loose change in our country can certainly be made than to build colleges at Serampore, establish printing presses in Asia, or erect mission houses on the Indian lands in New York

Last year this Seneca establishment cost 3051 dollars, 7 cents!!! It has been in operation upwards of Eleven Years; no stone left unturned to convert the Indians -- to remove to the 'western wilds,' for the benefit of a company who have the exclusive privilege of purchasing their lands; and the religious janizaries now find themselves where they began, and leave the Indians 'twofold more the children of hell,' than when they found them. The public have received flattering accounts of wonderful revivals and hopeful converts, in exchange for their thousands thus foolishly parted with; and what the missionaries will offer in this case as a quietus to the returning senses of their donors, it is hard to imagine. No doubt they will cook a jesuitical dish, which will be served around with some eclat.     LUKE

Note 1: The above letter of the Ohio "Philotheos" was reprinted, after a lapse of many months, in the Nov. 25, 1826 issue of the New York Telescope. It is not known to have seen any further reprints, but the anti-clerical publications of New York towns like Canandaigua and Lockport might productively be examined for some further reference to the Ohio writer.

Note 2: The 1824 communication of Philotheos deserves the special attention of students of Mormon origins. The religious beliefs set forth by "Philotheos" sound very much like incipient Mormonism -- or at least like the views of the sort of religiously dissatisfied person who might have been attracted to Mormon claims, when that sect appeared in Ohio seven years later. The anti-clerical professions expressed in the 1824 letter (emphasis on the original "disciples of Christ," the analogy of salt which has lost its savour, etc.) were probably much like those entertained by the Rev. Sidney Rigdon in the years just prior to his Mormon conversion. Two examples of what appear to be unsigned Sidney Rigdon communications to the Rev. Alexander Campbell's Christian Baptist may be seen in that paper's issues of Aug. 2, 1824 and Dec. 6, 1824. By the time that the second of these Rigdon letters was published (if that is what they are), Sidney Rigdon must have known that he and editor Alexander Campbell shared very little in the way of a common understanding of the restoration of apostolic spiritual gifts, communitarian living, scriptural authority, etc. Thus, it seems likely that Rigdon's continued ostensible support for Campbellism carried within it the seeds of hypocrisy or even of pious fraud. For more on the subject of religious fraud, see the comments accompanying the letter by "Luke," reprinted in the Sept. 9, 1825 issue of the Buffalo Gospel Advocate.

Note 3: Other "Philotheos" letters published in the Reformer indicate that the correspondent lived at or near the "Union Village" Shaker community, a few miles northeast of Cincinnati. That region of the country later saw significant Campbellite activity, but it appears unlikely that "Philotheos" had any direct connection with early Ohio Campbellite ministers, such as the Rev. Sidney Rigdon or the Rev. Adamson Bentley.

Note 4: The Christianized Indians of the Seneca Mission, on the outskirts of Buffalo, gained control of the tribal leadership and reopened the church and school there, well before the arrival of Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt, in the fall of 1830. For comments on that situation, see the article published in the Apr. 17, 1828 issue of the Georgia Cherokee Phonenix.


Vol. IV. No. 1.                             Philadelphia, Sat., Jan. 1, 1825.                             Whole 179.


Jason Treadwell, who was found guilty of murdering Oliver Harper, in May last, in Susquehannah county, is to be executed on Thursday, 12 of January.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Foreign Literature and Science.
Vol. I.                                     Philadelphia, Pa.,  August, 1825.                                     No. 7.



One of the first convictions impressed on the mind by a survey of Mr. Bullock's valuable collection of the ancient monuments of Mexico, is the resemblance which they bear to the monumental records of ancient Egypt. The glance of the antiquarian falls with familiar recognition on the same graduated pyramids; on marks of the same Ophite worship, a picture-writing and symbolic language of a similar description; vestiges of the same tri-une and solar deity, [of] planispheres and temples; and stone idols, which though of ruder workmanship, and chracterized by some distinctions entirely American, exhibit a great analogy, in posture and gesture, to the style of sculpture pre-eminently called Egyptian. The Mexican costume also, as collected from the specimens of paintings which surround the circular altar formerly appertaining to the great temple of the sun -- exhibits the same striking analogy: and the analogy is still further corroborated by other pictural and sculptural representations preserved in Purchas, by Robertson, and by Captain Del Rio, in his Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, lately discovered in the Kingdom of Guatelamala.

There is another circumstance calculated to excite surprise in the survey of these monuments, viz., that so excellent a judge as Robertson should have been deceived into a belief, that "there is not, in all of the extent of New Spain, any monument, or vestige of building, more ancient than the conquest;" that the temple of Cholula was "nothing but a mound of solid earth, without any facing or any steps, covered with grass and shrubs;" and that "the houses of the people in Mexico were mere huts, built with turf or branches of trees, like those of the rudest Indians."

In real fact, there exists abundant monumental proofs, which are constantly accumulating, that the Mexicans were advanced much farther in the arts of civilization than the Doctor (betrayed, apparently, by Spaniards, who wished to keep him in the dark) was inclined to admit. Pyramids, not much inferior to the Egyptian, exist in many parts of the Mexican territory; vestiges of important architecture are still visible in Cholula, Otumba and Tlascola; the mountain of Zezcoco is nearly covered with the ruins of ancient buildings; and the town discovered near Palanque exhibits not only excellent workmanship in the remains of the palaces, temples and baths, but a boldness of design in the architect, as well as a skill in the execution, which will not shrink from a comparison with the works of, at least, the earlier ages of Egyptian power.

Dr. Robertson notices, that "the unfortunate Boturiori made an amazing catalogue of Mexican maps, paintings, tribute-rolls, calendars, &c." Some of these are in Mr. Bullock's collection; and the plate which the historian supplies from the Imperial library at Vienna, bears strong resemblance, in the materials and workmanship, as well as the apparent design of the picture-writing, to some of those at the Egyptian-hall.

The historian casts the same doubt upon the authenticity of the "Chronological Wheel," representing the manner in which the Mexicans computed time; a specimen of which was published by Carrieri. "If it be genuine," he coldly says, "it proves that the Mexicans had arbitrary characters, which represent several things beside numbers." Now, we believe that the original of this "Chronological Wheel," to which Acosta also refers, is that from which Mr. Bullock has taken the model in his Museum. But, how depreciated a value he sets upon a monument so sublimely indicative of a people advanced, in some respects, beyond the point of European civilization, -- especially in regard to its regular posrs and its police!

But, what is the fact with regard to this proof of Mexican attainment in astronomy? It us impossible not to be surprised, and somewhat humiliated, in discovering that the Mexican Indians, from a very remote period, have possessed a singular system in their division of days, months, years and centuries, which, far from being inferior to, actually excels that of the most polished nations of the world....

It appears, then, that their astronomical system, taken generally, is like that of no other nation but the Chinese; but that it still bears a partial resemblance to the Egyprian, both in the arrangement and the employment of the five intercalated days. The analogy, indeed, between Chinese antiquities, more especially Chinese hieroglyphics, and the Egyptian, need not be here insisted upon. The above astronomical coincidence is almost the sole ground of affinity which can be referred to between the Chinese and the Mexicans. The hieroglyphics of Mexico exhibit no other resemblance to the Chinese, than what must naturally ensue from the fact of arbitrary images being conventionally emploted to experess ideas. The harsh structure of the Mexican pronounced language is as opposite to that of China, as consonants are opposite to vowels. Neither, indeed, does it bear a strong resemblance, in that respect, to the Egyptian. So far, every thing indicates, in the Mexicans, an independent and talented race of people, striking out a new astronomical, political and social system for themselves. But, as we began by affirming, so we shall conclude with inferring, from a comparative surbey of the valuable records of Mexican art and science, -- that there is a strong family-likeness between them and those of Egypt, which may justify the opinion of national affinity....

The dress of the Mexicans, more pronounced in the Description of the Ancient City, to which we have adverted, then in the picture-writing on Mr. Bullock's manuscripts, is perfectly Egyptian...

The hieroglyphics, more elegant in their form than the Chinese, are less so than the Egyptian: they appear, like the Egyprian demotic writing, to have reached that stage of their progress, when beauty was sacrificed to utility, and when the pictural image was almost entirely superseded by the conventional form. They, in short, bear no inapposite resemblance to modern highly ornamented letters of the Roman alphabet....   Monthly Magazine.

Note: The primary publication being reviewed in the above article is William Bullock's 1824 Six Months' Residence and Travels in Mexico. For a very similar subsequent article (evidently written by the same author) see "Mexican Antiquites" in the London Gentleman's Magazine of August, 1831.


Vol. VI.                                 Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 1825.                                 No. 71.


Some time ago, Mordecai M. Noah, a Jew, assisted perhaps by other Jews, purchased a large tract of land, called Grand Island, lying in the Niagara River, and State of New York, for the purpose of a Jewish settlement. On this Island a city is to be built, called Ararat, the corner-stone of which has been already laid, as will be seen by the annexed article from a late paper.

"The corner-stone of the proposed Jewish city was laid at Grand Island, New York, on the 15th instant, with religious, masonic and military ceremonies, in the presence of a large number of spectators. The stone was laid by Mr. Noah, Editor of the New York National Advocate, who afterwards issued a proclamation to all the Jews throughout the world, renewing and establishing the Jewish nation as it existed under the ancient judges..."

Another article respecting this colonization reads thus: --

"The comtemplated colony on Grand Island, in the state of New York, projected by Mr. Noah and his associates, is a subject of no small interest and importance. The idea is a bold one, of reassembling the people of Israel after they have been, for 2000 years, dispersed and scattered over the face of the earth, suffering persecutions, insult and injury in every variety of shape, yet preserving through all, and to the last, their peculiar national character, and establishing for them a city of refuge in the wilds of the New World.

"A spot better calculated for founding a colony of enterprising and persevering people, perhaps does not exist. Its commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural advantages are immense, particularly, if, as is anticipated, it should come into possession of the trade of the extensive territories toward the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean...

"At present, the most gratifying feature in this undertaking, is the assurance which it offers of an asylum for the Jews, from every part of the globe. They are a wealthy and enterprising people, and will, it is presumed, eagerly embrace the opportunity which is here held out, of establishing themselves with such advantage in a pecuniary point of view, and where they can enjoy freely and unmolested, every civil and religious liberty."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                               Philadelphia, September 23, 1826.                               No. 38.


(Through the politeness of L. Bezont, Geographer, and member of the society of Geography, Asiatic Society, &c. of Paris, we are enabled to publish the following Rewards, offered by the society of which he is a member, for the prosecution of several important scientific researches. We are not a little flattered by the particular and extensive credit which our journal has obtained at home and abroad, and readily confess our willingness to assist in furthering the designs of the above institution. -- We shall be happy to [find] that the publication of this paper will be attended with the discovery of all or any important facts, in contemplation.)


                                                Paris, 26th July, 1826.
Gentlemen -- I send you by the ship Great Britain from Havre, the Prospectus of the Rewards offered by our Society of Geography, for undertaking several Travels, whereof there are two relating to America, one having for its object to describe the interior of Guyana, and the other the ruins of the ancient city of Palenque in the republic of Guatimala.

The inhabitants of the United States, visiting frequently the countries in their neighbourhood, you would render a service to the Society as well as to Science, by publishing in your journal, the translation of a portion of this Prospectus.

By spreading the knowledge of the zeal which the Society display in their labours, you will confer an obligation, for which I already offer you my thanks and those of the Society, by anticipation.

If you deem that the Society could communicate to you something connected with your own labours, you may address them, under my direction. I remain respectfully, your humble and obedient servant,
                                                                    L. BEZOUT,
      Geographer, Member of the Society of Geography,
      Asiatic Society, &c. Taranne 15 N 12 -- Paris.

Extracts from the Prospectus of the Rewards offered by the French Society of Geography, 5th year.

1. A Gold Medal of the value of 2000 francs ($400) to the first Traveller who shall reach Tambuctou in Africa, through Senegal: to which has been added 4000 francs by the French Government, and nearly as much by private individuals; thus securing to the traveller a reward of 10,000 francs or $2000 -- the time allowed is the 1st January, 1827.

2. A Gold Medal of the value of 1200 francs ($240) for the best memoir on the Origin, Languages, Traditions and Monuments, of the inhabitants of Polynesia and Oceania, or the numerous Islands of the South Sea and Indian Ocean. Time allowed the 1st January, 1827.

3. A Reward of 500 francs ($100) tendered by Count Orloff, for the best Analysis of Russian Geography. Time allowed the 1st January, 1828.

4. A Gold Medal of the value of 5000 francs or $1000, for the best Survey and Description of the unknown parts of Guyana in South America, from the head of the River Maroni, westward. Time allowed, 1st January, 1829.

5. A Gold Medal of the value of 2400 francs, or $480, for the best description of the Ruins of the Ancient city of PALENQUE, near the River Micol, in the state of Chiapa, and the Republic of Guatimala. It is required that Maps and Views be given, as well as Architectural details. If possible, the writer is to examine and compare other Ruins in the neighbourhood, such as those of Uatlan, in Solola, the Fort of Mixco. those of Copan, those in the Island of Peten, in the Lake Itza; also the ruins of Yucatan and near Mani, on the River Largartos. It is required to collect all kinds of auxiliary information, such as Vocabularies of the languages spoken in that neighbourhood, &c. The Memoirs, Maps and Drawings, must be deposited in the office of the Society before the 1st January, 1830....

The Memoirs must be written in French, and sent (with the name of the authors, under a seal) to the President of the Society, Taranne Street, No. 12, Paris, in France.

Note 1: Another report indicates that the Geographical Society of Paris, in the year 1825 first offered offered prizes of four thousand francs each for the best accounts of various subjects pertaining to American antiquities. A gold medal was offered for the best description of ancient American ruins, received in Paris, before the beginning of 1836. Evidently no mention was made of "Palenque" in the 1825 prize offering. For another mention of this same sort of French prize for discoveries in American antiquities, published closer in time and space to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, see the Palmyra Reflector of Oct. 28, 1829

Note 2: Although he was unable to journey to Guatamala to inspect "the Ruins of the Ancient city of Palenque," this notice of the French offer, published in the Post, seems to have caught the eye of Prof. Constantine S. Rafinesque, lately arrived in Philadelphia from Lexington, Kentucky. See Rafinesque's letter, published in the Jan 13, 1827 issue of this paper.


Vol. VI.                               Philadelphia, January 13, 1827.                               Whole 285.


To Peter Duponceau, Esq.

I have the pleasure to announce and communicate to you, that during the course of my present researches into the history of America, I have been successful in discovering the existence of several Alphabetical Glyphic Inscriptions, belonging to this continent.

The wonderful discoveries lately made in Europe by Champollin and others, relating to the Alphabetical Inscriptions of Egypt and actual attempts to reduce the Chinese characters, to primitive Alphabetical or syllabic elements, evince that much is yet to be learned of the ancient modes of expressing and communicating ideas.

My late discovery will form another link in the chain of philological investigation, and become a very important auxiliary in our historical researches. I allude principally to the inscriptions on the ruins of the ancient city of OTOLUM, near PALENQUE, in CHIAPA, one of the primitive cities of America, whose ruins are 32 miles in circumference! They have been partly made known by a work of Del Rio and Cabrera, published in 1822; but so imperfectly, that a high reward is offered in France, for an account more perfect. Meantime it is from the plates of Del Rio, that I have been enabled already to ascertain the nature of the chracaters inscribed in the walls of this American Thebes, to reduce them to their Alphabetical elements, and read many of them.

My intention, at present, is merely to announce to you, and to the friends of historical knowledge, this additional discovery, stating also how I was led to the result, but leaving for future communications, the numerous details which are involved therein.

The characters of OTOLUM are totally different from any other we are aquainted with, since they are formed by many curvilinear figures, compactly connected or blended together, and forming square groups in vertical series.

Comparing them with the Chinese characters, that are groups of plain rectangular elements; or the Persian, that form rows of [narrow] lines; or the Egyptian, that seem rows of distinct figures, &c. I found unity of purpose, but no identity nor similarity of execution.

Searching throughout the whole of the ancient Alphabets for this similarity, I found none that offered the curvilinear elements of the OTOLUM characters, except the Old Lybian, or primitive Alphabet of North Africa, given us by Gramay, Purchas, Gebelin, &c. This Alphabet (one of the most ancient, since it may have been that of the Atlantes or Getulians, the ancestors of the actual Berbers) is quite symbolical, like the Egyptian phonetic: it has 16 letters only -- 5 are vowels, each being the first letter of the five senses; and 11 consonants, being the first letters of the 4 elements and 7 planets. BY some slight variations, these consonants are increased to 16, giving 21 letters altogether. In this complex Alphabet, every letter is a symbol: thus the 5 vowels A. E. I. O. U. are represented by coarse delineations of the ear, the eye, the nose, the tongue and the hand. It is in this philosophical Alphabet, that I found the elements of the OTOLUM characters and inscriptions. But the letters instead of being rows, for compact groups, each group being a word, or short sentence.

All the Lybian letters or sumbols are found; but they are sometimes modified or ornamented: these ornaments and additions increase the difficulty of reading them, which is very great, owing to the modes of ascertaining the succession of the letters in the groups -- however, the main letters are generally larger, and succeed each other from right to left. Appearances of syllabic combinations are often evident, and numbers are perspicuously delineated by long ellipsoids marking 10 with little balls for unities, standing apart.

These OTOLUM characters, are totally different from the Azteca or Mexican paintings, which are true symbols, and also from every other American mode of expressing ideas by carvings, paintings, or quipos. They appear besides to belong to a peculiar language, distinct from the Azteca, probably the Tiendal, (called also Chontal, Celtal, &c.) yet spoken from Chiapa to Panama, and connected with the Mayas of Yucatan. The following are some of the words decyphered: Teoo, Uobac, Ben, Ereo, Balke XIII, Pre-ulu, Pit-Ab, Are XIV, Er XXIII, &c. &c.

Thus we have another clue to our historical and philological researches: The Empire of OTOLUM in central America, founded on the river Tulija, by the Dinasty of VOTAN, who perhaps were of the Neiton (Neptunes) of North Africa and South Europe, and a branch of the Atlantes or Betulians or Autololes, will become interesting to study. The statues of OTOLUM, represent a peculiar race of men with large aquiline noses, thick lips, and conical heads, and appear different from most of the actual American tribes. They were one of the numerous colonies established in America in ancient times, and who brought with them the civilization, language, arts, sciences, &c. of primitive antiquity. Whence the striking analogies detected between the ancient Etruscans, Egyptians, Persians, Turanians, Hindoos, &c. and the polished nations of America, namely, the Mexicans, Peruvians, [Muhiyeas], Chilians, Apalachians, Haytians, Mayans, Utatlans and Otolans.
                                                C. S. RAFINESQUE.
1st. January, 1827.

Note 1: The above communication to Peter Duponceau was updated and expanded to form the basis for an article on "Philology," in the second issue of Prof. Constantine S. Rafinesque's Atlantic Journal, issued in the middle of 1832. That article was accompanied by an engraving of Rafinesque's fanciful tabulation of ancient Lybian characters and Mayan glyphs copied from the ruins near Palenque (for which Rafinesque coined the name "Otolum"). This article and engraving were partly reprinted in Josiah Priest's 1833-4 book, American Antiquities, and from there frequently quoted or cited by Mormon writers as a demonstration that Book of Mormon "characters" matched the form of native American glyphs. History does not record whether or not any of these writers approached Rafinesque to solicit a more exact testimony from him, but what he thought of the so-called Nephite "Reformed Egyptian" may be guessed at, from the tone of a passage he published in the third number of his Atlantic Journal: "A new Religion or sect has been founded upon this belief, the Mormonites, thus called after a new Alcoran, or Book of Mormon, (which is not a Jewish name.) Supposed to be written in gold letters more than 2000 years ago by Mormon, leader of the American Jews. This Book which no one has seen nor read but the founder of the sect, the probable writer thereof, has made the Bible of a new sect. I have tried in vain to procure a copy of the translation, wherein I could certainly detect a crowd of absurdities and incogruities. Meanwhile a Sect of Fanatics has arisen therefrom, and wandered from New York to Ohio and Missouri; an evident proof how false beliefs can bespread and made subservient to crafty purposes." Josiah Priest's comments on the matter are largely a paraphrase of Rafinesque's: "a new sect of religion has arisen, namely, the Mormonites, who pretend to have discovered a book with golden leaves, in which is the history of the American Jews... who came hither more than 2,000 years ago. This work is ridiculous... a poor attempt at an imitation of the Old Testament Scriptures... [of] too late a construction to accord with the Asiatic manner of composition... and how can it be otherwise, as it was written in Ontario county, New York."

Note 2: Pierre-Etienne Du Ponceau (Peter S. Duponceau) came to America from France in 1777. Among other notable accomplishments, he was also a philologist who specialized in American Indian languages. Late in life he moved to the city of Philadelphia, where, in 1827 he became the President of the American Philosophical Society. It is likely that Prof. Rafinesque (whose professional standing and credentials were always a little questionable) was attempting to gain favor with Dr. Duponceau -- and through him, with the Geographical Society of Paris. Note Rafinesque's gratuitous inclusion of a mention of ancient people from "South Europe" in his explanation of how the writing system of a cultured society came to exist in preColumbian Meso-America.

Note 3 Chronology: 1822 Doctor MacQuy, an Englishman visiting Guatemala City, comes across Dr. Pablo Felix Cabrera's "Critical Investigation and Research into the History of the Americans," as well as the 1787 report of Captain del Rio. These he takes to LOndon, where they are published by H. Berthoud that same year. -- 1825 The Geographical Society of Paris offers prizes of four thousand francs each for the best accounts of various subjects pertaining to American antiquities. -- 1826-32 Dr. Francois Corroy publishes, in Mexico, an account of his discoveries at Palenque. Dr. Corroy also sends numerous reports and archaeological samples to the Geographical Society of Paris, documenting his work at the Palenque site. He begins to be a prime candidate for the receipt of the Society's advertised gold medal prize. -- 1831 Colonel Juan Galindo, the English-born Governor of Peten, Guatemala, and a member of the British Geographic Society, visits Palenque and sketches the ruins. He sends information on the ruins to Europe where nearly 30 different notices of his work are reported in English and French scientific journals between 1831 and 1836. Col. Galindo appears to have won the Geographical Society of Paris competition, in 1836, but he dies before he can claim the Society's medal and monetary reward. See the comments accompanying the on-line 1822 text of Del Rio's report for a more detailed chronology.


Vol. I.                                     Philadelphia, Pa.,  March, 1827.                                     No. 1.

Symmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres; demonstrating that the
Earth is hollow, habitable within, and widely open about the Poles.

By A Citizen of the United States. Cincinnati, Ohio. 12mo. pp. 168.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. V.                                 Philadelphia, Penn.,  May, 1827.                                 No. 5.

STYLED THE NEW TESTAMENT, translated from the
original Greek, by George Campbell, James Macknight,
and Philip Doddridge, Doctors of the Church of Scotland.
With Prefaces to the Historical and Epistolary Books;
and an Appendix, containing Critical Notes and
various Translations of Difficult Passages. Printed
and published by Alexander Campbell. Buffaloe,
Brooke county, Virginia. 1826.

Editor of the Christian Advocate.

Rev. and dear Sir, -- You have [well] known that a few years ago, I [had] publick debate with the author of the above-mentioned translation, Mr. Campbell, a Unitarian Baptist. You know, also, that during the last winter I published an [exposure] of his false report of that debate. That exposure gives notice that I am now engaged in writing [---st] the whole of my argument [on] Christian Baptism. In this argument, I take the liberty of making frequent use of Mr. Campbell's new translation. It was intended to promote the peculiar views of its author; but in some things he has certainly missed his mark. At present I can give you only a specimen of what shall be shown more at large, of Providence permit me to finish the work now in hand. In speaking of the mode of baptism, he lays even more than usual stress on the Greek prepositions; proving, as he thinks, that there is a going down into and coming up out of the water. During the debate, he treated with the most abhorrent contempt, any suggestion that these prepositions might prove nothing more than a going to, and a coming from, the water. Knowing that this meaning of the words was established upon sufficient scriptural usage, he was not willing that I should traverse the scriptures at pleasure, and quote an instance wherever I could find it, but insisted that the meaning which was found most common in reading regularly on, must be the right meaning. But as he could not read through the scriptures, in the time allowed, and as he could not get me to read chapter about with him, even in the first book of the Septuagint, he selected such chapters of Genesis, as he thought would answer his purpose, and made what he could of them. Since the appearance of his new translation, the thought occurred to me, that I would make an experiment, and see how his plan would hold out in his own version. For this purpose I selected the preposition apo which occurs in Matthew, iii. 16, and is translated out of. As he had partially examined the first book of the Septuagint, I examined, not partially, but fully, the last book of his New Testament, marking his translation of the preposition apo, in every place in which it occurred. The result was, that I could find only ONE place in which he rendered it out of, and I found TWENTY-SEVEN places in which he translated it from! showing, according to his own principle, that after baptism, the subject went up from the water.

As Mr. Campbell's New Testament has several prominent features which would not obtrude themselves into a regular course of my argument, but which ought nevertheless to be known by an honest publick, I concluded that when an opportunity offered, I would digress into something like a formal review of his book. This opportunity occurred while showing that Abraham and his seed were a visible church, from the scriptural use of those Hebrew and Greek words which we consider as equivalent to the word church. The singular fact that the word church does not occur once in Mr. Campbell's translation, from beginning to end, made this a convenient occasion for devoting a section in the midst of the argument to the examination of this anomalous production. It is here sent to you as an excerpt from the work in which I am engaged. If it be agreeable to your feelings and arrangements, to insert it in your valuable Miscellany, you will confer a favour on the author.
W. L. M'CALLA.    

In the New Testament, ecclesia occurs one hundred and fourteen times; in more than one hundred of which it confessedly means the visible church. I do not know that my opponent will confess this, but every other sort of Baptist will....

To set forth his unparalleled qualifications still more fully, he says, in his Preface, "The whole scope, design, and drift of our labours is to see Christians intelligent, united and happy." With regard to uniting Christians, his labours, in one way or another, appear to succeed in a small degree. The Western Luminary informs us, that my opponent has made an ingenious effort to prove, that his two bosom friends, Barton W. Stone and Dr. James Fishback, are united in sentiment, in relation to our Saviour's perosn. Although the former openly rejects the doctrine of his Supreme and Eternal Deity, and the latter would be thought to receive this doctrine. Moreover, they are now very cordially united in their opposition to creeds and confessions, those stubborn things which have been so much in the way of Unitarians, from the Council of Nice to the present day. If Mr. Greatrake and the orthodox Pastors and Editors, Associations and Conventions of the Baptist denomination have not followed the amiable example of unity which these brethren have set them, it is their own fault. Mr. Greatrake will not admit that my opponent is for peace abroad, or unity at home. Writing to the Western Baptist Churches concerning my opponent, he says, "Having had you for two or three years spectators of his own personal combats, or familiarized your minds to a view of his own fightings, you will find, perhaps too late, that the object contemplated by Mr. C. was to prepare you for dissentions and fightings among yourselves; to the end, that he might share the spoils by making you a divided people" (Unitarian Baptist of the Robinson school exposed, -- p. 88).

As my opponent refers to his life for his anti-sectarian character, so Mr. Greatrake says to the churches, "Yes, brethren, search, search his whole life, as far as possible." He then tells them, that this scrutiny will irrefragably prove "that you (Baptists,) as a denomination, have been made the citadel of his safety, while throwing the shafts of his hostility at other denominations; particularly at that one with which you most assuredly stand in the greatest degree of fellowship. The question then is, whether Mr. C. represents your feelings towards the Presbyterian and other pedo-Baptist Churches, against whom he 'breathes out threatenings and slaughter?' If he does, let us know what cause they have given for this interminable rage. But I need not put this sort of question to you, being fully persuaded that your greatest partiality is towards that very church which Mr. C. appears to hate with the most deadly hatred."

This is a righteous sentence pronounced in the name of the Western Baptist Churches, by one of their most respectable and worthy ministers, in exculpation of the much injured, and greatly insulted pedo-Baptists of this country. It correctly represents my would-be anti-sectarian opponent, as breathing threatenings and slaughter, and throwing the shafts of hostility, with interminable rage, and the most deadly hatred , at other denominations, particularly our own; and as doing this, not to oppose error, (for he is rotten to the core,) but all this zeal against others is, that he may prepare the Baptists for dissentions and fightings among themselves that he may share the spoils of their divisions. He must surely be rarely qualified for writing an incomparable translation of the New Testament!

Note: The planned exposition Rev. William L. M'Calla refers to at the beginning of his letter to the was no doubt his two-volume 1828 book, A Discussion of Christian Baptism...


The  Pennsylvania  Gazette.
Vol. I.                                 Philadelphia, Penn.,  Nov. 17, 1827.                                 No. 7.


Jacob Cochran who figured rather conspicuously as a false teacher in Maine, a few years since, and underwent a short probation in Massachusetts State Prison for some of his misdeeds, is now living in Hollis, Me. where he has collected around him a number of fanatics, who profess to have every thing in common. Their doctrines admit of a plurality of wives.

Note: The above item was taken from a mid-November issue of the Maine Saco Palladium. The news about Cochran's brand of religious polygamy was widely reprinted -- see, for example, the Dedham Massachusetts Village Register, for Nov. 15, 1827, etc. If Joseph Smith and the earliest Mormons did not hear about Cochranite polygamy directly from contemporary adherents of the Maine "prophet," they had ample opportunity to learn of it via the public press. Visitors from New England to Mormon Kirtland (such as Miss Vienna Jacques in the summer of 1831) no doubt brought with them additional information regarding Jacob Cochran and his latter day, visionary followers.


Vol. VII.                               Philadelphia, Sat., June 7, 1828.                               Whole 358.


By Prof. Rafinesque, to Dr. J. H. M'Culloh, of Baltimore.


You appear desirous to learn something more of my Researches on the Ancient and Modern History of North and South America. I feel willing and happy to be able to answer your inquiries, and even to suggest perhaps some new facts.

The continent of America has ever been the field of philosophical delusions, as Africa of fables and monsters, and Asia of religious creeds. All the various systems amd theories of monks and philosophers on the origin, climate, inhabitants, &c. of America, have been repeatedly destroyed by facts, and yet they find to this day many believers. To this day they speak and write of the Red men of America, while there is not a Red Man, (nor never was,) in this continent. To this day do they attempt to separate the American languages from all others, while their roots and structure are exactly like many in the Eastern Continent.

When we are led by systems, or do not investigate and compare subjects in all their bearings, we are apt to fall into these delusive mistakes. But whoever will take the trouble, (as I have done,) to compare the features, languages, religions, customs, &c. of all the nations of the five parts of this world, Asia, Europe, Africa, Polynesia, and America, will find, (as I have found,) that mankind is a unity with many deviations of features, complexions, languages, religions, governments, civilizations, &c. all derived from single primitive types of those effect, and a common central focus.

To evince this result in a single but striking point, doubted to this day by superficial inquirers, it is sufficient to mention that there were in America, before Columbus came, nations and tribes of the following complexions: coppered, tawny, olive, dusky, white or pale yellow, dark brown, and black; (but none red unless painted,) and that all these complexions are also found in Asia, in Polynesia, and in Africa.

The native American Negroes or black Indians, have been seen in Brazil, Guyana, Caraccas, Popayan, Choco, North California, &c. Some of them, such as the Aroras or Caroras of Cumana, were black, but with fine features and long hair, like the Jolofs and Gallas of Africa. Others in New California, latitude 32, called Esteros, are like the Hottentots, Numuquas, Tambukis, and many other Nigritian tribes, not black, but dark brown, yet complete Negroes, with large thick lips, broad flat noses, and very ugly, with hair crisped or curly. The Negro features belong to the form of the head rather than the colour, since [there] are in Africa, Asia, and Polynesia, black, brown, yellow, olive, coppery, (and even white) Negroes.

The American Negroes of Quarenqua, in Choco, (the great level plain 900 miles long, 90 wide, separating the Andes of South America from the mountains of Panama,) were black and with woolly heads in 1506. They are mentioned by Dangleria, and all the early accurate writers. The last two travellers who have seen these Negroes, are Stevenson, (20 years travels in South America, London, 1825,) and Mollien, travels in Columbia, Paris, 1824.

Stevenson says that the Indians of Mannabi, comprising the districts of Esmeraldas, Rioverde, and Atacamas, on the sea shore of Popayan, are all Zambos, and produced by a ship full of Negroes who came in the country before the Spaniards, killed the former inhabitants, kept the women and formed a mixed race. They are tall, of a blackish colour, with soft curley hair, large eyes, flat noses, thick lips, &c.; while the true Zambos, or modern offspring of Indians and Negroes are of a deep copper colour, with thick hair not curled, small eyes, sharp noses and good lips.

In another part of the second volume of Stevenson, is the following passage: The Puncays of Riobamba, in Popayan, have a tradition that once before the Spanish came, they were invaded from the West by a nation of monkeys; and as the Spaniards came the same way, they took them also at first for monkeys!

In Mollien, the following notice is found: Two Indians of Choco, (whose true name is Guana or Chuanas nation,) where Dangleria's Negroes were found, are very ugly and black, and their language harsh and rough. Some words are given which may be compared with other Negro languages. For instance, Man hemeora. Woman, Decupera. 1 Amba. 2 Numi. 3 Compa. 4 Aiapa. 5. Conambi, &c.

In the same quarter, or the west shore of Popayan, we have on record two other invasions by sea. The first is that of the giants mentioned by Lavega, in his history of Peru, and the second that of the Skeres nation, 500 years before Columbus, mentioned by Hervas, &c.

The white Indians of America have been seen almost every where, as well as the bearded Indians; to quote my authorities, would fill many pages. Many tribes in the Antilles, Florida, Guyana, Peru, Chili, &c. are represented as white as the Spaniards, by the early writers, who had no system to support like modern theorists, and many had bushy beards. In fact we find all the races, features, and complexions of mankind in America; and we find also out of it many nations with scanty beards, or plucking it as a troublesome appendage.

Thus the three great divisions of mankind, in regard to their complexion, were found in America, previous to the modern Colonization. These three races have erronously been called White, Red, and Black, to which I have proposed to substitute the terms of Pale, Tawny, and Dark, which describe them completely; although it is not the colour, but rather the features, which distinguish them. The geographical corresponding appellations of Caucasian, Imalian, and Nigritian races may be equally objectionable, as well as the traditional names of Japhetian, Semetic, and Ammonian races, beacuse they are based upon theoretical origins. Whatever be their names, although once very distinct, and probably the three primitive [deviations] of mankind, they have since, like their primitive languages, become so much entangled, intermixt, and changed, so as to have assumed many other shades; white, whitish, rosy, ruddy, tawny, brown, brownish, blackish, black, ebony, &c.

A similar confusion and intermixture has occurred with languages, which have split from primitive stocks into mother tongues, dead, holy, written, and spoken languages, dialects, and sub-dialects, &c. thus in the course of time, producing all the immense varieties of speech that have existed, or do yet exist. All of which, can, however, be traced to each other, by comparative philology deeply searched, in spite of theories ands the apparent confusion or diversity and difficulties.
      May, 1828.                                     C. S. RAFINESQUE.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                               Philadelphia, Sat., June 28, 1828.                               Whole 360.


Of Professor Rafinesque, to Dr. J. H. M'Culloh, of Baltimore.

The materials for a complete history of America, are more ample than is generally supposed. Besides the monuments existing every where, we have many early Spanish writers, nearly forgotten, but who ought to be considered as the fathers of our history. The didactic, philosophical, or colonial histories and annals of Robertson, Raynal, Ogilby, Hulmes, &c. have neglected them altogether, and are therefore partial and defective. There are also many manuscripts in the Mexican, Tzondal, and other American languages, as yet extant, which are valuable documents to be sought for and consulted.

The pictured manuscript preserved by Siguenza, and published by Gemolli, which gives a concise view of the Aztecan emigrations, has often been alluded to by enlightened historians, but little understood. I have studied its import, aided by another pictured manuscript lately sent from Mexico, (and now in the library of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia,) upon that same subject. Although they are somewhat different, they confirm and illustrate each other. They both begin with a passage of waters, which has been mistaken for a flood; but in the second manuscript, the man in the boat is paddling, and not lying down, as in the first; therefore representing a voyage by sea; and both terminate at the foundation of Mexico. The second manuscript has a different and only partial computation of time; but the first is more complete in that respect, and appears to go back 1608 years before Mexico was built in 1352, and therefore 245 years before our era.

If we had the manuscripts said to exist in Chiapa in the Tzendal language, we should have new data to depend upon, as it appears that from thence, or the ancient empire of Otolum, came the Mexican tribes, and not from the north, as once conjectured. MOntezuma and Cabrera said positively that the Mexicans came from the east -- Tula, Aztulan, and Tulapala.

Dr. Cabrera, in his work on Palenque, or Teatro Critico Americano, gives Del Rio['s] survey and figures of some of the ruins of Palenque. These ruins are 15 miles from Palenque, and near the village of Tumbala, (Tulapala?) on the river Otolum (Aztulan?) a branch of the river Tulija or Tabasco. They cover an extent of eight Spanish leagues in length, and a half a league in breadth; a Spanish league being equal to four English miles, the circuit of this ruined city must be 68 miles! therefore not improperly called the American Thebes or Babylon! The buildings were of stone, and are covered with ornaments, statues, and inscriptions! It must have been the ancient capital of one of the earliest empires in America, of which the empires of Mayapan in Yucatan, Utatlan in Guatimala, Talas in Michuacan, Toltecas, and Aztecas in Anahuac or Mexico, &c. were probably the children.

The inscriptions prove, that, comtrary to the speculations of philologists, America had alphabetical writing! the letters are conglomerated in groups or words, and the words in lines, in all directions, as in Egypt. These letters are somewhat similar to those of Mexico, in rows, given by Humboldt, but more perfect, the Mexican being rather cursive letters. I flatter myself with the hope of being able to restore this alphabet, having (by comparing it with all the known alphabets) found the elements of it in the ancient Lybian alphabet given by Gramay, and the modern Ertana alphabet of the Taurics of Lybia given by Denham!

Cabrera has also an ancient American medal of brass, very peculiar, and he speaks of many Tzendal manuscripts. The Tzendal or Choatal is the language spoken from Chiapa to Nigaragua, by the mountaineers, or oldest Indian nations. I have collected some words of this language, and am endeavouring to trace its African analogies.

Ayeta published, in 1688, a history of Yucatan, which contains the history of the Spanish conquest and Spanish colony, with some valuable account of the Mayans or natives. This work has never been translated, and the only copy in the United States is in the Cambridge library. It gives ample notices of the traditions, mythology, astronomy, &c. of the Mayans. They had books folded like fans, as in India. They were more civilized than the Mexicans; had like them temples, pyramids, and gods for every thing, even music, song, poesy, love, wine, painting, medicine, &c. as in Grece. They had copper money! excellent laws; land in common, as in Peru and Crete, &c. Their astronomy was peculiar; the year began in July, and had 365 days, divided into 18 months of 20 days, and five additional days; their cycles were of four, 20, and 60 years. Although idolatry had prevailed, they acknowledged a Supreme God, Hunah-ku, and a Triad, as in India, called Izona, Bacab, and Echvah, which appear nearly identical with Vishnu, Brama, and Shiva, of the Hindus! They worshipped two ancient legislators, Zamna and Cuculcan, the last began the empire of Mayapan, towards 940, which was destroyed in 1440. Fourteen kings of Mani are named, who reigned till 1541, when Tutulkin submitted to the Spaniards.

Besides Ayeta, we have a history of Guatimala by Juanos, now translated in English, which is another valuable addition to American history, equal to Clavigero, Lavega, Ayeta, &c. WE find in it the history of the empire of Utatlan, founded by the Toltecas, when they left Mexico; a new Trojan war, for an American Helen, which lasted above a century, &c. There is another historical work of Villagutiers Sotomayer, published in 1701, on the conquest of Itza,the last independent state of Yucatan: although very diffuse and desultory, it is filled with remarks on the language, manners, &c. of the Maya.

The religious belief in a TRiad, or triple personification of Divine Manifestations, is well known to be of Asiatic origin, and to find it diffused in America, will lead to important considerations. It is not merely found among the Mayans, but also in Peru, Mexico, Hayti, Guyana, Cundinimares, Florida, &c. In the Mercurio Peruano, translated by Skinnerin 1805, I have found an account of the Inca religion, materially differing from pure Solar worship. The sun was a Triad, called Tarigatanga, and meaning three in one, and one in three: the three personifications were called Sun-father, Sun-son, and Sun-brother. Pachacamac was the Supreme God above this Triad. The Peruvians had vestals, prophets, bards, augurs, oracles, &c. as in Etruria; they honored also penates or lares. called Conopas; bethylles, or holy stones, called Huancas, linghams or Mamayoras; ancestors or dead bodies, called Mulquis, &c. as in Italy, Syria, India and China.

A history of the Spanish missions in the Andes, from 1580 to 1790, by [Amich] and Terra, is inserted, in the above work; in which are mentioned the Conivos, a nation as white as Spaniards; the Mayorunas, a nation with long beards; the Maynus or Erim empire, where Egyptian hieroglyphics are used on earthan coffins, &c.

The traditions of Hayti, collected by Roman in 1498, by order of Columbus are very striking: they allude to four successive races of inhabitants" 1. The Xaias, before a flood. 2. and 3. The Dimivans and Caracols, after the flood, who were civilized by a bohito or priest, (compare with Budis and Bhotias of India,) called Conel, and also Baiamanicoel; compare with Con, the first Peruvian legislator; Cox of the Mexicans; Mani of Africa; Menu of Asia' Coel meaning Celestial of Etrurians, &c. These races were conquered by the fourth, the Guanins, (compare with Guans of Canary Islands,) who came by sea from the east, and the land of Caanan, (compare with Canaria, Canaan, [and] Kahinan of Africa,) residing first at Matinino, (now Martinico,) led by Guagagiona, son of Hiareria. Their worship was that of Zomos, (compare with Shemins, Genis, &c. of Asia,) the Sun, a Supreme God Incahunagua Maarocon, (the god of the Berbers and Basks,) a Pentiad or goddess, with five names, and a Triad, Bugia, Bradama, and Aiba, identical with Vishnu, Brama, and Shiva of India!
      May, 1828.                                     C. S. RAFINESQUE.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                               Philadelphia, Sat., July 19, 1828.                               Whole 364.


Of Professor Rafinesque, to Dr. J. H. M'Culloh, of Baltimore,



Languages are now acknowledged, by all learned men, to afford important historical proofs, whenever history or traditions are silent. Philology is now become an appendage to history, as important as geography or chronology. -- The last general work on languages is the Ethnographic Atlas of Balbi, published in Paris, 1826. It contains tables of 16 words and 10 numbers, in about 600 languages or dialects; and it enumerates in all 860 languages, besides 2 or 3000 dialects, whereof 422 languages, and about 1000 dialects, belong to America, which he has not attempted to classify, (except geographically,) as he has done for the Asiatic and European languages. He points out but few affinities, stating that the Maya has some analogies with the Atlantic or Berber languages of Africa, the Guarani with the Sanscrit, (and also with the languages of South Africa, as I find,) the Carib with the Hebrew, and I find also with the Bask, &c.

But I have found many thousand affinities between all the American languages, and those of Europe, Africa, Asia, and even Polynesia, besides astonishing similarities between themselves, so as to allow of a correct classification. I have collected many vocabularies of languages omitted by Balbi, from travellers and ancient authors, particularly of the Haytian or Antilan, (which I have found to have affinities with the Bask, Latin, Greek, Sanscrit, Arab, Copt, and Atlantic or Berber of Africa,) and the Apalachian, or Timuacan, or Yamasi, (which is akin to the Pelagian or Ammonian of Bryant.) the Tzendal, Watanith, Muyzca, &c.

Your opinion that all languages may be traced to one or a few primitive original stocks, has long been highly probable with me, and receives daily confirmation from all quarters, notwithstanding the theory on the intrinsic diversity of languages and idioms, which are mere casualties, arising from whims of speech and deviations of words, taking place even in our days, and gradually forming dialects. It is among the most ancient languages, mostly extinct now, that we find the roots and stocks of the American languages; and it is no small confirmation of this fact, that what is yet extant of ancient American history and traditions, point equally to the same primitive origin of civilization, institutions, religion, colonies, and settlements, as well as the languages. It is no longer among the Tungusian tribes, who have furnished but a scanty hive of hunters and invaders in North America, that we must seek for the parents of the numerous civilized nations of this continent; but among the Atlantes, Guanches, Getulians, &c. of Africa, the Cantabrians, Gomerians, Etrurians, and Pelagians of Europe, and the Tulans, or Turans, Zends, or Hindus, Caucasians, &c. of Asia, where all these indications point.

It is yet an interesting problem, whether Polynesia has given or received colonies from ancient America: I lean towards the second opinion, and am yet comparing the American and Polynesian languages. I have already found some affinities between the Guac or Huastica of Mexico, and the Polynesian dialects.

The theory of the continuity of the two continents, which you have embraced as well as Clavigero, and some other writers. may exult in these facts; but the historical fact of the large Atlantic Islands between Europe and America, of which the actual volcanic groups are fragments, is still better supported. Carli has attempted to give us a map of the ancient islands between Cape Verd and Brazil -- Bory has sketched the ancient Atlantis extending from the Azores to Cape Verd -- Anspach has shown that the great Banks of Newfoundland are sunken Islands. They contend, of course, that the Atlas or Atlantic nation dwelt in those islands, and the sea still bearing their name. -- The same nation may be traced to America by their language; and they have given their name to 25 nations or empires, and 500 places or rivers: wherefore the opinion that America was the great Atlantis, or the Atala of the Hindus, is becoming probable. It will be sufficient to name a few of the fragments of this primitive nation in America.

The Talas, now Tarascas, of Michuacan.
The Otolum, Astulan Empire of Palenque in Chiapa.
Antilat of the West Indies.
Tolus, Atalayas, Atolas, &c. of South America.
Tolans, or Tulans, or Toltecas, of Anahuac, &c.
Talabas and Taluhis, of Florida.

And the Cherojis whose true names are Otalis, or Tsuluki, or Tzalagi, or Telicos, and whose language is strikingly primitive, with Etruscan, Italic and Pelagic affinities. I consider them as the successors of the Talegawis, who were spread from the Lakes to the Mexican Gulf, built all the ruins and monuments of our Western States, and were driven South by the Tungusian tribes, from Asia, of whom our hunting Indians are descended.

This conjecture is confirmed by the traditions of the Enguys, or Six Nations, lately published by Cusik, a Tuscarora Indian. This little work, the first of its kind published in English by an educated Indian, opens a new field and fills a large blank in our North American history. We find in it that a people come by sea settled the Southern part of the United States more than 2800 years ago, and that they formed an empire extending to the Lakes, the capital of which was called the Golden City. The Enguys, who sprung from the North, drove them beyond the Ohio and began the federation of the Atotarhas in the North. The Lenapis call this early empire, Talegawi; we find it since called Apalachia and Telico as late as 1650 and 1740.

Thus, from fragments collected from many sources, we may be able at last to frame something like a connected history of the American empires and nations. But, in order to select these materials, we must often wade through a mass of prolix or tedious works. Thus, in Alcedo's geographical and historical Dictionary of Americas, we find a multitude of scattered notices, mostly relating to Spanish colonial history. While in Capani's history of the Jesuit's mission to New Granada, we find only two or three facts in one folio volume. Very little is found in Torquemada, Vanegas, Zamora, &c. but much in Touron's great American ecclesiastical history in French, and 14 vol. 12mo. also in Las Cajas, Piedrathita, Cardenas, Lavega, Molina, Southey, Beauchamp, Falkner, Azara, &c. and a host of travellers. Several works on America have been published by Italian Jesuits, of which Molina and Clavigero alone have been translated; but Hervas, Gili, Gumila and Jolis, are equally valuable. Itervas is a kind of American library. In Gili's essay of American history we find many facts on the nations of the Oronoco: he was the first to attempt to collect some words of the Haytian language, and has given many otehr vocabularies: he found a triad of gods among the Tamanacs, and a legislator, Amalivaca, came from the East. The Jaruras had, like the Haytians, a penliad or god with five names. In Joli's history of Chaco we find the Cacana or Calchaquis nation, at war with the Spaniards from 1565 till 1644, (when nearly destroyed,) practised circumcision like the Jews, but worshipped the sun, and thought that souls became stars. The notice on American religions and customs scattered through the works of missionaries are very numerous. They all point to solar worship, Sabeism and Shamanism. Idolatry was their corruption. The names given to Gods, Sun, Moon, Priests, Temple, &c. by two or three hundred nations, of which I have formed tables, often evince a remarkable coincidence, even among distant nations. The priests form a peculiar caste, as in India, Egypt, Etruria, Celtics, &c. among all the civilized nations of America, and the four castes of those ancient nations, are also found among the agricultural nations of Florida, Mexico, Maya, Antiles, Guatimala, Muyzcas, Peru, Chili, Maynes, Moxos, &c. they are nobles, priests, vassals and slaves, as in Asia.
      June, 1828.                                     C. S. RAFINESQUE.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                               Philadelphia, Sat., September 6, 1828.                               Whole 371.


Of Prof. Rafinesque, to Dr. J. H. M'Culloh, of Baltimore,



Besides the Otolum alphabet already mentioned, there are traces of two or three others in America. 1. The Inscription in Columbia, given partly by Humboldt, the letters of which are evidently Pelagic or Etruscan. 2. The coins found in New England, and elsewhere, which resemble ancient Irish, Arabic, Persian, and Mogul coins and letters. 3. The Inscription of the temple of Secota, in North Carolina, given by Heriot, in 1586, as well as the letters used by the Winginans of North Carolina. These are evidently the ancient alphabet called Ogham in Ireland, Runes in the North, Arrow Letters in Persia, and Cross Letters in India, Arabia, and Italy. That these three kinds of alphabets, totally different from the Otolum, may have been introduced by visitors, appears highly probable, and I can show how in one instance.

The Oghams or Runes have been proved by Higgins to have been a primitive alphabet, used by the Gomerians and Celts, perhaps as early as 5800 years ago! when the solar temples of Abury and Stonehenge were built in England, and thus might have been introduced by the earliest settlers in America. But there are two traditions of a holy visitor among the Mohigans and Tuscaroras; he was called Washqucow, and came to New York and North Carolina towards 1100. He could not be Madoc, since he was alone and a holy man. It must have been a Scandinavian christian priest. Several came to America after its discovery in 1001, and he might have introduced the Runes. There is another faint tradition of Madoc among our Indians, under the name of Meconick.

The traditions of holy visitors are widely spread in America. Humboldt has only alluded to a few; but I have found similar notions of legislators and priests in Mexico, Yucatan, Hayti, Carib Islands, Oronoco River, Quito, Cundinamarca, Veragua, Florida, Carolina, Canada, New York, Peru, Tucuman, Paraguay and Brazil. It can hardly be the same who went over all these regions, since even several are mentioned in the same country, for instance six in Peru: Con, Cora, Tice, Viracocha, Ayacache, and Mango; three in Yucatan, Zumna, Cuculcan, Chilamcambal; and two in Cundinamarca, Bochica and Sagudiya, besides several elsewhere. The belief that it was St. Thomas who went thus about preaching, prevailed once among the Spaniards, being based upon the resenblance with some names, Tzomeh and Thomas...

... in Zamora's History of the Missions of New Grenada, we find that Sagudiya, which meant holy father, had come 1400 years before 1536 from the east to Hunca. -- This was after Bochica, the founder of the empire, whose name is also a triad, and ought to be compared with Bohito of Hayti, Bautio of Nicaragua, Votan of Chiapa, and also with the Bhotias and Budhas of the east.

WE find much upon the empire of the Muyzcas in Touron's Clerical History. The priesthood of the Zacs or Pontiffs is stated to have lasted till 1618, and idolatry till 1685, in spite of the Spaniards. We also find in Touron, something additional of the history of Peru, and an Inca, omitted by all other writers, Cuzititu, who died in 1569, independent of the Spaniards in the Andes of Vilcabamba, and was succeeded by the unfortunate Tupac Amaru, last Inca, executed by Toledo in 1578. By other writers, the certain history of Peru can be carried as far back as 800, when Zipana became King of the Collas. The fabulous history goes far beyond it, to Chon, or Con, and a flood. He ought to be compared with Conel of Hayti and Cox of Mexico.

Tiahuanaco was an ancient empire in Peru, long before the Collas and Incas, probably at the same time as Otolum and Hunca. The sculptures and buildings of its ruins are wonderful, and evidently primitive. It is probable that Peru and Chili were peopled and civilized from the north. The Incas were from the nation of Yuncas in North Peru, and Manco was grandson of Cocapac, their king, who sent him to civilize the Quichuas, among whom he began his empire. Many other powerful civilized states existed in Peru before the Incas. The Chimu, or king of Chicama, in West Peru, was conquered by them after a long strife. The ruins of Chicama and Mansicho evince as yet the ancient civilizations of that state. There is a hill covered with five thousand stone cells in regular tiers, some stones are 12 feet long, and resemble the Cyclopian structures of Etruria, Sicily, and Greece, which Humboldt denies to be found in America. At Mansicho there is an artificial mountain, five hundred feet high, like the Celtic, Atalan, and Babylonian mounds.

The languages of the Muyzcas, Quichuas, and Chilians, have evident affinities with all the ancient languages spoken around the Mediterranean, and the Sanscrit, which was their parent, perhaps. The great seats of the most ancient civilized empires of America may be traced to Hunca and Tiahuanaco in South America, to Otolum, Cholula, ans Talega in North America, and to Hayti in the Islands. But besides these, several minor central seats of civilization are also found in Chili, Guyana, Amahuac, Canada, and Iceland.

My remarks in thes eletters have rather been of a desultory nature; but to recapitulate some of their contents, I have tried to show that we possess many negelected materials on the history of this continent, and that many errors have been widely spread, owing to the indolence of our historians, who seldom search and compare all the extant fragments.

In my first letter, I have stated that there are men of all complexions in America, as well as in Asia, and languages of all forms, as elsewhere, instead of red men only, and language under a single form.

In the second letter, I show that a true alphabetical writing of great antiquity existed in America, and that the religious belief in a triad had extended to this continent.

In the third letter, I have proved that the parents of the American nations must be sought for among the primitive eastern nations; that compared languages will enable us to supply the deficiency of traditions, and that the Atlantes of Mount Atlas, in Africa, and the Atlantic Islands, have reached America.

While this last letter has been dedicated to find some of the ancient legislators and seats of civilization in America, these disquisitions offer a base and view of our history, very different from the actual paltry and partial accounts which have been given. Nothing but a general, well connected, ample and complete account of all the scattered materials as yet extant, ought to be considered as a true history of America. Although I have confined myself here to a few facts of leading importance, I have collected a multitude of others, relating or belonging to our colonial and independent history; and even the ancient history of this continent, before 1492, is connected with the late periods, since the descendants of our primitive nations are yet in existence, and some of them as independent nations.

All these facts, events, and new views of our history will partly form the base of my OUTLINES OF A GENERAL HISTORY OF AMERICA, long ago announced, and to which I am zealously engaged to add. I find new materials every day, and thus les regret any delay which might be experienced. I venture to assert that it will be totally different from any of the actual misnamed American histories, and a true national history, as far as existing materials will allow.
      July, 1828.                                     C. S. RAFINESQUE.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. X.                                 Philadelphia, January, 1829.                                 No. 109.

(From  the  National  Intelligencer.)

Fanaticism. -- A man who calls himself Christ, and who says he has come to judge the world, appeared in Guernsey county, in the State of Ohio, a few weeks ago; and strange as it may seem, has collected a band of deluded followers, who worship him as a God. Some of his disciples are said to be respectable people, and have neglected their business to follow after this fanatic.

As a supplement to the above, we give the following
from an Ohio paper.

Washington, Guernsey co. Nov. 15, 1828.

An impostor was brought into this town on the 13th inst. who declared himself to be Jesus Christ; and that he had recently come from heaven for the purpose of judging the world, which was shortly to be at an end. He attempted proving his divinity, by showing the prints of the nails on the different members of his body; his judgement here was rather nonsuited, for the citizens invariably believed him to be, not only an imposter, but a felon, whose actions at some period, had merited an acquaintance with handcuffs and fetters.

This strange prodigy is remarkably expert in quoting scripture, and is not without followers, as might be expected. He has erected his throne for the purpose of judging the world, on Leatherwood, about seven miles from this place; where he has been about five weeks. On the 12th inst. he ascended his throne with all the pomp and presumption imaginable, and commenced the execution of his mission. On the same evening, after having suspended his judgments, he repaired to the house of one of his followers, (who accompanied him to the place) where all his proselytes, about twenty, were collected for the alone purpose of worshipping him; at his presence they immediately prostrated themselves at his feet, calling him the true God. Among these enthusiastic devotees, are found some who were formerly considered the most respectable citizens of that neighbourhood; even some who have preached the gospel in at least two different bodies, and have now descended to worship this strange god, who declares that he can shake heaven and earth with his nod, that he can engulf the whole human family in the vortex of oblivion, if he should but say it, and that the whole hosts of heaven are prompt in the execution of his word.

The imposter was taken before a magistrate of this place, who could find no accusation against him. or no law applicable to a God, and consequently Jupiter was dismissed.

A citizen of Leatherwood, knowing the injury he had done to his followers, some of whom were entirely deranged, and others, careless of property, had turned their flocks into their cornfields, could not permit him to go with impunity, but immediately smote the divinity, and gave him an opportunity of escaping: he embraced it, and left town with seventy-five or an hundred citizens after him...

Note 1: The following are extracts from Henry Howe's section on "Guernsey County" in his Historical Collections of Ohio: "At the village of Salesville there was built by the early settlers a hewed log-church named the Temple... In August, 1828, about two and a half miles northwest of the Temple, was held a camp-meeting... a large assemblage was addressed by the Rev. John Crum... At this moment the solemn silence was broken by a tremendous voice... giving utterance to but one word, "Salvation," followed by a shout... and there, seated in the midst of the congregation, was a stranger... dressed in a suit of broadcloth, frock coat, white cravat and yellow beaver hat.... After the meeting, he went about representing himself to be God Almighty, who had come down into the midst of the assembled people... [as] Joseph C. Dylks... [saying] that he had come to establish the millennium... At first he was very cautious in his statements, but, as converts became more numerous, he grew more bold, claimed that his body could not be touched... he could destroy the universe... converts were made throughout parts of Belmont, Guernsey and Noble counties.... He was arrested and brought before a magistrate but... was discharged... He remained several weeks in hiding, and then assembled his converts and announced that he must go to Philadelphia and set up his "New Jerusalem." This was in the latter part of October... Notwithstanding that death removed the Dylksites one by one, the survivors still believed in the divinity of the Leatherwood God, and that he would some day return and set up his New Jerusalem."

Note 2: Joseph C. Dylks (or Dylkes/Dilkes) was judged to have been about 48, when he made his Ohio appearance in 1828, placing his probable date of birth around the year 1780. He was perhaps related to the Dilkes family of Gloucester Co., New Jersey; which, during the 1820s, included a Jacob and Micajah at Woodbury and a Joseph C. (a shop-keeper) at Chew's Landing.

Note 3: Some newspaper reports printed in 1831 confused the followers of Dylks and Joseph Smith -- see the Sept. 15, 1831 issue of the Rochester Observer for one example.


Vol. X.                                 Philadelphia, July, 1829.                                 No. 115.


Plain Truth has become united with Priestcraft Exposed, a spirited and interesting work, published monthly at Lockport, N. Y. by E. A. Cooley, at one dollar a year.

Note: Thus, after six years of geographic separation, the sibling publications Plain Truth and Priestcraft Exposed, were reunited into a single paper, issued from the press of E. Alanson Cooley and edited by the hand of Lyman A. Spalding. Cooley was later a partner with Oliver Cowdery in the publication of their Walworth Democrat in Wisconsin. Lyman A. Spalding (a relative of the late Solomon Spalding) would go on to cross editorial swords with fellow Lockportian, Orsamus Turner, for several years to follow. Thomas B. Barnum, who edited Plain Truth, seems to have given up the editorial ghost at Rochester in mid-1829 -- perhaps he retired to his native Canandaigua and found some better occupation. See, however, his probable comments on early Mormonism, as expressed in the Jan. 1, 1831 issue of the Palmyra Reflector.



Vol. I.                                     Philadelphia, Pa.,  August 1, 1829.                                     No. 5.

For the Columbian Star and Christian Index.

Pittsburg, July 3d, 1829.    
Mr. Editor, As your paper is taken by some, and read by a number of my congregation, I wish, through that medium, to express my thanks to the females for their kindness in contributing to make me a Life Director of the Baptist General Tract Society. I hope that their contribution may prove to have been thrown into the treasury of the Lord, by the conviction and conversion of sinners through the instrumentality of tracts, and I pray that they may always abound in the work of the Lord, who will not forget their labor of love, but reward them for the least kindness to his disciples, with a joyful end of their race, and a crown of eternal glory.   SAMUEL WILLIAMS, Pastor.

Note 1: Elder Samuel Williams (1802-1887) served as the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh from 1827 to 1859. Between the time Sidney Rigdon was excommunicated in 1823 and the time Williams took over the pastorate, the following ministers also served the First Baptist Church: Elder John Winter (1823-1824), Elder Lawrence Greatrake (1824-25) and Elder Joshua Bradley (1826-27) -- see William R. Pankey, History of the Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1939, page 13); and Centenary of... Baptist Work in... Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh: Pitts. Baptist Assoc., 1913) page 103.

Note 2: Elder Samuel Williams' Reply to Lectures on... Christian Baptism provides very little information on the Baptist congregation he was serving in Pittsburgh, but his 1841 Preface does give some indication of his circumstances a year before he published his next, more historically substantial volume, Mormonism Exposed. See the transciber's notes notes appended to that on-line text for more information on Elder Williams

Note 3: A series of three letters written by Williams to James T. Cobb in 1878 provide some additional information regarding Sidney Rigdon, the Pittsburgh Baptist church, etc. A 1828 letter by Williams, published in the Columbian Star, reportedly provided some details on the Pittsburgh church, Alexander Campbell, etc. -- it has not yet been located. Williams was probably the editor of a 12-page 1828 pamphlet: A Brief Statement of the Articles of Faith, and Order of the First Regular Baptist Church, of the City of Pittsburgh: Constituted in A.D. 1812.... -- no copy has yet been located.

Note 4: For more early articles from the Philadelphia Columbian Star and Christian Index, consult this unedited text file.


Vol. VIII.                               Philadelphia, September 12, 1829.                               Whole 424.

Written for the Saturday Evening Post.

To the Rev. Ethan Smith, Pastor of Poultney, in Vermont.

I have lately met, by chance, the second edition of your work on the Hebrews in America, and read it with attention, as I do all works on our Indians, while writing their history before and after Columbus.

Your work and Boudinot's Star in the West, have widely spread again among the religious readers, the old, obsolete, and I may say absurd notion that our Indians, nay, all the various American tribes and nations descended from the ten tribes of Israel. This theory advanced by some Jews, by William Penn and Adair, who knew but few tribes of our Indians, is now laughed at by all the learned and enquirers on American history. As it is a pity that the religious community should be again deluded into such improbable belief, I mean to try to show you the impossibility of the fact, and request that should you publish a third edition of your work, you will add my remarks, and answer, if you can, my cogent arguments.

I shall first state why their origin is impossible and next confute your boasted proofs of it.

The American nations cannot descend from the ten tribes of Israel; because,

1st. These ten tribes are not lost, as long supposed, their descendants more or less mixt with the natives, are yet found in Media, Iran, Turan, Cabulistan, Hindostan and China, where late travellers have traced them, calling themselves by various names.

2d. The American nations knew not the Sabaths, or Sabatical weeks and years. This knowledge could never have been lost by Hebrews. -- The only weeks known in America, were of three days, five days, and half lunation, as among the primitive nations, before the week of seven days was used in Asia, and based upon the seven planets, long before the laws of Moses.

3d. The Indians hardly knew the use of iron, although common among the Hebrews, and likely never to be lost: nor did they know the plough.

4th. The same applies to the art of writing -- such an art is never lost, when once known.

5th. Circumcision was unknown and even abhored by the Americans, except two nations who used it, the Mayans of Yucatan, who worshipped 100 idols, and the Calchaquis of Chaco, who worshipped the sun and stars, believing that departed souls became stars. These beliefs are quite different from Judaism, and besides this rite was common to Egypt, Ethiopia, Edom, Arabia, &c.

6th. None of the American tribes have the striking sharp Jewish features and physical conformation.

7th. The Americans eat hogs, hares, fish, and all the forbidden animals of Moses, but each tribe abstain from their tutelar animals, or [badges] of families, of some peculiar sort, as we abstain from the dog and horse without any rational cause.

8th. The American customs of scalping, torturing prisoners, canibalism, calumet, painting bodies, and going naked even in very cold climates, are totally unlike the Hebrew customs.

9th. A multitude of languages exist in America, which may perhaps be reduced to twenty-five radical languages and 2000 dialects and sub-dialects; but they are often unlike the Hebrew in roots, words and grammer: they have by far more analogies with the Sanscrit, Celtic, Bask, Pelagian, Berber, Lybian, Egyptian, Persian, Turan, &c., or in fact all the primitive languages of mankind.

10th. The Americans cannot have sprung from a single nation, because, independently of the languages, their features and complexions are as various as in Africa and Asia. We find in America; white, tawny, brown, yellow, olive, copper, and even black nations, as in Africa. Also dwarfs and giants, handsome and ugly features, flat and aquiline noses, thick and thin lips, &c.

Let us now examine your proofs.

1st. You say all the Americans had the same god, Yohewah; this is utterly false. This was the god of the Chactas and Floridians. I have found a multitude of names for it among the Unitarians. Many had triple gods or Trimurtis, as in Hindostan, and with names nearly similar. Polytheism, idolatry and a complex mythology prevailed among all the most civilized nations. All the ancient religions were found in America, Theism, Sabeism, Magism, Hindoism, Shamanism, Fetichism, &c. but no Judaism!

2d. The few examples you give of affinities with the Hebrew language, belong only to the Floridan and Caraib languages. I could show you ten times as many in the Aruac, Guarani, &c. -- but what is that, compared with the 100,000 affinities with the primitive languages.

3d. All the civilized Americans had a priesthood or priestly caste, and so had the Hindus, Egyptians, Persians, Celts, Ethiopians!   were they all Jews?

4th. Tribes are found among all the ancient nations, Arabs, Berbers, Celts, Negroes, &c. who are not Jews. The most civilized nations had castes instead of tribes in America as well as Egypt and India: the Mexicans, Mayans, Muhiyeas, Peruvians, &c. had no tribes. The animals badges of tribes are found among Negroes and Tartars as well as our Indians.

5th. Arks of covenant and cities of refuge are not peculiar to the Jews; many Asiatic nations had them, also the Egyptians, and nine-tenths of our American tribes have none at all, or have only holy bags, somewhat like talismans or fetiches.

6th. The religious cry of aleluyah is not Jewish, but primitive, and found among the Hindoes, Arabs, Greeks, Saxons, Celts, Lybians, &c. under the modification of hulili, yululu, lulujah, &c., other Americans called it ululaez, gualulu, aluyuh, &c.

7th. The mentioned traditions of our Indians or rather the Algonquin stock only, point to a N. W. origin; but the Natchez, Apalachians, Talascas, Mexicans, Mayans, Muhizcas, Haytians, &c. have traditions to have come from the East or through the Atlantic Ocean. It is important to distinguish the American nations of Eastern origine from the later invaders from Tartary: they are as different as the Romans and Vandals.

8th. All the alledged customs common to Jews and Americans, are postively of primitive origin, and found also among nearly all the ancient nations of Asia, Africa, Europe and Polynesia, nay, even among the wild negros to this day; are they then all Jews? The actual Puritans and Sabatarians who keep the Jewish Sabbath and bear Jewish names, would be greater Jews by far, if customs alone were to settle this question.

You will therefore perceive that this old notion of yours is totally impossible and at variance with all our knowledge of the Americans, when we study all the nations, instead of taking, as you do the Algonquin or Lenapian, although a widely spread family for your rule and main example of all.

I hope you will consider again the question with impartiality, divesting it of your mystical problems, and studying the writers on South America with more care. You will find that Garcia a Spanish writer, had 200 years ago, in his origin of the Indians proved that they may have come from many ancient nations, even before the flood, and Dr. M'Culloh, of Baltimore, has proved the same thing in his Researches on America.
                             C . S. RAFINESQUE.
Philadelphia, August, 1829.

Note 1: The above letter to the Rev. Ethan Smith was reprinted in the third issue of Prof. Constantine S. Rafinesque's Atlantic Journal, near the end of 1832. See also Prof. Rafinesque's Third Letter to Champollion, etc.

Note 2: Although the above open letter to Rev. Ethan Smith came too late in 1829, to have in any way influenced the text of the Book of Mormon, Prof. Rafinesque's publicizing of Ethan Smith's book may have eventually reached the eyes of certain Mormon leaders. In his 1838 tract Mormonism Unveiled..., LDS Apostle Parley P. Pratt paraphrased purported Indian traditions, the phraseology of which could only have come from Rev. Smith's book. Likewise, an LDS advertisement broadside, published in 1844 contained a short conflation of phrases from Elias Boudinot's 1816 book and Ethan Smith's book -- the same conflation was inserted into the post-1839 editions of Apostle Pratt's well known treatise of Mormonism, A Voice of Warning.

Note 3: The earliest Mormons may have also been influenced in forming their notions concerning American prehistory, by their reading of earlier published reports written by Prof. Rafinesque. See, for example, his letters in the columns of the Saturday Evening Post's issues of Jan. 13, 1827, June 7, 1828, June 28, 1828, July 19, 1828, and Sept. 6, 1828, as well as the multitude of communications to periodicals submitted by him while he was living in Kentucky.

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